Restaurants

Pieconic: Pies and More at Main Street Goodness

by Anne Maxfield on May 21, 2018

Accidental Locavore Pie at PieconicPies.
Isn’t that the first thing that comes to mind when you’re a globe-trotting executive looking for a new career?
Pies.
It was one of the first things that came to Christopher Knable’s mind when he was far from home. In fact, he started baking pies overseas when he got homesick.
He got such satisfaction from baking pies and such a good reception for them that he decided to start his own bakery when he came back state-side.
Accidental Locavore Pie at Main Street GoodnessThat morphed into Pieconic, his bakery and Main Street Goodness, the café he started in Chatham, so people would have a spot to sit down and enjoy the pies and other goodies.
The café, a cute stop on Chatham’s Main Street, is open 6 days a week from 8 AM to 7 PM for all-day breakfast, lunch and of course, pies. The menu caters to all tastes and food tolerances, so you can bring your gluten-free, vegans and carnivores and they’ll all find something yummy to eat.
Christopher and his team are constantly tweaking the menu to reflect what’s fresh from local farms, but you can always depend on a few staples. I had a chance to try some of the pies and bakery items and they were all delicious!
Accidental Locavore Pies and MoreEven though I’d had a big lunch, somehow the piece of Thor’s Oatmeal Coconut Chocolate pie disappeared—bite after tasty bite. It’s a terrific combination of oatmeal, coconut and chocolate in a classic crust. The website touts it as being “the coziest pie on our menu” and on a cold, rainy day, it was!
Being appetite challenged, Christopher and his staff stocked me up with a big bag of treats. We happily ate our way through the selection which included their signature pasties (hand pies), both apple and a savory “BLP” with scrambled eggs, bacon, potatoes and cheese and both delicious.
Hot out of the oven, a savory breakfast buttermilk biscuit with bacon, was flaky and a perfect way to start any morning.
Accidental Locavore Pies and MoreIf you think Chatham might be off your beaten track, you’ll be surprised to see that besides Main Street Goodness, there are a number of new (to me) and interesting shops that have opened up, making it a nice place to spend an afternoon.
If you really think Chatham is off the beaten track, not to fret, there’s always the Internet and Christopher would be happy to ship you off a pie or two.Accidental Locavore Pies and Christopher

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Crabtree’s Kittle House—Truly Farm-to-Table

by Anne Maxfield on April 23, 2018

Accidental Locavore Crabtree's Chef LippinThere are a lot of restaurants calling themselves farm-to-table, and in a sense, all food is farm-to-table. Some may just have stopped at a processing plant or two and some may have traveled further than you have in your lifetime.

That’s not the case with Chef Jay Lippin at Crabtree’s Kittle House.

Here’s a place where the chef has binders full of notes, for the 40 or so farmers he works with. And that’s not counting the garden beds ringing the property.

It started out when farmers would come to the back door of the kitchen offering to sell their crops. As the numbers and quality of local farms increased, so did the potential for using as much local food as possible.

In the fall Chef Lippin reviews what went well, exhaustively studies seed catalogues (marking them up to the point where one farmer said it looked like a porcupine!) and analyzes everything with each farmer who supplies the restaurant.

All this attention to detail and care is reflected in the food. Along with sourcing as much as he can locally, he’s made it a point to use less-than-perfect food and bits, like green coriander seeds, with spectacular results.

We’ve eaten there a few times and every meal has been memorable.

Recently, I broke with tradition and insisted that my birthday dinner be at Crabtree’s.

Accidental Locavore Crabtree Tap RoomWe opted for the Tap Room, it’s more casual and you have the advantage of being able to order from both menus.

A half dozen Kumamoto oysters and a “perfect” Moscow mule for Frank got us off to a great start.

The kitchen sent up what Jay calls salmon bacon and eggs. It’s maple-smoked salmon on a piece of cornbread and topped with a tiny sunny-side up quail egg. Sweet and smoky it paired wonderfully with an incredible Spanish white that Leo, the sommelier gave us to taste.

Accidental Locavore Crabtree's SalmonI opted for the duck breast, served over puréed fava beans with a black currant compote. I’ve never really given fava beans much thought—too much prep work, but after last night I may have to rethink my stance on them. The duck was perfectly cooked and seasoned and would have been fine on its own or with just the black current compote. However, the fava bean purée just launched it into a whole other dimension–spectacular!

Frank had the hangar steak, also perfectly seasoned and cooked. There was a pile of perfectly stacked onion rings that came with it. Onion rings to me, are almost always a disappointment—too thick and bready, or too thin and flavorless. These managed to have the best of both worlds, thin rings of onions with a batter that was just thick and spiced enough to give them both flavor and character—the best onion rings I’ve had in ages!

We were way too full for dessert, but Frank managed to make the most of an almond cake with almond ice cream and almond brittle. I snuck a bite or two because it was so good.

The kitchen also sent over an espresso panna cotta which was almost like a dessert version of a cappuccino—top layer of espresso and bottom layer of cream. Considering how stuffed we were, we did manage to eat a good portion of it.

Accidental Locavore Crabtree's DessertAll our experiences at Crabtree’s have been terrific. While the food is consistently great (I honestly don’t think I’ve had a bad bite there), I also want to give a shout-out to the staff. It is one of the most professional, attentive and friendly groups and they are a big part of what makes it a wonderful restaurant.

 

A couple of notes: Since it was my birthday where we were there this last time, I wasn’t taking pictures, so these photos are from previous visits. Also, the wine cellars there are so incredible, they deserve their own piece, so stay tuned.

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Apple Pie Bakery Café

by Anne Maxfield on March 12, 2018

Apple Pie Bakery CaféThe Apple Pie Bakery Café was always one my favorites at the Culinary Institute of America, or CIA as it’s affectionately known in these parts. I wasn’t the only one and recently they decided to close for a few months to renovate the space. Luckily, during that time croissants, bread and pastries were still available to take out, so life could go on.

The café reopened recently, and we were anxious to see how it turned out.

Now, there’s a whole separate area for take-out, with grab-and-go sandwiches, perfect pastries, breads and more. It’s probably too soon to know how well this will work, but I did manage to snag the last couple of croissants before we went to the main room to have lunch.

The main room has been opened up and is now all sit-down dining. It’s pleasant—light and bright and bustling, even for an early lunch. The tables are small and for some reason, the day we were there, no one wanted to sit where they were originally sent.

They’ve cleaned up the menu, too, with an emphasis (they say) on Americana cuisine, represented by a poke bowl and a fried chicken sandwich.

Apple Pie Bakery Café Soup We split an order of that day’s soup– a loaded potato soup. It came at the same time as the rest of our meal, along with an additional bowl so we could split it. That made the table, which had already looked a little wee, completely overwhelmed with plates, bowls, serving plates, bread plates, cutlery, a water carafe, glasses and full-sized salt and pepper grinders.

The soup was fine, garnished with pieces of bacon, scallions, cheese and sour cream, all to mimic a baked potato.

I went for the quiche of the day, or according to our server, the quiche of the week, which was Boursin cheese and mushrooms. If you’re expecting that classic wedge, you’ve forgotten you’re at the CIA. This was a perfect 4” circle of good crust with a bright yellow filling. Chopped mushrooms and the Boursin were topped with a perfect custard.

Apple Pie Bakery Café QuicheAfter some serious contemplation, Janet ordered the chickpea pita with Marcona almond, red onion, avocado, lemon and cucumber in a whole wheat pita. It came with an “adorable” little brown paper bag full of house-made potato chips.

It’s funny, because for all the times I’ve eaten at the Apple Pie Bakery Café, I don’t think I’ve ever ordered dessert there. Which is probably really stupid, because all the desserts I’ve ever seen in the cases or on other people’s tables are just amazing looking!

Our neighbors had the Signature Apple Dessert, a large green “apple” made from salted caramel mousse, apple cake, apple butter and sprayed Granny Smith Apple green. It looked spectacular and for a brief minute, we wished we’d had one too.

Know that the Apple Pie Bakery Café is only open on weekdays (don’t get me started) when school is in session. One of the improvements they’ve made is that the schedule is on their website, so just check before you head out.

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Silvia Restaurant: Global and Seasonal in Woodstock

by Anne Maxfield on January 22, 2018

Accidental Locavore Silvia Restaurant InteriorIf you’re looking for a restaurant in the Woodstock area, check out Sylvia. Silvia (named for owners Doris and Betty Choi’s grandmother) opened in August on Mill Hill Road.

There’s a big deck (open in warmer weather) and a discreet sign over the door.

Once inside, you’re looking at a big open dining room, an active, open kitchen and a smaller more intimate room with additional seating and a lively bar.

We were seated at a corner table near the bar, where we could see all the kitchen activity.

The star of Silvia’s open kitchen is a massive wood-fired grill (which was one of the deciding factors in ordering that night’s special—a massive pork chop).

Accidental Locavore Silvia Restaurant BBQ BeefWe started with the Grass Fed BBQ Beef. It was shredded beef to wrap in lettuce leaves and garnish with cabbage salad, kimchi, and topped with the traditional miso garlic paste. The beef was tender and flavorful. We all liked it a lot, but being veterans of many Korean dinners, would have liked the kimchi to pack more heat.

Frank ordered the Chicken Liver Toast, which looked great with its decoration of jeweled beets. He loved it, and we all really liked the horseradish mustard that accompanied it.

Although we scoffed at him when he ordered a salad (thinking it was going to be too much food), the Crumbled Caesar was a terrific riff on a Caesar salad. It featured a poached egg on a bed of escarole, studded with crispy shiitake mushrooms, Parmesan crisps and sourdough croutons in a Caesar dressing. We loved the crunch of the shiitakes and Parmesan crisps.  It was, as Frank said, “simply terrific.”

Accidental Locavore Silvia Restaurant Caesar SaladAs I mentioned, the pork chop special caught my eye. It was a massive 22-ounce chop from Chaljeri Meats, one of many local farmers they work with. It was perfectly cooked, tender and delicious, on a bed of grilled red cabbage. A terrific chop!

Accidental Locavore Silvia Restaurant Pork ChopMy friend went for the Pan Seared Arctic Char which came with broccoli rabe, grilled lemon, parsnip chips and charred leeks with a salsa verde. The sweetness of the fish went well with the bitterness of the broccoli rabe and the salsa was a perfect accompaniment to the char.

Frank got the burger, a tower of meat, shredded Brussels sprouts, cambozola cheese (think Brie meets Gorgonzola), caramelized onions with fries and house ketchup. The fries were good as was the ketchup, but he was way too full from the appetizers and salad to really do justice to his burger.

Portions were generous and everything we took home made for a great lunch the next day!

We didn’t have a chance (or the room) to explore the vegetable menu, but there were some very tempting dishes offered, ranging from pan seared Brussels sprouts to grilled shisito peppers and an ash-roasted kuri squash to name a few.

Accidental Locavore Silvia Restaurant Chocolate TorteAfter a fairly meat-centric menu, it was surprising to see the dessert menu veer towards healthy. There are 5 selections, with a seasonal panna cotta, a butternut squash pudding, a raw chocolate torte, a raw cashew key lime pie and a beet chocolate pots de crème. Both the torte and key lime pie are vegan, and gluten free. Frank had the chocolate torte, which looked amazing—dense layers of chocolate. He thought it was excellent! Because it was vegan and gluten-free, a mixture of nuts, dates and coconut oil replaced butter and the other usual suspects, so it was sadly off limits for me.

The restaurant has two main seating areas, we loved our seat in the bar room, it was cozy and surprisingly quiet even with a busy weekend crowd. If you’re with a family or in a larger group, you might want to opt for the livelier main dining room.

 

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