Monday, March 03, 2008

Noodling in New Paltz 

So I was kinda freakin' out on the runup to President's Day weekend and desperate to get out of Dodge. K. realized that this is not at all like me as I love The City more than anywhere else and generally dislike leaving the Blessed Isle for short excursions. I'm great for longer term outings such as vacations, but otherwise I kinda like to stay put.

Our dear friend Christina decamped from the Isle for New Paltz some time ago in order to procreate. One of those weird things that people do. We hadn't seen her in an awfully long time so we decided to head up.

Among the little inconveniences that your lovely progeny bring to us non-breeders is often the loss of the guest room. So we set about using our favorite planning tool: TripAdvisor. In doing so, we discovered the glorious Maplestone Inn: a three room gem that's opened in the last 18 months or so. Sean and Patty Roche have done a gorgeous renovation to the property and our room (the Jenkins) was absolutely perfect. Patty's excellent cooking - the breakfasts were totally pornographic - was clearly not exactly WeightWatchers friendly, but who can resist a tasty egg concotion ON TOP OF A PANCAKE? I mean really now!

We did a bit of our usual vineyarding (a new hobby in the last year) and then discovered that all roads lead to Beso when it comes to dinner. Not only is it raved about online, but Sean and Patty recommended it and...so did Sherpa Dan. Turns out he discovered it a while ago (hence the Sherpa title). Given that convergence, we were absolutely determined to eat there. They have a New American menu utilizing in-season ingredients and a terrific wine list. It was a fantastic meal that included an onion and goat cheese tart (house specialty), a yummy beet salad with Humboldt Fog (there's never too much cheese!) We split unbelievable short ribs with braising greens and cornbread complemented by a very nice tempranillo. Dessert was an unusually rustic tarte tatin alongside a glass of poire William liqueur.

I usually order poire eau de vie and didn't realize that I was ordering liqueur as it just said Pear William on the dessert drinks list. K. can't normally stomach eau de vie but I bullied her into trying this and she was immediately obsessed. When we returned the following week I went to the source of All Things Rare: Park Avenue Liquor. It turns out that Massenez no longer makes the liqueur but they had a few bottles. Of course, I had to buy two.

Now despite all of this culinary goodness, K. has maintained that the highlight of the meal was...the cornbread. I know, it seems so pedestrian. But the butteryness of Beso's cornbread is simply not to be believed. We overheard our server tell another table that someone actually drove 2 hours and called first to be sure there was going to be cornbread. It is that darn good!
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