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Thursday, June 27, 2013

Stony Brae Revisited: Dining Alfresco

I have been to Stony Brae in Cragsmoor a number of times now but had yet to eat outside on their slate patio in the back.  It's been on my "to do" list and is now crossed off.

The goals for a summer weekend should be few and simple.  Mine was something like this:

1.  Enjoy a Cosmopolitan outside
2.  Enjoy a meal outside

A hot Saturday after helping the Mr.'s Mom get settled into her new home seemed like the perfect time to cross items off of a brief to do list and Stony Brae seemed the perfect choice. The Mr. and I were joined by our younger son.

We are asked if we would prefer indoor or outdoor seating and I skip to number two on the checklist.  Alfresco is my goal. The entire area was shaded thanks to the building but the umbrellas did add a certain something to the atmosphere.

To start, I order a Cosmopolitan.  The restaurant offers a twist with a nod to the area in a Cragmoorpolitan featuring a blueberry accent since the area was once a popular blueberry picking destination.

We ordered from both the special and regular menu.  To begin, we were brought out carving boards with a crusty roll that maybe could be called a pop-over shape and butter. It truly is about the simple things sometimes when it comes to food. Fresh bread and creamy butter.  

Next, we shared the clam appetizer.  The spicy sauce had a bit of zip which we loved and ate fairly quickly.

Soups.  Yes, soup in summer. Two orders of the french onion for the men:

I take a sample taste and remember they use something different in their broth - a wine/alcohol/can't quite put my finger on it.

For me, the potato and mushroom soup with truffle oil.  Lovely. The potatoes are pureed and it really doesn't feel heavy or too much.

Time for main courses.

The Caesar Salad with Shrimp for our son.

Though I am not a fan of Parmesan, he enjoys the toile (cracker).

For the Mr. a grilled chicken breast sandwich with avocado and bacon as well as a spicy mayonnaise. No one should be surprised that he selected poultry. The fries were dusted in sea salt, crisp and simply amazing.

Home made pasta.  I didn't have to read another word. Home made pasta with a variety of mushrooms, red peppers in a creamy tarragon sauce and topped with micro-greens. Happy mouth and soul.

I purposely leave half of my entree because I am determined to enjoy a dessert as well. The chocolate flourless cake is dense, with a heavy chocolate flavor served in a pool of creamy goodness dotted with a mocha flavored sauce.

Mission accomplished.

We enjoyed our dining alfresco experience and will return to Stony Brae.  With a small stretch of the imagination it felt a little bit like being on vacation.  The atmosphere, the pace, feeling relaxed and Fed Well were all worth every penny.

Stony Brae on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

ll Villaggio Pizza

Work day lunch.  Sometimes it is the highlight of my work day.  The choice is always easier when you have a craving and every once in awhile the brain simply screams out, "pizza!"  Whenever the brain screams out a food request it simply must be answered.

Suffern, New York and the immediate surrounding towns boast a number of pizzeria choices and I've visited no less than 6. By category the selection includes; flat/thin crust, most traditional New York style, widest variety of toppings, quickest delivery and vast selection of other lunch choices.  

We have used Il Villaggio quite frequently for their take out and so a mid-day field trip is not out of the question.

My friend and I look over the selection in the case and our decisions are quick.  For me, one Nona slice which includes a number of vegetables and a plain slice and for my coworker, also the Nona as well as an eggplant slice

Here they are:

We were served fairly quickly, the food was hot, the cheese had a nice stretch - what more could one ask for?  

Our view:

Beverages can be selected from the coolers and I tried something new!  I prefer to drink bottled water except when I am in a restaurant that may provide tap - in which case I order either unsweetened iced tea or a plain old cola.  

An iced cold iced tea for the pizza adventure
and guess what it tasted like?  Yes - tea!  I was so happy!

The bill for each of us was just over $8.00.  Is that a lot, average or fair for 2 slices and a drink in Rockland County, NY?  The break from a hectic Friday work day left us feeling Fed Well.

Il Villaggio Pizzeria & Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Good Eats at Memory Lane

Wednesday night is car cruise night at Memory Lane in Bloomingburg.

A free, fun, family oriented event which includes music and a car show.

Picnic tables under a pavilion offer cozy seating for those who want to enjoy a burger or cheeseburger with fries or perhaps the evening special.

As the season progresses, a farm stand is also available on site.

Read about Winterton Farms at Memory Lane 2012 by clicking here

Enjoying an ice cream or milkshake while walking among the vintage vehicles is encouraged, but please don't touch the cars.

I haven't decided on a favorite ice cream flavor or treat yet.  I am still working my way through the menu.  I am looking forward to seeing you at the next car cruise.  We can share stories of feeling Fed Well.

Good Eats at Memory Lane on Urbanspoon

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Famous Deli-Licious' Best Kept Secret - PUMPKIN

Once upon a time, a lifetime ago, I worked in a building on Dolson Avenue which was visited by a man a white uniform, with a large white apron and a picnic basket filled with sandwiches for sale.  Many of us would buy them and my quick favorite was roasted red peppers, with fresh mozzarella and portabello mushrooms on a roll.  One day I drove to the Famous Deli-Licious store myself and was amazed - the visuals, the atmosphere, the selection...I had never had such a food experience.  I asked for my favorite and was told they wanted me to try something new.  Pumpkin.

Pumpkin?  On a sandwich?  I couldn't get my head around the idea, but I've always been a fairly adventurous eater (creamed pearl onions/liver/lobster - all tried and liked by the age of 8).  Ok.  I'll have the pumpkin.

I was given a large and crusty roll filled with pumpkin cutlets and my favorite fresh mozzarella.  Oh my.  Leave behind any thoughts of pie or jack-o-lanterns.  This is completely unrelated.  I've been a fan ever since and we now have a family tradition to serve the Famous Deli-Licious pumpkin as part of our Thanksgiving meal.

My younger son craves food from "The Italian Pork Store" and recently requested we have it for dinner and so we ordered a smorgasbord of items for a kitchen table picnic. The relentless rain kept us inside.

Bread.  It all begins with bread.
Prosciutto Bread
"Traditional" Bread
We have also ordered a small ball of mozzarella, black, oil cured olives and marinated mushrooms.

Genoa Salami, Prosciutto and Cappicola
Add a fresh salad, sliced tomatoes and we are almost ready.  I love this buffet feast for the diner's ability to customize flavor combinations.  You can make a gourmet chef salad, a sandwich or a variety of sandwich combinations - open face or closed.  Food heaven for this family. 

I gently heat the pumpkin in the oven for a few minutes and this is how it looks:
A slice of pumpkin on bread with fresh cheese and tomato and I simply cannot speak - not because I have food in my mouth (although that does factor in) but I am speechless.  

I'm sharing a very important secret with you - go to the Famous Deli-Licious Pork Store and order the pumpkin.  Now.  But, if you see me waiting in line, all's fair in food and pumpkin love and I may buy all that remains for sale.  

This dish is one that I will not attempt to make on my own, leaves me and my family feeling Fed Well and has wonderful holiday memories attached.  Today, try the pumpkin.

Famous Deli-Licious Italian on Urbanspoon

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Mountain Brauhaus for Mommy's Birthday Dinner

My Mommy is German and so when it came time for her birthday dinner, I suggested we all try Mountain Brauhaus though I later learned my mother had been there at some point.  Not only had I driven past about a dozen times before and thought about stopping (but it was usually after a day of hiking around Minnewaska and I was in no condition to go out for dinner), something also makes me hesitate about German food.  All those "Wursts" scare me.  Can traditional German food mix with our modern tastes?  

I looked up the menu in advance and sent the link to my mother.  I talked to friends and coworkers and was surprised how many had visited Mountain Brauhaus.  "You must try the pretzel," suggested someone.  I made a mental note to put it on the list.

When I called to make a reservation for 10 I was asked if the meal was a special occasion and so I answered with the truth, "Yes, it is my mother's birthday."  "Would you like us to sing," I was asked.  How fabulous.  I had to say yes and left my mother's name.  After I hung up I realized none of us call her by her first name except my Mr. and brother-in-law, she is Mommy, Mom or Grandma.  Oh well.

The big night arrives and the Mr. drives so some of us can indulge with a cocktail at dinner.  I skip the Cosmopolitan and instead have a Whiskey Sour.

So light and refreshing.

A Grasshopper for the Birthday Girl:

A dark German beer for my son (I apologize, I did not catch the name nor did I write it down) and this was a "Tall."

We order a few pretzels to share and this is how they were presented:

A sweet mustard on the left and traditional mustard on the right.  I am not a huge fan of mustard as a rule, but  will always sample whatever accompanies food as it is intended to be eaten.  The pretzel is somehow cake-like with caraway seeds throughout and has been generously bathed in butter with a sprinkle of salt.  It is worth savoring and is a promising start for the meal to come.

Most of us had salad included with our entree and of the group with salads, I was the only one to ask for dressing on the side.  Many had the house dressing which came with a heavy dose of onion (not sure if that was in the greens or the dressing) while I had the buttermilk and the Mr. had Bleu Cheese (one of his favorites).

Time for the main courses!

Pot Roast with Mashed Potatoes and Broccoli
Chicken Jaeger Schnitzel, Spaetzle and Potato Pancake served with applesauce

The chicken was my dish and the I was quite pleased with my choice.  The breading was crisp without being greasy.  The sauce was delicate and I wished for more.  The spaetzle was tender and did not have that overwhelming doughy taste.  Crispy yet yielding potato pancakes were also just what I craved.

NY Strip Steak with Broccoli and French Fries
Beef Rouladen with Spaetzle and Red Cabbage
Very Traditional American Cheeseburger with fries
A second order of Beef Rouladen with Cabbage and Potato Pancake with applesauce
Another American Classic:  Chicken Club Sandwich

Gunk Burger with Onion and Fries

For those who shared my fear of "Wursts" they likely skipped the German food entirely and that was perfectly fine.  The menu had a wide range to select from and something for every taste could be found.  EVERYONE enjoyed their meal and many to-go containers were filled.  However, a few of us also decided to indulge our sweet tooth's cry out for a "little something."  I also knew we had to order desserts so the traditional song could be sung!

Chocolate Sundae
Coffee Ice Cream

Strawberry Rhubarb Honey Tart
NO ONE wanted to sample the tart with me.  I have to confess, I have no memory of ever eating rhubarb before but if it is prepared in this manner for all desserts, I am a fan.  It is not the most visually pleasing of plated sweets and that may be what turned off the others from trying it.


The photo I cannot share?  The Birthday Girl blew out her candle in a plate of Apple Streudel.  I never share family photos on Fed Well - have to have some shred of privacy in the digital age.  *The one let down of the evening - they were out of Black Forest Cake.  Deducting 2 points for a German restaurant that dares to run out of the number one requested dessert :(

Most of our left-overs are placed in traditional tin circle containers with clear plastic lids.  Except one.  My nephew had this cute and politically correct recycled cardboard container for his burger.  I wonder why we all weren't given these?

The restaurant was quite busy for a regular old week night.  We also were not the only large party in the main dining room.  Dress code was quite casual and the waitresses (servers?) all wore what appeared to be German themed dresses from a by-gone era.

We were together, we celebrated a Happy Birthday, we talked, we laughed and we were quite Fed Well.

Mountain Brauhaus Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Pine Bush Chinese Restaurant - Welcome to the Mr.'s Mother

My Mr.'s mother is 83 and preparing to move. Moving is among the top 5 stressful life situations to experience and I can't imagine having 83 years of life experience makes it much easier.  She is currently in an adult complex that has added residents eligible for Section 8 funded housing and so a mixed element of lifestyles have moved in to her building.  In response, she will be moving to a less expensive complex with a stricter admission policy.  To be direct, her neighbors will likely be women just like her (we didn't see any gentlemen on our first visit but I assume one or two must be mixed in).

After touring her new place, she put her hands on hips and said,  "Well, I'm hungry. How about pizza?"  I counter offered, "Chinese food?" We agreed and were off to the Pine Bush Chinese Restaurant. I've been there many times and have never had a bad experience.

Our niece also joined us and ordered the green beans with rice.

Quite a generous portion of crispy and flavorful beans.

Next up, I ordered the shrimp chop suey and for the Mr.'s mother, the pork chop suey. Served in the footed silver dishes I remember since childhood when visiting a Chinese restaurant.

The Mr. mixes things up by ordering the Golden Steak.  He is concerned, but willing.  The dish arrives separately and the waiter pours all ingredients into the hot platter to create an attention getting sizzle.

We offer, share and taste each other's dishes.  The steak was soft, tender and flavorful. The snap and flavor of the beans are worth keeping as a culinary memory. Both chop suey dishes were loaded with a variety of vegetables and generous portions of shrimp or roast pork.  Everyone has food to take home.

However, I ALWAYS save room for dessert. I have heard rumors of the yet to be medically explained second or dessert stomach and mine certainly does exist.

The pistachio is exactly what I had in mind.  Bits of nuts are balanced throughout the cold and creamy ending to a wonderful meal.

The vanilla was also said to be delicious.

Something about Chinese food and the memories of Chinese restaurants - from being a young girl, going with my family to a restaurant in Pennsylvania (where the Mr. proposed many years later) and remembering ordering from Column A and Column B, to the House of Yuen in nearby Middletown where the Mr. and I dined almost weekly or the buffet style Chinese restaurant in the old Orange Plaza and more recently to the take out from Dragon City in Bloomingburg... no matter where we are in life, at some point we look forward to the comfort and reliability of Chinese food.

Here is my made up fortune for the day, "Those who share Chinese Food will indeed be Fed Well."

Pine Bush Chinese Restaurant Inc. on Urbanspoon