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Monday, June 15, 2015

Return to Tuthill House at the Mill in Gardiner for Dinner

I once had one of those very best girlfriends that knew everything about me from middle school through all the experiences that filled my life until the Mr. and I had our two sons.  She moved away, cut off our ties, though I would try to maintain contact and when I reached out to invite her to our 25th wedding anniversary celebration, she was a no-show/no RSVP.

Lots of soul searching, thinking what I contributed to this devastating end of friendship, and the realization that in the long run I really can't do a damn thing about it, I have finally acknowledged that I will never have that particular brand of female closeness back in my life.  Maybe it is for the best.

Instead, I have friendships with many women that may cross age barriers, dissimilar backgrounds and beliefs.  I stay relatively close to 3 school friends, a few current and former co-workers, and some relatively new additions that I can't remember not having in my life.

Close female friends are likely to figure out that comfortable place where sharing becomes less and less censored, support can be counted on and trust is not an issue.  However, the path can be a bit longer, needing tending and careful attention resulting in strong growth.  We decide if and how the relationship will fit into our life; does it need constant communication or will low maintenance and occasional checking in be sufficient?  

And so I circle around to my recent dinner at Tuthill House at the Mill with a stunningly beautiful woman who I "sort of" know, but really - do not.  We begin by deciding if we will dine inside or out on the patio but opt for indoors.

Once we are seated and presented with menus, the hard decisions begin for me.  A cocktail? Something new or familiar? Comfortable or adventurous.  And in the back of my mind, the memory of a disagreement with the Mr. before I left.  How can that be handled? The brain is firing all over the place - thinking of light hearted conversation topics, making menu selections and quieting the distraction of the Mr.

I begin with a White Cosmopolitan:
Cariel Vanilla Vodka, Cointreau, Cava, White Cranberry Juice, Fresh Lime

For my dining partner, the Mango Cilantro Margarita:

Cazadores Blanco Tequila, Mango Puree, Fresh Cilantro, House Sour Mix

We begin to chat and though I have screened the menu, I'm still not quite ready when we are asked to order.  I choose to skip the appetizer course.

However, I did sample a taste of the Crispy Tofu:

Coconut Green Curry Sauce, Pineapple, Cilantro, Lime

For me, tofu is a food item that really does have to be well prepared.  Sometimes an ingredient can get by on freshness or proper seasoning, but I prefer exactly what this dish offered, a crispy exterior and the support of a silky, flavorful sauce.  Lovely. 

We chat and pause, lean in, sit back and listen.  There are smiles and laughter, stories and opinions.

The main courses:

For me, pasta is always going to be a "go to."  It is the epitome of comfort and I add a side of velvety wilted spinach which I unceremoniously dump in to the mix and stir. Unfortunately some may think this skews my opinions of the meal, but I can tell you with 100% certainty it was fabulous.  I base my decision on the fact that I ate every last bite.  


House Made Linguini with Fresh Tomatoes, Roasted Garlic, Aged Parm, Basil, EVOO

Across the table:

CHORIZO FLATBREAD 
Red Pepper Emulsion, Spiced Chorizo, Shredded Manchego Cheese, Teardrop Peppers, Tomatillo, Cilantro 

I did sample one of the teardrop peppers which were mild with a hint of vinegar in the profile.

We decide not to have dessert and the funny thing is, over 2 hours have passed and about half way through I let go of the other thoughts jumbling for attention and really enjoyed the present moment. We were Fed Well and think I can speak for both of us that we had a great meal.  

During my drive home I think how lucky I am to have the circle of friends that I do as well as a sister whom I love and adore.  I have the ability to make speaker phone calls from the car and who do you think I reached out to...yup, the Mr.  My best friend.

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Sunday, June 14, 2015

Delancey's in Goshen, NY

How do I decide where I will have dinner and which restaurants to write about for Fed Well? Sometimes an opportunity simply presents itself and I have to follow the lead.  I write for a number of community magazines and Delancey's happens to be an advertiser.  Fair enough.  I decided to check it out with the Mr. on a rainy Friday night.

We were immediately greeted by a number of young hostesses.  Delancey's features both a dining room with indoor and outdoor dining which has a view of the Historic Goshen Race Track and a more casual bar/dining room.  Our attire was maybe one step up from jeans so it must have been assumed we wanted the dining room with a view though we were never asked.  

The place was hopping.  Busy, busy, busy.  The dining room was full, the bar area appeared to be full and people were beginning to be turned away.  The rain had caused the deck dining area to be shut down.  We didn't have a reservation, but were told it would be about a 20 minute wait and really, for a Friday night, that's not so awful so we waited.

We watched as a table was brought out of nowhere, then chairs, then place settings.  I wondered if that was magically special or would come with the price of sitting outside of swinging kitchen doors.Somehow, I knew the table was for us.

A few minutes later we were brought to our newly set table with just a bit of clearance to the deck area.  "We had to close the deck," we were told, "so you should be fine here."

We ordered drinks and for me, the bar setting Cosmopolitan.



A nice first impression and though I do not ask for a particular brand of vodka, I can tell after a sip that this is not the brand that will be the cause of a relentless morning after headache.  Perfect.


We decide to share a glorious seafood appetizer; clams, mussels, shrimp and scallops swimming in a mild and delicate red broth.  

We are aware the dining room is filled to capacity by the sheer volume of dinner conversation and laughter. Everyone seems happy and content.  The drizzle has stopped and shades of pink mixed with the gray sky.

Main courses...

Pasta.  Fairly high on my list of food loves. Broccoli rabe and sausage make it a balanced diet, right? The sausage is square and the first tip that it is homemade.  The flavor is unique as well, a bit sweet with a fair amount of fennel.  

For the Mr.:


A molded serving of risotto, a side of vegetables and a lovely shrimp dish.

During our meal, the outdoor dining area was reopened causing guests and staff to repeatedly pass closely by my chair.  We were offered a complimentary dessert for the inconvenience and I selected a brownie with vanilla and chocolate ice creams, whipped cream and a raspberry sauce.  Very decadent and dense.




We appreciate all of the efforts the entire staff made in securing us a table and trying to ensure we had a good experience.  We left feeling Fed Well and wondering where our next food adventure would lead us.

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Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Poughkeepsie Ice House on the Hudson


It was the exact date we were married in 1987 when we decided to try "someplace new."  Well, new to us.  I asked for recommendations and someone suggested Poughkeepsie Ice House on the Hudson. We wanted something on, near or at least overlooking water and what better view than between the Walkway over the Hudson and the Mid-Hudson Bridge? We were less than one hour from home and it was a beautiful day.  I checked the menu on-line and the Mr. made a reservation.  When we arrived I was quite thankful I opted for flat shoes rather than heels as I had to park at the top of a hill and walk down to the restaurant.


A great start after a challenging day that included me having a flat tire after driving through one of the worst potholes around, which seems simple enough, but my particular model car has a locking lug nut on each wheel for security purposes.  A wonderful and innovative practice in theory.  Until one of us (I won't say which) took the car to have the tires rotated and was not given back the key when the job was complete.  So, my car had to be towed and the garage will find a way to bust off the locking lug and put on the spare.  THEN, a new tire will be ordered.  Ugh. I'm sure you need a cocktail just from this exhausting story.

Now, I will tell you about our dinner experience.

First, here was just a portion of our amazing view:


Notice the boat, trailer and truck in the background? It seems to be a public launch and so we enjoyed watching a number of boats come in and out while we were at Ice House.

Regular menu and a Special menu...

On the back of the regular menu is a list of beer, wine and sake cocktail options available.




Sake Mule

The Sake Mule is listed as:  hibiscus, ginger hard cider, fresh lime juice & simple syrup.  Try one.

I am fairly observant at this point, ok, nosey, I am really looking around and taking note of the people, the food and the servers, hostesses.  It is fairly busy, diners of all ages, families, dates, friends, some obviously celebrating special occasions.  Some order various courses, a few just appetizers, some just straight to dinner and everyone seems happy.  The overall pace is comfortable. We are able to talk and relax in-between courses, do not feel rushed, and yet we feel well taken care of, not ignored.

To start:
Crab Cakes

We split an appetizer.The crab cakes described by the Mr., "They have a good sear or crust, a good flavor and they have a lot of crab."  Our sons recently joked that he has become a "foodie."  I just love hearing him describe the dish as well as enjoy it.  To be honest, he is right.  The cakes were more crab than filler and yes, they had a nice crispy exterior.  Yum.

For those who have read Fed Well over time, you know the Mr. loves French Onion soup.  Ice Houses' version received an enthusiastic two spoons up as a review.  He enjoyed the flavor of the broth and we were both in awe of the super sized serving.  Imagine the typical restaurant crock and at least another 1/2 serving if not more.


I may pick on the Mr. a bit about having his favorites, but I am also guilty.  New England Clam Chowder is probably a dish I have sampled more than just a couple of times. I enjoy the many varieties with or without bacon, with a little bit of kick or mild, creamy or a bit on the thin side, but it should never be day-glow yellow like canned gravy and the celery should never out number the potatoes or clams.  This was a great middle-of-the-road rendition and I was happy.



Main Courses:


Cajun Catfish

Here are the Mr.'s thoughts, "I liked the fish, but it really wasn't Cajun.  The fries were good, but I really liked the cole slaw."  He can't eat the kale, but I sampled it and with the bacon, it was a winning pairing.  The fish was delicious, but could have been a bit spicier.

Ice House Seafood Platter

Shrimp, scallops, 4 ounce lobster tail, salmon, risotto and my eyes went right to the green and tender bok choy.  I couldn't wait to devour the vegetable on a seafood platter. Strange? Or a sign of the green season I've waited six months to enjoy?  I gave a bit of everything except the veggie to the Mr. to try and he nodded in approval to each forkful.  Special acknowledgement went to the scallops and the risotto.  Everything I ate was delicious, and I brought home the salmon, a few shrimp as well as a portion of the rice.

We were far too stuffed for dessert and I didn't even have an interest in bringing something home for later.  We did try to end our date night with a selfie on the water front.  It was fairly amusing and nothing we would ever share with the world, but we were Fed Well on the waterfront.

Poughkeepsie Ice House on Urbanspoon

Friday, April 3, 2015

Craft House in Suffern, NY for Lunch

On an ordinary Friday, my friend and I were not sure what to have for lunch and thought we would go out for pizza.  However, we passed Craft House, as we had many times before and thought today should be the day we try it.  She turned the car around and off we went.

We were seated immediately and given menus for both the bar and food.





The dining room meets that comfortable spot in decor and atmosphere - not too trendy, classic without being too cute or themed, yet polished.





I love the "kraft" paper over the tablecloths and secretly wish we had something to doodle about over lunch.  I probably should have simply dug in my Mary Poppins style bag and dug out some pens and pencils and I bet we would have decorated the paper in no time.  I'm sure the purpose is more about being able to easily replace and reset the tables, but it sure seems like fun and next time, I'm doing it!

So, for lunch...


 Grilled Portobello

A ciabatta roll was the crusty vehicle for goat cheese, arugula, roasted red peppers, a black bean spread and of course, meaty portobello mushrooms.  I added the truffle fries and was advised an upcharge would be imposed.  No problem and worth every crispy, savory bite.  The pickle had a nice snap and was dill-icious.  I'm not always great with the puns, but I couldn't resist.  My meal was filling and satisfying.

Mac 'n Cheese

This is no ordinary macaroni and cheese served in a crock.  The shell pasta was thoroughly smothered in ooey-gooey goodness in the form of a fontina/gruyere cheesey blend topped with breadcrumbs and baked.  My friend added a side of truffle fries and was quite happy with her choice.

We were well taken care of and thoroughly enjoyed the food.  We will return for special occasions and a break from the daily work day.


The view next to the parking lot

We return to work feeling full and Fed Well.  I will dream of those truffle fries for some time...

Craft House on Urbanspoon


Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Roundhouse at Beacon Falls for Hudson Valley Restaurant Week Spring 2015

Each Hudson Valley Restaurant Week I search through the list of participating restaurants and select one I have never been to and this year the winner was Roundhouse at Beacon Falls.  I just loved the photos I'd seen of it online and once I was able to view their HVRW menu, I was absolutely hooked.

I'd made a 6:30 reservation so we arrived early enough to enjoy a bit of daylight as the water roared over the rocks and I quickly captured this image with my phone.  I wished we'd been a bit earlier so I could just watch, listen and maybe set up a more careful and thoughtful photo.  I just want to return in all seasons and take this one.  


We were greeted quite promptly and once our reservation was confirmed (I recommend making a reservation - and if you want to sit by the windows - ask) we were seated in this area.


Sleek, minimalist, modern - yet somehow warm.  We took in our surroundings for a few minutes until we were approached by our server, and placed our drink orders.  An extensive cocktail, beer and wine menu is available.  

I often do a bit of research before bringing the Mr. and on this trip, our younger son, to a new place and will send them links to the restaurant.  However, I was not aware that Roundhouse would be serving their HVRW menu exclusively.  This made for limited options for my husband and to be honest, he was a bit disappointed.  I felt as if I misrepresented the restaurant, but hope he will opt to go back another time and try whatever dish he had in mind.

So, he needed a few extra minutes to decide.  Our typical game plan includes ordering different dishes so I can taste everything, but keep in mind, this is not a hard/fast rule.  So, here is how it went:

Starters:


The Mr. selected the salad.  I know the main feature for him was the proscuitto.  I'm also sure this is not what he envisioned though it was delicious.

OCTOPUS

I was ridiculously excited to try the sauteed octopus and this dish met, no exceeded, my expectations. Braised octopus. Chorizo. White bean puree. The octopus itself was firm and dense - somehow I worried it would be chewy or rubbery, but it was more steak-like.  I loved it on it's own as well as swirled through the white bean puree.  I shared a piece with the Mr. who nodded in agreement.  I then allowed him a bit of the chorizo.  Oh, my. It was amazing.  Please note* - the octopus starter is also available on the regular menu, so go, call, make a reservation now.

Clams

When you are a young 20-something male, beer and clams seems like a logical choice and our younger son was not disappointed.  The bowl was filled with tender, juicy clams and accompanied by 2 slices of toast.  We each sampled a clam and I even was allowed a bite of bread that had soaked up some of the magical briny broth.

The drawback to eating dinner with me when I am excited and at a restaurant I have been dreaming of going to is that I lose any ability to remain calm or cool.  I am in full blown tourist mode.  I want to see everything, touch it, smell it, sample it, check it out and yes, photograph it.  Our table is not next to the windows so when one is vacated, I try to not attract any attention as I walk over and talk a picture with my phone.  Please keep in mind, normally I ALWAYS have the flash turned off.  Except when I took the first one.  Ugh.  I'm pretty sure my younger son died for just a second as the light bounced off the glass and filled the dining room.  Yep.  Sorry everyone.  None of the food pictures I'd taken had flash, but I recovered, turned it off and snapped another before returning to my seat.

Purple Lit Waterfall

On we go to the main courses:

Pork Rillette

Funny how we order our food based on the protein and sometimes forget what else the menu said until our meal arrives.  The pork was resting on a bed of barley, not couscous and though our younger son knew full well the orange bits on top of the pork were not carrots or orange, we were stumped for just a minute until we identified the apricot.  Delicious.

Short Ribs with Chipotle Grits

The fork tender meat was sumptuously soft and inviting served in a pool of flavorful sauce.  The Mr. did not care for the grits and was happy to try some of the Pork as well as my Barramundi.


Barramundi with Sunchoke Puree

Just looking at my plate, I was breathless and felt a bit giddy.  The fish's skin was crisp and savory. Swirling my fork through the puree, into the garlic crumbs and then spearing a piece of fish resulted in the perfect bite.  Textures, flavors, richness - bliss.

Desserts:

Trio of Sorbets

Our youngest avoids dairy and nuts so his dessert options are typically limited.  He orders the sorbet, but pushes it toward his father and I to share.  I do sample a bite of the cookie with a bit of the tart sorbet.  Quite refreshing.

The Mr. and I each ordered:

Deconstructed Pear Whiskey Tart

Whiskey caramel, candied pecans, banana ice cream and chocolate crumbs.  While everyone claims they love chocolate, at times a dessert that is not overly sweet is really what I want and the Deconstructed Pear Whiskey Tart fit the bill on many levels.  The whimsy and fun created by the chocolate crumbs was a great juxtaposition for the grown up whiskey caramel and candied pecans. Banana ice cream.  So mature and memorable.

I had a wonderful dining experience at Swift Restaurant at the Roundhouse and strongly encourage you to visit for your next special occasion or just some night when you are ready to try some place new.  I certainly left feeling Fed Well.



Swift Restaurant at The Roundhouse at Beacon Falls on Urbanspoon


Sunday, March 22, 2015

Limoncello's for Dinner - Spring 2015 Hudson Valley Restaurant Week

Although I have the best intentions to visit a new restaurant during Hudson Valley Restaurant Week, sometimes I also act on a whim and simply seek a local restaurant that is also participating and that is how we chose Limoncello's at the Orange Inn.  We had been to this fine establishment in the recent past for a repast meal and in it's former life as The Orange Inn (back in the '80's we had our wedding rehearsal dinner here).

To begin, I had a difficult time deciding on a cocktail.  I only ever order one drink and want it to work with my meal, be well prepared, balanced in flavor and worthy of my hard earned money.  A tall order for a beverage.


Lemon Drop Martini

I decide on the Lemon Drop Martini as a wink and nod to the restaurant's name.

During Hudson Valley Restaurant Week (HVRW) my family is encouraged to try the event menu, but are more than welcome to also order from the regular menu.

To begin:

I start with the stuffed portobello mushrooms.  A meal in itself, these hearty mushrooms were served over a bed of spinach, and stuffed with ricotta, red peppers, mozzarella and drizzled with balsamic vinegar.  Lovely.  Great combination of textures, hot/cold and balance of flavors.


For the Mr.:

Classic Eggplant Rollatini

The serving size was also generous for this dish.  The eggplant was beautifully prepared and my husband thoroughly enjoyed the sauce.

A gentleman provided entertainment in the form of piano playing and singing for the diners.  I recognized him from his performances at Pine Bush art exhibits and we made a game of trying to guess the song title and artist in as few notes as possible.  I'm revealing my age by referring to the old game show, "Name That Tune."

Main Courses:

For our younger son, an order from the regular menu.

Sirloin Toscana

The menu description:

Grilled vintage black angus 14oz. strip steak, tuscan rosemary garlic butter, broccoli rabe, roasted fingerling potatoes

I was able to sample the vegetables, but was never offered a slice of the steak as he was busy eating every last bite.

For the Mr.

Buccatini Bolognese con Ricotta 
savory pork & beef meat sauce, tomato, thick imported spaghetti, ricotta

Typically the Mr. prefers a thin spaghetti, fine linguini, or even angel hair.  I forewarned him that this pasta would be more substantial.  He nodded and ordered.  This is a huge departure from his favorite chicken marsala and was a risk at the beginning of the meal when he hadn't had a chance to pre-approve of the sauce.  Have I ever mentioned he can be particular?  So, when he give a dish a thumbs-up, it is like a 3 or 5 star rave depending on the scale.

For me:

Ravioli Del Giorno

I have yet to meet a pasta dish I did not enjoy.  The ravioli was tender but firm and the filling was a flavorful pork.  Delicious.

Desserts:


Cannoli

This perfect pastry was not listed on HVRW menu, but when we asked what was for dessert, it was offered.  The crisp shell dusted with powdered sugar was filled with a dense cannoli cream.  So decadent.


Warm Hudson Valley Apple Galette with gelato

Directly from the HVRW menu, the Mr. enjoyed his dessert and not a trace remained on the plate.

We enjoyed ourselves, the entertainment, the food, each other's company and left feeling full and Fed Well.  Thank you Limoncello's and Hudson Valley Restaurant Week for a memorable meal and evening.

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