A Fine Chardonnay from Millbrook of Duchess County

Milbrook Chardonnay

Chardonnay is produced all over the world, and by most measures the most popular grape, yet it has so many flavor profiles depending on where and how it is made.

You have the big oaky buttery style so popular from California, to dry light steely Chablis from France. Tasting them together you might conclude they are totally different grapes, but they are not. There are scores of variations from all points of the globe Australia to Uruguay.

A fine dinner made on the grill in my favorite big cast iron skillet of local chicken and vegetables from the market deserved a perfect wine like this, and the Millbrook Chardonnay was just right.

Skillet Chicken Roast on the GrillIt is produced in an oaked and unoaked version and in a Proprietors Special Reserve. This was the oaked style and presents a gentle buttery flavor with the crisp apple, apricot, and honeysuckle flavors, but like a French wine has lots of distinct minerality that we love. It paired well with the robust flavors of the brined and browned chicken and the caramelized vegetables.

It was missing the sweet cloying almost candy flavors you find in some lower quality mass produced Chardonnay. Which we can’t stand.

Millbrook Winery has been producing wine in the Hudson Valley since 1985, it has been  called “the Hudson Valley’s flagship winery” by The New York Times and “a great place to visit” by The Wall Street Journal.

Read this recent article on the current vintage on New York Cork Report. Millbrook Vineyards’ “Local Juice” — Then and Now.

Millbrook Winery

26 Wing Road
Millbrook, NY 12545

Chicken from Marbled Meat Shop Cold Spring

Vegetables and herbs from Cold Spring Farmers Market and our own garden.



A Gem of a Wine Shop in Peekskill – Dylan’s Wine Cellar

Dylan's Wine Cellar Main Room

I’ve been curious by this intriguing wine shop since our first visit to Peekskill almost a year ago. The timing was never right and it looked so high-end. Well the opportunity to check this place out came a couple of nights ago after dinner at the fun new Taco Dive Bar across the street.

We were greeted by the friendly smile of owner Steven Zwick who opened this shop with his wife Maribel Almonte-Zwick a few years ago naming it after their son Dylan. By my estimation Steven is very meticulous and assiduous about selecting wines for his store.  I found six that I look forward to tasting very soon. This observation is borne out by their “Best of Westchester 2015” award.

The store is small but very well organized.  The main room has wine displayed by predominant varietal Chardonnay, Merlot, Syrah what have you. There are great values and premium priced offerings. Periodic discounts and generous half and full case discounts are offered, as well as special discounts for Peekskill Metro-North commuters.

Created in the historic Standard House Dylan’s maintains an old world charm. In the second room wines by country are found and an ample selection of spirits which includes my favorite vermouth Carpano Antica at the lowest price anywhere in the area.

Dylan's Wine Cellar Second Room

We picked these six wines and I will tell you why.

Dylan's Wine Cellar Six WinesFrom left to right, all these wines were under $20, a couple much less than that. We are happy to splurge on an expensive bottle of something great, but for everyday drinking, which we do pretty much every day, we like to stay under $15. Some of these were below that.

The first is a McLaren Vale, 90+ Cellars Lot 37 Shiraz.   Mclaren Vale is our favorite Australian wine region, it is a place where people live free, express themselves with joy and make great wine in giant concrete vats. This one is said to have “Inky in color with seductive aromas of spicy dark fruit and perfumed plums. The wine is full-bodied, round, and juicy with subtle trails of vanilla in the finish. You’ll love this wine with savory short ribs, hearty stews, or a juicy cheeseburger off the grill.”  Most any Shiraz would be great with these summer and autumn foods and we have high hopes for this one.

The second is a Primitivo from Puglia, Italy.  We love this wine that is argued to be the same as Zinfandel. We drank a lot of it during our last trip to Italy that took us to Puglia, and a lot since then, but the last three we have tried, purchased in Hudson Valley wine shops have failed to thrill. We pray this one breaks our bad luck streak, we will let you know.

The third Diana picked for the colorful graphics of the label. Her dad who is visiting in a few days loves Tempranillo,  this one from Ribera del Guadiana, was under $10 why not give it a try.  I think I’ll put together some tapas including some of the great chorizo that they make over at Marbled Meat Shop.

Wine number four, an Inzolia, another love we brought back from Italy. It is produced on the island of Sicily and barely anywhere else. It is hard to find on this side of the Atlantic and we grab it whenever we see it. Firriato is a great winemaker there and we are looking forward to tasting this soon.

Lat night we tasted and absolutely loved the fifth wine, Loveblock.  Ever hear of Kim Crawford of New Zealand? The man who helped make NZ Sauvignon Blanc and international sensation? Well a few years ago he sold his winery for a ton of dough, and it continues to make great wine. See our recent review here Hello Again Kim Crawford. This wine is the result of Erica and husband Kim Crawford’s recent work and it is spectacular, perhaps one of the best Sav Blancs we have ever tasted, and we have enjoyed many of the best.

Last but not least is a curious Italian wine from the Basilicata region, a dry Muscat. The grape is most often used for sweet wines we enjoy and we look forward to tasting it in a dry variety. Basilicata, is way down in the southern extreme of Italy, and is the site of the great volcano Mount Vulture. The volcanic soil is great for wine grape growing and the sunny climate is just perfect as well.

In closing I should mention that Dylan’s carries a nice selection of New York wines too. We like that.

Check back for more discussion on these wines. And do go buy some at Dylan’s Wine Cellar.

Dylan’s Wine Cellar
50 Hudson Ave.
Peekskill NY 10566
Phone: 914-930-8003



South of the Border, Down Peekskill Way

Taco Dive Bar GuacamoleSouth of the Putnam-Westchester border that is, you will find fabulous Mexican fare, cocktails and beer at the newly opened Taco Dive Bar by the river, near Riverfront Green and the Peekskill Train Station.

Restauranteur Louie Lanza, has another winner with this fun and fabulous place, and to that we say muy bien, gracias!

We started with a cocktail and a beer and the instantly fresh house made guacamole,  pico de gallo and chips.

Taco Dive Bar Cocktails

The menu is small plate appetizers and salads, and a bunch of delightfully creative tacos which we devoured. Up until now our favorite places for Mexican were in Mexico or our beloved Taqueria Autentica down in Bloomfield, NJ. We thrilled to now have Taco Dive Bar as well.

Taco Dive Bar Kitchen

Lanza brings 25 years of experience creating successful restaurants in New York City, and as they say “If you can make it there…” It shows, this place is perfect at every point, the staff is friendly, engaging and effective. Thanks Emily and Zachary (Hope I got your names right)!

Taco Dive Bar Dining RoomThis place rocks! The music is loud, but that drowns out the trains blairing horns.Taco Dive Bar Beer Oculto

Many beers, standards and originals, several on tap many more in bottle and can. Great cocktails, and a good selection of wines, if that’s your pleasure.

Taco Dive Bar Beef Brisket TacoFood is delicious and creative, Brisket taco was crispy onions was Diana’s favorite. Gluten free is indicated.

Lanza and his wife Joni have a farm in Garrison and source as much as possible locally. I hear that their first restaurant in Peekskill, Hudson Room, has been a great success. I’m embarrassed to say we have not been their yet, but will be soon.

Taco Dive Bar Beer Bottle Lights

Taco Dive Bar

55 Hudson Ave, Peekskill, NY – 914-788-TACO


The Stockade Cucumber Lime Bitters Saketini Perfected

Stockade Bitters SaketiniWith a little more tweaking we got this one just right.

A saketini with the delicious Stockade Farm and Apothecary Cucumber Lime Bitters.

For each cocktail:

2 oz well chilled sake – Momo Kawa Silver

1/2 oz sweet white vermouth – Cocchi Americano,   Carpano Bianco or Atxa bianco

8 drops of Stockade Cucumber Lime Bitters

Stir over spring water ice, server up with a slice of cucumber and lime and a couple more drops of bitters.



Three Delightful Cocktails with Stockade Cucumber Lime Bitters

New Saketini

We have been a big fan of Stockade bitters since we discovered them back in May at the Cold Spring Farmers Market. A new crafter out of Kingston, NY began producing a whole line of homegrown herbal elixirs, tinctures, bitters, kombucha and fresh pressed juice just a few months ago.

We love their Orange Clove Bitters, and just tried their new Cucumber Lime Bitters in these three cocktails.

Perfect Dry Martini

This may be the most perfect “dry” vodka martini I have ever tasted, good premium vodka stirred over ice and about 8 drops of Stockade Cucumber Lime Bitters in place of the vermouth.

Most people I know like their martini’s “dry” meaning little or now vermouth.  Which is really because they have been served martinis with poor quality or spoiled vermouth. Bad vermouth tastes like pain thinner, who would want that in their cocktail. A very good vermouth like Dolin Blanc makes the vodka come alive, as did even more so, this bitter. It has a light open airy taste with subtle scents and flavors.

You see cucumber and lime in a lot of Asian cuisine and I bet these bitters would be perfect in Japanese, Thai or Vietnamese dishes, but  what really came to mind was using these bitters for a Saketini. Yes! Easy simple.

Use a moderately price Sake like Momo, no need for the expensive stuff, but don’t go cheap. We used Momo Kawa Silver, craft made in Oregon by Greg Lorenz. Don’t use the creamy Nigori.  I just put the sake in the freezer for a couple of hours to get it nice and cold then add about 8 drops of the bitters, more if you like, garnish with a line and cucmber slice or a leaf of mint. Note: stirring over ice dilutes the sake to much so I use the freezer to make the drink cold.

New Saketini
These were both great but the absolute winner was this one, made with Sake, vodka, Employees Only Grenadine and Stockton Cucumber Lime Bitters.

This requires some careful measurement, 2 oz sake, 3/4 oz premium vodka, 1/2 to 3/4 oz grenadine — Must Be Employees Only, you can buy it online. Stir this vigorously over ice and pour straight up or over a big rock, add 6 drops of the bitters and there you have it. Garnish with a lime, and if you like more tart, squeeze just a little lime juice in. Your guests will love this.

Sweet Asian Delights

Stockade Bitters are more subtle than some, you can use them liberally, they come in a good sized bottle for the price so you are free to bitter on!

Look for Stockade Farm & Apothecary at the Cold Spring Farmer’s Market in Cold Spring, NY and the Woodstock Mower’s Market in Woodstock, NY!



Tasty Event This Weekend Cold Spring

The Pantry Marbled Meat Event 7-25-26

Here is a great event for foodies, beer lovers and music fans alike.

Saturday 7/25 and Sunday 7/26 oysters by the dozen and lobster rolls for sale to go from @brooklynoysterparty and small batch artisan chocolate from @raakachocolate (starting at 10am and 11am) with live music in the evening @7pm paired with raw bar and grill food from @marbledmeatshop

If you are interested in having seafood permanently at the market, stop by and show your support start with pre-orders!

Marbled Meat Shop

The Pantry Cold Spring



Boss Burgers and Beer at Poppy’s Beacon

poppy's Beacon Burgers EnhancedWe are true burger aficionados that can chalk up tasting experiences the likes of which include an hour of arousing contemplation waiting on line in Madison Park to savor an authentic Danny Meyer Shake Shack Burger and the dramatic sensation of the Foie Gras as we cherished one of the artful burgers at db Bistro Moderne, and so many other fabulous burger places around the country. Corner Bistro, Smash Burger, In-N-Out, we have done so many.

There is a moment of truth as you are about to taste what you hope will be your next great burger, when the question looms — “Will this one delight or disappoint?”  You see the down side of enjoying so many great ones is that it becomes harder and harder to delight, yet Poppy’s burgers won!  We loved them both.

It helps of course if you have a happy and charming server like Kelley! She knows just what to do and more importantly when you are out for a great burger and beer, knows her beers!poppy's Beacon Beer enhanced

Poppy’s has a few locals brews on tap and more in can and bottles. This one from Single Cut in Queens, NY was awesome.

You won’t be completely happy unless you order a mountain of the perfectly prepared Poppy’s fries. We added a side of the house made aioli. Love mayo on my fries.

Poppy's Beacon Fries Enhanced

What makes this food so good? Very well sourced truly natural ingredients, food that tastes good and feels good. Makes you happy.

The seating is comfy in the simple interior or the cozy backyard garden.

Poppy's Table enhanced

There are vegan options on the menu if meat is not your thing. But at a place like this come on, indulge!

Their mission “to provide affordable, farm-fresh food in a casual environment. We source the best local grass-fed beef. All of our produce is Hudson Valley grown whenever possible. We also proudly serve the best veggie burgers in town and micro-brews that complement our burgers.” Done, Done and Done!

Poppy’s Burger & Fries
184 Main Street
Beacon, NY 12508
(845) 765-2121 Hours
Monday: 11am to 4pm
Wednesday: 11am to 4pm
Thursday-Sunday: 12pm to 8pm


A Chilean Wine with Roots in the Hudson Valley

Casa Patronales Maucho  Carignan

I love wines with a story and this one has one to tell.  Made with a grape that Ampelographers consider came from  Cariñena, Aragon and was later transplanted to Sardinia where it is used to make one of my very favorite wines, Carignano del Sulcis.

Over the centuries, and especially in the last few decades, this grape has been planted in France, Algeria, Australia, California, much of the “New World.” Maucho Carignan comes from the lush Maule Valley in Chile, from Casa Patronales a prominent vineyard that has unique ties to the Hudson Valley. The families of Castro and Chadwick who built Casa Patronales along with Cesar Baeza own the oldest still operating North American winery, Hudson Valley’s own Brotherhood Winery.brotherhood_winery_cellars_1 Continue reading A Chilean Wine with Roots in the Hudson Valley