What's new, what's worth driving to, and where to have the most fun on a Saturday morning.
After regular trips to the Union Square Green Market in the city, it can be a bit jarring when you roll up to a farmers market in the ‘burbs with only three or four vendors. Ouch.
Last summer we set out to find the best farmers markets in Westchester. In other words, markets that are worth traveling to. Here’s what we found: There are four or five farmers market in the area that make wonderful hangouts, but many of the smaller markets have everything you need too — so give them a second chance if they underwhelmed you the first time. Plus. there are a few new farmers markets debuting this month.
Still, some of the markets here are better than others. Here’s how they size up. (Photo above courtesy of Doug Schneider Photo/Hastings Farmers Market.) [...]
A taste of two new spots in the Rivertowns.
Irvington is a well-known foodie town. Beyond Red Hat (phenomenal rooftop bar) and Mima (best date night spot), there’s MP Taverna, whose chef has everybody in the ‘chester buzzing. Don’t forget the savory spices of Chutney Masala, which may be the best Indian restaurant in the region.
Two new restaurants recently opened on Main Street in Irvington, and we’ve got the dish on both.
We've found some savory new ways to dress up your bun.
Tired of a grilled burger with cheese, lettuce and tomato? Ok, we’re not either, but (BUT!) there’s so much more fun to have with a burger these days. Fried egg and spinach? Yum. Ramps with mozzarella? Oh yes. Here are some simple ways to dress up your burger this Memorial Day Monday.
Remember Arby’s “horsey” sauce? Horseradish adds a dash of dazzle to a standard cheddar cheeseburger. Whole Foods and Martha Stewart stuff their burgers with horseradish (pictured above), as does Rachel Ray and Tyler Florence. [...]
How to involve children in the kitchen at any age. Plus, a grilled plums recipe perfect for Memorial Day Weekend!
Want your children to eat more fruits and veggies? “Bring them into the kitchen to cook with you,” says Jessica Fishman Levinson, owner of Nutritioulicious, a nutrition consulting practice in New Rochelle. “Studies have shown that children who help with cooking show a greater preference for fruit and vegetables and are more confident about the importance of making healthier food choices.” When kids help with mealtime tasks, they have an increased sense of responsibility and independence. Plus, kids who help make meals are more inclined to try new foods and eat the same meals you do!
Don’t think a 10 month old has a place in the kitchen? Think again. Jessica recommends letting her smell and taste the ingredients you’re using and watch everything you’re doing. Involve your children in making meals at all ages based on their abilities. “Some of these tasks can be done at any age and will strengthen wherever your children are in their development, whether they’re working on their coordination, use of utensils, or math and science skills,” she says. We asked Jessica to give us ideas about how to involve kids in cooking, and she surprised us with some of her ideas. (I never would have thought to ask my toddler to tear lettuce up for me, but he *loved* doing it!) [...]
The Golden Knives Challenge is a fun twist on dining out.
The Golden Knives Challenge, Westchester’s first cooking challenge featuring local chefs, started this Tuesday, May 7, and continues for the next 2 weeks. Located at a pop-up restaurant at The Lodge at Hudson Harbor in Tarrytown, an attractive space with floor to ceiling windows and barn doors, you can join the fun and pretend like you’re Padma and Tom! Each night two chefs battle it out with an appetizer, main course and dessert and at the end of the meal, votes are cast for the winner.
We had the pleasure of attending the first night with Chefs Alex Sze (Juniper in Hastings-on-Hudson) and Carl Van Dekker (Village Dog in Tarrytown). The meal was much more fun than the usual restaurant experience. We knew the chefs were on their game since this was a contest. Plus, there is something exciting about knowing that a chef is trying to impress. The courses were perfectly sized so you could enjoy all of them and the ingredients were varied so it was small plate heaven. We even tasted a vegetable for the first time – ramps, otherwise known as a spring onion or a wild leek. The ramps were especially tasty the way Carl Van Dekker prepared them: creamed with cotechino (sausage) and polenta and in a salad as part of his Trio of Peas. [...]
Our favorite local eateries and recipes from the past year.
Although we’re technically no longer Manhattanites, we’re pretty lucky to have an abundance of culinary delights to choose from right in our backyard. Whether looking for a romantic bistro for a date night, a quick spot to grab a salad with the girls in between carpool, or a friendly place where your five year old’s temper tantrum won’t make you banned for life, this Best of Yum feature highlights some of our favorite local restaurants — and at home recipes — that made our mouths water.
Let’s raise a glass to our sponsors below…thank you for filling our bellies with your delicious eats and for making us city transplants feel like we never left the big apple.
A 70-year old family business that does pizza right.
I consider myself a pizza connoisseur. My all-time favorites include Lombardi’s in Manhattan’s East Village (it was located next door to our favorite pub AND I lived in their delivery zone) and Manco & Manco (formerly Mack & Manco) in Ocean City, New Jersey. I have yet to find pizza that I LOVE in our town, but I’ve been hearing about Johnny’s in Mt. Vernon since I moved to Westchester. We finally got around to giving it a try last night.
The pizza did not disappoint, and my only regret is waiting three years to enjoy it. On a Friday night at 5:30, several tables were already filled but we had no problem grabbing a table and two high chairs. The decor is classic pizzeria — zero frills with loads of Yankees memorabilia covering the walls, plus doodle place mats and crayons for the kids. Warm Italian bread quickly appeared at our table, along with our Ceasar salad. We drooled over the cheese pizzas arriving at tables around us, which seemed to be the top choice among regulars, before ours arrived, and was promptly devoured.
A light crispy thin crust with a precise ratio of subtly-sweet sauce to cheese equals pizza nirvana. The large runs $14, and there wasn’t a crumb leftover. The kids went bananas over it (the waitress brought it to the table already sliced smaller for them), and my daughter had to fight my husband for the last slice! (Johnny’s doesn’t sell by the slice, but it’s clear why. You can’t eat just one.)
They offer a selection of beer and wine, and it’s cash only, so come prepared. A back dining room offers plenty of seating with some larger tables for bigger groups. A family tradition since 1942, Johnny’s Pizzeria is 100% authentically awesome pizza and absolutely worth a visit.
Johnny’s Pizzeria, 30 Lincoln Ave, Mt. Vernon; 914-668-1957. Closed Sundays and Mondays. Take-out available, no delivery.
A healthy & fun alternative to pizza night!
Delivery night is about to get a lot more exciting. Forget pizza Fridays or Chinese take-out Mondays. Enter Las Pibas Empanadas, a brand-new empanada delivery business, recently started by two Westchester moms. One look at their hip looking website and I knew I was in for a treat.
The Wee Westchester gals love to eat ethnic food, so we were psyched to try these out for a recent get-together. (Especially Elizabeth L., who grew up eating empanadas since her father is from Argentina.) We ordered 12 empanadas total which is the minimum order size, and was more than enough for 3 ladies (who aren’t afraid to eat!). We loved the beef and chicken – just the right amount of expertly-seasoned filling and baked to perfection – definitely our top faves. Olive fans devoured the beef & olive combo, and while some didn’t love the corn variety, I personally enjoyed the creamy texture of the corn, bechamel and onion empanada. [...]
Make these cookies with your little loves for a special treat.
We made these Valentine sugar cookies last weekend, and while nothing fancy or new, they were so delicious (and cute), I had to share. You’ll probably find all of the ingredients in your pantry, and the kids will have a blast cutting out the shapes and decorating. Happy Valentine’s Day!
Adapted from the Valentine Sugar Cookie recipe from The Baking Pan: [...]
An hour at Mario Batali's Port Chester market.
I’ve lived in Westchester for two years, and while I’ve dined at Mario Batali’s Tarry Lodge, I never made it to his adjacent Tarry Market. Until yesterday.
Big mistake. Huge. I should have gone here the day after I moved in because this eatery/grocery/gourmet food shop is a mini version of Manhattan’s Eataly. It has everything you want to eat but didn’t know you ever needed.
Fresh short rib ravioli, check. Batali’s house made Bolognese sauce, check. Warm rosemary focaccia, check. Prime rib by the pound, check.
There are so many specialty foods packed in the shop that I couldn’t stop snapping pics. I counted 75 different kinds of pastas — then I found the gluten-free pastas, the fresh pastas, another two towering shelves of additional shapes of pasta. You can sample from several dozen cheeses. An extensive selection of carefully curated olive oils and aged balsamic vinegars take up one wall. Turn the corner, and you can take home fresh olive tampenade or a container of homemade olives.
There’s even a cafe in front to have lunch or sip an espresso; I ordered an $8 salad with chickpea dressing. It was simple but seriously savory. Kids can order nutella and banana melted on brioche for $5. See over a dozen photos of delish discoveries after the jump! (Note: I bought a $9.95 pound of house made short rib raviolis — about 45 raviolis — and served them with simple marinara sauce. It was the best dinner we’ve had in weeks!) [...]
Here are some of our favorite stories from the year.
We launched Wee Westchester in May, and we’ve published some goodies over the last several months (if we don’t say so ourselves). Just in case you missed these posts, here are links to some of our faves. And don’t forget to subscribe to our daily feed of stories — see the “subscribe” button on the right side of this page.
Where to eat out with kids? Here are some ideas.
Truck in Bedford has a great selection of farm-to-table and kid-friendly enchiladas, burritos and tacos. Two burger spots rank heavenly and are plenty happy to seat kids: Chappaqua’s Le Jardin de Roi and Armonk Burgers and Shakes.
Believe it or not: Chic eats spot Restaurant North, also in Armonk, encourages parents to bring kids to brunch. Don’t forget to hit up the Cookery’s Dough Nation Pizza Truck in the spring when it starts rounding outdoor farmers markets again. Moderne Barn may not be super kid-friendly, but their chef loves to cook gnocchi for kids; here’s his recipe. This may be the craziest post I did: Yes, I took my 2-year-old out for high tea. We like taking our kids to tea at Chocolations too. [...]
Feel like you're missing one last side dish? Make these the day before.
Cooking Thanksgiving dinner is like running a three ring circus. Last year, I had to kick everyone out of the kitchen an hour before the turkey was done, just so I could focus on getting my creamed spinach, honey glazed carrots, mashed rutabagas, creamed onions (and more) off the stove and on to the table.
Here’s a little Thanksgiving secret: It’s okay to make a few sides the day before and reheat them. While you don’t want your mashed potatoes to sit and you shouldn’t roast your brussel sprouts the day before, some dishes keep happily overnight. Here are three make-ahead sides that are *easy* last-minute additions to your Thanksgiving feast. [...]