Food & Drink

Grilled Chicken Sandwich with Pesto

By Heidi Sutton

I was telling my friend John the other day how my garden has gone rogue and is now spilling over the raised beds onto the lawn. Tomatoes, peppers, string beans and basil — all out of control and growing like weeds. I guess that could be a good thing too. Now there’s plenty to share with neighbors. Here are two delicious recipes to try if you have a bumper crop of tomatoes and basil.

Grilled Chicken Sandwich with Pesto

YIELD: Makes 4 servings


1/2 cup olive oil, divided

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1 clove garlic, minced

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

1 pound thin-cut chicken cutlets

1/4 cup basil pesto, divided

1 large tomato

8 slices crusty sourdough bread

4 ounces Brie, thinly sliced

1 cup packed baby arugula


Heat grill to high. Combine 1/4 cup olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, salt and pepper; pour into plastic zipper bag. Add chicken, seal and marinate at least 30 minutes. Grill chicken 2-3 minutes, turn and grill another 2-3 minutes, or until chicken registers internal temperature of 160 F. Remove and reserve. 

Spread each piece of bread with 1/2 tablespoon pesto. Slice tomato into eight slices. Place chicken on four bread slices. Top with Brie slices, arugula and two tomato slices. Top with remaining bread slices, pesto side toward tomato. Brush outside of each sandwich with about 1/2 tablespoon of remaining olive oil. 

Place on grill, reduce heat to medium and grill 2-3 minutes per side, or until bread is nicely toasted and cheese is melted. Remove from heat, cut each sandwich in half and serve.

Pasta Salad with Tomatoes

Pasta Salad with Tomatoes

YIELD: Makes 8 servings


8 ounces regular or whole-wheat rotini or rotelle pasta, cooked according to directions

1/4 cup balsamic vinegar

4 tablespoons finely chopped fresh basil, divided

salt and pepper, to taste

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided

4 cloves garlic, minced and divided

1 medium green bell pepper, finely chopped

10 to 15 cherry tomatoes, cut in half

1 slice whole-wheat or multigrain bread


In bowl, cover and chill pasta. In large mixing bowl, combine vinegar, 2 tablespoons basil, salt, pepper, 2 tablespoons oil and half of minced garlic. Whisk to combine well. Add pasta, bell pepper and tomatoes, and toss gently until well coated.

In food processor or blender, pulse bread to produce coarse crumbs. In medium skillet, heat remaining oil over medium-high heat. Stir in breadcrumbs and garlic. Saute 1 1/2-2 minutes until browned and crisp. Remove from heat and let cool. 

Top pasta with garlic crumbs and remaining basil before serving.

Pixabay photo

By Bob Lipinski

Bob Lipinski

Up in the northern region of Trentino-Alto Adige lies an area known for making some of Italy’s highest quality sparkling wines. It is the only “traditional method” sparkling wine region located high in the mountains, with vineyards planted at up to 3,000 feet above sea level.

The sparkling wines from the province of Trento in Trentino-Alto Adige are known as “Trentodoc,” a trademark name created in 2007. Their sparkling wines were already being made in the early 1900s by Giulio Ferrari, a student at the Imperial Royal Agricultural School of San Michele. He first started the “traditional method” production in Trento, after many study tours to France. Trentodoc sparkling wines officially received their DOC designation in 1993.

Trentodoc wines can be white or rosé and are made from any combination of Chardonnay, Pinot Bianco, Pinot Noir, and Pinot Meunier grapes, and must be made by the classic metodo classico method.

Aging in the bottle varies from a minimum of 15 months for a nonvintage; 24 months for a millesimato (vintage); and a minimum of 36 months for a riserva (aged).

Currently, there are 67 Trentodoc sparkling wine producers. Below are some of my tasting notes.

NV Ferrari “Brut” (100% Chardonnay): Bright straw-yellow. A clean and refreshing aroma of crusty bread, white flowers, green apple, and pears. Medium-bodied and crispy with flavors of citrus, peach, and slightly honeyed. Clean finish and very long and pleasing aftertaste. Serve it with slightly melted Brie.

2016 Rotari “Brut Rosé” (75% Pinot Noir, 25% Chardonnay): Aged 24 months. Salmon-colored with tiny, pin-point bubbles. A fresh aroma of cream and raspberries, with complex flavors of spicy cherry and peach. Refreshing acidity with a lingering aftertaste. A simple dish of prosciutto and melon.

NV Cesarini Sforza “Brut” (100% Chardonnay): Subtle bouquet of yellow fruit, tarragon, and freshly made biscuits. Complex flavors of golden Delicious apples, lemon sorbet, and spices. Subtle finish with an aftertaste of nuts and ginger. Fried calamari would be perfect.

NV Monfort “Brut Rosé” (Blend of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir): Lovely rose colored with a fragrant aroma of strawberries and brioche. Light and delicate in the mouth with hints of red apple, citrus, herbs, and spices. Very easy to drink. Serve with a medley of sautéed wild mushrooms.

NV Moser 51,151 “Brut” (100% Chardonnay): Pale-yellow with a subtle bouquet of blueberry, cherry, and lemon tart. Medium-bodied, and dry, with hints of apples and pears. Pair with chilled smoked salmon.

Bob Lipinski is the author of 10 books, including “101: Everything You Need To Know About Whiskey” and “Italian Wine & Cheese Made Simple” (available on He consults and conducts training seminars on Wine, Spirits, and Food and is available for speaking engagements. He can be reached at OR [email protected].

Parmesan Dip

By Heidi Sutton

Summer is the perfect time to entertain. If you’re a home chef, you know how fun and fulfilling it is to host friends and family. 

Check out this addicting parmesan dip recipe courtesy of Signature Kitchen Suite’s executive chef Nick Ritchie that is sure to be a crowd-pleaser. You can serve it as a topping for fresh bread, crostini (see recipe on left) or bruschetta, toss it with pasta, spoon it over fresh sliced tomatoes, add to a salad, dollop it on steak or chicken breast, or use it as a pizza base. The possibilities are endless!

Chef Nick’s Parmesan Dip

Parmesan Dip

YIELD: Makes 2 1/2 cups


8 ounces Parmesan cheese, broken into 1-inch chunks

8 ounces Asiago cheese, broken into 1-inch chunks

1 tablespoon chopped garlic

1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper

2 tablespoons chopped parsley

 2 tablespoons chopped basil

2 tablespoons thinly sliced scallions

 1 tablespoon pepper flakes

1-1/2 cups extra-virgin olive oil


Place the cheese chunks in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse for about 10 seconds to break the cheese into small granules. (Use a rubber spatula to scrape down and recombine between every couple of pulses.) Add the remaining ingredients except olive oil and pulse briefly.

Using a spatula, remove all to a mixing bowl. Fold the olive oil into the blended ingredients and mix well by hand. Transfer the dip to a sealed container and refrigerate for up to two weeks. Bring to room temperature before serving.

*To make the dip more spicy, add 1 tablespoon of Calabrian chili paste.

Basic Crostini


YIELD: Makes about 20 pieces


2 medium baguettes,

2 to 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Pinch of salt and pepper

2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese


Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Using a sharp bread knife slice the bread into neat, even, thin slices. If the baguette being used is on the narrow side you can slice on a diagonal so the crostini aren’t too small.

In a mixing bowl drizzle the olive oil over the bread slices while gently tossing to coat evenly. Sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper and the grated parmesan and quickly toss again.

Arrange the seasoned and oiled crostini on a baking sheet and bake until crisp and golden brown on the outside, approx. 12 minutes. Make sure no moisture is left in the crostini or they will soften while in storage. Use immediately or allow to fully cool and store in an airtght container.

Robinson’s Tea Room is tucked into the back corner of Stony Brook Village Center. Photo by Mallie Jane Kim

By Mallie Jane Kim

Robinson’s Tea Room provides the quintessential English experience of high tea, but for manager Dan Bussey of Sound Beach, it’s about far more than that. 

Tucked into a back corner of Stony Brook Village Center at 97 Main St., the cozy, floral tea shop provides a backdrop Bussey hopes will transport visitors out of their daily Long Island lives to better focus on the people around the table.

“Our hope is that it’s more than just about food and tea — it’s about connections you make with the people who you come with,” Bussey said. “We hope we can facilitate that by providing really good tea and really good food.”

Manager Dan Bussey greets customers at Robinson’s Tea Room in Stony Brook Village Center. Photo by Mallie Jane Kim

The tea room serves soups, salads and sandwiches, but of course the star is the classic three-tiered tea service, complete with fresh-made scones, finger sandwiches and sweet treats. The menu boasts more than 50 choices of tea to sip.

Michael and Donna Aliperti of Shoreham, Bussey’s parents-in-law, bought the tea room after it was shuttered in fall 2022, to the surprise and disappointment of its patrons at the time. 

The Alipertis, a mechanical engineer and registered nurse, respectively, were convinced to invest after their daughter Michaella suggested they save Robinson’s, a tea room the Alipertis enjoyed, and that Michaella and Bussey visited on trips to Long Island while they were dating.

Bussey, who was born in England but raised in Nairobi, Kenya, because his parents are missionary teachers, grew up drinking both the sweet, milky chai typical in Kenya as well as the customary British Earl Grey at home.

When he moved to the United States to study music at Houghton University in Upstate New York, Bussey brought the tradition with him. He remembered late college nights preparing tea with his brother and a few friends from different African countries. The group soon grew to about 10 friends from eight different cultures, he said, including Michaella, now his wife.

“The experience of having tea together has been a big thing in my life,” he said. “It’s a time to connect and do life together and enjoy something tasty.”

When the opportunity to run Robinson’s came up, Bussey had just settled on Long Island after finishing his master’s in vocal performance at Penn State — he had been commuting back and forth to see Michaella, who is an elementary music and chorus teacher in Central Islip. 

The gambit is paying off. The tea shop is often booked up on weekends and “healthily busy” most days, according to Bussey. And feedback has been positive. 

Customer Mia Gilardi, 6, sips tea at Robinson’s Tea Room. Photo by Jess Gilardi

Recent guest Jess Gilardi, of East Setauket, brought her daughters Anna, 10, and Mia, 6, for a “girls’ day out” and birthday celebration at the tea room. The girls were thrilled, and they said they loved the food. “It was very awesome and very cool,” Mia said. “I wish I could do it one hundred million times.”

Bussey acknowledged that, like any food service establishment, there have been kinks to work out, but he’s been eager to learn and grow. He spent several months training under the previous owner, Glenn Treacher, who reopened to show him the ropes before the official change of ownership in March 2023. 

Treacher, who Bussey considers a mentor, also helped him build the employees into a team which, Bussey said, is one of his favorite parts about his job. If the power of tea is bringing people together, the employees are another model of that. “We’ve tried to set up a culture where each person has the other’s back,” he said, like busing a table or bringing out food if another worker is swamped. “It’s really about helping each other out.”

He hopes to provide a nonjudgmental environment that makes something traditionally British accessible, whether people come dressed up for a high tea or pop in on a whim after a hike at Avalon Park. He doesn’t want guests to worry whether they are pouring the tea correctly or adding too much sugar. “I’m English — I love all the pomp and circumstance that we attribute to things, but I don’t want that to hold people back from getting the experience. Tea is something everyone can enjoy.”

Robinson’s Tea Room is open from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesdays through Sundays. 

Photo from Google Maps

By Julianne Mosher

When Pentimento Restaurant in Stony Brook village closed nearly two years ago, the spot’s former manager, Elaine Micali, knew it wasn’t going to be the end for her.

A long-time resident of the Three Village community, Micali was a teacher-turned-tutor-turned-manager for the old Italian spot that closed in 2021. She said for 10 years, she moved up in the ranks, starting as a catering manager helping to schedule events and eventually becoming the location’s main manager.

But since Pentimento had closed, Micali and her husband Enzo decided it was time to create their own spot.

Micali said that over the last two years, she and her husband — and business partner — have looked locally and across the Island for a good location for their own restaurant they plan on calling Elaine’s Restaurant and Bar.

“At the end of the day, I wanted to stay in the Three Village community,” she said.

And that’s when they learned Tai Show North, located at 316 Main St. in East Setauket, was going to be closing its doors. Known for their hibachi and sushi dishes, Micali said that the still-open restaurant was put up for sale and they found it to be the perfect fit.

Without giving too much away, Micali said they will be renovating the whole restaurant, which currently sports an Asian aesthetic, to match the types of cuisine they plan on bringing in — regional Italian with a mix of American and Mediterranean delights.

“Both my husband and I are Italian and we spent a lot of time in Italy,” she said. “It’s going to be unique for this particular area and an open extension of our home.”

Micali said she signed the paperwork this month to take over Tai Show North, but it will still operate under its current management until the end of August. She will take over the premises Sept. 1 with an anticipated opening in early 2024. 

“It’s exciting,” Micali said. “I’m combining all my favorite things.”

And while since the news broke that the former Pentimento manager was opening her own place, she said they still have a lot of work ahead of them.

Some renovations Micali mentioned are a new bar, completely revamping the dining space, getting rid of the hibachi grills and creating a space for catered events like bridal showers and parties.

So for now, Micali said that those interested can follow Elaine’s Restaurant and Bar on Facebook and Instagram for more updates, also visit

From left, Store Manager Emely Acosta, 7th Precinct Inspector William Doherty, Legislator Sarah Anker, and District Manager Rachel Gregory at the ribbon cutting ceremony. Photo courtesy of Leg. Anker's office

On July 27th, Suffolk County Legislator Sarah Anker attended the ALDI grand opening and ribbon cutting ceremony for their new location in Rocky Point in the Crossroads Plaza East at 75 Route 25A.

“The Rocky Point ALDI will be a tremendous addition to our community,” said Legislator Anker. “Their commitment to fresh produce and affordable pricing means that we will have more options for local, healthy food choices.”

Legislator Anker greeted the crowd before the grand opening, thanking them for attending and coming out for the ceremony. She also assisted the Store Manager Emely Acosta with the ribbon cutting. After, Legislator Anker and her Chief of Staff Dorothy Cavalier greeted patrons in the store and spoke with District Manager Rachel Gregory about the company’s commitment to sustainability and affordability. This is the 13th ALDI store on Long Island.

“ALDI-exclusive brands make up 90% of what we offer, many of them being award winners! We removed certified synthetic colors from all of our exclusive brand food products opting to use plant-based color ingredients, such as beet juice, paprika and turmeric,” said Chris Daniels, Division Vice President. “These reformulated products are the exact same high-quality and taste shoppers expect from ALDI-exclusive brands. We look forward to providing Rocky Point shoppers with unmatched value on all of our quality food and products.”

Ribeye Steak, Grape Tomato and Mushroom Kebabs

By Heidi Sutton

When your garden gives you a bounty of tomatoes, try this recipe for Ribeye Steak, Grape Tomato and Mushroom Kebabs on the grill or whip up this new summer tomato salad from Mirabelle Restaurant in Stony Brook topped with burrata, an artisan Italian cheese made of mozzarella and cream.

Ribeye Steak, Grape Tomato and Mushroom Kebabs

Recipe courtesy of Albertsons

Ribeye Steak, Grape Tomato and Mushroom Kebabs


2 cloves garlic

1/2 small bunch Italian (flat-leaf) parsley

1/4  extra-virgin olive oil

1/8 cup red wine vinegar

2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

3/4pound ribeye steak

1/2 pint grape tomatoes

1/4 pound white mushrooms

green pepper, sliced 

1/2 medium red onion

6 skewers


Peel and mince garlic. Wash and dry parsley. Shave leaves off stems; discard stems and mince leaves. 

In large bowl, whisk minced garlic, half the minced parsley (reserve remainder for garnish), olive oil, vinegar, Dijon mustard, salt and pepper. Cut steak into cubes; transfer to marinade bowl and toss to coat. Wash tomatoes, mushrooms and green pepper. Halve mushrooms. Add tomatoes, mushrooms and green pepper to marinade. Peel onion and cut into chunks; add to marinade. Toss beef and vegetables until well coated. Heat grill pan, outdoor grill or skillet to medium-high heat. Thread steak and vegetables onto six skewers. 

Cook kebabs in batches until steak is browned and vegetables are tender, 3-5 minutes per side. Transfer to plate and repeat with remaining kebabs. Sprinkle with remaining minced parsley and serve.

Burrata & Heirloom Tomato Salad

Recipe courtesy of Mirabelle Restaurant

Burrata & Heirloom Tomato Salad

YIELD: Makes 1 serving 


1 large heirloom tomato

1/2 cup seedless cucumber

1/2 cup red onion

fresh basil

Salt to taste

1/4 cup white balsamic vinaigrette

One 2.5 ounce round fresh burrata cheese

olive oil

black pepper


Slice tomato into medium sized half-moons. De-seed cucumber, cut into crescent moons. Julianne red onion. Pick 5 basil leaves from stem, leave whole. Combine above ingredients in a large bowl, season with salt and drizzle with white balsamic vinaigrette. Toss to combine ingredients. Plate coated veggie mixture in a salad bowl. Top with burrata and garnish with olive oil drizzle and black pepper.

The Port Jefferson Rotary Club and “Call Brian” Senior Services will sponsor a Friends of the Pantry Food, Personal Care Items & Back to School Drive for the Open Cupboard Pantry at Infant Jesus Church, 110 Hawkins St., Port Jefferson on Sunday, August 6 from 9 a.m. to noon.

Currently the pantry is in extreme need of juice, pancake mix (complete), pancake syrup, macaroni & cheese, pasta, pasta sauce, canned tuna, canned chicken, ketchup, mayonnaise, mustard, Maseca flour, cooking oil, Chef Boyardee canned meals, cereal, jelly, hot chocolate, evaporated milk, almond milk, canned mixed vegetables, coffee and healthy snacks.

They are also in need of personal care items such as shampoo, conditioner and size 6 diapers and back to school items including mechanical pencils, blue and black pens, post-it notes, dry erase markers and lined 3×5 index cards. Grocery store gift cards and cash also accepted.

Please help them help those in need during these difficult times. For more information, call 631-938-6464.

Lemon Cheesecake with Fruit

By Heidi Sutton

Rich, creamy and decadent, cheesecake is made with cream cheese, eggs, sugar, and vanilla. Add a crumbly graham cracker crust and a fruit topping for the ultimate cheesecake experience! In celebration of National Cheesecake Day on July 30, serve up a delicious Cherry, Lemon or Raspberry Swirl Cheesecake. 

Cherry Cheesecake

Cherry Cheesecake

YIELD: Makes 8 servings


3/4 cups graham cracker crumbs

1/4 cup butter, melted

1/2 cups sugar, divided

1-1/2 pkg. (8 oz. each) Philadelphia cream cheese, softened

1/2 cup sour cream

1 tsp. vanilla

1-1/2 eggs

1/2 can (21 oz.) cherry pie filling


Heat oven to 350°F. Mix graham crumbs, butter and 1/4 cup sugar; press onto bottom of 9-inch springform pan. Beat cream cheese and remaining sugar in large bowl with mixer until blended. Add sour cream and vanilla; mix well. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating on low speed after each addition just until blended. Pour over crust. Bake 1 hour to 1 hour 10 min. or until center is almost set. Run knife around rim of pan to loosen cake; cool before removing rim. Refrigerate cheesecake 4 hours. Top with pie filling before serving.

Lemon Cheesecake with Fruit

Lemon Cheesecake with Fruit

YIELD: Makes 6 to 8 servings


1 1/4 cups graham cracker crumbs

1/4 cup sugar

1/4 cup butter, melted

2 packages (8 ounces each) cream cheese, softened

1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk

3 eggs

1/4 cup fresh lemon juice

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 orange, peeled and separated

8 raspberries

3 mint leaves, for garnish 


Preheat oven to 350 F. In medium bowl, combine graham cracker crumbs, sugar and melted butter. Press firmly into 9-inch springform pan. In large bowl, beat cream cheese until fluffy. Gradually beat in sweetened condensed milk until smooth. Add eggs, fresh lemon juice and vanilla extract; mix until combined. Pour into pan. Bake 50-55 minutes, or until center springs back when lightly pressed. Chill in refrigerator until completely cooled. Arrange orange slices around border of cake and place raspberries in middle. Top with mint leaves.

Raspberry Swirl Cheesecake

Raspberry Swirl Cheesecake

YIELD: Makes 6 to 8 servings


2 pkg. (8 oz. each) Philadelphia cream cheese, softened

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 tsp. vanilla

2 eggs

1 ready-to-use graham cracker crumb crust (6 oz.)

3 Tbsp. red raspberry preserves

 whipped cream

1 cup fresh raspberries


Heat oven to 350°F. Beat cream cheese, sugar and vanilla with mixer until blended. Add eggs; mix just until blended. Pour into crust. Dot top of batter with preserves; swirl gently with knife. Bake 40 min. or until center is almost set. Cool completely. Refrigerate several hours. Serve topped with whipped cream and raspberries.

Aldi in Rocky Point will have a soft opening on July 26 and a grand opening on July 27. Photo by Heidi Sutton/TBR News Media

By Heidi Sutton

It’s official! The new Aldi supermarket coming to Rocky Point has set an opening date: The store will open its doors on Wednesday, July 26 for a “sneak peak” and a grand opening will be held on Thursday, July 27 with a ribbon cutting scheduled at 8:30 a.m. The first 100 customers at the grand opening will receive a golden ticket that could be worth up to $100. In addition, free tote bags will be distributed while supplies last and shoppers can also enter a contest for a chance to win a $500 gift card from July 27 to 30. Residents in Rocky Point and Miller Place received a flyer in the mail last week with a $5 coupon off a minimum $30 purchase.

Located at 75 Route 25A, the German-owned discount supermarket will join Dollar Tree, Mattress Firm, Music Haus and Dime Savings Bank in the Crossroads Plaza East shopping center in an approximately 22,000-square-foot space previously occupied by Modell’s Sporting Goods, which closed its doors in 2020, and Mattress Firm which relocated to another part of the shopping center. The store will be open daily from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Known for its budget-friendly prices,  Aldi offers weekly specials, fresh produce deliveries daily, online shopping, curbside pickup, home delivery and avoids “hidden costs” by selling 90% exclusive, private-label items instead of big brands. Customers are encouraged to bring their own tote bags, must bag their own groceries and pay a quarter to rent a shopping cart.

The Rocky Point location is Aldi’s 13th store on Long Island with stores planned in Medford at 2799 Route 112 in the Medford Crossings shopping center, East Northport at 4000 Jericho Turnpike in the Huntington Square shopping center and Central Islip on the corner of Carleton Avenue and South Research Place.

Other locations in Suffolk County include Bohemia, Lake Grove, Selden, Lindenhurst, North Babylon, Patchogue, Riverhead, and Shirley. By the end of the year, Aldi plans to have more than 2,400 stores nationwide.

In a press release, Aldi said the new stores come in response to customer demand in the wake of grocery store inflation.

“Our growth is led by our customers, and they continue to want more Aldi locations coast-to-coast,” Aldi U.S. CEO Jason Hart said in a statement. “While inflation is undoubtedly driving unprecedented demand for affordable groceries, we know that once customers experience the Aldi difference, they keep shopping with us, even when the economy improves.”

For more information, call 844-473-1013 or visit