Category Archives: Westchester Wednesdays

Head to the Alamo and Get Your Golden Ticket, Now!

Seems it is going to be a banner Fall season at the Alamo Drafthouse in Yonkers! I was just perusing through my news feed on facebook and saw that on October 3rd, the Alamo is once again hosting the Ultimate Willy Wonka Party! I went last year and it was so much fun! (Check out my post here – World of Pure Imagination Comes to Life at the Alamo Drafthouse) Be sure to buy your Golden Ticket to this event HERE

If that isn’t enough to entice you, here are a few of the highlights on the schedule as of now:

  • Sunday August 23rd – Pee Wee’s Big Adventure (Keep and eye out, you might see my and my stepbrother wearing our bow ties and big shoes!)
  • Monday August 24th – Oskar Blues Weird Science Beer Dinner – Not only do you get to experience the 30th Anniversary of this John Hughes classic on the big screen, but you get a dinner and beer pairing featuring options from Oskar Blues Brewery. Wearing a bra on your head is optional
  • Friday September 4th & Sunday September 6th – Jaws – Need I say more? 10154885_10154662997715301_8312948804145423212_n
  • Saturday September 5th – Indiana Jones Trilogy – All three movies starting at Noon, and only $15!
  • Sunday September 13th – Hudson Valley Craft Beer Fest presents Stand By Me Dinner – As a part of the Hudson Valley Craft Beer Fest, the Alamo has partnered with Sloop Brewing Company for a screening of STAND BY ME, including a four course feast paired with beers. And yes, the do have blueberry pie for dessert!
  • Thursday September 17th – Old School quote-along. Yes the Alamo is having it’s own Mitchapalooza. Not sure if there is going to be any late night streaking but it should be a good time!

These are just a few that enticed me, there are plenty current releases and other old favorites to choose from! Check their calendar for regular updates HERE

Big Brew Summer Edition – This Saturday!

Looking for something to do this weekend? Why not attend the Big Brew NY this Saturday at Lyndhust Castle? If you recall, Irish Kat, SK2, Dear Ang, and a few others attended the Big Brew NY’s winter session at Westchester County Center and had a blast! This time, we will be outdoors and in the summer sun enjoying the cold beers on tap. Lifestyles with Lia will be joining us this time around. It will be her first beer fest!

If you see either of us, or Souzapalooza Blog celebs like Irish Kat, SK2, or The Drummer, be sure to say “Hi” and take a selfie with us for the recap!

See you Saturday!

Use code LASTCALL, save $12 on tickets for Saturday’s outdoor fest at Lyndhurst Mansion.

Westchester Magazine’s Evening with Westchester’s Tastemakers 2015

I meant to get this out to you all earlier in the week but I was under the weather and had to travel for work. I hope you will forgive the delay and look in to enjoying some of the establishments I highlighted below

Last Friday I had the pleasure of attending Westchester Magazine’s Evening with Westchester’s Tastemakers at 42 Restaurant. Dart Girl and Southern Gen joined me for our first (and hopefully not our last) time at this annual event. I will say, when I first heard about this event, I was a little hesitant due to the somewhat steep price tag ($125 a ticket). When I actually thought about it, this amazing opportunity is quite a bargain. I can easily drop $80 on dinner with friends, so what’s a little extra to experience over 20 different items prepared by the best chefs in Westchester. I said, “Treat Yo Self, Souzapalooza!”

Upon arrival, we were given a listing and a map of what was going to be offered by each of the chefs, as well as the wine that would be available. To be very honest, I didn’t even get around to trying the wine, because there was so many amazing dishes to be sampled (the full list from the website is listed below.)

Souzapalooza & Chef David DiBari

The highlight of my evening was meeting (and taking a selfie) with local celebrity chef, David DiBari, who prepared maple smoked pigs head on cinnamon sugar donuts with maple syrup and sriracha. His second dish was a serving of crispy fried brussels  sprouts topped with Rice Krispies which is a favorite at The Parlor. Although I love Chef DiBari (what other chef can rock a Jane’s Addiction T-shirt and man bun?!) his dish ranked number 3 on my list. Second place went to the Hudson Valley duck sliders from Crabtree’s Kittle House Chef Jay Lipman; I did not care for his trout dish however. Number one on my list, a spot that was not on the itinerary. The Smokehouse of NY, located in Mamaroneck, which is not actually a restaurant but a smoked fish distributor, had a sampling for attendees. Chef Brett Portier prepared a tequila infused smoked salmon with jalapeno infused creme fraiche on brioche toast that was absolutely incredible!

Tequila infused Smoked Salmon with Jalapeno Creme Fraiche

Other favorites from the evening included the lemon gnocchi with English peas from L’inizio. This was a surprisingly light and refreshing dish from the Ardsley restaurant I’ve been wanting to try. I found out that they have a Sunday brunch pre-fixe and already have Irish Kat and the Drummer on board to test it out. According to Sandy, an associate of the restaurant, their pastry chef can do some remarkable things at brunch that I am looking forward to experiencing!

The team from L’inzio serving up gnocchi

RiverMarket Bar & Kitchen, had both a delightful pea tendril and goat’s milk ricotta salad and a flavorful Hudson Valley smoked duck breast and local beets in a cherry gazpacho, which was simply divine! I was fortunate enough to chat with their proprietor, Glen, who I promised would see me in his restaurant soon. Dart Girl has eaten there and raved about the food as well as the fresh ricotta she ordered to take home. I’m sure I could easily persuade her to go again.

The sampling from River Market

Finally, Fortina, which I know is a big favorite of Peilin’s over at Delicious Food Chronicles from a New Yorker (check out her reviews of Fortina HERE) prepared a rich and creamy buratta on foccia bread with brown butter vinaigrette. Their second dish was a simple looking housemate pasta however upon tasting was robust with flavor and a teeny tiny kick that made you want another scoop.

Fortina’s Burrata!! Yum!
Overall the event was fabulous however, there is always room for improvement. There were no trash receptions anywhere to discard used played and napkins. Staff at 42 were hustling to clear discarded items but were challenged in keeping up with the need. Also, the event was supposed to run from 6:30 – 10:30, however by 8:00 most stations were out of samples which was a disappointment to those who showed up later in the evening (like my trainer D-block who showed up at 8 and caught me with a mouthful of cake from Lulu’s Bake Shop!) I’m not sure how you managed to that, but something to think about for future events.

Here is the detailed list via the Tastemakers Website:

  • DaveDiBari, The Cookery
    • Dish 1: Crispy Fried Brussel Sprouts with rice krispies, chile honey and parmigiano
    • Dish 2: Maple Smoked Pig Heads with House Sausages & Doughnuts
  • ScottFratangelo,L’inizio
    • Dish 1: Charred octopus, gigante beans, candied olives preserved lemon and black olive oil
    • Dish 2: Lemon gnocchi, English peas, sweet 100 tomato, pickled ramps and crispy prosciutto
  • EricGabrynowicz, Restaurant North
    • Dish 1: Tomato Panna Cotta with Smoked Egg Yolk
    • Dish 2: Bristol Bay Salmon with Tapioca and Fennel
  • AnthonyGoncalves, 42
    • Dish 1: Pork Belly Fried Rice
    • Dish 2: Pork Shoulder – porchetta carvings on top
  • EthanKostbar, Moderne Barn
    • Dish 1: Summer Crab Roll w/ spicy coconut mango sauce
    • Dish 2: Fried Chick Pea Fritter w/ cucumber mint tzatziki
  • Peter Larsen,RiverMarket Bar & Kitchen
    • Dish 1: Smoked Hudson Valley Duck Breast, Hudson Valley cherry gazpacho, pickled blooming hill farm beets, nasturtium hazelnut salad, house-made rye crisps
    • Dish 2: Acorn Hill Farms Goats Milk Ricotta, Mountain products smokehouse bacon, sorrel juice, Amawalk Farms pea shoots and tendrils, white chocolate
  • JayLippin, Crabtree’s Kittle House
    • Dish 1: Hudson Valley Duck Sliders, duck confit and foie gras, caramelized onions, pretzel roll
    • Dish 2: House-Smoked Beaverkill Trout, crispy sushi rice cake, mustard crème fraiche
  • AndyNusser, Tarry Lodge
    • Dish 1: Lasagna Napoletana with One Meatball
    • Dish 2: Mozzarella with Heirloom Tomato Caprese
  • RobertPaciullo, Zero OttoNove
    • Dish 1: Braised shortribs with sun dried peppers arugula and parmigiano reggiano and spicy olive oil
    • Dish 2: Pasta al Forno, rigatoni with sopressatta, riccota, hard boiled egg, tomato sauce, and fresh mozzarella
  • ChristianPetroni,Fortina
    • Dish 1: Seasonal Burrata: with peas w/ prosciutto cotto & brown butter vinaigrette
    • Dish 2: Pastasciutto: house made spaghetti, tomato, basil, parm, chile
  • Blake Farrar, The Inn at Pound Ridge
    • Dish 1: House-made Ricotta with Strawberry Compote, Olive Oil, Grilled Sourdough
    • Dish 2: Crispy Sushi with Salmon

2015 Cultural Heritage Festival at Kensico Dam Plaza

This weekend, one of my favorite summmer event series kicks off, the Cultural Heritage Celebrations. Specific weekends through out the summer, heritage festivals are held celebrating different cultural groups from the Westchester area. Food, Drink, and Music are enjoyed by natives and those looking to expand their knowledge of the culture. I’ve been to a few of them over the years and they are always a fun experience!

Here are this years heritages and dates:

  • Asian Heritage Festival, May 30, noon – 6 p.m., Kensico Dam Plaza, Valhalla
  • Albanian Heritage Festival, May 31, noon – 7 p.m., Kensico Dam Plaza, Valhalla
  • African American Heritage Festival, June 28, noon – 7 p.m., Kensico Dam Plaza, Valhalla
  • Irish Heritage Festival, June 28, noon – 6 p.m., Ridge Road Park, Hartsdale
  • Polish Heritage Festival, July 12, noon – 6 p.m., Kensico Dam Plaza, Valhalla
  • Hispanic Heritage Festival, July 19, noon – 7 p.m., Kensico Dam Plaza, Valhalla
  • Italian Heritage Festival, July 26, noon – 7 p.m., Kensico Dam Plaza, Valhalla
  • Heritage of India Festival, Aug. 2, 11:30 a.m. – 6:30 p.m., Kensico Dam Plaza, Valhalla
  • Jewish Music & Arts Festival, Aug. 16, Noon – 6 p.m., Kensico Dam Plaza, Valhalla

Festivals are held rain or shine, and I highly recommend bringing a blanket or portable chair to sit out on the lawn by the damn. I’ve been to a few of them over the years and they are always a fun experience!

Doc, The Wizard, and I at the Italian Cultural Festival in 1997
Doc, The Wizard, and I at the Italian Cultural Festival in 1997

 

Please note, the Irish Heritage Festical is held at Ridge Road Park, and not at the dam for those interested in learning more about the Irish Culture. (Keep a look out for Irish Kat, she may be living it up with her people!)

 

Eating Pizza with the Cool Kids – The Parlor in Dobbs Ferry

 

People who know me, know that I almost always vote no when it comes to pizza. It’s not that I don’t love pizza, I REALLY REALLY do, but it is all gluten and dairy, two things that sadly don’t work for my digestion or my waist line. However, when I run a half (or on the rare occasion farther) it is totally time to adapt the #treatyoself mentality with some well-earned pizza. Sunday night, as a post More Fitness Half Marathon treat, Irish Kat and I headed to The Parlor in Dobbs Ferry to partake in some local pizza flavor. Since the doors to The Parlor opened in the Fall of 2013, everyone has been begging me to go try it with them; I now publicly apologize to everyone I have turned down.

The Angel of Dough – photo via The Parlor website
When I walked in to meet Irish Kat, the space seemed dark and somewhat cramped. With its exposed brick walls, graffiti art, and servers in trucker hats, The Parlor doesn’t have the vibe of a local pizza place, but rather a place you’d see a super-cool band that hasn’t hit the main stream perform an unadvertised show, (regardless of the fact that the speakers pumped out classic Poison tunes throughout our meal). With a lengthy beer list ranging from Colt 45 (Hell yeah, Billy Dee Williams fans!) to craftier options for beer aficionados, six wines on tap (yeah you read that right, on tap), and pre-bottled cocktails in personal flasks, I started to feel like maybe I’m not cool enough to eat here; but looking around I realized this really is a welcoming establishment with families, couples, friends, and post little league game celebrations taking place.  We sat under the protective gaze of what I deemed, the Angel of the Dough, an image you would expect tattooed on an old Italian dough-slinger, that looks beautifully serene gracing the exposed brick of The Parlor. As I absorbed my environment, I could not help to think to myself, The Parlor is the perfect mancave for Chef David DiBari to live out his “eat serious…have fun” philosophy; his escape from the formalities of his other Dobbs Ferry establishment, The Cookery*. From what I can tell from my Instagram feed (I follow @theparlordf, @thecookery, @chfdibari and as of yesterday @thecookerysdoughnation – the new IG account for the mobile wood fire pizza oven), it seems that just when you think David DiBari and his arsenal of culinary prowess can’t get Eddie Vedder any better, it does.

This photo solidified me as a Chef DiBari groupie. Who doesn’t love a chef who trades his formal jacket for an Eddie Vedder T-shirt!?!? – This photo was from Taste of Westchester presented by Westchester Magazine. I’m sure they have some sort of copyright on it I just can’t find who to credit for it! I really tried!
Irish Kat and I decided to split an appetizer and pizza as our meal. We ordered Chicken Fried Bacon as an appetizer. We got three slices of thick cut of bacon, that had been dredged in flour and deep-fried. It was accompanied by a granny apple relish. We both were not sure what to expect from this appetizer, but it sounded different and it was bacon so how bad could it be?  We both agreed it was ok. The bacon is a bit more chewy than crispy because of the batter, however I really enjoyed the apple relish. It was sweet, but tangy. I’d just order that if it was an option.

For the pizza choice, we went with the Polpette. This pizza has cookery meatballs, pomedoro, ricotta, and basil. The pizza came out accompanied with a pair of scissors to cut your own slices. It seems that cutting pizza with scissors is a pretty common thing. The scissors allow you to control the size of your slice and also makes you feel kinda powerful. The little girl eating dinner with her mom at the table next to us, cut her pizza in to words. It took a while, but she seemed to be having a good time (however, this may be why there is usually a wait for a table!) The pizza itself was fabulous. The crust was very light and incredibly thin, yet the pizza was sturdy, and did not collapse under the weight of its toppings. The crust develops those wonderful air bubbles on the edges which get a little burnt looking in the oven, and give a little extra something to the flavor of the pie. The meatballs were incredible, just as they are at The Cookery. The ricotta to meatball ratio was perfect, it added just enough creaminess to pair with the meatballs (and Irish Kat was nice enough to take the pieces that were a little more cheese laden – oh the sacrifices my friends make on my behalf!)

Yes, they trust me with sharp instruments
Yes, they trusted me with sharp instruments
Of course a meal isn’t complete with out dessert! But what to choose from the robust list of desserts. It is a pretty decent size list of options when you consider most pizza shops just have Italian ice (if you are lucky), but then again, The Parlor isn’t like most pizza shops. We couldn’t decide so we picked two – the Oreo Bread Pudding and the Butter Fried Waffle both accompanied by Jane’s Vanilla Ice Cream (which is made upstate in Kingston and is also used in Chef DiBari’s creations at The Cookery). The Oreo Bread Pudding was delicious. It tasted like a soften version of the cookie portion of an Oreo, arriving at the table warm and complemented by the vanilla ice cream. We would have really liked to have seen Chef DiBari figure out a way to make the Oreo’s creamy center more dominant in the dish, but it probably isn’t possible since this dessert arrives warm and the creamy center would probably melt. Dessert number two (don’t judge, I ran a half that morning or did you forget that part of the story?) graciously arrived right after the Oreo dream. This was the Butter Fried Waffle. The best way to describe this would be if a Belgian Waffle and a Churro had a torrid love affair and produced a love child drizzled in Nutella. Two of these churro love waffles sandwiched scoops of Jane’s vanilla ice cream and the whole amazingness is then drizzled with the chocolate hazelnutty goodness of Nutella, cause everything tastes good drizzled in Nutella!

I think he really said this! #pizza #dobbsferry #dreaming #mancrush @chefwic @misscdrake @pearljamofficial

A post shared by David DiBari (@chefdibari) on

 

Overall, The Parlor provided a great meal and a wonderful way to end the day. I highly recommend stopping in for a visit. Oh, and don’t forget to check the specials board next to the giant lips on the oven. We totally missed it and our chance to try some ramp pizza. Obviously I’ll have to go back again soon!

The Parlor is located at 14 Cedar Street, Dobbs Ferry, NY 10522. Tuesday – Thursday Noon – 10pm, Friday & Saturday Noon – 11pm, Sunday Noon – 9pm. They are closed on Mondays and do not take resevations, walk-ins only. If you are not in the area and are in the need of a little food porn, follow the instagram handles I listed above. 

*I have plans to talk about The Cookery another day but for now, if you go and they have the chocolate polenta with the pretzels and caramel sauce for dessert, GET IT! 

Hudson Valley Etsy Pop Up Artists – Pop Up Shop

If you aren’t doing anything tomorrow night, stop by the Watercooler in Tarrytown and support some of the Hudson Valley’s Local Artisans! I’m sure there will be lots of items for Mother’s Day as well as stuff for Dads & Grads! 11092717_1095721807110942_1438090995_n

Brick by Brick – Adult Fans of Lego Night at the Legoland Discovery Center Westchester

2015-04-02 19.17.22-2
Irish Kat, Myself, and SK2 – All Legofans Must Build

As many people know, Sunday night was the premiere of the new season of HBO’s hit series Game of Thrones. In celebration of the upcoming season, Irish Kat, SK2 and I attended the Brick of Thrones event at the Legoland Discovery Center Westchester, located in the Ridge Hill Shopping Center in Yonkers. Now usually adults must be accompanied by children in order to enjoy the LDC, but on the first Thursday of the month, all the area Adult Fans of Lego (aka AFOL) are allowed in for a few hours to enjoy Lego on their own. For those of you, like myself, who are sans kids, and can’t find any to rent, borrow, or steal for a few hours, here is what what you have been missing out on……

Grand Central Station, with working subway "underground"
Grand Central Station, with working subway “underground”

Once you walk through the small entry area, the first thing you encounter is the Kingdom Quest Ride. Similar to the Buzz Lightyear Space Ranger ride at Disney, we got in our cart and were whisked through a maze where we had to shoot at the bad guys who were trying to take over the kingdom. After the ride, we walked over to Miniland which is a replica of New York made entirely out of Legos. This is probably the most amazing part of the place and worth the price of admission.

Mini-Manhattan
Mini-Manhattan

2015-04-02 19.12.00Miniland is complete with a Met Life Stadium, George Washington Bridge, Time Square (with a Jumbotron that projection your photo!), A Yankee Stadium/Citifield Subway series in progress, St Patrick’s Cathedral, Rock Center Ice Rink, Empire State Building (with Kong climbing the side), Staten Island Ferry Terminal, Ellis Island, Liberty Island / Statue of Liberty, The Guggenheim, The Met, Belvedere Castle, The Met Life Building, Grand Central and a working 6 train under the station! It even has a replica of Legoland Discovery Center at Ridge Hill as well as a few Westchester landmarks like Sunnyside and Lyndhurst Castle. It is really impressive. My pictures do no do it justice. You just have to find a way to see it for yourself.

St Pats & the Rock Center Rink
St Pats & the Rock Center Rink

After you are blown away by Miniland, There is a large open area with different stations. They had a build (and race) a race car area, an earthquake area where you build lego skyscrapers and see if they can sustain the simulated quake. They also have a few other areas that were closed to us “Big Kids” including an alternate ride, a 4D Cinema, and the cafe. Even though the cafe was closed, they do bring in a small cash bar from their neighbors at Havana Central for the AFOLs to enjoy sangria, mojitos, soft drinks and beers. In this area we took some time to play Lannister Bingo and Game of Thrones Trivia, in which SK2 won a cool GOT poster. There was also a building competetion for those who wanted to participate. I noticed that most of the people who attended were really hardcore Lego builders. A lot of them were looking to win the bingo games not because they were winning a Game of Thrones Collection, but because they were winning extra pieces for stuff they were building at home.

Lego Hand of the King
Lego Hand of the King

Because I felt that one of the trivia questions was a little obscure (Anyone know who built the wall?) and challenged the answer, their lovely social media director gave me passes to attend next month’s event Brick Trek; Lego’s version of Star Trek. Chatting with her, we found out some of the upcoming themes – Star Trek, Video Games, Harry Potter, Halloween, Star Wars, and Holiday (of course these are subject to change). Make sure you follow Legoland Discovery Center of Westchester on twitter for the latest updates – @LCDWestchester

The next AFOL Night, Brick Trek, will be held on May 7th at 7pm. Who is going to live long and prosper at Lego Discovery Center with me?

April Showers and Electric Flowers – Lightscapes

Tickets go on sale today for one of the coolest events in the Hudson Valley, LIGHTSCAPES.

Where else can you see a giant mantis?
Where can you see a giant mantis? LIGHTSCAPES of course!

What is LIGHTSCAPES, you ask?

Vines climbing Van Cortland Manor
Vines climbing Van Cortland Manor

LIGHTSCAPES is an amazing display of lights for the imagination, located on the grounds of Van Cortland Manor in the village of Croton-on-Hudson. If Alice fell down the rabbit hole in modern times, the views at LIGHTSCAPES is what she would find. This spring time event, created by the same team that lights up The Blaze (another unique Hudson Valley event), created this garden fantasy last year and was a big hit with young and old. It is back again and I don’t have any doubts that it will impress you.

Rainbow Tunnel
Rainbow Tunnel

Dart Girl, Nick-nameless, and I visited the grounds last year and were blown away with the color and creativity Entering under the rainbow arch, you are whisked away to another world of fairies, flowers, caterpillars, and butterflies. It’s truly and amazing experience. LIGHTSCAPES will be running during the month of May; Friday – Sundays from 8:15pm – 10pm. Tickets are available on the Historic Hudson Valley website (HERE) and are $16 for Adults, $12 for Children. I suggest you buy them as soon as possible because they will sell out fast!.

Electric flowers as far as the eye can see...
Electric flowers as far as the eye can see…