restaurant

La Cabanita, Mexican on Main Street

by Anne Maxfield on February 25, 2019

Accidental Locavore Mexican TacosElvis is in the building.

And he’s running the show at La Cabanita, a resurrection of a Poughkeepsie restaurant favorite, now occupying a former church on Main Street.

Mexican is the name of the game here, and along with the classics, be prepared for some Oaxacan treats.

Oaxaca, if you’re not familiar with it, is known for 7 moles. At La Cabanita, along with the classic mole negro, you can also opt for mole estofado or Amarillo, all served with chicken and rice.

There is plenty of more familiar fare, including tacos, enchiladas, and fajitas. Be careful though, if you’re in a large group and all order fajitas, Elvis may ask you to switch tables. On a recent evening, a table of eight all ordered fajitas and when they arrived, piping hot and sizzling, they set off the smoke detector over the table and it was bedlam until the local fire department arrived to shut it off.

Accidental Locavore Mexican GuacamoleGuacamole is made to order and if our recent experiences are any indication, if you like it spicy (even a little bit) ask for it spicy. My only complaint both times we’ve had it is that it tends to be mild, but the good chips make up for that.

The first time we were there was a chilly night, so I went for that classic Mexican hangover cure, posole. It’s a soup/stew made with hominy (white corn) shredded cabbage and at La Cabanita, your choice of shredded pork or chicken in a rich broth. A squirt of lime and you’ve got a perfect cold weather treat.

Accidental Locavore Mexican PosoleFrank went for the tacos, and because it was a quiet night was able to get all 3 with different fillings (on our second visit, they were super busy and would only do 3 of the same). While he was happily munching on all of them, his favorite was the chorizo taco.

On our second visit, we wanted to explore more of the menu. This time I tried one of the 3 moles they have, the mole Amarillo. It was more soup-like than I expected, but really delicious. My only complaint, and it’s minor, was that it had big chunks of chicken, potato, and chayote that needed to be cut into manageable bites, which was hard when they were floating in the broth. A combo of every utensil on the table and a lot of splashing broth and I worked my way through half of it before deciding to take it home where I could be messy in private.

Accidental Locavore Mexican TlayudasElvis’ cousin recommended the tlayudas to Frank. Picture a massive quesadilla stuffed with black bean salsa, cheese, chorizo, avocado and shredded cabbage and you have a good idea about this mess of goodness. I loved the corn tortilla that had spent a nice amount of time on a grill, giving it a great taste. It’s massive, so split one, take half home, or pass on guac and dessert. We took half of Frank’s home and I had a great lunch the next afternoon.

We’ve never made it to dessert and I’m not sure what they have, except the last time we were there, some good-looking churros were going to a nearby table.

La Cabanita is open every day except Tuesday for lunch and dinner. Follow them on Facebook to get specials. For weekends and holidays a reservation is a good idea.

La Cabanita

763 Main Street Poughkeepsie

845-452-7544

http://www.lacabanita1.com

 

 

 

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Lolita’s: Pizza in Poughkeepsie

by Anne Maxfield on October 29, 2018

Accidental Locavore Lolita's Clam PizzaPromise me pizza (or almost anything else) cooked in a wood burning oven and I’m there.

When Lolita’s opened in the former Crave space, with a shiny new wood-burning oven, producing pizzas and pasta, we needed to check it out.

In nice weather you have your choice of a secluded terrace under the Walkway Bridge, lined with plants, or the lively dining room.

After joking about the pea appetizer, we decided on the cucumbers with ricotta salata, mint and basil in a spicy vinaigrette. The cucumbers were great with the ricotta, and bread crumbs added a nice crunch.

Accidental Locavore Lolita's Pizza Cucumber SaladThat night’s special was a white pie with clams. For some (unknown) reason, I thought there would be clams in the shell on the pizza, but the clams had already been shucked and were carefully placed on the pie. The creamy white sauce must have had some clam juice in it, because you got a good hit of clam with the lemony sauce. The crust was good—could have been a bit more charred for me, but I like all my bread on the almost burnt side.

Accidental Locavore Lolita's Pizza PastaWe were torn between pastas, and went with our server’s recommendation, the lumache with a spicy tomato sauce with chiles and bread crumbs. The pasta was perfectly al dente and the sauce had a nice, but not overwhelming spice to it.

A couple of months later, I went back with another friend for a second visit.

Once again, we went with some of that night’s specials. Since my friend had never had shishito peppers, I convinced her to give them a try. They were roasted in the wood-burning oven, which gave them a wonderful smoky flavor. The garlic scape aioli with pine nuts and sesame seeds was a great sauce for them.

Accidental Locavore Shishito Peppers at Lolita's PizzaThat night’s pizza was Coppa ham with Gorgonzola, Fontina, Chippolini onions, shaved Brussels sprouts and slivers of Granny Smith apples. It was a surprisingly good combination, although I would have liked a little more ham, but the Gorgonzola made up for it, flavor-wise.

Accidental Locavore Pizza With ApplesIn the interest of research, we were going to go for a dessert, but none of the choices really jumped out at us, so we had some tea and called it a night.

One of these nights, also in the interest of research, I’ll have to go back and try one of their more classic pizzas.

Open for lunch and dinner, closed Mondays.

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Jaeger Haus, German Food in Tivoli

by Anne Maxfield on October 15, 2018

Accidental Locavore German SchnitzelFriends of ours have been trying to get us/me to Jaeger Haus for German food for months now. Finally a serendipitous text, got us together and we headed up to Tivoli.

Since I was the only one who hadn’t been there before, we decided to get a bunch of different dishes and share them, so I could get a better sense of the menu.

Accidental Locavore German FrittersWe started with the smoked trout and the sauerkraut fritters. The fritters were like a German take on tater-tots or arancini. It was a small bundle of sauerkraut surrounding bacon, kielbasa and Emmanthaler cheese, deep fried and served with Paprika Aioli. Delicious (and a huge improvement on tater-tots)!

Accidental Locavore German Smoked TroutThe trout, smoked in-house, was served with a mustard vinaigrette, cucumber salad and big slices of rye bread to pile everything on. Everything was good on its own, but even better in combination.

The surprise dish of the evening was a special of apples and potatoes—Himmel und Erde (heaven and earth). It was something I never would have ordered, but our server insisted that we try it, and we were blown away by it! The apple and potato wedges were sautéed in butter and tossed with parsley. A simple dish, if it’s on the menu when you go, order it, you’ll be so glad you did!

Accidental Locavore German Apples and PotatoesMain courses are large and perfect for sharing. We spilt a sausage plate with weisswurst, smoked baurenwurst and bratwurst. All three were really good and went well with the warm German potato salad, sauerkraut and mustard.

Schnitzel is a must and Jaeger Haus has several different varieties. We went for the classic Weiner schnitzel—veal with red cabbage and spaetzle—all good.

Accidental Locavore German Sausage PlatterAlthough we didn’t order it this time, I was the happy recipient of some leftover Schweinshaxe when my husband went there the first time. It’s a huge portion of crispy confit of pork shank, with mashed potatoes and it was tasty, even the next day. Plan on sharing it or bringing home leftovers.

Accidental Locavore German DessertIf the dessert we had is any indication, desserts are also large and very shareable. The Windbuetel is a German version of profiteroles. Instead of ice cream, these cream puffs are filled with strawberry jam and whipped cream and topped with a caramel sauce. A delicious order is 4 puffs–one for each and we were happy.

There are local and German beers and ciders. If you follow them on Facebook, you’ll get the latest specials and special beer events.

 

 

 

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Farmers and Chefs Restaurant

by Anne Maxfield on September 17, 2018

Accidental Locavore Farmers and Chefs OctopusIf you went to a restaurant named Farmers and Chefs, you’d probably be expecting a farm-to-table experience, wouldn’t you?

Maybe I’m being a little fussy, but the first thing I thought of when I saw the menu at Farmers and Chefs was that it was surprisingly unseasonal for a place that is “Drawing inspiration from our regions [sic] beautiful Hudson Valley farms while combining the freshest in season local ingredients combined with global influences.”

In the heat of August, don’t you just yearn for steak, duck, ribs and lots of pasta? Even the specials on the night I was there, while starring heirloom tomatoes (from Poughkeepsie Farm Project) were pasta, risotto and a fish stew. Hardly light and refreshing, any of it.

The restaurant is on a corner in a neighborhood in Poughkeepsie that has seen the opening of several new places recently. It’s an open space with lots of hard surfaces, making it noisy even when it’s not fully booked.

Go as a foursome, as the choice of tables we were offered as two diners (with a reservation) was limited to a two-top next to the door or another one next to the bar. A few larger tables I asked about were supposedly booked but remained empty the entire time we were there. Just saying. There’s also an outdoor deck for drinking and dining with a nice view of the underside of the Walkway Bridge and the (limited) parking area.

Accidental Locavore Farmers and Chefs BeetsMy friend started out with the beet carpaccio. It was a small but elegant plate with thinly sliced beets flanked by thinly sliced turnips, topped with apricots, and a fennel frond for greenery. She said the beets were perfectly cooked, tender and delicious and because you know how I feel about beets, I have to believe her.

Something I did stick my fork into was her other choice, the Portuguese octopus. It was a perfectly cooked tentacle, sitting on a puddle of lemon crème fraiche with slices of potato, some micro-greens and cherry tomatoes with a dusting of chili powder.

Accidental Locavore Farmers and Chefs Lamb PastaIn the end I ended up going for pasta–cavatelli, a special that night. It was served with a lamb bolognese sauce with kalamata olives (3-4 of them) and feta cheese. It was a good dish, solid if not spectacular. A few more olives and a little more feta would have made this a special special.

We split their version of a tarte tartin—caramelized apples on a thin pastry with ice cream, which, like most of the other dishes, was good but not outstanding.

The owner of Farmers and Chefs, John Lekic won praise for his previous restaurant, Le Express, so it was surprising that so much of Farmers and Chefs fell flat. Fingers crossed that time will smooth out some of the bumps.

 

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