Our county is spread out and disparate, but if there’s one thing that binds us together, it’s food. If there’s anything that’ll get a rivertown resident to venture over to the Sound Shore, or make a Southern Westchesterite journey north of 287, it’s the promise of a great meal.
That’s why it’s always such a pleasure to put out our annual Dining Issue. The same way a family gathers around the table to discuss a great meal, Westchester’s dining scene is always cause for county-wide conversation.
From pages 72 to 93, we county foodies (and really, aren’t we all foodies?) should have lots to talk about after devouring this year’s dining features—from “Our Coolest Restaurants” (see page 72) to cable TV’s Baron Amborisa’s adventurous tour of the culinary fringes of Yonkers (be prepared to laugh and learn; see page 86).
The biggest frustration in putting out a food-themed issue is that you can’t reach into the page and taste the gorgeous, delicious creations our chefs have cooked up for us. Instead, we tried to get you the next best thing: gorgeous food photography.
The photos in this issue come courtesy of Andre Baranowski. You may recognize his style from his work in Saveur magazine, where he is a frequent contributor. “Food photography is very challenging and difficult technically—but a lot of fun,” he says. “I am used to solving problems on location.”
For this issue, we sent Andre all over the county, to snap shots of chilled soups, cold sangrias, our coolest restaurants, and our cover. For our cover, we asked him to take photographs that would best telegraph cool, hip dining. Lugging his equipment, Andre, who moved from Poland to the United States (“Because the U.S. is best!”), dutifully and happily dashed around the county, photographing diners, dishes, and drinks. Great shots all—but it wasn’t until he was shooting at Don Coqui, the Puerto Rican restaurant and “Best of Westchester” winner in New Rochelle, that Andre, who today lives in White Plains, knew he had his cover shot.
“This woman walked in and I just loved her look,” he says. He soon learned that she was Jaleene Rodriguez, owner Jimmy Rodriguez’s eldest daughter and business partner (and a mom of a 10-month-old), and that, yes, she’d pose for a photograph. “It was sort of a last-minute decision,” he says. Jaleene was a natural. And, of course, she graces our cover.
(By the way, if you love his photos as much as we do and would like to see more, you’re in luck. Visit our website this month and click on “Our Coolest Restaurants” feature to find the many photos Andre took that we could not fit on our pages.)
We hope that Andre’s rich, evocative photographs of our county fare will have you reaching for your phones—first to call up friends to make dinner plans, then to make a reservation.
And we hope the conversation doesn’t stop here. Did we miss your favorite hip eatery? Did The Baron neglect to try out a funky and delicious joint in Yonkers? Let me know your opinions of the county’s dining scene by e-mailing edit@westchester
magazine.com. And, always, bon appetit!