Westchester Food Lover's A to Z Guide
Let your fingers do the walking with our up-to-date dining and drinking guide.
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Wicked, Wildean Wormwood
It has nothing to do with worms, though the herb was a medieval cure for intestinal parasites. It’s the thujone-containing botanical that forms the basis of absinthe—a reportedly hallucinogenic liquor that spawned decades of international furor. It was banned in the U.S. from 1915 until recently, but now five legal absinthes are available at Pour, and though their flavor might be a little musty for today’s palates, all the curlicued equipment (spoons, glasses, and fountains) feels decadently Blue Period.
241 Main St, Mount Kisco (914) 864-0606
X-cellent XO Sauce at Kam Sen
While the Chinese food malls of Flushing, Queens, have become a destination for intrepid foodies, Westchester’s own Kam Sen Market offers the stuff of Fushia Dunlop’s dreams. These vast subterranean aisles carry everything from XO Sauce to black bone chicken—and it’s all vibrating under shrill fluorescent lighting, accompanied by loud Chinese pop music. And when all those dizzying products begin to wear you down, there’s always Kam Sen’s prepared-food counter, where you can wash down cheap dumplings, char-siu pork, and scallion pancakes with cups of bubble tea.
➤ Kam Sen Market
22 Barker Ave, White Plains (914) 428-4500
Yummy Yellow Layer Cake
Near-decade-old starter, carefully-sourced grains, stone-ground whole wheat, yadda yadda. While Jennifer and Jeff Kohn’s artisanal bread is certainly fabulous, we confess a weakness for the bakery’s retro layer cakes. These giant pastel phenoms yield fat wedges of ultra-moist cake, whose forkfuls of fluffy buttercream still retain a touch of honest, sugary grit. Call us nostalgic, but these slices remind us of a Norman Rockwell childhood (that, in fact, we never had).
➤ The Kneaded Bread Bakery
181 N Main St, Port Chester (914) 937-9489
It seems like every chef we meet has been drilled in “media relations,” in which the ability to dish up “swap-outs” with a smile is bested only by telegenic charm. Throwback chef Vicky Zeph is a cook’s cook, from way back in the day, when chefs got behind the stove to prepare delicious food, and not to launch a career on The Food Network. Her gutsy, seasonal dishes—and divine house-made ice creams—make us happy that this treasure seems content with her modest 50-person dining room.
638 Central Ave, Peekskill (914) 736-2159
Julia Sexton is an award-winning Westchester-based food writer. She only had to sing the alphabet song 60 times during this story to figure out which letter went after which.