Phyllis Tarlow Fine Art - Hudson From Bear Mt
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Taking A Chance & Road Trips

If you followed me in the past than you know how much my honey and I use to  our road trips and long weekends driving around the #HudsonValley, the #Catskills and sometimes even the #Adirondacks, but my medical issues the last few years have completely put the brakes on our road trips.

After not doing any traveling, locally or not, for the last few years, my honey surprised me with tickets to see Rory Feek at his farm in Hardison, TN.  Well, I was besides myself at first with excitement but then fear of the unknown set in.  But, true to form, my honey said for me to put my fears aside, he reminded me that together we can do anything!  So, together with our 2 1/2 yr old Cutie Patootie Chloe, we began our travels, some 14.5 hours.

In the past when we traveled we packed our days/nights with as many places to see and activities to do as time allowed.  Since this trip was our “inaugural” trip since my medical issues we decided we’d go big or stay home, so, true to form, we planed a week long trip which included a few days in #Gatlinburg exploring the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, then on to a couple days in #Nashville then onto our primary destination of #Hardison, TN.

Here are a few WONDERFUL THINGS (travel guides) we found helpful:
 

We arrived in Hardison Mill TN for a very special, “extraordinary, ordinary evening with Rory Feek“!    I first learned of the famous country duo Joey & Rory a few months before one of my surgeries in 2015.  To say I fell in TOTAL LOVE with them, their music and their story is an understatement!  I was so very inspired by Joey’s amazing faith, that, at the time, my own faith deepened, for that I was grateful.  Growing up listening to country music has made me a fan since as far back as I can remember so I naturally gravitated to Joey & Rory’s music.  I especially enjoy their Hymns album.  I’m in awe of Joey’s unwavering faith, I pray I’ll be able to find my deep faith again.  I’m inspired by Rory’s journey to continue to live the simple, honest and faithful life he and Joey began.  We were fortunate to get an autographed copy of Rory’s latest book, Once Upon a Farm and to actually have a few minute to chat with Rory and take a few picture.  It certainly was a great evening!

For more of my favorite Wonderful Things from Joey & Rory, and Rory Feek check out my WONDERFUL THINGS page

 

It’s Been A Long Time….I’ve Missed You

It’s been a long time, 5 years in fact, wow,….I’ve Missed You!  Originally Wonderful Wonders was a place to highlight and feature the many wonderful people, places & things in and around the Hudson Valley, NY.

After a life altering situation a few years ago (which I’m sure I’ll get around to sharing more about in a future post), I now find myself wondering, wondering what’s it all about.  In a matter of hours my life was forever changed.  It’s taken me a few years to rediscover myself and truthfully I’m not 100% but I’m working on it.  Just recently, it hit me, Wonderful Wonders doesn’t have to be only about the wonderful people, places & things in and around the Hudson Valley NY but in fact, Wonderful Wonders is just that, the wonders of life, some good, some maybe not so good but either way, the people, places & things in our lives continue to encourage us, defeat us, love us, hate us, and sometimes inspire us.

For those that followed me in the past and for any new followers, my honey still continues to make me smile, laugh & feel loved!  Together, over the past 13+ years we’ve had our share of ups & downs like most people, with the last few forcing us to find new ways to continue our journey.  Just to catch you all up on one of the best ventures, we purchased a small place in the #Catskills!  We  LOVE ♥Our Place“, our summer get-a-way, our long weekend retreat, our escape from the real world, place!

We’ve spent a great deal of time doing renovations.  We replaced old 1970s paneling in the living room, hall, spare bedroom & bathroom with new sheet rock, old sub floors with new sub floors and new flooring and all new insulation, the tub was replaced with a walk-in shower!  My honey is so handy, our motto is I design it, he builds it!

As I sit and enjoy my Pumpkin Spice coffee, this is a peak at our view from our deck! ahh, I love autumn in the Catskills!

Can you say ahhh….

I hope there are a few of you out there that will still follow Wonderful Wonders as I now wonder what’s it all about, as I begin to dig deep to understand  the “why me” of my life. I’m looking forward to sharing with you all my progress and journey of attempting to understand and manage my new journey, my new life.

As always, I wish you days filled with wonder – take a minute to wonder what it is that made you smile today!

Please feel free to “SHARE” this post with your family/friends! And don’t forget to leave your comments below, we love hearing from you!


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HUDSON VALLEY HOSPITAL CENTER OPEN FARMERS MARKET FOR THE COMMUNITY!

NORTH MEETS SOUTH WHEN NYC WELCOMED THE NEELY’S!

We ventured out of our normal playground of the Hudson Valley and traveled into the world famous New York City to have dinner at the     Neely’s Barbecue  Parlor Manhattan’s Upper East Side on First Avenue.  Funny, I’ve grown up just about an hour outside of NYC and have never had an overwhelming desire to go into the city unless for a specific adventure/event or show and dinner and yet people travel from all over the world to visit the famous “Big Apple.” -Not that I don’t enjoy an evening in the city every now and then because I do, I just don’t know that I would make that my vacation destination of choice, perhaps that is because I have such easy access and can visit anytime….

Well, back to the Neely’s! My mother (Mama D as my honey calls her) LOVES to watch the cooking shows on the Food Network– including Down Home with the Neely’s.  So when my mother told me that the Neely’s recently opened a new restaurant in the city and suggested we go for dinner one night, we agreed. 

So we booked our table via Open Table and off we went.  Arriving a bit early, we enjoyed sitting at the bar looking around at the various dining rooms that surrounded the bar and chatting with Nicki.  Nicki and her friend “Wilbur” filled us in on the how and when Pat & Gina Neely came to be part of the Merchants and how warm and friendly they really are.  Each dining room is uniquely decorated each with its own ambiance and flare. 

As we normally do, we decided on two different dishes that we would share/sample.  First we started with the Candied Thick Cut Slab Bacon which is bacon strip coated with brown sugar & slow baked until it’s crispy and it was definitely crispy!   We then settled on the Pork Sampler Platter of Spare ribs, baby back ribs & pulled pork     and the famous “Blue Ribbon” Chicken (Aka Pat’s beer can chicken)    a free range chicken cooked with a pabst blue ribbon beer can in its belly!  The chicken came with 2 side dishes and the pork sampler came with one side so we had the delicious corn bread, the southern creamed corn and the sweet potato fries!   The chicken was great1 It was moist and juicy and I added the Neely’s Spicy sauce and all I can say is hmm hmm good!  The corn bread was delicious (which actually isn’t considered a side we just made it one of our sides) as were the sweet potato fries!  For me the southern creamed corn wasn’t all that creamy but, none-the-less it was good.

 Then of course there is desert, our favorite! Now, for those of you that follow WonderfulWonders, you know my honey and I always split a dessert, well, this time we didn’t . . .shocking right! We thought we probably wouldn’t be back to the Neely’s so we should be fair to them and experience as much as we could (LOL).  We did of course share; so together we shared the Red Velvet Cake with cream cheese icing, which honesty was a bit dry for my taste and the Blackberry Cobbler with vanilla ice cream which was my favorite of the two.

 A small selection of merchandise  is available in a small curio cabinet in the foyer and on their store page of the website.

 So, for all you southern folk livin here in the north, we would say the Neely’s Barbecue Parlor is a “must-do” the next time you visit Manhattan!

As always, I wish you days filled with wonder – take a minute to wonder what it is that made you smile today!

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Local Events Close to Home in Westchester County, NY

Hi everyone. . .wow we have missed being able to take our famous “day-trips” in and around the Hudson Valley this summer!  Between all the rain and our busy schedules this year we were not been out ‘n about as much as we normally are, but, the  few places we went were wonderful!

In between the many many rain filled weekends we enjoyed activities much closer to home than we normally do including:

The 14th Annual Peekskill Celebration the first weekend in August.  We rushed  to Peekskill’s Riverfront Green Park to watch the Dragons on the Hudson dragon boat races which started early in the morning on Saturday (before the rain).  This was my first time seeing these boats first hand.  The workmanship in the design/ construction of these boats is wonderful; not to mention the much needed strength/stamina it takes to actually paddle one of these boats.  These boats are rich in history and a treat to watch!

   

Because it was yet another cool/over-cast day, the crowds seemed to hold off in the morning when we were there but as the day went on more people arrived to take part in the Peekskill Celebration, enjoy good food and visit the many booths.

  

  

Once again the sun was finally shining on Sept. 10th, we took advantage of the great day and attend the 6th Annual Cortlandt Family Fun Day in Montrose, NY.  This was a cute / fun day for the families in Cortlandt.  And, with the record breaking rain fall during August, the sunshine and a day of games, food and entertainment was just was area families needed.

  

On Sept. 24th we went to the 3rd Hudson Valley Irish Fest  at the Riverfront Green in Peekskill, NY.  I LOVE LOVE LOVE the Irish culture and especially Irish music.  My Dad’s family hales from Ireland with my father’s great uncle being Daniel O’Connell, the famed “Liberator” of Ireland.  We sat and enjoyed music by Celtic Cross, a wonderful pop/folk band with a traditional Celtic Irish influence.  Led by lead vocalist  Kathleen Lee (I’m actually named after/for the song “I’ll Take You Home Again Kathleen“) is outstanding and amazing to listen to!

  Okay, so we all know how very much I love traveling to the Catskills, I’ve been going their since I was a child with my family for Sunday afternoon drives and now I enjoy spending long weekends traipsing around the Catskills.  While I have not yet had the pleasure of staying at Gavin’s, it is without a doubt on our list of places to stay.    At the festival I bought the most amazing celtic cross garden statue! I love it! And, the amazing thing was the designer of the piece Bill Bywater of Bywater.com is the brother of someone my honey used to work with in Poughkeepsie, NY – which made purchasing this handmade piece even more special!

Also on Sept. 24th we attended the  1st Buchanan Family Day at the Buchanan Pavilion in Buchanan, NY.  Like the Cortlandt Family Fun Day, this event was intended to give the families of Buchanan an opportunity to get together as a community, enjoy each other’s company, meet neighbors perhaps they hadn’t met and provide a fun filled environment for the children complete with face painting, pumpkin panting, a DJ providing live music and great food provided by  Buchanan Fire Department and Two Brother’s Pizzeria,!  Buchanan’s newest eatery Taste was also there meeting and greeting their neighbors!   From pumpkin painting to face painting, fun, food and entertainment, who could ask for more. . .the event was well attended and enjoyed by all!

  

  

As always, I wish you days filled with wonder – take a minute to wonder what it is that made you smile today!

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“Festa Italiana Peekskill” Festival 2011

The summer is winding down and the evening temperatures are starting to cool down here in the Hudson Valley. Of course for all of you that follow WonderfulWonders you already know how very important it is to my honey & I to support local businesses, vendors and events. This weekend we did just that by attending the 2nd year for the new “Festa Italiana Peekskill” festival.

What began with general conversation at Ciro’s Restaurant on South Street in Peekskill (in Westchester County NY) has turned into “Festa Italiana Peekskill” thanks to organizer/director Frank Cimino.  Apparently after doing some research it was discovered that 20% of Peekskill’s population is made up of Italian/Americans. With that, Mr. Cimino was on a quest, a quest to bring an Italian festival to Peekskill. Last year Mr. Cimino and a group/army of volunteers got together to bring what was a childhood memory of the great smells of good food, good conversation with family & friends to life in Peekskill.

Similar to their neighbors in Verplanck NY, who has proudly hosted the Italian Feast presented by The Society of Our Lady of Mt Carmel for the past 89years, Peekskill now proudly celebrates their “Festa Italiana Peekskill” Festival during the Feast of the Assumption. The “Festa Italiana Peekskill” features genuine native cuisine and bona fide Italian entertainers.

  

2011 is the 2nd year for the new “Festa Italiana Peekskill” festival and the Paramount Center for the Arts kicked off this year’s celebration with a benefit concert featuring Michael Amante. The benefit concert was for the Assumption Church and School in Peekskill. Michael Amante is one of the few tenors in the United States that is highly regarded and has been in a number of shows.

Friday night the crowd was entertained by Peekskill’s very own Internationally Acclaimed Vocal Artist Mary Mancini and World Renowned Accordion Virtuoso Mario Tacca and Doug Ferony Big Band. After the traditional Italian “salute!” (even though it may have been only water for our performing friends) everyone enjoyed themselves as they were clapping in their seats, singing along & even dancing in the streets!

     

The very beautiful Ave Maria performed by Mary Mancini was among the shows highlights

As with most festivals, along with the entertainment & food is a unique blend of vendors ~ many of which are local offering a unique blend of local flare and in many case homemade items featuring locally grown or manufactured materials.

   

  What I love most about attending these festivals is the opportunity to meet these local businesses/vendors and chat a bit with them. I simply love unique items and to meet the owner of the business and learn how they make the products is truly a pleasure for us. In return for their time & effort, we like to give them a little recognition and showcase a few of the more unique products and we have to save the trivets from Botanical Trivets are not only unique but they are exquisite! And yes, of course I had to have one for myself and I bought one as a gift!

 

As always, I wish you days filled with wonder – take a minute to wonder what it is that made you smile today!

Please feel free to “SHARE” this post with your family/friends! And don’t forget to leave your comments below, we love hearing from you!


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TO DO IN THE HUDSON VALLEY 08/01-07/11

Thanks to the various Patch.com sites here is a brief listing of some fun exciting things to do in and around the Hudson Valley during the week of 08/01 – 07/11.

As always, I wish you days filled with wonder – take a minute to wonder what it is that made you smile today!

Please feel free to “share” this post with your family/friends! And don’t forget to leave your comments below, we love hearing from you!

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SHINE ON SAUGERTIES – 2011

Lighthouse on a Lighthouse

OMG – I can’t believe my honey and I recently stumbled upon the wonderful Shine on Saugerties art display. For those of you that follow WonderfulWonders, you will recall that for the last couple years we have seemingly “been-in-the-right-place-at-the-right-time” because we have managed to see the Horses Are Coming to Saugertieslast year and Cat-N-Around Catskill” and The Best in Show in Hudson in 2009 – how great is that!

“Shine On Saugerties 2011” features handmade wooden lighthouses.  The lighthouse design is based on the famed Saugerties Lighthouse, the oldest (1869) continuously operating lighthouse on the Hudson River, which sits at the mouth of the Esopus Creek in Saugerties.

The lighthouses are a great way to celebrate the 200th anniversary of Saugerties’ incorporation in 1811.  The Lighthouses, which feature an operating solar light, are now on display along the streets of the Historic Village Business District, now through late September.  Not only are the models designed by a Saugerties artisan, the lumber is milled and harvested locally, by Native Lumber in Saugerties.  I highly suggest visiting Saugerties and strolling along the streets to enjoy these wonderful works of art as some thirty-two lighthouses are proudly on display.  Here are just a few:

Checker Lighthouse

 

Eye on Saugerties

Hudson Lights

Today is a Good Day

And, this is my favorite:

Valley View

If you are in need of some relaxation and an overnight stay with a great view consider staying in this historic landmark on the Hudson River!  Restored to its former glory, the Lighthouse hosts a rustic Bed and Breakfast. Open Thursday through Sunday nights year-round.  What a special / unique place to relax and enjoy the seasons of the Hudson River Valley (okay so we haven’t stayed yet, but can you tell I’m anxious to stay  !)

You all know how much I LOVE the water, and especially the Hudson River, I can’t imagine anything more beautiful that being surrounded by the river on a remote little shoal.          Of course to get to the Lighthouse you will need to enjoy a leisurely stroll along the half-mile trail. Many people are often seen enjoying popular activities include fishing, picnicking, bird-watching, photography, and relaxing by the riverside. There is no air-conditioning in summertime. It is heated in wintertime.

There are two second floor bedrooms each with a double-bed.

The West Room has windows facing south down the Hudson River and west towards the Catskills (probably the room I’d hope to stay) and the East Room, the larger of the two rooms, has windows looking east onto the river.

Breakfast is provided for overnight guests. Dinner can be enjoyed by one of the many local area eateries or you may bring food to the lighthouse as the kitchen is available as well as an outdoor propane grill.

The Saugerties Lighthouse Conservancy is pleased to announce the Between the Tides Festival,      its annual fundraiser and music festival. It will be held on Sunday afternoon, August 21st, 2011, from 2PM to 7PM. Hosted at the historic Saugerties Lighthouse, the festival is a family-friendly, all-ages event that includes live music, food, and drinks. It is scheduled “between the tides” so that the 1/2-mile trail to the lighthouse is passable throughout the event.

The line up of local musicians includes Paul Luke, the Josh Tyler Band, and more.

Tickets are on sale now – advanced ticket price is $25.00/person. Day of event: $30.00. Seniors $5.00 discount; children under 12 are free. Proceeds from the music festival supports the continued preservation of the lighthouse.

Celebrate the Hudson River and the historic Saugerties Lighthouse, a landmark of the Hudson River Valley. Enjoy live music, food, and drinks. The lighthouse is open for tours of the interior during the festival instead of the usual tour schedule on this day. NO PETS allowed during festival.

If you are in or around Saugerties I would strongly suggested walking through the streets, visiting the shops and eateries, and yes, plan that special weekend at the Saugerties Lighthouse!

As always, I wish you days filled with wonder – take a minute to wonder what it is that made you smile today!

Please feel free to “share” this post with your family/friends!  And don’t forget to leave your comments below, we love hearing from you!

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The World’s Largest Kaleidoscope – in the Catskills!

WOW, I can’t believe how time flies. . .it’s been a few months since I last blogged, what’s up with that?   So by now most of you “regular” visitors may be saying, hmmm, WonderfulWonders hasn’t done too much traveling in and around the Hudson Valley this summer…. unfortunately you are right.  Somehow our days have been filled with work, errands and then more work. So to all of you that follow my blog, you know that now that the warmer temperatures are here it’s time for my honey and I to get out and about traveling around the Hudson Valley.

We took a drive recently to Mt. Tremper to check out the World’s Largest Kaleidoscope – Kaleidostore at the Emerson Country Store. The store is filled with a large variety of unique items from the newest trendy fashion items to vintage fashion, antique to modern furniture and so much more!

Outside the front door an adorable garden says “relax, enjoy & stay awhile.”  I love love love shops like this!

The kaleidoscope is housed in the 56+ feet tall (certified by the Guinness Book of World Records as being the World’s Largest) silo of a beautifully restored 19th century dairy barn, The World’s Largest Kaleidoscope has been mesmerizing guests since 1996, which means we happen to visit while they are celebrating their 15th anniversary!

The World’s Largest Kaleidoscope show features brilliant moving images while you listen to theater-quality sound.  While you watch the amazing images moving and taking on different shapes & sizes you are treated to great music by Gary Burke, a local composer and drummer who has worked with Frances Ford Coppola and Bob Dylan.  Listening to this music takes you back in time as you hear hints of folk, jazz, big band, psychedelic rock and patriotic grandeur.

 

When visiting, you will enjoy one of three shows, depending on the season. We saw the America, The House We Live In:  A look at the history of America from settlement days through the first space walks and the sixties.


With Woodstock  being only a short distance away, the music was appropriate for our location.  So, what did we do, but of course head over to Woodstock for a bite to eat and browse the shops.

As suggested in our Hudson Valley & Catskill Mountains An Explorer’s Guide book, we stopped at Alyce & Roger’s Fruit Stand on Route 28 in Mt. Tremper and picked up the most delicious corn relish! The couple (we assume Alyce & Roger) was so friendly and kind, we will absolutely go back for more of their fresh relish and jams!

We absolutely had to go back to Cafe Mezzaluna on Route 212 in Saugerties.  We knew from out last visit how special this place was and it was confirmed again when we walked in the door and Sherri greeted us with that same warm & friendly smile.  More specifically, she asked if we were again staying at the  Grouse House/Penthouse (where we spent a long weekend last year).  Her remembering us and where we stayed re-confirmed why we LOVE Cafe Mezzaluna!

There are many great places in and around the Catskills and Hudson Valley and we love exploring them all!

As always, I wish you days filled with wonder – take a minute to wonder what it is that made you smile today!

Please feel free to “share” this post with your family/friends!  And don’t forget to leave your comments below, we love hearing from you!

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Love – Love – Love – Hudson Valley Restaurant Week 2011 March 14th – 27th

Hello Hudson Valley!  Okay so you all know that my honey and I totally enjoy dinning at various restaurants in and around the Hudson Valley.  We are always eager to seek out the newest and greatest restaurants, cafes, and other special eateries!  What better way to try out a few new places than during Hudson Valley Restaurant Week 2011!

A quick summary (for those that may not fully know what restaurant week is) about Hudson Valley Restaurant Week:  this year some 160 restaurantswill be participating.  Participating restaurants offer a 3-course prix fixe lunch for $20 and/or prix fixe dinner for $28.  This is a wonderful way to experience restaurants that you may not have otherwise visited or hadn’t had the chance to visit!

So with my honey working part-time several evenings during the week and many of the participating restaurants don’t include Fridays & Saturdays, we were limited on the number of evenings we had available but we selected three.  One had been on our list for some time we just hadn’t had the chance to get there and two were elected last minute.

The Birdsall House    located at 970 Main Street, Peekskill, NY – in a word, WONDERFUL!  We had wanted to visit this restaurant for about the last 6 months and just never seemed to be able to get there.  So because we had such limited time during restaurant week we made sure Birdsall House was on our list and we weren’t disappointed!

Owners Tim Reinke and John Sharp have done an amazing job in preserving the 1940’s look and feel of this bar/tavern now top shelf restaurant too!   We loved the mix-n-match authentic furniture which provides an eclectic interior.    The cool leather booths, wooded tables,  black and white checked floor with old-fashioned sky light all contributed to maintaining the feel of that 1940’s bar/tavern appeal. 

Kevin, our waiter, was extremely friendly, very helpful and completely made us feel welcome.  There is something to be said when the owner, the chef, your waiter/waitress or any of the staff of a restaurant go out of their way to be friendly and sincerely make you feel welcomed and that they honestly appreciate the fact that we visited their restaurant!  Hats off to the Birdsall House staff!

The Birdsall House was actually across the street from its current location and was a B&B where George Washington frequently stayed.  The current Birdsall House was formerly Connelly’s Bar (my grandfather apparently was known to have visited Connelly’s from time-to-time).  What’s even more special for me personally is the fact that all the beef used at the restaurant comes from Hemlock Hills Farmalso located in Peekskill, NY and (here’s the special personal touch) the farm is owned by my mother’s cousin!  As a child, I visited “Aunt Katherine on the Farm.”  Because I had a “1st” aunt named Aunt Kathryn, we always referred to my mother’s “1st” aunt my great or “2nd” aunt as Aunt Catherine on the farm.”  Farmer John, as Birdsall House owner John Sharp referred to) is my 2nd cousin.  Not only is the meat local but most everything else too from their cheeses and famous locally brewed beers!

Now for an ever more unique and special treat, the Birdsall House owners utilized the wide open wall space to project some of the best old movies in silent!    

So the first course for me was the Lentil and Chick Pea SaladFresh green lentils, wheat & spelt berries, parsley, radicchio, Meyer lemon vinaigrette and my honey had the Sausage & Cheese House made pork and fennel sausage, Adirondack black wax cheddar, porter and caraway mustard, mesclun salad!  Then our main course; for me was the Jerk-Spiced Shrimp Skewers:      Collard greens, curried okra & tomato, habanero hot sauce – and yes, it was hot! While my honey enjoyed the Braised Pork Belly:      Portobello mushroom broth, soft-poached egg, crème fraiche, scallions.  Okay so while you all know that normally my honey and I share a dessert, we both had our own during restaurant week! Hey this way we had the chance to sample as many wonderful dishes as possible!  For me it was the Sorbet Trio     and my honey had the Apple Bourbon Bread Pudding   Nutmeg whipped cream toasted pecans!

Amazing food, wonderful setting and gracious owners – watch the video and I’m certain you too will want to go this great hot spot – we will absolutely go back!

 Our 2nd restaurant was      Opus 465465 Main Street in Armonk.  Voted Best of Westchester 2009, we dined here on Saturday evening, the night of the Super Moon! The setting was a bit more formal – the service was polite and the food was prepared perfectly!  As the dining room upstairs was quite full, our waiter was busy-busy as he attended to many tables.  I started with the Blue Apple Salad:         Mesclun greens tossed with diced apples, glazed walnuts, crumbled bleu cheese and reduced balsamic vinaigrette while my honey had the Soup Sampler:     mini cups of Lentil, Crab Corn Chowder and Cream of Broccoli which all three were excellent!  We wished we could have ordered a pint of each to go!  For our main course, I had the Half Moon Tilapia  Tilapia fillet pan roasted with asparagus and sun-dried cranberries in a chardonnay sauce (I had mine prepared w/o the mushrooms – sorry to all you mushroom lovers) and my honey enjoyed the Chicken Scarpariello  Breast of chicken sautéed with crumbled hot and sweet sausage, roasted red peppers, spicy pepperoncinis, garlic, white wine and crispy potatoes.  And now for the finale – dessert – I totally enjoyed the Smores while my honey wrapped his fingers around the Banana Wrap!   

On to our 3rd, and unfortunately our last, restaurant of Hudson Valley Restaurant Week 2011 –        Traditions 11811 Old Tomahawk Street – Route 118, Granite Springs, NY – OMG, all I can say is… OUT OF THIS WORLD!  Mike, our server, was cheerful, the atmosphere was friendly and inviting and the food was simply delicious!  

I started off with the Strawberry Apple Season Salad: Mesclun green topped w/sliced apples & strawberries, caramelized walnuts and gorgonzola cheese in whipped strawberry vinaigrette.    I was in heaven with this salad which is now among the best appetizer salads I’ve ever had (my other favorite was a Celery Root-Beet Apple salad I had last year during HV Restaurant Week at Cathryn’s Tuscan Grill – Cold Spring NY) while my honey had the Meatball Salad: Chopped Romaine lettuce, tossed w/EVOO & aged balsamic, finished with shaved parmigian, their “Homemade Honey Ricotta,” and a giant meatball with a touch of marinara! Of course I tasted the Meatball Salad (just to make sure it was good for him of course, LOL) it was wonderful! 

On to our main course, I had the Saccette: Imported Italian “Pasta Pouches,” filled w/three cheeses, tossed in a tomato cream sauce with fresh peas (I had mine prepared w/o the mushrooms).  This dish was amazing!  The pasta was al dente and the sauce was over-the-top creamy!  My honey had the Prosciutto Wrapped Pork Tenderloin:     A thin prosciutto coating, served w/caramelized onions in sweet demi glaze! Somehow hmm hmm good takes on a whole new meaning here!   Our one neighbor had the New Orleans Paella:        Slightly spicy tomato-based chicken, chorizo sausage, mussels, clams and shrimp while his wife enjoyed the Chicken Rocco:      Light crusted chicken cutlet, stuffed w/goat cheese, grilled asparagus, & sun-dried tomato, finished w/touch of white wine gravy . . . so tell me, are you hungry yet!

Now let’s not forget the dessert, my honey always says, “there’s always room for dessert” and this dessert is not to be missed!  The ladies had the Ice Cream Crepe: Warm delicate French crepe, filled w/vanilla ice cream, finished w/maple syrup, chocolate, raspberry puree and fresh cream while the men had the Waffle Sandwich: Fresh Belgium waffle, vanilla gelato, a dash of maple syrup, fresh berries & cream – too delicious! 

 

For me personally, the so-called “cherry on top” was having the owner Michael stop by our table just to say hello, ask about our satisfaction with our dinner and thank us for visiting Traditions 118.  It is that kind of customer service that is missing in so many places today and yet is so important to overall success.  Special thanks to owner Michael & our server Mike for making our evening wonderful!

Combined with great company, having our neighbors join us for this diner, fabulous food, very warm and inviting environment made for one of the best dining experiences we during restaurant week!

Overall we loved all our dining experiences during Hudson Valley Restaurant Week.  There is still a couple more days if you haven’t yet dined at a participating restaurant!  We thank all the participating restaurants and their staff for hosting such an outstanding event!  We look forward to 2012!

As always, I wish you days filled with wonder – take a minute to wonder what it is that made you smile today!

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