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Good morning and happy Monday. Did everyone have a nice fall weekend? Some of you are off for Columbus Day, I’m sure…. but not for we journalists. News goes on!

I started the weekend out up at at the Great Jack O’Lantern Blaze. But first — dinner at Umami Cafe in Croton seemed like a great idea… after all, it’s almost walkable down to Van Cortlandt Manor from there. Alas, everyone else thought the same thing. Owner Craig Purdy told me they did 170 covers between 5 and 8 on Friday. What that meant for us was that we had our appetizers, but then had to get our entrees to go rather than risk being late for our 7 p.m. entry at the Blaze! What we did eat, though, was very good.

A Hawaiian-style Luau pork dish (that I didn’t write down the real name and it’s not on the online menu):

And some pot stickers, which were fab, too.

Thing was, our friends that we were meeting arrived just 10 minutes before us, and were able to finish in plenty of time. My advice: Umami is a great spot to hit before the Blaze, but leave plenty of time for dinner beforehand.

And yes: the Blaze is all that. It’s worth the wait:

My sister and her family were visiting from Texas this weekend, so on Saturday I took my niece to the “pumpkin patch” at Schmipf Farm in West Nyack. Please forgive the doting aunt, here:

On Saturday night, we had a great penne with sausage that my husband made. Unfortunately, I didn’t take any photos there.

On Sunday, I set about using the tomatoes and zucchini that were going to turn soon if I didn’t. So I made a gratin:

I sauteed onion and garlic, then layered tomatoes, onion-garlic, zucchini, parmesan and herbs in a gratin dish:

We put a couple of chicken breasts on the grill over indirect heat, and had a lovely Sunday supper:

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

Moderne Barn in Armonk gets a rare “don’t miss” from MH. (NYT)
Doug goes to the Sundance Deli in Pleasantvlle. (HT)
Renegade Cookies, a new cookie company. (BP)
More on Abeulos in Ossining. (CH)
Sour Kraut in Nyack has a soft opening. (CH)
Hudson Grill in White Plains is appealing for the 30-plus crowd. (CH)
New Thai in Mount Kisco: Mana Thai. (CH)
Meet the chef: Jose Leon of Chat 19 in Larchmont. (LMP)
A new home and an expansion for Chocolations in Mamaroneck. (LMP)
Meet the chef: Phyllis Segura. (NP)
The Windsor Grill at the Comfort Inn in Nanuet. (NP)
Strawberry Place in Nyack (NPP)
Meet the chef: Jill Rose of Chiboust in Tarrytown. (TP)

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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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