John Lekic’s Le Express Bistro in Wappingers is the most recent addition to our “Hudson Valley Top 10 Favorite Restaurants.” For some, “farm to table” is a marketing slogan. For John Lekic, it is his life’s mission – to promote the culinary bounty of the Hudson Valley. He is the valley’s farmers’ greatest cheerleader, and his megaphone is his restaurant.
Earlier this year we got to cross one item off our travel “bucket list”, a trip across northern Spain sampling the local fare, with a focus on tapas. We started in Barcelona, before travelling through the Rioja region. We grazed through San Sebastian, a city with enough Michelin stars to be named a constellation, before traveling west to Galicia to the historic city of Santiago de Compostela. Color me happy!
Montgomery Place Orchards gets my vote for the prettiest farm stand in the Hudson Valley. Situated on Route 9G just north of the village of Rhinebeck, this picturesque market becomes a destination each summer for shoppers searching for local fresh produce and dairy products from area creameries. My absolute favorite time to visit is in autumn, when the shelves are adorned with dozens of traditional and heirloom varieties of freshly picked apples, and piles of colorful gourds and winter squash and pumpkins galore.
Liquids and Solids has enjoyed a uniform positive buzz since opening in 2010, offering a menu almost exclusively comprised of house-made charcuterie, with sporadic appearances of prepared veggies and local cheeses. The space is as casual as casual gets, with a dozen highly sought after seats at the bar, and a like number of high top tables scattered around a small dining room.
The restaurant will be our new favorite casual “small plate” stop when we are in Lake Placid.
New Openings / Closings / Movers & (Salt)Shakers
Paradox Lodge, Lake Placid ~ Eat & Meet Grill, Saranac Lake ~ A Tavola, New Paltz ~ Shatzi’s Pub, Poughkeepsie, and…….
You will find the Mountain Brauhaus nestled near the base of the Shawangunk ridge, on the road that climbs through a series of switchbacks before reaching Minnewaska. German immigrants settled the area long ago, drawn here for the same reasons as the thousands of climbers and tourists who visit the area each year. The landscape is as close to Bavaria as you will find without getting on a plane to Germany. The region’s most popular restaurant fits right into that setting, serving as a meeting house for area residents and a beacon for the rest of us drawn to the light of the kitchen’s traditional Brauhaus fare.
In our house, Monday is pizza night, and in our house pizza means Cosimo’s. Monday night we can be found at the corner of the bar, nestled in amongst the Monday night regulars from Marist College and the Culinary, with a smattering of legal types and business people. More often that not, everyone at the bar will know each other. If they don’t, they soon will, because our hostess and barkeeper, Joanne Foley a/k/a JoJo, will make sure that happens. After many years of this routine, we are there as much for the company as the pizza, but we certainly started going to Cosimo’s because of the pizza.
It has been two years since the Baxter family teamed with the Crocco brothers to launch what is now, by all appearances, one of the most popular new restaurants in the Hudson Valley. The team created a wonderful dining and entertainment destination, combining a casual but elegant space, beautifully renovating the building that has been home to multiple eateries since the original Mill House opened back in 1977. We have been back numerous times since the most recent reincarnation, often before taking in a show at the nearby Bardavon Opera House.
This summer I had my first taste of shishito peppers, and they are now my new favorite. Why was I not informed earlier? Approximately one in ten will pack a little heat. Not scotch bonnet heat, not even jalapeno heat, but enough to make you take notice. I loved the taste, the easy preparation, and especially loved the spicy surprise 10% of the time. That first taste inspired a quest to find a source for these delicious little morsels.
This is the recipe for the chicken that my friends and I prepare each September for the annual Schroon Lake Fish & Game Club Bake, in the Adirondacks of upstate New York. At the club we cook on open “firehouse grates”. Each grate holds twenty chicken halves, arranged 4 x 5 on each grate. We cook […]