Summer Dinner






Poolville Country Store, NY

As mentioned many times before, going to school in upstate New York leaves much to be desired in terms of culinary experiences. On the one hand, I save a considerable amount of money. On the other hand, it’s easy to see how students can subsist on Ramen noodles.

However, I got a chance to visit the Poolville Country Store, a bed and breakfast that serves way more than just breakfast. As a birthday treat, my parents came to visit and took me to this quaint spot for lunch. They specialize in locally-sourced foods, and most of the menu items were vegetarian or pescetarian, both plusses in my book. (Although, it does make one wonder how you get fresh “local” seafood when you are hundreds of miles from the ocean.)

We were first served a few squares of blueberry crumb cake. Buttery, rich goodness.

Unsure of whether or not it was lunch time or breakfast time, I settled on savory tastes despite my two cups of coffee and this blueberry treat. We ordered polenta fries, smothered in gorgonzola cheese on a bed of mixed greens. Salty but so fabulous, this dish makes me want to experiment more with polenta. The shrimp and vegetable rolls were also fabulous, with a smattering of wasabi aioli that was flavorful. My only complaint was that the menu spelled “shrimp” incorrectly.My caesar salad was standard, though the (single) anchovy on top was appreciated. It’s unfortunate there weren’t more anchovies to really bring out the flavor. I had a large bowlful of lobster bisque which was delicious, though salty. Lastly, a taste of this crab cake made our meal complete. Moist, tasty rounds of crab served with lemon aioli were fantastic. All in all, a pleasant, filling, delicious experience…particularly for upstate New York.


When a (Mark Bittman) Recipe Fails

I know it’s the holiday season when my family eats experimental appetizers as our dinner. With potentially over thirty guests coming for Christmas dinner, menu items must be tried out. One such attempt was Mark Bittman’s recipe for Sesasme Shrimp Toasts. I’m usually not a fan of fusion foods, such as this one which combines Italian bread with Asian flavors, but there’s no harm in testing the recipe out. 

The recipe starts off by saying to cut the baguette in half lengthwise, and to then put the shrimp mixture on top for baking. At the end, you slice the bread into toasts. One of the biggest problems with this recipe for me is that the image that goes along with the recipe on Bittman’s website shows toasts made of sliced baguettes, not lengthwise, but like bruschetta. I think this would be a better way to make the toasts, yet the instructions state otherwise.

My second problem with the recipe is that it’s not worthy of our Christmas dinner menu. Not that our Christmas is a particularly formal affair, but it just wasn’t good enough to eat. Maybe it was the expectation of eating some sort of garlic, cheesy, or buttery bread, since that’s what it looked like, and instead tasting Asian flavors. Or maybe that it was simply not satisfying in ways I don’t know how to describe.

A recipe should be coherent, as well as aligned with the images of the food, or else people (or maybe it’s just me) get misled. I think I will stick to a simpler tomato, garlic, basil bruschetta next time.