Archive for the ‘local producers – Columbia County’ Category

April showers

After a gorgeous day yesterday, and a sunny start this morning, it is now gray and rainy.  Luckily I got the bulk of my yard-tidying accomplished before the rain – although I had grand delusions of much more mulching and trimming.

Ah, spring.

I’ve definitely turned to spring eating – I just don’t want heavy food anymore.  Instead, I’m thinking salads.  We don’t have a lot of local supplies, yet, but I am starting to see micro greens and pea shoots as a welcome garnish on dishes.  As we wander through this season of transition, I’ve tried the following recipes which use pretty seasonal ingredients but feel lighter in taste:

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 Tahini Beets

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Spring Green Risotto

(and, no photo but this dish was really delicious)

Crispy Coconut Kale with Roasted Salmon and Coconut Rice

With the holidays coming up, I think I may back-track a little on my (lighter) spring eating so I can try some new recipes and enjoy some old favorites.

Someone was thinking what I’ve been thinking – I’m definitely trying this recipe for Bacon Matzo Brei.  I don’t think The Professor will mind this addition to our matzo brei tradition.  I will also make Matzo Brittle (or matzo crack…).  There will be nothing light about these Passover dishes.

I haven’t figured out my Easter eating, but it will include eggs.  Perhaps I will try a twist on eggs benedict (here or here) or head back to spring eating with this delicious-sounding Asparagus with Eggs and Parmesan.

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If you’re not up to cooking, you could just eat somewhere in town.

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Poached eggs over avocado  at Bonfiglio & Bread – I still do not tire of this dish.

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Or perhaps a simple hard-boiled egg and gougere at Swallow?

Obviously I’m into eggs.

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There are some interesting goings-on over the next month, in case you get tired of gardening or eating:

Saturday April 12 – Chocolate tasting of (Hudson local) Christopher Norman Chocolates, and wine from Fairview Wines at Verdigris Tea & Chocolate Bar, located at Warren & 2nd in Hudson NY.  5pm – 7pm. Taste.

Saturday April 12 – Dine/Art Gallery Stroll on Warren Street below 3rd Street.  Wander and enjoy art and tastes.  5pm – 8pm.  Taste again.

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Saturday April 19 – ThinkFOOD Conference: Culture / Studies / Sourcing at Bard College at Simon’s Rock in Great Barrington MA.  9:30am – 3pm. Think.

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Saturday April 26 or May 3? – Opening of Hudson Valley Distillers.  Applejack and vodka and (eventually) more! Check it out on Route 9 just south of Clermont. Tasting room hours to be announced.  Thirst.

Saturday April 26 and Sunday April 27 – TAP New York, a craft beer and food festival happens at Hunter Mountain in the Catskills. 1pm – 5pm on Saturday and 12pm – 4pm on Sunday.  Thirst again.

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Saturday May 3 – 4th Annual Ramp Fest Hudson 2014 at Basilica Hudson.  12pm – 4pm.  Trample.

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It’s still raining.  I’m just going to keep repeating: April Shower = May Flowers, April Shower = May Flowers, April Shower = May Flowers…

Such a week!

Some little tragedies…

…The biggest and most devastating one being the fire at Love Apple Farm out on 9H earlier this week.  I was very sorry to learn that the farm stand was destroyed and that they are now closed (early) for the winter.  No farmer can afford to lose 2 weeks of sales!  Hopefully they will be able to recover and rebuild, and we will seem them again next summer.

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That makes my personal tragedy this week seem so petty.

I came home on Thursday night to find a dead mouse in my kitchen.  Yes, this was my personal tragedy –  this former farm girl does NOT do well with mice. As in, I was near hysteria. Cockroaches – fine, spiders – fine. I am not fine with mice.  And it was late at night and there was no one I could disturb at that hour to remove the thing. Luckily the next morning the cavalry came, and I worked all day to “re-claim” my kitchen space.  While several people in Hudson now know one of my serious issues and think I’m a lunatic, I survived.

Having my favorite breakfast helped too.

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The next little tragedy of the week?  No pierogies!

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We were talking just this morning about the pierogi sale we had stumbled upon, quite happily, last winter and so today I wandered – and lo and behold I found this sign.  However, only those smart enough to pre-order were getting food since at that point they were pretty much sold out.  The next sale will be at Easter; mark your calendars!

This little bump in the road (as far as my weekend eating is concerned) was balanced out by my fabulous finds at the latest Trash & Treasure sale at St. Mary’s, which continues on today and tomorrow.  I often find a little this or that at the sales, and usually (if my wallet is lucky) it’s only a game being sold for 50 cents.  Today, however, I acquired a new Pyrex pie dish for $1 and this lovely new cookbook for only $2!

Image 2Everyone can use this kind of positive affirmation.

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On to the real purpose of the moment: cooking and eating, of course!

This morning was the final outdoor market of the season for the Hudson Farmers’ Market.  The sun was gorgeous but that wind was cutting, no?  I shopped for the upcoming week which will include an entire meal consisting of latkes (Thanksgivukkah!), a huge Thanksgiving meal with friends as well as lots of baking and comfort food.  I think I bought a little of everything.  I was in denial of the changing of the season for so long, and now I’m embracing it with lots of potatoes, squash, kale, apples, etc.

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This weekend is dedicated to making pie crusts and testing new recipes for nibbles and all sorts of scandalous treats.  Last night, as part of my “re-claiming”, I tried a new recipe for Whiskey Pecan Caramel Corn – it’s a keeper.  A couple of notes in case you decided that you also need this treat and you haven’t made lots of caramel corn in the past.  1. The caramel really needs to get to 300 degrees, which is hard-crack stage.  You have to be brave and know that while the caramel at the edges is quickly becoming very dark brown and you’re thinking you will have burnt nothingness, if you take it off the heat as soon as it reaches 300 degrees you’ll be fine.  2. Rather than use 2 baking pans, I prefer to use a huge roasting pan (so big that it never fit in my NYC oven…).  My pan has 2-3 inch sides which makes it much easier to turn the caramel corn as you bake it.  And finally, 3.  When you take it out of the oven, keep stirring!  Stir the caramel corn every couple of minutes as it cools as you can break it into smaller clumps more easily this way.  You could always let it cool as a big clump and then break it up, but you would have naked non-caramel-covered popcorn bits, and who wants that?

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Thinking ahead…

farm and flea

Next weekend there is no farmers’ market – they are taking a (well-deserved!) one-weekend break  and opening up again indoors at the church on Union and North 4th December 7th.  But we have a new gathering this one weekend only: Basilica Farm & Flea.  It promises to be big and fun. You will need to walk off all those latkes and turkey sandwiches, and why not do it while supporting more of our local area producers?  I’m hoping to find delectable food things, and maybe even a Christmas present for Mom.

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And then that brings us to Winter Walk 2013 on Saturday December 7th from 5pm – 8pm .  Winter Walk is always lovely and festive, and crowded, and usually the coldest day of the year.  Bundle up, and make sure you don’t miss the eggnog challenge.

Good grief, that means it’s winter.

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Happy cooking and eating as we celebrate the festival of lights and the feast of abundance. Enjoy!

goodness

Since I’m just back from vacation, I’m happy to be back in my kitchen.  However, I’ve been reading (a lot) about a particular eating space that has just opened up…  and as soon as I wish to splash out a little, I know where I want to go.

Fish & Game: An Ode to Hudson’s Tasty Past in Rural Intelligence

Where Basic Ingredients Rule in the New York Times

Zak Pelaccio Cutting the Fat, Glazing Turnips Instead in the New York Observer

Straight from the field to the plate in the Times Union

Our Man in Hudson in A Cook Blog (Edible Hudson Valley)

Perhaps once the fuss dies down a bit?

food and drink doings

Tap New York is this weekend at Hunter Mountain.  I am sorely tempted to attend “New York’s largest craft beer festival” but then how would I ever stagger home???

Chronogram did an article on Hudson Valley Breweries, and I find I’ve only been to one of them: Brewery Ommegang.  But really, where is their mention of Crossroads Brewing Company or Chatham Brewing or Browns Brewing???  They are all delicious…

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This weekend (meaning Saturday 4/27) check out the “Colossal Cookbook Sale” at the Library, from 10am – 2pm.  Here are my treasures:

cookbooks

Because I needed more cookbooks…  And just in case my to-read pile wasn’t big enough, I got my hands on the last copy at Tractor Supply of this beauty:

modern farmer

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If you get a chance to eat out this weekend, note that 3FortySeven Warren Street is opening up (sans Tortillaville until May).  I can’t wait until BackBar becomes official…

taste of india

truck pizza***

Next weekend is a big food weekend here in Hudson NY.

farmers marketThe Hudson Farmers’ Market is back outdoors starting Saturday May 4th, 9am – 1pm at Columbia and North 6th Street.  It’s been great to watch it expand over the years – it makes me happy.

rampfest2013_logoThe 3rd Annual Ramp Fest Hudson happens at the Basilica on Saturday, May 4th, 12 – 4pm.  Get there early.  Remember that my loss (I’m out-of-town) is your gain (there will be more to eat).  Be nice to the photographer Smith.

verdigris

AND there will be a wine AND chocolate tasting at Verdigris.  In our town of yummy options, Verdigris is a haven filled with treats of all sorts.  The question for me -always- is where do I begin?

You have one week to build your endurance for this food-filled weekend!

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crazy vanNow, can anyone tell me what this crazy van on North 6th Street is about???

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I’m off for a couple of weeks to the land of palm trees and hummus.  No worries – I will continue to eat well…

(local) beer is worth traveling for…

(Apologies if you are receiving this again.  There have been some technical shenanigans of my own making – my phone and I have had words and it hopefully will not happen again.  A goddess woodchuck hunter helped me restore the content.  Now back to business.)

Traveling for local beer.  Wait, is that a contradiction???

An alumni from my university recently listed his guiding philosophy/quote as this gem from Benjamin Franklin: Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy.

Man after my own heart.

We bought our growlers maybe 6 years ago when sitting at Spotty Dog, drinking various North East beers that they had on tap. Loving the containers in and of themselves, nevermind that they stored beer, we first bought a small one, then soon after bought the large one as well in case we wanted more. What better way to drink beer in the back yard!

A couple of weekends ago, we packed our growler and took the new Hudson-Athens ferry across to Athens.  I’m a little sensitive when on boats and other moving vehicles (I can’t read a map while moving) so I was worried that the ferry trip might not set me up well for a night of drinking.  It was a smooth trip – no fear!  Our goal was Crossroads Brewing Company in Athens, a brewery that opened up over a year ago.  If you take the Hudson-Athens ferry across ($10 round trip) on a Friday or Saturday night, you get views like this:

Crossroads has friendly service and a great selection of good beer.  Like them on Facebook to keep up with what they have on tap in a particular week.  Over the winter there was a food truck parked outside serving good food; yesterday they posted that their new kitchen has just opened.  Welcome Chef Paul!  Crossroads is  a couple blocks straight up from the ferry – an easy field trip from Hudson, and it’s so lovely to not drive after a beer (or two).  Their doors are open for you:

If you don’t want to cross the river, you can travel up 66 to visit Chatham Brewing.

Bring your growler during Saturday Growler hours (11am – 5pm most Saturdays, except when they’re out winning awards) and fill ‘er up with whatever they might be brewing that day – like them on FB to keep up with any changes in hours.  Luckily in Hudson, Chatham Brewing has started coming to us on Saturday mornings at the Hudson Farmers’ Market.  Come early for best selection; they often bring a soda as well.  AND, they’ve begun bringing seafood.  What’s better than clams and beer – well, except maybe a Loaf pretzel and beer???   A recent story in the Register-Star indicated that they have just about outgrown their garage just off Main Street and they might have to relo – so stay tuned.

For other little day trips: if you like the C.H. Evans ale that you’ve tried at Spotty Dog, you can go to the source up at the Albany Pump Station.  I’m partial to the Kick-Ass Brown myself.  There’s also Brown’s Brewing Co., a huge brewpub up in Troy (you can also find this beer at Spotty Dog occasionally as well).  Or, in the opposite direction, Keegan Ales is serving up Mother’s Milk and others in Kingston.

Closer to home, I’ve just read that someone is seeking the zoning OK in Red Hook to open a small brewery.  More choices!

But if you want to take a bit of a road trip, I recommend booking yourself a room and traveling out to Cooperstown to visit Brewery Ommegang.  This is one big gorgeous brewing operation.

Try to arrive at the Brewery, just outside of Cooperstown ( approx. 2 hours from Hudson), say, shortly before lunch.  Find out their tour schedule, buy a ticket to the next one, and then be sure to stay for lunch.   The food is well-paired to the beer, and you can do flights so you don’t miss anything.  But to really try all of their beer, stay to the end of the tour where they give you a small glass and you can stand there and taste everything.  By the end the glass might slip out of your hand…

Ommegang set up the operation in this location because in the 19th century, hops was a major crop in the area.  And, there was access to clean water.  While they are a relatively huge operation amongst our local producers, one of the big reasons that I like them is because they have joined in the battle for clean water.  Ommegang is not happy with the possibility of fracking; for more on this subject, read here, here and here.

But you know what I love about beer?  The people who make it have a sense of humor.

They’re brewing men at Crossroads???

They’re just teasing

There has probably been more than one beer emergency…

Need some historical background?  If you’re in NYC between now and early September, be sure to check out Beer Here: Brewing New York’s History at the NY Historical Society.

Remember, Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy.  With so many upstate beer options we can be very happy!

everybody is talking about food these days…

I love it!

Chronogram highlighted local food trucks in its most recent issue and Hudson in an earlier issue, including bits and pieces of our food scene.

The Chatham Courier/Register Star highlighted Chatham Brewing earlier this week, and that they are outgrowing their Chatham garage – stay tuned for future plans.  Bring your growler to the Hudson Farmers Market on Saturday mornings to taste their latest offerings – but don’t wait too long as they often run out!

The Register-Star covers more and more of our food happenings and arrivals in our area.  They recently heralded the arrival of European goat cheese producers at Hudson Valley Creamery out on Route 9 in Livingston.

The Albany Times-Union recently announced the opening of Crimson Sparrow later this month – our newest fabulous restaurant that will surely get some of our citizens up in arms about prices…

For talk about everything food in the upper Hudson Valley – I love the review on local dairy products listing Nettle Meadow’s Kunik cheese as the best – check out the Chef’s Consortium.  Daniel B. (of a FUSSYLittleBLOG) wrote a piece on Coach Farm milk, also for Chef’s Consortium.  Berman is not a chef but he’s definitely an eater, with a definite point of view.

I always want to take a road trip to a restaurant when I read Rural Intelligence.  Sign up for their newsletter or Like them on Facebook to stay on top of things in our larger neck of the woods (including the Berkshires).

Sam Pratt talks about everything, right?, and keeps a handle on our own local food scene here.  The Gossips of Rivertown keeps tabs on architecture and food and etcetera, including the recent rather tragic news that Acres Co-op Food Market is not opening this summer after all. Scott at Upstate’s Downtown / Word on the Street  has covered the big plans at 347 Warren and even included the architectural renderings.   My heart is a-flutter.

Last, but certainly not least (no, really!), Susan Simon Says has moved to our lovely town and now eats and writes in Hudson – a great resource for delicious seasonal meal planning.

I’m hungry again.

vegetables of the moment, green and red

I am gorging myself at the moment on spinach and rhubarb.  The Eger Bros. farmstand at the corner of 9 and 23 and 31 always starts off the season with self-service spinach.  It’s the honor system so bring singles and of course, honesty.

I haven’t felt the need to get particularly creative with the bags of spinach I’ve been buying each week.  Nothing makes me happier than to saute a huge pile of spinach with a load of garlic and heap on top of creamy cheesy polenta (Wild Hive polenta, ideally).  I’ve also made enchiladas with lots of cooked down spinach (if you try the enchiladas with raw spinach they will get very watery.  Trust me.).  I needed something different today and since I started my long weekend early (yea!), I had the time to cook lunch.

We had spinach and eggs and some random cheeses.  Frittata!   I dug around until I found this recipe for Spinach Frittata (for 1) by Martha Stewart.  Unlike many of her baking recipes, it does not require an assistant.  And, I love that the recipe is for one – it’s so difficult to find those and it’s easy enough to double if there are two of you.  This recipe is easy and quick and it was delicious.  A keeper.

*Remember to always clean your spinach in at least two changes of water (float the spinach in a huge bowl of water for 10-15 minutes, lift the spinach out and rest it in a colander, dump the water (and dirt), rinse the bowl and repeat).

The other vegetable I’ve been a bit obsessed with lately is rhubarb.  Why?  Because it makes some awesome desserts.

Every year I make a couple of jars of rhubarb compote.  A large spoonful or so is great on vanilla ice cream or plain greek yogurt.  A couple of weekends ago I was feeling rather British so I made a Rhubarb Fool.  Whip up some cream into stiff peaks and add rhubarb compote to taste.  It’s a fabulous excuse to eat a bowl of whipped cream (but call it a light, seasonal dessert).

Rhubarb Compote (I think this is from City Cook, several years ago…)

6 cups rhubarb cut into ½-inch slices
1 ½ cup sugar (I usually use less)
Optional: 1 teaspoon lemon or orange zest

  1. In a non-reactive, large saucepan off the heat, combine the rhubarb pieces with the sugar and toss or stir to combine. While still off the heat, let the pan sit for about 15 minutes until the rhubarb begins to throw off liquid. Stir occasionally to help the rhubarb become wet.
  2. When the pan has developed some sugary rhubarb juice, place the pan on a medium-low heat and gently simmer, stirring occasionally, until the fruit becomes soft and falls apart, forming a jam-like consistency. This will take about 10 to 15 minutes.
  3. Remove from the heat and transfer the compote to a bowl. Let cool.

The compote can be used either warm or cold. It can be made in advance and kept refrigerated for up to 3 days (note: I keep mine longer and it hasn’t killed me yet).

Tip: For a more complex flavor you can add a tablespoon or two of ruby port or two teaspoons of an orange-flavored liquor such as Grand Marnier or Cointreau. Use less liqueur than port because the flavors are more concentrated.

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I also tried Rhubarb Sorbet this year – but the verdict is still out.  The suggestion in the recipe is to add corn syrup to give a creamier texture, but it was a really odd texture.  Try it with less or leave out the corn syrup altogether.

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Finally, while I’m not the hugest coffee cake fan, I will eat this one any day of the week. The Rhubarb ‘Big Crumb’ Coffee Cake is just that good.  Rhubarb + crumb = yum.

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Spinach we’ll have for awhile but the Hudson Farmers’ market newsletter tells us that we won’t have rhubarb much longer.  I may follow their suggestion and freeze some for later!

it’s that time

Hudson Farmers’ Market opens Saturday May 5th, 9am – 1pm and runs Saturdays through November.

Like them on Facebook or sign up for their emails to learn more about vendors, or even better, what’s coming to market.

This is one happy food muse!  :)  I’m excited about rhubarb.  Are you?

new year’s resolutions anyone?

Personally, I don’t make them.  Just the word diet makes me reach for a cookie.  At least for me, resolutions seem a recipe for failure.

how can you say no to this?

I think of this after running into our neighbors at the Acres Co-op Market this weekend.  I was clutching my Dutch Desserts raspberry tart and my neighbor told me she’s not doing that sort of thing this month.  They’re eating clean and healthy for this month, including no drinking and no dessert.  Like I said…

So, here we are in the depths of winter and we have two, count ‘em, two food markets in the town of Hudson.  They actually both opened up last weekend, January 6/7, but since I was laid out flat with a cold (ie, napping after breakfast, going through a box of kleenix in a day, etc.) I only explored them this past weekend.  Food happiness.

The Acres Co-op Market is worth checking out to find some new producers and products for Hudson.  I won’t dare try to list them all since I will inevitably forget someone, but in addition to the lovely raspberry tart I also got a small chunk of gruyere, tasted smoked chicken (!) and picked up a couple of Block Factory tamales for lunch.

a perfect light lunch

Acres Co-op Market is open Saturdays, 10am – 2pm.

Lick The Market has many favorites from the Hudson Farmers’ Market – so we were able to pick up Loaf pretzels, eggs and the stuff for a yummy roasted beet salad.  People were squeezed in, looking at the fresh herbs, picking up bread and leeks and veggies and I overhead someone say “We’re not in a food desert anymore”.  I’m not sure we’re there yet, but we’re making great strides.  Lick is open Friday, Saturday AND Sunday.

Along a similar vein, have you heard about the Hudson 10% challenge?  There was a notice in one of our bills this month, but you can also find more info here.  Naturally, I would like to use 10% less energy not only in the name of saving the earth, but also saving 10% $$$ a month.  That sounds good to me.  In digging around their website, under Quick & Easy Changes, points 3, 4 and 5 are:

  • Buy local
  • Join a CSA
  • Shop at farmers markets

And then further down they suggest to eat less meat (since large commercial meat production drains resources) and use reusable bags.  For me, this will happen a lot faster than filling my cold walls with insulation, I’m afraid.

Will this town take this “buy local” advice and support two small food markets plus the CSAs & non-CSAs we have available?  They all offer the mix of organic and conventional, primarily local but reaching further for certain goods.  It’s articles like this and this that make me want to get closer to the farmer and the source of my food.  Then again, I’m not willing to give up olive oil, citrus, salt, etc…   It can be mind-boggling, no?

How do you define good food?  How will you eat good food this year?

Hudson eating updates

Happy New Year!  I have seriously been in hibernation – I haven’t even baked cookies.  I finished off a bottle of Ronnybrook eggnog though.  Good stuff.

But, I digress.  I have gotten out of the house a little, only to find that Strongtree Coffee Roasters is moving?  Where???

On a happier note, January is Falafel Awareness Month.  Who knew?  Middle Easteners and vegetarians already know the value of a good falafel, and this month Park Falafel & Pizza is inviting everyone to find out.

Have you tried Truck Pizza at 347 Warren yet?  We’ve had a couple of pizzas and so far, I have to say they are tasty.  You can even get just a half pizza if you are feeling only a little peckish.  Call ahead to eliminate standing outside in the cold…

You may have already discovered this, but Friday and Saturday nights Grazin’ Diner is open until 9:30pm and serving Crossroads beer.

Which is also available at Mod down on Front Street. Have you checked out their gluten free as well as veg/vegan options?  All can eat here.  I recommend the Spicy Green Bean starter.

But back to beer.  If you want to try the full selection of Crossroads brews, as well as wine and their own rootbeer, you should take a little roadtrip to Athens across the river.  Crossroads is open until 9pm Sunday – Thursday, and 12:00am on Fridays and Saturdays.  They’re strictly beverages at the moment, but there is the Roadside Bistro food truck until their kitchen is up and running.

Obviously I have not made any crazy resolutions to eat less…

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