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82BBQ

While great BBQ might not be the first thing that springs to mind when you think of restaurants in the Hudson Valley, your chances of finding some good ribs and brisket are awfully high here.

82BBQ which opened recently in Verbank (near Millbrook) has raised that BBQ bar a little higher. We went for lunch on a Friday and quickly became fans.

It’s a nicely designed room with your choice of a communal high-top table, or smaller tables for 2 or 4 and there’s a big patio with cheerful orange chairs for outdoor dining.

I started with the smoked wings in hopes that they would match my favorites from Billy Joes in Newburg. They were really good, with crispy well-spiced skin, but being the smoke fiend that I am, I would have liked a bit more smoke flavor coming through. They came with a Sriracha blue cheese dipping sauce that gave them some heat and played well with the spices on the wings. I loved that you could get 6 or 12 as it’s usually a struggle for me to get through more than 6 (and it gives you a chance to nibble on more of the menu).

To go with my wings, how about some smokehouse fries with pulled pork and Monterey Jack cheese?  The fried potatoes were fried half-moons of potatoes which made them great for scooping up the pulled pork and cheese. Think of them as being the fry version of nachos. Great snack food and for once you could really taste the cheese!

My friend went for the pulled pork and 2 sides, this time mac and cheese and green beans. The pulled pork was yummy, with nice crispy bits—like my favorite burnt ends. Mac and cheese was creamy, buttery cheesy and delicious. The green beans were not cooked to death, which may insult some Southerners, but I like my beans to have a little life left in them and these did. The pickled veggies that came on the side were a nice touch that I got to enjoy because my friend is not a fan of anything pickled.

What struck me about the food at 82BBQ, and it may seem strange when you’re talking about BBQ, was that all the dishes tasted fresh. It wasn’t just gloppy BBQ, produced on a large scale. I mentioned it to the chef when we were chatting after the meal and he confirmed it, telling me that he made everything fresh daily and when it was gone, it was gone. I also appreciated that the portions were good-sized, but not overwhelming.

We went back for dinner to try their take on some of the more traditional BBQ items, like ribs, brisket, chicken and their custom-made andouille sausage. Everything was really good, and we’ve eaten through most of the main dishes and sides. So far, my favorites are the ribs and pulled pork, but the brisket and sausages are close contenders. For sides, I’d definitely go for the braised greens—perfectly cooked with a nice vinegar kick — and the mac and cheese. Skip the coleslaw, it’s the only thing on the menu that needs work, and save room for the (I can’t believe I’m writing this) amazing bread pudding. It’s warm and creamy with a good dose of real maple syrup. I’ve never been a bread pudding fan, but 2 bites of 82BBQ’s and I’d go back just for the bread pudding. Yup, that good.

Open for lunch Friday-Sunday and dinner every day but Monday.

82BBQ

3134 Route 82, Verbank NY

845-677-0082

 

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Willow Restaurant at the Mirbeau

Willow is the new Charlie Palmer restaurant at Rhinebeck’s Mirbeau Inn and Spa.

It’s always a bit risky (and some might say unfair) to hit up a restaurant in the first week.

And doubly so on a Friday night (with a chef in the party).

But we were looking forward to trying it–friends had “previewed” it at brunch on the opening weekend and wanted to go for dinner.

Unlike recent, much anticipated openings that were hugely disappointing, Willow came through with delicious food.

The room is much more formal than we’ve gotten used to seeing. No dark grey walls or Edison bulbs to be found. A fireplace at one end, with framed vintage Hermes (I’m assuming) scarves on the other and interesting carpeting to mute noise. It looks very much like what it is—a hotel dining room in an upscale inn.

I started out with the Shelter Island grilled oysters, with pancetta, garlic and parsley oil. They were delicious, plump and juicy and the garlic and parsley made a nice sauce for them.

Other appetizers that were passed around the table were a salad of beets and endive blanketed with a blizzard of ricotta salata. I’ll have to take everyone’s word that they were good. Frank had the tuna tartare Niçoise with olives, haricots vert, potatoes, radishes and a tiny “HV” quail egg. It was good, but someone went a little overboard with the olives—almost overwhelming the tuna. We were all happy when John went for the fois gras (and was willing to share). It was a nice piece of seared fois gras with a couple of brioche slices and a row of apple slices. All good, but as I said to John, almost everything goes with fois gras (and tastes wonderful).

Thinking there might be dessert, I went for the small portion of gnocchi with wild mushrooms. It was a risky move, as good gnocchi are rare, but the risk/reward paid off with delicate, melt-in-your-mouth gnocchi. The mushrooms led to one of the funnier moments of the evening. There was a small bunch of (I’m guessing) hen-of-the-woods and somehow my knife had disappeared. When I asked for a knife, the server returned with a huge streak knife, capable of doing serious damage. We will now jokingly refer to any steak knives as “gnocchi knives”.

We all decided that John’s halibut was the best-looking plate of the evening and the fish was perfectly cooked on a bed of risotto with chanterelles.

Frank had the chicken—it’s his new test for restaurants—how well can you do chicken? They passed with flying colors—crispy skin and tasty meat. He wasn’t fond of the sunchokes that accompanied the chicken—they seemed a little overcooked, but the “heirloom” spinach was very tasty. He also ordered the Brussels sprout side dish—roasted with an agrodolce sauce, chipotle aioli and another blizzard of ricotta salata. It was a good combination and once we got the grilled lime that came with it to actually produce juice, it made it even better.

Our other friend had the duck breast with farro and huckleberries. The duck was nice and rosy and tasted good, but I was missing the crunch of duck skin. The combo of farro and huckleberries was a nice change from the usual duck with a fruit sauce.

Having saved room for dessert, I went for the bittersweet chocolate cake with salted caramel and chocolate bourbon ice cream. After being assured by our waiter that the cake was nut free, I was surprised when the base of the cake turned out to be marzipan (almond paste).

Which brings me to the big issue. Service. Our waiter was a great guy, helpful, eager and completely overwhelmed. When asked, he admitted that his training was basically “sink or swim.” If you remember the scene in Ratatouille where Linguini is roller skating through the restaurant you get the idea.

Luckily, that’s something that some training can rectify, but it was a bit surprising in a fine dining restaurant that has Charlie Palmer’s name attached.

What’s more important is that we had a great time that night and the food was terrific. We’ll definitely be back and look forward to being there when the kitchen and staff have had the time to get into their groove.

 

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Cafe Sweet Spot

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

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.

Update: Overheard in another restaurant someone referring to “Yucky Dragon” and after a second meal that echoed the first, I’d have to agree. So disapointing.

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Jason Patrick’s on 44

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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Pawling Bread Company

Accidental Locavore Pawling Bread FounderLike many people in the Pawling community, I’ve been awaiting the opening of Pawling Bread Company’s new bakery café.

For all of us, it’s been a tough winter, made worse by the lack of Cynthia Kinahan’s great sourdough breads.

Happily, that and the worst of the winter (we hope) is behind us.

At a run-through recently, we got to see what the café looks like and try some of the offerings.

It’s a clean open space with the café taking up two levels. Upstairs is a bright seating area with a balcony that will be open in the warmer weather. A large wooden communal table is centered in the room, with smaller tables around the periphery. In anticipation of holding local events, it’s set up with a projector and screen.

Before you head upstairs, place your order at the counter from the menu posted on the wall. Another wall is filled with the various breads, all looking Insta-worthy and available to go home with you, sliced or whole. There are a couple of tables downstairs and a bar to sit and watch the action from.

Accidental Locavore Pawling Bread Because bread is the star here, almost everything on the menu is bread-based.

There are toasts, which you can get either savory or sweet. My husband went for the tuna toast with nice chunks of Italian tuna in olive oil with capers, carrots and celery on toasted sourdough. Delicious and far from your standard deli tuna salad!

Accidental Locavore Pawling Bread Toast with TunaI went classic and treated myself to a grilled cheese panini. Grilled to a perfect golden brown, the surprise was the bread it was on—one of my favorites, raisin carraway. The occasional sweetness of the raisins worked well with the 3 cheese combo.

Accidental Locavore Pawling Bread Grilled CheeseFrank thought we should work our way through more of the menu, so he went back down to see what else we should taste. Shortly, his picks, both croissant-based were delivered to our table.

There was a plain croissant made into a breakfast sandwich with the addition of a fried egg. Simple goodness, highlighting the quality of ingredients.

A pain au chocolate was his other choice. While I’m generally not a big fan, always preferring a plain croissant and a mug of hot chocolate, this was a prime example. Perfect pastry and a nice big chunk of dark chocolate.

Accidental Locavore Pawling Bread Pain au ChocolateThere will be a daily soup and there’s a salad option of baby spinach, goat cheese, roasted beets,

blood orange, spiced nuts and seeds with currant vinaigrette which looked delicious.

For your caffeine fix, they offer Forty Weight Coffee in most of the usual ways and as a tribute to Cynthia’s background, kopi, a Malaysian-style coffee as well as a nice assortment of teas from Octavia Teas.

Besides the great breads, there is an assortment of cheeses to take home with you as well as some other well-chosen local items.

Pawling Bread Company will be open Saturdays 8-3 and Sundays 8-2.

Follow them on Facebook for updates and specials.

Pawling Bread Company

10 East Main Street

Pawling NY

 

 

 

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La Cabanita, Mexican on Main Street

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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Lolita’s: Pizza in Poughkeepsie

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.

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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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