Like the “good for you” cocktail,” the current culinary buzz is as paradoxical as ever. We want healthier but luxurious, too: local and artisanal but also burgers, tropical super fruits, and traditional French. Here are four trends to watch:
The Dylan Lounge, ahead of the curve when it comes to locavorian cocktails.
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Locavores don’t just like to know that their tomatoes and chicken were raised nearby; they like to drink locally, too. So Tuthilltown Distillery’s small-batch, aromatic, Heart of the Hudson vodka and grassy Four Grain bourbon, handmade in just-up-the-river Gardiner, New York, are part of that trend. Its alcohol is almost too good for mixed drinks, but at Dylan Lounge at X2O Xaviars on the Hudson (71 Water Grant St, Yonkers 914-965-1111), a stiff, dry Perfect Suburban incorporates Tuthilltown’s Hudson Valley-distilled rye and both sweet and dry vermouth. Pour Café & Wine Bar (241 Main St, Mount Kisco 914-864-0606) also features Tuthilltown spirits. Try more micro-distillery spirits from the nearby Berkshire Mountain Distillers’ Ragged Mountain rum and Greylock Gin from Great Barrington, Massachusetts.
Doc’s Draft Hard Cider, from Warwick Valley Winery & Distillery in Warwick, New York, packs an apple-y punch too, and Pleasantville’s Captain Lawrence concocts wonderful seasonal brews available at many area restaurants. Pumpernickel (925 Saw Mill River Rd, Ardsley 914-479-5370) also carries Captain Lawrence’s exclusive brewed root beer.
Your Antioxidants on the Rocks or…?
Packed with cancer-fighters and recent heath claims, superfruits, such as acai, blueberries, and pomegranate, are the new “Apple a Day.” They are even easier to swallow when formatted into rosy cocktails. In the classes she is teaching at Don Coqui (115 Cedar St, New Rochelle 914-637-3737), New Rochelle mixologist Arlen Gargagliano will be making “healthy” Latino cocktails, such as pomegranate and raspberry margaritas or cosmos, pomegranate martinis and blueberry pisco sours. She also stirs up seasonal, fruit-packed sangrias. The acai mojito at BLT Steak (3 Renaissance Sq, White Plains, 914-467-5500) will put roses in your cheeks and Sunset Cove’s (238 Lower Green St, Tarrytown 914-366-7889) pomegranate margarita creates a blush to match the sundown view.
Take That, PETA!
Even if we’ve had to swap porterhouse for chopped meat recently (yes, many of us have not become vegetarians), we can still afford upscale tweaks for burgers, those downscale economy favorites. At F.A.B (222 E Main St, Mount Kisco 914-864-661) it’s foie gras on top. Juniper (575 Warburton Ave, Hastings-on-Hudson 914 478 2542) melts luscious Gruyère over their cheeseburger and decks it out with roasted tomato and mustard aioli too. Chat (1 Christie Pl, Scarsdale 914-722-4000) serves a Kobe beef burger.
The Cookery, a carnivore foodie haven.
At the same time, we’re looking for heritage breed, grass-fed, or at least more ethical meat. Michael Pollan and movies like Food, Inc., are partially responsible for telling us more than we might want to know about conventional meat. Birdsall House (970 Main St, Peekskill 914-930-1880) makes a mean Hemlock Hill burger on a challah bun with housemade ketchup, even. At the cozy Cookery (39 Chestnut Ave, Dobbs Ferry 914-305-2336), Dave DiBari wraps heritage pork, Creekstone ribeye, and housemade charcuterie into his rustic Italian menu. A grass-fed ribeye awaits at Sweet Grass Grill (24 Main St, Tarrytown 914-631-0000) after a first of Berkshire pork croquettes with pickled peppers. Comfort Lounge (583 Warburton Ave, Hastings-on-Hudson 914-478-0666) features local meats too, and a down-home, organic chicken dinner for four for $26 to take home, that includes dessert nightly.
Last but not least, we see a mini-boom of classic French bistro dishes on County menus. Maybe these continental comfort foods are what we all need while the economy recoups. Or could it just be that Julie and Julia reminded us how good butter is? Look for juicy hanger steak with shoestring frites, mussels steamed in fragrant wine and herbs, buttery tarte Tatin and satin-y duck confit at the likes of Café of Love (38 E Main St, Mount Kisco 914-242-1002), F.A.B, Juniper, and Bistro Rollin (140 Fifth Ave, Pelham 914-633-0780) and Meetinghouse Food and Spirits (635 Old Post Rd, Bedford Village 914-234-5656).