Next Stop: Exit 4 In Mount Kisco

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Food halls are undeniably one of the latest trends in dining. While prominent in New York City, food halls are starting to make their way into the Hudson Valley. Exit 4 Food Hall is the first one to open in Westchester County. Take a trip to Mount Kisco to taste the amazing local and fresh flavors at Exit 4.

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This dining venue offers 9 food stations for customers to try. The restaurant prides itself in serving fresh and local food. Mt. Kisco Seafood, wood fired pizza made from scratch, homemade pasta, and even Myong Salad are the participating local food providers. The restaurant even offers beverages from local breweries and coffee purveyors. Stations include Rotiss-A-Q, Panini/ Sandwich/ Wrap Station, Dirty Roots (salads and smoothies), Fuoco Wood Fired Pizza, Inno Sushi, Piacci Pasta Bar, X4 on Tap, Charcuterie, and Rawsome Seafood Bar.

With 9 stations available, there is always something new and exciting to try. If you come with a group there is a dining option for everyone.

You can meet and converse with new people by sitting at one of Exit 4’s communal tables. Following the theme of sustainability, glass bottles with filtered water is also provided.

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We started our meal with a Bok Choi salad from Dirty Roots (Myong). This healthy yet dynamic salad was comprised of sunflower seeds, walnuts, dried mango, cranberries, and crunchy noodles drizzled in a light red chili vinaigrette.

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Bok Choi Salad

 

We then devoured brussles sprouts pasta from Piacci. The linguini is homemade and prepared daily at Exit 4. This certainly was the perfect summer dish; a very light pasta incorporated with brussles sprouts and butternut squash. The sprinkled pancetta made for a flavorsome topping.

From Inno Sushi, we tried the crispy rice sushi special. Even my-non seafood lover buddy couldn’t get enough of this delish fare. Spicy tuna and jalapeños were delicately topped on firm crispy rice. The contrast between crunch of the rice and zest of the sushi made for a party in my mouth. Inno Sushi devotes themselves to emulating the most popular and newest sushi trends. This includes the trendy sushi burrito and poke bowls.

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Our group then ordered a chicken bowl and brisket burrito from Rotiss-A-Q. In a crispy taco bowl were pieces of rotisserie chicken layered with guacamole, pico de gallo, rice, beans, cheddar, lettuce and roasted veggies.   The brisket burrito included rice, beans, corn, and lettuce. It was fresh and delicious.

I could not pass up trying the high quality fish tacos. These appetizing tacos constituted of tantalizing pico de gallo, luscious avocado and other tasty spices.

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Fish Tacos

We then noshed on a very flavorful and unique wood-fired fig pizza. This unconventional pizza included fig, prosciutto, caramelized onions, fresh mozzarella and Italian parsley. There are a variety of pizzas to choose: from traditional pizza to unique pies. Try the Stracciatella or Pistachio for something new and exciting.

To finish this spectacular meal, we unanimously decided to order the skillet cookie. A warm gooey cookie with large chocolate chunks was brought to the table. A scoop of refreshing vanilla ice cream laid perfectly on top of this marvelous creation.

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Skillet Cookie

For a fun and different dining alternative, make sure you stop at Exit 4 Dining Hall in Mt. Kisco.

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Exit 4 Food Hall

http://exit4foodhall.com/

153 Main St. Mount Kisco, NY 10549

(914) 241-1200

 

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Million Dollar Quartet: Rock & Roll history comes to life at the Westchester Broadway Theater

 

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The musical “Million Dollar Quartet” is rocking audiences at the Westchester Broadway Theater.  The international hit musical which ran on Broadway and received three Tony Nominations was inspired by an actual event in Rock and Roll history.  On December 4, 1956, four early Rock and Roll artists just happen to get together at Sun Records Studios in Memphis for a jam session.   The artists that came together that night were Elvis Presley, Carl Perkins (Blue Suede Shoes), Johnny Cash and a new comer named Jerry Lee Lewis (Great Balls of Fire).   The session which was recorded became rock and roll legend and the four would never play together again.

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The musical is inspired by that fateful evening back in 1956.  The performance is part rock concert,  and part musical.  Inter weaved with all the great Rock and Roll songs from that era is the story of Sun Records,  Sam Phillips and the artists themselves.

Sam Phillips was the owner of Sun Records Studio, a tiny shop  in Memphis. Phillips had an uncanny ability of discovering raw talent.  It was he who discovered and promoted a  young Elvis Presley , Johnny Cash, Carl Perkins,  Jerry Lee Lewis, and later Roy Orbison who would all become some of the biggest stars in early Rock music history.

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The musical takes place entirely in Sun Studios on the evening of December 4, 1956.  The story is narrated by Sam Phillips who sets the scene of that fateful evening.   Carl Perkins has come to the studios with his brother and their drummer to work on a new record.  Sam Phillips has brought in a new talent, a feisty and unpredictable Jerry Lee Lewis to play piano on the track.  Later Johnny Cash drops in to discuss his contract renewal with Sun Records.  Eventually Elvis and his girlfriend stop by (Elvis at this point has moved on to RCA records)  and the jam session begins.   The stage design is brilliant and depicts the studio and recording room of Sun Records, and really transports the viewer back in time.  Very effective.

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The audience not only learns some of the history of these important artists, but are treated to a lively concert of great hits including, Blue Suede Shoes, Great Balls of Fire, Matchbox, Fever, Whole lot of Shakin’ Going on, Folsom Prison Blues and more.  The cast shows off its talents at acting, singing and playing guitar or piano.  The actors are not trying to actually impersonate or imitate the original artists.   Their performances are more inspired by the actual artists which allows their talents to really shine.  The performance was fantastic and the cast received a standing ovation from the opening night crowd.

The production stars Dominique Scott as Jerry Lee Lewis , Ari McKay Wilford as Elvis Presley, Sky Seals as Johnny Cash, Jason Loughlin as Sam Phillips, John Michael Presney as Carl Perkins, and Bligh Voth as Dyanne (girlfriend of Elvis).  Rounding out the cast are Sam Weber as the stand up bass playing Jay Perkins, and David Sonneborn as Fluke.  Set Design by Derek McLane .

Directed by Hunter Foster, who appeared in the original cast. The musical director is David Sonneborn.

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Photo from the original jam session 1956

Million Dollar Quartet runs through September 11, 2016

Discounts available for groups (20 or more)

Dinner (salad, entree and dessert) is served prior to the performance and is included in the purchase price.    Wine and cocktails available at additional cost.  Luxury Boxes are also available for groups of 6 to 20.

For ticket information:

Westchester Broadway Theater

1 Broadway Plaza

Elmsford New York 10526

http://www.broadwaytheater.com

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Lightscapes an adventure in light at Van Cortlandt Manor in Croton


 

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Looking for a unique experience?   You should visit Lightscapes, a magical and incredible nighttime display of lights at Van Cortlandt Manor in Croton on Hudson.   Lightscapes is an outdoor walk through the grounds of this historic property which has been transformed into a fantasy filled light garden.

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Walk through the tunnel of light that changes color, pass the fairy garden of lights and mushrooms,  more.   You cross the bridge over the river of light and enter the Colorwheel castle, then exit  to fields of lighted butterflies, a praying mantis, ladybugs and other fantastic lighted creations.  It is quite the marvel.

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The tour winds it way through the grounds of the Manor until it reaches the manor house itself which is lit in an amazing display of light that is synchronized to music.  Outside the manor is a fantastic field of lit tulips truly amazes.

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This is an event not to miss, and if you have been to the Great Jack-o-Lantern Blaze (also held here) you will know the level of quality and creativity that is involved in hosting these events.

 

 

LIGHTSCAPES takes place rain or shine and admission is by timed ticket only. Remaining dates are May 27- 30, June 3-5, and June 10-12.

Online tickets are $20 for adults ($25 Saturdays), $16 for children 3-17 ($20 Saturdays), and free for children under 3 and Historic Hudson Valley members. Tickets are $2 more when purchased on site or over the phone.

Van Cortlandt Manor is at 525 South Riverside Ave. in Croton-on-Hudson, NY, just off Route 9.

Tickets and info: 914-366-6900, www.hudsonvalley.org.

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Calling all Foodies ! Westchester Wine and Food Week is back June 8-12

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Food and wine lovers in Westchester County have reason to celebrate as the annual Westchester Magazine Food and Wine Festival returns  June 8th-12th  for its 6th annual celebration.   This celebration is considered to be one of the premier food and wine events in the Northeast.  The event is spread over several days with unique events in several locations Some of the highlights are:

Thursday June 9th Burger and Beer Blastat the Kensico Dam Plaza park in Valhalla.  Attendees will sample burgers from 30 different local restaurants, with beer, wine and spirits served.  You can vote for your favorite burger in the competition. Live music will make the evening a festival for all.  New this year will be the Empire Casino Tent with five gaming tables, and cocktails and food from some of the Casinos restaurants

Time 6pm to 10pm .  Cost : $75

 

Friday June 10th –An evening with Westchester’s Tastemakers now in its 2nd year, it takes place at the Ritz-Carleton in White Plains.  Twenty of  the County’s top Chef’s will prepare two of their own dishes each  for an exclusive gathering.  Each dish will be paired with top wines from around the globe.  Some of the chefs who will be there will be Peter Kelly (Xaviers), Bobby Will (Saltaire),  Jay Lippin (Crabtree), Michael White (Bedford Post),  Leo Pablo (Inn at Pound Ridge) and many more !

Time: 6:30 pm to 10:30 pm  Cost: $125

Saturday June 11th- Grand Tasting Villageat Kensico Dam Plaza, 1 Bronx River Parkway, Valhalla NY.  This incredible event which  grows in popularity each year and will return for a 2nd year  to Kensico Dam Park. The event is  located outdoors under white tents concentrating on Farm to Table cuisine.  Considered to be the “Worlds Fair” of the Wine and Food Festival.  There will be 43 local restaurants serving tastings of their specialty dishes.   For wine lovers you can sample 100 different wines from the many wine growing regions of the world.  There will be celebrity chefs demos  local craft beers and wine. An event not to be missed!.

Time 12 pm to 5 pm   Cost: $75         Connoisseurs Ticket: $125 (access to Connoisseurs Tent for exclusive Tastings.)

The event helps support two not for profit organizations, The Food Bank For Westchester and The Friends of Westchester County Parks  There will be other events as well so check the website below for more information and updates as the event draws closer.

For more information, the full list of restaurants and tickets westchestermagazine.com/winefood

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Classic family Italian dining: Frank Guido’s Little Italy

 

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“Chi Mangia bene,vive bene”  orhe who eats well, lives well” is the motto of Frank Guido’s Little Italy a wonderful  Italian restaurant . Located in the Hudson Valley town of Kingston, it could easily be found in the heart of New York City.   This is the perfect place to go for a  traditional Italian meal  and to enjoy  “family style” , which is large plates meant to be shared with your family or friends.

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The interior space is a lovely dining room with brick walls, tables covered in white table cloths and Italian themed paintings.   One wall is covered in family photos spanning generations which emphasizes the family feel.  Another wall is covered in photos of famous people who have dined at the restaurant including Yankees Phil Rizzuto, Joe Torre, and actor James Gandolfini  (The Sopranos) just to name a few.

With so many choices on the menu we decided to start with Eggplant Papettas which was like a veggie meatball with a soft texture served with marinara sauce.  It was delicious.   Another pick was the classic stuffed artichoke  which was fresh and light ans served with  seasoned breadcrumbs inside and an olive oil base.

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Eggplant Papettas

For our main course selection we chose the Chicken Parmigiana (how could one not choose this classic?).  We had to try this house specialty and we were not dissapointed.  It was fantastic with fresh mozzarella and pecorino romano cheese and “Mama’s” tomato sauce.  The portion was huge!

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Chicken Parm

I also wanted seafood so the waiter suggested  Penne Angelina which consisted of pasta with jumbo shrimp , scallops, lobster meat, served in a white clam sauce ( I substituted the sauce of tomato sauce).  This mouth watering dish was a hit and  there was plenty to take home for another meal.

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Penne Angelina

 

Penne Ala Vodka was  a nice side choice  and was a perfect blend of marinara sauce, vodka and a touch of cream.  Very tasty.

Dessert:  I shared the Guidomisu, their take on Tiramisu and the Bomba which was vanilla and chocolate gelato with a  cherry and almond center finished with a chocolate coating.  A great way to end the meal.  The last sweet was a the Chocolate Mousse Cake, composed of white and dark chocolate  mousse between chocolate cake and served with whipped cream. Nice !

 

If you are in the Kingston NY area, Frank Guido’s Little Italy is the perfect choice for great old school Italian comfort food.  With great service and comfortable interior, you will feel right at home.

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Frank Guido’s Little Italy

14 Thomas Street Kingston New York

845-340-1682                 http://www.frankguidoslittleitaly.com

 

 

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Inn at Twaalfskill: a romantic Hudson Valley Inn

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Do you need a couples escape for the weekend and don’t want to go too far?   A visit to The Inn at Twaalfskill may just be for you.  This charming, quaint and romantic Inn is located right in the heart of the Hudson Valley in Highland New York  and just an hour and change north of Westchester and two hours from Manhattan.    The Inn was built in 1905 has been transformed by the innkeepers into a wonderful and charming place to visit for a weekend or longer. IMG_0579

Driving up to the inn you cross a bridge over a stream which gives the inn its name.   The restored century old home has a wonderful  details and a pleasant front porch just in case you want to sit outside and take in the country air.  Entering the inn you pass by the sunlit breakfast room which is a perfect setting for breakfast.   The main floor common rooms of the Inn consist of the entrance area with fresh flowers,  a coffee bar with coffee ,tea, cookies and more,  a comfortable living room/parlor with a fireplace, television and comfortable furniture. A very cozy room.  There is also a small powder room.

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Breakfast Room

 

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Front Hall and stair

Upstairs there are only three well appointed guest rooms.  Each room has its own bathroom attached.  Even though the house that is now the Inn dates to 1905, the guest room baths have all been  renovated and are modern with marble or porcelain tile, updated fixtures and plenty of hot water.  Each room (as is the entire inn) with a mix of antique furniture and small antique accessories.  You can tell the Innkeepers went to great efforts to create a pleasant blend of authentic period pieces and modern conveniences.  Each room has televisions.   Wi-fi  is  provided if you must check your emails or texts, but you are in a romantic inn, so turn off your cell phone and enjoy  the quiet and the ambience.

The beds are queen size  and very comfortable with fresh  pillows and a comfy quilt.  I slept very well in my room that evening.  The inn provides newspapers and magazines for your reading pleasure .

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Breakfast in the morning was a pleasure with yogurt, juice, coffee or tea, and scones.  There was also a choice of a vegetable frittata or French toast served with Crown Maple Syrup (from the Hudson Valley).  It was a really delicious home made breakfast.  As a nice touch you can pick your time to have breakfast by advising the Innkeeper the night before on a sign in sheet  unlike some inns that just serve at a certain hour.

 

Outside the Inn has made cruiser type bicycles available for guest use.  This is fantastic as steps away from the inn is the Hudson Valley Rail Trail.  The rail trail connects with the Walkway across the Hudson, one of the premier attractions in the  Mid Hudson Valley and should be on your must visit list.

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Bikes provided by the Inn

The Inn located in Highland is the perfect home base for a weekend of exploring the area. Nearby is Hyde Park home of the Culinary Institute of America, FDR Historic Site and the Vanderbilt Mansion historic site.  There is biking or walking on the Hudson Valley Rail Trail, or the nearby Wallkill Valley Rail Trail.  There is great hiking in a number of parks and preserves, apple picking, shopping and even wine tasting at some of the local wineries in the area.  The nearby village of New Paltz offers numerous dining options and is a fun town to browse and explore.

So if you are in need of a bit of an escape and don’t want to travel far, a stay at the Inn at Twaafskill is just what you need.

 

The Inn At Twaalfskill

144 Vineyard Avenue  Highland New York 

845-691-3605 

http://www.innattwaalfskill.com

for more info on the Hudson Valley Rail Trail:   http://www.hudsonvalleyrailtrail.net

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Lilly’s – an upscale new eatery and bar in White Plains

fw 067As I walked into Lilly’s I felt that I had stepped into a retro Victorian restaurant and bar. I immediately was drawn in to focus on the beautiful French fireplace, crystal chandeliers, red couches and exposed brick walls.  fw 068The lighting is soft and the large bar area is covered by a pretty white marble counter top and Roman statue can be seen as you look up. The space is very inviting , friendly and feels very comfortable.

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The menu consists of many tapas, small plates, but also has interesting salads, homemade artisan pizzas and some larger dishes (entrees) as well. There is also a nice selection of fresh cheese and meat plates to share. Coming in with a group of four, we decided to try many different selections.    fw 081

Shrimp with lemon and tarragon

Shrimp with lemon and tarragon

We started with a wonderful and creamy homemade gnocchi with shitake mushrooms ,sage and apple. This dish was delicious. Other must have are the oysters with a prosecco citrus topping,

Oysters

Oysters

the meatballs, a tasty grilled skirt steak with an herb citrus aioli, the shrimp with lemon and tarragon, and the brussel sprouts with parmesan and “caesar ” dressing. I also enjoyed the kale salad with cider vinaigrette, apples, strawberries, bacon and almonds. A perfect light and balanced salad.

Kale Salad

Kale Salad

We then shared two pizzas. The  first was the quattro formaggio with ricotta, taleggio, mozzarella, pecorino and roasted garlic. This thin crusted delight is a must try and absolutely delicious.We also chose the “Lilly’s” pizza which contained tomato, homemade meatballs, mozzarella and chilies. If you want something a little different and a bit “hot” then this one is for you.

Lilly' Pizza (top) and 4 cheese pizza (below)

Lilly’ Pizza (top) and 4 cheese pizza (below)

The drink menu has quite a selection of beers, wine and artisan cocktails.Don’t leave without trying the chocolate lave cake with chocolate mint ice cream or the olive oil cake with rhubarb -strawberry compote and mascapone cheese.

Olive Oil cake with fruit compote and marscapone

Olive Oil cake with fruit compote and marscapone

This upscale new restaurant and bar in White Plains is a true gem and is sure to be a hit. A great place to go for date night or fun with a group of friends.   There is also outside seating on the back patio which will be fantastic with the warm weather approaching.

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Bar detail

Bar detail

Lilly’s

169 Mamaroneck Avenue White Plains NY

914-997-5600

www.lillyswp.com

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A NYC Steakhouse in the heart of Westchester County

I had the wonderful opportunity to visit Benjamin Steakhouse on a lovely winter evening. I dined with my husband and another couple and even though it was a Sunday night the place was quite busy. We were seated next to a roaring fireplace that brought instant warmth and charm to this top notch and beautiful restaurant. From the moment you walk in the door you are greeted in such a way that it feels like home. Everyone is genuinely nice and wants you to have an amazing meal and dining experience.

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The four of my party decided to share a lot of dishes so that we can figure out what specialties we liked best. There were so many items it was hard to choose. I had to try a lot of seafood appetizers as it is my favorite thing to eat. We had clams oreganato, oysters, lump crab meat salad , crab cakes, shrimp cocktail and lobster bisque soup for everyone.

frank phone nov dec 061 We couldn’t believe how delicious and fresh everything was. The lobster bisque is amazing and really hits the spot. I tasting everything and have to say I felt like I was in a specialty seafood restaurant. I almost forgot the restaurant is called Benjamin Steakhouse which leads me to the next part of my meal- the amazing entrees. I had to choose surf and turf which included a nice size filet mignon and a lobster tail. The steak melted in your mouth and the lobster tail was so juicy and luscious that the drawn butter given on the side was not needed. I ordered spinach and potatoes for the four of us to share. Everyone else ordered different cuts of beef and we loved it all. The porterhouse was amazing I was told. frank phone nov dec 065
If all this food wasn’t enough we had to order different desserts to sample. Cheesecake, fruit platter, red velvet cake frank phone nov dec 068and key lime pie. A great ending to a perfect meal.
What I took away from this wonderful dining experience besides culinary excellence was a staff that works so hard at trying to please in every way and making sure everything is perfect from start to finish. It is no wonder that this restaurant was named best steakhouse by Westchester Magazine. Don’t miss this special place!  irene phone 096

Location  610 West Hartsdale Avenue White Plains, New York

  914-428-6868 for reservations

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