La Camelia: savor the authentic flavors of Spain and Portugal in a charming atmosphere in Mt. Kisco

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While there are many fine restaurants in our area, it is unique to discover an eatery that is provides a great menu, friendly service and a dining atmosphere that is warm and inviting.  La Camelia in Mt Kisco is such a place.  Perched on a hill in a 19th Century home, the restaurant is instantly welcoming.  I felt as if  I had walked into the home of a favorite relative, or a quaint New England or European inn that was overflowing with charm and warmth.  The feeling was instant comfort.

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While the restaurant has been operating since 1984, current owners Victor and Serafina Varela have infused new life, an updated menu and genuine warmth and hospitality into La Camelia.  The interior has wide wood floors, fire places and  wooden tables draped in linen.  Prints and tapestries adorn the walls.  There are three separate dining spaces and a bar, all with a unique charm of their own.

The menu is comprised of  authentic Spanish and Portuguese dishes, tapas (small plates), sangria and wines.  The fresh flavors of the Iberian Peninsula  are all here to explore and enjoy.

We started with a pitcher of white wine sangria which was served in a traditional hand painted ceramic pitcher instead of glass or plastic.  This authentic beverage was a great way to start our culinary tour.

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Sangria served from a beautiful hand painted ceramic pitcher

The Sopa de Lagosta (Lobster Soup) was warm and delicious on a cold night.  Served in a unique fish shaped bowl , this lobster bisque also included crab meat and a piece of toast floating on top.  It was hearty and delicious.

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Sopa de Lagosta (Lobster Soup)

Since Spain and Portugal border the sea, the menu is full of seafood options.  We enjoyed the Tostada de Gambas,  a warm tapas with grilled shrimp, fresh guacamole and served over in house made crunchy chips.

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Tostadas de Gambas

Another great tapas was the  Mexilhoes na Cataplana, or steamed mussels in a red sauce.  A very unique presentation of this classic dish as it was served in a covered metal bowl with a hammered finish.  Lifting the cover allowed the fragrant flavors of fresh steamed mussels in a slightly smoky red sauce to fill the air.  This unique presentation and fantastic preparation is what makes La Camelia so special.

For our main dishes we sampled (at the suggestion of the staff), the Bife na Pedra which is  black angus steak that is lightly grilled on each side then served on a cooking stone. You slice the steak and allow the hot stone to cook it to your liking.  A really fun, interactive and authentic dish which we highly recommend.

A visit to a Spanish restaurant is not complete without  enjoying Seafood Paella.  I am big fan of this dish and La Camelia delivers with  all seafood including mussels, clams, shrimp, and topped with a 1/2 pound lobster.  The presentation of the dish was wonderful, and the taste was perfection.

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Seafood Paella

With just a bit of room left for dessert we were surprised to see a dessert cart rolled into the dining room.  Again a charming detail we have not seen in some time in dining and another example of the hospitality at La Camelia. There were several great looking desserts with the Carrot cake and the Chocolate Mousse being our favorites.

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La Camelia is a very special dining experience.  The warmth and genuineness of the hosts, friendly staff, amazing dishes from the sunny Iberian peninsula and a cozy welcoming atmosphere make this a must dine destination.

We cannot wait for warmer weather when the side patio opens up for outside dining.   A perfect restaurant for date night, or a gathering of friends.

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La Camelia

234 North Bedford Rd 
Mount Kisco NY 10549     

web   https://lacameliarestaurant.net

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Tredici North: a stylish new restaurant serving innovative Italian fare

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There is a new Italian restaurant in Purchase NY.  that is not to be missed.  Tredici North has a swanky and creative edge combined with modern elegance.  The beautiful space has three distinct areas, a first floor dining room,  a beautiful and uniquely designed bar area, and a second floor which houses an intimate dining space.

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Modern and elegant dining area

The bar provides a striking focal point with its earthy wood counter, copper bar stools, and a wall behind the bar that uses reclaimed tiles from a roof in Italy to create a large striking fan pattern.

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Bar area

Upstairs, the 13 step under lit stairway leads you to the second dining room and creates the feel that an exclusive dining space awaits.

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Tredici North won “Best Of Westchester” 2016  by Westchester Magazine for their Italian dishes and for the culinary talents of executive chef Giuseppe Fanelli.   Chef Fanelli has perfected his craft while working in many top Manhattan restaurants, and has been featured on such television programs as the Travel Channel’s “Man Finds Food” with Adam Richman and he was culinary champion on Food Network’s hit series “Chopped”.

I had the pleasure of dining at this cutting edge restaurant recently and I foudnd out what all the buzz was about.

Cocktails:  Tredici North has an extensive wine list from which to choose, but the cocktails have an appeal of their own.   The “Flaming Scorpion” is sweet libation of juices, rum and vodka that is potent as it  is tasty.  It is served in a tiki style tall glass.  The cocktail is served tableside and the waiter  actually lights the drink on fire. Very cool ! It is quite the show and a great drink.  Some of the other interesting drinks sampled at our table was the “Sun’s out/Guns out”, and the smooth and delicious “Gin Joint”.

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The Flaming Scorpion

Appetizers:  The Angry Lobster is a fantastic presentation with a 1 pound Maine lobster pan fried with meyer lemon, white wine, roasted garlic, red chili flakes, and a grilled corn on the cob as a side.  Can you say decadent?  A great dish that can be shared as well.

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The Angry Lobster !

Another great dish is the fried Calamari (with a twist!) .  This dish is firecracker hot  and served with celery and gorgonzola cheese.  It was hot and spicy, crispy (not soggy of chewy) and scrumptious.

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Calamari

The “Inside Out  Meatballs” are a specialty and very popular and are panko encrusted beef, pork and veal meatballs that are stuffed with fresh mozzarella and ricotta cheese and served in a homemade marinara sauce.  Delicious.irene-075

Another top starter is the grilled Polpo.  Tender Portuguese octopus grilled and served over frisse salad, grilled peaches, fennel, balsamic glazed pork belly and pesto.  This dish clicked all the boxes, savory, sweet, smoky and so fresh. A great combination of ingredients.

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Polpo

All the pastas are made fresh in house, so we just had to sample some.  The Pasutice is a triangle shaped pasta with Maine lobster, tarragon, shaved asparagus, roasted grape tomatoes and a touch of cream. This dish is true comfort food at its very best.  Order a dish and have everyone at the table have a taste.

Main Course:   The main courses we enjoyed continued to impress everyone at our table.  Try the Organic Salmon, lightly smoked with olives, tomatoes, feta and a banyuls (wine)  vinaigrette. Fresh, healthy and so Mediterranean.   Another choice was a special menu item that evening, the Veal Valdostana. An enormous slice of veal served on the bone with a superb sauce and spinach.

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Organic Salmon, lightly smoked

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Veal Valdostana

The last entree choice was the Kobe Beef Ravioli which again was made with homemade pasta and filled with braised Kobe beef, caramelized onions and fontina in a brown butter and thyme reduction.   A wonderful dish that is full of flavor but not too filling.

 Dessert:   Save room for the imaginative desserts.  I can vouch for the “Drunken Monkey”, which is walnuts bananas served with flamed dark rum and poured over banana and chocolate gelato. Fire and Ice was another hit with berries and Longford vanilla ice cream.  Eat this soon after serving as it will begin to melt on you!   The “Nutella Lasagna” is a special dessert as well  and is composed of hazelnut and chocolate whipped cream in between layers of chocolate wafers and  chopped hazelnuts.  So good!   Also sample the fresh Carrot cake and Coconut cake.

Tredici North has combined innovative cooking, beautiful interior design and a friendly and attentive wait staff .  The combination made for a evening of great dining.  Tredici means “thirteen” in Italian and there is nothing unlucky about this newest dining treasure in Westchester. Enjoy!

Tredici North

578 Anderson Hill Road  Purchase, New York      tel:  914-997-4113

http://www.tredicinorth.com

 

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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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