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Tuesday, November 17, 2009

DAYTRIPPING IN PIERMONT, NEW YORK


Before winter closes in on us, Marty, Sue, Rob and I decide to grab one of those last glorious days to spend in Piermont, NY right on the Hudson River. Everything you think a NYC suburb should be, Piermont is not. With its man-made Erie Railroad pier jutting out into the Hudson, Piermont provides space for walkers, bikers, drivers, and runners. Benches along the walkways and mini-greens allow for picnickers, sun-worshippers, and resters. Galleries and shops along its main streets provide opportunities for artists and tourists. Sundays offer a Farmer's Market. Restaurants offer a multitude of choices in price range as well as in cuisine. The marina offers safe harbor. On our Sunday, the sun's warmth crowds out a normally brisk November day on the water making for a perfect outing.

We aren’t the only folks hungry for the last of the warm weather, and we park a few blocks away from the pier. Once we reach the waterfront, we are treated to spectacular views; upriver to the left stretches the Tappan Zee Bridge, its graceful span curving on the Westchester side. Downriver we can't quite see the George Washington Bridge, but the Hudson's width and beauty makes the view majestic.

Along the walk back toward Piermont, we pass condos built along the waterfront. There's an open house in one. While Rob and I soak in the rays, Sue and Marty take a tour. Want to know what this beautiful view will cost you? This two-bedroom apt with a windowless kitchen but with a balcony and big windows goes for 1.5 million dollars. Taxes are $26,000. Monthly carrying charges are $1,200. I am sooooo happy I love Warwick and do not hanker to live here. If any of you are interested, it wouldn't surprise me one iota if the apartment is still available.

We wander through the Farmer's Market, but it is getting late and they're packing up. Still we get a chance to sample some pickles but decline buying them at $12.00 a quart. We also sample a pretty good Cabernet from Slate Hill Winery. There are plenty of gorgeous vegetables as well as organic meats available for these suburbanites, and we see people enjoying the choice. Rob and I recognize two of the vendors from our own area.

On to an early dinner at Pasta Amore. We can see the world through the big picture windows. The restaurant shuns the techno look with no sound absorbers, so rather than being noisy and loud, the volume is comfortable and we four can enjoy conversation without effort. That's two plusses already, and we haven't even looked at the menu! Zagat compliments Pasta Amore’s views, comfortable casualness, and excellent Northern Italian food. Our great day gets better each moment.

It's early, and this is not a day to rush, so we order appetizers. Sue chooses the Portabello, Grifilata, a large Roman Mushroom brushed with olive oil and garlic, served over tri-color green with a balsamic vinaigrette dressing. It’s as attractive and as tasty as it sounds. Marty is happy with his Grilled Vegetable Plate, marinated fresh vegetables served with a balsamic vinaigrette. Rob's choice is Insalata di Frutti di Mare, an absolutely beautiful presentation of calamari, scungilli, pulpo, scallops, and shrimp served with a lemon vegetable vinaigrette. I favor the Calamari Fritta, served delicately breaded, a rarity, and accompanied by a Fra Diavlo sauce. It is delicious, not dried but just chewy enough. The serving is so big we four could have shared it. Everyone tastes and agrees it is delicious. I take some home with me.

For my entree, I order Pollo Involtini, a combination and presentation entirely new to me. Here is chicken stuffed with ricotta, prosciutto, and basil served with a Fra Diavlo sauce. It is served as a long stuffed roll, partially sliced, entirely tantalizing, and accompanied by a medley of steamed vegetables. The portion is huge, and after the calamari, I take some of this home with me. I really enjoy it.

Sue orders Pollo Grandama, a breast of chicken sautéed with mushrooms, walnuts and black truffles in a marsala wine sauce. Once again, the chef has hit on a winner. Rob chooses Roughy Ligurian Style, sautéed orange roughy with fresh and sundried tomatoes, capers, olives, shallots and herbs in a white wine sauce. He liked it as much as Marty enjoyed the Salmon al Porro, sautéed with leeks, fresh tomatoes and herbs in a white wine garlic sauce. Beautiful preparation and presentation.

It is a lovely meal that leaves us no room for the tempting desserts. It does make us want to go back out and walk—to explore more of Piermont and to walk off some of our dinner.

We enter the Piermont Fine Arts Gallery, an amazing cooperative of 24 artists. Serendipitously we run into Marty’s and my former colleague, abstract artist Alan Levine whose exhibition has just ended. He has his portfolio with him and we get to peek at a sampling of his work. Even more incredible is that Sue knows the artist whose photography is currently on exhibition, Mariela Dujovne Melamed. This day is the opening of her show. Of course we spend a lot of time there.

It is a long day, but it is a lovely day with good friends, wonderful weather, excellent food, and a bit of art. Can you think of a better way to spend a Sunday?


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