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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