Saturday, November 21, 2015

Clemson Bros. Brewery- Middletown, NY

The Clemson Brothers building in Middletown was a saw manufacturing plant for many years. After the factory closed it was vacant for many years. It is now the home of a new brewery that only opened about a month ago. 

The layout is nice with all of the exposed brick walls, the high table and the bar. The brewing vats are visible from the dining area in a glassed off room. We code a table near a wall for a better picture background and the bartender came over to see us. 

He said they had three beers on tap at the time and I ordered a flight at seven bucks. He came back with four beers and said that he mixed the raspberry pale ale and the IPA as he felt that it made a nice combination. The raspberry pale ale turned out to be my favorite, which is a bit surprising as I generally don't care for fruity beer. The raspberry taste was there, but not too strong. The IPA was good, but I liked the mix of the IPA and raspberry better. The Blonde was a good beer, but not hoppy enough for me. Again, this is based simply on my palate.

We both went with burgers at $12.99 each. I got the Imperial burger with bacon, goat cheese, pickled red onions, and sweet jam on a toasted bun with a side of truffled fries. Teresa got the brie burger which had brie cheese and apple aioli with the side of fries. Both burgers were very good, but the fries were a bit soggy. I think they could have used another minute in the fryer and a longer drain. Not bad though and given that they just opened I am sure they will perfect this soon. 

Overall, a fine new addition to the Hudson Valley brewing scene and I look forward to seeing what new brews they come up with. Check them out sometime. They have a website for more information. 

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Le Express Bistro and Bar- Wappinger Falls, NY

I love French cuisine, especially the more rustic offerings. There is an elegance in taking a few simple ingredients and turning them into culinary delights. I have found a new favorite right here in the Hudson Valley.

Le Express Bistro and Bar sits in a strip mall just a bit south of Red Oak Mill. From the outside it is unassuming, however once inside it is warm and inviting, decorated in a classic French mixture of rustic and Provincial. 

They have been on my wish list for some time now and having seen them listed on Hudson Valley Restaurant Week, we decided to stop by for lunch. This turned out to be a wise move. We got there shortly after they opened, so there was no crowd and we were seated near a window which made the photography easier. 

We looked over the regular menu and went with the Restaurant Week menu, a three-course lunch for $21 each. I ordered the escargot, the Croque Monsieur, and the crepe. Teresa ordered the Brussels Sprouts salad, the Sweet Pea Pancake, and the Warm Chocolate Lava Cake. 

My escargot was delightful, and it probably raised my cholesterol a bit from all of the butter, but it was worth it. The Croque Monsieur was excellent and it came with a tasty small salad of some ever so slightly bitter greens and some of the best fries I have had in some time. I am certain they were house made. 

Teresa was thrilled with her appetizer and I took a taste and could see why. She enjoyed the pancake and gave me some to try. The flavor notes were impressive. The crepe was just right and the lava cake is now sitting in the fridge for later. 

Overall, Le Express is an excellent French restaurant with amazing food and impeccable service in a quaint setting. We will certainly be going back again and I strongly recommend you give them a try. Check out their website for more information. 

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Limoncello at the Orange Inn- Goshen, NY

I've heard some good things about Limoncello over the years, but for some reason we never got there. When I saw their offerings for Hudson Valley Restaurant Week I thought the time had come.

We stopped by at a bit after noon on a Wednesday and the place was empty, it did fill up as we dined. After looking over the menus we decided on the Restaurant Week three-course meal at $20.95. 

While we waited for our meals we were brought some amazing warm bread, two different kinds. One was a nice Tuscan loaf, the other a softer variety. They gave us a dipping sauce of oil infused with sun-dried tomatoes and garlic that was quite good. The waiter explained how it was both cold and hot infused to obtain the right flavor.

While they have a rather extensive beer list, it was early so I went with tap water. 

I went with the petite pork meatballs with basil, ricotta, and crostini for my appetizer. For my entree, I ordered the duck breast and for desert, the creme brûlée. All were excellent.

Teresa had the Soba noodle Asian salad, the pork loin, and ended with the apple pear strudel. The strudel went home with us as we were quite stuffed by that point. We did share to creme brûlée which was served flaming. Again, everything was excellent. 

The service was impeccable and the ambiance quite nice. We sat next to the fireplace, a nice thing for a crisp autumn afternoon. 

It won't take us so long to get to Limoncello again. Check out their website for more information. 

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Agave Mexican restaurant- Danbury, Ct

We really like a good Mexican restaurant and we just came across one in Danbury, in the plaza that houses the Christmas Tree Store. It is in the corner and look for the Agave sign, or you might miss it and that would be a shame. 

We stopped by early on a Saturday afternoon and were seated in the rather large and nicely appointed  dining area. After a quick read od the menu I decided on the cerviche and the chicken tacos while Teresa went with the enchiladas verde. 

The cerviche was excellent. The tacos were great. The enchiladas were excellent. The service was friendly and attentive. Overall, an excellent meal at reasonable prices. The bill came to just $26 plus tax and tip. 

Agave could become a favorite in the Danbury area for us. Try them for yourself and I am certain you will agree. Check out their website for more information. 

Friday, November 6, 2015

Angry Orchard- Walden, NY

Angry Orchard opened their new Innovation Cider House in Walden, NY, just about five miles from my house, this weekend. It is on what was once a Crist Family farm and we decided to stop by and see what it was like. 

They spent a ton of money on this place and the results are amazing. The front porch is held up by pillars wrapped in apple trees and there are rocking chairs to relax in. You enter, show your license for proof of age, and get a token redeemable for a flight at the end. 

Next is a self-guided tour of the place, not fully operational yet, ending at the store and tasting room. The store sells growlers of cider, as well as apparel, and glasses. 

We turned in our tokens for flights. I went with the Hop N Mad, the Wooden Sleeper, and the Stone Dry. Teresa got the Farm Cider, the Crisp Apple, and the Wooden Sleeper. They were all good, my favorite being the Wooden Sleeper, a cider hat was conditioned in a bourbon barrel. The Hop N Mad was good as well.

Overall, a neat place and a fine addition to the area. There is tremendous potential here and I certainly hope they add some food and music venues in the future. Stop by sometime. Check out their website for more information.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Blu Pointe Restaurant- Newburgh, NY

Blu Pointe Restaurant sits on the Newburgh waterfront, in the former location of Torches. It is run by the Bonura Family of restaurants, a group that always does things right. I was there years ago under the previous incarnation and enjoyed it. When I saw that Blu Pointe was listed on Hudson Valley Restaurant Week, I looked at the special menu and we decided to pop in on a Tuesday afternoon, just before the sunset. 

The restaurant is large and well appointed giving a warm, upscale feel to it. The best part, however, is the view of the river. We were seated on the enclosed porch and had a splendid view as the sun set giving a warm glow to the Beacon side. 

We were given some wonderful grilled bread with an eggplant capanade and looked over the regular menu, as well as the restaurant week offerings, and decided to go with the thirty dollar three-course meal. I went with the Oysters Rockefeller, the Monkfish, and finished with the Bananas Foster Tiramisu. Teresa got the Harvest Salad, the Bronzino, and the Pumpkin Cheesecake. 

The oysters were excellent, they were perhaps one of the best renditions of that decadent dish. The monkfish was wrapped in crispy prosciutto and sat on a bed of sweet potato gratin with some Brussels sprouts on the side. It was absolutely amazing. 

Teresa said the salad was quite good and I sampled her Bronzino which was delightful. We shared the tiramisu and brought the cheese cake home for later. 

Overall, it was an amazing meal with excellent service, what I would call elegant, yet casual dining.  The wait staff was attentive, yet giving us plenty of space and time. We will definitely be headed back sometime. 

Oh, they have ample private parking, something lacking at the other waterfront restaurants, as well as a rather large wine list and many beers on tap. They have a website for more information. 

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Poe's Tavern now open in Wrightsville Beach, NC

Press Release- November 1, 2015

Poe's Tavern has opened a new location in Wrightsville Beach and I thought I'd pass this on as it looks to be really interesting. There are two other locations. The original is on Sullivan's Island, South Carolina and the other in Atlantic Beach, Florida. All three are themed in the literary works of Edgar Allen Poe. I looked over the menu and it looks good, and reasonably priced. What really impressed me was that they source locally using Apple Annie's Bake shop, Motts Channel Seafood, and beef from Black Creek Farm. In addition, they have at least eight North Carolina brews available, including Good Hops in Carolina Beach. 

The location looks nice and it is nice to have another place to eat near the beach. I have not yet been there as I am currently in New York raking leaves and getting ready for the first snow, but I have them on my short list for the Christmas visit. The pictures were provided by the marketing team. I'll let you know more then. In the meantime, check out their website for more information and if you do stop in let me know what you think. 

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Mill House Brewing Company- Poughkeepsie, NY

The Mill House Brewing Company in Poughkeepsie has been on the short list for some time now, the timing just has not been right until today. One time there was no parking, and another there was too long of a wait. We popped in late on a Saturday afternoon and found a parking place so we were golden. We entered and were seated right away. Had we been an hour later there would have been a wait for a table. 

Inside it is nicely appointed and has a feel of a new brew pub, but with an older charm. While it was crowded, the noise level was low. It looked as if someone put a lot of thought into the design. 

I decided to start with a flight of five beers for $14. They have six available so the choice was what to drop from the list and Octoberfest didn't make the cut. The stout was good, the Hubar great (and a crawler of it came home with me), the Kilt Spinner was a good Scottish Ale, the Amber ale good, and the Kolsch nice and crisp tasting. Now to the dinner choices. 

I went with the hand formed burger at $18. That's right, eighteen bucks. When a burger costs that much, the expectations are high but it was worth every penny of it. The meat was fresh and properly seasoned and it came out a perfect medium with pink in the middle. In fact, it may have been one of the best damn burgers I have ever had. The fries were hand cut as well and delightful. Seriously, I'm still stuffed and I could eat another one right now. They do have a cheaper burger but splurge. 

Teresa went with the French Dip at $14 and she said it was quite good. The meat was so juicy that the roll did get a bit soggy, but no big deal as she was dipping it in the au jus anyway. 

I was toying with the idea of a growler, but it would be too much for just me so I went with the crowler  of the Hubar (32 oz) for ten bucks. 

Overall, an amazing place with great beer, excellent food, friendly service, and a warm atmosphere. We will be back again, and soon. They have a website for more information. 

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Blue Chip Burger- Middletown, NY

Blue Chip Burger sits on East Main Street in Middletown in what was once a bar. About three years ago a local family with a lot of restaurant experience turned it into a burger joint with the mission of using quality grass fed beef and other natural ingredients to make a quality product. It has been on my list of places to visit for some time now.

We stopped by late one Saturday afternoon and were greeted by our very friendly waitress. She suggested that we try two different specialty burgers and split them. We took her suggestion and ordered the three alarm burger and the roasted garlic burger. Both were under ten bucks and came with copious fries. 

The burgers were very good. They were properly cooked (I didn't specify a temperature so they were medium well) and it was quite apparent that the meat was a quality product and seasoned just right. The fries were of the shoestring variety and were okay. 

They also serve Jane's ice cream, made locally in Kingston, and have a few local beers available. Overall, a neat restaurant with good food, reasonable prices, nice ambiance, and friendly people. We'll be back. The have a website for more information. 

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Guinness Nitro IPA

A while back I wrote an article on beers with widgets and now I find that I need to update it as a few more have popped up. The latest entry I tried is the new Nitro IPA from Guinness, the inventor of the nitrogen widget, and I must say that I liked it.

Weighing in at only 5.8% it is not that heavy and it is quite creamy from the nitrogen widget. The taste is smooth and moderately hoppy, tasting a bit closer to a pale ale. It does have a drinkability to it and goes down smooth. I would have this with a burger or after a nice double IPA.

Friday, October 9, 2015

New York Burger at Smashburger

No words needed here.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Chicken Riggies

We were headed up to Utica, NY to watch our granddaughter while her mom and dad went to a wedding and a few people said that we had to try the chicken riggies while we were in the area. We stopped at Carmela's in New Hartford and I ordered it.

The dish is chicken, olives, sweet and hot peppers, and a pink sauce over rigatoni. Nothing really exotic, but the flavor combinations are quite nice. I would have preferred the pasta cooked a bit more, but I'm not an al dente fan and that seems to be the style upstate.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Photographic recap of the 2015 Greenwich Wine+Food Festival

If a picture paints a thousand words, then I present you a novella in this photo recap of the 2015 Greenwich Wine+Food Festival. This was our third visit, and perhaps the best as the premier food event in the region just gets better every year.