A friend and I spent the weekend up around Rhinebeck, and since most of my ideas on where to eat came off these boards, I thought Id report back.
We had dinner Saturday night at Mina in Red Hook. Looking at their sample menu on their website, there were so many things that sounded good to me, but the actual menu was quite different (I suppose thats to be expected from a restaurant focusing on regional and seasonal food). We both enjoyed our meal, but I didnt have the struggle deciding what to order that Id expected. My starter of a mixed greens salad with roasted beets was nothing exciting, but good, while my friends scallops in a butternut squash sauce were very good. For mains, we had the lamb chop and medallion and the hanger steak; both were a little dry (maybe thats par for those cuts?), but flavorful, and the sides were very nice (the lamb came with a black olive couscous and broccoli rabe). None of the dishes had the lack of seasoning issue that I saw mentioned in a previous post. Id been sort of fixated on raspberries from driving around and seeing signs for them, so I had raspberries with sabayon, which was lovely, while my friend had the flourless chocolate cake with banana ice cream and caramel sauce(!). The cake was very good, but I was glad to only have a bite rather than a whole serving of it. We each had a glass of a Californian merlot that was quite nice, but I dont remember where it was from.
Breakfast Sunday morning was at the Alternative Baker in Kingston. I really liked this place--if there was anything like it near my apartment, I would be there on a daily basis. The baked goods were great, but the atmosphere was what made it click. Its just a small place, very not fancy, but the staff is very friendly. While we were there, the baker kept calling out what was coming out of the oven, so of course we had to try a whole bunch of things... Sticky buns were excellent, with a relatively light and fluffy dough, so they werent overwhelming rich (and they were still warm from the oven!). Lemon cakes were also good. They have a fair amount of sugar/dairy/wheat-free items, and my mother reports that the everything-free/organic spelt pumpkin spice muffin I brought back was quite good. The almond meringues filled with Belgian chocolate that we got for the road were very good, too...
We stopped at the Rhinebeck Farmers Market and hit several of the stalls. The sourdough I got from Our Daily Bread was excellent, with a nice moist, chewy middle and a well-baked crust. Next time Im in the area, Ill have to try more of their stuff. Im also still enjoying several other purchases from theregoat cheese, Asian mixed greens and fingerling potatoes, and the German white garlic from La Terre. I resisted the urge to buy stuff from the pate and cheese man
Based on some wine tasting we had done at the Rhinebeck crafts fair on Saturday, we decided to visit Clinton Vineyards and the Cascade Mountain Winery on Sunday. (Incidentally, the crafts fair was pretty poor--by my reckoning, about 5-10% nice stuff, with the remainder what my friend refers to as a craps fair.) Clinton Vineyards is in a really beautiful location, and we enjoyed their fruit wines, as well as their sparkling wine and Seyval Blanc. We had hoped to have lunch at Cascade Mountain, since wed been encouraged by the people staffing their booth at the crafts fair to try it, but they turned out to be full up (kinda wish their employees had suggested making a reservation). By the time we left there we were about to gnaw off our arms from hunger, and ending up having a pretty mediocre, overpriced brunch at Allyns, which I think is in Millbrook. If only wed had a knife we could have just had a picnic of our farmers market treats... Ah well, next time.
Another highlight of the trip was the Innisfree Garden in Millbrook. Now that would be a nice location for a picnic!