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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.

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