Weekend Eats in the Hudson Valley

Weekend Eats in the Hudson Valley

Writing, cooking, and eating in: Poughkeepsie, NY

Although I’m a happy resident of Pittsburgh now and the city has 3 great rivers (4 if you count the one that runs under the ‘burgh), but I’ve lived most of my life near the Hudson so coming up here to the Hudson Valley region of NY is a homecoming for me even though I’ve never lived here. The Hudson I know is faster and rockier and runs through the Adirondack Mountains, but I love the wider, slower part of the river here in the valley, too.

I spent the weekend with my brother and his girlfriend, who are familiar with some of the best eats in and around Poughkeepsie, where they live. I’ll be reviewing a couple of restaurants I’ve been to on this trip later in the week, but I had so much good stuff between Friday and last night that I feel the need for a round-up post with a little bit of info on the places I’m not reviewing.

Friday night we hit up Rock da Pasta in New Paltz. I don’t usually go out for pasta because I know that I can make great pasta at home for less money, but my hosts love this place and it was giving off good vibes when we walked by so we went for it. Good decision of the weekend # 1. Rock da Pasta is a small, funky joint on New Paltz’s main drag. The walls are sparsely decorated with album covers and there’s always music playing. The menu is almost exclusively pasta. There are a few pizza options, too. If you’re gluten-free, you can still enjoy a visit here because they offer gluten free pasta on request. Excellent! All the dishes have kitschy music-related names. I went for the Hey Jude: penne with mushrooms, carmelized onions, and cream sauce with a balsamic reduction drizzled over the top.

After dinner we checked out Orient, a nightclub above the popular Bull and Buddha restaurant in Poughkeepsie. Ryan and his girlfriend (also Erin) are fans of the the Bull and Buddha, particularly their Sunday brunch, but hadn’t checked out the club yet. I liked the atmosphere. I don’t go to clubs much and the bartender said it was an oddly quiet night, but that let me get the chance to really look around and enjoy a seat one of the many red leather couches. If you’re looking for a place to go in Poughkeepsie with high quality drinks, a dance floor, and comfy couches for lounging in the spotlight or a dark corner, Orient is your place. I wasn’t sure what I wanted so the bartender mixed me a nameless, rum-based concoction that was mojito-like but wasn’t a mojito.

Saturday morning my brother, Ryan, and I went out for brunch. That’s one of the places I’m not telling you about until I review it. Suffice it to say it will be a positive review.

After brunch we went driving around the countryside stopping to check out antique shops on our way to Rodgers Book Barn. It’s a used bookstore housed in a barn on a tiny road in Hillsdale. It’s about an hour outside of Poughkeepsie but worth the drive. We got lost in there for quite awhile. Which meant we were hungry again by the time we were driving back.

I made Ryan stop for ice cream at Stewart’s. Stewart’s Shops are a small chain of convenience stores mostly located in the eastern regions of upstate New York. I love Stewart’s. Many people who have lived in this part of the world and then move away keep a long-term fondness for these convenience stores. I’m one of them. And I’m particularly fond of their ice cream. I didn’t know this until recently (and I’d like Stewart’s even if I didn’t know it, it’s a nostalgia thing), but they source their milk and eggs from New York farms near their dairy. No wonder their products are so good! Stewart’s sells their own brand of milk, eggnog, ice cream, and other dairy products. A good treat at my house was often a milkshake or make your own sundae from Stewart’s. I also used to walk there on lunch breaks from high school with my friends to get a shake. My favorite is their chocolate peanut butter cup, which is what I made my sundae with. Thanks, Ry!

All in all, it was a good food weekend!

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