New York’s NASCAR Home Track

Last Saturday night, I gathered up a bunch of my family, and we headed over to  Riverhead Raceway for Fireworks Night.

Working at a car dealership has its perks. Since a few of my coworkers race at Riverhead, they hooked me up to sing the National Anthem at the Raceway from time to time. Saturday was one of those times. Because I was doing the National Anthem, I was able to go behind the gate (I keep calling it backstage because I don’t know what it’s actually called!) and see some pretty cool stuff, like a guy underneath a car and the Raceway’s mascot without its head on. When it came time for me to do the Star Spangled Banner, I got to ride down to the track in one of the coolest cars I’ve ever been in. According to Sam, it was an El Camino, but all I know is that it had an all red interior and strawberry air fresheners so it smelled red too! How cool is that?

Anyway, after that whole ordeal (complete with a burnout leaving the track), the races started. My family doesn’t go to the races very often, and I’m sure everyone around us could tell when it came time for the Figure Eights. I pretty much chewed my finger nails off watching one of my good friends go through the intersection of the figure eight, and Sam screamed even when there were no other cars around.

In addition to the usual races, Riverhead Raceway also had a whole bunch of adorable little kids race Big Wheels right on the track. They even interviewed the winners as if it was a regular race. So cute!

With fireworks and a demolition derby that night, I was up way passed my bedtime and wasn’t even dozing off in the stands. Scroll down for a whole gallery of photos from Saturday night, and see if you can find time to head to Riverhead Raceway this Saturday night; word on the street is it’s gonna be a good one!

That’s Amore

Yesterday, my mom and I were looking for something fun to do instead of binge-watching Netflix all day. So naturally, we decided to go out for lunch. Since Sam was working, we strategically picked a very gluteny restaurant so that Sam couldn’t be mad at us for going without her; we headed to The Pie in Port Jefferson for the best pizza ever. (Side note: Sam was still a tiny bit mad at us for going without her.)

Anyway, it turns out they do offer gluten-free pastas. Sorry Sam.

The Pie has a really great lunch menu with all different types of sandwiches in addition to their regular pastas and sides, but my mom and I opted to split a small margarita pie and each get a house salad. Although their house salad is a little pricey for its size, the walnuts, croutons, and house dressing are to die for. I’m mildly allergic to walnuts, but ate every single one anyway because it was just that good.

As for the pizza, I can’t even explain how great it was. I’m hoping that all of my readers are familiar with Dean Martin’s “That’s Amore,” so just bear with me here . . . the pizza from The Pie tastes exactly how “That’s Amore” sounds. It’s authentic, high-quality brick oven pizza. Amazing. I’ve eaten the same exact plain pizza from The Pie at least fifty times in my life, but I’m still surprised every time by how good it is.

Do yourself a favor. Grab a few friends and get yourselves a pie in Port Jeff. And also, please bring me with you guys.

Sorry again, Sam. Love you.

Off The Island

This week, On The Island spent some time OFF the island, in my second favorite nautical location: ~Connecticut~. Now you may be thinking “Sam, who cares. It’s just a ferry ride away. It’s basically the same place!” But it’s slightly different and I love it and it’s my blog so I’ll write what I want, thank you very much.

Anyway, while the port towns of Long Island feel very beachy and yacht club-esque, I find that across the sound, the port towns have a more lobster-fishing and whale-watching vibe. Which is great because there is nothing on this earth that I love nearly as much as I love sea critters.

From what I gathered at Mystic Seaport, Connecticut has a rich history in whaling. Normally this would upset me (again, I love whales a weird amount) however, the Seaport has taken many of the old ships used to hunt, and restored them into a beautiful way to sail the Long Island Sound and watch these awesome little fellas in their natural environment. If there is anything I love as much as whales, it’s history so I love that the old ships are still being used and that part of history can live on in a more positive way.

History seems to still be thriving in the parts of southern Connecticut we visited. In addition to the Seaport continuing to celebrate the maritime past of the area, multiple museums pay homage to the Native American history. Unfortunately all of these museums were closed on Mondays, the only free day that we had for this trip. I was pretty disappointed, but it is definitely giving me an excuse to go back ASAP!

Of course, no trip to Connecticut would be complete without a visit to the casinos. We actually stayed at Mohegan Sun during this trip. Our main focus for this trip (well, Matt’s main focus at least) was the Barrett-Jackson car auction that was held at the Mohegan Sun Arena, so I figured it was best for us to stay as close as possible. Plus, I think the hotel there is beautiful and so convenient for being right in the middle of the action. While we certainly are not gamblers by any means, we did spend a few dollars on some machines. We kind of considered it more entertainment than gambling- the way you would spend money to play games at Dave and Busters or Chuck E. Cheese. Or how I spend a ton of money going to Mets games knowing that no one I want to win ever does. But we had a ton of fun and that, my friends, is #winning in my book.

Look at all these chickens…

The Ultimate Cheeseburger

For anyone that doesn’t know, I’m a little bit of a cheeseburger critic. I went to Ireland for ten days during spring break and had at least one burger per day, none of which ranked against my favorite Long Island burger (a Cheese Dream from The Good Steer). I rank burgers, compare burgers, and pick burgers apart. I don’t think I’ve ever eaten a flawless burger in my entire life . . . until last week. I think I died and went to heaven last Sunday when my aunt and uncle introduced me to Rothmann’s Steakhouse in East Norwich.

I started my meal with their BLT salad, and I can honestly say I have never enjoyed lettuce that much before. I’m pretty sure I inhaled the whole salad at record speed, because by the time I remembered I should have taken a photo for the blog, there was only one piece of bacon left on my dish. And then I ate that too.

While everyone I was with got some form of steak for dinner, yours truly got — you guessed it — a burger. But not just an ordinary burger. This was a Kobe burger. Of course, I’m 19 years old and a fancy night out for me is getting the 2 for $20 at Applebee’s, so I just thought the burger was named after Kobe Bryant. But no. My Uncle Jerry told me this beef is from Japan, and the cows get massages and drink beer all throughout their lives to make the meat tender. Conveniently, this also made me feel less guilty about eating an animal because it clearly lived a better life than I do. Anyway, this burger came with bacon and cheddar cheese and made me vow never to order a regular burger ever again.

Not only was the food incredible, but the atmosphere and waitstaff were very nice and helpful as well. And, maybe most importantly, the mints on the hostess stand were little chocolates. How nice is that??

After dinner, my uncle gave us a tour of the area where he used to work. The house are so incredible there that we could have easily spent a whole day just snooping around people’s yards. All in all, Rothmann’s Steakhouse was a great experience and a fantastic day. The only thing it was missing was Billy Joel at the table next to us, but better luck next time, I guess.

 

Port Jefferson Adventures

One of my favorite parts about living on Long Island is our abundance of quaint “downtown” type areas with tons of restaurants and bars, the cutest boutiques, trendy yoga studios, small businesses and hundreds of people walking their dogs on any given day. One of my favorites is the Village of Port Jefferson, aka Port Jeff, aka “Down Port” (aka, just Port… but I think only my mom calls it that???).

In the late 1700s through the 1800s, Port Jefferson was a major site for shipbuilding (Trust me, I’m an expert – I googled it) and the evidence of this time-period remains in the nautical feel of the whole area. The Village is home to beautiful marinas, charter fishing trips (tune in next time for “The Time My New Boyfriend Barfed on My Coworker on a Company Fishing Trip”) and, of course, more seafood restaurants than I could count.

Matt (the barfing boyfriend) and I took advantage of the first beautiful spring day by heading Down Port. We started our adventure at Barito – a super trendy new Mexican restaurant/bar. We split appetizers of salsa roja wings and guacamole.  I heard through the grapevine that their margaritas are to die for, so obviously we HAD to try those. What I didn’t hear, however, was how strong they were, so needless to say, I spent a few hours of the early afternoon giggling my way down Main Street.

While the food and drinks were delish, what really stood out to me was the atmosphere. With huge, wide open windows and crisp white walls, the restaurant felt light and breezy. For reasons unbeknownst to even myself, I was obsessed with the fact that this restaurant was upstairs and above another store. Something about looking DOWN at the street made me feel superior to everyone below – which I was, because I had guacamole and they did not.

We continued our adventure (after I sobered up) by wandering through shops and sitting near the water. We were able to watch as the docks were sanded and painted to prepare for the upcoming season and we got to pet some very good dogs. We explored a GOREGOUS new apartment complex that was built on the water, cried when I saw the monthly price tag and, of course, I tried to convince Matt to abandon his noble profession in favor of dealing drugs or something so maybe we could live there one day. You don’t understand… These apartments had outdoor dog showers, so your dog won’t get your apartment sandy after a fun filled day at the beach.

As the evening began to wind down, (aka my flats became unbearably uncomfortable) we made our way to Schafer’s for dinner. I had never been there for dinner, only to the bar back in my young fun days. Good times. Just kidding, horrible times, I was never young and fun. Anyway, I was pleasantly surprised at how nice the restaurant was when it was actually being a restaurant. Our waitress was adorable, the food was fantastic (omg the rolls they put on the table though… damn you celiacs!) and somehow I never noticed how the dark, heavy wood of the floor and walls makes you feel like you’re in a ship. And, of course, like almost anywhere Down Port, the view of the Long Island Sound was beautiful.

We walked the long way back to our car, through a more residential area. We passed a few kids playing basketball in the street and I thought to myself how lucky they must be to live so close to such a beautiful area. But then I realized that I’m only a 15-minute drive away – what did I possibly have to complain about?