Food & Drink - Editors' Picks



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Panini
Via Quadronno
White Plains (914) 288-9300
How do we love panini? Let us count the ways. At VQ, it’s...40, to be exact. After all, every one of the four-oh panini here is made with fresh-baked (on the premises) bread, imported Italian delicacies, and other imported cheeses and vegetables. We don’t have a favorite, but do try the La Madunina, stuffed with prosciutto, fresh mozzarella, black-olive pâté, and fresh tomatoes, or the Bip-Bip panini, which combines bresaola, goat cheese, shrimp, and arugula in a delightful pink sauce.

Guacamole  
Don Emilio at Lobo’s Café 
Chappaqua (914) 238-2368
donemilioatloboscafe.com   
Chef Jose Ramirez uses a recipe from his hometown Atlixco in Puebla, Mexico, to make this velvety guacamole, using a stone mortar and pestle to pound the fruit and fresh jalapeños, onions, a little cilantro, and some fresh lime juice to dress it all up. And whether you prefer it mild, medium, or hot, owner Don Emilio suggests a thirst-quenching Margarita to go with it.

Smoothies
Andy’s Pure Food

Rye (914) 967-2332
A smoothie, to most of us, is some milk or yogurt blended with a combo of fruits and sugar. At the mostly vegan, mostly organic Andy’s Pure Food, however, owner Andy Ozgur (a vegan for two years) has taken smoothies to another stratosphere using all organic produce and adding no sugar. There’s the “Energizing” smoothie, made with pineapple, strawberries, bananas, and newly celebrated goji juice (made from a Himalayan berry); the “Wheatgrass Wonder,” made with a mixture of wheatgrass, apple, celery, and goji juice; and the savory “Joy Blast,” combining apple, celery, kale, ginger, and fennel. Ozgur’s freshly blended smoothies adhere to his nothing-artificial mantra and are delicious and refreshing—no wonder they’re Ozgur’s biggest sellers.

Sirloin Steak
Frankie and Johnnie’s
Rye (914) 925-3500
Grade A. The best. When we crave a real hunk of meat, a 22-ounce, perfectly cooked, prime-aged sirloin, we head straight to Frankie and Johnnie’s—a carnivore’s dream come true.

Beer Selection
Lazy Boy Saloon
White Plains (914) 761-0272
With more than 400 types of beer from a Belgian monk-brewed Trappist to your basic Budweiser, Lazy Boy is the primo choice when you want to go knock back a coupla cold ones. While you’re there, munch on some of Lazy Boy’s award-winning chicken wings.

Catering/Meal Delivery Service
Erica’s Kitchen
Amawalk (914) 906-6892
In 2004, Erica Miller Wallace changed her life. She left behind a corporate career as a pharmaceutical trainer and turned to local food. Now her blissful, seasonal cooking, using the products of our region’s sustainable farms, will change your life, too. Order her savory tarts topped with figs and Rainbeau Ridge goat cheese or local butternut squash and thyme for lunch or cocktail fare. Her personal chef abilities can make a dinner party a piece of cake: fragrant spring lamb stew with lamb from Dashing Star Farm, or chicken, ramps, and asparagus quesadilla with John Boy’s Farm’s chicken. You even can arrange for this changing deliciousness to be delivered weekly in compostable containers. And all this happens with Erica’s sweetest, most easy-going smile.

Gin and Tonic
The Tap House
Tuckahoe (914) 337-6941
Back in the day, when sunburned colonists were picked off by malaria as they sweltered under pith helmets, the booze-loving Brits discovered the joys of gin and tonic. Turns out that the bitter, alkaline solution of quinine powder (which prevents mosquito-borne malaria) goes down better with a bit of sugar and a slug of gin. Skip wan squirt-gun versions of the classic Colonial quaff and hit The Tap House, Tuckahoe’s gastro-pub. Here, quinine powder is spooned from bar-top bowls, and tonic water is mixed before your eyes. One gin-soaked sip, and you’ll be enjoying sultry breezes off the savanna from your camp-stooled perch.

Veal Dish
Veal Chop Valdostano at Mulino’s of Westchester
White Plains (914) 761-1818; mulinos.us
Dining at Mulino’s is a rich, over-the-top experience, and the dish that epitomizes it is the double-cut veal Valdostano: a massive double-cut veal chop, melt-in-your-mouth prosciutto, shiitake mushrooms, flour, egg, grated Parmesan, and a brandy-and-cream sauce with mushrooms and peas. Buona!