Lewisboro resident Irene Young Wallace blogs and posts about her delicious dining in Westchester County and beyond via @i_on_the_valley.
Photos courtesy of Irene Young Wallace
Introducing The Top 10, where our favorite, food-obsessed Westchester residents share the dishes and drinks they can’t get enough of.
Six years ago, Lewisboro resident Irene Young Wallace began sharing her travel, arts and culture, and food experiences in the Hudson Valley, Connecticut, and New York City on her website www.ionthevalley.com. The former mortgage broker explains that blogging and Instagram are now her full-time job, after launching her food-focused Instagram account @i_on_the_valley four years ago.
“Instagram allows me to learn about new places and connect with others passionate about food — from chefs and restaurateurs to fellow epicureans.” Wallace began posting about food after years of recommending places to eat and visit to friends: “People used to always ask me where to go, so I thought I could create something that could be shared with even more people. Food makes me happy and I’m always talking about food!”
Her consistent posting and dedication to the ‘gram has garnered an impressive following of nearly 18,000. Wallace explains, “I dedicate time every day to engage with others and to create visually compelling original content that both myself and followers would enjoy. I have a social media calendar to plan out the content two weeks in advance. I want each day to be different and offer something new and exciting!” Many of her posts laud Westchester restaurants and establishments.
Sharing food content online is a family affair, as Wallace’s daughter Renee encouraged her to create the successful Instagram account. Wallace says she has loved the experience of posting content on the visual platform. “Food is so visual and can be like art — why not share it with the world and others who get excited about food?” Renee and Wallace’s other daughter, Sarah, also manage locally-focused Instagram accounts to watch out for: Renee’s @platefulofgoodness (vegetarian and plant-based focused) and Sarah’s @noshplate.
Here are Wallace’s top picks for dining and drinking in Westchester.
Eggplant Parm at The Cookery
39 Chestnut St, Dobbs Ferry; 914.305.2336
“James Beard-nominated chef and owner, David DiBari, is so talented and always has such fun dishes. His eggplant parm at The Cookery is a fun twist on an Italian classic. He uses thinly sliced layers of eggplant and tops it with breadcrumbs, filetto di pomodoro, and shaved parmigiano.”
Paella Marinera at La Camelia
234 N Bedford Rd, Mt Kisco; 914.666.2466
“La Camelia’s beautifully presented paella marinera is a seafood lover’s dream and includes a half lobster.”
Penne A La Vodka at Gigante
660 White Plains Rd, Eastchester; 914.961.1001
“Gigante’s penne a la vodka is so creamy and delicious. This al dente pasta is perfectly firm and has such luscious sauce made with San Marzano tomatoes.”
Donjito Punch at Donjito
122 Mamaroneck Ave, Mamaroneck; 914.902.5486
“The Donjito Punch is one of many reasons to dine at Donjito. It’s so light, and it transports me to the tropics. I love that it’s served in a fresh pineapple!”
Mac ’N’ Cheese Donuts at Exit 4
153 E Main St, Mt Kisco; 914.241.1200
“Exit 4 is great to go with a group of friends because there’s something for everyone. Make sure you order the mac ’n’ cheese donuts — you won’t be disappointed! Firm on the outside and ooey gooey deliciousness on the inside. Such a unique dish!”
General Tso’s Kung Pao Cauliflower at The Rare Bit
23 Cedar St, Dobbs Ferry; 914.693.8000
“The General Tso’s Kung Pao Cauliflower from The Rare Bit is out of this world — and vegan! Each piece is super crispy and packed with flavor, but not too spicy!”
Steam Chicken Bun at Fatt Root
11 Wheeler Ave, Pleasantville; 914.579.2552
“Chef/owner Mogan Anthony of the Village Social Restaurant Group has created great variety of dishes that vegetarians, vegans, and carnivores alike can enjoy. I can’t stop thinking about Fatt Root’s steam chicken bun. It’s not greasy, it’s full of flavor, and I love how fluffy the bun is!”
Sichuan Wontons at O Mandarin
361 N Central Ave, Hartsdale; 914.437.9168
“Spicy food lovers: make sure you try the Sichuan Wontons in a spicy chili oil! The wontons are bathed in an aromatic and peppery bright red oil.”
Burritos at Salsa Verde
325 Rte 100, Somers; 914.556.6626
“If you are craving Mexican cuisine and fabulous drinks, then Salsa Verde is the perfect spot. My last few times there, I ordered the burritos. They are so filling and huge — it can count as two meals. Plus, the Spanish rice is so flavorful and goes well with the sautéed veggies in the burrito.”
Eggplant Stack at Kisco River Eatery
222 E Main St; 914.218.3877
“The Eggplant Stack from Kisco River Eatery is so crisp and super flavorful. Sometimes eggplant can be mushy, but here, it is not the case.”