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Saturday, December 28, 2013

The White Wolf Restaurant & Lounge

The White Wolf Restaurant & Lounge in Napanoch was first introduced to me as the site of my sister's wedding reception and we later returned to celebrate one of her birthdays.  After receiving a Christmas gift certificate, most of the family and I returned for a post-holiday meal and armed with my cell phone camera, I prepared for a Fed Well blogger review.  

A view of the remaining to be seated area of the dining room.  By the way, on a cool winter night, the large and open area was comfortably warm and welcoming.  We also enjoyed the seasonal paintings on the windows.

I should mention we were seated promptly and the young lady who was our server was also quick to greet us and take our drink order.  Yes, a standard Cosmopolitan.  The restaurant offered a beer and wine list but I am starting to look for specialty cocktails when dining out, especially when the location offers a separate bar or lounge.

A linen wrapped bread basket was placed on the table with individually wrapped servings of butter.  I have to admit, I was skeptical.  As soon as I touched the warm and crusty seeded roll my mind started to change. The inside was soft and warm throughout so the cold butter could spread and yes, it tasted amazingly fresh. These first food impressions make all the difference.

One of the Mr.'s favorites is French Onion Soup and so far, only one Hudson Valley Restaurant's preparation was so removed from his traditional expectation that he will never order it at that particular establishment again.  However, the experience shook his faith enough to make him a bit cautious when dining in unfamiliar territory.  Luckily, the White Wolf's classic treatment of the onion, broth, bread and cheese has helped restore his faith and expectations about French Onion in a crock.  I was able to sample a spoonful as well and found it to be a rich broth and overall good representation of a standard.  

The only other soup options were a potato vegetable or a creamy tomato and since neither of these choices are a favorite of our older son, he instead had a salad which was included with his meal.

Our son's girlfriend and I order the White Wolf Burger which is of course prepared to ordered doneness as well as customized by toppings. We both agree on lettuce and tomato, but for her raw onion and for me, BACON. We also both skip the cheese. The seeded bun is toasted just crisp enough without falling apart or having the inside charred on a grill. Yum. The fries are lightly seasoned and crisp. Perfect anti-holiday, anti-fancy food (though those options are also available on the menu.  In fact, the offerings range from cuisine to pub grub.)

One of the evening specials, "Complete Dinner" including the French Onion soup and choice of an ice cream sundae or apple pie for dessert, was the Wiener Schnitzel the Mr. ordered.  I know, for those of you who have read about his dinner choices in the past they are typically a chicken dish and high on the list for him is Chicken Marsala. He felt the need to break out of his culinary comfort zone. Honestly, I was nervous until I saw the plate arrive. The portion was a healthy size and yes, I interrupted by sticking my fork in there and having a bite as well.  It was delicious. The meat was pounded thin, the breading was delicate, nothing was greasy and the sauce was flavorful.  While potato pancakes may have made him happier than the included mashed, the potatoes were good as well.

So what did our son select?  A full rack of ribs.  I had told a story during dinner about a restaurant the Mr. and I went to for New Year's Eve and that I had ordered what reminded me of the Flintstones in the form of a huge bone in piece of meat I could only describe as Brontosaurus, but now wonder if maybe these ribs weren't the same ones that were placed on the tray at the Drive-in for Fred to enjoy.

He has a "grown ass" man appetite and even with leaving a few french fries and the cole slaw behind, he struggled with the last rib and a half.  My forkful sample was tender and the sauce sweet.

We were checked on throughout the meal, drinks were refilled as needed and the other diners included a few young families.  One story we shared included how the Mr. would tease our young sons about their being a restroom attendant in the men's room at some restaurants.  Though it was true once when they were small and we went some place near Disney World, if the Mr. used the restroom during a meal he would return and share his experience about having the soap dispensed for him and hands dried until one of the boys used the same facility and returned to the table to say, "No one was in there."  I told of the most elaborate restroom experience being at Le Cirque where white gloved attendants opened the door in-between users to ensure the area was in acceptable condition for the next, um, guest.

Conversations sometimes simply take on their own path and that is what makes each family meal experience as unique as the menu.  We are Fed Well and thank my Mommy for the gift certificate.

In preparing to write this post, I was happily surprised to see that Fed Well is the #1 ranked blog for the Middletown area by Urban Spoon and would like to thank every reader and supporter.  This also leaves me feeling Fed Well.

Fed Well Middletown restaurants

The White Wolf on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Ward's Bridge Inn

A few occasions in life simply call for going out to dinner afterward and Christmas Tree Hunting is one such time.  We opted to get this year's tree from the Montgomery Volunteer Firehouse and after a quick poll, Ward's Bridge Inn was the obvious choice for dinner.

The first sign of a good meal is a perfectly made cocktail and for me, yes, a Cosmopolitan.  It was delicious.

The discouraging aspect of food blogging lately has been dim restaurant lighting.  I try to be as discreet as possible and have implemented a "pass the phone" system at the table so my family can simply take a quick, non-flash photo of their plate and then pass it to the next person.  This method gives a varied perspective and allows us to get to our meal as quickly as possible.  However, with lighting that is too dim, I am not only slightly disappointed in the resulting photos, I can't help but feel it throws off the atmosphere just a bit as well.  I am all for mood lighting, and would balk at bright and glaring light, but like music, is a middle volume very difficult?

So, with advance apologies to photo quality, here is a peek at the food.

Soup to start for me.

The Manhattan Clam Chowder was loaded with celery, carrots and a few potatoes and clams.  The broth was flavorful and the soup was served piping hot.

The Mr. opted for a tossed salad he said was fresh and crisp (must have been great or he was starving since he only left behind a small sliver of cucumber because he does not like it).

Our young men passed on a starter course.

Main Courses/Entrees:

The Lobster Rolls were delicious.  I have to confess, I peeled the contents out of the bun and ate it with my fork.  The french fries were laced with Truffle Oil, perfectly crisp and seasoned.  I think I am still dreaming of them.

This is an example of an amazingly bad photo, low lighting, etc.  However, it was the Ward Burger platter and my older son made it disappear.

No, the Fed Well blog did not accept advertising on behalf of Heineken.  Our younger son recently turned 21 and so this was his first family dinner in a restaurant with an adult beverage.  Clinking my glass with his bottle for a symbolic "Cheers" was more than a toast, it was our family turning the corner into adulthood.

As for his dinner, the crispy onion straws were lightly crunchy and I was happy to help take a few from his plate.  The sirloin tips and potatoes were a small portion for a growing young man.

Everyone knows the Mr. enjoys chicken and his favorite is Chicken Marsala, but tonight he decided on Parmigiana.  I asked permission to sample and after I tasted both the pasta and chicken thought he would enjoy it.  He would have preferred more sauce and held further comment regarding the chicken and so we could only rate the overall dinners as 3 out of 4 forks up since he was not giving his meal an A grade and our younger son would have enjoyed a bit more food.

We bought the first Christmas Tree we saw.  We enjoyed a lovely meal together and though it took us a few days to all be together for decorating, the house and tree are ready.  We are Fed Well and I am sharing a peek at our personal life with a photo of our Maddy by the tree.  Happy Holiday, Merry Christmas and Terrific Tuesday to you and yours.

Ward's Bridge Inn on Urbanspoon

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Monticello Raceway/Casino - The Terrace - a pleasant surprise.

I've been to the Monticello Racino a few times in the past but the funny thing is I have been there the last 2 Friday nights in a row.  No, I am not developing a habit.  We went as a family of 5 the first week and then my Mommy asked if I wanted to meet here this past Friday and so, I went with my younger son.  Since we had the buffet the first week, I wanted to try the restaurant this past week.  World of difference.  Still not 5 star dining, but if I have reason to visit again, I will skip the buffet.

I know, buffets have their purpose and I'm not putting this one down, but if all I want is soup and a little something, why pay for the full line of items I am not likely to eat.

Funny, now when I see "soup du jour" on a menu I can't help thinking of the clip from Dumb and Dumber. In the scene Jim Carrey asks the waitress, "What's the soup du jour?"  She responds, "It's the soup of the day." He then says, "That sounds good. I'll have that."  Ah the sophisticated humor of Jim Carrey.

The soup of the day at The Terrace happened to be one of my favorites - New England Clam Chowder. But, do I dare try it at the racino?  Yes!

Packed with potatoes, clams, veggies and with a broth that was perfect even for Goldilocks - not too thick, not too thin.  The temperature of every bite was steamy hot!  I ate the entire crock and loved it.

Soup for my son as well, but he instead shares a passion for his father's favorite soup, the French Onion. They both favor this soup in it's most classic form and do not want any modern twists.  This version was no disappointment.

Main courses.  For my Mommy, a steak sandwich which she enjoyed:

We watched the line for the buffet grow and grow.  Some had coupons for a free dinner and while no one can argue with the value of a free meal, I equally support the right to choose and have what you want!

My son and I order quesadillas that were listed as appetizers but we thought in combination with our soup they would be more than enough food.  See what you think of the serving size:

It was about the size of a pizza folded in half.  I ate one section and was completely stuffed!

As far as cost, it was a little bit more than the buffet, but not enough to worry about spending.

We returned to our games and an announcement came over the speakers, "Will the following two people please report to the Player's Club for Turkey Bowling..." and guess who was called.  Yes, this gal.

I was nervously excited and hopeful.  I was handed a hollow turkey of undetermined material to slide down a bowling lane and had 2 chances to knock down all the pins and win a coupon voucher for slots.  What do you think happened?

I needed both tries, but yes, I won!

The winning did not influence my opinion of the meal, but it is altogether a great memory. Try The Terrace and if nothing else, maybe you'll just have a good time and feel Fed Well.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Sunday Morning at the Cup and Saucer in Pine Bush, NY

A good meal to catch up over is breakfast and so I summoned available family members and headed out to the Cup and Saucer Diner in Pine Bush.  For me, it is almost like going to a friend's house; it is in a family friendly neighborhood, comfortable and casual.

After all, the food is important, but if the atmosphere is all wrong, I would never return.  I am always happy to see my friend, Marlene and am sure to run into others I know and care about. 

We talk about current events.  Our town has received some recent negative press and since we have lived in the area for 3 generations now, we try to envision the place that was written about compared to the hometown we see day after day.  The stories don't quite match and we wonder if we simply are not aware, if something was blown out of proportion, or if maybe the conspiracy theories are true and the horror stories were brought to light to portray the citizens in a bad light.

Breakfast.  The reason, or the excuse, for our gathering.  Here's a look at the food:

Fruit Cup

Though I'm not a grapefruit fan, the rest of the fruit is sweet and refreshing.  A great start to the meal.

2 poached eggs with wheat toast and potatoes

My breakfast.  I love eggs and have yet to meet a way to prepare them that doesn't make me happy.  The poached egg yields to gentle pressure from the toast and my taste buds smile at the warm gooey yolk.

Sunny Side Up with Bacon*

Silver Dollar Pancakes with Chocolate Chips

I enjoy watching Catherine as she dips each forkful of pancake very carefully into the container of syrup.

French Toast with Bacon

My Mommy knew exactly what she wanted without a menu and was happy with her choice.

*The photo of the eggs and bacon includes an extra side of bacon that came with the silver dollar pancakes. Serving size not typical :)

We talk.  We talk about family, aging, work and holidays.  Venting. Yes, that happens.  After all, if you can't talk it over with your family, who can you talk to?

The check is quietly place on the table and we continue to talk. The time passes quickly and people have come and gone. The day is dreary, rainy and cool, but I'm feeling Fed Well for having spent some time with my Mommy, and part of my little family. Before leaving, I run into a friend that is fairly new to my life but it feels like she has always been there. Cup and Saucer (though my mother-in-law has taken to calling it the Tea Cup) is simply one of my favorites. Time to part ways, but with a craving for something warm and sweet, I make a quick stop at the drive through for a pick me up.

An after breakfast treat - hot French Vanilla Latte!

Though the Fed Well blog may not have a particular rhythm, neither does life as it ebbs and flows, sometimes gently or with pounding fury. The grey rainy days serve their purpose as well, for without them, the continuous sun would make life a desert.

Cup & Saucers Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Hudson Valley Restaurant Week Launch at Millbrook Vineyard and Winery Autumn 2013

*Hudson Valley Restaurant Week is abbreviated to HVRW and can be found on Instagram, Twitter and all the popular social media sites. For a listing of participating restaurants and more information, click here.

I have attended several HVRW launches in the past and thank you meals for being a guest blogger. I have been lucky enough to dine at Kittle's Crabtree House, Restaurant X, the Culinary Institute of America and now the Millbrook Vineyard and Winery.  

Here is how the day looked for me (and yes, I did leave my day job for a half-day - who wouldn't?):

I started out clicking my ruby shoes together and hoping for an adventure!

It was a 90 minute drive from the day job to the winery. The bonus was that I did not get lost.  

What did we all do before the magic of a GPS?

The Winery:

Participating Chefs and Vendors

Vendors offered tastings from fresh, raw produce to gourmet pizzas topped with ingredients like kale and bacon or truffles. Some of the offerings were:

Dutch's offered a seasonal apple cocktail and was the first taste of the day.

All of the cheese were delicious. The Margie, which was compared to a brie, was smooth, creamy and lush. Many commented about loving the slate display.

The bounty of the harvest was beautifully staged and served:

A selection from Cosimos Restaurant Group

Action all around as press/media try to do their jobs as well:

A time for first Foie Gras from Hudson Valley Foie Gras:

Black coffee? Not normally something I indulge in, but Irving Farm Coffee Roasters made it something I might actually begin to crave.

Adams Fair Acre Farms was on hand with some very important goodies;  bottled water, bags for all the swag, fresh apples, and cheese platters.

Black Dirt Distillery from Warwick offered a selection of liquors, gin and more...

 Acorn Hill Farm located in Walker Valley, NY was on site with soft cheeses including ricotta, chevre and chevre with lavender and honey (my favorite of those offered).

Chef prepared venison stew with cheesy grits was simply  the star of the day. Unfortunately, the photograph was the worst of the event. The meat was tender, soft and succulent. I have eaten venison since childhood in a number of preparations and found this to be the best bite of the afternoon.

Time for dessert from Tantillo's Farm:

What did I enjoy from the Millbrook Vineyard and Winery?

The group photo was taken, some opted for tours of the winery with the promise of participating in a "crush" and since I am not a wine enthusiast and I do have about a 90 minute drive home, I opt instead to say my good-byes and pet the dog before heading off.  

I look forward to the meal I will have during HVRW and sharing the journey here on Fed Well.