> New York Hudson Valley Eats & Treats!: 2012

Monday, October 8, 2012

Omakase and delicious wonderment at Oishii Asian Fusion in Mount Kisco, NY

My lady was so kind as to take me out to an incredible dinner the other night.  Being that it was my choice, we went out for sushi, and managed to have quite the incredible meal at Oishii Asian Fusion.

Since I was the birthday boy, I sat us down right at the sushi bar, as I enjoy seeing the Itamae work his magic.  The lady doesn't enjoy much fish, and doesn't like it at all raw - kind of a jack sprat situation I suppose - so she ordered some hot food while I enjoyed the Omakase.

When I told them it was my birthday, they brought out this small appetizer for us to snack on - I couldn't tell you what was in in, except some sort of breaded white fish, tasty sweet sauce and some fish eggs (looks like tobiko) on the top.

Tasty Appetizer at Oishii Asian fusion restaurant
Some kind of white fish inside and delicious sauce - a nice little snack before the meal.  Thanks guys!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Wild Turkey Rare Breed - Bourbon for life.

I finally got around to taking some pictures of the Wild Turkey Rare Breed.  Indeed, many pictures.  While many of them didn't make the cut, many did, and so they will be interspersed with my musings.

Wild Turkey Rare Breed label.
Wild Turkey Rare Breed.  A more refined version of an American Classic.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Martin's Cherry Melomel - Kinda Tasty!

My lady brought over a bottle of something I hadn't seen before the other day - Martin's Cherry Melomel.  While the spellchecker disagrees that this is indeed a real word, a Melomel refers to a Mead (i.e. Honey wine) that has had added fruit or fruit juice - in this case, cherries.  Much like regular mead wherein the residual sweetness can vary greatly, the addition of fruit has a noticeable effect on both the taste, the body, the sweetness (or lack thereof) and the overall alcohol content of the finalized wine product.

Martin's Honey Farm and Meadery Cherry Melomel
Honey wine and Cherry wine combine to form something greater than the sum of it's parts!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Pirate's Lagoon Black Pearl - Don't buy it - Bad Wine.

Greetings readers.

DO NOT BUY THIS WINE.  Read on to find out what happened.

Pirate's Lagoon Black Pearl is poorly made and bottled.
This is what a faulty bottle of wine looks like.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Crooked Lake Winery - Proprietor's Red. Delicious!

Somehow we haven't managed to tell you yet about one of our absolute favorite wineries - Crooked Lake Winery!  Located on Keuka Lake (also known as Crooked Lake) in the finger lakes, these guys make incredible table wines and sell them at a very fair price.  They make a Chancellor varietal wine that is just out of this world, which I really have to tell you about soon.. but for today, I wanted to talk about something that everyone can enjoy - the Proprietor's Red.

Bottle of Crooked Lake Winery's Proprietor's Red Table Wine
Crooked Lake Winery's Proprietor's Red is sure to please everyone!

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Mana-Thai Cuisine in Mount Kisco, NY - Another Incredible Meal!

Alright folks, we're back with another delicious meal eaten at our favorite Thai restaurant, Mana-Thai Cuisine in Mount Kisco, NY.

We've previously reviewed Mana-Thai Cuisine, but we can only show you so many things at once!  If somehow you haven't read our previous review, please do so now at this link.  It has a few more pictures than we're showing you and gives you a good sense of what to expect.  

The long and the short of it?  Mana cooks world-class cuisine which is unrivaled, in unpretentious surroundings.  We had THE most amazing meal today - come take a look and drool.

Thai Iced Tea
This Thai Iced Tea was served in a glass jar.  Kitschy!
The lady, as her fashion, started the meal with a Thai Iced tea. Mana makes an excellent Iced tea - lots of flavor, and not swimming with cream or dairy the way some other places serve it. Nice and strong, and compliments the spice perfectly. I would get one myself but usually I'm fine with just a sip for flavor.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Anthony Road Wine Company Devonian Red

On our trip up to Oswego Harborfest this year, a number of our favorite wineries were not present, much to our mutual chagrin.  Of course, there's always a silver lining to these things, and in this case, that lining was found in the numerous other delicious wineries whose wares we were able to sample - and many of which, we were able to take home.

Label of Anthony Road Wine Company's Devonian Red
The label of Anthony Road's Devonian Red.  If you see this - BUY IT :)

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Eagle Crest Vineyards Niagara - Native New York State Wine Review!

We've written before about Eagle Crest Vineyards, and there's a reason we keep coming back to them. They offer quality wines with something to suit a variety of tastes, and all at a great value.  We haven't had a chance to purchase any Eagle Crest wines this year, as they weren't at Oswego Harborfest and our trip to wine country was limited to Cayuga Lake - they're located on Keuka lake.  Luckily, after buying more than a couple cases last year, we still have plenty to write about :)

A bottle of Eagle Crest Vineyard's Niagara Wine
Eagle Crest Vineyards makes this delicious Niagara wine.  If you like grapes and grape juice, this is for you!

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Tomato Cafe in Fishkill, NY - Restaurant Review!

Greetings foodies!

Today we have a blog post about actual food for a change, instead of all this alcohol.  No no, I'm still drinking, everything is okay, don't worry!  It's just that occasionally, one has line one's stomach with food to absorb the alcohol, and this was one of those times.  A delicious time for that matter.

Tomato Cafe is located on Main Street in Fishkill, NY.  I had passed there many times before finally bringing the lady and me for a bite to eat.  We've been consistently impressed by both the quality of the food and the fair value of the restaurant.

When you enter Tomato cafe, it smells like a good old fashioned Italian restaurant.  It's worth noting that while they make many "standard" Italian dishes, the chef clearly has a flair for the original and gets rather creative with the specials - to great effect!

Basket of Hot bread from Tomato Cafe
Garlic bread bites and good Italian bread  were served hot and delicious!
We don't usually order entrees when we come here, but this time was different and they brought us a nice bread basket.  The bread came out hot.  There were garlic bread bites and sliced Italian bread.  The spread we believe to be margarine, in case that matters to you.  The bread was yummy and served as a nice lead into the meal.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

The Dutchess County Fair!

While I was at work the other day, the lady had a fun day at the Dutchess County Fair.  She was nice enough to take some pictures for me to show all of you, and write up a little description of the tasty foods and treats available at the fair.  I've been to this fair last year and it's usually pretty fun.

Delicious food vendors at the fair?
Food vendors at the Dutchess County Fair.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Inspire Moore Winery's Framboise - Delicious Raspberry wine!

Greetings foodies!

This weekend was a very nice one. I had a chance to go to a Yankees game, and more importantly for your interests, I finally got around to having my inspire Moore's raspberry Framboise.  This little gem is pure raspberry wine with residual sugars around 25% if I remember correctly.

Inspire Moore's Raspberry Framboise
Inspire Moore's Raspberry Framboise!  This bottle is older,
so the label has their old name, Imagine Moore.  Different name, same great wine!

Monday, August 20, 2012

Glenora Wine Cellar Peach Spumante

If you're a frequent reader of my blog you know that as wine goes, I tend to prefer to the dryer reds. In the past I was fond of whites and Rieslings, but as these things go - it's simply where my tastes have taken me lately :). Today I want to talk about a sparkling wine i.e. a Spumante that the bunch of us had over the weekend. While I prefer a certain type of wine I can usually find something to appreciate in any competantly made beverage, and this Peach Spumante from Glenora Wine Cellars is no exception! :)

A bottle of Glenora Peach Spumante
This picture was taken on the metro north train, with me balancing the bottle on my knee!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Thirsty Owl Wine Company Lot 99. Pinot Noir and Chancellor make magic!

Alright, it's been a busy couple of weeks!  I spent some time on vacation, went to Oswego Harborfest and wine country, saw some good old friends, and had a balmy old time.  Unfortunately for my valued readers, this means I haven't been able to write too many posts as of late.

The label of Thirsty Owl Wine Company Lot 99
Thirsty Owl Wine Company's Lot 99.
A fantastic blend of Chancellor and Pinot Noir grapes!
As I described in the previous post, we purchased many delicious wines while up by Cayuga Lake.  Today I'd like to tell you a little bit about Lot 99 from Thirsty Owl Wine Company.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

So we visited Wine Country in the New York Finger Lakes!

A table full of New York Finger Lakes Wine
These are from Cayuga Lake Wineries!
So, you may have noticed the lack of updates recently.  Well besides being busy with life and work, me and the lady went on vacation to upstate New York.  Part of our journey was spent in Unadilla, NY up in the Catskill mountains and we spent a fair time in Oswego, NY as well at the wonderful Harborfest festival.  But the end of our trip took place in New York's Finger Lakes region - specifically, we drove down the east site of Cayuga Lake via Route 89.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Full Moon Restaurant Review - White Plains. NY

The place?  East Post road in White Plains, NY.  The music?  Modern Jazz.  The decor?  Entirely authentic and gorgeously appointed.  The food?  Pretty good.

Full Moon Restaurant menu with an elephant on it
This is the Menu at Full Moon Restaurant.  In two dimensions, you can't see that elephant is actually there!
Today we review a Thai restaurant.  Joy! :)  As you must know by now, the lady and I just love Thai food - see our reviews of Mana Thai in Mount Kisco, NY and Golden Buddha in Fishkill, NY for just a small taste of what we enjoy.  Today we were cruising around White Plains, NY and decided to stop by Full Moon Asian Thai to see what was what.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Delirium Tremens Beer Review

Today I have the pleasure of reviewing an amazing piece of brewing achievement - Delirium Tremens Beer by Huyghe brewery of Belgium.  I'd heard amazing things about this beer but had always been put off in the past by the price, not to mention the sheer selection of other excellent craft beers that cost a fraction of what a bottle of Delirium Tremens cost.  Well a week or two ago, we were up at Half Time in Poughkeepsie, NY (an incredible beer distributor - they claim to the biggest one in the world!) and I saw old Delirium Tremens sitting on the shelf.  And you know what?  I took the plunge.

Pouring a bottle of Delirium Tremens Beer
Pouring the 2011 Delirium Tremens.  I didn't have a suitable glass, so we used a wine glass.

Delirium Tremens is named after that lovely affliction that befalls alcoholics when they stop drinking.  An
uncontrolled arousal of the sympathetic nervous system, the brain of an alcoholic starts to hallucinate and provoke a very unpleasant affect to the organism once a steady stream of alcohol has been withdrawn from the diet.  These "Delirium Tremens" as they are called are a potentially deadly affliction.  And so of course, that's what they name the beer after.  Cute right?  Those guys clearly have a sense of humor.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

A Great Cointreau Substitute - Mathilde Liqueur

A bottle of Mathilde Orange Liqueur
Mathilde Liqueur - Orange XO Liqueur
Ahh, orange liqueur, you are a wonderful thing.  We could not make our Cosmopolitans and Margaritas without you.  And yet, your quintessential iteration - Cointreau orange liqueur - is so very, very expensive.  What to do ?  We all wish to drink tasty cocktails and when they call for a top-shelf orange liqueur, you can't just use any cheap triple sec - to do so ruins the drink.  Good spirits need to be kept in the company of other good spirits and quality ingredients.

Enter Mathilde XO Orange Liqueur.

Me and the lady found this delicious spirit while searching for a Cointreau substitute.  Basically, as you know if you've been reading the blog, we enjoy margaritas among many mixed drinks.  But goodness, Cointreau is so very expensive!  Around here it costs around $21 for the small 375ml product and bit under $40 for the full 750ml size.  Now, Cointreau is a delicious, premium liqueur to be sure, probably the best one of its' type.  But if you're making margaritas for a party, or even just for yourself, you'll find that you go through the stuff like water!

Another consideration was that Cointreau was costing us more than the main spirit (Tequila) that we were mixing it with, and that didn't seem quite fair.  We set out on a quest to find a good, reasonable tasting Cointreau substitute.  

Now, there's many brands of cheap triple sec - you see them over by the schnapps.  These are all well in good I suppose for college students or kids or people trying to make cheap drinks, but really, what are you paying for?  Corn syrup and chunk of D-limonene flavoring?  The price of these things is cheap, but the level of value you get is low.  

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Tanjore Indian Restaurant in Fishkill, NY - Restaurant Review

Good day everyone :)  As you know, me and the lady both love ourselves some Indian food.  We make it ourselves, but every now and again, really whenever we have the chance, we enjoy going out to eat for some delicious Indian cuisine!  The lady has taken me a number of times to one particular Indian restaurant - Tanjore Indian Cuisine in Fishkill, NY.

Located in the corner of a strip mall right off of Route 52 in Fishkill, Tanjore is easy to drive by, but it would be a shame if you missed your chance to stop into this restaurant.  One of our Indian friends claims that Tanjore is the most "authentic" Indian restaurant in the area, and the lady will tell you that it's by far the best locally.  Let's take a look and see what we have here, shall we ?

The front of Tanjore Cuisine of India
Here it is, don't miss it!
We came in at around 8PM and were promptly seated.  The restaurant seats about 50 people.  There is also a pretty well stocked bar if you wish to procure an adult beverage for yourself.  Speaking of beverages, the lady ordered one of her favorite Indian drinks - the mango lassi.  It was sweet and wonderful and full of mango-y goodness, just as a lassi should be.  I had a small taste - not too shabby :)

Monday, July 2, 2012

Red Robin Gourmet Burgers in Poughkeepsie, NY - Restaurant Review

Greetings foodies :)  Today we review Red Robin Gourmet Burgers in Poughkeepsie, NY.  Usually known as just "Red Robin", this is a chain of restaurants that offers a variety of burgers, sandwiches and similar fair.  They also have a reasonably stocked bar in their restaurants too.

Red Robin started many years ago as a tavern, and although the restaurants still feature a bar area, the main focus is their gourmet burgers.  They get pretty creative with how they make up the burgers and I have to tell you, they do a pretty damn good job of keeping the things interesting.  Let's take a look :)

Red Robin, like so much else, is located right off of Route 9 in Poughkeepsie, NY.  It's something of a juggle to get into the parking lot, as you have to drive around a few buildings and take a rather circuitous path to get there.  You also happen to pass a Five Guys pulling in - but no, it's not the one in the link, that one is down the road :)  Once you actually make it to the Red Robin parking lot, there is ample parking for all concerned, so that's always nice.

The entrance to Red Robin in Poughkeepsie, NY
The entrance to Red Robin.  Time to go inside and chow down!
As we approached the entrance, one of the staff members held the door open for us.  It didn't hurt that they weren't mobbed, but still, it feels nice to be invited into a place and to be treated so nicely.  As a rule, they are friendly and polite as anything at Red Robin.  They must really stress making the customer happy to the waitstaff, because even if there is the rare issue with service, the interactions with staff are never anything but cordial.

Cointreau - The Classic Orange Liqueur

I've been writing many posts lately about various Tequilas - Espolon BlancoEspolon Reposado, and Sauza Silver.  All of these are delicious 100% agave Tequilas and are suitable for drinking straight.  Many people however, are not the type to drink straight liquor, and I can't blame them - at 40% alcohol by volume, these spirits hit rather hard, have something of a bite to them despite their smoothness - and are what people think of as "straight alcohol" :)  Few people want to be viewed as an alcoholic by drinking straight liquor, even if they enjoy the spirit based purely on it's own merits.

Enter the Margarita.  This classic cocktail is the most popular drink to use Tequila - and why not?  It's delicious.  There are a few different variations on the drink, but the one that I like to use involves the following ratio:

2 parts good Tequila, often a Reposado Tequila.
1.5 parts Orange Liqueur or Triple Sec - in this case, the one and only Cointreau
1 part fresh squeezed lime juice.
(Optional) 1 part of less simple syrup, or to taste.

An ice cold bottle of Cointreau Liqueur
Ice cold Cointreau is just begging to be
added to a top-shelf margarita!
Some recipes call for equal parts Tequila, Triple Sec, and Lime - others call for 2 parts Tequila, 1 part lime juice, and just a splash of Cointreau.  Still others call for a 3:2:1 ratio of Tequila, lime, and orange liqueur.  You should experiment to find that ratio that you find most suitable - for me, the recipe that I listed above seems to serve us well.  Key elements are that the Tequila is front and center - it is the main spirit of the cocktail.  Tequila works wonderfully with citrus flavors, and the lime compliments it well, with the orange liqueur "rounding" out the cocktail and adding depth and occasional sweetness.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Sauza Blue Tequila Silver - Tequila Review

Time to write about yet another delicious Tequila - Sauza Blue Tequila Silver 100% Agave.  Now back in the day, Sauza made a number of Tequilas but they were mixto Tequilas - meaning that they were only 51% actual agave.  The rest of the product could be made up of any number of ingredients, but probably the cheapest thing they could find that would ferment.  The result was a beverage that had  some agave flavor to it - but mostly was just a cheap, hard-hitting alcohol that left you with a nasty hangover in the morning, while bringing down the reputation of Tequila for everyone involved.  A lot of people have "Tequila stories" and the poor quality of Tequila that used to be available is probably a major contributing factor.
sauza tequila
Sauza Blue is made from 100% Blue Agave - there is nothing but
the essence of fermented cactus contained in this bottle :)

Espolon Tequila Reposado - Tequila Review

Skeletons of a bottle of Espolon Tequila Reposado
Espolon Tequila Reposado keeps with the skeleton
Theme of the Blanco bottle.  Really nice artwork!
A few posts ago I was writing about a tasty liquor that I had re-discovered - Espolon Tequila Blanco.  Espolon is a brand I used to enjoy many years ago, but it is now back with a new label, new packaging, and for some reason a much lower price.  Back in the day, Espolon used to cost around $30-40$ a bottle; these days, you can get a bottle of it for around $23 and change.  I'm not sure why anything would ever go down in price, but it just goes to show that price does not always correlate with quality - one can still find amazing deals if one looks hard enough.

Nice cold Espolon Blue Agave Tequila
Cold and refreshing
Espolon Reposado Tequila

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Old Grand Dad Whiskey - Bottled in Bond

Old Grand Dad Whiskey bottled in bond
Old Grand-dad Whiskey -
Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey
Greetings my fellow Gourmands!  Today I wish to share with you a delicious whiskey that I have found which is also and incredible value.  This whiskey is Old Grand Dad whiskey, Bottled in bond.  There are a few iterations of Old Grand-Dad Whiskey - a regular 86 proof one (whiskey is usually bottled at 80 proof, which also means 40% alcohol by volume - this one is 43% alcohol), the "Bonded" version you see on this page which is 100 proof (50% alcohol by volume), and a 114 "Barrel Proof" one that you see every so often, containing 57% alcohol.

Newcastle Brown Ale Mini Keg

Draught mini keg of Newcastle Brown Ale
The Newcastle Brown Ale Mini Keg.  Draught beer at home!
As you must have already figured out, I am a beer drinker.  While I generally enjoy craft beers am not really a fan of mass-market products, I do enjoy a Newcastle Brown Ale when out at the bar on occasion.  I would purchase it for easy drinking at home, except there is one critical issue with the packaging - Newcastle Brown Ale comes in clear bottles.  

Now, you may ask yourself, what is the problem with this?  The clear glass bottle showcases the beautiful color of the brown ale!  The issue is one of "skunking", which is a potential problem with any beer, but really rears it's ugly head when it comes to Newcastle.

Without getting into the chemistry of skunking (although it IS interesting), I will merely explain the phenomenon.  A key part of beer is the hops.  Hops adds both aroma and a bitter taste to the beer, which counteracts and balances the sweet malt.  Without hops, a beer is sweet and lacks depth.  The downside to hops is that they are very sensitive to ultraviolet light (aren't most of us?) and when exposed to UV, they form compounds that have a "skunky" smell and taste.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Espolon Tequila Blanco - Tequila Review

Espolon Tequila Blanco, we meet again! I used to drink you many years ago when you were $35 to $40 a bottle - now you're $22. What has happened? What has changed? Apparently, very little!
Big smile and Espolon Tequila
It's been years since we've met Espolon - Welcome back home :)
Good day everyone. Today I am writing about a very tasty tequila that I enjoy - Espolon. Specifically, this is Espolon Blanco, which means white and unaged tequila.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Hudson Buffet in Fishkill, NY

If there's one thing I like, it's a good Chinese buffet.  As you know, I love Chinese food.  While what we in America call "Chinese Food" is often nothing like what the Chinese eat themselves - as I understand it, many of them subside on far simpler dishes and even the classic ones made for emperors are different based on American tastes - Chinese food still proves to be delicious, exciting, and for me personally, always a treat.  I could nearly always go for some Chinese, and this brings us to Hudson Buffet.
General Tso's chicken, sweet and sour, teriyaki, green beans and lo mein
General Tso's chicken, Sweet and Sour chicken, Teriyaki Chicken, Green beans and Lo mein!

Monday, June 11, 2012

Eagle Crest Vineyards Concord

Today we're going to talk about an interesting wine from one of my favorite wineries - Eagle Crest Vineyards in Conesus, NY.  Many of you know the name "Concord" - the standard purple grape juice that we see in America is that of the concord grape, one of the native grape varieties that we have in America.
Eagle Crest Vineyards Concord Wine
Eagle Crest Vineyards' Concord.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Maya Cafe in Fishkill, NY Restaurant Review

I'm sure most of you who live in the Putnam / Dutchess county areas have been to Maya Cafe - it's been there for years and indeed is a staple of the area. Well, we were trying to think of somewhere yummy to go the other night, and it occurred to us that we hadn't been to Maya Cafe in quite some time. So, off we went! Come read about our delicious meal, view the pics, and work up a nice appetite for some delicious Mexican food!

The sign outside of Maya cafe and Cantina
The sign by the road welcomes you inside!

Monday, May 28, 2012

Poached Eggs with Garlic Yogurt Dressing and Spinach

Fresh baby spinach
Alright, today we're going to cover a tasty egg dish.  Most people either love eggs or hate them, and after much soul-searching, I've realized that I fall into the former category.  Eggs can be rather obnoxious if done incorrectly, but when done properly they are delicious to be sure.  Also, while the jury is not quite out on the health benefits and risks of eggs, it's clear that even buying organic (and I recommend that you ALWAYS buy organic eggs - it's worth the price), eggs are an inexpensive source of easy to digest protein, and are packed with vitamins and minerals and other valuable additions to your diet, such as choline.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Golden Buddha in Fishkill, NY Restaurant Review

Golden Buddha has beautiful pictures on the wall
So the lady and I went to Golden Buddha in Fishkill, NY.  As you may or may not already know from having read (or not) my blog, we love Thai food.  We had been here one time before and our previous visit warranted a return.  For journalism, of course.

The restaurant is located right on Route 52 in Fishkill, NY.  It's a stone's throw away from I-84 and Route 9 so it's very easy to get to.  There are just two or three spots in front of the restaurant, but park around the side at the beer and soda shop - there is ample parking available there.

The tableclothes and placesettings at Golden Buddha are very niceThe restaurant is not huge inside and we neglected to count exactly how many seats there were.  We'd estimate there were between 20 and 30 seats.  The decor is absolutely lovely - There is bamboo covering the front window, beautiful tapestries, paintings, and super neat chandeliers.  The whole place is very attractive aesthetically.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Mixed Berry Couscous

Fresh blueberries makes this mixed berry couscous delicious!Alright folks, today we're going to do a tasty recipe that makes a nice snack for breakfast or brunch - Mixed Berry Couscous. This recipe can be done in about 20-25 minutes time and makes a very tasty breakfast meal or side.  This recipe serves 3-4 people.
Tasty mint for garnish and fresh taste!
You will need:

1 Cup of instant Couscous, plain.
1 Cup each apple and cranberry juice.  If you can't get PURE cranberry, just use 2 cups straight apple.
1 Stick of cinnamon
2 Teaspoons of orange zest, NO WHITE PITH, just the nice orange zest :)  Use a microplane zester.
2 Cups raspberries
1.5 cups each of strawberries, cut in half, and blueberries.
1 Tub of FAGE Greek Yogurt or equivalent.
2 Tbsp of honey
Mint leaves to garnish (optional, but they look great and add to the taste.)

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Cascadas Mexican Restaurant Review - Beacon, NY

Margaritas for lunch: one of many sacrifices made in the name of journalism.

Cascadas Mexican Restaurant
Greetings foodies.  Today we review Cascadas restaurant in Beacon, NY.  I have to admit, this was rather challenging for me - I try to keep this blog very upbeat and positive, and I feel bad saying anything poor about a business.  On the other hand, it would be disingenuous of me to give a good review to something that wasn't good - after all, one of you might go to a restaurant I recommend or make one of my recipes and I would feel terrible for anyone to be disappointed - as such, I must be truthful - this was not an optimal experience we had. My lady was so kind as to type up a small review, and I will flesh it out with editorial notes.

Do read on :)

So, we decided to celebrate Cinco de Mayo at Cascadas, an unassuming little Mexican restaurant housed in a row of shops under a little hotel, right on Main Street. Being Beacon, it’s not as glamorous as it sounds, but this building was indeed included in the renaissance of recent years. Small and set under the balcony of the hotel portion of the building, Cascadas and the adjacent shops could be easily missed if you don’t know what you’re looking for.

The restaurant seats around twenty including the bar and a table or two out on the front patio. The lights are kept low and the walls are decorated with shadowboxes and a back-up of the storefront sign. The bottles on the bar were arranged in a pyramid and featured various rums and tequilas.  The bar is attractive, seemingly well stocked with a number of Mexican beers, tequilas, and mescals. 

We experienced a technical difficulty with the camera, unfortunately, so we don’t have pictures of everything we ordered.. which may or not be a good thing; read on.

The waitress brought out the requisite chips and a respectable salsa. 

Chips and Salsa at Cascadas Mexican Restaurant in Beacon, NY

Editor's note: The salsa was just okay - things like red and green bell pepper do not belong in real Mexican salsa.  See my post here on how to make real deal, authentic Mexican salsa.

A tasty pitcher of margaritas at Cascada Mexican Restauant in Beacon, NY!
Our first course was a pitcher of margaritas. Hello, lunch! The mixture was solid: nothing top-shelf about it, but balanced and nice and smooth going down. The pitcher offered about five and a half drinks in total, which carried us through the meal.
Another picture of the margaritas at Cascada Mexican Restaurant in Beacon, NY

Editor's note: The pitcher of margaritas was very good.  They didn't skimp on the liquor, good real lime juice taste.. the orange liqueur I wasn't quite as sure about, but all in all it was a great pitcher and was a fair value at $25.  I would get the pitcher of margaritas again in a heartbeat.  Very tasty, well made, good value - and again, they weren't stingy with the tequila!

For an appetizer, the waitress suggested tamales, made special for Cinco de Mayo. These came out piping hot and served open-faced on the corn husks they were cooked in. Made of nothing more than polenta, green chiles and some chicken, the tamales were simple yet tasty with just enough spice.

tasty authentic tamales at Cascadas Mexican restaurant in Beacon, NY
Editor's note: These were authentic and delicious, and absolute STEAL - I figured they'd be around $5-6 each, they were $2 a piece.  Had I known this, I would have gotten a couple more.  Tasty and delicious, a bargain at twice the price!

Another tasty picture of the tamales at Cascadas Mexican Restaurant in Beacon, NY!
I ordered the Grilled Chicken Breast ($12.50). Comprised of several pieces of flattened seasoned chicken breast, a pile of rice, a pool of beans (which were whole and saucy rather than a paste), a small salad of lettuce, tomato and perfectly ripe, freshly-sliced avocado, and about a quarter of the plate full of sweet plantains, this dish was safely enough food for two people. Fresh, homestyle, not drowning in sauce or seasoning, I found this dish immensely enjoyable. I would get it again ten times out of ten. I ate like crazy.

Editor's note: I had a fair portion of her dish and there was still food left on the plate when we were done. A solid meal at a good value.  I wasn't nearly as crazy about it as the lady was, but indeed it was made competently with good presentation.. nothing bad about really, just not much in the flavor or wow department for my tastes.  But the lady adored it, this must be mentioned.

Purely in the name of journalism, 

Editor's Note: Purely, PURELY in the name of journalism!

..I tried another cocktail from the menu, a Brazilian drink called a caipirinha. Think of a mojito without the mint and with lemon juice mixed with the lime. It was citrusy, sweet, refreshing and something I would get again.

This visit was not entirely hearts and flowers, sad to say. Fajitas should be any Mexican restaurant’s signature dish, but the ones here fell a little flat. The flavor wasn’t bad but the meat did not seem to be skirt steak, as is the traditional cut. We gave them the gentle advice of charging a little more in order to offer a little more.

Editor's Note: Okay, this is where the restaurant LOST ME and I won't be ordering food there again.  I love fajitas.  I love skirt steak.  They did NOT SERVE skirt steak, it was some... unknown cut, but it was not skirt.  I asked gently, "Are you sure this is Skirt Steak?," offering them a chance for both of us to save face.  The waitress insisted that it was.


The meat was tough, flavorless, and not really edible.  I left 80% of it on the plate.  The rice and beans were okay but.. serving somebody food like this is unforgivable.  I took pictures of everything but due to technical difficulties with the camera they did not make it to the blog.  Maybe it's for the best that I save you from the carnage.

This was not our first visit here; there was a reason we came back. So maybe avoid the fajitas, but try the tacos, burritos, or even the Grilled Chicken Breast. If you get the chicken, call me. I’ll split it with you. You know, for journalism.

So there is the review.  In short, come for the drinks, maybe get that chicken dish - but don't even bother with the fajitas.  To even give that name to what I was served is insulting.  I would take the lady back here again if only to get her the chicken dish she liked so much.

Me?  If I eat anything here it will be a nice dinner of margaritas in a salt-rimmed glass.

Verdict:  Come for the drinks.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Avocado Salsa Recipe

all the yummy avocado sala ingredients
Chili, Cilantro, Garlic, Onions, Peanuts
and of course - the avocado! :)
Alright folks, this is a recipe for Avocado Salsa.  You may wish to experiment with various additions or different amounts of the ingredients listed, but the basic proportions are a good starting point.  Me personally, I like lots of cilantro in things and enjoy a predominant cilantro taste in most everything Mexican that I enjoy.  That being said, many people aren't huge into cilantro and other people dislike it altogether, so you may wish to use about twice the cilantro that I use in this recipe, if your tastes are like mine.  Don't omit it altogether though, as it plays an important part in bringing all the flavors together and also in maintaining the nice green color :)
Soon these veggies will be avocado salsa!
Soon - you will be salsa!

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Restaurant review - Five Guys Burgers and Fries in Fishkill, NY

Oh.  Boy!

Five Guys burger
A Five Guys Burger with all the toppings!  Yummy!
This last Friday, I got to go to Five Guys Burgers and Fries (also known simply as Five Guys.)  If you haven't heard, 5 Guys is a chain of restaurants / fast food establishments that keeps it simple - hot dogs, hamburgers, fries, and drinks.  I know that my blog focuses on eating healthy, but really - who can't appreciate a nice greasy burger and french fries every now and again?  If you're one of us that can, I urge you to hoof it on over to your nearest Give Guys as soon as you can and taste what these guys have to offer!

Five guys started in Virginia as I understand it and they've spread pretty rapidly.  They feature fresh, never frozen beef for their burgers and they fry the french fries in 100% peanut oil.  Now, this isn't some gourmet angus free-range whatever nonsense burger.  It's a fast food burger, cooked well done (although I imagine they could cook it less if you asked, they're very amenable.)  The burger is good though - juicy, good tasting beef, pretty good if you ask me.  The fries are very tasty - if you've had the thick cut style of fries they offer, fried in peanut oil, you understand what they're offering.  Personally, I like pretty much everything fried in peanut oil, but that's a topic for a different day :)

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Eagle Crest Vineyards Semi-Dry Riesling - Delicious!

Eagle Crest Vineyards Semi-Dry Riesling
Semi-Dry Riesling.  Yum!
As I've said in the previous posts, me and my lady never leave a wine show without picking up at least a case of wine from Eagle Crest Vineyards of Conesus, NY.  We love their wines and are thrilled any time we can pick some of it up.  There are many great Wineries in the great state of New York, but this morning I'm going to be talking about one of Eagle Crest Vineyard's products - their 2010 Semi-dry Riesling.

Now, I'm not sure how recently Eagle Crest has been producing "Vintage wines" - This as you may or may not know means that the wine comes from a particular year / growing season; it's vintage.  The reason for putting the year on the bottle is that wine is an all natural product.  Depending on many factors, such as the land, the amount of rain the grapes get, and countless other factors, the grapes will taste slightly different year to year and this is borne out in the ultimate flavor of the wine.

A discussion of the myriad of factors that are responsible for wine tasting different year to year is beyond the scope of this page, and perhaps beyond the scope of this blog. For the inquiring reader, there is a wealth of information out there with respect to these various factors.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Solar Flare by Eagle Crest Vineyards - Delicious Late Harvest Wine :)

Solar Flare label
This is the label on the side of the Solar Flare bottle
There is a New York State Winery / Vineyard that me and my lady just love - Eagle Crest Vinyards in Conesus, NY.  We've encountered the lovely people of Eagle Crest at a number of wine shows and festivals, and they have always taken very, very good care of us.  Indeed, I basically 'cut my teeth' as far as tasting wine is concerned on their offerings.

Eagle Crest Vineyards offers many different red and white wines, with enough variation to provide something for everyone :)  In today's post, I wanted to talk about their "liquid sunshine in a bottle" - The Solar Flare late-harvest wine.

Solar flare from Eagle Crest Vineyards
Solar Flare is delicious late harvest wine

Restaurant Review - Mana-Thai Cuisine, Mount Kisco, NY

The entrance to Mana-Thai Cuisine in Mt Kisco NY
Mana-Thai Cuisine in Mount Kisco, NY
Alright foodies!  Today I was lucky enough to go my favorite Thai restaurant - Mana-Thai Cuisine in Mount Kisco.  The restaurant is not large, seating perhaps 15 people, but don't let the unassuming interior fool you - Mana, the chef and namesake of this restaurant, serves dishes with a huge flavor flavor that cannot be ignored.  My lady and I both LOVE Thai food. and we enjoy having it as often as possible, which isn't nearly often enough.

I first noticed this restaurant cruising up Route 117 in Mount Kisco over a year ago.  I thought to myself, "A Thai restaurant in Mount Kisco?" and made a note to check out the place as soon as I could. Once I tried it out, I had to bring my lady to sample Mana's food, to see if she agreed with my assessment.  A new fan was born, and we both have been going to Mana-Thai ever since.

Mana Thai cuisine
A look inside the window.  All kinds of neat tsotchkes!