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The aroma of great food is in the air once again, as Hudson Valley Restaurant Week gears up again to spotlight the region as a culinary destination. The event actually spans two weeks, despite its name, from March 14 through March 27, and is a fantastic opportunity for diners to sample mouthwatering feasts at discounted prices. In addition, many of the restaurants use vegetables, cheeses, poultry, and meats from farms in the area. Participating restaurants will offer three-course dinners at $28, and many will feature three-course lunches at $20.
Last year, Restaurant Week drew more than 200,000 diners to over 140 restaurants in seven counties, including Dutchess, Orange, Ulster, and Westchester. This time around, 150 eateries are signed up, creating an even larger selection of amazing restaurants to choose from. Chronogram
recently spoke with Janet Crawshaw, publisher of the Valley Table
magazine, the driving force behind Restaurant Week, and Nancy Lutz, communications manager at Dutchess County Tourism, to devise a game plan for making the most of the 14-day celebration. Tip #1: Be Adventurous
Make Restaurant Week a culinary quest to find new foods you have never tasted before. Stray from your favorite dishes and broaden the horizon of your palate. “Try something you would never even think of trying, like eclectic European fondue,” Lutz says. “You could go for something adventurous.” It is this pioneering spirit that makes Restaurant Week great, according to Lutz. “You get to explore and open new windows, open new horizons,” she said. Tip #2: Make Reservations
Get your reservations in early! Don’t be shut out of a popular restaurant.
Tip #3: Don’t Let Dietary Restrictions Stop You
Avoid letting dietary restrictions put a damper on your Restaurant Week experience. Contact the restaurant before you head out to make sure they can accommodate any needs you may have. Tip #4: Check the List
Not all restaurants are participating in the event on weekends, or for lunch. Double-check restaurant hours and participation schedules on the HVRW website. Tip #5: Map Out Your Route
Try picking a town and hopscotching the restaurants in the area. Perhaps have a glass of wine and a small plate at one, mosey on to another for the main course, and check out someplace new for dessert. Prime locations include Poughkeepsie, where eight restaurants will be participating, and White Plains, where seven restaurants will be taking part. The HVRW website offers a function to sort restaurants by town. “You can go for a walk, if it is not a freezing cold day, on the Walkway over the Hudson, and then end up at a great restaurant for a great dinner,” says Crawshaw.
Tip #6: Getting Around
River towns are ideal spots, especially those on the Hudson train line, such as Beacon and Poughkeepsie. Taxis are usually lined up at train stations waiting to carry diners away to a culinary paradise, and many restaurants are within walking distance of the station.
Tip #7: Turn a Meal into a Getaway
A number of hotels, inns, and bed-and breakfasts have hopped on the Restaurant Week bandwagon, and will offer discounted overnight packages. To find participating places of lodging, visit the travel page on the Hudson Valley Restaurant Week website. “You can get a midweek getaway or a weekend getaway and overcome the blah-dom of March, and have a great meal and a great overnight somewhere,” Crawshaw says. Also, if you spend the night, you can have an extra bottle of wine without worrying about driving home.
Bed-and-breakfasts, like the Olde Rhinebeck Inn, will sometimes pick up travelers from the train station if they are given fair warning. The Poughkeepsie Grand Hotel also has a shuttle bus for those looking to get around without a cab. For a full list of participating restaurants, and more information about Hudson
Valley Restaurant Week, visit www.hudsonvalleyrestaurantweek.com.