Summer's around the corner, the icebergs have finally melted from the yard, and weekend action is starting to kick into high gear for us (we're NYC/LES residents but spend weekends in Catskill/Berkshire area.) Thought I'd poke around for some interesting new places to try in the area, anyone have any tips to share?...
quid pro quo, here are some of our favorites:
Here's kindofa secret spot we have - in a small town called Climax (just west of Coxsackie in Green County) on County Rt 26 is a pick your own apple and peach farm - think it's called Boehm's Apple Stand. I LOVE apple pickin and have tried just about every spot in Green and Columbia Count and IMO these people grow the BEST fruit around. They also have the largest variety of apples in the area and have each row labeled with the type. But here's the killer tip - they make a couple pies each weekend and sell them at their stand. When the peaches start to get ripe (around late July) they make the MOST AMAZING PEACH PIE I've ever tasted! They don't have a bakery (like so many of the stands have) - these pies are made right in the kitchen of their farm house! Haven't asked but pretty sure it's the traditional Crisco pie crust recipe (thin, browned all over and very crispy) and because they have an unlimited supply of the ripest peaches - the pies are filled to the brim with lots of succulent, tender peaches that are LOADED with flavor. not one of those overly thick bakery Pies - it's a fairly flat pie - but lovely, so homemade looking and feels like it weights 10 lbs! and the people here are real good folks - 3 generations workin there side by side.
If you are a fan of German food, as we are, let me tell you the Northern Catskills are loaded with German Food places! we've tried at least 4-5 places and hands-down the Bavarian Manor is THE BEST. I can't find German food this good anywhere in NYC. This is a very special place with some great stuff - below is the url of a post I put up with more info... (if you're a real fan of German food and would like info on more places in the area feel free to email me)
[BROKEN LINK REMOVED]
If you are looking for that small town quintessential diner experience - Betty's Too on Main St in Leeds/Greene is a wonderful homey spot that serves great breakfasts and lunch. They have a big sign that says EAT over the place :-) after you have breakfast go one block West and make a left at the General Store - drive down the dirt road and check out the amazing waterfalls and beautiful local swimming hole (know as Marble Creek or Slippery Rock, gotta love it). also - that General Store you just passed has awesome souvenirs - twig boxes, carved canoes, those little log cabins that burn pine incense.
We love Cafe Tamayo in Saugerties/Ulster - excellent food, consistently good, lots of deliciousness to be had here! fav meal there is to start with their great French Onion Soup with wonderful sharp gruyere and winey flavor, entree of their fabulous Steak Au Poivre, with Potatoes Au Gratin that are the best I've ever had - seems like 100 layers of potato cut with razor blade, good stinky French cheese, and to finish with the decadent warm chocolate desert (can't remember if soufflé or cake). My girlfriend is an angle hair pasta lover, and the dish they make here is her fav. I've also had an appetizer of spaghetti squash cooked with bacon, cream and parmesan that was out of this world. they close at 10:00 on Friday so we can hit them on our way up too. WE find there food to be as good as any French restaurant in this price range in NYC.
On RT 82 in Livingston/Columbia County is a large gourmet food shop and farm stand called Green Acres - they have an excellent walk in cooler with a wonderful selection of imported cheese, meats, olives, and organic produce. They also have great breads, all kinds of deserts and prepared foods that are of very high quality and have been a saving grace in our epicurean life upstate.
A little further East on 82 is Happy Clown Ice Cream! just a great old-time roadside stop with killer banana splits like ya had when you were a kid. even stopping for quick -twist and dip- here can make my weekend.
On Main St in Tivoli (think it's Columbia County but may be Duchess) - is Stoney Creek restaurant. If you are a trout fan like me - this place is a gift from the food gods. They sauté local trout with pecans and lemon butter, and it's pure trout perfection!
that's all for now - but will throw up more as summer kicks in (like where to find the best heirloom tomatoes around)
so my upstate Chowhound homies - what have you got to share?... :-)
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