Brave the last few days of winter with an adventurous palate and a full stomach. From Sri Lankan cuisine to craft beer, here are the four Hudson Valley spots we are dining and drinking this March.
Red Pepper Diner
1458 Route 9D, Wappingers Falls
In an inconspicuous yellow building on Route 9D in Wappingers Falls next to a gas station, Red Pepper Diner serves up authentic Sri Lankan cuisine. The diner keeps its interior simple and cozy with wooden booths, colorful Sri Lankan photographs and paintings, exposed brick walls, and bright flowers on every table. Try Red Pepper's Kothu Roti ($12.99), made with shredded flatbreads, vegetables, spices, onions, and eggs, topped with curry sauce. Or if you're in the mood for something sweet, try their specialty Watalappan, a tropical custard made with coconut milk, palm sugar, cashews, cinnamon, cloves, cardamom, and nutmeg. Red Pepper also offers a $17.99 buffet every week, a customer favorite, where you can stay stuffed with chicken, curry, lentils, potatoes, leeks, and fresh hoppers. If you've never tasted Sri Lankan cuisine, Red Pepper offers an affordable and delicious introduction.
2173 Spruceton Rd, West Kill
Located on an historic 127-acre dairy farm, West Kill Brewing in Greene County uses locally foraged and homegrown ingredients in their craft beers—honey directly from their hives, cherries from their orchard, and thyme from their fields. The yeast? Cultivated in the surrounding Spruceton Valley. West Kill offers more than 20 different styles of beer, sorted into five categories: hoppy, Belgian, light/crisp, dark/malty, and barrel-aged. If you're an avid hiker, take the West Kill Mountain route and reward yourself with a charcuterie platter and fireside a glass of Dusk, a barrel-aged beer made with black currants and locust flowers. West Kill keeps promising flavors on tap, such as Dark Hollow Beer, winner of a 2019 Good Food Award, available to try Friday through Sunday. Keep an eye out for their events, featuring local musicians, cooking classes, and beer-pairing dinners.
Hudson Food Studio, Hudson
746 Warren Street, Hudson
After a trip to Vietnam, chef David Chicane returned to the US with the dream of opening a farm-to-table eatery with a "Southeast Asian accent." Following a spell at an Asian-fusion restaurant in New Hampshire, Chicane opened Hudson Food Studio, which offers flavorful Vietnamese-inspired dishes prepared with sustainable, locally sourced ingredients. Known for their generous portions and friendly service, most tables at the intimate restaurant are usually snagged by 7pm. Their Vietnamese-inspired cuisine is packed with flavorful spices that will leave you savoring every bite. Popular dishes include warm sesame noodles, served with braised pork, sprouts, scallions, carrots, and onion in an oyster sauce ($18); and the jumping squid, prepared with red chili butter ($11). Bring your appetite and sense of adventure to explore the culinary offerings at Food Studio.
6 Old Forge Road, Woodstock
With distressed wood floors, white-washed walls and ceiling, and plenty of mirrors, Garden Cafe has a bright, modern look to go with its fresh take on vegan cuisine. Since Lea Haas took over the Woodstock eatery in 2015 and promoted Christine Moss to head chef, the establishment is moving forward with a refreshed vision and dedicated fanbase. Moss's menu features dynamic, animal-free variations on global dishes using organic, GMO-free ingredients. With seasonal menu changes and daily specials (like the gluten free mac 'n' cheese made with cashew cream and peas), the dining experience is ever-new. Breakfast is served daily until 1pm. There is also an organic juice and smoothie bar, as well as a full wine and beer list. Who said eating vegan meant giving up life's indulgences?