Saturday, December 19, 2015

Mr. Sushi and Grill- Wappingers Falls, NY

Mr. Sushi and Grill in Middletown is my favorite sushi place. When I heard they were opening a restaurant in Wappingers Falls, I got excited. Well, it took quite some time for them to open and I saw the 'coming soon' sign every time we went up route nine. We stopped by for lunch today and I can say that it was worth the wait. 

The inside is tastefully decorated, nice and bright, and friendly feeling. The service was excellent and the food was every bit as good as the other location. 

I started with the Mr. Sushi cerviche at twelve bucks. It was very nice. My lunch was a bento box of chicken, California roll, rice and vegetable tempura for nine bucks. There was plenty of food and it was excellent. Teresa ordered the shrimp hibachi lunch special at twelve bucks and it also was excellent. 

I now have a new favorite sushi place in Dutchess County. We will be there often, and I think you should stop by sometime and see for yourself.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Blue Collar Brewery- Poughkeepsie, NY

Blue Collar Brewery has been around for about two years now and they occupy an old factory building in Poughkeepsie, just a bit off the main drag of the arterial. Since they are not in a busy area there is ample parking which is a plus. On entering, you pass through a long corridor with the open kitchen on the right and a nice view of the brewing tanks to the left. I always like a kitchen that has nothing to hide and I saw that the chefs were hand forming burgers to throw on the grill. 

We were seated in the bar area and I ordered a flight at ten bucks, and a glass of water to cleanse the palate. The photo above shows them arranged in the order of the menu below. The ESB, my favorite of the lot,  was excellent with a nice fresh taste. The Cream Ale was also good. The Dunkelweizen was okay, but I am not much of a wheat beer fan so don't take my word. The IPA was quite nice and I liked the Porter a lot. 

We both ordered burgers. I got the ten ounce at eleven bucks and added American cheese for another dollar. I ordered it medium, but they cooked it well-done. No big deal as it was not dry and there was a nice char on the outside and the meat was nicely seasoned. The roll was fresh and there was plenty of cheese. The steak fries that came with it were quite good and properly cooked. Overall, quite good. 

Teresa ordered the six ounce burger at nine bucks and added blue cheese for another dollar. Her request of medium well was answered with well-done, but the same comments as what I said above apply. 

Nice place, good beer, good food, good service, and great ambiance. Stop by sometime. They have a website for more information. 

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Mezon Tapas Bar and Restaurant- Danbury, Ct.

We came across Mezon at the Greenwich Wine and Food Festival this past September and after sampling their wares we put them on the short list of places to visit. It did take until December, but we finally stopped by for a bite on a Saturday afternoon. 

After perusing the menu I decided to start with the Cerviche Fuego at $13.00. It was an interesting, and quite delightful, interpretation of a classic dish. The roasted peppers gave a nice balance to the tartness of the lemon juice. 

Teresa had the Cigaros at $8.00 which was a mashed potato rolled and fried on a bed of an amazing olive tapanade. Very nice.

My second dish was the Cubanitos, a pair of Cuban sandwich sliders at $7.00. I was indeed quite impressed. 

Teresa had the Quesidillas at $8.00 for her other course and I had one of them. They were excellent. 

Overall, excellent food with nice ambiance. We'll be back again. They have a website for more information. 

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. 

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. 

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.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Copperfield's Pub- Montgomery, NY

Copperfield's Pub is a place that, regrettably, I have not visited in some time. I think the main reason for not doing so is the close proximity to home. We have been trying to ht different places and have neglected our own back yard. Today I had a craving for a good burger, I'd had a veggie burger earlier and I needed to cleanse my palate after that fiasco, so we decided to stop by Copperfield's to see if they are as good as we remember. 

Copperfield's has been around for over thirty years and is still run by the Purcell family. It is long and narrow inside. The design is of an Irish Victorian Kildare Pub with plenty of wood and charm. We ate in the back sunroom. 

After quickly looking over the menus we decided on burgers. I went with the ranch burger at ten bucks which had bacon, cheddar, and ranch dressing. Excellent burger and it came with some wonderful waffle fries. Teresa had the pub burger at nine bucks and she said hers was excellent as well. Although the beer menu is quite extensive, with many craft beers on tap, we passed and went with ice water. 

Overall, a great place to grab a bite and a drink. The prices are right, the food very good, and the service friendly and attentive. They do get quite busy on the weekends. I promise it won't be so long before we head back again. They have a website for more information. 

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Victory Brewing Company- Downingtown, Pa

I have family in Downingtown, Pennsylvania so Victory is a must stop to have a pint, fill a growler, or pick up some bottles to go when I am in town. They do serve food, but I've had mixed results with it. Not so the beer as it is always excellent. The one thing I keep meaning to do is get a flight, but I usually know what I want when I get there. 

My new favorite of theirs is Dirt Wolf, a double IPA wiggling in at 8.7%. It has a nice flavor without a heavy alcohol ease. Storm King Stout is right up there too. It is an Imperial Stout at 9.2% and goes well with chocolate. 

But Hop Devil is still my favorite. At 6.7% it's a nice American India Pale Ale that I love with a burger or pizza and has a nice drinkability. 

When I want something lighter I go for a Headwaters. At 5.2% you can have a couple of them and it seems to go well with a burger, steaks, fish tacos, or just about anything. 

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Rushing Duck Brewing- Chester, NY

In the quaint little village of Chester there sits the Rushing Duck Brewing Company. The tasting room, no food served here, is in the back of an old warehouse off Main Street. The place is small and unassuming, but they produce some amazing beer. 

I popped in on a Saturday afternoon and the place was hopping (sorry, bad beer pun) but I got served rather quickly by the friendly and helpful staff. I went with an eight dollar flight to get a sampling of about a third of their offerings. Read them from left to right. The Baby Elephant, an IPA weighing in at 4.4% was quite refreshing with a moderate hoppiness. Next was the Naysayer Pale Ale at 5.27% which was quite nice. The middle one was the Beanhead, a coffee Porter at 5.7% which was amazing. Fourth up was the Divided by Zero at 6.8% and it was good. Last was the War Elephant, a double IPA and a  stronger version of the Baby Elephant weighing in at 8.6%. Nice.

The winner was the Beanhead and I brought home a growler of it for fifteen bucks. 

Overall, excellent brews and friendly staff. Stop by sometime,