Westchester Eats March 2007



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When those like-a-lion March winds blow, transport your taste buds to warmer climes. This fragrant lamb tangine, a traditional Morrocan stew, features a mélange of fork-tender lamb, slivered artichoke bottoms, briny preserved lemons, and just-picked green beans. It is served in an authentic clay cooking pot at Zitoune in Mamaroneck.


Belgian Booty

Let Us Lead You Into Temptation

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Having made chocolate for family and friends, Maria Valente, a former real estate agent who studied at the French Culinary Institute in Manhattan, decided to open Chocolations, a chocolate shop in Mamaroneck. 

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Valente sells at least 25 varieties of truffles ($1 a piece) in flavors such as dark espresso, Morello cherry, and a Concord grape-Merlot infusion. “I use a good-quality Belgian chocolate,” assures Valente. Bark chocolate and bonbons (each $18/lb) are also available, as are store-baked goods such as muffins, brownies, and orange pound cake.

The best part of owning a chocolate shop? “I can have chocolate for breakfast every day,” she says. “That, and the commute. I live three minutes away.”


447 Mamaroneck Ave

, Mamaroneck(914) 777-3600; www.chocolations.com.


Milk Sugar



Dulce de leche is caramelized, condensed milk, and is often cooked right in the can. It’s the quintessential comfort food for the Spanish-speaking world. Kids eat it just drizzled on bread, but our creative local chefs elevate the golden caramel sauce. Try the treat at the following five restaurants.


At Tango Grill (128 E Post Rd, White Plains 914-946-6222; www.tangorestaurantonline.com), leave room after that steak for dulce de leche-filled crêpes, sauced with rum (for a flaming presentation) or raspberry, and topped with rich vanilla ice cream.


At Sonora (

179 Rectory St

, Port Chester 914-933-0200; www.sonoranycom), Chef Rafael Palomino has created a signature dulce de leche cheesecake that brings New York style and his native Colombian palate together in a dreamy dessert. His website shares the recipe with home cooks. Just a sliver—go on.


At Pacifico (316 Boston Post Rd, Port Chester 914-937-1610; www.pacificony.com), Palomino also serves a dulce de leche ice cream parfait with tres leches sponge cake, chocolate sauce, and cream. Dulce de leche shortbread cookies also come along with the coconut-banana crème brûlée.


At Plates (121 Myrtle Blvd, Larchmont 914-834-1244; www.platesonthepark.com), Chef Matthew Karp chills it all into an ice cream cake, with homemade ladyfingers, vanilla and dulce de leche ice cream, chocolate sauce, and crushed toffee bars: an over-the-top Heath Bar treat.


Mango Café (

222 Main St

, Mount Kisco 914-666-3238 www.almangocafe.com) tucks the gooey caramel into sweet empanadas, along with chocolate, and then scoops on the vanilla ice cream, too.

—Judith Hausman




Root Interest



It may look like a creamy-white version of a carrot but the parsnip has a sweeter, more intense flavor and has more vitamins and minerals. “It’s a great winter vegetable as the cold turns some of the starch in parsnips into sugar and they become even sweeter,” says Dave Shakin, owner and chef of The Heights Bistro & Bar in Yorktown Heights (www.theheightsbistro.com). “They can be used in stews, mashed like potatoes, roasted, and even made into chips.” Below he offers a special soup recipe using parsnips:


Parsnip and Roasted Pear Soup

(Serves 8)


3 Tbsp vegetable oil

1 lb parsnips, peeled and
cut into small chunks

1 large onion, peeled and diced

1/2 tsp ground cardamom

1 qt homemade chicken stock

2 large pears peeled, seeded, and diced in ½-inch chunks (reserve peels)

1 cup heavy cream

salt and pepper to taste


1. Heat 2 Tbsp of oil in soup pot and add parsnips and onions. Sauté, stirring occasionally until onions are translucent and parsnips are just starting to brown.

2. Add cardamom and continue cooking 1 minute.

3. Add chicken stock and pear peels and bring to a simmer.

4. In a sauté pan, heat remaining oil and add pear chunks. Cook over medium-low heat until brown, soft, and fragrant.

5. When parsnips are tender, remove soup from heat. Add cream.

6. Purée in blender until very smooth. Season with salt and pepper.

7. Add pear chunks, reheat if necessary and serve in bowls.


Short Order


It was only a matter of time. Some of us have beeen shelling out money for what most of us are perfectly content to get free—water. Enter the “water menu,” a list of designer bottled water (akin to a wine menu). You’ll find one at Via Genova (140 King St, Chappaqua 914-238-7581), where 40 bottles of H20 have made the cut, including the $55 bling H2O from English Mountain Spring in Tennessee, which comes in a corked bottle lined with Swarovski crystals. “Bottled waters are smoother, crisper, cleaner, and lighter than tap water,” owner Diane Felicissimo says. Besides bottled water, you can enjoy breakfast, lunch, and dinner seven days a week


Valbella Steakhouse (754 White Plains Rd, Scarsdale 914-725-0566), new to Scarsdale, with outposts in Riverside, Connecticut, and Manhattan’s Meat Packing District, is a 136-seat eatery open every day for lunch and dinner. In addition to offering—what else?—steak, including a 28-oz porterhouse and a 22-oz rib-eye, Valbella serves daily seafood specials, and its signature Napoleon for two with toasted almonds for dessert. Entrée prices range from $18 to $48…Annie’s Café (

235 Harrison Ave

, Harrison 914-630-0762), a casual American restaurant opened, offering entrées such as grilled Norwegian salmon and spinach cheese ravioli. Entrée prices range between $14 and $23


…A special $69 surf and turf dinner is available this month at Morton’s the Steakhouse (9 Maple Ave, White Plains 914-683-6101; www.mortons.com), consisting of a single-cut filet mignon, salad, steamed asparagus, and either a 7 to 8 oz Australian lobster tail or two Alaskan king crab legs


…Chef Greg Gilbert, who headed the kitchen at Jackson & Wheeler (25 Wheeler Ave, Pleasantville 914-741-2000; www.jacksonandwheeler.com), has “abruptly” left the Pleasantville New American restaurant to pursue other options. “He stormed out one Friday at five pm,” says J&W owner Lenny Bernstein. He’s been replaced by co-executive chefs Dennis J. Hart Jr., formerly of the defunct Sweetwaters in White Plains, and Joseph Polese Jr., formerly at the Paddock in Patterson, New York.

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