Hookline Fish Company

by Anne Maxfield on April 2, 2018

Skip and Smoked Salmon Who doesn’t like smoked salmon?

And who wouldn’t jump at the chance to explore a smokehouse and store to learn about and taste some great smoked salmon?

Go hungry because there’s a stretch of Route 28 in Kingston, New York that is becoming a destination for lots of great food. Hookline Fish Company turned out to be next door to my favorite local cheese shop, Cheese Louise. One-park shopping at its best!

At a recent visit, we tasted some great smoked salmon, learned a lot about what makes their smoked salmon so tasty, and how to make any future salmon I smoke taste even better.

Accidental Locavore Hookline Smoked SalmonSkip, the founder, wanted to replicate the taste and quality of the smoked salmon he’d grown up with in the Pacific Northwest. It’s a completely different process, fish and taste from what we’re used to plopping on a bagel.

What makes his product unique (and delicious) is his attention to detail. All the salmon are ocean raised in the Faroe Islands (north of Scotland, if you’re geographically challenged), flown here where Skip cuts them into portion sizes, brines them and smokes them.

He uses alder wood because he likes the delicate flavor it gives the salmon and because he’s found that apple and other fruitwood often has been sprayed and may contain pesticides—a disturbing idea, I’d never considered.

Accidental Locavore Hookline Smoked SalmonBy cutting the salmon into portion sizes before smoking it, he’s giving it more surface area and therefore more area to absorb the smoke. It also gives us consumers a choice between the different parts of the salmon.

Hookline sells a bunch of different cuts, all well described on their website. My favorite is the salmon belly—essentially salmon bacon—fatty, smoky and totally yummy! If that’s not around, you can’t go wrong with any of the other cuts, depending on your preference for fat, saltiness and smokiness.

At the store/smokehouse, depending on the day, you’ll also find smoked salmon chowder, pâté and other goodies along with a warm welcome from Skip and his crew.

Check their website for hours; they’ve just added in Wednesdays and may add more as we move into summer.

Accidental Locavore Hookline Smoked Salmon



Cheese Louise: Equal Opportunity Cheese Lovers

by Anne Maxfield on August 7, 2017

Accidental Locavore Cheese Louise Hard CheesesI love exploring markets and shops wherever I am and, especially, shops with a distinct point of view.

When I first went into Cheese Louise, I wasn’t expecting to find great cheeses in what I thought  was in the middle of nowhere.

Wrong on all counts.

The middle of nowhere turns out to be route 28 which gets about 23,000 cars a day.

Accidental Locavore Cheese Louise Soft CheesesAnd the cheese is wonderful! When asked if she has any preferences to a cheese or region Sam says “As far as being partial to a region or a cheese, I have to say we are equal opportunity cheese lovers. There are so many fabulous cheeses from all over the world, including the United States, that it is impossible to choose. I also find that at times one cheese is ringing my bell for a few months and then it’s another cheese that captures my heart and palate.”

It’s a small store, with goodies tucked in every nook and corner. If want to cook, there are ingredients to make all sorts of dishes and as exotic as you’d like.

If you’d rather go the prepared route, there’s lots to choose from, including my new fave, their smoked trout salad (plated on your own china, no one will be the wiser).

Accidental Locavore Cheese Louise Prepared FoodsRick and Sam take good care of everyone, and if you’re one of their regulars, will greet you by name and reach for your favorites.

Along with the cheese, which takes up most of the room in three refrigerator cases, there is a nice selection of pâtes and charcuterie. A small selection of local meats (steaks and chops) are also available.

There are plenty of crackers to go with all the cheeses, and baguettes from a local bakery. I discovered Potter’s crackers on a previous visit and now they’ve become a favorite at my house.

Accidental Locavore Cheese Louise Potter's CrackersThe cheese is all in lovely condition and if you tell Rick and Sam when or what you want it for, they’ll steer you in the right direction.

Something I almost always do in any good cheese store is to ask what I shouldn’t leave without. I figure the cheesemongers know what’s particularly good that day and I get a chance to try something new or remember one that might have fallen off my radar. Either way it’s win-win.

Accidental Locavore Cheese Louise My CheesesThat day Rick gave me Urgelia, a washed rind, cow’s milk cheese from Spain. I grabbed that and a new-to-me wheel of a triple crémé, Petit Exquis D’Argental, my crackers and a few other goodies, went home and had a feast!

Now that I know it’s only a short hop across the Kingston bridge, I’ll be a much more frequent customer!