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.
Sunday, April 24, 2011
2938 Church street
Pine Plains, NY
The term "agriturismo" refers to the tourist farmhouses in Italy that now also serve as culinary destinations. Agriturismo Restaurant in Pine Plains is the latest entry in the local "farm to table" culinary explosion. In much of Europe the phrase "farm to table" would prompt quizzical stares. Where else would you get your food from? Only in America did we need to invent the genre, as diners insisted on learning the provenance of their meal's ingredients, prompted by nationwide outbreaks of food born illnesses that raised questions about the processes and practices of large corporate farms. Once we (re)discovered fresh local produce, there was no turning back.
Mark Strausman's Agriturismo reopened this weekend, after a short winter break, and we stopped in Saturday night for dinner with friends.
Saturday, April 23, 2011
|Anna Bowers, Cocktail Wizard of North Creek|
You are probably wondering how things like this happen. It is said that necessity is the mother of invention. The need here was the desire to create a drink that would pass for a "cocktail" at a restaurant bar that has only a beer and wine license. The opportunity was created by a confluence of events - namely Gore closed last weekend; it's mud season in the Adirondacks; and the crew at barVino was bored stiff. (For downstate readers - mud season is the four week period between ski season and black fly season.) Having time on their hands and apparently a supply of Tang with no particular dedicated purpose, the thinking caps went on.
Friday, April 15, 2011
Friday, April 8, 2011
Monday, April 4, 2011
Saturday, April 2, 2011
The thermometer may not yet suggest that spring has come to the Adirondacks, but a sure sign of winter's impending demise is the wood smoke rising from the local sugar shacks. Mid March usually brings the optimum conditions, when temperatures are still below freezing at night, but the daytime thaw gets the sap flowing in the sugar maples. A healthy mature maple can produce over a gallon of sap a day, and the sugaring season can run for a month or more. It takes a lot of sap to produce maple syrup, and the forty or so gallons that a tree yields each season will produce a single gallon of syrup. The sap, which should have a sugar content of something more that 2%, must be boiled down in an evaporator until the sugar content is 60% or more. Commercial producers use many different fuel sources to boil off the sap, but traditionalists insist that wood is best, in part because it adds a slightly smoky flavor to the finished product. I agree.