> New York Hudson Valley Eats & Treats!: May 2012

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Mulligatawny Soup Recipe

A nice tasty onion - the foundation of food!
Onions are the foundation of many
Indian dishes.  Love em!

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.