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Good morning and happy Monday! Everyone enjoy the game last night? I spent it at Restaurant X in Congers (with tons of food!), but more on that in a minute…

On Friday night, I met some friends at Cafe Barcel in Nyack.


And just before the big NYT review, too. We shared a bunch of dishes — I really like the new garganelli with mushrooms — and I got a burger for my entree. Those grilled onions and roasted peppers are such great toppings.

On Saturday morning, I went to the indoor farmers market in Palisades.


I’m so excited about the stuff for sale there. Great local cheeses like Sprout Creek and Hudson Valley Sheepherding, milk and butter from Ronnybrook, Balthazar breads, and the best fish from Pura Vida.


I’ll be posting more photos from the market later.

Afterwards, I went to see Up in the Air at the Palisades Center. I couldn’t resist posing in this marketing gimmick:


On the way home, we stopped at Steve’s Prime Meats in Congers to pick up some ground lamb for the ragu I was making for dinner:


I cooked a couple of things from Urban Italian, Andrew Carmellini’s cookbook, which came out last year. I searched high and low for sheep’s milk ricotta to make this antipasti recipe he has in there (it involves whipping the ricotta with milk and adding herbs and olive oil), but I couldn’t find it anywhere. (Don’t even get me started on Old World Market… that was a disaster.)

So I used the fresh cow’s milk ricotta that Steve sold me:


Pretty darn good. Doesn’t it look fab?

I went to the bottom shelves on the wine cellar to find a nice wine to go with the pasta.


Unfortunately, this 1993 Barolo Villadoria Riserva was past its prime. Check out the brown wine on the left, that’s the 93. No good. The wine in the center is a $12 chianti I was cooking with, and the one on the right is the other Barolo I decided to open, also a Villadoria, but from 2000.


Tossing the lamb ragu with rigatoni:


The sauce was so good. It has red wine, tomato, cumin, coriander, thyme and rosemary, and it cooked for hours.


A nice dollop of the ricotta on top doesn’t hurt, either!

For dessert, I made an orange cornmeal cake from the new Everyday Food cookbook. (It’s not yet released, but I got an advance review copy.) I used a medium grind cornmeal, and I think that was too thick. The cake was full of little crunchies. Besides the teture, it tasted great. Also I didn’t have an 8-inch round cake pan, so I used a 9-inch…. it didn’t rise as much as it could have, I bet.


Last night I headed to Restaurant X to watch the Super Bowl. Chef Peter X. Kelly had a deal that for $100 you got a billion passed hors d’oeuvres, snacks on the table, antipasti during the first half and huge platters of meat, vegetables and potatoes during the half. Dessert came during fourth quarter. It was open bar, too.

Passing hot dogs before the game:


Snacks on the table, including a proscuitto and gruyere panino that was out of sight:


The big screen TVs all over the dining rooms:


Chef James Kelly carves a massive piece of meat:


Cute footballs for dessert:


And with that, here’s what people have been talking about this weekend:

Alice really likes Cafe Barcel in Nyack. (NYT) (So do I! Again!) (So do the Chowhounds!)
Hudson Valley Wine Goddess has a lot for auction to benefit Haiti. (HVWG)
Doug is able to order just a salad at Melt. (HT)
And Doug does the dessert tasting at the Ritz Carlton in White Plains. (HT)
Chowhounder is looking for a bar for 28-42 year olds that’s not loud or cheesy. (CH)
Pat Hammond finds Meyer lemons for 6 for $1 at Viva Ranch. (CH)
Where to get breakfast in Westchester? (CH)
A discussion of Augie’s Prime Cut in Mohegan Lake. (CH)


About Author

Liz Johnson is content strategist for The Journal News and lohud.com, and the founding editor of lohudfood, formerly know as Small Bites. As food editor, she won awards from the New York News Publishers Association, the Association of Food Journalists and the Associated Press. She lives in Nyack with her husband and daughter on a tiny suburban lot they call their farm — with fruit trees, an herb garden, and a yardful of lettuce, tomatoes, onions, shallots, cucumbers, zucchini, radishes, cabbage, peppers, Brussels sprouts and carrots and four big blueberry bushes.

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