Thursday, October 30, 2014

Food, Wine and More Continues in Atlantic City

I was in Atlantic City for a little birthday celebration with my close friends Liza and Lynn before the Food and Wine Festival. We had a fun evening and were up early for a beautiful day along the Jersey Shore.

Liza had to head out in the early afternoon, but Lynn and I remained. I used my free time to walk along the boardwalk for about an hour.

I was happy to see that everything had been rebuilt along this part of the Atlantic Ocean since the last time I was here, prior to Hurricane Sandy.

I spent some time at both the beach and pool before Lynn and I headed to the next stop, Caesar’s Resort.

I’m not usually one to go for the buffets in Atlantic City, but we were both hungry and I knew I was going to have a late dinner.  We were not disappointed as the selection at the Palace Court Buffet is huge.

I had a little bit of everything, including General Tsao Chicken, pork dumplings, salad, pasta, brisket, stuffing, and vegetables. They also had ice cream you could serve yourself and I happily topped mine with hot fudge and Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups.

Lynn had to leave and my room still wasn’t ready so I went to the Caesar’s Pier Shops, looking around and using a Victoria’s Secret gift certificate I had gotten for my birthday.

I picked up my credentials, tickets for the Atlantic CityFood and Wine Festival events, and goodie bags, which included Guy Fieri’s new sauces.

My daughter, Sam, was meeting me for the rest of the weekend, but she was stuck in traffic so I had plenty of time left to relax and leisurely get ready for dinner.  

When she arrived we took a cab over to Harrah’s for the Media Dinner at Martorano’s Restaurant with the other writers and the staff at DKC Public Relations.

One thing that I’ve been missing since I moved to Champaign is a good Italian restaurant so I was more than ready for a meal that I was told would be as authentic as it gets.

Martorano’s is everything you’d expect from a New Jersey Italian restaurant and more, including the atmosphere, the music, and the mafia movies (the one thing I actually could have done without -- a bit too much blood and foul language for dinner time). The waiter’s even sported shirts that read “Yo, cuz!”

We ordered cocktails to start and I was very happy with my Watermelon Ice Martini. It wasn’t long before the waiters were also pouring Martorano’s own Pinot Grigio Venezia Giulia 2012, and bringing out platters of food family style.

The food here was beyond incredible and we all ate until we couldn’t any more of meatballs, fresh ricotta, chicken Marsala, calamari, shrimp scampi, eggplant with fresh mozzarella and tomato, ziti with veal and peppers, and spaghetti with a pork sauce.

As we finished dinner, the atmosphere also changed, with disco music and lights. People got up to dance and even the waiters had a bit more swag in their movement. Everyone was having so much fun as the restaurant turned into a nightclub.

It wasn’t much longer before the dishes filled with desserts came out, including waffle sundaes, chocolate cake, and the best red velvet cake I have ever had. The frosting alone was like eating cheesecake.

I am very picky about my Italian food, especially since I spent years perfecting my cooking to please my Sicilian grandfather, and this meal was one of the best I’ve ever had.

It was after midnight by the time Sam and I got back to the room at Caesar's. It took a bit longer before we could finish digesting all that food and go to sleep. We had a full day ahead of us at the Atlantic City Food and Wine Festival. 

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