\"Quantcast\"/

Enjoy un-fried foods with New Air’s Magic Chef air fryer

 

How often do you fry your food?

My husband and I used to fry foods, especially french fries, many years ago. We stopped frying our french fries not so much for health reasons (although eating fried foods is not good for you), but for our kid’s safety. When our kids were little, we worried one of them would grab up at the pan and spill it on them.

Many decades ago, when I was around ten years old, my mom was frying food on the stove (I forget what she was frying). The pan caught fire. She asked my sister to hold the front door open so she could throw the burning pan out the front door, to avoid catching the kitchen on fire. As she ran down the hallway to the front door, the flames were burning her hands and arms. She couldn’t handle the pain anymore, so she threw the pan out the door. Unfortunately, my sister wasn’t completely out of the way and got hit with the flaming hot oil. Both my mom and sister suffered from horrible, painful burns as a result and were left with bad scars.

It was this situation that made me not trust frying food. We stopped frying things and switched to baking things instead.

I have heard about air fryers. I have seen them advertised on television as well as online. I’ve watched many YouTube videos about air fryer, and I’ve been impressed by the outcome.

I was fortunate to receive an air fryer to review from NewAir. They sent me their Magic Chef® 3.7 Quart Digital Air Fryer.

The Magic Chef® 3.7 Quart Digital Air Fryer cooks up crispy, delicious snacks without added oil, making it the perfect companion for your healthy lifestyle. Intuitive digital controls and presets make it a snap to use, and the included recipe book will take your cooking way beyond basic french fries. Trust Magic Chef® to make air frying safe and simple enough for everyday eating.

To be honest with you, I couldn’t wait to try this out. Just the thought of air frying our favorite foods without cooking them in oil, as well as baking our french fries, sounded too good to be true.

The Magic Chef 3.7 Quart Digital Air Fryer has a large cooking basket. I have seen other air fryers that had baskets that looked way too small to cook a meal in, especially dinner. The cooking basket for this air fryer is one of the largest I’ve come across. I believe there might be larger ones, but for me and my husband, the 3.7 size works just fine. It even works well when one, or both, of our children are home for dinner (they have various work/school schedules.

The basket, as well as the inner part of the basket (where you place your food), can both be fully removed from the unit to be cleaned. It’s even dishwasher safe.

Crispy fries air fried to perfection.

The inner basket (cooking surface part) is non-stick. So far, with everything we’ve cooked in the air fryer, nothing has stuck to the basket. It’s so easy to clean, more so than trying to clean a pan.

This air fryer is super easy to use. You don’t even have to worry about trying to figure out the proper time and temperature settings for most foods. This air fryer comes with several presets, such as steak, fries, fish and chicken, to name a few. Simply select your option, press start and let the air fryer do the rest.

My husband and I like to stop the unit about half way through it’s cooking time to move around the fries, or to flip the meat. It’s not that the air fryer doesn’t cook both sides of the foods (it does!), we just like to give each side equal amount of time to be close to the heating source.

We’ve even baked in the air fryer, like the delicious “breakfast bombs” my husband made for me a few times. They are made with scrambled eggs, cheese and sausage and/or bacon (it’s up to you). They cooked perfectly in the air fryer. He did place a piece of parchment paper on the bottom of the basket (I guess to prevent them from oozing all over the place until they cooked).

“Breakfast Bombs”

Look at how perfectly baked the breakfast bombs are. Yummy!

The Magic Chef 3.7 Quart Digital Air Fryer has a digital control panel that allows you to easily select the food you want to air fry, or change settings (heat, time) to suit your needs. You can cook things up to 400 degrees.

This air fryer beeps to let you know when your food is done, so you can go on and do other things while it’s cooking.

You can also pull out the basket while it’s cooking to check on your foods progress or to flip/shake foods around, and when you put the basket back into the air fryer, cooking resumes exactly where it was when you took the basket out. You don’t need to reset anything. Plus it actually turns off when the basket it out, which is a great safety feature.

I didn’t think we’d use this air fryer as much as we do. I thought we’d use it from time to time. I honestly thought we’d use it to “fry” our french fries, which we have once a week. The truth is that we use the air fryer almost every day. So far it’s mostly at dinner time, but my husband does make the breakfast bombs frequently, and I’ve used the air fryer to cook fish sticks or warm up left over foods for lunch.

Personally, I think the air fryer cooks steak better than in a pan. In a pan I feel like it dries out the meat too much. The air fryer cooks steak meat perfectly (for me), and it stays moist.

Steak getting ready to be cooked in our air fryer.

We haven’t tried to cook two different foods in the The Magic Chef 3.7 Quart Digital Air Fryer as of yet.

Some of the other foods we’ve cooked in the air fryer include breaded pork chops, pork cutlets, potatoes, zucchini fries, chicken cutlets and fish filets. I want to try “baking” a potato in the air fryer too. Baking potatoes in the oven seems to take forever. I am hopeful that the air fryer will cut down the baking time while giving us the same baked potato result.

The The Magic Chef 3.7 Quart Digital Air Fryer comes with a cookbook as well with several delicious recipes inside.

A great addition to this air fryer (or any air fryer) is the cookbook, The Easy Air Fryer Cookbook: Healthy, Everyday Recipes for People with Diabetes, the newest collection of recipes from writing and cooking partners Kathy Moore and Roxanne Wyss. You DO NOT need to be diabetic to enjoy the recipes in this book. I have diabetes, but no one else in my family does. We’ve tried some recipes in this book, and everyone in my family enjoys them.

There are 80 recipes in this book. I’m not kidding when I say you can cook A LOT of things in the air fryer.

This recipe book features recipes for meat, vegetables and even desserts. Some of the recipes in this book include;

  • Sunday Morning French Toast
  • Diner-Style Pork Chops (these are the pork chops that we’ve made in the air fryer)
  • Crisp Parmesan Broccoli Florets
  • Pecan Baked Apples
  • Southwestern Egg Rolls
  • Nashville Hot Chicken

The book starts off with tips on a healthy lifestyle, followed about more information about what air frying is all about.

The book has recipes for appetizers, desserts, snacks, meat, seafood, side dishes – even vegetarian meals.

I love mushrooms, and there is a mouth-watering recipe for stuffed mushrooms in this cookbook (yes, cooked in the air fryer). I want to try this recipe, but I’m the only person who enjoys mushrooms, so I haven’t made it yet.

There is a recipe for stuffed potato skins that I’m looking forward to trying.

From this cookbook we’ve made the pork chops, zucchini fries (“sticks” in the cookbook, my family calls them fries), and the herb marinated chicken.

I have half of this cookbook “dog earred” with recipes we want to try. And like I said, just because this is a “diabetic” cookbook does not mean it’s only for diabetics. The recipes in this book are for anyone who enjoys cooking with an air fryer, as well as for those who want to eat healthier.

The book features many great tips, as well as a few photos. I wish there were more photos. I love to see what food looks like when it’s cooked.

There are plenty of recipes in this book that would be great for the holiday season, like these Pecan Baked Apples. I haven’t tried them yet, but I am looking forward to making them one day.

You can find this book on Amazon (linked above – NOT an affiliate link), or do a search for The Easy Air Fryer Cookbook: Healthy, Everyday Recipes for People with Diabetes, by Kathy Moore and Roxanne Wyss.

This air fryer is large in size (due to it’s large capacity basket), but it doesn’t take up that much space. We keep ours on top of the pantry. It’s not one of those appliances that gets pushed into the closet, like our blender and popcorn maker, because we use the air fryer so often.

The air fryer measures 14.00″D (w/handle) x 11.25″W x 11.80″H and weighs in just under 10 pounds (my cats weigh more than this!).

I’ve totally jumped on the air fryer bandwagon. I am totally hooked on air frying, so much so that I am collecting more recipes to try in our NewAir Magic Chef air fryer.

If you are interested in learning more about the Magic Chef® 3.7 Quart Digital Air Fryer, visit the NewAir website at NewAir.com, then click on the “shop” tab on top.

NewAir carries several different size air fryers, as well as ice makers, portable air conditioners, wine fridges and more.

The brand can also be found on social media. All of their links are found at the bottom of their website.

An air fryer would make a great gift for people who love to cook, college students, senior citizens or anyone who wants healthier alternatives.

Are you into air frying? What is your favorite food to make in an air fryer?

Kimberly

*I received a free product to review. There was no compensation. The opinions expressed are my own and not influenced in any way. 

Do you love coffee?

 

Do you love coffee? Are you “addicted” to coffee like I am? Ok… I’m not truly addicted, but I do drink 1-2 cups per day, usually one in the AM and one in the PM. I’m one of those people who can drink coffee late at night and still fall asleep (thankfully).

I don’t drink coffee for the caffeine kick. To be honest, the caffeine for coffee (and tea) has no effect on me. That is why I am able to sleep right after drinking coffee. I drink coffee because I find it soothing and comforting. Just like people find a hot cup of tea soothing and relaxing. I have the same feelings when I drink coffee. After a long day, a hot cup of coffee is relaxing to me.

I have tried all different kinds of coffee. I consider myself a “coffee snob,” per say. I can drink diner coffee (usually the worse kind of coffee), but I prefer to drink quality coffee whenever possible.

When I’m out and about, Dunkin Donuts is my coffee of choice. I’m not a fan of Starbucks. When I’m at home I like to mix things up and try different coffees from different brands. The coffee I drink at home can either be inexpensive stuff I buy in bulk at Costco, or coffee that you would expect to get at fine restaurants.

PHOTO SOURCE: Difference Coffee’s Facebook page

Recently I had the opportunity to try out coffee from Difference Coffee.

Difference Coffee can be found in 48 Michelin Starred Restaurants and 24 Luxury Hotels & Members Clubs.

Difference Coffee is available in the “pods” or “capsules” that fit Nespresso machines.

Their coffee is sourced from legendary estates, rare varietals and coffee competitions, guaranteeing exceptional aromas and flavors.

Difference Coffee is not too bitter, not too sour. Their roast profiles were curated by Roast Master Johnny England, a licensed Q Grader, as well as a certified World Barista Championship Head Judge.

Just like wine, I honestly don’t know much about specific details like this. All I know and appreciate is how something tastes.

I was sent some Difference Coffee to review. I had to dig out my Nespresso machine. I haven’t used it in years (I use an e-brewer, which is like a Keurig). I’m glad I saved my Nespresso. I knew I would eventually need it again. I’m glad it worked just fine too.

I was sent to review Jamaican Blue Mountain and Panama Geisha. I also received a beautiful little gold cup and saucer, as well as a tiny golden spoon (too cute!).

Jamaican Blue Mountain

The Blue Mountain area in Jamaica produces some of the finest coffees in the world, with a particularly mellow chocolate flavor. For centuries it has been revered as some of the best and, therefore, commands a hefty premium to other specialty coffees. However, not all coffee called Jamaica Blue Mountain is in fact the real deal.

For starters, many roasters create a Blend using Jamaican coffee and that of others which may include as little as 10% of the blend. Others are selling a 2nd grade Jamaican Coffee called Jamaica Supreme, confusing clients. Finally, even within those beans who’s origin is the Blue Mountain, there are many grades ranging from specialty to commercial.

Difference Coffee sources its Jamaica Blue Mountain from Gold Cup Estate, one of the highest elevation farms in the region. Only Grade 1, Which is the largest bean size awarded by the Jamaican Coffee Board is selected, ensuring the maximization of flavors and taste.

Panama Geisha

Most coffee connoisseurs would agree that the most coveted coffee in the world is the Geisha Varietal grown in Panama. The coffee is so unique in its character that shortly after its introduction in 2003 at the Best of Panama Competition, the Specialty Coffee Association of Panama had to create a distinct category for this unique varital at its competition. But, not all Geisha’s are equal.

Difference Coffee is proud to source its Geisha from the original estate that discovered the Geisha bean, Hacienda La Esmeralda. The most prized coffee estate in the world, Esmeralda’s beans are so sought after that their top micro-lots can be sourced only at their annual auction. No wonder our Panama Geisha is currently the highest ranked coffee capsule by Coffee Review.

I had the chance to try both coffees. You can clearly see the difference between these coffees and other types of coffees you can buy in a local store, or even online. This is NOT the same type of coffee you get at a local coffee shop. This is quality coffee. There is a huge difference.

They pack A LOT of flavor in such a tiny pod/capsule.

Each coffee is presented in a beautiful box. Each box comes with a detailed description of the coffee, including information I didn’t realize some people considered important when it came to coffee, like the coffee strength and the altitude in which the coffee was grown. WOW! And I thought I was a “coffee snob.” I guess there are thousand of people out there that take their coffee much more seriously than I do. To them, coffee is like a fine wine.

Each individually pod has it’s own cushy spot in the box, and the pods are beautifully decorated.

It took me a few times to get used to both of the coffees. My taste buds were not used to such fine coffee. I have also never experienced either variety before. I’ve heard of Jamaican Blue, but never tried it.

I am enjoying both coffees, but I think I like Panama Geisha the best.

I drink these coffees as a special treat. If I drank them as my morning coffee, they would be gone by now. LOL!

Difference Coffee is extremely limited in supply and is sold by strict allocation through their dedicated online boutique to members of the Difference Coffee Club. From what I can tell, it’s free to join the club (but the coffee will cost you).

The individual pods/capsules sell from about $2.90 (USD) up to around $5.75 (USD). This is per pod. There are 10 pods/capsules per box. You can see now why I have been enjoying this as a treat and not as my morning coffee. As delicious as these coffees are, they are not “budget friendly” for many of us, myself included.

If you are interested in learning more about Difference Coffee, you can visit them online at DifferenceCoffee.com. The brand can also be found on social media. Their links are found on the bottom of their website.

Do you drink coffee? What is your favorite type of coffee?

Kimberly

*I received free product samples to review. There was no compensation. The opinions expressed are my own and not influenced in any way. 

Mt. Fuji – It’s not just dining, it’s an experience – Part Two

 

The other day I wrote a post about our experience at the Mt. Fuji restaurant in Hillburn, New York (not too far from New York City). I had so much to say that I had to break the post up into two parts. If you have yet to read part one, you can read it here – Mt. Fuji – It’s not just dining, it’s an experience – Part One.

In my previous post I wrote about Mt. Fuji’s new Y Lounge, located at the restaurant. Not only is it a fabulous place to hang out in before your meal, but it’s also a great place to meet up with family, friends and co-workers to hang out, relax, and enjoy some mouth watering food and great live music (live music is available on select days). You can also come to enjoy the amazing views from on top of the mountain.

After our visit to the Y Lounge, my husband and I were taken to the main dinning area for dinner.

Mt. Fuji is a family friendly restaurant. We saw a lot of children while we were there. We even had a toddler seated at the table with us.

Mt. Fuji has several “party rooms” for large groups. Their hibatchi tables seat eight people. If there are less than eight people in your group you will most likely be seated with other guests. That’s OK because it promotes a sense of community, and it’s a fun way to meet new people.

We weren’t able to chat with the people seated opposite us, but we did have short conversations with the gentleman seated to the left of me (his wife was too busy with their toddler).

The restaurant also offers special booths that give you the sense of authentic Japanese dining. In Japan, people traditionally eat seated on the floor. It’s not that easy to sit on the floor at a busy restaurant, so Mt. Fuji created these special tables/booths with lower benches to give you the sense of eating on the floor, without actually sitting on the floor. You even have to take off your shoes prior to sitting down in one of these special booths (for the Hibachi style eating you keep your shoes on). In these booths, your food is brought to you instead of being cooked in front of you at the Hibachi tables.

These tables are also located next to the windows, offering guests the best views.

The above pictures is one of those tables. Its not the best photo, but hopefully you get the idea.

When we can coordinate it with our busy children, I’d like to take them to Mt. Fuji to experience this type of dining. You need at least four people to sit in these booths, and we’re a family of four, so that works out great.

My husband and I were seated at one of the Hibachi tables. If you are unfamiliar with dining at a Hibachi restaurant, it means that your food is cooked right there in front of you. If you’ve never experienced it before, it’s a lot of fun.

When you are seated at the table you will notice the authentic Japanese dishes nicely arranged around the table.

You’ll notice the traditional soup spoons.

Each place seating comes with a set of chop sticks for an authentic dining experience. They also have traditional eating utensils for those who have not yet mastered chop sticks. My husband used a fork to eat, while I gave chop sticks a shot for most of my meal (I had a hard time eating rice with the chop sticks).

I should mention that the restaurant has a nice variety of beverages. Ice water is given out with your meal (and refills are readily available). My husband enjoyed a fruit punch while I had a “virgin” Strawberry Daiquiri (non-alcoholic).

Their menu had plenty to choose from, in fact, I had a hard time deciding on what I wanted. There were so many options that I wanted to try. My husband is not a fan of seafood (which they have a lot of on their menu), but he found a great chicken meal to order. They do have plenty of chicken and beef options to choose from.

We both ordered Banzai Chicken, made with sesame teriyaki sauce. You can get add-ons such as shrimp, lobster, sirloin and other delicious options. I got sea scallops as an add-on. My husband just stuck with the chicken.

I’m not sure if it’s the case with all menu options, but our meal came with soup, salad, shrimp, rice, noodles and vegetables. The other guests seated at our table also receive the same food items, so it might all come with all meals.

My husband doesn’t like seafood, so I happily ate his shrimp that came with his meal. YUM!!!

The soup is onion soup and it is SO GOOD!!! The salad comes with a house made ginger dressing. Oh my goodness! It was so good! And the shrimp – MMMMM!!!!

What I LOVE about this style of dining is that they not only cook the food in front of you, but the chef is so entertaining. He just didn’t stand there and cook – he put on a show! He even did things to entertain the toddler that was seated at our table. I like that he personalized his “cooking show” to entertain all of his table guests.

Here is an example of our chef cooking our shrimp. I took two other videos, but sadly, the guests seated across from us appeared in both of them. I do not like to use people’s images without their consent. For that reason I cannot share those videos. Sorry.

 

It’s amazing to watch the chefs cook. I could sit and watch them for hours.

My favorite was when he turned a stack of onions into a “volcano” that had real flames shooting from on top of it. Those onions ended up in our meal too.

Everything is freshly made to order. It’s evident when you watch the chef cook, as well as taste your meal. Many ingredients come from Japan too (obviously not the fresh foods, I’m referring to the other ingredients).

The food we had was EXCELLENT! From start to finish – everything was cooked perfectly and taste OH SO GOOD!

Piles of food!

Plenty of rice and noodles for everyone at our table.

The top dipping sauce is some kind of a spicy mustard sauce. The one on the bottom is a ginger sauce which was OUT OF THIS WORLD good!

My meal prior to the chef adding the teriyaki chicken. I had already started eating it at this point, so there was even MORE food on my plate.

Close up of the perfectly cooked sea scallops. Mmm!

Close up of the moist and delicious teriyaki chicken.

There was so much food that I had to take some of my plate home with me. My husband gobbled all of his food up.

EVERYTHING about our meals was incredibly good, right down to the salad and sauces. I cannot wait to go back to either have this again, or try other menu items.

We topped our meal off with dessert. My husband had chocolate ice cream. I had green tea ice cream. I’ve never had green tea ice cream before. It was wonderful! And it was a huge portion.

Green tea ice cream.

During our meal, a man wearing a dragon head came around to sing “Happy Birthday” to guests who were celebrating their birthdays that night. There were probably a half dozen people there for their birthday that night. Needless to say, Mt. Fuji is a fun place to celebrate a special occasion.

The dragon head worn by the person helping people celebrate their special day.

I neglected to mention, most of the female employees wear traditional Japanese kimonos and shoes – imported from Japan, so they are authentic. The men all wear suits (except the chefs). There is no dress code at the restaurant (it used to be that men had to wear ties), however, appropriate attire is required.

A female employee in a traditional Japanese kimono.

Another thing worth noting is that when you are in the restaurant, look up. Even the ceilings are beautifully decorated. The designs are handcrafted from Japanese artists who either came to the restaurant to do their work, or the work was imported from Japan. Everything looks so beautiful from the floor to the ceiling.

Even the bathrooms were beautiful, bright and clean.

After our meal, the owner, Nancy Fujita, took us downstairs to see The Views area of the restaurant. The Views is a space used to host weddings and special events. It’s also open to the public every Sunday for brunch.

This space is GORGEOUS! I joked with my husband that next time I get married I want to have my reception there (ha ha).

Not only is the giant room bright and colorful, but the seating areas are stunning. I cannot imagine hosting a brunch with children and the messes they must make on the fine linens. Mrs. Fujita said that everything is washed, so it’s not a problem.

The Sunday brunch is held from 11:00 AM – 3:00 PM, with the last seating at 2:00 PM.

The cost is $35 per adult and $15 per child. Trust me, that price is well worth it for the amount of food available to you. Here is just a SAMPLING of some of the buffet foods available (please note that their menu changes weekly).

  • Asparagus & Gruyere Cheese Frittata
  • Country Style Bacon & Sausage
  • Texas Style French Toast
  • Raspberry Cheese Blintzes
  • Eggplant Rollatini
  • Pasta (Penne Vodka, Pesto, or Primavera Tortellini Alfredo, Rigatoni Bolognese, Ravioli with Lobster Sauce)
  • Chicken (Florentine, Teriyaki, Provencal, Mediterranean, Marsala)
  • Roast Pork Loin (Mango Chutney, Southern BBQ)
  • Beef (Bourguignon, Stir Fry, Pink Peppercorn)
  • Merlot Demi-Glace or Asian-Style Beef Short Ribs
  • Atlantic Salmon (Teriyaki, Piccata, Saffron Cream Sauce)
  • Mushroom Risotto
  • Saffron or Herb Rice Pilaf
  • Prime Rib
  • London Broil
  • Roast Turkey
  • Omelets Made to Order
  • Sushi
  • Fresh Baked Goods
  • Ice Cream Sundae Bar
  • Italian & French Pastries

and so much more!

My husband said he’d have to stop eating for a day or two before we go to The Views for brunch (something we are very much planning on doing). This way his stomach is “empty” to fill up on all these great foods.

I cannot wait to go back!

There is a very good reason why this area of the restaurant is called The Views. That is because the views from the windows is spectacular.

The day we went wasn’t exactly clear (it was muggy and humid), but we were still in awe of the views from Mt. Fuji’s vantage point.

On a clear day you can see all the way down to New York City.

I took some photos from the Y Lounge, located directly above The Views, but they didn’t turn out as good as I had hoped they would. Trust me, the views from Mt. Fuji are impressive and they are something you must see in person to enjoy.

The Views also hosts special events. Take for example a Murder Mystery Dinner they are hosting a few weeks from now. That sounds like a lot of fun.

If you are interest in learning more about The View, visit TheViewsatMtFuji.com.

Overall we had THE BEST time at Mt. Fuji. We are excited about returning again and again, both with our kids as well as on “date nights.”

If you are interested in learning more about Mt. Fuji, the Y Lounge and/or The Views, visit MtFujiRestaurants.com. The one we went to is in Hillburn, NY. They also have a location in Hasbrouck Heights, NJ.

All of their social media links are found at the bottom of their website.

What do you think about Mt. Fuji? Do yo think it’s a place you’d love to come and experience for yourself? Feel free to comment and share your thoughts.

Kimberly

*I received a free meal for me and my husband in order to do this review. There was no other compensation. The opinions expressed are my own and not influenced in any way. 

Mt. Fuji – It’s not just dining, it’s an experience – Part One

 

PHOTO SOURCE: Mt. Fuji (Hillburn) Facebook Page

Nestled high up on a mountain side in Hillburn, New York, is an impressive site. It’s called Mt. Fuji.

Back in the early 1990’s, I used to come to the area frequently from upstate, New York. I would pass Hillburn on Route 17. I’ve seen Mt. Fuji many times, but back then I had no idea what it was. It wasn’t until I met and married my husband in the late 90’s did I find out that the huge building on the mountain side was called Mt. Fuji, and that it was a restaurant.

Over the years, I have always wanted to go to Mt. Fuji and see what it was like to be so far up on the mountain. I could only imagine the spectacular views from up there. I also wondered if you could see New York City from Mt. Fuji.

My husband went to Mt. Fuji decades ago with his family. Our son has also been to Mt. Fuji to attend a party. Our daughter went there with friends too. So I am the only person in my family who has never been to Mt. Fuji. That all changed this past weekend.

Mt. Fuji is part of a chain of restaurants owned and operated by the Fujita family.

Tokuaki “Tony” Fujita was born in Tokushima, Japan. Back then he was was more into Greco-Roman wrestling than anything else (he even competed in the 1964 Tokyo Olympics). It wasn’t until he came to the United States that his vision of becoming a restauranteur one day came to life.

Mr. & Mrs. Fujita. PHOTO SOURCE: Mt. Fuji’s website.

“Tony” and his wife Kazue (“Kay”) started out as a dishwasher and a waitress. With a lot of hard work and dedication they eventually opened their first restaurant, a luncheonette called “Mr. Fujiyama’s,” back in 1968. That luncheonette eventually led to a multi-chain of Japanese Steakhouses called, Mt. Fuji. Eventually there would be a total of nine restaurants throughout the New York Tristate area (NY, NJ, CT). Today there are two Mt. Fuji restaurants, one in Hillburn, N.Y., and the other in Hasbrouck Heights, N.J.

I love to hear stories about people dedicated to their passions and who reach their dreams. I find those kinds of stories to be incredibly inspirational.

This past weekend I was given the opportunity to go to Mt. Fuji (FINALLY!) and experience it for myself. My husband came along as well.

Mt. Fuji is located at 296 Old Route 17, Hillburn, N.Y. (10931 is the zip code). It was very easy to find, even more so when you see the massive red structure greeting you at the base of their driveway and that bottom of the mountain. My picture does NOT do this structure justice. It’s MASSIVE!

Driving up the winding driveway to the top of the mountain you could get a glimpse of the beautiful scenery that surrounds the area (Ramapo Valley), as well as Route 17.

At the top of the driveway you’ll find the restaurant.

Mt. Fuji only offers valet parking. It’s free (although a tip is always appreciated). By offering valet parking only, Mt. Fuji is better able to accommodate guests. I’m sure a lot of people can relate to wanting to park in a parking spot, but an inconsiderate driver has parked crooked, taken up two parking spots or some other reason to prevent you from parking your vehicle. The valet’s at Mt. Fuji are great at their job and ensure that there is ample parking for all of their guests. They are also very fast, so you won’t have to worry about waiting on a long line to either drop off your car, or pick it up as you are leaving.

Before you enter the restaurant you’ll walk through a very beautiful garden area, complete with water. I could sit and listen to the water and enjoy the gorgeous flowers all day. I also found the garden to be very welcoming.

Inside were were happily greeted by the host and hostess of the restaurant.

Before we sat down to eat we were introduced to to the new Y Lounge that recently opened at Mt. Fuji in Hillburn.

The Y Lounge is separate from the main dining area. The Y Lounge is meant more for people to meet up with friends to enjoy the spectacular views, live music (currently Friday – Sunday, but offering it more days is in the works), drinks and the most amazing foods you can imagine.

The Y Lounge offers comfortable seating. There is even a separate room for parties and/or large groups. The private room opens up to the lounge, or it can be closed off for a more personal space.

It was in the lounge where we had the opportunity to sit down with the restaurant’s owner, Nancy Fujita. She was happy to answer all the questions me and my husband had about the restaurant and lounge.

I learned that the Hillburn location has been around since 1985. The first time I drove past it was 1987. That seems like a lifetime ago.

Most of the decor you see all around the restaurant was either imported from Japan, or created by Japanese artists and craftsman that came over from Japan.

I don’t say this often, but when you visit the restaurant, be sure to look up. Even the ceilings are beautiful to look at.

Mrs. Fujita went on to tell us about how the restaurant is all about hospitality and creating an authentic Japanese experience to the restaurant patrons. You can tell that all of the employees take pride in how well they treat their guests. My husband will agree with me when I say that every employee that we saw was friendly, smiling and happy. We’ve been to a lot of restaurants, and we’ve never seen such genuinely happy people, as far as the employees are concerned. The moment you step foot in the restaurant you feel very welcomed. That is all part of the vision they had for the restaurant.

We went on to talk about the incredible views and how beautiful they are, most especially during autumn when the leaves change color. My husband and I plan on returning to the restaurant to see that view.

The food available in the Y Lounge is by the amazing Chef Shinohara. He’s worked in many 5 star restaurants in both Japan and New York.

The ingredients to make most of the dishes offered at the Y Lounge come from Japan, as well as most of the dishes and utensils.

We had the opportunity to sample some foods available in the Y Lounge. The food available in the lounge is different than the food available in the main restaurant section. The foods available in the lounge is lighter fare, like snacks and appetizers. But don’t let my use of “snacks” make you think of chips and dips. No way! The menu items are gourmet items and not something you would find in an average lounge.

My husband and I got to try the Crispy Okaki Asparagus and the Honey Spice Burrata. There are many other mentu items (the photo is just from a small section of it).

I should note that chop sticks are readily available, but they do have traditional (American) utensils as well (forks, spoons…).

The first item was tried was the Crispy Okaki Asparagus. We love asparagus, but it’s not a vegetable that we purchase often. It was “to die for!” Oh my goodness!!! It was A-M-A-Z-I-N-G!!! The crispy “coating” on the asparagus is so flavorful. The crispiness of the coating and the perfectly cooked piece of asparagus were the perfect combination. Even the presentation was beautiful. I would never think to eat asparagus on a stick.

The other dish we tried is the Honey Spice Burrata. I have never heard of this before, but it sounded interesting.

The Honey Spice Burrata has a perfectly rounded mound of soft mozzarella, spices, sweet honey, oil that was turned into tiny “pearls” (so cool!), real gold leaf (which is edible), and edible flowers. It also comes with mouth watering garlic crostini.

MMM!!!! I could LITERALLY eat this every day! I couldn’t get enough of it. Even after we finished the crostini, I still ate this using a spoon. The next time we go back to the Y Lounge, I am definitely ordering this again.

I did see some families in the Y Lounge when we visited Mt. Fuji, but that is because it’s a lovely place to sit and relax while waiting for a table. A lot of guests also wanted to take in the incredible views.

Personally, I’d love to meet up with friends at the Y Lounge. I found it very relaxing and comfortable. The live music added to the experience. I don’t recall the name of the band that was playing the other night, but they were really good.

The Y Lounge is a great way to start off your lunch or dinner, or finish it. The Y Lounge is also a great place to meet up with friends, family and co-workers to sit, relax, chat and take in the whole Mt. Fuji experience.

This was only the first stop for us at Mt. Fuji. Since this post is already long, I am going to continue this review in another post.

If you would like to learn more about Mt. Fuji, you can visit MtFujiRestaurants.com. They can also be found on social media. Those links are found on the bottom of their website.

If you are in the Tri-State area (New York, New Jersey, Conneticut – even Pennsylvania), Mt. Fuji is something to be experienced. Depending on traffic and your exact location, you can get to Mt. Fuji in Hillburn from New York City in about an hour to an hour and a half. It’s so worth the drive!

Kimberly

*I received free food/beverages while at Mt. Fuji in order to do this review. There was no compensation. The opinions expressed are my own and not influenced in any way. 

Do you like cheese? Check out Just the Cheese snacks

 

Do you love cheese? I do. I love it a bit too much. I can honestly say that I probably have at least a slice or two of cheese every day. I keep pre-cut cheese slices (snack size, not sandwich slices) of cheese on hand all the time. I also try and keep cheese sticks on hand, but my kids tend to gobble them all up before I have a chance to enjoy them. Thank goodness for warehouse packaging.

I enjoy cheese snacks too. Cheese puffs, cheese crackers, cheese flavored popcorn… you name it, I love it!

If you are a cheese lover like me, you might want to check out the unique cheese snack from Just the Cheese.

Just the Cheese snacks are crunchy, low-carb and high protein. They are literally made out of just cheese (and a few other ingredients). Just the Cheese snacks are Keto friendly and gluten-free.

Just the Cheese snacks are available in bars and mini-bites.

The bars are available in the following flavors;

  • Aged Cheddar
  • Grilled Cheese
  • Jalapeno Cheese
  • Mild Cheddar

The mini bites are available in the following flavors;

  • White Cheddar
  • Wisconsin Cheddar
  • Grilled Cheese
  • Jalapeno Cheese
  • Garlic & Chive

I had the opportunity to try a few of the bars. They are about the size of a typical granola bar (as far as the packaging and the size of the “bar”). The difference is that the Just the Cheese snacks are thin (more like a cracker).

The snacks are very crunchy, so if you are looking for a crunchy snack (instead of a sweet or soft one), these are a great choice.

Do they taste like cheese? They sure do!

They are not soft like a slice of cheese (because they are crunchy snacks). The best way I can describe it is sometimes when I make grilled cheese, some of the cheese oozes out and on to the pan. It then cooks a bit until its crunchy. That is how these snacks taste. HOPEFULLY people know what I mean about the cheese that oozes on to the pan.

I did find some of the flavors a bit too salty for my liking, which is odd because they are made with just cheese – literally!

Here is a screen shot of the ingredients and nutritional facts for the cheddar flavored Just the Cheese snacks.

It might just be me. Maybe I’m just a bit more picky about cheese than I thought. The sodium is not that high in these snacks.

I need to get more protein in my diet (I’m not a big meat eater). This is a yummy way to pump up my protein intake. There are 8 grams of protein in one Just the Cheese package. That’s pretty good. It’s better than a handful of cookies or chips.

Another think I like about Just the Cheese snacks is that they don’t need to be kept in the fridge, like regular cheese. That makes these great “on the go” snacks, as well as snacks to tuck into your child’s lunch box.

If you are interested in learning more about Just the Cheese snacks, visit JusttheCheese.com. They can also be found on Facebook and Instagram. Those links are found at the bottom of their website.

You can purchase Just the Cheese snacks on the brand’s website. You can also purchase the snacks as retail locations (there is a store locator on their site) as well as online at;

Are you a fan of cheese? Would you be interested in trying out Just the Cheese snacks?

Kimberly

*I received free product samples to review. There was no compensation. The opinions expressed are my own and not influenced in any way. 

New Stuffed Puffs Makes S’mores Easier to Make (and they are YUMMY!)

The summer season is upon us. Although it’s not technically summer yet (not until June 21, 2019), but people are already in the summer state of mind. Once Memorial weekend hits, it’s summer for most people.

There is so much about summer to love (except heat and humidity – ugh!). Vacation, lazy days by the pool, camping, trips to the beach… it’s all great.

One of my favorite things to do during the summer is barbecue. We can’t have a barbecue where we live (in a condo complex) as per the Fire Marshall, so we have to rely on family and friends.

Barbecues are great. Burgers, hot dogs, chicken… my mouth is watering just thinking about it. I also love foods that accompany a great barbecue such as macaroni salad, potato salad, pickles, fresh fruit and freshly made ice tea.

Another delicious summer time treat (or any time!) is S’mores. What’s not to love about the crunchy graham cracker, ooey gooey marshmallow and sweet, melted chocolate.

The brand Stuffed Puff has taken S’more making to a whole new level, making it even easier to enjoy this delicious treat. They recently released a new kind of marshmallow. They are Stuffed Puff Filled Marshmallows.

Stuffed Puff Filled Marshmallows are soft, fluffy, sweet marshmallows on the outside and on the inside you’ll find a real chocolate center.

As you roast (or warm up) the marshmallow on the outside, the chocolate on the inside melts. When added to a graham cracker, you have the ideal S’more without having to carry around (or purchase) chocolate bars. Stuffed Puff eliminates the need for chocolate.

When I first heard of these I knew I had to try them out for myself. Luckily, Stuffed Puff sent me some to try out, as well as some graham crackers and little “forks” to assist me with making the perfect S’more.

Unfortunately we don’t have a barbecue (as explained above) and none of our friends or family have barbecued yet. I had to use the microwave to warm up the marshmallows. I would have used our stove but I was afraid the marshmallow would make a mess.

Oh my goodness!!! These marshmallows make for great S’mores. Not only is it quick and easy, but I found that it’s less messy than traditional S’mores. I think it’s because the marshmallow outside keeps the chocolate from oozing out all over the place.

I have to admit that these are just as delicious straight out of the bag. The chocolate on the inside it’s melted, but when you bite into it the warmth of your mouth somewhat melts the chocolate center.

These are really a “game changer.” I love them! I’ll buy them year round so when the mood strikes I can make a S’mores anytime. Not only that, “as is” they are a yummy snack. I can see myself putting them on top of ice cream, as well as in a cup of hot cocoa. Mmmm…!!!

Check them out “in action.”

I took the S’more apart a bit so that you can see the melted chocolate on the inside (and I made a bit of a mess doing that – LOL). I even cut one of the Stuffed Puffs Chocolate Filled Marshmallows in half so that you can see what the inside looks like.

As you can see there is a decent amount of chocolate in each marshmallow. I found that just one gave me enough chocolate on my S’mores to satisfy me. Any more chocolate would have been too much.

These are awesome. If you are a fan of S’mores you’ll certainly want to give these a try.

Stuffed Puffs Chocolate Filled Marshmallows are available at many retail locations across the country. Look for them where ever you find other marshmallows.

If you would like to learn more about these or other Stuff Puffs products, visit StuffedPuffs.com. The brand can also be found on social media. All of their links are found at the top right of their website.

Are you a fan of S’mores? What do you think about these chocolate filled marshmallows? Feel free to comment and share your thoughts.

Kimberly

*I received free product samples to review. There was no compensation. The opinions expressed are my own and not influenced in any way.