Best of Westchester 2010: Food & Drink
The Best of Westchester 2010
From frisée salad to focaccia pizza to frozen custard, the food of Westchester is fabulous.
With Chef/Owner Alex Sze’s wealth of training, Juniper could have been a palace. But it’s more a cottage with aristocratic flourishes. Chef Sze’s cooking is grounded in French technique, his ingredients are locally sourced, and his menu a banquet of vivid flavors and intriguing combinations. How about escargot with garlic flan? Asparagus salad with Serrano ham and truffle vinaigrette? Stick-to-your-ribs pork-and-kale soup? Salmon with English pea risotto? Convinced? Good. And there’s brunch, too. How does French toast with pears and toasted almonds sound? Best of all—nearly every dish is less than $20.
Bread & Cocoa Larchmont
The most celebrated Belgian street food gets a righteous tribute at this chocolate bakery and café owned by Angela Ingrao of Cocoa, the to-die-for chocolate shop across the street, and Laurie Vanderwoude. From a cast-iron Belgian waffle maker come made-to-order, warm, soft-on-the-inside-and-slightly-crispy-on-the-outside Belgian waffles ($5). Toppings include powdered sugar and/or one of three sauces: chocolate, caramel, and maple syrup. Oh yes—the moist double-chocolate pound cake sold here is also a must-try.
Tyrynda Thai Sleepy Hollow
Who says the French have a monopoly on crêpes? When the Soncharoen family—originally from Bangkok, Thailand—took over the restaurant in March 2009, one of the dishes they added to the menu was a traditional Thai crêpe. (Yes, Thai.) The dish ($5.95) consists of three steamed rice-flour crêpes filled with a crunchy mixture of palm sugar and ground turnips and peanuts—a sweet center inside a wrapping that splits the difference between an Asian dumpling and a French crêpe. Because the dough hardens if made too far ahead of time, this is a rare find on Thai restaurant menus—so be sure to seek it out (even at lunchtime, when the crêpes are not on the menu; the Soncharoens will usually make it if you specifically request them).
Angelina’s Ristorante Tuckahoe
Owner Louis DiNapoli has crossed a focaccia (for the non-foodies among us, that’s a flat Italian bread flavored with olive oil and herbs) and a pizza (no explanation required) to come up with this crusty, delicious hybrid. The eight-piece, 17” x 12” rectangular pie (and don’t call it a Sicilian; there’s no mozzarella, for starters) is topped with filetto di pomodoro (a basic, freshly cooked tomato sauce), garlic, basil, and grated Parmesan cheese ($16.75). And if a whole pie is too much to eat, come in for lunch or dinner and you’ll find some focaccia pizza in the breadbasket.
Coconut Seafood Chowder at Red Plum Mamaroneck
The seafood chowder ($6) at Peter Chen’s sultry pan-Asian restaurant is so creamy-yummy, you may swear off the New England version completely. Shrimp, scallops, and clams coalesce in a silky pool that’s chock full of coconut-milk broth with just a hint of sweetness. P.S.: for top-notch raw fish, check out Chen’s Toyo Sushi next door.
Enrico’s Pastry Shop and Caffe Hartsdale
This Italian-named and Italian-owned bakery serves—no surprise here—Italian confections (love the pignoli cookies) and—surprise, surprise—first-class, egg-y challah bread. Baker Joe Floriano sells some 80 “Jewish grandma-certified” braided challahs each week, including flavors such as cranberry, chocolate chip, chocolate-cranberry, chocolate-chocolate chip, onion, olive, and jalapeño-cheddar. Perhaps unorthodox but, trust us, they’re good. And, should your bubbie ask, Enrico’s is kosher.
Salad in a Box
Meme’s Bakery White Plains
Who walks into a bakery and walks out with. . .a salad? Who reaches for leafy veggies rather than scrumptious pastries and cakes? You will once you get a taste of Meme’s to-go salads, which are made with the freshest greens, eggs, tomatoes, cucumbers, artichokes, red onions, and olives. The best part is the dressing—no, not the oil-and-vinegar variety, but the actual packaging the grab-and-go salad comes in; it looks like a Chinese take-out box.
The Barnacle BBQ and Fish Shack Mamaroneck
The secret to great barbecue brisket is patience. The best brisket is smoked low and slow; Barnacle’s Texas brisket ($18) is hand-rubbed by ’cue master Colman McCarthy and smoked at 200º F for 10 hours. That’s all it takes for succulent, slightly salty, and butter-tender BBQ. There are no gimmicks—there’s sauce, but just a touch, so as not to overwhelm the meat. As a side, we recommend the delicious house-made Tater Tots.
Frank Pepe Pizzeria Napoletana Yonkers
Was there ever a more anticipated opening of a pizza joint than Frank Pepe, which finally fired up its coal oven this past November? The nationally heralded pie maker, founded in 1925 in New Haven, Connecticut (other locations include Fairfield, Manchester, and Uncasville at the Mohegan Sun Casino), serves irregularly shaped, expertly charred, thin-crust pizzas (no slices). The toppings are traditional, with one exception—Pepe’s signature white-clam pie. This garlicky, briny masterpiece hasn’t an ounce of red sauce on it, but Pecorino Romano cheese, roasted garlic, and fresh top-neck clams. No one can claim to be a true pizza maven without having eaten a Pepe pie.
Abbott’s Frozen Custard Shrub Oak
Don’t call it ice cream. Don’t call it soft-serve. Abbott’s Frozen Custard has less than 2 percent air (8 percent less than ice cream and 38 percent less than soft-serve), yielding a creamy-soft frozen dessert that is as thick as it is delicious (credit the high percentage of butterfat and egg yolk for the yum factor). Flavors change daily, but we favor the black raspberry, maple walnut, and butterscotch. Be sure to get a cone during the warm-weather months; Abbott’s is open only from late March through October.
New Catering Service
La Panetière Catering & Events Rye
Citrus-infused spinach-and-leek dumpling, toasted polenta cake with roasted-tomato salpicon, red snapper filet on brioche, and ginger-infused wild salmon tartare—not your typical reception fare. But what else would you expect from owner Jacques Loupiac of renowned haute French restaurant La Panetière?
Restaurant for Frugal Foodies
The atmosphere may be no-frills (Chef/Owner John Halko did much of the décor labor himself, which includes minimalist white panels and wood finishes), but the menu at Comfort is full of mainly organic, grains- and greens-friendly dishes that appeal to the elitist foodie—without a major wallet hit. A foursome could dine on the “Family Dinner”: a soy-and-anise-spiced roasted chicken with two large sides (we suggest the baked sweet potatoes and any sautéed vegetable) and a dessert for $26.95. The frugal-minded ethos even carries to the drinks, from fresh vegetable juices ($5) like the Toxin Attacker (carrot, cucumber, ginger, garlic) to glasses of Las Lenas Malbec for $7.
Little Sorrento Italian Restaurant and Catering Cortlandt Manor
There’s bread and then there’s Little Sorrento’s bread, baked twice daily by Executive Chef Paul DiPaterio. What’s the secret behind the warm, crusty-shelled marvels that have bread hounds from all over Northern Westchester in a frenzy? “The loaves bake on a pizza stone in our pizza oven at a high temperature [550˚ F],” says DiPaterio, who is originally from Santa Croce in Campania, Italy. “That’s how you get the beautiful crust.”
New Cheap Eats
Pupusas at Super Pan Bakery Mamaroneck
Pupusas (pronounced “pu-pu-sahs”) are the Salvadorian version of quesadillas. Picture a thick, handmade corn tortilla (made using masa de maíz, a maize flour dough common in Latin American cuisine) with a blend of cheese, chicken, ground meat, and beans inside. A pupusa (we dare you to say the name without smiling) is sealed up—unlike a quesadilla—until, of course, you sink your teeth into one and are bombarded with the mix of flavors. Get three for $6 at this authentic Guatemalan bakery/eatery, less than a year old but already drawing a large following thanks to its no-nonsense comida tipica. The décor isn’t much—but if you want to practice your Spanish, it’s a great place to visit. Plus, all entrées are $9.50 or less. And we haven’t even mentioned the homemade breads and pastries.
Martine’s Fine Bake Shoppe Tuckahoe
It’s nearly impossible to resist böreks, those heady marvels of buttery, flaky pastries filled with spinach or cheese or some ingredient(s) equally delicious (roasted eggplant, anyone?). At Martine’s, the phyllo-wrapped, anytime-of-day snacks, popular in every country that was once part of the Ottoman Empire, are made daily by Yuval Golan, previously chef/baker at Middle Eastern restaurant Nargila in Manhattan. Paired with a cup of Segafredo gourmet Italian coffee, it’s a breakfast (or lunch or afternoon snack) of champions.
Day Boat Café Irvington
Fresh chunks of tender claw and knuckle meat with little filler and just the right amount of mayo in a buttery side-split bun are only part of what make this plump lobster roll a hands-down favorite. Add to that the airy industrial warehouse chicness of this newcomer (just four months old), complete with striped banquettes, whitewashed walls, and ocean vibe (the red oars suspended from the high ceiling are a nice touch), and you’ve got a real New England contender. It’s a little taste of Nantucket along the shores of the Hudson.
Local Pork Products
John Boy’s Farm Market at Pound Ridge Farmers’ Market And Muscoot Farm
The bacon—oh, the bacon! And that’s just the beginning. Pound Ridge native John Ubaldo farms upstate in Cambridge, New York, and hauls his Berkshire pork (and many other goodies) down weekly to restaurants and consumers in Westchester and nearby Connecticut. Ubaldo was selected by Iowa State University to receive some of its English breeding stock, which retain a lot of the old-time characteristics and meat qualities not seen in U.S.-bred Berks. The pork chops are thick and full-flavored, whether smoked or not. Roasts and tenderloins are juicy and robust, and the ribs are meaty. And Ubaldo has as much character as his pork does. Get on his newsletter list at firstname.lastname@example.org for hilarious weekly stories of piggy hijinks and to pre-order, or peruse his stand at the Pound Ridge Farmers’ Market and Muscoot Farm April through November.
$25 Three-Course Dinner at Caffe Azzurri Hartsdale
Many places offer big portions at affordable prices, but, at Caffe Azzurri, you get three big courses at one recession-busting price. The three-course meal, which includes a sweet ending of gelato, sorbet, or biscotti, is offered Sundays to Wednesdays all night, and Thursdays to Saturdays, provided you’ve ordered before 5:45 pm.
Sweet Grass Grill Tarrytown
An acolyte of the farm-to-table credo, Chef Tommy Lasley’s dishes are altars to the Hudson Valley’s bounty. Local apples, baby beets, and leeks share a salad; Stone Barns pork filled hot dogs; foraged mushrooms meld with squash in a Parmesan-kissed braise. His breads and pastas are local, too—sourced a few feet away, from his very own kitchen. Those jalapeño, rhubarb, and pimento pickles on your plate? From his kitchen. The purple potato chips with your pork croquette starter? Yup, those too.
Stan’z Café & Caterer Larchmont
This cozy café, with its inviting Tuscan feel, has long been a neighborhood staple, so popular that often there are lines literally out the door. What draws the cognoscenti is not just the oversized salads and the robust sandwiches, but, as with all good neighborhood joints, it’s the people. Make it the person—in this case, owner Steve Weishaus, a self-taught chef. Weishaus is a love of a guy. Not only does he remember that you’re Tom and not Tony but that you like your tuna salad with lots of onion—no tomatoes, please. In summer, the outdoor patio is a draw, too—a nice spot for people-watching and spending lazy mornings sipping oversized cups of cappuccino.
Avril Kaye Caterers Inc Scarsdale
You don’t have to keep kosher to enjoy the delicious food and flair of this boutique kosher caterer, where husband and wife Michael and Avril Kaye work hard to bring a fresh palate to conventional expectations. Expect twists on the traditional, such as parsnip and celery-root fritters with a pear compote; zucchini pancakes with a red-pepper purée dipping sauce; and lentils, spinach, and sun-dried tomato pancakes with harissa aioli. This is not your grandmother’s kosher kitchen.
Way to Experience Portugal
Chaves Portuguese Lda Mamaroneck
Portuguese is spoken here. And you’ll feel like you’re in Lisbon as you browse through the shop’s hodgepodge of Portuguese staples including canned sardines, lupini beans, homemade sausages, imported cheeses, and variety of olives. Chaves, a seven-month-old shop run by Manuel Ferreira, a Mamaroneck resident with Portuguese roots, is a sure antidote to cravings for pastel de nata (a traditional Portuguese egg custard), caldo verde (Portuguese collard-green soup), or tosta mista (a hot-pressed sandwich made with dry-cured Portuguese ham and cheese).
Dom & Vinnie’s Restaurant
Yonkers (914-476-6666) and Briarcliff Manor (914-945-7200)
Those hankering for homemade, old-school Italian but don’t have the time for a full-service, sit-down meal can take home their favorite classic dishes made to perfection with love from Dom & Vinnie’s. Feeding Westchesterites for more than three decades, Dom & Vinnie’s dependable selection of Italian fare—from assorted homemade pasta dishes and perfectly prepared chicken, veal, and sausage entrées to delicious shellfish, calamari, sandwiches, and yes, pizza, too—includes something hot and yummy for just about every taste bud.
Melt Sandwich Shop White Plains
There may be many options for sandwiches in White Plains, but you’d do best getting yours at Melt. Where else can you get char-grilled, gooey-with-melted-cheese sandwiches stuffed with in-house smoked/roasted meats like hickory-smoked Black Forest ham, or original toppings like The BLT (applewood smoked bacon, lettuce, tomato, mayo)? The ordering process may be puzzling to newbies at first, but it’s easy to learn: choose the bread (roll, flatbread, or hero); the meat (usually from about 10 or so daily smokes and roasts); and finally, one of a dozen combination toppings. Our favorite? Roast turkey on flatbread with cheddar and chipotle rémoulade. Look out, Boar’s Head!
Indian Street Grub
Masala Kraft Café Hartsdale
Chicken tikka masala—not. At this Hartsdale eatery, owner Bela Mehta, prides herself on serving the authentic goods you’d find at street carts, tiny take-out places, and cafés all over Mumbai. After all, she was born and raised in that vibrant, chaotic, and culinarily-advanced city. On the menu you’ll find the rightfully popular Masala Kraft sandwich (a homemade veggie cutlet, perfectly grilled focaccia bread, and a smattering of cilantro chutney) and samosa chaat (a heavenly concoction of crushed potatoes and peas garnished with yogurt, sweet date chutney, cilantro chutney, and dal moth), among other street grub. And what’s more, it’s all vegetarian, kosher, and prepared fresh with no preservatives.
Il Sorriso Irvington
Perched atop Irvington’s downward-sloping Main Street, this elegant but casual Italian eatery is in a primo position to offer its diners one heckuva view of the Hudson from its flower-festooned patio. Take in a golden sunset while dining on Sorriso’s hearty Italian fare (say, lamb shank in a Barolo sauce) and you’ll be sure to have a sorriso (that’s “smile” in Italian) firmly planted on your face.
Latin on the Cheap
Karamba Café White Plains
The savory Latin dishes at Karamba Café are delicious as is, but what makes them go down even more quickly is that they’re easy on the wallet. For $6.50 to $7, you can have yourself one heck of a scrumptious lunch of steak and onions, or, perhaps, oven-baked chicken with a side of sweet plantains, or maybe you’d prefer rice and beans today. Dig a tad deeper into your pocket—say, for a 10 spot, and dinner can be yours, too. And if you’re too tired (or lazy) to put on a pair of shoes and go there, have your chow delivered (unless you live north of the 287 line.)
NEO World Bistro & Sushi Bar Mount Kisco
This Korean classic is bedrock comfort food—literally. Served in a super-heated stone bowl, this happy profusion of rice, veggies, egg, and nori is a delicious, U-Mix-It affair—add your own chili paste, and sear to your heart’s desire. Those in the know resist the temptation to dig right in, waiting (’til they can no longer stand their hunger) for the rice to form a delicious, crisp crust.
F.A.B.(French American Bistro) Mount Kisco
As the sexy, Showtime series is proving, Henry VIII is back! Make like that fabled Hank and tuck into F.A.B.’s Flintstonian haunch of slow-braised lamb shank with winey fig gastrique, biting Brussels sprouts, and lush goat-cheese polenta. It’s juicy, it’s brawny, and it’s just the thing for your next seduction.
The Cookery Dobbs Ferry
David DiBari (back of the house) and Michael O’Neill (front of the house) have created a dining homage to family cooking, serving modern yet unfussy takes on nostalgic Italian dishes. Sit at the large windowside table that once belonged to DiBari’s grandmother, sip a Sicilian Santa Anastasia Nero d’Avola ($9), and enjoy made-by-hand pastas (luscious, mint-spiked lamb Bolognese; cauliflower ravioli in lemon-brown butter), and fresh-made ricotta used in a host of dishes including on crostini with truffle honey and in Northern Italian-style lasagna layered with béchamel, ham, and mushrooms. And considering the stellar fare, the prices are modest (pastas $11-$14; entrées $21-$26). Don’t forget Sunday brunch either; order the Tuscan French toast with Nutella and bananas—eccellente!
Truffled Chickpeas at Café of Love Mount Kisco
The world’s most delicious dishes draw from both humble and elite realms, and Café of Love’s addictive chickpeas are no different. Earthy, yellow pulses form the base of these Parmigiano-Reggiano-battered fritture, in which the chickpeas are deep-fried until their shells are shatteringly crisp. The generous pile arrives doused in heady truffle oil and sparkling with gritty salt; this dish is as addictive as any we know.
Shiraz Persian Elmsford
Look for all of your Persian favorites here, including the intensely smoky, chunky eggplant dip, kashk-e-bademjan (topped with a big pile of caramelized shallots), or borani-e-spinach, an enormous plate of garlicky sautéed spinach with thick, rich homemade yogurt. Falafel, kebabs, and hummus sprinkled with sumac—this is the modest joint for all of our Middle Eastern fixes.
This gorgeous, New Rochelle-based website spins a world of seductive recipes; it’s been awarded a “Best of the Web” seal by Saveur Magazine, which ain’t half bad. The site’s winning recipe pairs skinny sweet-potato fries with ginger five-spice ketchup, for a salty, sweet, and spicy take on the usual comfort-food frite.
Bistro Rollin Pelham
How do you know a bistro is good? Is it the frites? The onglet? The mussels in winey broth? Actually, the key to a great bistro is a fabulous frisée salad, the humble, crunchy pileup of bacon, lettuce, and egg. Though often compelling (who can resist those Gallic Bac-Os, lardons?), Bistro Rollin’s version offers addictive, tiny croutons, and vinaigrette so carefully pitched that the salad’s running egg yolk completes the perfect sauce.
Private Chef Experience
Chef’s Table Dinner at 80 West, Westchester Renaissance Hotel White Plains
Though seafood restaurant 80 West overlooks a wooded estate and the décor is cozy-chic, the best seat in the house isn’t in the dining room at all—it’s in the banquet kitchen. It is here that, with a minimum of six guests (and up to a max of 18), a table will be set just feet from the cooking stations, and Executive Chef Jean-Claude Lanchais and a pair of sous chefs will prepare and serve a private seven-course feast complete with wine pairings ($90 pp). The dishes, not on the regular dinner menu, vary, but how do porcini-dusted sea scallops in a creamy morel sauce or sautéed lamb loin with white-bean casserole sound?
NEW Beer Bar
Birdsall House Peekskill
Don’t ask for Stella, don’t ask for Bud: this is a serious beer bar for serious beer drinkers. Birdsall House’s Niagara Falls-like, 20-tap draft system specializes in local brews, with the vast majority of its beers sourced within a day’s drive. I.P.A., lager, pilsner, stout, ale, bock, lambic, weiss—you name it, they got it (and plenty more, besides). Even better, Birdsall House slings a sophisticated, beer-friendly menu, whose locavorian ingredients celebrate our region’s food as much as its beer.
Wine Geeks Armonk
Do you remember the days when winemakers were bottling with antifreeze? Or what about vineyards and pesticides, or sulfites and chemical fertilizers? You don’t want this stuff in your food, so why are you drinking it in your wine? Ex-Blue Hill at Stone Barns Wine Director Derek Todd has been asking this very question. His modern, service-based wine shop, which he opened with his wife, Carol, offers a concentration in organic and biodynamic wines that are geared for every budget. Also, these wine geeks offer fabulous classes and—bargain-drinkers, rejoice—there’s a “$15 and Under” table with great deals.
Westchester Italian Bakery Mamaroneck
Keep your cheese and your desserts—when we’re breaking the diet, we head directly for Westchester Italian Bakery’s breads. True to their name, these chewy, carb-filled delights are made the way Nonna baked them—actually, even better, since the bakery’s been able to refine Nonna’s recipe in its 50 years in business. (And Nonna didn’t wake up at 4 am to get started baking, the way the staff here does.) You fill your bread basket with more than 20 varieties of breads, including piquant pizza bread and shiny top rolls, but we say look no further than the chewy, yummy pane rustica. It needs no accoutrements—just rip a section from the dense, round roll and get chewing.
Meal on Your Doorstep
Dinner in Hand
Here’s the thing about delivery restaurants: they’re not all that convenient. Between busy signals and delivery times, dinner can take an hour to get onto the table. Plus, when it arrives, it might not be what you want to feed your family, since the restaurants that deliver tend to sling only junk food. In contrast, Dinner in Hand, a meal delivery service, offers family-style dinners brought to your home. Order your dinner by 8 am on the day that you want it, and then relax knowing that a healthy dinner (that includes salads, veggies, broiled fish, and meats) will be on the table tonight, exactly when you want it.
Fried Cod Cakes
Sol Mar Tarrytown
The name on the appetizer list (bolinhos de bacalhau) may sound exotic, but the dish is simply Portuguese-style fritters: potato and codfish (bacalhau) that’s puréed, shaped into palm-sized ovals, and deep-fried. Served over a small bed of mixed greens in a vinaigrette of olive oil, vinegar, onions, tomatoes, and green peppers, the four cakes ($10) come with a crisp, golden crust that gives way to a creamy, mild, and slightly sweet filling.
Little Mexican Café New Rochelle
Part pool hall, part restaurant—and always wonderful—this cheerful New Rochelle Mexican serves every type of taco under the sun. Chorizo, carnitas, pollo, carne asada, lengua (beef tongue), cesina (salt dried beef)—all great, and all a bargain at only two bucks per. Even with such profusion, we do have our favorite: try LMC’s taco al pastor, chili-spiked pork roasted under a pineapple. In it, tender shreds of spiced pork are folded into a soft tortilla with chopped cilantro and onions. It’s a bit of Mexico City in Westchester, and absolute heaven.
Place for Serious Kielbasa
The Polish Deli Yonkers
(914) 476 1183
The Polish Deli is festooned with sausage; we’re talking links of every color, thickness, and length that literally hang from the ceiling. Among scads of Polish import items, you’ll find at least 15 varieties of kielbasa, all swinging in their porky splendor, including wiejska, weselna, domowa, rzeszowska, pieczona, podlaska, cieleca and skinny, salty kabanosy (which are, if you can imagine it, delicious Polish Slim-Jims).
Fairway Market Pelham Manor
High, low, organic, conventional—Fairway is the first Westchester grocery that promises one-stop shopping. Each dedicated zone (including—among others—produce, meat, wine, seafood, cheese, coffee, olives, and prepared food) is about the size of an independent store, and together they make the largest assembly of food in the County. Take it from us: bring your entire list, and wear comfortable shoes.
Dining & Dancing
Don Coqui New Rochelle
A little bit of South Beach flavor has found its way to. . .New Rochelle? Believe it. The Miami vibe—think miniature palms and chic white furniture—inspires lots of dancing in the restaurant’s loft-like, industrial interior. Come here to shake it to merengue, salsa, hip-hop, or some great old-school R&B. Wednesday nights are reserved for Latin jazz, Thursdays are for salsa (with free dance lessons), and on Fridays and Saturdays, the restaurant hosts DJs (sometimes with live percussionists) until closing (4 am). And the kitchen is open late, so you can get some empanadas from Chef Stephanie Landis after you work up an appetite.
Pie-Oh-My! Our food writers’ favorite slices
|Jeanne Muchnick||Banana Cream||
|The décor is nothing to write home about, but the pies are so wholesome and fresh, you’d swear a kerchiefed Grandma was in the back baking them. My fave: the banana cream pie; tons of bananas and a super-creamy pudding.|
|Diane Weintraub Pohl||Apple Rhubarb||
Chiboust Bistro & Bakery Tarrytown
|The depth and flakiness of a lard crust and a blend of sweet and savory apples with young spring rhubarb is fruit-pie heaven.|
|Judith Hausman||Tarte Tatin||
Cafe of Love Mount Kisco
|Butter, puff pastry, and open-faced caramelized apples make this classic upside-down tart simple and sophisticated at the same time, if not as American as apple pie.|
|Julia Sexton||Mixed Berry||
Q Restaurant & Bar
(914) 933-7427 qrestaurantandbar.com
|Imagine a thick, homey pie crust filled with the riotous hues of blue, purple, and red, in which the sugars of strawberry and blueberry are spiked with the acids of raspberry and blackberry. This fruity, sweet ending is like a Fourth of July picnic on a plate—which makes total sense at Port Chester’s version of a down-home barbecue.|
Favorite Shopping Cart Items No reservations required
Who says that the best food in Westchester has to be presented to you by a waiter (before returning with your check)? Save yourself the tax and tip—there are gems to be found right in the grocery aisle. Here, our food writers divulge their favorite food finds, available right in our own supermarkets.
Low-fat Granola Mixed Berry Cereal
Larchmont (also Hartsdale and Scarsdale)
It’s my go-to morning treat, mixed with low-fat milk, low-fat vanilla yogurt, or by itself.
Low-fat Tuna Salad
Cherry Lawn Farm Market
Yes, I could make my own, but why should I when the low-fat tuna salad from Cherry Lawn Farm is so delicious and easy to grab and go? It’s made with a hint of low-fat mayo, scallions, apples, and cranberries, and is so addictive, I find myself filling up my cart with it every time I go.
Diane Weintraub Pohl
Aidells Cajun-style Andouille sausage
This is my go-to flavor enhancer. It gets sautéed (just a few minutes, since it’s fully cooked) with greens like chard and collards, tossed into meatloaf and ragu, garnished atop squash and potato soups—wherever I want a porky, smoky, spicy jolt.
365 Natural Italian Sodas
Whole Foods Market
(914) 288-1300 wholefoodsmarket.com/storesbeta/whiteplains/
Soda is verboten in my house—except for Whole Foods Market’s 365 house-brand Italian sodas. A bracing jolt of fruit with carbonated water, some sugar, and not much else, they’re pure enough, and purely delicious. Choose from pomegranate, green apple, tangerine, pink grapefruit, lime, and my (and my kids’) favorite: blood orange.
Brothers is a repository of Asian sauces and oils—anything my little wok desires. Pick your sauce—tamari, oyster, plum, fish, hoisin, chili—they’ve got it, and many more powders, oils, and spices to stir up your stir-fry.
Indian Head Cornmeal
Chappaqua (also Cross River and Rye Brook)
(914) 238-1588; dagnyc.com/storelocator.aspx
“Family owned and operated since 1913” boasts the bright yellow, two-pound bag ($1.49), emblazoned with an image of a Native American in full headdress. The yellow cornmeal is coarse enough for polenta but not too coarse for cornbread.
Nature’s Promise Whole Wheat Pasta
Super Stop & Shop
Ossining (plus eight other county locations)
(914) 923-6550 stopandshop.com
Healthier for you, if not authentic, these store-brand penne, rotini, angel hair, and spaghetti are yummy, toothsome, and cheap at $1.79 for 13.25 ounces.
Yonkers (also New Rochelle and Port Chester)
(914) 595-1003; costco.com
Two 32-ounce jars of briny Castella Kalamata olives from Greece for $9.29 is a bargain. You’ll throw these in every salad all summer—but watch for the pits.
Organic Spanish Olive Oil
Hartsdale (914) 997-1960 traderjoes.com
Larchmont (914) 833-9110
Scarsdale (914) 472-2988
This golden-green oil is both fragrant and packed with peppery fruit. It’s intense enough to use as a finishing drizzle, yet so reasonably priced ($5.99) that you can pour it into your sauté pan. Sans fertilizers, preservatives, and chemicals, this oil tastes as pure as oil must have back when Caesars used it for massages.
Super-fatted, Pasteurized Heavy Cream
(914) 375-4700 stewleonards.com
Stew Leonard’s starts with a higher-fatted cream, which is 40 percent butterfat, then heats it gently in a lower-temperature pasteurization process that preserves its fresh cream flavor. The result may last only a couple of weeks, but it’s so lush that longevity is out of the question.
(914) 935-3100; costco.com
Mega-giant Coca-Cola has taken away American Coke’s cane sugar and substituted the cheaper, highly-processed sweetener, high-fructose corn syrup. Opt instead for Mexico’s more natural export, whose clean, sugary sweetness won’t mask Coke’s natural, herbal flavorings.
Retro Dessert Our professional foodies’ favorite old-fashioned end-of-meal sweets
|Foodie||Favorite Retro Dessert||Where||Why|
|Jeanne Muchnick||Ring Ding||
|This awesome dessert ($6) reminds me of the treats my mom used to pack in my Brady Bunch lunch box. Sure, the Ring Ding dessert at Plates is a tad more gourmet than those old Drake cakes, but it still evokes the same happiness quotient from a bygone era. Think a fistful of devil’s food cake enrobed in a hard Valrhona chocolate shell—just like the Ring Ding of your youth, but with a fresher from-the-farm cream in the middle (and extra fresh cream on the side). The restaurant also makes an enormous giant Ring Ding cake for catering and special events as well as tiny Ring Dings, passed bite-sized versions for catering parties served with shots of milk.|
|Diane Weintraub Pohl||Apple Cider Donuts with Vanilla Bean Ice Cream and Cider-Caramel Sauce||
Sweet Grass Grill
|This dessert has it all: sweetness, crunch, creaminess, the play of warm caramel and cool ice cream. The summer version replaces apple-cider glaze with Meyer lemon, caramel sauce, and dark chocolate.|
|Judith Hausman||Apple Crisp||
|Chef John-Michael Hamlet uses local apples from Salinger Orchard Farm Market & Bakery or Outhouse Orchards when they are in season. His homey, warm crisp is made with a blend of spices and sugar that form a natural sauce in the apples and is topped with a brown-sugar crust. Homemade vanilla-bean ice cream and caramel sauce make this favorite, frankly, better than Grandma’s.|
|Julia Sexton||Butterscotch Pudding||
on the Hudson
(914) 965-1111; xaviars.com
|This ain’t no My-T-Fine, folks (though it shares its miraculous orangey hue). Chef Peter Kelly’s ode to boxed pudding mix adds the adult vanilla/caramel notes of Bushmills Irish Whiskey; it’s melting, sophisticated, but still as satisfying as licking the beater.|
Emma’s Ale House
White Plains (914) 683-3662; emmasalehouse.com
Rye (914) 967-4322
Ardsley (914) 693-9758/(914) 674-0000; rivierabakehouse.com
Q Restaurant & Bar
Port Chester (914) 933-7427; qrestaurantbar.com
Croton-on-Hudson (914) 271-5555; umamicafe.com
Kneaded Bread Bakery
Port Chester (914) 937-9489; kneadedbread.com
City Limits Diner
White Plains (914) 686-9000; citylimitsdiner.com
Rye Brook (914) 939-5500; doralarrowwood.com
Briarcliff Manor (914) 762-3376
The Black Cow Coffee Company
Croton-on-Hudson (914) 271-7544; blackcow.com
Tarrytown (914) 631-3030; abigailkirsch.com
Mint Premium Foods
Tarrytown (914) 703-6511
Armonk (914) 273-6767; davidchens.com
Larchmont (914) 834-6464; cocoachocolateshop.com
Larchmont (914) 833-8871; chat19.net
The Cabin Restaurant
Greenburgh (914) 592-6682; cabinrestaurantny.com
Flour & Sun Bakery
Pleasantville (914) 495-3232 flourandsunbakery.com
White Plains (914) 946-3609; dantesitalianspecialties.com
Peekskill (914) 737-4659; homestyledessertsbakery.com
City Limits Diner
White Plains (914) 686-9000; citylimitsdiner.com
X2O Xaviars on the Hudson
Yonkers (914) 965-1111; xaviars.com
Eastchester Fish Gourmet
Scarsdale (914) 725-3450; eastchesterfish.com
South Salem (914) 533-6631; lechateauny.com
Croton-on-Hudson (914) 271-5600; zeytinia.com
Mighty Joe Young’s
White Plains (914) 428-6868; mightyjoeyoungs.com
Health Food Store
Mrs. Green’s Natural Market
Scarsdale (914) 472-0111; mrsgreens.com
(and eight other Westchester locations)
Tarrytown (914) 524-9687
Mount Kisco (914) 242-8965; lefterisgyro.com
White Plains (914) 948-5191; bengaltiger1.com
Ice Cream Shop
Main Street Sweets
Tarrytown (914) 332-5757
Mohegan Lake (914) 528-1614; brodiespubny.com
Mulino’s of Westchester
White Plains (914) 761-1818; mulinosny.com
White Plains (914) 948-6600; kiscokosher.com
Scarsdale (914) 472-9706
New Rochelle (914) 637-3737
Mediterraneo Ristorante & Caffe
Pleasantville (914) 773-1020; meditcaffe.com
Briarcliff Manor (914) 944-4380; guadalajararestaurantonline.com
Mamaroneck (914) 835-8350; zitounerestaurant.com
Most Underrated Restaurant
Irvington (914) 591-1300; mimarestaurant.com
Ristorante Buona Sera
Mount Vernon (914) 665-9800; ristorantebuonasera.com
White Plains (914) 644-8887; haikuasianbistro.com
Red Hat on the River
Irvington (914) 591-5888; redhatbistro.com
Rye (914) 921-6652
Hartsdale (914) 997-7900; pas-tinas.com
Cortlandt Manor (914) 739-7770
Mamaroneck (914) 381-2022
Goldfish Oyster Bar & Restaurant
Ossining (914) 762-0051; goldfishdining.com
Restaurant with a View
42 the Restaurant at The Ritz-Carlton, Westchester
White Plains (914) 761-4242; 42therestaurant.com
Equus at Castle on the Hudson
Tarrytown (914) 631- 3646; castleonthehudson.com
Morgans Fish House
Rye (914) 921-8190; morgansfishhouse.net
The Travelers Rest
Ossining (914) 941-7744; thetravelersrest.com
Frankie and Johnnie’s Steakhouse
Rye (914) 925-3900; frankieandjohnnies.com
Dobbs Ferry (914) 591-0054; sushimikes.com
White Plains (914) 421-5012; penichetapas.com
White Plains (914) 328-9400
Andy’s Pure Food
Rye (914) 967-2332; andyspurefood.com
The Inn at Bedford Post
Bedford (914) 234-7800; bedfordpostinn.com
Pour Café and Wine Bar
Mount Kisco (914) 864-0606; pourmtkisco.com
Crabtree’s Kittle House
Chappaqua (914) 666-8044
Zachys Wine & Liquor
Scarsdale (914) 723-0241; zachys.com