local ingredients

Chef’s Tasting Table at Mohonk Mountain House

by Anne Maxfield on May 15, 2017

Accidental Locavore Mohonk Mountain House Fois GrasMohonk Mountain House is one of the Hudson Valley’s iconic hotels and has been a favorite place to stay for almost 150 years.

There’s plenty to do to build up an appetite and a massive dining room to enjoy a meal.

But everyone knows that.

Accidental Locavore Mohonk Mountain House OysterWhat you don’t know is that there’s a secret staircase in the back of the dining room leading to the massive kitchen that regularly puts out 500-600 meals every evening.

In the middle of that, is the space that only puts out 10 very special meals.

I was one of those lucky diners recently and was invited to experience the eleven-course Chef’s Tasting Table menu with wines, designed by Executive Chef Jim Palmeri.

It’s offered on Friday and Saturday nights at 6:30 with a six-person minimum. You can take your chances on an available spot (or two), or be a big spender and reserve the whole table for a very special occasion.  If you like wine, you might want to consider spending the night – the wines are lovely and well matched to the food, and the road home from Mohonk is not one you want to mess with.

Accidental Locavore Mohonk Mountain House RisottoThe menu changes depending on the season and what’s good locally. While Chef Palmeri and his team use local ingredients wherever possible, they do stretch the boundaries to include luxuries like black truffles and, for our dinner, mainly French wines.

If you think eleven courses sounds daunting, most of them are just a mouthful or two. The exceptions are the entrée (the only choice you have to make for the evening) and the dessert – so extraordinary it deserves and is getting its own post.

Mohonk Mountain House SashimiOne of the big treats for me as a diner has always been those meals where you just sit back and let the chefs do what they do best – cook. I love the combination of not having to make a choice and the surprise that each course and every mouthful brings!

To have something to refer to, I was given a menu at the beginning, but it got folded it up and hidden in my purse so as not to ruin the surprises to come.

Mohonk Mountain House DuckAnd, to not ruin your surprise, because you truly need to go there (I know you’ve got a birthday coming up), I’m just going to highlight some of my favorite bites and let you drool over the photos.

To book your own dining adventure (and don’t forget about a room) call: 845-883-3798.

My thanks to Chef Jim Palmeri, Executive Sous Chef Steve Anson, Robert Leduc and the amazing staff at the Mohonk Mountain House for a memorable dinner!

For more photos, check out HudsonValleyEats.com. Mohonk Mountain House Cheese Course







Road Trip: Armsby Abbey

by Anne Maxfield on August 19, 2013

Accidental Locavore Armsby AbbeyMy friend Cozy has been trying for ages to get the Accidental Locavore to stop at the Armsby Abbey in Worcester, Mass. Recently, on our way to Maine (to help lessen the lobster population), we finally made it to this exalted restaurant. We weren’t sure it was going to happen, as they only serve brunch until 3:00 and we pulled up at 2:55, dog in tow. They were happy to let us sit outside with the dog and we managed to order just before the kitchen closed.

Accidental Locavore Breakfast PizzaI had a breakfast pizza which was a perfect sized pie with a tomatillo salsa, shredded pork, queso fresco, slivers of red onion and cilantro. It’s supposed to come with an egg, but, as everyone who has ever been out to brunch with me knows, I have this very un-foodie hatred of runny eggs, so it was easily left off. The crust was perfectly done and the pork melted in your mouth. A great pizza that would be good any time of day!

My husband went for the soup of the day, a bowl with corn, red pepper and more pork in a chicken stock. Fresh and tasty with a wonderful piece of housemade bread! That was followed by the chicken sandwich, which had a very tender piece of chicken on a sesame bun with a perfect tomato (one of the true pleasures of August) and a fried egg. He said the egg combined with the mayo to make it seem like a Béarnaise sauce-again, delicious!

Accidental Locavore Chicken SandwichIn what initially seems to be a little precious, you can customize your Bloody Mary. Choosing from a list of vodkas and degree of spiciness to garnishes and flavored salt rim is almost too much thinking for an old standard, but when it arrived, it instantly reminded you how good a good Bloody Mary can be! The only misstep was the bacon garnish. As much as bacon would seem to be a great idea, you forget that it’s going to be cold and like French fries or pizza, cold bacon holds no appeal (but the dog loved it).

According to the women sitting next to us, Armsby Abbey is supposed to be one of the five best places in the world to have a beer. The list looked interesting and eclectic. Their new bakery is next door and the restaurant is expanding at the end of the summer. With their emphasis on sourcing locally, it’s definitely worth a stop, as Cozy has been telling me!