Though we may be still fighting off a few sporadic storms, the summer and warm weather are officially here. While most of us are some years away from summers filled with days off, ‘tis still the season for extra sunshine, picnics and hopefully a chance to get out of town. I’ve got a few fun things in the works for me and my little family this summer, but with the warm up I’ve been antsy to get the summer celebration started.
All it took was a Facebook status from one of Westchester’s newly famed food trucks for me to plan out the perfect mid-week mini-vacay.
You may have heard about the abundance of amazing farmer’s markets that the county has to offer these days. I’d been past a few of them that all boasted gorgeous produce and foodstuffs and always promised myself I’d make a morning of it at one of them selecting ingredients for my own farm-to-table creations, or even just exploring. Timing hadn’t permitted this until The Cookery’s own DoughNation truck announced it would be slinging pies at the Irvington Farmer’s Market on Wednesday, and best yet – the market ran from 3:30 to 7:30. Sealing the deal, my best pal (and frequent sidekick for many of my Small Bites adventures,) grew up and now works in Irvington and we do our best to meet up once a week for a catch-up. I could easily hop a train from my NYC office and we’d rendezvous our way to pizza heaven.
Now, I take the Metro North almost daily, never does it feel like a vacation.
To be fair, I certainly have seen my fair share of public transportation and the woes of hopping the Harlem line are mild compared to some of the things I’ve seen, (hell hath no fury like the NJT bus system.) For the most part, it’s just my daily grind vessel. However, there is something about breaking your routine just a little bit that can revitalize your attitude and refresh you, especially mid-week. Changing it up a bit and hopping on the Hudson line – with its switch of scenery and gorgeous views of the near track-touching river – felt like a good way to wind down a work day. Plus you can troop it to the Main Street School (though it is a pizza-earning ascent up the hills of Irvington’s central street,) from the train so it was beyond easy to get to.
The Farmer’s Market is set in the back parking lot of the 4th & 5th grade school right on Main Street. Kiddos and parents littered the lawn indulging in treats procured from the market itself. Littler guys took advantage of the school’s fenced in playground or ran around on the grassy field behind the school and market. A few folding picnic tables lined up along the center of the stands and a talented young lady played cover songs on her ukulele. (My heart swelled three times its size when she strummed a song from my wedding while some of the cute kiddies danced.) There was plenty of produce, fresh fish, even fresh mozzarella to be found at the impressive number of stands. Also a few surprising spots to get ready-to-munch goods like pretzels from Bronx Bakery, pint and push-pop servings of Penny Lick ice cream’s confections and even a set up from Irvington’s own Indian bistro Chutney Masala. Believe me there, was way more and I am not doing the vendors nearly enough justice.
But on this, my flagship visit to any Westchester farmer’s market, I was there for one thing – the pizza.
A big fan of Dobbs’ The Cookery, I was totally enthralled when I heard they had a mobile pizza oven roving around the county. I knew their offerings would be downright un-missable. (And I’m not alone, the pies are so popular DoughNation is set to get its own brick & mortar very soon.) It would be a crime if I let this summer go by without doing a little actual marketing at one of these incredible outdoor markets, but on this particular work-day, I was there for dinner al fresco. The pizza truck – which isn’t a truck per se, more of an oven on wheels – is run by a pretty well organized system. Our dinner was hot and ready in no time flat and my buddy, her bro and myself found a patch of grass to hang out and eat. Both the conversation – the siblings retelling funny tales of their own time spent attending the very school whose campus we hung out on – and the food were the perfect way to get our grub on.
And the pizza? Heaven sent.
Rustic pies with simultaneously doughy and crusty bases are served up personal style. The usual suspects are there like margarita, meatball and the truck’s signature lemon pizza, plus a pizza of the day. Everything is made with fresh ingredients from the mozzarella to the meatballs. It’s still approachable and yummy pizza that kids want, but gourmet enough to lure parents in as well. Spending a Wednesday evening shopping, noshing and getting the most out of a gorgeous summer day would be a way better option than other fast food go-to’s on a “too lazy to cook” night.
Our own adventure ended with a pre-train cocktail at MP Taverna. I snapped and tweeted a picture of my friend indulging in their incredibly refreshing cucumber cocktail, (a tweet that earned me a nod from the proprieter himself!) and echoed her sentiments of “NOW the summer can start.” Indeed, pal.
The whole trip got me in my door by 8pm and encompassed me hitting up a few spots I’d been wanting to get to and was a great way to maximize a beautiful day. Hanging outdoors is not something I get to do enough during the week and this gave me a pretty perfect way to indulge in it. It was the perfect change of pace to get me over the hump and sail on through the rest of the week. A mini vacation right in the river towns – who knew?!
*To sneak a peek at all my Instagrams from that night, click my hashtag #smallbiteschristina