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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. 




Friday, March 20, 2015

Tuthill House at the Mill - Hudson Valley Restaurant Week Spring 2015

Imagine knowing someone for all but 8 years of life...no, we do not speak to each other every day and yes, sometimes we may not see each other for long stretches, but we have pretty firm roots in each other's lives.  Shared experiences, stories, a history and the desire to stay in touch.  I had a dream about her and we decided it was time to get together for lunch.

The timing was perfect to also sneak in a restaurant that is participating in Hudson Valley Restaurant Week (HVRW) Spring 2015 and Tuthill House at the Mill was a perfect fit for us.



Tulips - my absolute favorite and they remind us that warmer weather is on the way.



A few views of the dining room right before it filled up.



We were given a stack of paperwork - HVRW menu, regular menu, wine list, cocktails, specials, oh my.



I was excited to catch-up with my friend and though I knew I was ordering from the HVRW menu, I didn't want her to feel restricted or obligated, but she went along as well AND as really great friends do, she let me sample each course.  Love her!


Tomato Soup

"I think this is the best tomato soup I've ever had," she said.  Well, I had to try it after that proclamation.  It was delicious.  Creamy, but fresh tasting at the same time.


Petite Wedge Salad

All of the ingredients were as you would imagine from this photo; bright and crisp where they should be with a combination of textures ranging from smooth to crunchy.  Though I may have pushed aside a few pickled onions (they were delicious), I made sure I ate every speck of the flavorful pork belly. An amazing start.

We talk a lot about our families.  We know each other well enough to be quite familiar with each other's families including parents, children, siblings and spouses.  A luxury to be guarded and protected.

Main courses - 

Ricotta Cavatelli

I knew even before I ordered that I would not be finishing my main course to allow room for dessert and my theory was confirmed once the generous portion was placed on the table.  A hearty dish of veggies including asparagus, peas, mushroom, and pasta in a luscious broth.  The meal was filling and quite flavorful.

My friend participates in boot camps and makes healthy food choices on a regular basis.  For this occasion though, the bacon cheeseburger won.  What's a few extra burpees among friends?

Bacon Cheeseburger Shown Topless 
(Bun removed for photo purposes)

I could not resist stealing a crispy french fry! So delicious.

Our children are in various stages of life with worries ranging from driving to wedding plans.  How did we get here? Where did the time go?  Just yesterday wasn't I learning how to do the Bus Stop (70's style disco line dancing) at her birthday sleep over?  I was skinny, hated my arms and wouldn't change into my pjs in front of anyone.

Dessert time!


Chocolate Covered Bananas!

What seems healthier than chocolate covered fruit for dessert?  

Although the restaurant was relatively quiet when we arrived, it is now humming with all seats filled and the conversation is flowing.  My friend recognizes someone two tables away and at the table next to us.  I always find meeting up with folks we know comforting though I know some who prefer to escape when dining out.


Chocolate and Orange Bundino

The chocolate base is dense, less dense then fudge yet far firmer than pudding.  The orange test is faint and the chocolate is not on the sweet side of the scale - perhaps more semi-sweet to almost bitter, but I am thoroughly enjoying it.  The cream is sweet enough and yes, I fully understand the crispy rice cereal for crunch. Lovely.

Fresh Valley Table magazines 

We enjoy our time together, away from the hustle and bustle of every day life.  We run off to our cars in the rain, share a quick hug and slip back into our routines.  We were Fed Well and I know we will share a meal, stories and some time again.






Friday, March 6, 2015

Philly Cheese Steak Stuffed Peppers


Yes, I also cook.  Frequently.  Thing is, I sometimes get so bored with my own cooking, I will eat go insane during a food/meal rut until I find my next creative dish and then I'm back on track.  The internet has a million food ideas and recipe sources, but an unlikely source for me has turned out to be Pinterest.  And that is how Philly Cheese Steak Stuffed Peppers were born.

For my version you will need the following for 4-5 servings depending on appetite sizes and if served with a side dish:

5 green bell peppers
1 lb. thinly sliced roast beef
2 small onions
1 pound sliced mushrooms
1/2 pound sliced, provolone cheese

To begin, I roasted 5 halved green bell peppers that were sprinkled with Kosher salt on a sheet pan in a 400 degree oven for 15 minutes.  I did not use any oils or cooking sprays, but you can do whatever makes you happy.




While the peppers softened, I sauteed the onions in olive oil in one pan (sprinkled with salt & pepper)



and the mushrooms in another:



Yes, you can brown everything all together.  However, if you have someone in your house that doesn't like either onion or mushrooms, this is an easy way to make separate servings.

You can also substitute the deli roast beef for whatever thinly sliced beef you want to make yourself or you can even use venison if desired.  I'm also sure sauteed chicken could work or omit any meat for a vegetarian dish.

Next, I drained the bit of pepper juice that pooled in the roasted peppers before layering in first a slice of cheese, then the beef and onions/mushrooms and finally topping with more cheese.


Back in the oven at the same 400 degree setting until the cheese is melty, ooey and brownish goodness.  We ate this as a main course with potato salad or chips (both were on the table) and decided the recipe is a keeper and may be cut into strips to be served as a party appetizer.



The finished product above highlights 2 pepper halves with black pepper to indicate they do not contain mushrooms.

It was a perfect weeknight quick and satisfying meal for 5 adults and my older son was able to take some to work today for lunch.  We were Fed Well and I am going back on-line to find the next dinner hit.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Hudson Valley Restaurant Week Launch - Spring 2015

As the snow continues to follow on a Sunday afternoon in the Hudson Valley, Fed Well's thoughts turn to spring...and the next season of Hudson Valley Restaurant Week (HVRW)!  The Valley Table magazine launched the first Hudson Valley Restaurant Week 9 years ago with 80 participating restaurants with the intention to honor the Farm-to-Table and locally sourced movements.  This year, over 200 area restaurants will be offering prix fixe menus for lunch and dinner from March 9 - 22.  (Click here for participating restaurants).  Please note, drinks, tax and tip are NOT included.

To prepare everyone for this season's best ever HVRW, a launch event was held at Captain Lawrence Brewing Company and was attended by chefs, restaurant owners, members of the press and yes, food bloggers like Fed Well.  It was a fun, feeding frenzy.  Here's a peek at how things looked...



From a rustic podium, guests are welcomed, thanked and encouraged to further participate and support both HVRW and the local vendors/purveyors that support the chefs and restaurant owners.



Presentation of fresh produce and samples when possible abound...

 Soda Syrup by More Good in Beacon


One of my absolutely favorite finds of the evening was More Good's soda syrups. This product is available for the general public to purchase, not just professionals or restaurateurs.  I only had the opportunity to try the Ginger Ale, but I have to say it was crisp, refreshing, and I was so very thankful to have another beverage option.  I don't mind beer or wine, but they are not something I will seek out and in fact, rarely order when out.  I enjoy a variety of cocktails and have nothing against alcohol (though I drive a substantial distance for fine food so I would not risk impairing my driving ability). I also loved their spirit and excitement as well as the tips regarding how to mix the syrup for a home-made soda in addition to in a "More Good" cocktail.  Can't praise this company and idea enough.

A typical Fed Well food blog for a restaurant review follows the order the meal is presented.  This entry will go in the order I walked around the room or indulged in certain foods.  Though I did not try one, the Red Velvet cupcakes appeared picture perfect.



Suddenly, the smell of smoked meat filled the air and the room felt like a celebrity was now walking among us. A pig from Hemlock Hill Farm had been smoked by Clock Tower Grill was brought in on a board and placed on a table.  




The buzz began and the press moved into position.




A few moments later, a smoked Sterling Caviar Sturgeon was placed next to the pig and many of us could barely contain ourselves.


Chef Rich Parente 

Attendees moved in closer and closer to the table, plates in hand, salivating and excited. A few chefs were able to have the first samples and give Chef Parente a number of thumbs up and words of appreciation.



I've no point of reference for the flavor as I've never had smoked sturgeon of any kind.  What I can tell you is the smoke was not overpowering, the fish was tender, juicy and well, meaty.  I had a portion of about 1 1/2" x  2 1/2" and it was actually quite filling as well.

Working around the room counter-clockwise, I am just a foot or so away from culinary greatness, Chef Peter Kelly.  


Cubed Corn Bread

Chef Peter Kelly

Duck confit.  My only regret of the evening is not stopping to sample the duck and strike up a conversation with Chef Kelly.  He seemed especially busy, in his element and jovial.  I felt like a little star-struck and though I'd met Chef Kelly a few years ago when he hosted an HVRW blogger thank you event, I continued to take photos and move along.


Around the bend to ACE Endico's display and their offerings including flavored vinegars.  





Seafood Ceviche 

and my 2nd favorite bite (slurp) of the day:


Sweet Potato Soup

While others simply slurped the soup down like a shot, I took my time and savored it - spoonful by delicate spoonful.  


Micro Greens displayed by ACE Endico

I am ready for Hudson Valley Restaurant Week to begin and you can look forward to one of my reviews being The Roundhouse in Beacon.  The website appears to be under construction, but I've had my eye and taste buds on this one for awhile.  



So, are you going to attend Hudson Valley Restaurant Week?  Where will you dine?  I'm sure you will be happy with your choice and are sure to leave feeling Fed Well.