Here we are again. To me, this is the most wonderful time of the year: Fall is in full swing, the Halloween hoopla has gone into overdrive, and our annual Best of Hudson Valley issue is flying off the newsstands faster than the leaves are falling. Folks from Albany to Amenia are waiting to hear who we’ve chosen as the creme of the crop — whether you want a heads-up on the best new restaurant or the best class for your kid. Our 27th (yes, 27th!) annual roundup of the region’s finest will undoubtedly serve as the go-to guide for thousands of residents and visitors alike. After all, everyone wants to know where to eat and what to do in the beautiful Hudson Valley — which this year was named one of the world’s “must see places” by National Geographic Traveler.
We are always asked how we come up with our winners. It’s a two-part process. First, our readers vote — and for the second year in a row, that was done completely online. The response was overwhelming! We opened up the online ballot starting in late February — and thousands upon thousands of you chimed in with your thoughts on everything from the best Italian restaurant (A Tavola in New Paltz) to the best sports bar (Sidelines in Red Hook) to the best health food store (Mother Earth’s Storehouse). Sometimes, we hear complaints that “the same people always win.” And sometimes, that’s true — there are repeat favorites who take home the gold year after year. And sometimes I, and the rest of the editorial staff, don’t necessarily agree with our readers’ selections; but hey, that’s the beauty of democracy in action!
Of course, sometimes there is a big shakeup — a longtime winner is toppled from the throne, and more often than not, we learn something from you, dear reader. So what was the most notable thing from this year’s ballot? Well, Duo Bistro in Kingston swept in, seemingly out of nowhere, to make their initial appearance on the BOHV list with two big wins: best new restaurant and best bistro. Wow! We applaud you guys for getting this one right. First opened in April 2012, this charming little bistro on John Street in the historic Stockade district started out serving breakfast and lunch, but soon added dinner to the mix (from Thursday through Sunday). A chic little eatery, it has quickly become a regular stomping ground for one of our editors and her foodie boyfriend. When asked to identify her favorite dish, she quickly became overwhelmed — there were so many! — and frustration set in when she couldn’t adequately describe why a certain lobster dish was so sensational. Look for a review from us in the coming months.
But in addition to your votes, we have dozens of editors’ picks, too. How do we come up with these? Well, we sip and sample and taste and try — and basically, keep our ears to the ground all year long to find the latest and greatest people, places, and things in our region. Are there other noteworthy establishments out there? Of course! This is our collection of what is most noteworthy in 2013.
But don’t take our word for it. Come see for yourself how wonderful our winners are by joining us at our annual Best of Hudson Valley Party on Thursday, October 17 at the Poughkeepsie Grand Hotel. Here, for one price, you can drink some local beer and wine, sample some foo foo cocktails, stuff yourself silly with outrageously good food, and even dance to some award-winning local bands. I won’t say that it’s the best night of the year — but it is certainly one of them. See you there.
Olivia J. Abel
Editor In Chief