Happy New Year – A stop in Ardsley

 In the midst of everything we have started a year, in fact, “the holidays” are over! I had initially not really thought of a resolution. For some reason, I gave up that idea last year. However, as they say ideas exist to be changed. This year as I end the weekend and get ready to brave the new year in earnest, my resolution is to enjoy and be grateful for the simple pleasures of life. The ones that we sometimes take for granted. 
The year thus far already promises to be filled with a lot of them.
Late last year, just before Christmas, Anshul and I made a stop to a relatively new Indian place in town called Calcutta Wrap and Roll. A restaurant named after the town I was born in is naturally worth a visit just based on its name, however once I was there I think the place deserves to be visited for a whole lot more reasons.
The place is a small reasonably charming little storefront mostly positioned as a take-out place with a few tables (actually three to be exact) for convenience.

Their menu was a good balance of anytown USA Indian  restaurant style classics (such as butter paneer) and several dishes (a large number of them cooked in the Bengali style of cooking) that were touted as house specialties. A lot of the dishes were also listed a special favorites of the owners and their spouses clearly emphasizing the home style flavors that the restaurant prominently dubbs as their genre of Indian cooking.
We actually sat in to enjoy a nice afternoon meal. We order a couple of rolls, a regular chicken roll, a vegetarian skinny roll, the vegetable chop and their goat curry.

The first thing that struck me about the food was that the flavors were clear and pure and there was no sparing of the very finely chopped Serrano chillies that were generously used in the rolls. The chicken roll was nice but missing the touch of grilled onions that I think is a hallmark of this preparation.
We LOVED the skinny paneer roll. The boldly spiced cubes of Indian cheese were encased in a pan crisped whole wheat bread, topped with a fried egg. The vegetable chop is a potato and beet croquet that was fried to crisp perfection.
The goat curry was not greasy and cooked in a very nuanced and complex tomato based sauce. My only reason for possibly taking some time in getting back there would be their lack of seating space. This is largely because I personally do not do a lot of take out when I have time to plan and Ardsley is not quite a spontaneous distance from me when I want some quick nutrition to put on the family table.
I would certainly encourage you to pay the place a visit and order some of the items that might be unique to their menu.
As always, it is nice to see more options on the ethnic food scene in Westchester. If you do visit, please tell me what you think.
Calcutta Wrap and Roll
465 Ashford Avenue

Ardsley, NY 10502
914 591 2222

Calcutta Wrap and Roll on Urbanspoon

Simple Seasonal Perfect – Harvest on Hudson

There are days when you want go out and have a special meal, but want simplicity in the cuisine, well heeled but country styled settings,. particularly when the whether has this nip in the air. This is when you want to head off to a tested a tried place like the Harvest on Hudson.

I have eaten there a few times and this picture was from a meal about a year back. I was just was waiting for the right time to write about my wonderful experiences here.

 Late fall and winter, the garden action in my life is slower, allowing me the time to catch up on old posts.

Anyhow back to my dinning experience, this meal was a perfect simple pan fried cod, and you can see from the amazing golden coloring and flaky finish how nicely done this was. The other item that we had ordered was gnocchi tossed in brown butter and sage. I have been here at least a couple of times, when I was working in the area. What is also worthwhile is the beautiful view that is pretty all around, since it is on the edge of the Hudson and overlooks the Palisades. So if you are looking for a place that will not disappoint and is set and done up nicely with absolutely perfectly done foods that is interesting but not dauntingly complex, give this place a try.
Harvest On Hudson
1 River Street
Hastings on Hudson, NY 10706
914 478 2800

Kathleen’s Tea Room

Kathleen's Tea Room on Urbanspoon

LT on Whole Wheat Toast
Earlier this year, when the whether was cooler, I ventured one lunchtime to try out Kathleen’s Tea Room. I think my love for tea competes very strongly with my love of wine. This visit turned out to be a fairly costly one, since I actually ended up with a ticket for parking incorrectly. Fortunately, the tea room was a lovely place to visit. A small place somewhat bring forth the appearance of an old english cluttered service room.
There tea selections were not very extensive but adequate, their service came in mismatched (as in different cups and plates for different tables) completing the atmosphere of a down home feeling.
In general, had this place been closer it would have been a good place to take a book and read on a quiter day. The tea was brewed in piping hot water (one of the most essential elements of brewing black tea). Actually a simple fact that most people overlook.

`A somewhat lopsided view of what the place looks like.
The sandwich that I ordered was nice and substantial, in fact my only complaint with it was it was too much like a good lunch sandwich rather than a  teatime sandwich. It came with a side of potato salad, healthy but a better option than potato chips.
So if like me you want something warm when there is a nip in the air, a quaint place where you can while an hour or two with friends or even your favorite book, try to take a ride up county and check this place out. If you like to collect tea and try some later, they also sell loose tea like most tearooms.
Kathleens Tea Room
979 Main Street
Peekskill, NY
914 734 5420

Stone Barnes Agricultural Center and Cafe

While we all know about the Blue Hill Restarant at Stone Barnes, there is also a little cafe with a small but quite satisfying selections of salads, sandwiches, crostada’s, light baked items all of which are made from the amazing bounty of the agricultural center. If like us you want a good weather day outdoors, please to venture out to the agricultural center.

While I love to talk about food, it is one of the many attractions of spending a day here. Whether permitting you can get good exercise all across the campus, seeing animals, flowers, beautiful happenings of a working farm. The deal here is that I feel like I earn my meal.


Onions on a conveyor belt

Hanging out with the turkeys

The above are just some snippets of a beautiful summers day with the kids and friends. It was wonderful feel like we had a picnic without having to tote a bag full of food.

The Kati Roll Company

A kati roll is a hard concept to define. Actually the home of these amazing creations is Kolkatta, the city in India where I grew up. These amazing creations of skewered marinated chicken (hence the term Kati, which refers to a stick) are grilled to amazing perfection.

A rich flatbread called paratha is cooked on a large flat griddle, the meat is placed on the center and it is garnished with vinegared sour onions, the whole thing is rolled up and served in greaseproof paper. Quick, tantalizingly tasty, street food at it’s best. The kati roll is a newer term more popular for Western clarity, since the Kati roll distinguishes itself from other rolls such as spring rolls, egg rolls, salad rolls, I think you get the idea.The magic and delight of the Kati roll is captured by the Kati Roll company, a little joint in NYC. I personally like the one on 39th street, but this really is a matter of convienience. The menu of this small place constantly bustling with action is a lovely rectangular piece of stiff paper that illustrates the name with pictures. Actually it reminds me of an Indian voter card. The walls are adorned with classic (70′s) hits and larger than life Bollywood icons and the vibe is very festive with lively Indian music.
The waiters (all wearing uniformed tea-shirts), are quick and turn around business promptly. It certainly is a fun place to sit with friends, drink you masala chai and enjoy a roll. I have not tried their vegetarian rolls, but highly recommend either their chicken or shammi kabab rolls. The do a good job packaging the rolls to go, in a lined pretty bag, that actually holds the heat well. I have quite often brought them home for dinner and they need little heating. All in all an fun try.
The Kati Roll Company
49 West 39th Street

(between 5th and 6th Avenues)
New York, NY 10018

212 730 4280


Kati Roll Company on Urbanspoon

D Thai Kitchen

When is a good thing, just too much to handle?

Possibly if you are an absolutely lovely emerging little restaurant that receives a, “worth it” review from the times.
A couple of Fridays ago, we went over to the D Thai Kitchen and I have to tell you that despite the extreme chaos, resulting from having just way too many customers to handle the food was just so amazingly good. Interestingly enough, amidst the chaos and commotion we ending up chatting quite a bit with dinners on the adjacent tables something that we rarely do in restaurants.
The food in this charming little place was wonderful. It would have been a beautiful night to sit outside, but it was just too packed. The restaurant manager (the chef’s wife) was amazingly poised calm and composed and smiled amidst all the chaos.

I was actually really quite amazed to see how calm she was under the stress of running out of linen, (she had paper napkins), irate customers and in general what might seem like mayhem. Folks, I am not saying all this to make it sound bad, in fact, I am hoping that if anyone did make it to the place they might actually look at the bright side and also remember how amazing the food was.
We started out with a green papaya salad, while the salad was a little sweeter than what I am normally used to for this recipe, the flavors were amazing. A nice touch in this salad was that it used two types of nuts, crunchy crushed peanuts for the body and roasted rich cashew nuts for the garnish. The appetizers have a nice option of a sampler that they refer to as Thai Tapas, we tried the a Thai take on the Malaysian Roti Canai, fried calamari with a sweet chili sauce and chicken satay. The place is a BYOB and we enjoyed all of this wonderful food with some plum wine
Actually we ended up getting rather late, so we got our main dishes of red shrimp curry and Pad Thai to go. The flavors for these dishes were just as good. Here is what I have to say to everyone at D Thai kitchen, please grow up and get settled, we are dying to come back and still be able to do something outdoors before it gets too cold.

Actually, as a testimony to their food, I just went today to pick up some takeout, they seem much calmer, so we shall be back soon!

D Thai Kitchen

677 Commerce Street
Thornwood, NY 10594
(914) 741-1313
D Thai Kitchen on Urbanspoon

Chinese Mirch

There are several fusion variations of food, that are naturally inherent in Indian cooking – a combination of cross border influences and of course cross cultural migration. The Indo-Chinese cuisine in my assessment is probably the most popular (certainly in India) of these hybrids.

While we do not have any Indo-Chinese food in Westchester ( we only barely got a Ethiopian place, and now I want it all!), just across the border in Stamford, CT we have a couple of interesting finds. We stopped by Chinese Mirch (translates to Chinese Chili, mirch is Chili in Hindi) just on the spur of things to try out a thing or two, the place certainly does not disappoint. The décor of red and black is festive yet modern and the red is a nice change from the brick red or earthier tones that are more Indian.
We had gone earlier in the evening, and the place was really just warming up, however the staff were warm and spurred into action to accommodate us. We tried a few of their dishes and liked most of them. Their rock shrimp is quite addictive I could probably eat platters of these crisp little sweet shrimp nuggets every day. The rock shrimp was served with two dipping sauces – a sweet sauce and a more savory chili garlic sauce, both the sauces were nice and varied on the palate but not overly spicy. We also had an order of the crispy orka, which essentially had cut the vegetable into thin long shoestring pieces and coated with batter and fried them. This was good but could have been a little lighter on the batter.
Now, the restaurant takes its chili ratings seriously. We had the chili basil fish that was labeled with three chilies and I have to tell you that this fish was spicy! Very flavorful though! Lastly, we also had an order of their chicken Manchurian, this dish while flavor and well done was a little disappointing, in that it lacked the crispy punch usually associated with the dish. All in all, we liked the place a lot and if you have not tried Indo-Chinese food, take a drive to Stamford and I do not think you will be disappointed.
BTW, out of sheer co-incidence I stopped by their NYC branch for a takeout! While the food here was just as good the space was more constricted but not cramped.

As Liz ( I know she only does) would say, the 411 on Chinese Mirch is,

Chinese Mirch
35 Altantic Street
Stamford, CT 06906

So, please do take the initiative to cross the statelines and do take me along to visit this rather delectableChinese Mirch on Urbanspoon spicy find.

Lalibela – Mount Kisco

Sometimes a good dining experience, is all about time and expectation. We had so been missing a good Ethopian restaurant in the Westchester area, to the point we actually ended up trekking all the way in a deep snow snow storm when we were in the Washington DC area, earlier this year to U-street area and eating Ethiopian. Now all of this changed a couple of months back with the opening of Lalibela, I remember seeing this video, a couple of months back.  Well, this Saturday, I packed the husband and we headed to Mt Kisco. Our GPS has a bad habit of stopping a good 2-3 blocks before the destitination, so when I parked he had no clue where we were heading and looked rather skeptically at Cosi across the street.
My sense of direction is rather bad, so he was sure either we were headed for a late night sandwich pick, or I had lost my way.
His expression seeing the Lalibela sign was one of pure delight, he went – “Since when did we have an Ehiopian restaurant here?”.
The restaurant is small and cosy. The staff are very hospitable. We tried the Lalibella sampler, I skipped the two beed dishes in favor of lamb, the collards were lovely, have to get the recipe, misir wat and gomen (lentils and split peas respectively were all wonderful), loved the dor wat a chicken stew with boiled egg and two lamb dishes. These are all served with Injera a spongy Ethiopian bread.
We had a glass of the cabernet and the Ehiopian honey wine. The restaurant has a compact but very food friendly wine list. The bottles are well priced as well. The tiramisu that we had as the desert was nice but not expectional.
All in all, I am delighted and think Lalibela was well worth the wait. We shall be back to this beautiful little nood with cheerful yellow walls, warm wooden tables and smiling staff for many more times. Until then, I encourage you to give this place a try, that it if you have not been there before.
Lalibela Ethiopian Cuisine on Urbanspoon

A brunch we enjoyed – Half Moon

This post has been sitting around for almost 4-5 months, for some unknown reason, but I did want to share it with people, partly because this was a really nice meal, relaxing and festive all at once. Other than telling about the restaurant – Half Moon, in Dobbs Ferry, I did want to highlight our source for deciding on the place. This has not been the first time we trusted Small Bites, actually whenever there is a holiday and we are at a loss, I am thrilled to have a source to turn to – a predictable, reliable and trusted source.
So here we were – all four of us, for their lovely jazz brunch. The waitress seated us in a quite table on the second level, which offered us beautiful views of the soft snow that was out side and the tables of diners. We could not quite see all the musicians which might be a good thing, since my son might have been tempted to try to join themWhat we ate was a really nice New England Clam Chowder, full of clams rich but not unnaturally thick. They also had an apple and butternut squash soup, the picture does not do the soup justice. It was light but and had a gentle tang.I had – yes, you guessed it eggs benedict, in fact, that is what reminded me about this post in the drafts, because I just made eggs benedict this morning.They also has some nice pan-fried fish with mango salsa and blue potatoes.
We actually had creme brullee for dessert, just do not have the pictures. With summer right here this restaurant would be a great place to check out and enjoy!
Half Moon is located in Dobbs Ferry, New York
The Half Moon
1 High Street
Dobbs Ferry, New York 10522
914 693 4130

Craving and Nostalgia – So Dam Hot

The last time I stopped by So Dam Hot, our little downtown in Valhalla was at least 4 years ago at about 11:45pm. It was the only place open and we were hungry…
Well, today I was walking downtown as you can see well after 2pm and I had not yet eaten lunch. I suddenly got the spicy wings craving…
A strange one, since I hardly eat this kind of stuff every day, but today, this was calling my name.
Maybe after I recently saw this post.
The place has actually gotten a little more formal since my last stop there, also added some interesting touches like the hot sauce rack, which makes for an interesting brouse while you are waiting.
They have also added a whole bunch of stuff to their menu, beyond the

wings and chili that I remembered.
Actually, I debated between the pulled pork sandwiches and finally settled for the wings and fries with chili. The wings medium hot were plenty. I wanted these to go, so while I waited I actually had fun checking out their clothes line displayed on the wall.
These wings were great, spicy and crisp with a rich blue cheese sauce. Actually the chili on the fries seemed a little too tame, when paired with these fiery wings.
So, if you have a quick spice craving and want to stop by a spot with some punch and character do check out this place in our little downtown.

The 411 on the joint (as liz would say)
So Dam Hot
10 Broadway

Valhalla, NY 10595
(914) 328-6051

So Dam Hot on Urbanspoon

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