Upstate NY + More Seattle

I got so carried away with being in Seattle, that I realized I forgot to write about last weekend's upstate NY getaway with Gita and Michael.

We arrived in Poughkeepsie by train Friday afternoon from Grand Central, and after meeting Michael's foks, we headed to CIA for a little tour of the grounds where my hosts first met. While a magical place, I was a bit intimidated, and think I'll reserve my cooking for friends at home or for small events. No cooking school for moi. Afterward, we headed to the Hyde Park Brewing Company for a libation before making our way to Gita's mom's apt. A fun pub complete with locals and TV screens, the happy hour is pretty right on, especially compared to NYC prices. Ouch.

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The Towne Crier was our evening destination with Gita's mom to see the delightful Scottish band Battlefield Band. Dinner was decent, though the service was a bit wobbly. Where is it not these days? We shared a humous appetizer, and I opted for the Gorgonzola and Cranberry Chutney Pizza, while Gita's mom chose the Hazelnut Roasted Duckling, Gita, a burrito, and Michael, the NY Strip Steak. The real meal deal was the band, however. The only unfortunate thing was that the dining tables were blocking the dance floor. How can you listen to upbeat Irish and Scottish music and just sit still? Impossible. Well, we did, bouncing in our chairs along the way. If we'd been in Louisiana, I guarantee you that those tables would have been pushed back from the beginning, or else we'd have been dancing on top of them.

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A fine night's sleep later, Gita's mom blessed us with a delish breakie of Huevos Rancheros. Yum Yum! A 5-minute nap later, and we were once again on the road, this time to visit the lovely grounds of the Vanderbilt Mansion and Mohonk. Purchased by Frederick William Vanderbilt in 1895, the Vanderbilt Mansion was known as "the finest place on the Hudson between New York and Albany." 

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Mohonk Mountain House is an incredibly majestic wonderland that charges a large sum per room, and where I would love to stay for about one month, but that includes the following "complimentary" activities with your room rate: 

Three meals a day as well as afternoon tea and cookies

85 miles of hiking with guided hikes led daily by our recreation staff

Swimming in our indoor heated pool and Lake Mohonk

Access to our comprehensive fitness center

Yoga

Core conditioning and other fitness classes

Children's programs

Tennis on red-clay and Har-Tru ® courts

Midweek golf on a 9-hole, par 35 Scottish-design golf course

Boating

Croquet

Platform tennis

Lawn bowling

Putting green

Shuffleboard

House history and greenhouse tours

And in the winter, weather permitting:

Cross-country skiing on 35 miles of groomed trails

Snowshoeing

Snow-tubing

Ice skating parties on a refrigerated rink

Skating lessons

Though, I'd most probably spend the majority of my stay hiding indoors snuggled up in one of the swanky velvet settees in the oh-too-similar-to-The Shining corridors. Or maybe ice skating. 

Once down from the snaky Mohonk road, we had a beer and some chips & salsa at Bacchus. Again, terrible service, but with a menu of over 300 beers plus 14 on tap. They also have an adjacent billiards room and host live music. Good times.

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On to our next destination, Michael's cousin Dan's house. With a brief stop there to freshen up, we were then back on the snaky road to Depuy Canal House where we had a table awaiting our birthday group downstairs in the Amici Sushi area. Dark, woodsy and cozy, most of us opted for sushi with a few of us trying the well worth it Thai Pulled Pork Soup. Some went on to continue the evening's festivities, though my sweet dreams were calling me.

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Sunday, we headed to The Palace Diner for brunch with Michael's family. In the mood for breakfast, I chose the oh-no-I-shouldn't-have Corned Beef Hash with a Poached Egg and Hollandaise sauce. Good? Yes. Should I have? Oy. 

Despite the relaxing spirit of the weekend in upstate New York, it was good to get back to the apt. in the city, relax a bit, and pack up for the Seattle trip. 

Back in Seattle, Wednesday was filled with way too much food and coffee. Hey, what happened to my detox week?! Bauhaus Coffee on Capitol Hill was my first stop for a couple of hours in the morning, then moving over to Café Presse to finish up some work over a salad of Grilled Spanish Sardines on Celery-Apple Remoulade accompanied by some Pommes Frites. Follow that with a coffee break with Traca Savadogo and a cupping at Stumptown Coffee Roasters on 12th. Everyday they have a 3pm cupping lesson. Young, good-looking, smart, and believing 200% in what they're doing, these Stumptown guys are on to something brilliant. Soon to open a roasting facility in Brooklyn (in about 3 weeks), be sure that you'll see these beans percolating all over Manhattan.

After the cupping, Traca was hungry, so I 'forced' myself to accompany her to Tamarind Tree, and grab a Papaya Martini to join my Chicken Satay. A little gem nestled away in the International District, I'll have to come back in the summer to enjoy the outdoor patio.

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Yesterday morning, I trucked it down to Top Pot on 5th for a Latté and an Applesauce Cake Doughnut. Delightful and never disappointing. Then on to lunch at Txori Bar, sister to Harvest Vine with Peter, where the sidra is poured as it should be and the tapas keep your palate joyful and excited for the next one to come. Words & Wine with Steven Rinella, who is absolutely hilariously brilliant btw, at the Pan Pacific Hotel started the evening off, while I ended it with Russian vodka infusions (cucumber; garlic & pepper, & coffee) alongside a bit of salmon caviar at Venik Lounge with Kirsten and her office buds.

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This morning, meeting Severine downtown, a pain au chocolat and a latté were devoured at Le Panier (always a fave). But now, it's time for a little break, and I definitely will return soon. In the meantime, Bon appétit!

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