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Jaeger Haus, German Food in Tivoli

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

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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Dinner at the Dutch Ale House

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!

 

 

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Catch 38

Accidental Locavore Catch 38 OystersWhen you have really great oysters, like Catch 38 had the night we were there, I can understand letting them shine. However, even with really great oysters, sometimes you’d like to be able to mix and match them in increments less than 6. You’d also appreciate a slice (or even better a wedge) of lemon larger than the one in your cocktails and enough yuzu mignonette to see what it tasted like with the oysters.

Luckily, if Chef Wesley Dier & Bryn Bahnatka-Dier are paying attention, these are super simple fixes to make and this could easily become a terrific addition to the Rhinebeck restaurant scene.

Catch 38 is a bright airy take on an upscale seafood shack. It’s definitely upscale, and very much not a shack. There is plenty of seafood and enough meat options to please carnivores too.

We started with a dozen oysters from the West Coast, 6 each of Totten’s Inlet and Pacific Kiss. They were plump, meaty and sweet and I’ll look for them again.

Accidental Locavore Catch 38 SaladMy friend started with the Little Gem Chop Chop salad with veggies. A wedge of Little Gem lettuce, nicely dressed with a cider vinegar dressing and sprinkled with chickpeas, red peppers and carrots, it was a good way to start a meal.

The winner of the main courses was the fish and chips. A few nice chunks of cod battered and perfectly fried sat on a swish of sauce, with a cone of skinny fries on the side. The cod was sweet and delicious and reminded me of how good, good cod can be.

Accidental Locavore Catch 38 Fish &  Chips I was intrigued by the lamb sliders. Yeah, I know it’s a place for seafood. But who wouldn’t want to try Tuscan Lamb Sliders with pesto aioli, tomato jam, burrata, spinach, griddled polenta and Parmesan frico? It was a pair of lamb patties, nicely grilled, sitting on the spinach and tomato jam and topped with a slice of burrata and pesto. There were two small discs of Parmesan polenta on the side. It was a tasty combination (although as much as I love burrata, it was a little overpowered by all the other goodies on the burger) and I was glad I’d given it a try.

Accidental Locavore Catch 38 SlidersThe guys each had the seared sea scallops with Israeli couscous, beets and arugula. They both said it was more of a couscous and beet salad with scallops and as big scallop lovers, they would have liked more than three scallops.

There were 5 desserts the night we were there, and we tried 3 of them. The Key Lime Muffins were our favorites. This was all about presentation, so I won’t ruin the surprise, let me just say that the “muffins” were like mini Key Lime pies and the sauces that came with them were delicious (as were the muffins).

Accidental Locavore Catch 38 Key Lime MuffinsAlso yummy, once you could get to it, was the Chocolate-Chocolate Carmel Sundae. It was served in a traditional sundae glass with chunks of brownie at the top, and layers of chocolate sauce, crunchies etc. underneath. It would have been easier to get all the great layers and flavors in a bite, if the brownie pieces hadn’t been blocking access. Maybe a broad bowl instead of the sundae coupe?

Last up was the Creamsicle Sherbert, made from blood oranges and buttermilk. Everyone liked it with the fresh berries alongside. I’ve never been a Creamsicle girl, so I went back to work on the chocolate sundae.

Catch 38 shows a lot of promise. We’ll definitely be back–the oysters and fish & chips are worth the trip. The food overall was good and a little more time should help them work out some of the kinks.

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Pieconic: Pies and More at Main Street Goodness

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

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

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

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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Making the Most of Hudson Valley Restaurant Week

Accidental Locavore Burrata for Hudson Valley Restaurant WeekHudson Valley Restaurant Week, like other restaurant weeks has been around for a while.

And like other restaurant weeks, there are always places that try to get away with as little as possible (in hopes that you’ll order off the regular menu) and places that strive to please.

We were lucky enough to hit two that went above and beyond.

The first, Caterina DeMedici at the Culinary Institute of America (aka the CIA), was a big surprise! We were invited by a friend of Frank’s to join him and his wife. The first surprise was that we were going to be seven for dinner. He had invited neighbors and other friends, so we had a nice big table with lots of talk back and forth.

The second surprise was that the food was interesting and delicious. You might be thinking, well, it’s the CIA, why wouldn’t it be good, but the last time we ate there, it was a slightly better prepared version of Olive Garden’s “all the pasta you can eat promotion”—lots of pasta, none of it memorable.

Other than the poorly named “Airline Chicken Breast” (which, no surprise, no one at our table ordered), there were a lot of interesting choices on the menu. I started off with the burrata, which came perched on top of arugula and prosciutto, with a drizzle of balsamic reduction. Hard to go wrong with burrata, and the creaminess of it worked perfectly with the saltiness of the prosciutto.

Accidental Locavore Pork Chop Hudson Valley Restaurant WeekTo follow, I went with the pork over polenta, with Brussels sprouts and a mustard jus. It was interesting because all three pork chops that were brought to the table were different shapes and sizes– a reminder that school was only in week two. They were good, and the mustard jus was a great accompaniment.

A few nights later, we went down to meet a couple of friends at Crabtree’s Kittle House. Chef Jay Lippin had been on my radio show and to paraphrase, “had me at lamb shanks”. There’s a full review of the restaurant coming up in the December issue of Organic Hudson Valley Magazine.

How many places do you know that have lobster bisque on their restaurant week menus? Crabtree’s does, and Frank ordered it. A big bowl with pieces of lobster and vegetables came to the table and the waiter poured the bisque over it. Delicious!

Accidental Locavore Lobster Bisque for Hudson Valley Restaurant WeekI went for the gnocchi, which was browned (something I’ve never tried, but will!) and served with tiny oven-dried tomatoes and other local vegetables. It was gone in a flash!

Chef Lippin sent over a couple of his tuna sushi pizzettas–his take on tuna sushi for us to try between courses. All Frank could do was smile and groan happily. ‘Nuf said?

Accidental Locavore Tuna for Hudson Valley Restaurant WeekThe lamb shank had been on my mind for a week or more, and it was great! Falling off the (very large) bone, and once again on a bed of polenta (this time, really tasting of corn) with broccolini and a red wine sauce. It was a huge portion and the leftovers will make a great lunch!

Frank was once again reduced to smiling with pleasure over the pasta with a Bolognaise sauce made with local venison, pork and beef. I was granted a small bite and could see why he wasn’t sharing!

Accidental Locavore Cavatelli for Hudson Valley Restaurant WeekDesserts were terrific, and we drove home muttering about eating too much, but loving every mouthful!

Hudson Valley Restaurant Week runs through Friday, November 12th so you still have time to make a reservation.

I’ve got one more dinner planned, Thursday night at The Amsterdam, then I’d better be fasting until Thanksgiving!

 

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Charlotte’s Restaurant in Millbrook

Accidental Locavore Charlotte Restaurant GardenThere are some restaurants that are classics, frozen in time–places that seem to have been around forever.

Stalwarts.

A gastronomic tweak here or there to make them seem relevant and business pours in year after year.

Charlotte’s in Millbrook is one of those places.

It’s a cozy combination of rooms, the general impression is of floral chintzes and fireplaces. In the summer there’s a quiet patio where you can enjoy a cocktail or dinner.

Accidental Locavore Charlotte Restaurant InteriorPatrons of a certain age who have been coming every Friday night with family and friends.

The food is good. There’s nothing that will send you running for the doors, and most likely, nothing that will make you swoon with joy.

If you’ve been missing plates garnished with stuffed tomatoes sporting an erect sprig of rosemary and green beans wrapped with a contrasting carrot ribbon, Charlotte’s will not disappoint. No matter whether they’re described on the menu as fresh, seasonal, harvest, or garden fresh, it’s always the same carefully crafted combination.

Accidental Locavore Charlotte Restaurant ChickenThe night we were there, my friend went for the pan roasted chicken with the Marsala sauce on the side. She got and enjoyed a nicely cooked chicken served over saffron risotto and accompanied by the aforementioned vegetables.

For whatever reason, I wanted duck that night and they were offering it with a blueberry sauce. That threw me for a loop until the waiter reminded me that duck usually comes with fruit sauce and my friend chimed in that, like her, I could always get it on the side.

Accidental Locavore Charlotte Restaurant DuckI went for it and got a fine serving of duck breast with the blueberry sauce (living dangerously—not on the side). It was also served over saffron risotto and vegetables but had a crunchy pile of fried onions topping it off. The duck was a little more well-done than I normally like, and the blueberry sauce added to the flavor of the duck.

The dessert menu offers standards like bread pudding, crème brûlée, lava cake and assorted house-made ice creams.

Charlotte’s is open for lunch, dinner and brunch on the weekends. Check their website for events, like an upcoming comedy night.

 

 

 

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