Our Favorite EATS of 2019
As usual, we enjoyed so much wonderful food all throughout the Hudson Valley during the past year. It wasn't easy to pick our favorites, but we did narrow down the list to these great EATS!
Game Changer: Bread pudding, something I’ve never liked, at 82BBQ. Gooey, buttery, with real maple syrup. Set the standard for bread pudding. And BTW the BBQ is delicious! Pair any of the BBQ plates with mac and cheese and braised greens and you’ve got a great meal. Just save room for the bread pudding.
Newcomer: Willow at Mirbeau. Going to a place when they’ve just opened, is always risky, but Willow was great. I’d happily go back for the grilled oysters and gnocchi with wild mushrooms, but just about everything we ate was worth another trip (or two)
Secret Dinner: Thursday nights at Julie’s in Poughkeepsie. She had me with stuffed grape leaves with egg lemon sauce and has kept us going back with house made pasticcio, roast lamb, moussaka, lasagna and more. Dinners include homemade bread, soup or salad and homemade Greek desserts.
Surprise Special: Veal cheeks at Café les Baux. While all the food at our favorite local restaurant is good, the veal cheeks were a huge surprise as a recent special. Braised until incredibly tender and served with a Madeira sauce, this is a special dish that’s truly special. Call them to see if it’s on the board. Sorry no picture but we ate it too quick.
Sweetest Place: All Caked Up makes any occasion a special one. I received a package of four of their cupcakes for my birthday this year and all I can say is "Oh My!" With flavors like Guinness and Baileys, Nutella Cheesecake, Chicken and Waffles, Red, White and Blue Velvet among the over 90 flavors they offer, how can you go wrong. My personal favorite was the Maple Bacon & Pancake. Maybe it was because it was so damn cute. The S’more took a very close second!
Most Refreshing Dish: Roasted grapefruit is on the brunch menu at the Hudson House of Nyack. I can’t say I had ever had hot grapefruit, let alone one that was brûléed. The brittle, slightly caramelized touch added that extra little bit of sweetness and was a real treat.
Home Style Cooking: If you grew up in Puerto Rico Café Con Leche will make you feel like you are home again. This is the real deal. We have eaten our way through most of the menu and have many favorites like the mofongo, pernil with rice and beans and chicharron de pollo. In January they will be moving to their new location in the Village of Wappingers.
Favorite Sandwich: For anyone who has been there, it should be no surprise a Rossi’s sandwich made the list. Usually when I am the one ordering, I go for the pork, broccoli rabe and provolone but my husband came home with the Italian combo panini. It's one of those things you know is too big, too salty and too many calories, but it is also too good to resist.
Appetizer Favorite: For perfect bacon wrapped scallops you need two things, a quality sea scallop and good bacon. Henry’s at the Farm gets these both right. They use large dry sea scallops and thick bacon cooked slightly crispy. The creamy horseradish sauce drizzled on the side takes this dish over the top.
Best Use of an Ingredient: You’d think Spaghetti di Calamari was calamari tossed with spaghetti but at Confetti’s the Spaghetti is the calamari. They julienne the calamari into thin strips and sauté it with shrimp, mussels and clams in a light sauce made with San Maranzo tomatoes. This is perfect when you want to eat light and stay away from carbs. I loved the consistency of the calamari, in fact, I went back and had it three times.
Thanks Hudson Valley restaurant owners and food entrepreneurs for giving us so many great food experiences! We are looking forward to seeing you soon as we eat our way through 2020.
Biggest disappointment: Lucky Dragon in Rhinebeck. A much anticipated “farm to chopstick” Chinese restaurant by the folks that brought you the Amsterdam, failed to deliver. If you’re of a certain age and remember Sunday nights going out for chop suey, this is your place. For the rest of us, hoping for some interesting upscale Chinese—so sorry. Now closed while they move to a larger location. Take your time.