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Tuesday, April 17, 2018

The Vault in Beacon, NY

With a fabulous errand to run in Beacon related to my son and his future bride's wedding, I was happy to meet my future daughter-in-law then go out to dinner. Just the two of us.  She's lovely and I want to start dispelling the belief that all mothers-in-law (m-i-l) are crazy, difficult, tough to get along with in general and all of the other negative stereotypes.  Although we may not agree on every single subject in life, I feel I have a great mother-in-law, and so I'd like to think a positive relationship is possible.

We strolled until we stopped in front of The Vault.  We'd both noticed this restaurant in the past, but hadn't had a chance to try it.  Now was the time.

Although it was cool, cloudy and grey, we could certainly see ourselves returning when the warmer weather does finally arrive.

We loved the idea of ordering a few plates to try and share!  We've already eaten a number of meals together, so I have a feel for her tastes, but it's still fun to navigate the menu, say what each of us would like to try and see how the compromise unfolds.  Truly, I am open to most things with only the lamb sliders as a request.

We are seated with others in the front windows and a few of these tables are filled with a large party before we leave.

The Southwest Salad

The salad includes the best marriage of taco and salad ingredients and flavors without meat.  Corn, beans, guacamole, cheese and crispy tortilla strips all over fresh greens.  Yum!


One of the top comfort foods, ever, is the meatball.  The Vault did a really great job in size, sauce, the cheese and overall flavor.  Very nice and yes, they are memorable.

The Burrata

I never spell burrata right the first time.  However, I've never had a burrata I didn't like.  This particular dish was a special and included figs, balsamic reduction drizzle, toast and arugula to hit all the notes I love - soft, crunchy, salty, sweet - delish.

Lamb Sliders

A very generous serving size of lamb is included in this particular dish.  The sauce reminded me in some ways of one I might use for pulled pork or even (and this is not an insult) Sloppy Joe's.  Something very familiar I just can't seem to name, but like a warm hug from your favorite aunt.


The dessert deserves all caps.  I did commit one m-i-l error and ordered this bit of decadence without checking if my future daughter-in-law even likes coconut.  I was so excited by the idea I couldn't contain myself.  The pie also included chocolate chunks, and swirling a forkful through the sauces on the plate then having a bit of ice cream was the perfect eating method for me.  Just loved this and yes, I ate the cookie.

I loved this evening.  The conversation flowed easily and the pauses felt appropriate rather than awkward silences that needed filling.  A lovely meal, at just the right pace, and I left feeling Fed Well (I hope she did as well).

Friday, March 16, 2018

HVRW at Fin & Brew in Peekskill

Ah, spring in the Hudson Valley - even better, spring in the Hudson Valley for Restaurant Week on the Hudson River at Fin & Brew at Charles Point Marina in Peekskill with like-minded food bloggers and Valley Table magazine.

I was the only one who had previously eaten at Fin & Brew, so I was aware of the second floor location.  However, the other members of our group commented it was a bit confusing to find the restaurant.

The view is absolutely gorgeous.  A cell phone photo on a gray March day simply do not do this any justice, but imagine how amazing the sky will be on a clear summer evening, as the sun begins to dip behind the mountain.  Lovely.

A special Restaurant Week menu with specialty cocktails (with quite catchy names).

I did ask the story behind the "What About Todd" and it is their version of a Hot Toddy.  Clever.

John Sharp, one of the owners, was able to stop by our table and welcome us to the restaurant.  The group asked a few questions about the future vision of the space and we were told more additions will be coming, likely over the summer, so stay tuned.

Paper Plane


I enjoyed the Glinda with prosecco, white rum, white cranberry juice and sage simply syrup.  It was light and allowed me to enjoy my meal without any sugary overkill.


We are a group who are quite passionate about the local food scene and it was an absolute pleasure to dine with others who are enthusiastic about taking photos of their food, share their favorite local restaurants and experiences.  Fabulous!

The Bread Basket

I share this image with you because my darling Mr. is always sadly disappointed when a restaurant no longer offers bread.  This one also had the creamiest butter.  Something about simple.

Mussels next to New England Clam Chowder

I enjoyed the chowder so much! I am a soup lover to begin with, but this version was wonderful.  The creamy, satiny broth; fresh clams; salty, crispy bacon; tender potatoes and herbs all came together to harmonize in each spoonful.


I have previously enjoyed the octopus and Fin & Brew so I went with the chowder.  However, it was very tempting to revisit what you know you loved - as well as not ask your new acquaintance for a bite.


Many of us oogled over the fried chicken and from what we were told - it was everything you could hope for with crispy skin, tender meat, a delicious biscuit. Mmmm.  When was the last time you had real fried chicken?

Personally, I loved the switch up in the menu.  Sometimes, restaurants participating in Restaurant Week select a menu for the event and repeat it each year.  It is refreshing to see something quite unexpected.

Shellfish Garganelli

This was my entree and I can't stop thinking about it.  Yes, I ate it all and yes, every aspect of it was perfect.  For me, it was exactly the right amount of beautifully seasoned sauce, the breadcrumbs were crispy toasty, the seafood was tender, and the pasta (a new shape for me) was a lovely al dente.  So happy with my choice.  I have previously had a great steak here and most of my co-diners ordered the cod, which also received great reviews.

Jane's Ice Cream

I do not know who Jane is, but thank you for this lush, creamy dessert.  Bourbon barrel maple syrup and peanuts over the smoothest vanilla ice cream was a lovely finish.  I was lucky to taste a bite of the cheesecake which was another wonderful option!

We went around the table and shared a bit about our own local, favorite restaurants - great idea as we all live in different areas. 

After our meal we were given a tour of the space and many positive comments were made regarding the design choices from the original brick to light fixtures and artwork.

It was a bonus to make new connections and I left feeling content and Fed Well.

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Hudson Valley Restaurant Week Launch Spring 2018

On the evening of March 6, Restaurant X & Bully Boy Bar was the place to be for the Valley Table launch of Hudson Valley Restaurant Week for spring 2018.

Menus and flowers could be found throughout the event space.  The flowers were also found on the serving trays and platters and reminded attendees that spring is indeed on the way despite the Nor'easter in the forecast.

The dish below was my first taste of restaurant week.  Of course this is not something one will simply find in Mom's kitchen (depending on who your mother is) and I loved it! The mix of textures, the roe with the smooth, soft, cauliflower felt like a lush and decadent treat.

Trout Roe with Cauliflower Fondant

While walking around and meeting the vendors, members of the Advisory Board, restaurant owners and chefs are also mingling.  Ironically, as I tried the mushroom ravioli, I met Nick Citera, owner of the Cosimo's Restaurant Group.  I expressed my love for Cosimo's in Middletown and he shared a brief glimpse of his newest venture which should be arriving on the Newburgh waterfront in the not too distant future.

Wild Mushroom Ravioli with Port Glaze, Truffle & Grated Amoretti

These lovely little cups held the most delicious blend of sweet lobster in a sumptuous broth topped with a whisper of foam.  While most would probably opt to simply sip from the cup, I carefully spooned each morsel to my lips to make the dish last longer, allowing me to enjoy the flavors for a few extra seconds, while ensuring I do not end up with a foam mustache.

Lobster Cappuccino with Mascarpone Foam

And then, the food delights arrived in quick succession and I wanted to try everything...I may have stopped taking photos and simply paused to enjoy each flavorful bite.

Crispy Tuna Roll with Sweet Soy

The Vendors & More

A nicely chilled shot of a very smooth vodka with an olive was just enough to make me want to know more about the brand and how I can buy this product for home.

 I sampled the amazing offerings of various cheeses from 5Spoke Creamery in nearby Goshen.

Among the many beverage purveyors was a non-alcoholic and TASTY option from Tost Beverages

I avoid using the word "tasty" to describe anything because really, what does it describe? An intensity? However, the Tost all natural, dry, sparkling beverage, was full of flavors and yes, I was instantly aware of the snap of the ginger, and it danced across my tongue with delicious bubbles.  What a lovely alternative to alcohol.  Or, I have to say, I wondered how it would work as a "mixer" as well.

And so for me, the Hudson Valley Restaurant Week launch for spring 2018 was complete.  Click here for the list of participating restaurants.

I'll see you at the table and I look forward to being Fed Well.

Monday, February 26, 2018

Brunch at the Hoot Owl

Friends who have lived in the Pine Bush area for more than say, 30 years, have said it is a bit hard for them to embrace the idea of heading to the Hoot Owl restaurant because of memories they associate with the former business.  Please, let it go.  If you are really nervous, start with a weekend brunch, and you will let go of all of your fears.

Brunch begins with a cocktail.  In addition to a lovely specialty cocktail menu, the Hoot Owl's full bar offers mimosas (in this photo is the Blood Orange) and Bloody Mary's or your cocktail of choice.

The atmosphere on a cold, dreary, gray, February morning was warmed by the lighting of a lovely fire.

The menu options are a range including hearty fare and traditional dishes mixed with modern options.  Want an addition or to customize - most requests are absolutely no problem.

Strawberry pancakes above were served with a bit of fruit and my friend asked for an additional two over easy eggs - no problem.  Though I did not try her dish, the plate was clean when it was removed which to me is the best sign of a favorable review.

I selected my meal mostly based on the wonderful, whimsical name, "Green Eggs and Lamb."  Who could resist?

Look at all of this food! A bit of a side salad, scrambled eggs, pita, and the best lamb sausage patty I have ever eaten.  Okay, maybe I've never had a lamb sausage patty, but honestly, the texture, seasoning and amount of cooking were everything I could have hoped for with no reference.  The eggs.  Oh, those eggs.  It sounds so simple, but haven't you had eggs which were just not cooked properly?  These were pillowy, light, yet no runny, watery, undercooked feel.  Heaven.  The herbs were fresh and added the "green" in the Green Eggs without the overdone grassy mouth feel.  And those potatoes with peppers - just the right cripness and served HOT as they should be. The entire plate was well thought out with various temperatures, textures, savory and sweetness.  I almost didn't want to eat the rest of the day for fear of ruining the memory and other food just not living up to this level.

What did we talk about? Well, as you can imagine we touched on a bit of what's going on in the world today and how folks are reacting on social media.  It's a minefield out there.  The two of us do not exclusively share identical points of view on a variety of topics, but we emphatically agree most people who are creating posts regarding their feelings are creating further divides and typically reacting quite harshly.  We talked about the joys of simply scrolling by inflammatory posts without the need to comment, fan the flames or argue.

We talked about family.  And, most importantly, we talked about how delicious our brunch was and left feeling Fed Well.

Monday, January 15, 2018

Village Market & Eatery in Gardiner

Post yoga class with my future daughter-in-law, and she suggested we head over to the Village Market & Eatery in Gardiner for calmbucha.

Um, ok.

Well, to learn a bit more, I had to turn to Google.  It seems Kombucha is or can be, a fermented tea which is lightly effervescent, likely has a yeast component, and is finished with a fairly sweet taste.

Calmbucha it seems is a brand.  According to their website

"Based in New Paltz, we craft bubbly organic kombucha in small batches, with flavors inspired by locally sourced ingredients, served on tap throughout New York's Hudson Valley.

Our raw, premium beverage begins as a sweet organic tea before it's fermented with probiotic & yeast cultures converting the organic cane sugar and caffeine into nutritive, healing and energizing properties. We then creatively enhance the brew with the highest quality herbs, spices, and fruits, producing the refreshing and invigorating drink that you now enjoy!"

Indeed.  Seemed the perfect post yoga liquid refreshment.

Turns out, we also needed solids to refuel and shush my grumbly belly.

I left the decisions up to my future D-I-L and we each had a Black Bean Quesadila which is 2 scrambled eggs with freshly prepared salsa and Jack cheese.

It was a lovely meal and for me, the best part was chatting it over with the young lady my son will marry.  Yes, we talked a bit about the wedding plans, but I always enjoy her company and seems we can talk about a myriad of topics without having to come back to the details of the future nuptials. 

The atmosphere was a bit of wit splashed with tongue-in-cheek.  Laugher could be heard among the various diners, who seemed to range in ages and interests, as a village eatery seems it should.  The paper menu includes a touch of edgy, dark humor with a cover quote, "The best coffee around..." - Guys across the street.

And while the coffee is self-serve, ask for help with the flavored syrup.

I left feeling Fed Well and am likely to return.  Maybe I'll see you there.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

The Local Table and Tap

Summer time and I want to eat outside, preferably with water in view.  Well, a few days ago I went with my family to The Local Table and Tap and though we could not be seated outdoors, we were able to have a casual meal at a new-to-us place.  The dining room was quite crowded and the blackboard specials included beers and an entree which was erased while we were seated (I assume they sold out).

Here's what we had:

A tasty hummus appetizer to share.  The pita was warm and pillowy, the hummus tastefully seasoned and we also enjoyed the artichoke, cucumbers and olives.

Two of us ordered appetizers as entrees and all of our main choices are below:

The buratta with grilled bread, arugula and fruit mustarda

Pierogies: potato and cheese pierogie, garlic kielbasa, caramelized onion, dijon sour cream sauce

This was not my dinner, but I was allowed to sample a bit and it was wonderful - great textures and flavors.

Lettuce Wraps: chilled gulf shrimp, toasted peanuts, Thai chili vinaigrette

I loved this! After having the hummus, it was a nice follow-up.  The lettuce was fresh, the shrimp had the right amount of firmness and the sauce was just slightly zippy.  I barely used the crispy noodles, but it was a nice touch.

Fish and Chips: ale battered haddock, hand cut fries, horseradish slaw, dill remoulade 

The Mr. went a bit out of his comfort zone and tried the fish and chips.  It was a pleasant version of a pub standard.

Chicken Campanelli: grilled chicken, oven-roasted plum tomato, garlic, spinach, organic pasta, Pecorino cheese

Although I did not try this dish, it looked exactly as I imagined it would according to the menu description.

I also enjoyed a "Whiskey Daisy" cocktail which was: Buffalo Trace Whiskey, lemon, Grand Marnier, simple syrup.

I'd love to return and be able to enjoy dining on the deck to truly get a feel for the whole experience. Overall, I felt Fed Well enough to go back - perhaps for a fun night with friends. I am sure this place is packed for concert nights at Bethel Woods.  Make a reservation and check it out.

Friday, June 9, 2017

The Hoot Owl Restaurant in Pine Bush

Many locals are more than familiar with the location of the Hoot Owl or "The Hoot," but for those who are not, it is located at 26 Awosting Road outside of Pine Bush.  Some may have known it as a dive bar, but now it has had a remodel, redo and updating that made me very curious.  So, I grabbed one of my best friends and made the quick trip to take look, have a taste and see if I would be Fed Well.

It was easy to meet owner, Arif Khan, as he was working the front of the house and waiting on tables. Once I introduced myself and my friend, I asked if he could decide what I would eat, and so it begins...

Notice that purple hummus? How could you not? Well, it was just as appealing in taste as it is in appearance.  The beet taste was mildly sweet, the consistency lush and smooth.  The naan (I may be wrong as it is listed as pita on the menu) was pillowy inside with a few crisp edges to hold the weight of the hummus.  Garlic was the middle flavor and romesco (red pepper) round out the offerings.  A perfect sized appetizer for two to share and I made quite certain I had my share.  In fact, I would go back just for this starter.

I love olives.  All colors.  Pits, no pits, in my Tito's martini, on a plate, in a bowl, I like them here and I like them there. You get the idea.  Well, fried olives? I've never. Loved it. Another welcome food surprise.


For those who either simply prefer a burger, or are not familiar with some of the Indian menu offerings, a loaded cheeseburger with home-made fries is the answer (along with other available options).

For me, the Creamy Chicken Curry or Murgh Makhami, with rice and yogurt sauce, was warmly seasoned and so satisfying.  The chicken was tender, the rice was appropriately firm and the cucumber yogurt provided that bit of refreshing coolness when needed.  If I had more pita, I probably would have sopped up more of the sauce from my dinner.

Dessert? Yes, of course.

A wonderful sweet treat for one or for us, it was lovely to share - flourless chocolate cake with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

If you remember The Hoot, this is not simply a new version of the old bar.  So, go and enjoy The Hoot Owl Restaurant and be Fed Well.  We ran into several people we know so don't be surprised to see friends and neighbors at the next table.