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.
Friday, June 14, 2013
739 US Route 9
Schroon Lake, NY 12870
Open for Dinner 7 days from 5 PM
Restaurant Facebook Page
In my book the quintessential rustic comfort food is wood fired brick oven pizza. Stylistically it is in a class by itself, decidedly different in flavor and texture than a traditional New York "slice" or Chicago's "deep dish" iteration. More often than not you will see "Neopolitan" attached to this thin crust style of Italian flat breads, but the genre is not limited to Italy. Many cultures offer their own versions and I would not even attempt to declare my favorite. Corsican's top their thin crust pizza with a sunny side up egg, and drizzle it with olive oil laced with hot pepperflakes and sprigs of the rosemary that grows wild all over the island. In Alsace it is called flammekuchen - "fired cakes" - and is traditionally topped with roasted onions or better yet forestiere style -with wild mushrooms. A French Florentine variant topped with sauteed spinach, creme fraiche, and escargot will be forever etched in my memory as one of the best meals I have very experienced. But that might have been the wine. But back to Schroon Lake, and why I'm talking about thin crust pizzas.
Wednesday, June 12, 2013
Most of my emails this month have posed one of two questions: (1)When is The Owl at Twilight opening? and (2) When is Sticks & Stones going to open in Schroon Lake? Sticks and Stones announced their opening this week. You can follow them on Facebook here. I was fortunate to be at a soft opening last Friday. The Gregson brothers' wood and stone work throughout the restaurant is reason enough to go check it out. If you are a fan of Neapolitan style wood oven pizza, you're going to love it. Anthony Batson has lots of good things to say about Sticks and Stones over on his blog, SchroonLaker.com. You can read his comments here. I'll have a full post up about the place later this week.
Monday, May 20, 2013
Tivoli, NY 12583
Reservations: 845 757 1071
Dinner ~ Tuesday through Sunday
Panzur has been on our "wish list" of new restaurants for quite some time. Chef Rei Peraza, who owns the restaurant with his wife Kim, have been the talk of the town since they opened two years ago. Last week we found ourselves in Tivoli attending a show at Tangent Arts' Carpenter Theatre, and we took advantage of the opportunity to have dinner. It was love at first sight.
The rustic dining room surrounds a large bar in the center of the restaurant. At the rear of the room is a large blackboard listing the evening's specials, and a carving table holding a slicer, baskets of fresh bread, and a whole cured ham ready for the knife. The ham on display Thursday, in all its porcine glory, was a "Surryano", one of my favorite domestic artisanal hams from Surry Virginia. The Peraza's also offer Spanish Jamon Serrano (ham) along with a fabulous selection of the chef's own house made charcuterie. The man knows his way around a pig.
Wednesday, May 1, 2013
47 North Front Street
Kingston, NY 12401
Dinner served Wednesday through Monday
It has been a few years since I have written about this Hudson Valley jewel in Kingston's Uptown Stockade District. That is an oversight on my part, since Boiton's is a regular stop on our list of Hudson Valley favorites, especially if we are at UPAC for a show. It was just such an event that occasioned my most recent dinner, which included one of my favorite seasonal dishes.
April in the Hudson Valley is primarily one of culinary anticipation. We plan our gardens; we plant our early peas; we wait, and watch for the first sign of buds on the grapevines. April also means the arrival of two of my all time favorite dishes - shad roe, and soft shell crab. I have not yet had shad roe this year, but soft shell crab was on the menu at Boitson's on Monday when I stopped in for dinner.
You may recall from prior posts that Boitson's is one of my favorite bistros. I love everything about the place - the decor, the bar, the crowd, the menu, the kitchen, even the music playlist, which focuses on classic rock and Motown. On arrival I tweeted - Is there a restaurant bar that's more fun than Boitson's? A few restaurant owners tweeted back in agreement. This is a great place. There are twenty odd seats in the dining room, plus outdoor patio seating when the weather permits. I prefer to eat at the bar. More often than not, you will have a hard time finding a seat there, and there is good reason for that, especially if Coby is working. (She is one of our favorites too.) From our vantage point at the bar you have a birds eye view of the open kitchen. Doc started with some bluepoints, which the restaurant usually offers as part of a good raw bar selection. The fried oysters are among the best in the area. I spied some chicken livers on the appetizer listing, which were corn meal crusted, fried, and quite tasty. But I was waiting, with bated breath, for my soft-shell crab.
Soft-shells are usually prepared in one of two ways - sauteed, or deep fried. The deep fried versions are popular lunch offerings, often served on a sandwich with tartar sauce. I prefer a saute with a little lemon and white wine, which seems to better complement this delicate morsel. Some kitchens favor a saute with an almondine sauce or burnt butter.
Size does matter. Crabs are shipped in five ascending sizes - mediums, hotels, primes, jumbos, and the largest - whales, which are better than five inches across. My plate arrived with one of the largest crabs I have seen - I assume it was a "whale" - perched on a bed of beautifully sauteed spring ramps and baby fingerling potatoes. This marvelous pile of seasonal treasures was topped with a sunny side up egg. What's better than that?
The proprietor, Maria Philippis, has a hit on her hands. Last Monday - a Monday! - there was not an open seat in the place. Maria recently expanded her operation to include accommodations on the upper floors at The Inn at Boitson's. Now you never have to leave.
Friday, April 12, 2013
6269 Main St.
Chestertown, NY 12817
Opens 4:30 PM
Restaurant Facebook Page
The Bullhouse is a North Country newcomer, located in a renovated storefront in the center of Chestertown on Route 9. The proprietor is one Lonnie Shenefield, whose bonafides include a stint in the kitchen at Hudson Valley landmark, Ship Lantern Inn. We found her filling in at the bar when we stopped in for a quick dinner last night. It was our first visit to the Bullhouse, which has the clean look and feel of a brand spanking new venture. No clutter on the walls and back bar yet, no donated sombreros from a regular's last trip to Cancun. A side patio is still under construction, which I assume will provide space for some al fresco dining this summer.
Friday, March 29, 2013
Water Street Market
10 Main Street
New Paltz, NY 12561
845 255 8466
Jar'd Website Jar'd Facebook Page
If you actually needed another reason to visit the New Paltz Water Street Market, you now have one. The market is located on the western edge of the village of New Paltz, overlooking the Wallkill River Bridge. The Rail Trail passes alongside the entrance to the market, adding a constantly changing stream of bikers and hikers to this picture perfect setting. It is a setting that I dream will someday spring up along the WalkWay / Rail Trail in the City of Poughkeepsie. The market is an eclectic collection of cafes and shops (think Woodstock), including one of my favorites - The Cheese Plate. There is a tiny space next door to the Cheese Plate that is now occupied by the Jar'd Wine Pub.
Tuesday, March 5, 2013
|This is the Chicken "Oyster"|
|db Bistro Moderne's Escargot with Chicken "Oysters", |
Mushrooms and Marrow Spread Crostini
This dish raised all of these bistro "peasant classics" to a collectively inspired dish which I have added to my Top Ten Life List of Best Dishes. I am unable to return to db Bistro without ordering this dish, which is available as an appetizer or as an entree (or both!)
Saturday, March 2, 2013
This coming Tuesday their friends and neighbors are sponsoring a "pot luck" dinner and fundraiser at the Mountainside Bible Chapel gymnasium, to help them through this tragedy. The details of the event can be found on the Potluck Facebook Page. Please come if you can. Alternative sponsorships are also available if you want to help out.
Saturday, February 23, 2013
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!
If you do stop in please let our other readers know about your visit in the comments section.
I hope you'll "Like" Rambler on Facebook
Ideas? Recommendations? Email me at NorthCountryJoe@gmail.com
Friday, February 15, 2013
1 Main Street
Poughkeepsie, NY 112601
Serving Lunch & Dinner ~ 7 Days
Poughkeepsie's newest waterfront dining destination is located off Water Street, five hundred feet north of Main Street (and River Station). If the place was any closer to the Hudson you would get wet (which actually happened recently during Hurricane Sandy.) The building that houses the restaurant has been put to good use, after serving as the Waryas Park snack bar for many years. Local builder, Kevin Lund saw more potential for the location and the results of the renovation efforts are quite extraordinary. Along with sons Michael and Mathew and co-owner Tom Rolston, he opened the new riverfront eatery last fall. The bar and restaurant dining room serve as a river front theater - looking out on the Mid Hudson bridge just south, and the Walkway over the Hudson nee Poughkeepsie Railroad Bridge to the north. The tables in the center of the dining room are "hightops", which allow for a view over the window tables, and the booths along the back wall are on a raised platform allowing an unobstructed view over the hightops. There isn't a bad seat in the house.
|The Ice House dining room overlooks the Hudson.|
Friday, February 8, 2013
3123 US Route 44
Gardiner, NY 12525
845 255 9766
Lunch and Dinner, Wednesday through Sunday
Closed Monday and Tuesday
This perennial Hudson Valley favorite has been serving up great food and great times since 1955. We have been dining here regularly for over thirty years. The proprietor, Mark Ruoff, is the third generation of his family to greet diners at the door, and the Mountain Brauhaus seems to just keep getting better.
Classic German platters of schnitzels and wursts and rouladen and sauerbraten with spaetzle and sauerkraut are now complemented with daily specials featuring new American variations on traditional themes.
The restaurant's location, nestled under the Shawangunk ridgeline on the Minnewaska Trail / Route 44, only adds to the Brauhaus experience. It is as close to Bavaria as you can get without getting on a plane. The waitstaff dresses in traditional German garb. Local photographs of the surrounding Gunks look like they could gave been taken in Germany.
Saturday, December 22, 2012
Kingston, NY 12401
Dinner, Wednesday ~ Sunday 4 - 10 PM
Fans of the Kingston Strand's old Downtown Cafe will be happy to hear that Chef Graziano Tecchio is back at that location, now reopened as Mint. The limited menu offers Graziano's housemade pastas and sauces, a terrific facaccia, personal size thin crust pizzas, and a few Italian classics.The website MintLoungeandTapas.com is somewhat misleading (as the menu offers no tapas), but our meals last Wednesday were all very well prepared, generous portions, and we came away most impressed with the kitchen. The place itself has not changed much since its days as Downtown Cafe. It has the look and feel of a 1960's village pizzeria, with 1960's village pizzeria tables and chairs. (The good news is that the prices are from the 60's too.)
Friday, December 21, 2012
19 West Market Street
Open for Dinner ~ 7 Days
Lunch on Friday
Brunch ~ Saturday & Sunday
Fans of Gianni Scappin will be happy to hear that he is back in Rhinebeck. Gianni was one of the original co-owners at Gigi Trattoria, just around the corner from his newest location. He also runs Cucina Woodstock, and my sources tell me that a third location In Arlington - near Vassar College in the old Angelisa's space - will be opening this spring.
19 West Market Street is located just north of the Beekman Arms, and most recently housed the Mill House Panda. Locals with long memories will remember it as the location of Bob's Tavern.
Friday, November 30, 2012
215 Huguenot Street
New Paltz, NY 12561
Dinner ~ Tuesday through Sunday
Rock and Rye Tavern is located in the historic Huguenot section of New Paltz, in the building that formerly housed the Locust Tree Inn. It overlooks the New Paltz golf course, and the nearby ridge line of the Shawangunks. A prettier spot will be hard to find, especially on summer evenings out on the back patio. Fans of historic structures and settings will love the place. It is easy to visualize a colonial era meeting in the dining room, with a kettle of punch warming in the fireplace.
Friday, November 16, 2012
310 Wall Street
Kingston, NY 12401
Hours: Tues ~ Sat, 5 PM - 10 PM
Elephant bills itself as a casual tapas ~ wine bar. Co-owners Maya Karrol and Rich Reeve opened the popular uptown Kingston eatery five year ago to rave reviews and quickly built a loyal following. An overnight sensation, right? Not exactly. There is much more to the story.
Saturday, November 10, 2012
We visited downtown Poughkeepsie's Bull and Buddha Restaurant a few times this summer. The Bardavon Gala patron's party was held there, and once again they did a terrific job handling the 500 plus attendees. Later in the year they scaled back their days and hours of operation - which always seems to hurt business on the days you remain open, and it did. A new management team has been brought in to revitalize the venue, which includes expanded hours of operation, a new menu, and plans for opening for lunch. We stopped in last Wednesday and shared some small plates at the bar.
Sunday, October 7, 2012
484 South Johnsburg Road
Warrensburg, NY 12885
Farm Tours every Saturday
Store open 11 AM - 3 PM
Closed Tuesday and Wednesday
It is hard to believe that it has only been eight years since Nettle Meadow's owners, Lorraine Lambiase and Sheila Flanagan, pulled up stakes in California, drove cross country, and started the business we now know as Nettle Meadow Farm and Cheese Company in Thurman. They were hobbyist cheese makers with a dream, ambition, four - yes four - goats, an epic work ethic, and I assume a wicked sense of humor.
|Poutine with Oscars sausage gravy|
and Maplebrook Farm cheese curds.
Sunday, September 30, 2012
6691 Main Street
Westport, NY 12993
Open 7 Days ~ All Year!
We stopped in at the Westport Hotel and Tavern yesterday, after coming across Lake Champlain from Vermont on the ferry to Essex. It was immediately apparent that this restaurant held one significant advantage over most Adirondack restaurants at this time of year. They were open.
The new owners, Jim and Jayne Vance, have plans to brave the North Country winter and cater to the locals through all four Adirondack seasons - summer tourist season, ski season, mud season, and black fly season. I assume they know what they are in for, as the family owns a number of other local businesses including the Victorian Lady Bed and Breakfast down the road, and the Lakeside Motel at the Westport Marina.
Saturday, September 22, 2012
Poughkeepsie, NY 12601
Dinner: 7 Days
Lunch: Mon - Fri
I first wrote about Brasserie 292 last summer, shortly after they opened. (You can read that post here.) It was much too early for a legitimate review, but even after that very first dinner - during their first week of operation - we all came away most impressed. I've eaten at Brasserie many times since then, and watched as the dining room staff has settled into their routine. I've enjoyed watching the menu develop as specials become regular menu items, or not, and featured wines come and go on the list. Both cartes are classic "bistro" - lots of solid but inexpensive wines (most marked up around 3/1) from Languedoc, or Rhone, or Beaujolais, to complement bistro staples like duck confit ($24 & terrific), cassoulet ($22), moules frites ($19) and steak tartare / ($12 / $19) ~ my staple lunch order with a sliced baguette and a glass of Beaujolais. Brasserie became one of our favorite stops and quickly was added to my list of Dutchess County Favorites. It became our go to destination after our Monday night Bardavon meetings, where we take over the bar and usually dine on appetizers or the Monday night special - cassoulet.