Ship to Shore – Hudson Valley
Recently, the Blind Baker, Hungry of Tasty Eating, our friend KC and I were all discussing a brief road trip. Just a day trip – nothing crazy, mostly a feeler just to see if we could handle each other for a possibly longer road trip down the line a bit – based around the notion of eating. Blind Baker has been incredibly jealous of my previous food trips and kept suggesting we do one. Well, I’m always game to eat, so of course I agreed.
After a lot of back and forth, Hudson Valley, home to the CIA, was decided as our destination. Unfortunately, though the CIA offers tours of its campus and facilities, the tours are only available during the week, and we’d chosen a Saturday for our trip. Furthering our aggravation, only a small number of restaurants on campus are open on Saturdays, and they all required business casual dress, which Blind Baker quickly scrapped as an option. No big deal – there are a ton of delicious restaurants in the area, though researching seemed a bit clunky as there don’t appear to be any food bloggers covering Hudson Valley… hint, hint.
On the day of our trip, we had an early start and began our journey northward. Due to terrible directions and unmarked roads – I mean literally unmarked roads!!! big streets that simply had no sign!!! – it took us 5 hours from my apartment to the restaurant. As a result, I was starving by the time we sat down. I mean positively starving, and I turn really grumpy when I’m hungry… thankfully, now as a semi-mature
cheeseadult, I deal with it by turning eerily silent (as opposed to snapping at everyone).
The problem with sitting down at a restaurant when you’re really hungry is that you tend to overorder. Everything looks good on the menu. And so it was that we ended up with a ton of food on the table…
As soon as we sat down, these giant slices of crusty, soft, warm bread appeared – mm, seeded Italian. Without thinking, I immediately stuffed one in my mouth, and Blind Baker yelled “Wait!” and tried to snap a picture of me. Do you want to see it? I was not happy that I had to interrupt food getting to my growling tummy in order for her to take a photo of me being a pig. (Like there aren’t already a billion of those pics floating around…) (I assure you, I do know my proper table manners and that bread is meant to be eaten by ripping off hunks of it to butter, then insert in your mouth – these needed no butter – but that intense hunger made me lose my mind for a second!)
Blind Baker chose to start with the lobster and crab egg rolls. My bratty self said I don’t order egg rolls in Chinese restaurants (I don’t really go to ones that offer them), and I never like them at non-Asian restaurants, so I certainly had no interest in them here and didn’t try them; later, Blind Baker revealed I’d made the right choice as she said that it was less than impressive.
The next ‘appetizer’ we’d ordered was seafood mac & cheese, which came laden with seafood. The mac & cheese alone was absolutely scrumptious – cheesy, al dente pasta, without overwhelming… but the seafood just made it better. Well, except for the lobster, which was sadly overcooked, but the perfectly cooked, medium-rare/rare scallops made it all better. I think there were shrimp, too, but I didn’t eat those, focusing mostly on the scallops… so good. I was trying not to stuff everything into my mouth with abandon, as it would be rude when sharing a dish to just eat all of it…
Our third appetizer was a portion of foie gras, which Hungry pointed out rightly was probably the cheapest price you’ll ever see on a menu for any amount of foie gras at $14. When it came, I wasn’t terribly surprised that it was on the small side, but I love foie gras and can eat large quantities of it, disgustingly. This one was tender and cooked just right, but I felt the flavor fell somewhat flat. It was good, but could have been made better with more fig flavor pronounced throughout instead of just large chunks of fig thrown around where you needed to take some fig and eat it with the foie gras. Perhaps that’s personal preference… but mostly, it was just a piece of properly cooked foie gras on the plate.
For her main course, Hungry had chosen the lobster and chanterelle mushroom risotto with truffle oil. Funny moment: she asked if we’d like to try it, so I took a little bit from the side; as I was putting the bite in my mouth, Blind Baker and Hungry were both commenting on how the risotto was good, but had little to no truffle flavor. I was busy recoiling from the intense burst of truffle flavor in my mouth! I immediately blurted out, “Uh, maybe I’m just really sensitive to truffles since I’m not a huge fan, but that’s ALL I could taste!” Of course, a minute later, we discovered all the truffle oil had been drizzled on the side, leading to my bite of just truffle oil and their bites without. Dur. Aside from that, Hungry said she really liked her risotto and that it was cooked properly, and very tasty. (And if I have it wrong, I’m sure she’ll speak up!)
For our main courses, Blind Baker and I both chose the fish and chips. I admit that I have a thing for properly done fish and chips. I have a huge issue with too much breading, or too sweet a batter, and just… I have rarely had very good fish and chips, not for lack of trying. I was nervous and eager to see what would come to the table, and was pleased to see this. Sort of.
The fries were perfectly crisp and fried to perfection; I like shoestring fries. But the fish being plated underneath seemed an odd choice; I pushed the fries aside, but the fish had gotten a little soggy already. The fish itself was cooked nicely, not overcooked, and just dusted lightly with flour before frying. I’m okay with that. But I felt it was missing some oomph, something else needed to be there that just wasn’t. I enjoyed my plate – and the cole slaw of sorts underneath the whole thing – but wished the fish was slightly crispier, and slightly more flavorful. Overall, though, I was pleased with the dish.
Though Hungry and I were absolutely stuffed at this point, Blind Baker ordered a crème brulee. Hungry and I had fun breaking through the brulee, and I tried a bite but don’t really remember it. I’m just not a sweets person!
After that, off we went to the CIA to shop and poke around!
Yvo says: I wouldn’t mind if Ship to Shore were in my neighborhood. Reasonable prices, very cute décor, and the location directly across from a gazebo overlooking the water… really just wonderful all around. Our server was very knowledgeable when we asked him about the fish and the ingredients in general, and very friendly, never eye-rolling-ly bored with our chatter, and the food overall was quite good. Yum!