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Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Lakeview House - Orange Lake, NY

It was a long, cold, harsh, and snow covered winter.  Now, it is full blown summer weather in the Northeast and for the very first time, I was a passenger in a cool convertible as a friend and I headed off on a sunny weekend and went out to lunch.  

Sun shining, breeze blowing, little green sports car and conversation flowing.  

I'd been to The Lakeview House on Orange Lake this past winter during Hudson Valley Restaurant Week and wanted to return and try dining al fresco.  My friend was agreeable and so our lunch trip begins.

We are seated in a shady area and can clearly see the lake.  Once in awhile a boat or jet ski goes by, but mostly all is a bit quiet and peaceful.  We are given regular menus and a list of specials to choose from, but first a cocktail.  A blend of ingredients, one of which was lemonade, with an adult upgrade. Refreshing without the bite of too much alcohol.

Soup. Yes, soup.  While some may think weather dictates the menu, I can always eat soup and this seafood carrot and ginger cup of goodness was well worth breaking the conventional rules of reserving soup for winter.

Shrimp Tacos

Fabulous smoky and vibrant flavors come from the shrimp seasoning then are cooled by the fresh greens and avocado in every bite.  The shells are so filled with ingredients they try to escape out the top and back of the shell while you are eating.  This is a two handed, full concentration needed effort and exactly what I hoped for when I ordered the dish.  Fully satisfying.

Salad with Grilled Chicken

With a selection of dressings, the salad appears to be both a generous portion of veggie and chicken. I'm certain if the contents of the plate were weighed, one might be surprised by the total.

Orange Lake

For whatever reason, I wanted to walk right down to the dock, take my shoes off and swing my feet in the water.  I'm sure this behavior would be frowned upon, but the urge was there.


Again, making a choice that may not seem to fit with the season, I had a lovely cup of cappuccino. Indulgent? Perhaps.  After all, this is a leisurely lunch treat, not a workday where you simply shove food in as fuel to get you through the day.

Creamsicle Pie

Finally, the most memorable course of the meal and one that could arguably be called the most seasonally appropriate, a huge slice of Creamsicle Pie.  Graham cracker crust layered with orange sherbet and vanilla ice cream, topped with whipped cream and orange slice. STOP! It was insane. Delicious, creamy, refreshing and genius.  I've since had food dreams of the Creamsicle Pie.

With full bellies and content with our chat we said farewell to The Lakeview House and left feeling Fed Well.  I am glad to have revisited this local gem and dined outside.

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Thursday, July 16, 2015

Quick Breakfast

I can't tell you how many times I have stood in front of an open refrigerator door or the pantry and just wanted a tasty food item to simply jump out at me, ready to go, easy to eat while satisfying my craving for either a particular flavor or simply the need to chew.  Sometimes, you simply have to be creative.

I gathered a wrap, a banana, the peanut butter and chocolate syrup.  In the past, I have substituted Nutella for the peanut butter and syrup.  I have also used honey instead of chocolate.  Thing is, you can do this with whatever ingredients you like and as a bonus, it is just as portable as a pre-packaged granola bar or breakfast bar.  

It only takes a minute to prepare yourself a health snack or breakfast that will leave you feeling Fed Well.

Pizza Plus in Pine Bush

Dough, sauce and cheese.  The fewer the ingredients, the more important they are in providing a perfect pizza.  I don't know the secret recipe at Pizza Plus and it may very well include more than 3 delicious ingredients, but what I can share is, I'm glad to have them and so far, fabulous flavors!

A few months ago, my older son and I attended the Pine Bush Chamber of Commerce meeting held in Pizza Plus' restaurant and I was able to sample the following dishes:

Again, seemingly simple foods brought together to create a harmonious bite.  The meats and cheeses were just the right texture and the olives were salty goodness.  A great finger food for networking with local business owners and their representatives.

Fresh salad.  Colorful, bright, and a nice combination of peppery, savory and the sweet burst of grape tomatoes.  Nice.

I also appreciate the attention to detail in setting up a buffet.  Flowers, display signs and an orderly flow all make it seem like an indulgence rather than a simple business meeting.  Extra points for caring.

But really, when all is said and done, the taste of the pizza is really what matters and Pizza Plus handles the scrutiny my son and I give their offering.  The dough was perfect, not charred, but cooked and the sauce is sweet and delicate with cheese that passes the stretchy test.  A nice chew and yes, we went up a second time for more.

Toppings, toppings and more toppings with endless combinations available. 

Daily specials keep things lively.  Note: this photo is now a bit outdated so call ahead  or check their website here and confirm what today's special really is and so you are not let down.

Overall, we loved Pizza Plus and have been back on our own.  We also look forward to future take out.  Welcome to the neighborhood Pizza Plus and thanks for leaving us feeling Fed Well.

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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:

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.

Click to add a blog post for Delanceys on Zomato 

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