Restaurant Review: The Hudson House

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My favorite cousin and I had originally scheduled to get together last month, but an unexpected bout of viral and bacterial conjunctivitis in both my eyes quashed our plans. Finally recovered, I met up with her on Saturday for brunch in Nyack, New York, on the Hudson River. We went to a fine-dining restaurant called The Hudson House, located in the town’s former village hall and jailhouse. The cells are still intact, but now they hold the eatery’s wine instead of the inebriated citizens who’ve drunk too much of it! The dining room is cozy yet classy, with sloping angles and dimmed lighting and formal white tablecloths, and there’s also an outdoor seating area (which wasn’t open on our visit but is probably a nice spot to enjoy breakfast in the summer months).

The brunch menu wasn’t as extensive as other places we’ve been, but it did have something for everyone, from vanilla yogurt and omelets and a country breakfast with two eggs any style, sausage, roasted tomato, english muffin, home fries, and toast to lump crab cakes, an organic salmon salad, and a half-pound burger. We’d already looked at the menu beforehand and knew what we wanted, but it still took a while for our waiter, Jose, to come to our table because the restaurant was pretty crowded and other diners had arrived before us. On the plus side, that gave us ample time to enjoy the complimentary bread basket, which contain mini corn muffins (I found them a little too dry but Todd popped one after another into his mouth no problem) and some kind of fluffy sourdough bread that tasted divine with a smear of the incredibly soft, whipped butter that came with it.

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Complimentary bread basket with butter and a cup of bold, flavorful coffee and milk.

Finally we got around to ordering our meals: my cousin had her heart set on the french toast; Todd and I decided to split the pancakes and the eggs benedict since we couldn’t choose between them. When our food came, we dug right in because we were starving. First up, the french toast. Four triangles of thick, doughy brioche bread were crusted with cornflakes and stuffed with peanut butter, accompanied by fresh berries, bacon, and pure maple syrup. It was a dish that would fill you up and keep you full long after the meal. It had just the right amount of crunch from the cornflakes, but we thought there could have been more peanut butter inside and more fruit scattered on top. But all in all it was decadent and satisfying, even though my cousin only managed to eat half of it!

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Peanut butter-stuffed brioche french toast.

Todd and I shared the toasted coconut pancakes, topped with blueberry compote. Again, though I strongly felt there could have been more blueberry on this dish to brighten it up with fruity goodness (I only got seven blueberries; I counted), it was extremely tasty. The coconut flavor really came through, and the pancakes themselves were cooked to perfection: a little crisp on the outside but warm and fluffy on the inside. Because it came with four generously sized pancakes, this was a perfect choice for sharing. I could never have eaten it all on my own!

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Coconut pancakes with blueberry compote.

And now for the savory half of our shared meal: eggs benedict with prosciutto, portobello, baby arugula, and truffle vinaigrette. This was the smallest of the three dishes, and Todd definitely wouldn’t have been satisfied if this were all he’d ordered. We had no complaints about the flavors in this dish—a mix of peppery and salty and tangy—though our eggs were a little overcooked. The truffle vinaigrette went really well with all the other components, and Todd said the english muffin paired nicely as well. (I opted to put my egg and meat and mushroom on top of a pancake instead of eating the english muffin.) I also didn’t try the few breakfast potatoes that came with it, but Todd approved.

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Eggs benedict.

Since this brunch was a belated birthday celebration for me, we couldn’t pass up dessert. All of the desserts at the restaurant are made in house, and they all sounded divine! We were torn between the banana cream pie (with fresh bananas, a chocolate bottom layer, a gingersnap crust, and tons of whipped cream on top) or the sticky toffee pudding (with toffee sauce and candied ginger). Jose, our waiter, recommended the former, so we went with that…but then he surprised us and bought us both desserts, with the sticky toffee pudding on the house! We were so excited and grateful to him. Both were really good, but I found the sticky toffee pudding a little too rich and sweet; after one or two bites, I felt like I’d had enough. As for the banana cream pie, on the other hand, I could have eaten the entire slice and more because it was the best piece of pie I have ever eaten. Ever. Sweet and soft and fresh and intensely flavorful, it turned a good brunch into a fantastic one. I’m already craving more of it. (Pictures of both are in the slideshow below.)

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So although The Hudson House could have improved some aspects of our meal, we definitely enjoyed it and would recommend it to friends visiting the area. And if you go, please do not forget to order a slice of the pie. I promise you won’t regret it (except you might be tempted to order another piece…or two or three…to take home with you)!

It’s Beginning to Look A Lot Like Christmas…

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We’re working hard at work to get the February issue out the door, so I’ll save my lengthier posts for next week. For now, a photo tour of what the start of the holiday season looks like in this little nook of the world!

First, our dining room and our bathroom, which have both gone red and green…

We hung our cute Mickey & Minnie stockings in the living room (can you see we have a Disney theme going on? That’s Dale in our table centerpiece, not to mention the cookie jar and Advent calendars nearby.)

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And, of course, here’s a before and after of our tree!

Last weekend we spent some time in the city taking in the holiday decorations. Here’s a glimpse at the ones we saw at Saks Fifth Avenue:

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And finally, the Rockefeller Center tree…

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Oh, and how could I not include this cute picture of Todd dressed up as an elf during our Black Friday shopping trip?

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Have the holidays come to your neck of the woods? Share some pics; I’d love to see!

The Ups and Downs of the 5 Boro Bike Tour

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I’d been really looking forward to the TD 5 Boro Bike Tour after the pleasant 25-mile training ride I did with my dad, brother, and Todd about a month ago. But as May 1 loomed closer and the forecast predicted rain, I started to feel less confident. I’d never cycled in the rain before. Especially not surrounded by literally thousands of people who might skid and crash into me. But I didn’t want to quit before I even tried (nor did I want to lose the $99 I paid for the event), so Dad went out and bought us all ponchos. On the morning of the bike tour, we tied plastic bags around our socks to try to keep the rain out. Then, in just the barest drizzle, we biked to the subway that would take us downtown.

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Todd, Dad, Brother, and me outside of our house before heading to the subway.

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Restaurant Review: Marta

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For my birthday this year, Todd bought me tickets to see The Lion King on Broadway and made dinner reservations at Marta, a new restaurant from chef Nick Anderer that “reimagines and invents thin-crust pizzas” cooked in wood-burning ovens. Fish, meats, and vegetables are cooked alla brace, over an open-fire grill, and beverages include local craft beers as well as an all-Italian wine list. Located in the Martha Washington Hotel, the space is romantic (think soft lighting and cozy nooks) yet bustling, with an open kitchen, high ceilings, and tall windows that looked out onto the street.

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Exploring New York: My Top 5 Coffee Spots…and 1 Bonus Pastry Shop

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Generally, I’m a tea girl. Give me an apricot black, coconut green, or blueberry red in one of my many cute Disney mugs, and I’m set. But lately I’ve been trying out espresso-shot lattes: piping hot, iced, or somewhere in between after I’ve left it on my desk for a couple of hours. One factor driving my foray into the world of coffee: New York City boasts endless coffeehouse options, and I’m not talking about Starbucks. Here are some alternatives actually worth your five dollars. Continue reading

Restaurant Review: Scarpetta

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When in doubt about which restaurant to select for my fiancé’s birthday dinner, I went with the simplest strategy; I chose the one he’d seemed most enthusiastic about trying during the past few months: Scarpetta, located in New York City’s West Village. Opened in 2008 by celebrity chef Scott Conant, it received a three-star review from the New York Times and New York Magazine, which lauded the restaurant for being “fresh and forward-thinking.” Though Conant has since moved on to other projects, Scarpetta continues to receive praise for its homemade pasta and tasty Italian fare. In fact, Todd exclaimed after our meal, “That was the best birthday dinner I’ve ever had.”

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Restaurant Review: Reviver NYC

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While freelance editing at O, The Oprah Magazine, I’ve been searching for healthy lunch options in the neighborhood for the days I don’t tote a salad, a sandwich, or leftovers from home. Though I’ve tried a few different fast-casual options so far, I find myself frequently returning to Reviver—“the perfect union of culinary art and nutrition science,” according to the restaurant’s website. Although the offerings  a little pricey, I think these well-crafted plates are worth the cost.

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