restaurant

Cafe Sweet Spot

by Anne Maxfield on July 15, 2019

Cafe Sweet Spot Black BoardWhether you’re a resident, or a worker on Poughkeepsie’s Main Street, you’ll welcome Cafe Sweet Spot.

Open for breakfast and lunch, the cafe offers owner Ingrid Hernandez’s dream of recreating “those cafes in the West Village, really fresh ingredients put together very nicely, it’s my kind of comfort food.”

The restaurant is a modern cafe with subtle Caribbean infusion or inspiration. We went recently to check out their lunch offerings.

There are lots of interesting options on the menu, but don’t forget to check out the special board (where we found a lot of good stuff).

Cafe Sweet Spot Jerk ChickenWe shared some jerk chicken, which was great. Lots of spice (the blend is done in house) but not killer. The chicken is smoked, and that nice smoky taste went well with the spices.
Dominican chicken was a new entry on the special board. It had a tangy sauce with complex flavor and was good served over rice and beans.

Cafe Sweet Spot Chop Cheese Chop cheese, on the regular menu has become one of my new favorite sandwiches. It’s made with ground beef coated in melted cheese on a toasted bun. Their version has pickled jalapeños and came with a side of golden-brown fries. Yum!

Cafe Sweet Spot Dominican ChickenSince 2 chicken dishes (and the chop cheese) didn’t seem like enough for us, they sent over the chicken curry for us to taste. It was really good and would be tough to choose a favorite of the chicken dishes as we liked them all.

Cafe Sweet Spot Chicken CurryJust to torment us or something, they then send over a slice of their killer apple cake with caramel frosting. That and a great looking lemon meringue pie were the desserts that day. The cake was amazing and the two of us managed to eat most of it (the rest made a wonderful breakfast the next morning).

Cafe Sweet Spot Apple CakeA friend of ours went for brunch and had their chicken and waffles. She thought the chicken was marinated and fried to perfection. “It came with a sriracha and maple syrup combo dipping on the side to it a kick if you dared to. It was good!! Waffles were crisp and delicious”

We haven’t had breakfast there yet, but Ingrid says “for breakfast we have things we love as well. I love the power punch toast, I love a really good pancake.” There are also items like the caprese egg sandwich with mozzarella, basil, tomatoes and eggs on bread or a roll.

Even the classics like bacon, egg and cheese on a roll gets an upgrade with smoked gouda stepping in for the cheese.

Cafe Sweet Spot wants to have the people in the neighborhood think of it as a place they can come all the time, and for businesspeople to find something they’re looking for and a place where they can feel comfortable bringing clients to.
But mostly they just want to have really good food. “It’s a nice place to come in and shake it up, like the song says.”

Cafe Sweet Spot
296 Main Street
Poughkeepsie, New York 12601
845-392-9900
info@cafesweetspot.com

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Lucky Dragon: Chinese Comes to Rhinebeck

by Anne Maxfield on May 20, 2019

Lucky Dragon InteriorI wanted to love Lucky Dragon.

I wanted to be willing to jump in the car and drive for 20 minutes for great Chinese.

I wanted the answer to “where do you go for good Chinese?” to be Rhinebeck, not Queens.

I’m in like not love, but love could be just around the corner.

Lucky Dragon is in the building that used to house Catch 38 and is being run by the folks who brought you the Amsterdam. It’s “farm to chopsticks” cooking.

Lucky Dragon PotstickersMy sense is that it’s a retro-influenced look back at all the classic Chinese restaurants where you would go on Sundays with your family, eat lo mein, and think you were very adventuresome.

If you’re expecting pages and pages of dishes, you’ll be surprised. They’ve edited the choices down to a manageable amount (just enough to fit on a placemat).

We started out with a bunch of appetizers—BBQ spareribs, chicken lettuce wraps, pork and chive potstickers and fresh spring rolls. The spring rolls were hot and crispy and came with a sweet chile dipping sauce and were a hit with everyone at our table.

The spareribs were good with a dark brown glaze and sprinkling of sesame seeds. Close to those lacquered red ones you might remember from days gone by, but nicely updated with what I’m guessing was a hit of hoisin.

Lucky Dragon Spare RibsChicken lettuce wraps had chunks of chicken with scallions, slivers of bamboo shoots, sesame seeds and a light sauce, all of which fit perfectly in the lettuce. They were a bit hit with everyone at my table.

Lucky Dragon Chicken WrapsThe potstickers were pan fried on one side and served with a soy, scallion sauce. I would have preferred the sauce on the side, as it made them a little soggy, but they were still tasty and not too heavy as potstickers can be.

Trying to be a little healthy, we opted for two of the vegetable dishes, a classic bok choy with sesame and soy, which was well prepared and the Szechuan eggplant, which was one of my favorites of the evening. Small slices of eggplant in a spicy (but not killer) sauce with lots of flavor.

Lucky Dragon EggplantFor mains we went with the shrimp in black bean sauce, Szechuan chicken and pork lo mein. The lo mein was everyone’s favorite—it had great flavor and the noodles were well cooked, but sadly the pork in it was really tough.

Lucky Dragon ShrimpThe Szechuan chicken and the shrimp had a lot of the same ingredients, chunks of red and green peppers, beansprouts, water chestnuts and both were in a soy-based sauce. The big difference was that the chicken was a bit spicy and there were some black beans with the shrimp. We all agreed that we might have ordered two very similar dishes, and then mixed them up on our plates, blending them together so they were indistinguishable.

Lucky Dragon ChickenWe all also agreed that we’ll be back. The Peking Duck that needs to be ordered in advance, is tempting, as are some of the other classics like General Tso’s and some of the other appetizers we skipped over.

The manager was truly interested in our comments, and after hearing that we thought the pork in the lo mein was tough, presented us with a box of cookies as we left and said she was going to take it up with the kitchen right away. So, I have faith (and hope) that the menu will continue to evolve, and we’ll end up in love. I’ll keep you posted.

 

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Jason Patrick’s on 44

by Anne Maxfield on April 22, 2019

Accidental Locavore Restaurant SteakIt’s always great when someone you know fulfills a long term goal and it’s even greater when that goal has something to do with food (and restaurants).

So it is with Jason Patrick’s on 44.

It’s been owner Jay (Jason Patrick) Kiggins’ dream for a long time to have a fine dining restaurant to compliment his pizzeria, Madison’s, and now he’s found his ideal location—the former home of Groggers.

The restaurant has been spruced up and there’s now a lounge with comfortable chairs when you walk in and a large bar room on the right. There’s a large dining room that can be curtained off to accommodate parties of any size.

The menu is pretty classic, or as they call it, “American comfort food favorites,” with an emphasis on steaks at dinner and burgers at lunch.

Accidental Locavore Restaurant SoupWe were there for lunch about a month after they opened. I started with roasted jalapeño and shrimp chowder. It was a thick and hearty bowl of chowder with a definite kick from the jalapeños.

Looking for something a bit healthy, I followed it up with the buffalo cauliflower. If you’re expecting breaded and fried, this is a much healthier option. They roast the cauliflower, toss it in a homemade buffalo sauce and serve it with blue cheese dressing to dunk it it. It’s a classic combo but with updated twist.

Janet went for the fried chicken sandwich. It’s a towering pile of a pair of fried chicken thighs, precariously balanced on a potato roll with a southwestern mayo, pickles and fries on the side. The chicken was hot and tasty.

Accidental Locavore Restaurant CauliflowerI went back a few days later to see what the dinner menu was like. Frank was in the mood for a steak so he decided to go with a NY strip steak. It arrived perfectly cooked, with a twice baked potato and a pile of spiralized veggies.

The flatbreads looked interesting so I also went the steak route with a “steak and blue” flatbread. It was a perfect sized strip of flatbread with steak, blue cheese, caramelized onions and a balsamic reduction.

Accidental Locavore Restaurant Flatbread PizzaThere’s a dessert menu that we haven’t gotten to yet and a full bar with signature cocktails.

Jason Patrick’s on 44 is open for lunch and dinner every day except Monday.

1112 Dutchess Turnpike (Rt. 44), Poughkeepsie NY

845-345-9562

https://www.jpon44.com/

 

 

 

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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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