oysters

Catch 38–Now Closed

by Anne Maxfield on August 6, 2018

Accidental Locavore Catch 38 Oysters

When 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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Purdy’s Farmer & the Fish Restaurant

by Anne Maxfield on April 25, 2016

Accidental Locavore Farmer & Fish & FrankThe Accidental Locavore thinks that what goes on in the city should stay in the city, especially when it comes to the useless policy of not seating “incomplete” parties at restaurants. A recent trip to a Westchester restaurant, Farmer and the Fish, highlighted the inanity of this policy. We got there early, had drinks and oysters at the bar and were enjoying ourselves. The hostess came up to us and told us that our friends had called and said they were stuck in traffic and would be there as soon as they could.

As the bar was filling up and getting noisy, we asked to be seated and were told she’d have to check with the manager as it was against policy. Now, she knows that we’re there and our friends are obviously on their way, so it’s not like there’s going to be a no-show. Tim, the manager, refused her and then after a long conversation/disagreement refused us.

Accidental Locavore Farmer & Fish BarBesides being the worst sort of customer service, it’s a big revenue loser. Instead of sitting at the table increasing our check by enjoying a drink and maybe something to nibble, we were in the car fuming and trying to get a cell phone signal to find out how far away our friends were. And the table that they didn’t want to partially fill sat empty for a half an hour. Who does that benefit?

On top of that you know dinner is going to have to be spectacular to appease us. Why make the waitstaff and chefs bear the brunt of a stupid management decision? You only have one chance to make a first impression and my attitude was so abysmal that at this point it would take something like the escargots and chicken from L’Ami Louis (back in the day) to begin to make me smile. But of course, we’re not in Paris, and this is not L’Ami Louis.

Accidental Locavore Farmer and FishOur Empty TableI had a pork chop, which was weirdly salty throughout (probably brined and not rinsed well). Frank had a tuna burger which was much larger than its English muffin bun. Someone had a lobster roll, someone else scallops and there were more oysters for starters. For dessert there was a serviceable apple crisp/tart and an interesting-looking take on a bread pudding that everyone said was good.

The waitstaff was fine, friendly and helpful, but throughout the meal, Tim, the manager, was jovial with our host while subsequently managing to completely ignore us – hard to do, but he’s had practice.

Farmer & the Fish grow a lot of their own produce and source as much as they can locally, which is why our friends thought we would enjoy it and we might have, but sadly, an awful policy led to an evening best forgotten. Interestingly, on CBS This Morning, Saturday, Chef Mike Price was the guest and he said something that made me stop in my tracks. “You can look at people two ways when they walk in the door—like they’re lucky to be there or you’re lucky to have them.” Anyone at Farmer & the Fish listening?

 

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The 8 Coolest Things I Did in 2013

by Anne Maxfield on December 30, 2013

Accidental Locavore Chef Garces and RangeThis year a lot happened to the Accidental Locavore and in the spirit of a year-end round-up, here’s a look back at some of the cool stuff from 2013. It’s not in any particular order and it’s not all about food. Enjoy, and Happy 2014!

  1. Jose Garces lunch: While they say there’s no such thing as a free lunch, this one started out free, but my lust for a BlueStar range may end up costing me thousands. As a guest of theirs for a launch party I was invited down to Chef Garces’ farm in Pennsylvania. It was a wonderful day, filled with great food in a lovely setting, with a charming host.
  2. Legends of the Ice: This time I was a guest of P&G and Walmart for the taping of a skating show soon to air on NBC. As a lot of you know, I skate and this was a great opportunity to watch American skating icons, past and present, from a center-ice perch, followed by an after-party where I got to meet the skaters-so cool! Look for a longer post at the end of January.Accidental Locavore Anne and Kristi
  3. Kristi Yamaguchi: As part of the P&G events, they and Walmart donated all the skates for the Kips Bay Boys and Girls Club in the Bronx. On a very cold evening, meeting and interview Kristi was worth a (long) trip to the Bronx. She was charming and we had an interesting conversation about skating, concentration and the current scoring system. This too, will be an upcoming post, so stay tuned.
  4. Rescue Rif: Probably the most life-changing (or life-style changing) thing that happened in 2013 was when we decided to rescue a dog whose owner died suddenly. There was something very appealing about Rif’s photo on Facebook and he’s now become a much loved member of the family, even inspiring DIY dog biscuits.Accidental Locavor Rif
  5. Gabriel Rucker: Of all the classes I’ve taken at DeGustibus at Macy*s, this was definitely in the top two (the pre-holiday one, years ago, with the truffled grilled cheese sandwich is right up there too). He was charming, generous and made a memorable meal. I’ve made his sauce for the rabbit sausage and it was delicious. Next up, the pork confit and some of the salad dressings from his book, Le PiegonAccidental Locavore Hamachi Tartare
  6. Mazatlan: Sponsored by the Mazatlan tourist bureau, I was invited to a long weekend on Mexico’s Pacific coast. It’s the first time in years, that I’d been to Mexico and it was great to be back there! Everyone we met in Mazatlan was so enthusiastic about encouraging visitors and the food was terrific! While a visit to the market with a vegetarian wasn’t my smartest move, we did have a lot of laughs about it.Accidental Locavore Two Butchers
  7. Oysters: A frustrated post about oysters (or lack of them) had incredible repercussions! Before I knew it, Jon Rowley of Taylor Shellfish Farms was in touch with me, wanting to make up for my failed Groupon. Although my absolute favorite oysters, the Totten Virginicas were done for the year, we indulged for days on Pacifics, Kumos, Olympias, etc. and I got very good at shucking oysters. What a treat!Accidental Locavore Taylor Oysters
  8. Waterfire: A trip to Providence, RI for the Taste Trekker’s Conference coincided with Waterfire, an event where a series of cauldrons in the river are filled with logs and lit by black-robed creatures riding in a Venetian-inspired gondola. The night I was there it was windy, which accelerated the fires and sent sparks flying-very dramatic! Along with a couple of days of great eating, it was the best time I’ve had in Providence in many years!Accidental Locavore Waterfire

 

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Pot au Feu: Where Everyone Knows Your Name

by Anne Maxfield on October 14, 2013

Accidental Locavore WaterfireHow many times have you just wandered into a restaurant and felt immediately at home? Rarely, and hardly ever when you’re travelling solo, but that’s what happened when the Accidental Locavore wandered into Pot au Feu in Providence, recently. Gary, the manager at the Biltmore recommended it and I was immediately attracted to it (besides my weakness for anything French) because it was at the end of the route of Waterfire, an almost magical event where they light the river in Providence.

I wandered in and found a seat at the bar. It’s lovely, with beautiful blonde wood and art nouveau liquor cabinets (look on their website as my photos were terrible). Gary asked me to give his regards to Bob (the owner)and as it turned out, that’s who was tending bar that night. We immediately got to chatting and in the small-world, category, it turns out that we both knew the other Pot au Feu–Le Roi de Pot au Feu–in Paris. Bob said he had given them his aprons the last time he was there. Before long, as the bar started to fill up, he was giving me the low-down and introducing me to anyone and everyone who stopped by.

Accidental Locavore Broiled OystersWhile I was enjoying some amazing oysters broiled with a horseradish cream sauce, Bob was telling very funny and terribly politically-incorrect jokes that even more incredibly, were paired with the food I was eating.

Accidental Locavore CrepesAs I moved onto that evening’s special, savory crepes with blue cheese, chicken tomatoes and olives, Bob was telling me that the restaurant is actually the oldest bistro in the US and showing me photos and documents from the early days. In between that he was mixing drinks for all the regulars, which was everyone (including me) and showing off his bartending finesse. You know there’s that horrible trend now to consider anyone who can mix two alcoholic ingredients together and add ice, a mixologist. Well, Bob is most definitely not a mixologist, he’s a classic (and classy) bartender. Ask him for his signature Sazerac and hear the history of America’s first cocktail and how the New York Times messed up the recipe.

Unfortunately for me, I had been eating all day (ok, all weekend, ok, all week) and didn’t have the appetite to conquer a major meal like pot au feu. I’m sure in a place like that, it would be just perfect. I’ll just have to go back with a big appetite, perch at the bar, say hi to my new buddies and indulge while Bob mixes up more Sazerac’s.

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