Monday, October 15, 2007

Food + Foliage

This past weekend the beau and I went on a hot air balloon ride over the Hudson Valley! We had to wake up hella early (me, 40 minutes before departure, him, 5 minutes) and it was freezing, but absolutely worth it! We launched from Sprout Creek Farm and floated over the Taconic Parkway, observing patches of changing leaves, moving fog, and a rising sun. Growing up in the Hudson Valley, there was always amazing foliage; I've only started to really appreciate it now that I don't live at my parents' house and am not surrounded by it daily (instead, I'm surrounded by the concrete jungle of NYC). Now I try to make a dedicated trip each year to see the leaves at their brightest.

After the ride, we stopped by a local farm (Meadowbrook Farm in Wappingers Falls, NY) for apple cider and fresh cider doughnuts. Because we'd been up so early, we snatched up the first fresh dozen of the day. It was absolutely worth being up that early. The doughnuts were warm and chewy (rather than cake-like, as most of us know doughnuts to be) and I could have easily eaten five of them, but limited myself to three ;)

In the afternoon, we drove up near Kingston around the Ashokan reservoir. Because the weather has been kind of funky and summer has kept coming back, the leaves haven't really changed as much as they should have by now. However, there are some pops of color against the rolling hills of green. We arrived at the pedestrian walkway over the reservoir just in time for sunset.

On our way home, we decided to stop for dinner in Rosendale, NY. We decided on Red Brick Tavern, for a casual bite. For an appetizer we had the Chipotle Mango bbq wings- saucy & sticky- just how I like them... and a generous portion (a dozen for about $7) and for mains, the beau went for the Sticky Chicky sandwich (battered chicken cutlet w/prosciuitto and a sticky honey sauce/syrup on a roll) and I had the 'West Coast' pasta (angel hair with olive oil and garlic, with sauteed shrimp, chicken, peppers, eggplant, and sun-dried tomatoes). I was deciding between this and a similar one in a parmesan cream sauce. In an effort to remain healthi-er (than I have been lately), I opted for the West Coast (foregoing the parmesan cream sauce). Unfortunately, the angel hair pasta was less garlicky and oily than I had hoped and more bland and watery. I also thought that both chicken AND shrimp was a little ambitious--- I would have focused on either shrimp or chicken only. However, I was pleasantly surprised to see that Red Brick had more to offer than just the standard pub eats and was nearly full after my share of the Chipotle Mango wings anyway.

Later that night I met with girlfriends, one of whom brought an apple pie she had made with apples she picked at a local farm. The apples were delightfully tart and the crust crunchy and flaky. I went to bed late, but very full and quite content!

Meadowbrook Farm
29 Old Myers Corners Rd.
Wappingers Falls, NY 12590

Red Brick Tavern
388 Main Street (Route 213)
Rosendale, NY 12472

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