Hudson Valley Restaurant Week: Harvest on the Hudson

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Having never been to this restaurant in Hastings on Hudson before, I was excited to see if the consistently rave reviews would carry over to their restaurant week offerings.  Upon entering, we were enveloped in the warmth of candles and low lighting.  Though the space itself is massive, with high ceilings and large windows overlooking the Hudson River, it felt warm and cozy with the combination of seating at various levels, warm colors, and low noise level.

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Our table was positioned at the corner of one of the higher floor levels.  We noticed that the seating all seems to be positioned to optimize river views.  This sounds great in theory, but once it got too dark to see out the enormous windows, the arrangement was awkward.  Regardless of that minor issue, the dining room felt like a warm embrace just as the sun was setting, comfortable and inviting.

For appetizers, I went with the Spring Asparagus Vinaigrette, while Mom chose the soup, which was a butternut squash bisque with pumpkin seeds.

The low lighting made taking pictures tricky, so bear with what dishes look like!  I wasn’t sure what to expect from the description, but my starter consisted of thick stalks of tender, chilled asparagus and a creamy dressing. According to the menu, this was soft egg tarragon dressing.  What I loved about this, was that not only was the asparagus cooked to a perfect state of crisp and tender, but that the entire plate was so perfectly seasoned.  The soup, was also balanced in a way that it was decadent while not being too heavy.

My salmon entree was just as excellent in terms of flavor, although execution could have been tweaked just a bit.  The skin, could have been just a bit more crisp, while the fish itself was more than a little over cooked.  I prefer salmon to have the almost silky fatiness when cooked just enough, while this was piece resembled the texture of dry, canned tuna.  This oversight aside, the brown butter combined with capers and golden raisins was perfection in a way that thoroughly compensated for the salmon.

025The service was so efficient, most likely based on the streamlined restaurant week menus, that we were offered the dessert menu just about the same time I finished my first glass of wine (the sauvignon blanc available by the glass, really fresh and crisp).

I had the tiramisu, while Mom went with the semifredo (in all honesty we had to google what the conceptual differences were between panna cotta and semifredo)  They were both the perfect sweetness to finish a really great menu.

We realized, once back in the car, that we had finished our dinner in just about an hour, though we didn’t feel rushed in the slightest.  We were satiated without being stuffed, which is one of my favorite benefits of restaurant week.  Though you are enjoying three courses, they are sized appropriately for the price and experience. I genuinely can say I look forward to trying this restaurant as a special date night in the future, and can’t wait to indulge in the full menu.

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Optimistic Salad

A salad can be an easy way to brighten up your day, which is essential during gloomy weather.  Soup and hearty dishes might be great, but sometimes your body needs some fresh veggies and pretty colors.  Yea, trust me on that one.

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My best approach is to just grab all the produce that looks good.  Don’t worry about having a plan, or how its going to end up.  Broccoli, radishes, yellow and orange peppers, baby spinach, avocado, jalapeno peppers, cucumber.

I prepped a few salads at a time, which is a good plan of attack if your just one or two people: that way you get a few bites of everything in each salad, instead of being faced with the daunting task of forcing down a giant bowl of one or two ingredients.

058.JPGokay, so it wasn’t as pretty the next day. (I added a Boca Burger, and smashed the avocado on top)  But yum.  Some tea on the side and bring on the gloom.

Trader Joes: Pumpkin Soup

Trader Joes is fantastic in every way, so much so that I’m willing to overlook some of their errors [i.e. cookie butter fiasco ].  They are also very gracious about accepting returns if its something you’ve only partially consumed and really couldn’t handle.

This was only a small bump in the long road of previous goodness; Trader Joes Pumpkin Soup.

Its sold in a small carton (sorry I threw it out before taking a picture), two servings to the carton.  I picked it up a few weeks ago and it had been sitting in my office kitchen, waiting to be consumed as a backup meal.

That day finally came and I was excited for some warmth and spice…the carton definitely said something about ginger and maybe even cinnamon?

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Popped the whole two servings into a glass bowl, microwaved for 2 minutes and thirty seconds and then carefully carried it to my desk.

Its bland.  Really thin.  And I’m pretty sure someone snuck coffee grounds in here.

You know that feeling when you hit the bottom of a bad cup of coffee (or the kuerig hasn’t been cleaned in a while) and there’s that little swirl of coffee grounds?  I’m pretty sure that’s whats hiding in my soup.  TJ will probably claim its those illusive spices, but they’re tiny little crunchy nibs of junk.  I don’t like this one Mister Trader Joes.

Fortunately, their pumpkin season is almost over and we’re approaching Peppermint everything in the store.  I do appreciate how the store commits to a seasonal theme and really runs with it.