In Our Backyard: Café Trois

Three bakers have banded together and opened a charming breakfast and lunch spot on Livingston Street where The Greek Village used to be. Café Trois specializes in French style pastries, artfully packaged sandwiches and salads, and a variety of brunch dishes beautifully presented with salad and home fries. There’s also a full array of lux coffees, teas, smoothies and juices.

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Blue Apron

Sometimes the biggest deterrent to cooking at home is no time or energy for a trip to the grocery store. Particularly in the suburbs where take out and delivered options are limited. Enter Blue Apron (https://www.blueapron.com/). The latest trend in food convenience is a box delivered weekly to your door packed with everything you need for three home-cooked meals.

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Lentil Soup: A Favorite Winter Recipe

This soup is delicious, healthful, and easy to make.

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Goodbye to Xavier’s & Freelance Café

It’s the end of a special chapter in local culinary history. After almost thirty years, on October 26 chef Peter Kelly stepped away from the helm of his critically acclaimed and locally beloved Piermont restaurants Xavier’s and Freelance Café.

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Tappan Sushi and Sashimi

My knowledge of Korean food is null. I’m a spice wimp. I don’t like beer, and I will never appreciate kim chi, the fermented cabbage consumed by the barrel in some parts of the world. But Tappan Sushi, a homey roadhouse in the former digs of Irish bar Finn McCools, might just be one of my new favorite places to go for serious sustenance - Korean style.

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In Our Backyard: Hinode

In the popular documentary Jiro Dreams of Sushi, there are innumerable gauzy tight shots of glistening morsels presented reverently to the camera by master sushi chef Jiro Ono. This will not be your experience at humble little Hinode, but nonetheless, prepare to be pleasantly surprised.

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In Our Backyard: Dino's Restaurant

Thirty years ago Dino’s might have been a fine night out. Perched on a hill, aglow with twinkle lights, this quaint house-turned-restaurant would be destination primo for a fancy meal - birthdays with mom, meet-the-in-laws - you know the scene. But Americans have gotten more sophisticated and a restaurant has to do more to impress.

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In Our Backyard: Restaurant Swad

Rockland County isn’t exactly a hotbed of South Asian cuisine, but quirky little Swad is doing its best to educate us one creamy curry at a time. Or, at least, to win us over with home style Indian classics as interpreted by owner and head cook, Ashwani Chirimunj. The results are mixed, and as in a family kitchen, there’s heart in what’s good and carelessness in what’s not.

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In Our Backyard: Roost Reopens

When Roost Restaurant opened in the summer of 2013, it was one of a handful of Rockland eateries serving seasonal ingredients prepared with imagination and flair. Commuters and locals flocked to the Sparkill restaurant’s long granite bar and cozy tables for drinks, dinner, and an easy end to a long day.

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Hunting the Wild Mushroom

Every October, hunters descend on our town. Some are novices and some are professionals, but everyone comes prepared with boots and a knife. Fortunately for everyone, this group is only hunting for mushrooms. Organized by the New York Mycological Society (NYMS), experts in the field of mycology lead a mushroom foray into Tallman Park to study, document, and catalogue the species found in our extremely fungi-fertile area.

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In Our Backyard - Giostra

Giostra
65 Old Tappan Road
Tappan, NY
845 848-2575
www.giostrany.com

If restaurant success is measured in decibels, then Tappan’s Giostra is doing well, but the simple Italian fare on offer doesn’t often hit the same peaks as the noise level.

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DVine Bar

Hip. Cosmopolitan. Casually elegant…not the usual words attached to a suburban restaurant, but Joe Printz’s DVine Bar in Sparkill earns the adjectives. This place is aesthetically a winner – and even better, it’s full out Fun.

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Alain's Wine and Tapas

Why would Alsatian-born Alain Eigenmann, successful chef and owner of Alain’s Bistro in Central Nyack, want to open a tiny tapas place on Nyack’s Main Street, a destination known more for its rowdy bar scene than for dining sophistication?

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Making The Best Out of You And Your Java

There are many opportunities either to ruin or be enraptured by our beloved coffee beverage. When it comes to making your own coffee I will not insult you by insisting it be a certain roast, or strength, or variety, and I will not judge your use of creams and sweeteners. While wars have been fought to control coffee economies, they should not be fought over the use of condiments. That being said, there are recommended methods of handling this perishable ingredient that can improve your coffee routine and make even that day-old coffee taste better.

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From Nyack to Northvale: The Legacy of La Casa Formoso

“Salumeria” is Italian for a cured meat shop and they may be found in larger cities but we are lucky enough to have one close by in a small town. La Casa Formoso, a New York City style deli in Northvale, is such a place. Here, customers can find quality meats, cheeses, pastas and olive oils not available in local supermarkets. They use old pasta recipes from Brooklyn and get the best sausages from Arthur Avenue in the Bronx. Fresh ravioli (never frozen) is delivered a couple of times a week from Pastosa Ravioli, a franchise with seventeen stores in New York City and the bread is delivered fresh from the Bronx, Manhattan and Queens. The store also has a bakery feel to it with cannolis and cookies made to order moments before you get them.

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In Our Backyard - October, 2012

Michael Phelps, Misty May-Treanor, Serena Williams – move over. There was one Olympic sport left out of the London festivities this summer that makes these kids look like slackers…ok, slackers with really toned abs. What sport am I referring to? Grocery shopping in Rockland. That’s right, I hereby propose that the two hour suburban steeplechase required to pull together a few bags of moderate to high-end groceries is the local challenge of champions.

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In Our Backyard - May, 2012

Foodie alert - there’s a new catering company in town. Palisades resident Stephanie Cardenas has fused her Mexican heritage and Texas upbringing into Blue Taco, a homegrown operation featuring healthy farm-to-table Mexican classics with a Texan twist. While her ultimate goal is to create a wholesale line of Tex-Mex products for grocery stores, she currently caters everything from small family dinners to parties for 100 guests. Blue Taco’s complete list of products is on its website, but Cardenas is happy to work with you on whatever menu you may need. On most weekends she also sells a selection of soups, tacos and salsas at the Palisades Indoor Farmer’s Market.

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Local Produce a Short Drive Away

You’ll find Stokes Farm tucked into a suburban neighborhood on DeWolf Road in Old Tappan just off Tappan Road. It was one of the original twelve farms that participated in New York City’s first Greenmarket in 1976, a concept of urban planners Barry Benepe and Bob Lewis. Their mission was to provide a vehicle for small family farms to sell their products directly to consumers and present New Yorkers with access to the freshest, most nutritious locally grown food the region has to offer.

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In Our Backyard - o lar

For those of you who don’t smoke however, there’s post-insulation pleasure to be had in Piermont at a new restaurant called o lar, a tiny gem of creatively combined Mediterranean, Italian and Spanish food traditions. O lar means hearth or home in the Galician dialect of northwest Spain and partners Miguel Dominguez and James Corona have basically pulled a few tables and chairs around their magnificent mound of a pizza oven, carefully edited the menu, and opened one of the best eating establishments to hit Rockland in years.

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In Our Backyard - December 2011

Murasaki

I have to confess; eating out in Nyack is something I generally avoid – especially on weekends. But thatʼs changed since the opening of Murasaki, a modest home-style Japanese restaurant where everything, if not always artfully served, is fresh, fresh and fresh. The décor is simple, almost non-existent in fact, with a small sushi bar and about ten tables. No hi-tech lighting or fussy tablescapes here, just tasty and sometimes vaguely Americanized food. In fact, the relaxed simplicity makes me wonder if this is how a mom & pop place in Kyoto might feel - that is, if mom or pop had spent some time in the States and werenʼt sticklers about authenticity… or aesthetics… or doing anything more than serving really good food at fair prices.

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