WHERE TO DINE WHEN VISITING ‘WINTER WONDERLAND’ AT KENSICO DAM PLAZA?
The 9th glittering season of ‘Winter Wonderland’ will run thru Jan. 1st at Kensico Dam Plaza in Valhalla. This drive-thru event draws thousands for a big dose of Holiday Cheer. It is sponsored by Westchester Medical Center, and a partnership between the Westchester Parks Foundation and Westchester Parks Department. The 1.2-mile drive begins at 5 p.m. weekdays and 6 p.m. weekends and is chocked full of festive seasonal attractions. Tickets are $25 to $35 per car. This year Wegman’s Market added Ned & Albert’s Holiday Treat Bag as an option, and each carload is promised a personal visit by Santa. For additional info and reservations: 914-231-4600, or visit www.wwinterwonderland.com
If all this makes you hungry, here are some nearby dining suggestions for everyone in the family: It’s a busy time of the year, so reserve ahead if you can…
Seafood Tower: photo by @familycook101
MULINO’S HOLIDAY FEST, WHITE PLAINS!
It is over-the-top at Mulino’s of Westchester in White Plains during the holidays, and it begins with the bright glittering lights at the entranceway. The annual Christmas Holiday Fest at Mulino’s lasts right thru the season and it’s a sight to behold for the whole family! The fountain garden is beautiful as is the lavish dining room and bar/lounge. General Manager Gimmy Cavagna and his staff are keeping the premises spiffy as ever: gesticulating Christmas decorations galore, life size toy soldiers, bursting colorful floral displays, the handsome multilevel seating area. A special holiday menu is served. Open 7 days. Valet parking. Reservations advised. Mulino’s of Westchester, 99 Court Street, White Plains 914-761-1818 www.mulinosny.com
TESORO D’ITALIA IS A WINE LOVER’S DELIGHT!
Heading the day-to-day operation is host and owner Peter Lucaj who had been general manager of Ciao Ristorante in Eastchester. Peter, Mark & Don have done a stellar job growing this expansive Italian restaurant and catering house. The restaurant is divided into a main dining room for 100 guests, a semi-private fireplace room for up to 40 guests, and a lovely glass enclosed wine room seating up to 25. A spacious banquet room can accommodate 130 for all types of parties and private events. There is an inviting color-tiled bar/lounge area for networking and spirited conversation, and casual dining too. A dramatic wine wall highlights the dining room along with smoked glass dividers and white tablecloths. Look for their Black Linguini Pescatore, Chicken Payard, and Chilean Sea Bass. Weekday lunch special noon to 3 p.m. Monday-Friday: $24.95. Happy Hours: 3:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m., Bar only. Live entertainment Friday evenings. Ample free parking. Tesoro D’Italia, 160 Marble Ave.,Pleasantville. 914-579-2126 www.tesoroditaliany.com
Rack of Ribs and Sides
SOUTHERN COMFORT AT FREEBIRD!
I have been enjoying my visits to Freebird Kitchen & Bar this past year. We have devoured the meaty Half Racks of Baby Back Ribs, Cobb Salad, spicy Chicken Wings, crispy Brussels Sprouts. Shrimp & Grits and Braised Short Ribs, too. The cooking here is very satisfying, and all done with a southern theme. Portions are ample and shareable. The seasonal lighting and those artsy birds hanging from the ceiling in the dining room make for a magical atmosphere. There is a seasonal rooftop. Happy hours: Tues.-Thurs. 4-6pm; Fri. 2-6 p.m. Freebird, 161 Mamaroneck Ave., White Plains. Open Tuesday thru Sunday for lunch, dinner & weekend brunch. 914-607-2476 www.freebirdkitchenandbar.com
Burrata Burger with Baby Arugula & Roasted Peppers
PRIME PUB’S GLOBAL GASTRO SPECIALTIES!
Dynamic proprietor Simi Polozani, founder of Prime Pub gastropubs in Somers and Danbury, CT., opened his latest last January on Rt. 202 at the entrance to Heritage Hills. Walk in and you notice the extraordinary airy setting: the freestanding building sits right at the edge of a big pond which can be seen thru large picture windows, a seasonal fireplace highlighted with wood and stone, an attractive dining room with well-spaced tables and contemporary lighting, and a semi-enclosed bar/lounge area for schmoozing and munching. Best of all, the staff are all about hospitality from the moment you enter. Check out such menu specialties as: Honey Goat Cheese Flatbread, their blast from the past Beef Stroganoff, Braised Short Ribs, and decadent Burrata Burger. Located across from DeCicco’s Market. Open 7 days a week for lunch, dinner, and Sunday brunch. Happy Hours. Kid’s menu. Craft beer menu. Prime Pub, 249 US-202, Somers. 914-617-9818 www.primepubgroup.com
Double-Cut Pork Chop with Sauteed Mixed Peppers
CLASSICS AT ALEX’S BAR & GRILLE, N. WHITE PLAINS!
Proprietor Alex Ahmetaj updated the menu at his restaurant and bar/lounge offering big cuts of aged steaks and chops along with generously served Northern Italian/Continental fare. The handsome dining room is split into cozy sections with white tablecloths, colorful deVelleneuve impressionist paintings, and warming sconces. Mediterranean clay-colored banquets and chairs compliment wooden walls and plush beige curtained windows. Check out such specialties as: Pan Fried Calamari with hot cherry peppers, Linguini alla Vongole, a delicious fresh Branzino prepared tableside, classic Veal Parmigiana, grilled Filet Mignon, NY Sirloin Steak, a hefty Rib Eye, or the Pork Chops. Bar/lounge. Alex’s Bar & Grille, 577 N. Broadway, N. White Plains. 914-358-1444 www.alex577.com
HOLIDAY FIESTA AT CANTINA!
Host John Solo of bustling Cantina Taco & Tequila in White Plains is offering a 3-taco lunch for $9.95 all season long, or you can choose one of their tasty quesadillas with steak, chicken, shrimp, or a big Burrito. A new Street Bowl is available with choice of protein, for $8.95. Might be a good time for one of their frozen drinks, too. Cantina is a playful, colorful restaurant. They serve a bouncy menu of reasonably priced south-of-the-border fare. Try the new Birria Tacos, Cheeseburger Tacos, and such ongoing house specialties as: Chicken Wings, Carnitas, Chicken Mole, Garlic Shrimp, and Steak Fajita. Cantina Taco & Tequila, 166 Mamaroneck Ave., White Plains. Open 7 days. Happy Hours. Festive party facilities. 914-461-3959. www.cantinany.com
FRESH SEASONAL BREWS AT WOLF & WARRIOR!
Owner/Brewmeister Michael Chiltern brought White Plains its first microbrewery 3 years ago and it’s a good one. He has updated his hours and is now serving his brews and a new menu all afternoon and evening from noon, Tuesday thru Sunday. The open-air backyard has been expanded with extra seating. You’re in good hands on the floor with Christa and the crew. A daily selection of brews is listed on a big colorful blackboard. Comforting new specialties coming out of Chef Melvin’s kitchen include: Birria Tacos, Blazin’ Wings, Hand Cut Free Range Chicken Tenders, a variety of Brew House Burgers, and Slammin’ Sandwiches like the South Paw Philly Cheesesteak. Enjoyed my Passion Wolf IPA there recently. Closed Mondays. Wolf & Warrior Brewing, 195A E. Post Road, White Plains. 914-368-8617 www.wolfandwarrior.com
(Morris Gut is a restaurant marketing consultant and former restaurant trade magazine editor. He has been tracking and writing about the food and dining scene in greater Westchester for 30 years. He may be reached at: 914-235-6591. Email: email@example.com)