2019: Best Food & Biggest Disappointments

2019 will go down in history for a lot of things–here are the food bites I’d happily eat into the next decade and a few I’m happy to leave in the past.

Best Food:

Game Changer: Bread pudding, something I’ve never liked before, at 82BBQ. Gooey, buttery, with real maple syrup, it sets the standard for bread pudding! And BTW the BBQ is delicious! Pair any of the BBQ plates with mac and cheese and braised greens and you’ve got a great meal. Just save room for the bread pudding!

Newcomer: Willow at Mirbeau. Going to a place when they’ve just opened is always risky, but Willow was great. I’d happily go back for the grilled oysters and gnocchi with wild mushrooms, but just about everything we ate was worth another trip (or two).

Secret dinner: Thursday nights at Julie’s in Poughkeepsie. She had me with stuffed grape leaves with egg lemon sauce and has kept us going back with house-made pasticcio, roast lamb, moussaka, lasagna and more. Dinners include homemade bread, soup or salad and homemade Greek desserts.

Surprise special: Veal cheeks at Café les Baux. While all the food at our favorite local restaurant is good, the veal cheeks were a huge surprise as a recent special. Braised until incredibly tender and served with a Madeira sauce, this is a special dish that’s truly special. Call them to see if it’s on the board.

 

Biggest Disappointments:

Lucky Dragon Spare RibsLucky Dragon in Rhinebeck. A much anticipated “farm to chopstick” Chinese restaurant by the folks that brought you the Amsterdam, earned the moniker Yucky Dragon (not by me, but if the shoe fits…). If you’re of a certain age and remember Sunday nights going out for chop suey, this is your place. For the rest of us, hoping for some interesting upscale Chinese—so sorry. Now closed while they move to a larger location. Take your time.

Jason Patrick’s in Poughkeepsie. Like Lucky Dragon, I really wanted to like Jason Patrick’s, since we knew Jay had been dreaming of a more upscale restaurant for years. Sadly, on the couple of times we ate there, the food was fine, but nothing special.

Woodstock Pizza Theater Restaurant: An afternoon I’ll never get back…

What about you? What was your best bite for the year? Most forgettable?

 

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