Probably the most revered chef and restaurateur in the Hudson Valley, Peter Kelly owns Xaviar's in Piermont, Restaurant X in Congers and Xaviars X2O in Yonkers. Xaviar's received a 29 out of 30 rating in Zagat and the New York Times’shighest rating (Extraordinary).
The Valley Table magazine held a kickoff party at the Millbrook Winery for its November 4 through November 17 Restaurant Week. Participating chefs and restaurant owners were invited to taste the culinary products of some of the Hudson Valley's top purveyors of fine food and drink. Star performers such as Hudson Valley Foie Gras, Harney and Sons Fine Teas, and the Millbrook Winery offered tastings of their splendid products. Since we have already done articles on and interviews with each of them, I will focus on the discoveries I made of enterprises clearly deserving of recognition.
She makes it look so effortless. Kamini invited me to taste some of her specialties, and I must say I was wowed. The lentils with butternut squash, the spinach pies and all of these new gluten-free grains I had never really tried. Her cooking makes being gluten-free, sugar-free and/or a vegan feel like no sacrifice at all. Let her know how much we want her to provide take-out from her new kitchen on Franklin Avenue: Kamini Oppenheimer at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mother Nature blessed both the harvest and the Harvest Party this year at the Millbrook Winery. A record three hundred people were in attendance, many coming in trains and buses from Manhattan. After admiring the red, yellow and orange autumn leaves reflected in the pond, they went on to the more serious business of food and wine in the tent in front of the winery. Each year a well-known guest chef prepares a gourmet meal for the festivities, but this year's menu featured a pair of culinary luminaries. Certified Master Chef Ken Arnone and Master of Wine Jennifer Simonetti-Bryan, the co-writers of "Pairing with the Masters," presented each dish paired with two different Millbrook wines and asked everyone to choose which pairings were most successful. It was both fun and educational to experience this firsthand.
I love sushi, but I am very leery of new sushi places, so when my friends suggested we try Asian Temptation—which opened this summer across from Adams between Arlington Wines and Starbucks—I told them to try it first without us, and if they liked it, we would go with them. They came back raving about the place—the food, the ambiance and the service. So last weekend Gerard and I went with them for a lovely meal, and if owners Linda and Joe Wong keep up the quality, we will become steady customers. The sushi was exquisite, as was the sashimi. I had the Grilled Ika (squid), which was perfect. I also tasted the delicious Mango Chicken, served in mango shells. For the table they brought us edamame (fresh-tasting—not dry, as I usually find) and a fabulous salad made with chopped marinated raw yellowtail, red tuna and salmon. Just writing about the meal makes me want to return. Perhaps for lunch one day this week. Asian Temptation is open every day for both lunch and dinner.
Millbrook R & B has closed its doors after a representative from the state liquor authority entered the bar and took their license off the wall. We are unsure what caused this drastic action but the village is abuzz with rumors.
Millbrook Gardens is the new name for the landscaping specialists now located where Rollins Landscaping & Gardens used to be on Route 44. The Rollins sold their place this summer to new owner, Patrick Murphy, who is at already at work getting ready for the holidays. Frank of the The Belvoir Gallery reports that business has been good and that he expanded his collection to include a number of new and local artists whether or not their focus is on sports and wildlife.
It was during my trip to Auvergne, France this summer that opened my eyes to just how many dishes can be improved by melting cantal cheese (or tomme fraiche) on top or into the casserole. Melted cheese is a part of lasagna, pizza, fondues, quesadillas, Welsh rabbits, mac and cheese, the cheese burger and so many more dishes. But cheese doesn't always melt the way you want it to. You'd like it to be smooth and saucy, and instead it turns stringy, or it separates, or maybe it won't melt at all. Here are some tips that will help you select the right cheese for different dishes and cooking techniques.