Hudson Valley Adventures
I may get more response under this title....
I am in Ellenville for the next few weeks doing a play at the Shadowland Theater. We have already exhausted all of Ellenville and am now looking for some day trip food adventures (we want to combine it with sightseeing and hiking). We have been to New Paltz a few times already and am also eager to get out to Woodstock, Saugerties, Kingston, and any other local areas that are of interest. We are willing to drive an hour or so.
Any suggestions is greatly appreciated and I promise a full report at the end of the trip. Thanks.
Thanks to everybody that replied with suggestions. My time in Ellenville was really great and we had some amazing adventures in the Hudson Valley that I want to share with everybody here. There are so many places we couldn't get to that I hope to on a future trip (mainly more places in Saugerties/Woodstock; Warwick Valley; and Peekamoose), but here are the ones we did:
ELLENVILLE AND THE IMMEDIATE AREA:
Ellenville really does seem to have a love of pizza. Downtown is littered with pizza places. I was advised against a few of them, but we did get to:
DOMINICK'S on Center Street had the best pizza in town. The crust is crunchy and thin. The pizza had a lot of flavor and bite without being too greasy.
ARIANNA'S RESTAURANT AND PIZZERIA on Canal Street has mediocre pizza. It's pretty greasy and their service is incredibly apathetic. They have a casual eatery attached to the pizza parlor, but I have not eaten anything there but the pizza. They do seem to be the only fast food type option open after 10pm.
EASTERN WORLD MARKET on Center Street is a cute little Korean deli that sells all sorts of Asian groceries and products. That part I like, but the food they prepare is not so great. Their packaged sushi is even disappointing - the rice was hard and the crab meat no so fresh. The sesame noodles, dumplings, and chicken teriyaki were all terribly bland and we had to add a lot of soy sauce to give it any flavor. I came back for snacks and drinks, but wouldn't get their food again.
AROMA THYME on Canal Street is where we ate the most meals. It was next to the theater and we congregated there after most performances. The food is pretty good - healthy, natural options. They are very vegan friendly, but do serve meat and seafood as well. Their pizzas and salads are all fresh and pretty decent for the price. I really loved their tuna appetizer and calamari special. The prices are pretty steep when you look at the entree side of the menu. But they have a great beer and liquor list and the place has a great vibe - especially on Thursdays and Saturdays when there is live jazz. The service tends to be inconsistent and there were a few times we waited 10 minutes before we were even greeted.
MAGGI'S COUNTRY STORE AND CAFE on Canal Street is a little bodega with surprisingly great Latin American food. There's not really any place to sit (maybe one table, if that) and Maggi changes her menu daily. The price can't be beat and you get so much food that you'll no doubt have two meals out of it. I had her roast pork with rice and beans. The pork was incredibly flavorful and moist. It reminded me of places deep in Queens or good family meals I've had at restaurants that I've work at. Maggi is really sweet and seems to love to cook this food. I recommend stopping in for some food, if you have some place to eat it or work in the neighborhood.
COHEN'S BAKERY on Center Street is a good old fashioned Jewish bakery. They're known for their famous raisin pumpernickel bread which is always moist and flavorful. But I preferred their rugalah (get one off each - raspberry, apricot, and chocolate) and their other pastries. A great little snack destination. And they come out for the Farmer's Market on Sundays (even though it is literally across the street)
D'LITES on Main Street (201) is a little ice cream stand that actually brought back memories from my childhood. We had a chain of D'Lites and I used to get the ice cream with chocolate shell and chocolate cookie crunchies. I was excited to get the same here. The ice cream itself was good, but with those toppings and my childhood memories, it was amazing!
WILSON'S MARKET further down on Canal Street serves Boar's head sandwiches. Nothing special, but the cold cuts are fresh and the rolls are good. But their dill pickles are awesome and gigantic. A typical NY bodega/deli.
LIGHTHOUSE DELI on Canal Street also serves Boar's Head sandwiches, but they're slightly smaller than Wilson's. But these come with potato chips.
EUROPEAN DELI on Main Street (201) is a little deli that sells lots of interesting Polish and eastern European products. They have about three tables and make traditional Polish food. Their pierogies and potato pancakes are both very good and if I had more time, I would have definitely tried their Polish platter with blintzes and kielbasa. I was also amazed, but pleased that they seem to be pretty crowded even at off hours.
RICHARD'S RESTAURANT on Nevele Road is located on a golf course. It's a friendly, neighborly atmosphere with standard, adequate bar food. They have cheap big beers and outside seating which features a beautiful view of the Shawangunk Mountains.
KOSHER DELI on Canal Street is a place I never tried myself but I did have a bite of my friend's corned beef sandwich on my final day in town and was surprised at how tender it was. If I had been in town longer, I would have tried a sandwich for myself. I was warned to stay away from their matzoh ball soup and knishes. So I never made it in to the place at all.
WHITE WOLF in Napanoch had a big banquet hall feel to it. The food here is pretty good, but it could use some re-thinking. The mushroom ravioli tasted great (nice and woodsy), but the presentation was atrocious - very brown and messy and looked unappetizing. The chicken ceasar was good. And the scallop brie special was ambitious with lots of different interesting sauces, but it didn't quite come together. There is definite potential here. I think I'd like to sit in the bar area next time, since it seemed a bit more casual and less stuffy. We also had our opening night party here and the catered food was quite good.
DANNY'S VILLAGE INN in Wurtsboro is about 12 miles outside of Ellenville. It's a noisy bar and grill type place and serves huge Italian dishes. Nobody left hungry and we all had leftovers. They had great cheesy garlic bread and are known for their huge steaks and seafood platters. I had the fra diavola over linguini, which was a bit too spicy that I almost couldn't taste anything else, but the shrimp were meaty and the portions were beyond generous.
CUSTER'S LAST STAND in Wurtsboro is a stand next to Danny's, which surprisingly serves soft ice cream and not custard as I had thought. The ice cream was creamy, but strangely grainy. And the flavors only slightly resembled what they were supposed to. Not my favorite.
OSCAR in Kerhonkson is a quaint country restaurant which features a great half priced special between 4 and 5pm. The bread basket changes all the time, but is always freshly baked and features a nice variety. The beet salad was light and fresh and the spicy crab cake was pretty good, but could have used more crab flavor. The service was pretty slow and relaxed, but I got a good vibe from the place on both visits and would definitely recommend it.
MOUNTAIN BRAUHAUS in Gardiner is another great restaurant near Minnewaska. This is a very cute German place with lots of influences from other cuisines. The stand-out was definitely their incredible sauerbrauten. They also had great pretzel bread, pickled herring, and sausages. The German beers were all great. The chef seems to offer the typical (and very well done) German staples, but branches out with some creative and ambitious specials. I really wanted to try the unusual sounding watermelon pudding, but my group chose the strawberry fool instead which was fantastic.
Since this was the closest town with a hip vibe and good restaurants, we spent quite a few of our nights off here.
GILDED OTTER BREWERY is a big, fun beer house. Their house brews were really good - I especially like the seasonal blueberry lager with two blueberry garnishes - it was light and flavorful without being too sweet. The red lager was slightly sweeter but had a delicious malt flavor. We also had their fried cheese curds which were good considering we were nowhere near Wisconsin. The sauces they served with the curds were strange and actual took away from the fried goodness.
BESO, which has gotten rave reviews on this site, was a bit of a disappointment. To be fair, we only ordered appetizers and desserts, but nothing impressed me. The service and decor was very professional, but the food was lacking. The tuna tartare was mealy and felt more like a steak tartare with its heaviness. The quail salad was alright - the quail was well-cooked but the dressing tasted vaguely of soap. And the strawberry shortcake tasted good but was not moist enough. If we had more time, I would have given the restaurant a second chance because I feel like we may have ordered the wrong things or picked an off night.
BACCHUS seems to be one of the many hangouts for the local college kids. If I went to school here, I'm sure I'd end up at Bacchus at least once a week. The beer list is extensive and reasonably priced. The food is adequate Mexican pub food with some quality flavors and a decent salad bar.
THE LOCUST TREE was weird. From the outside, it seemed like it would be a quaint little farm type restaurant. But it was a lot less rustic and much more barebones than I expected. I was amazed at how exposed the bus station was and the music was strangely eclectic. The service was genuine, but spotty and they seemed so busy even though there were maybe three tables in the room we sat in. It seemed as though there was a private party outside. The food made up for it all though. It was all very fresh and inventive - I especially liked the venison sausage special with grilled endive and a parsnip puree with black currant jus. Lots of good flavors.
THE VILLAGE TEA ROOM is great. Very hip and relaxed vibe, so don't expect much more than friendly service. The menu is a bit difficult to decipher since they offer so many different options (brunch, lunch, tea, dinner, tapas). We shared a bunch of small things and everything was great - the salad platter, the gravlax, the cheese potato tart, and a dingle pie. Everything was fresh and very tasty. And the desserts were even better - the cream puff might have been the best I ever had. This might have been my favorite restaurant in New Paltz.
We only had limited days free and not many nights, so most of our excursions involved lunch and a hike. And a number of the places we tried to go to were only open for dinner.
MISS LUCY'S KITCHEN in Saugerties is a very homey, casual place that was hopping on the Saturday we showed up for lunch. We sampled some of the sandwiches and everything was very good. The bluefish was moist and came with an interesting pineapple sauce. Everything was good - especially their french fries. I wish we were able to come back for dinner because their menu looked very creative and if it was anything like the lunch, it would have been delicious.
ICE BAR in Woodstock is a gelato stand that banks on the crowds from the Flea Market. Now I am an ice cream snob, but I found their gelato inedible. It tasted heavily flavored and chalky. It seemed processed and didn't seem to have any natural flavors, which struck me as odd for being in Woodstock.
FAT LADY CAFE in Kauneonga Lake is near Bethel (where you should check out the really great Woodstock Museum). We sat outside on the lake and it was a cute place with adequate food. The hanger steak sandwich was a bit tough, but the rosemary chicken sandwich was good. The mac and cheese was good. It seems like this would be a fun place for dinner, especially when they have live music on the weekends.
HICKORY BBQ SMOKEHOUSE in Kingston was a bit disappointing. I guess why would I expect good BBQ in upstate NY? My ribs were flavorless and tough. The BBQ pork sandwich fared better and the mac and cheese was really good. The service was apathetic and they got our order completely wrong. They did fix it for us, but that was a bit of a put-off. Maybe this is decent BBQ for the area, but I'd rather hold off until my next trip down south.
CHOCOLATE CHEERS in Kingston is down the street from Hickory BBQ has delicious ice cream and gelato. They also have a fine selection of chocolates (even free samples) and if I wasn't so full from the ribs I would have indulged a bit more.
COSIMO'S in Middletown is a chain of casual brick oven pizza joints. Their grilled chicken pizza with olives and artichokes was good but slightly salty. On my second visit, their margarita pizza was a bit soggy and nothing special. The chicken salad was also adequate but reminded me of a TGI Friday's type of restaurant. Just a step up from fast food.
I've been looking for resturants near Poughkeepsie to celebrate my daughter's graduation next May. The Locust Tree in New Paltz, Aroma Osteria in Wappinger Falls, and Terrapin in Rhinbeck have all been suggested. Opinions on these as well as other suggestions are appreciated! Thanks.
some recommendations for good food in ulster county:
miss lucy's kitchen on partition st in saugerties for local seasonal fare.
the little bear in bearsville [just outside of woodstock] for casual chinese. get a table on the patio with a view of the stream.
near the little bear is the bear cafe. new american fare also with a focus on local seasonal ingredients.
chefs on fire in high falls. beneath the depuy canal house. pizzas and sandwiches. funky rustic atmosphere.
all have sample menus online.
woodstock, saugerties and high falls are great towns to meander around in and there are fabulous hiking trails along route 44/55 in the mohonk preserve and minnewaska state park.
in sullivan county:
not chow related but since you are in the area you may wish to take a trip to the bethel woods center for the arts for a look at the new woodstock museum.
We were in Warwick Valley over the weekend visitng a few wineries on the Shawangunk wine trail.
The wines not anything superb (IMO) but it was fun and something different to do. We paid a few bucks to taste the various wines and ate some fresh baked bread and listened to live music.
The 2 we liked best were Warwick Valley winery & Brotherhood (America's oldest winery).
There are literally hundreds of farmers markets in that area as well. It's a very rual area. The town of Warwick looked cute also, may be fun to explore. Doesn't look too far from where you are.
Warwick is a great area. The town is cute and there is a lot of hiking, golfing, and skiing around there. You can go to Bobolink Dairy for cheese and fresh bread or Bellvale Creamery for the world's greatest ice cream (http://www.bellvalefarms.com/creamery.html)
The best place for dinner in that area (and I will tell people this with my last dying breath) is the Iron Forge Inn in Bellvale. (http://www.ironforgeinn.com). Beautiful setting, great service and spectacular food.
1.Nina in Middletown on Main St.is a great place. Middletown is about 25 minutes from Ellenville.
2.Go straight down Rt 209 (south) into Port Jervis. There is a restaurant called The vault. It once was a bank. The owners are graduates of the CIA, I believe. It's about 25 or 30 minutes from Ellenville.
3.Also in Middletown, on Dolsen Ave is the Blue Finn Grill. It's a Japanese/fusion restaurant. Here also the owner/chef is a CIA graduate.
4. Take Rt 52 west ALL THE WAY INTO LIBERTY (I'm guessing 45 minutes or so) and find Manny's Steakhouse near Rt 17.