If you drive north from Quebec City through the Jacques Cartier Parc and continue through another one hundred miles of boreal forest, you will arrive at the town of Jonquiere, a suburb of Saguenay in central Quebec. The Auberge Villa Pachon is located there, on the banks of the Aux Sables River. Three years ago we read an article about the chef there, and the cassoulet he prepares. We drove seven hours from our home in the Adirondacks to try it.
Deer’s Head Inn fans can rejoice in the restaurant’s reincarnation, and be assured that the new operation preserved what was best about the old – the small town “community center” vibe of the place. That welcoming atmosphere is complemented by a new pub style menu with a local focus, a very nice bar, and a country store alongside to stock up for the trip home.
Essie’s Restaurant, a new bistro style eatery in Mount Carmel in downtown Poughkeepsie, is the newest addition to the city’s growing list of upscale dining establishments. The space most recently was home to Cafe Bocca, and those of a certain age will remember Sardi’s grocery, which operated there for over seventy years. We started hearing about the new restaurant months before they opened, in part because of the reputation of the proprietor, Brandon Walker.
Duo is in Kingston’s uptown Stockade District, just a pitching wedge away from two of our long time favorites – Boitson’s Bistro and le Canard Enchaine. Duo Bistro joined these two standouts in the spring of 2012. Chef Juan Romero’s menu is delightfully original, combining local farm products with creative and well prepared recipes.
It’s hard to imagine now, but thirty years ago there were no restaurants serving authentic rustic home style Italian food anywhere in the Hudson Valley. Back then, Italian meant red sauce and pasta and more often than not what you were served were “Italian-American” dishes like garlic bread with veal or chicken parmigiana or lobster fra Diavolo, or shrimp scampi (none of which would be found in Italy). Oh, how times have changed….
If I were in real estate I would say that Global Palate is centrally located between Kingston and Highland. Located in the old roadhouse that housed Marcel’s in days of yore, the restaurant’s dining room, and the bar in particular, have always been on my list of favorites. If you had a dream about a 1960’s neighborhood bistro, this is probably what you would dream about.
The Hotel Vermont in Burlington, appearing on many “Best of Vermont” lists in travel magazines, had been on our wishlist of weekend destinations for years. It also has the distinction of being next door to Hen of the Wood restaurant, which, if truth be told, was the real reason for our trip to Burlington.
The Culinary Institute’s newest venue is the Bocuse Restaurant, an homage to the legendary Lyonnaise chef, Paul Bocuse. In the late 1960’s Chef Bocuse and a few of his colleagues popularized what came to be known as “Nouvelle Cuisine”, a reimagining of traditional classic French haute cuisine with a new emphasis on purity of presentation and a rejection of the laborious and elaborate recipes and sauces of “cuisine classique”. Appropriately, the restaurant is located in the space that once housed L’Escoffier Restaurant, the CIA’s temple of haute cuisine.
On Monday evening, a group of chefs, farmers, dieticians, and other “farm to table” practitioners and devotees gathered to have dinner and to talk about the health benefits of whole foods. John Nelson, the Director of Public and Community Affairs for Health Quest, was the MC for the evening festivities. The affair was held at Le Express Bistro in Wappingers Falls.
After years of work and the collaborative efforts of seven Hudson Valley farms along with The Hudson Valley Chef’s Network, The Hudson Valley Seed Library, Glynwood and Slow Food USA, we can now tell you the happy ending to the story of Hank’s X-tra Special Baking Bean. It begins with an invite to dinner at the Village Tea Room in New Paltz.