Thursday, February 21, 2008



2.15.08. The beau and I went to Belleayre Mountain in Highmount, NY for Skier’s Appreciation Day ($15 lift tickets, regular price $38). We left a little later than anticipated, but made it up to the mountain by 10:30AM. The early birds got the plum parking spots, so we spent some time driving around. However, once parked were able to get tickets at the lift and were on our way up within minutes. It was a cold day; the storm from the previous week made it icy in spots underfoot, but light snow in the afternoon made conditions pretty board-able. I was excited to show the beau how much I’d improved since the beginning of the season. A crash to my tailbone slowed me down a little bit in the afternoon, but I kept at it.

Lunch in the Discovery Lodge at Belleayre was average at best. I did myself a double-whammy as far as limiting my dining options by giving up fried foods for Lent. I’d say 75% of the menu options were fried; it was like a high school cafeteria (when I was in HS, and childhood obesity wasn’t as much of a national pandemic). Because it was (Good) Friday, I couldn’t have meat either. I had to choose between a pre-made Starkist tuna wrap or a slice of pizza. If branding it ‘Starkist’ was the selling point, it failed to sell. I went for the pizza (rationale: it was hot) and was still wanting after the last bite. (The beau went for the chicken fingers basket with fries, from which I could not nibble!) Needless to say, I longed for a satisfying après-ski meal, and being the planner-aheader that I am, already had the place picked out.

Peekamoose Restaurant & Tap Room is owned by a CIA (Culinary Institute of America) grad, Devin Mills, and his wife, Marybeth, and is just a few minutes south of Belleayre via Route 28. (I’ve made it a mission of mine to eat at CIA-affiliated restaurants whenever possible, having had a great lunch at Apple Pie Bakery Café at the CIA over the Christmas holidays.) According to the Peekamoose website, both Devin and Marybeth have also worked in prestigious NYC kitchens such as Gramercy Tavern, Le Bernadin, and Picholine.

The Tap Room at Peekamoose was quintessentially lodge-y, with a screened image of the forest behind the bar, a hanging tapestry of a coyote, strategically-placed taxidermy and animal skins adorning its long wooden bench. (Peekamoose has a more formal dining room and menu and a more casual Tap Room with a ‘Tavern Menu’ featuring less expensive nibbles.) When we arrived it was still early (between 4:00 and 5:00 PM), and basically empty. We popped a squat by the window overlooking the outdoor patio (where you can roast marshmallows over a fire pit!).

Overall, the food was great, but service slow. Did they not expect anyone to be here after $15 Lift Ticket Day? It was as if there had been no prep, and the kitchen was just getting warming up for our orders. We didn’t get bread until after we’d had our appetizer. After we finished our appetizer, the waitress told us our main course would be out in 5 minutes, which was more like 10-15 minutes. I didn’t quite understand this because neither the bar, nor the restaurant, seemed very busy. Dinner was a 2-hour affair at least, which seemed rather long for a casual bite in the tavern. As for the food/drink:

The Aperitif: A ‘Casca Zilla’ microbrew from Ithaca, NY. The bottle’s label bore a fire-and-hop breathing dragon. The brew itself was maple-syrupy in color, thicker and sweeter than the beers the beau and I generally drink. Tasty, but one was enough to warm the palate (and ease the pain around my tailbone!).

The Bread: The waitress told us it was a garlic foccacia, but it was more like pizza dough brushed with garlic & butter. The bread itself was soft and fluffy, not satisfyingly-seep-into-your-napkin-oily like real foccacia, but delicious despite its misnomer.

The App: A pizza with fontina cheese, crushed tomato, caramelized onions and kalamata olives, topped with local greens. The cheese was cheesy, the crust was crispy; although a couple slices had gobs of flour still clinging underneath.

The Main: Both looked great. The beau’s short rib sandwich (which I would have ordered myself had it not been Good Friday!) looked luscious, the sweet rib sauce oozing between 2 thick slices of brioche. I ordered the orechiette with shrimp and tomato concasse in a tarragon shellfish broth (same tomatoes which dressed our pizza) off the dining room menu. The pasta was perfectly tender and satisfying (for something other than red meat, at least in my opinion!).

The Sweet: His dessert--- the chocolate cake (of course) and mine--- the warm banana bread pudding with macadamia nut-caramel and whipped cream. The salty, crushed macadamia nut topping seemed too salty in combination with the sweet, sticky caramel sauce (I could have done without), but the bread pudding (served as a chunk/slice) was thick and delish. We each had a cup of the house blend on the side to warm up before heading back out into the cold for the ride home.

I would definitely revisit Peekamoose after a day on the slopes for the food, hoping that the service would be a little speedier.

Peekamoose Restaurant & Tap Room
8373 State Route 28
Big Indian, NY 12410

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