Our Cheap Eats issue is always eagerly anticipated by our readers, and of course that is no surprise. After all, recession or no recession, who doesn’t want to learn about where to grab some great grub at a great price? As you probably know, the dining scene in the Hudson Valley has exploded in recent years. While much of the attention has clearly focused on the farm-to-table movement, eateries of all stripes continue to pop up in every corner of the region. Traditionally, ethnic restaurants have offered some of the most affordable dining options; we include several of them in this year’s roundup.
I can’t wait to try the new Saigon Pho Noodle Bar in Wappingers Falls. While I like to consider myself a fairly adventurous diner, I have to admit that I’ve never actually had Vietnamese Pho Soup before. This is how our writer describes the noodle soup, a staple in Vietnam: “It comes in a large bowl loaded with vermicelli noodles swimming in a slightly sweet, intricately spiced, aromatic broth hinting of star anise, ginger, cinnamon, and coriander.”
Of course, every respectable Cheap Eats list in 2015 should feature a burger joint (a grass-fed burger joint, of course) and at least one food truck. So don’t worry, we’ve got those on the list, too. Who knew that there was a Belgian waffle food truck that sets up shop at Woodbury Commons? With homemade whipped cream? That’s tempting enough that I would plan a trip just for the waffles; designer shoes would just be the cherry on top of a delicious day. We’ve got 21 restaurants you’ll want to add to your must-visit list, and the good news is that you don’t even need to save up for a rainy day. Our cover story starts here.
There is a lot of other great dining coverage in this issue, too. In our neck of the woods March means maple syrup time. We introduce you to a local homesteader who started tapping her own trees and transforming the sap into liquid gold. Even chef Jean-Georges (yes, that Jean-Georges) has taken notice of the sweet stuff this Pound Ridge woman is producing. She tells us how it’s done and gives you tips for getting started should you decide you’d like to tap some trees yourself. (Just think of how good your house would smell if you spend an entire afternoon “cooking down” some local maple sap.) In addition, multiple farms in the region participate in special maple syrup weekends where guests are encouraged to visit and attend demonstrations and sample some amazing locally-made syrup; we fill you in on where to go and what to expect right here.
And finally, don’t forget that spring rears its beautiful head on Friday, March 20. That’s pretty sweet too.
Olivia J. Abel