Guacamole made tableside and a menu featuring not-the-same-old Mexican fare (think broccoli on steak and salmon tostada) have quickly made Panchos & Gringos a local hangout in Putnam Valley. You can order online for takeout, but it’s so nice to stay awhile and chat over a strawberry colada or sangria. 845.284.2915
Indian meets Middle Eastern at Bina’s in Saugerties, a fresh and sunny café specializing in lamb gyros and kebabs, chicken tikka sandwiches, and curried fare. Start the day with the Indian scrambled eggs (spiced up with ginger and peppers) or pop in at lunchtime for homemade falafel. 845.217.5072
After New Paltz mainstay The Village Tearoom vacated their restaurant, RÅ«na Bistro took over the space and imported some French sensibility with dishes like ratatouille, duck breast au poivre, and tarte tatin. 845.419.5007
Long-awaited Tasty Crab House in Poughkeepsie offers a shellfish abbondanza and is perfect for group sharing. The fried soft-shell crab basket and the shrimp-crab combo plate are standouts. Corn on the cob, Cajun fries, and hush puppies are fun down-home sides. 845.224.2040
Though it’s a bar, Tin Pan Alley in Athens goes beyond the usual salty snacks and finger food. Sure, there’s fried chicken and beef chili, but also Reuben eggrolls and bacon-wrapped scallops. Executive Chef Susan Schultz adds French flair with specialties like beef bourguignon and crème brûlée. 917.561.5285
Cousins Ale Works, Wappingers Falls
Jan 11, 6-9 p.m.
1582 Rte 9, 845.632.1319
Entry fee is $10 per style
Calling all home brewers: The time to put your craft to the test has come. Cousins Ale Works will be hosting its second competition for hobbyists, with submissions open in more than 10 categories. Judged by a panel of volunteers, the contest will grade beers on taste, aroma, color, and overall drinkability. Submissions are open from Dec 1–Jan 4, so get those practice batches done and bring your best brew to Cousins.