Welcome to our list of favorite dining destinations in New York's Hudson Valley and Adirondack regions. We visit restaurants, wineries, barbecues, and a smattering of off the beaten path culinary destinations like maple sugar shacks and fromageries. My friends and I have been dining out together weekly for over twenty years. The locations we write about are our favorite destinations. We are not claiming they are the best, just our favorites. The posts are not "reviews" in the classic sense. - we offer only our picks, not pans. We will leave the criticism to others. We are a happy blog. We much prefer a good bistro to "haute cuisine", especially if they also have a nice bar. We prefer a crock of cassoulet and a bottle of Beaujolais to just about anything else. If you enjoy simple home style rustic cooking with a decent (but not too expensive) bottle of wine, then pull up a chair and join us.
The first restaurant Sali opened was Il Cena’
Cena 2000 is equal parts good menu, good kitchen, an attentive and entertaining wait staff, and bustling riverfront cocktail lounge. It is one of the few riverfront dining establishments in the area where you would actually still go to eat if they were not on the river. The food is as good as the view, and that’s not easy to come by.
When I started to get serious about slow cooking, I graduated to the first of a few electric cookers. The singular advantage of this type of smoker is that the heat can be regulated by a thermostat, so your cooking temperature is more consistent. My last unit was the size of a small bar refrigerator, and had two components. The cook box cabinet contained the heat element which could be regulated. A companion smoke generator was attached to the heat chamber. The smoke generator used hockey puck size discs of compressed wood chips, which you could buy from the manufacturer. The wood chip “pucks” were loaded, a dozen at a time, in a chimney column server, which fed in a fresh puck every half hour or so. With this system you could disappear for hours at a time, since the device pretty much took care of itself. It did however have one problem. The heating element sits in the bottom of the cooking chamber. The meat sits above it in the cabinet. A few pork butts weigh approximately twenty pounds, much of which is fat that is rendered out during the cooking process. The fat drips down on the heating element. Did I mention I had a fire? Actually I had a few fires, the last one almost taking out the garage. It did take out the wiring in the smoker which now sits in my friend Bunny’s garage, waiting for new switches and wiring.