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.



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.






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.




Dinner at the Dutch Ale House

by Anne Maxfield on September 10, 2018

Accidental Locavore Dutch Ale House Pimento CheeseAlthough I could spend a lot of time (and text) explaining why it took so long to get to the Dutch Ale House in Saugerties, I’d rather tell you about the great food and wonderful atmosphere we found when we finally made it there.

Dallas and Ted Gilpin, who had made it a regular Friday night stop on their way up from the city, bought the Dutch Ale House earlier this year. First up, a renovation to make it more inviting than its previous look—a bad school cafeteria with holes in the sheetrock, according to Dallas. Opening up a wall between two spaces has given it a seamless and inviting dining room.

Then find a chef. Their friend, chef Jonathan Botta was just finishing up a gig in North Carolina and is now running the kitchen (and outside smoker).

They wanted to shift from classic pub-grub to a more local, fresh, farm-friendly fare that celebrates its pub roots. There are burgers and wings and fish & chips, but everything has a twist.

An Ale House has to have beer and you’ll find about 15 on tap, many from New York. There are about a dozen others in bottles or cans, wines by the glass or bottle and signature cocktails. I had “A Walk in the Park” which was sencha (green) and black iced tea with fresh lemonade, basil and your choice of alcohol. I passed on the booze and enjoyed one of the best iced teas in memory.

We started with a special that will soon make it to the regular menu—pimento cheese. If you’re from the South, this is one of those things that you probably grew up with. For those of us up here, Jonathan’s version (served with de rigueur Ritz crackers) was a great treat! There’s a bit of spice courtesy of Vesta Dry Hot Sauce (which was so good, I promptly ordered a jar) which may or may not be traditional, but was delicious, especially with some great local pickles. “I’ve never enjoyed pimento cheese so much in my life” was Frank’s verdict.

Accidental Locavore Dutch Ale House Beet SaladHe had the beet salad with roasted red and gold beets, pickled shallots, pea shoots, cashews and smoked blue cheese. He said it was one of his favorite beets salads, with perfectly cooked beets and a light dressing that enhanced all the flavors.

Next up, their house-made smoked bratwurst and kielbasa, served with some locally made sauerkraut that Chef Botta perks up with caraway seeds. There’s a side of India Pale Ale spiked mustard for dunking or spreading. My favorite was the bratwurst, but I wouldn’t say no to the kielbasa. Both had that nice snap to the skin and terrific flavor.

Accidental Locavore Dutch Ale House BratsFor main courses, they sent us out the salmon, hot smoked and spice-crusted. It was served over a bed of corn, Swiss chard, fennel and cream (their version of creamed corn). I was surprised to see Frank, not normally a salmon lover, digging into it and barely sharing. Yes, it was that good!

Accidental Locavore Dutch Ale House SalmonThe Dutch Ale House’s signature dish is a pastrami beef rib. The best way of describing it would be to tell you to go order it, but barring that, imagine pastrami on the bone. It’s a huge rib, brined, smoked and crusted with the spices that you would use for pastrami. It comes with potatoes, chard and celery root and a horseradish sauce for the beef. It’s wonderful and it’s huge. If you were considering it, I would tell you to skip the appetizers, but they were so good, I’ll just suggest you come prepared to take some home with you (it made terrific sandwiches the next day).

Accidental Locavore Dutch Ale House Pastrami RibWe were so full that there was a lot to take home, but in the name of research, went for the homemade panna cotta topped with peach preserves for dessert. I’m not usually a fan of what my friend refers to as beige toothless desserts but managed to make a big dent in the panna cotta. It was rich and creamy, and the peach preserves were a lovely topping.

Accidental Locavore Dutch Ale House Panna CottaOne of the other highlights of the evening was getting to know Dallas. She’s delightful and obviously cares about the Dutch Ale House and making sure everyone has a good meal and a good time. We certainly did!

My two regrets? That we took so long to get there and that we don’t live just a little bit closer….

Thanks to Dallas and Jonathan for a delicious meal, we’ll be back soon!