North Country Rambler started out as a lark, a fun way to catalogue my dining escapades with friends. We have been eating out together every week for over twenty years. Five years ago I started writing about those Wednesday night dinners here on North Country Rambler. I used Google Blogger as the vehicle to host those articles. It was easy to use, and it’s free. I’m not a “techie” and I needed to be able to write a post in plain English and have a finished product that you would be able to read. I tried to limit the commentary to positive reviews of places that we wanted to recommend to friends. The space was not – and is not – intended to provide “reviews” in the classic sense. If we liked our experience you read about it. If we didn’t, you didn’t. It was not our mission to warn you about the bad places out there, just to tell you about the good ones. It was a similar format to the one that I used when I wrote the Dining Out column for the Poughkeepsie Journal. Just picks, no pans. You can read our mission statement here.
Over the last five years I have written about hundreds of meals that we have enjoyed together, mostly down in the Hudson Valley and also up in the Adirondacks where my friends and I usually spend our weekends. Looking back on the catalog of blog posts I realized that many have become stale, and it was probably time to update many. We needed to go back and revisit many of those favorite places! I also thought it might be an opportunity to “spruce up the page”, and address some of what I thought were shortcomings in the original blog’s design.
This new, and hopefully improved space is the result of that undertaking. We moved all of the material to its new home on WordPress. After consulting with some friends in the blogosphere, WordPress seemed to be the preferred choice. I hired a web designer – my new friend, Julie, of FabulousBlogging.com to assist with the effort and to make sure that everything functioned as it should. I hope you like the changes in the format.
In the future, columns will not be limited to restaurant reviews. Our new “Home Cooking” section will focus on “dining in”, to complement the Wednesday night crew’s “dining out”. Anything food or wine related is now fair game. We will talk about everything from bread baking and gardening to our favorite cook books, to the state of the wine industry in our area, to our favorite farmers markets, and the new breweries and distilleries that are popping up all over the state. I intend to use a lot more photography in future posts, if for no other reason than to rationalize my lens purchases over the past five years.
I also hope that the site will be more interactive with readers. Leaving comments on the old Blogger page was difficult, and that is one of the reasons that I moved to WordPress. I hope this new page and new format will prompt more discussions among all of us who enjoy the fabulous food and wine scene here in upstate New York. We live in one of the most beautiful places on earth, filled with every conceivable type of culinary destination, from the Culinary Institute to north country sugar shacks, dairy farms and cheese producers, and acres of vineyards and farmland growing fresh vegetables that restaurants in New York City beg for. We have it all right here in our backyard! We have ethnic restaurants galore offering everything from Japanese sushi to French bistro classics, Spanish tapas, and Basque pintxos, from Jamaican jerk kettle cooking to Memphis style barbecue. There are more fantastic Italian restaurants right here in the Hudson Valley than many towns in Italy. We truly are blessed. Let’s talk about it!