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.

This Month's "Well Said!"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

Ferran Andria

Saturday, February 23, 2013

James Beard Foundation recognizes four New York Restaurateurs

Last week the James Beard Foundation recognized four local New York restaurateurs from outside of New York City. Pete Wells, the New York Times restaurant reviewer, and former James Beard selection committee member, took issue in his blog post with New York City's weighting in the award categories - or lack of weighting, given the number of great restaurants in the city. He, and some other observers, think the committee goes out of its way to find a broad geographical cross section of participants, even if the best restaurant in Cleveland may not garner one star in New York. I personally think Mr Wells should get out more (and just follow the compass north). We have some rocking restaurants in upstate New York, serving spectacular dishes, prepared with locally and sustainably grown or foraged products and locally raised livestock. Our local restaurants were sourcing their ingredients from the local neighborhood farms long before "farm to table" became a marketing buzzword. Local produce brokers like Red Barn in New Paltz, with huge support from the Culinary Institute, have been providing locally grown vegetable varieties to many of our favorite eateries for decades (and now New York City restaurants crow about the fact that the arugula on your plate was actually grown in the Hudson Valley.) Our local network of farms is only one component in the local dining story. Our friends at the Culinary Institute of America must also be given credit for "raising the bar" of our local dining scene.  
It also warrants mentioning that our local culinary experience is usually available at a fraction of the cost of a meal in New York City.   

Upstate New York restaurants appeared four times on the list of Semifinalists for the 2013 James Beard Foundation Awards. 

Chef Tim Loomis of Liquids and Solids at the Handlebar in Lake Placid is a first time semifinalist in the regional chef award category for "Best Chef - Northeast". 
Francesco Buitoni from Mercato Osteria in Red Hook, a semifinalist for "Best Chef - Northeast" in prior years, was named again this year.  You can read our own praise for Chef Buitoni here
Damon Baehrel of Basement Bistro in Earlton is another semifinalist.  Chef Baehrel's tiny Catskill restaurant should be on everyone's bucket list. (and it may take the rest your time on the planet to score a reservation, so start that process as soon as possible.) I have written about my dining experiences at this epicurean temple here and here
Yonos in Albany was recognized for their wine program. It is worth noting that Yonos was one of only twenty restaurant wine programs chosen nationally (not regionally). High praise indeed. 
Congratulations to all!  

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Ideas? Recommendations? Email me at NorthCountryJoe@gmail.com

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