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Thursday, March 16, 2017

Hacienda in Goshen, NY

Regardless of our age, women friends with other women are always known as "girlfriends." Sometimes it's funny to me that with a vocabulary available to us of over 171,000 words in the English language and about 25% of them being adjectives, we don't identify our adult friendships with women, regardless of age, years known or other information, any differently than our childhood counterparts, the girls we jumped rope with at recess.  Although, thinking about it a little further, maybe all I really need is better terms for new versus "been my buddy for awhile" rather than anything to do with gender. Sigh.  Labels are silly after all and I wouldn't introduce you to either of them in this manner at all, I'd simply say, "Reader, I'd like you to meet So and So."

Well, a newer friend/acquaintance, a close lady pal who is a mutual friend to us both, and I all decided to meet up for dinner.  One of us requires gluten-free options and so, Hacienda in Goshen, NY was our destination.

I have to admit, I was a bit confused by my GPS since I remembered the restaurant to be visible from Route 17 although I had never eaten there.  I was pleasantly surprised to realize the location is the previous site for La Masquerade and La Nieves - ok, so if you really work at it, you realize I am of a certain age if I remember those spots.  Bottom line, the building is large and modern with ample outside cafe-style seating available in nice weather.

I love the outside decorations; ready for St. Patrick's Day, Mardis Gras, and a nod to Mexican Skull Art and Calaveras, in both female and male renditions.


 



The interior is bright, fun, clean and welcoming.


Ah the creamy deliciousness that is guacamole.  Prepared right before your eyes, allowing you to both customize the ingredients and ensure the freshness of your order.  Lovely.

 

Shredded Beef Tostadas.

The best interpretation of this dish I have had to date.  The shells were crisp. The meat was soft to the mouth, yet nicely seasoned.  The lettuce and tomato were chilled as were the rest of the toppings.  Absolutely wonderful.

 

Camarones.  What a fun word.  Shrimp.  This happy diner enjoyed every last bite so I think it is safe to say it was prepared to her liking.

What do three adults with grown children discuss at dinner? Their parents (two have moms with the same birthday), their families, a little bit about work, hobbies and of course, looking forward to better weather in the Hudson Valley.

Time for dessert:

 


Something about sharing a sweet something after a meal... above is an example of sweet chimichangas, and below is a mango cheesecake.  Take a moment and try to imagine how decadent these desserts were and I will tell you, they were even better than your imagination.


 

Well, we even had a brief discussion about politics without anyone's feelings getting hurt and we do span from left to right in thinking, but the difference is we are accepting of the opposing point of view when it can be rationally discussed.  Sprinkle a bit of emotion when discussing our current political officer holders (from local level to the White House) and you could be in for an unpleasant experience.

Hacienda, thank you for allowing us the place to meet up, share thoughts, enjoy wonderful food and drink (did I mention the classic Margarita with extra salt was amazing?) that left us all feeling Fed Well.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Gaby's Cafe in Ellenville, NY


For years, if you asked me what my favorite foods were the answer would somehow include pasta and seafood.  Mexican food wasn't even in my top ten because my only experience was home made tacos that included the use of a cardboard yellow box kit.  Nothing wrong with that - I've made that meal countless times for my only family, but the point is, I had no real experience with Mexican food and a bunch of preconceived and false notions that it would be too spicy.  Period. Spicy. Avoid.

Over the last ten years, Mexican food, in general, has moved right up to the top five favorites.  I even have a few Mexican restaurants that I like and use as benchmarks (I won't mention them here because that's not the point) and Gaby's Cafe has been recommended to me countless times, so here we are at Gaby's. The dining room is full, almost to capacity, and we are greeted then seated quite quickly.


It really is mandatory to begin with guacamole.  My preference is for fresh, tableside preparations, and least desirable is something that seems like it was covered and refrigerated for an undetermined amount of time.


Looks pretty darn good, doesn't it? Freshly green, cilantro, tomato, creamy goodness and a full basket of chips.  Ah.


The decor is eclectic fun and the light fixtures include tequila bottles as shades over the bulbs.  


I do not normally order soup at a Mexican restaurant, in fact, I only did it one other time, but this winter night was cold and I simply craved the warmth I knew it would bring.  It was a chicken soup with fresh herbs and I was happily surprised.


I was also craving pork. Although for some reason I imagined it to look different, the taste I wanted was there alongside a healthy serving size of rice, and beans.


My younger son enjoyed classic steak tacos.


The Mr. stretched and flexed out of his regular comfort zone and ordered this giant burrito.  He was pleased with the results and ate every bite.

We watch families celebrate birthdays and special occasions, date night couples and groups that could be friends or relatives, but the common theme is everyone truly seems to be enjoying themselves and their food.  The service was quick and efficient without feeling rushed and the restroom was clean (I feel this is so important, but not always commented on).

Gaby's Cafe provided us with a nice break from our regular routine and though it is a bit out of the way for us geographically, I'll be sure to make the effort to be Fed Well.