Daily Dose | Hudson Valley; Chronogram

Friday, November 29, 2013

Battenfeld's Christmas Tree Farm: Cut Your Own Tree

Posted By on Fri, Nov 29, 2013 at 9:00 AM

Looking for the perfect tree at Battenfelds Christmas Tree Farm

A friend of mine recommended Battendeld's Christmas Tree Farma few years ago, and we went there to chop our own tree. Battenfeld's Christmas Tree Farm in Red Hook, and easy to get to as it is right on Route 199. We parked the car, borrowed a saw at the office for $10 deposit, and were given brief instructions, and drove up the hill to pick out our Christmas tree. It was a bone-chilling 20F and my husband was very eager to use the saw, so it only took us 5 minutes to choose our tree, and took about 60 seconds to chop it. Timber! We hoisted it on top of the car, and went back to the main office area to get it prepped for its new home. All trees cost $60 including tax. The guys at Battenfeld's were very cool, and did a great job securing the tree to the top of the car. It didn't even budge on the ride of the Kingston Bridge! Merry Christmas tree! Check out their website to check out there other events/offerings.

Writer Vanessa Geneva Ahern blogs about her Hudson Valley adventures at HudsonValleyGoodStuff.com.

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Thursday, November 28, 2013

DOSH Dishes Out Experimental Sounds at BSP Lounge

Posted By on Thu, Nov 28, 2013 at 9:00 AM

DOSHs Martin Dosh
  • DOSH's Martin Dosh

Along with being Andrew Bird’s main musical collaborator for the last few years, Minneapolis multi-instrumentalist and composer Martin Dosh has also worked with Bonnie Prince Billy, Wilco’s Glenn Kotche, and Bon Iver, who has called Dosh “a national treasure.” But besides all that, Dosh, who plays at BSP Lounge next Tuesday, has his own ongoing solo recording and touring project—called DOSH, of course—which has thus far produced six albums of his oddball, loop-based solo performances.

Elder scenesters may recall Dosh from his 1990s years of studying music and literature at Simon’s Rock in Western Massachusetts and, later, at SUNY New Paltz. Back then, he was a strong presence on the local music scene, drumming with the band Como Zoo and establishing himself as an adventurous improviser at jam sessions and open mikes.

Check out a bit of DOSH weaving sounds in this 2012 radio session:

DOSH will perform with the Sweet Clementines and the Fasads at BSP Lounge in Kingston on December 3 at 8pm. Tickets are $8 in advance and $10 day of show. For details, call (845) 481-5158 or visit http://bspkingston.com/.

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Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Bryan Adams romances Kingston in Acoustic show

Posted By on Wed, Nov 27, 2013 at 9:00 AM

Bryan Adams treated the crowd to a 3 song encore

I really enjoyed the Bryan Adams concert at the Ulster Performing Arts Center (UPAC) in Kingston on Monday night. The whole concept of the Bare Bones acoustic show was to pare down 30 years worth of songs to just the best musical parts—the bare bones. He opened with “Run to You.” Sang “You’re Still the One,” ”Heaven,” “Summer of 69,″ “Here I Am,” ”Love Cuts Like a Knife,” and”If Ya Wanna Be Bad, Ya Gotta Be Good.” This one was fun as a woman in the front row got his attention and danced for him. He thanked her with an air kiss. He told stories about writing songs for the love of music in basements, making the best of the chances you get, and stories of cats that pee in basements.

His musical sidekick Gary who played the piano beautifully looked like a younger version of Bryan Adams. Right before the end of the show he invited the audience to get closer to the stage. He introduced one song with “You’ve probably heard this at a Mexican restaurant. It goes great with chips and guacamole” and he then sang “Tell Me Have You Ever Really Loved a Woman” and then ended with my favorite Bryan Adams song “Straight from the Heart." It was a great show with a plenty of funny audience shout-outs, and it was my first time at UPAC, which is a beautiful venue staffed with friendly people.

Before the show, a UPAC representative told the audience that there will be no photography during the show. (I think this is code for just don’t take too many photos with your phone!) Well, it was tough for me, but I told myself, “Just pretend it’s 1981 and you are at a Bryan Adams concert” and that kind of worked for a while. Adams has really kept his voice in shape over the past 30 years. Hard to believe he is 54 years old. I do like his newer songs particularly the sweet “Here I Am” (2004) but it was nice to hear him say, “I’m gonna take you down memory lane.” The couple in front of us were from Catskill. I overheard the man tell the stranger next to him that “I’d Do Anything for You” was their wedding song. Yep, Adams sang that one too and there was lots of smooching going on.

During the show, he invited 4 people who were sitting in the last row of the balcony to come down to the front row since a few seats weren’t filled. UPAC updated their Facebook status to thank Bryan Adams for donating to their fundraiser. Adams pulled out a $100 bill from his wallet after the show to donate to “dinner and a show” a UPAC fundraiser which gives money to local food banks. If Bryan Adams comes to your town, go see him! He’ll romance you, and might even give you an air kiss, or a free upgrade to a front row seat. You never know! Check out UPAC’s concert schedule for upcoming concert info.

Vanessa Ahern writers about where to eat, play & recharge your spirit in the Hudson Valley on her blog Hudson Valley Good Stuff.

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Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Noche Flamenca Visits Tivoli This Weekend

Posted By on Tue, Nov 26, 2013 at 9:00 AM

Soledad Barrio
  • Soledad Barrio

While dance is a separate medium than music, the two disciplines naturally go together. Thus, even though music is the focus of my blog, I’m not opposed to singling out an intriguing local dance event every once in a while. And the two-date engagement by the Noche Flamenca dance company at Kaatsbaan Dance Studio this weekend certainly warrants mention.

Led on stage by the incomparable Soledad Barrio, Noche Flamenca was founded in Spain in 1993 and is today considered the world’s most authentic touring flamenco dance troupe. Now based in New York, the group regularly performs around the globe, bringing “to the stage the essence, purity, and integrity of one of the world’s most mysterious and complex art forms without the use of tricks or gimmicks. All aspects of flamenco—dance, song, and music—are given equal weight in the presentations of Noche Flamenca, creating a true communal spirit within the company—the very heart and soul of flamenco.”

For a taste of what the above is getting at, just watch this video of Barrio and Noche Flamenca in full flight:

Noche Flamenca will perform at Kaatsbaan Dance Studio in Tivoli, New York, on November 30 at 7:30pm and December 1 at 2:30pm. Tickets are $30 and $45 for cafe table seating. For more information, call (845) 757-5106 extension 2 or 10 or visit http://www.kaatsbaan.org/.

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Monday, November 25, 2013

Brangelina Buy Hudson Valley Home, Exclusive Photos!

Posted By on Mon, Nov 25, 2013 at 5:01 PM

11/26 9:30am update: Despite the vigorous rumors swirling yesterday around the sale of Petra island to Brangelina yesterday, credible reports indicate that Brad and Angelina will not, in fact, be our neighbors. —The Ed.
Brad Pitt at his Petra Island home.
  • Brad Pitt at his Petra Island home.

Chronogram profiled this secluded Frank Lloyd Wright-inspired structure back in May 2011, when it was owned by sheet-metal mogul Joe Massaro. When we learned that Angelina Jolie bought it for Brad Pitt as a 50th birthday present, we sent around a photographer. Here are some pics we snapped of the happy couple on their 50-acre heart-shaped island on Lake Mahopac.

Brad Pitt standing in front of the plans for his new Frank Lloyd Wright inspired home.
  • Brad Pitt standing in front of the plans for his new Frank Lloyd Wright inspired home.
Brangenlina in the dining room.
  • Brangenlina in the dining room.
Brangelina outside the authentic Frank Lloyd Wright cottage.
  • Brangelina outside the authentic Frank Lloyd Wright cottage.
Brangelina in their funky fresh bathroom.
  • Brangelina in their funky fresh bathroom.
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Detour: The Lodge at Woodloch in the Poconos

Posted By on Mon, Nov 25, 2013 at 9:00 AM

Our Veranda Room
  • Hudson Valley Good Stuff/Vanessa Ahern
  • Our Veranda Room

woodloch_greenjuice.jpg
  • Hudson Valley Good Stuff/Vanessa Ahern

The Lodge at Woodloch, a beautiful destination spa in the Poconos (Hawley, Pennsylvania) invited Hudson Valley Good Stuff for an overnight getaway. It’s about a 2 hour drive from Kingston. (Just take the NYS thurway to Newburg and then switched over to I-84 West for 60 miles). The hospitality of The Lodge hits you as soon as you surrender your car to the valet parking. When we checked in, we were offered a quick tour of the first floor. Though I thought it would be an off-weekend, the hotel was rather crowded. There were couples relaxing by the fireplace, and women walking around in plush bathrobes and slippers. I was happy we had made dinner reservations for 8pm. We settled into our room where a delicious cheese platter was waiting for us. We gobbled that up, and then headed to the indoor pool and waterfall jaccuzi. We were the only ones there so I took a few photos between dips in the pool.

The dining room is cozy and festive. The diners were couples mostly thirty-somethings and up, girlfriend gatherings, and a few larger groups. (The Lodge at Woodloch is adults only and only accepts ages 16 and up, though the sister property Pines Resort which is 2 miles away, welcomes families). A guitarist sang James Taylor songs by the fireplace while we dined. It was all lovely. The menu arrived with no prices, and I remembered that this an inclusive-deal and guests only pay extra if they have an alcoholic beverage.

I soon found out all their menu items are tailored to healthy spa lifestyle with many vegan and gluten-free dishes. (No french-fries or buffalo wings here). I started with the baby arugula salad, and Tom had the ceasar salad. The service was super-friendly and attentive, and you never have to wait for your partner’s food to arrive because 2 servers come out at the same time to each table. For my entree, I had the Jail Island Salmon, perfectly cooked over tasty parsnip puree. Tom had the grilled center cut strip steak. Dinner comes with dessert, and I had the creme brulee. He had the cobbler of the day. (Desserts are plenty, but they are “spa-sized” so I didn’t feel too guilty. After dinner we walked outside and saw a group of people sitting around a fire-pit.

Saturday morning we had a delicious healthy power breakfast around 7:45 am. In addition to the breakfast buffet that has oatmeal, fruit, and breads, you get to choose a main entree. I ordered the poached farm eggs over grilled gluten-free bread.My favorite part of the breakfast was the fresh pressed green juice (apple, celery, cucumber, kale) that was really the best I’ve tasted. Maybe the restaurants have a secret gadget or way of making it? Even my husband, an anti-juicing guy, liked it! (I got to order it again with my lunch 4 hours later). Tom had a cheddar and spinach omelet.

After breakfast we drove 2 miles down the road to tour the Pines Resort property which caters to families. (I will cover that in a separate post). We had to return to the spa at 10 am for spa services. I booked myself for a Cranberry Body Polish for 50 minutes, and Tom had the Gentleman’s Facial for 50 minutes. The women’s retreat (locker room) is beautifully done with all the amenities including a steam room, a whirlpool, a spacious dry sauna, and fancy showers. The Cranberry Body Polish was fantastic. The massage therapist applied a mixture made of cranberries, honey crystals and spices to exfoliating the body. Afterwards, you rinse off in a hot shower, towel off, and return to the table for a 20 minute massage and moisturizing treatment with vanilla cream. I left with very soft skin and smelling like a cupcake.

Downstairs from the women’s retreat, I found the Whisper Lounge, a quiet comfy co-ed oasis overlooking the woods. I relaxed and had a copy of Mighty Leaf tea by myself. After a few minutes, I got a little lonely and went to find Tom who was swimming laps in the pool.

For lunch, I had a rosemary and thyme crusted tofu with quinoa with drizzled maple syrup. Tom had the spa black bean burger, which was really a wrap, which was very good. Smoothies are also available at extra charge, but the lunch was very filling so I just enjoyed my green juice drink. We left around 1pm, but not before a little retail therapy at the gift shop. There is also a fitness center, and fitness classes to choose from. I didn’t take advantage of the fitness center, but I just wanted to relax, and we were there just for one night, but it’s nice to have that option. I saw quite a few guests power walking along the trails and the lake too. The time went by all too fast, and it was an invigorating and relaxing Friday night getaway. I would highly recommend it if you are looking for a couples getaway or a getaway with friends, or mother/daughter spa weekend in the Poconos, a 2-hour drive from Kingston. See The Lodge at Woodloch website for the prices and special spa package deals. I will post more photos from our trip on the Hudson Valley Good Stuff Facebook Page.

Vanessa Geneva Ahern writes about the Hudson Valley and beyond at HudsonValleyGoodStuff.com.

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Sunday, November 24, 2013

New Suicide Prevention App Aims to Save Young Lives

Posted By on Sun, Nov 24, 2013 at 11:00 AM

SPEAK_Launch_Poster_Revised_FINAL.jpg
Smartphones are getting smarter about suicide awareness and prevention. On November 13, Ulster County Executive Mike Hein unveiled the brand-new Suicide Prevention Education and Awareness Kit (SPEAK) - an app that offers wisdom, advice, and instant touch-screen help to troubled people and their family and friends.

For today's youth, smartphones are a way of life. With the new SPEAK app, now they can be a lifeline, too. The app helps concerned friends and family to identify the warning signs of a person in trouble, and offers advice on how to talk to someone who's thinking about suicide. When tapped, a "Seek Guidance" button on every screen will instantly call Family of Woodstock's suicide prevention hotline or the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (800-273-TALK).

A proud first for Ulster County, the SPEAK app will eventually be made available to all counties across New York State, with features customized for each community. Thanks to social media efforts like this, we can all become gatekeepers for the people who need help most.

The SPEAK app is free and available for iPhones from the online Apple store. An Android-compatible version is due to come out by the end of 2013.

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Friday, November 22, 2013

Le Petit Bistro in Rhinebeck: Cozy, romantic & very French

Posted By on Fri, Nov 22, 2013 at 9:00 AM

Le Petit Bistro is a very cozy and intimate French restaurant in Rhinebeck. I went there for the first time after I had just returned from a 10 day vacation in France. I had high expectations. I also know that even the best French restaurant here can't compare to a home-cooked meal at my cousin's house in France. The delicious dinner I had at Le Petit Bistro came pretty close though. The service was outstanding. (Don't be intimidated by the knowledgeable staff there! They are eager to answer any questions you have about any dish on the menu).

We had the pate and the escargots to start. Both appetizers were delicious. The bread wasn't French bread, but it was good. I had the duck, which was perfectly cooked. My husband ordered the skirt steak which was a special. Though I really enjoyed the duck, if I go there again, I will order the lamb as it comes with mashed potato, and the woman seated next to me, raved about them. I don't know why they served plain old white rice with such a magnificent duck.

Dessert was totally over-the-top! I got the eggnog creme brule. (I'm sure there was a bit of alcohol in there!) My husband had the apple crisp. I would definitely recommend Le Petit Bistro as a perfect place to splurge a little on date night. Be sure to make a reservation, especially on a weekend.

Follow Vanessa Ahern's blog Hudson Valley Good Stuff for where to eat, play & re-charge your spirit in the Hudson Valley.

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Thursday, November 21, 2013

Hudson Happening Honors New York Punk History

Posted By on Thu, Nov 21, 2013 at 9:00 AM

IYL_Ramones_cvr.jpg

My first book, If You Like the Ramones, was recently published by Backbeat Books. To help promote it, I'm doing a few author events and readings in the region. One of these happenings—which I'm calling "I (Heart) NYC Punk!!"—takes place tomorrow night and finds me honored to be sharing the bill with Andy Shernoff of legendary band the Dictators. This night of songs, stories, and rare vintage video will go down at the Spotty Dog Books & Ale in Hudson.

Shernoff, who in addition to being a founding member and the chief songwriter of the Dictators worked as a musician and songwriter with the Ramones and Joey Ramone, will perform solo acoustic versions of new songs and Dictators classics interspersed with anecdotes and commentary. I'll be reading from If You Like the Ramones and signing copies of the book, which is a fun-filled guide to "Over 200 Bands, CDs, Films, and Other Oddities You Will Love" if you are a new or long-time fan of the famed Forest Hills foursome. And as if that ain't enough, attendees will also be treated to rare live video footage of the Ramones and other vanguard New York punk acts courtesy of Bedazzled Video.

To get you fired up, here's a vintage peak at Shernoff (on acoustic guitar) with Joey Ramone and others at CBGB Gallery:

"I (Heart) NYC Punk!!" will take place at the Spotty Dog Books & Ale in Hudson on November 22 at 8pm. Admission is $5. For more information, call (518) 671-6006 or visit http://www.thespottydog.com/blog/ or https://www.facebook.com/events/563814200357232/.

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Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Bocuse Restaurant at the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park

Posted By on Wed, Nov 20, 2013 at 9:00 AM

Warm Butter Poached Lobster
  • Hudson Valley Good Stuff/Vanessa Ahern
  • Warm Butter Poached Lobster

Black Truffle Soup

Roasted Long Island Duck Breast
  • Hudson Valley Good Stuff/Vanessa Ahern
  • Roasted Long Island Duck Breast

Table-side Ice Cream for Two

After leaving the Culinary Institute of America’s campus in Hyde Park, I called our Hudson Valley Restaurant Week lunch at Bocuse Restaurant “The Lunch of the Year” because it was different from any other lunch we had this year: very theatrical, French minimalist, and educational. After going on a tour of Bocuse Restaurant during the Hudson Valley Restaurant Week press launch in 2012, I knew I wanted to return one day with my husband for a special lunch. I was excited to find out that Bocuse was a participating restaurant because that meant a $20.95 prix-fixe lunch could me mine. (Their regular a la carte entrees are in the $18-$26 range). When I made the reservation by telephone, the reservationist made it sound as if I got the very last available seating for Hudson Valley Restaurant Week. So we really looked forward to that 11:30am lunch on Thursday.

When we arrived there at 11:25 am there were only a few small parties seated. The modern bistro decor is very inviting. The maitre’d seated us right by the giant kitchen window near the bright ceramic roosters. I loved being able to spy on the hustle and bustle in the kitchen. It’s kind of like watching a chaotic scene in a silent film, but once in a while you hear a looming voice on the loud speaker barking orders about Table this and Table that.

First came the selection of bread. (A French roll or sourdough. Real French butter was on the table). We were offered sparkling water. A young woman presented us with an amuse bouche, named “Lebanese Breakfast” a miniature breadstick with a mini pyramid. For our appetizer, I had the Black Truffle Soup, which Chef Paul Bocuse created in 1975. The presentation was triumphant. The best part of the soup was tasting the melted puff pastry at the very bottom of the bowl. Tom had the Warm Butter Poached Lobster to start. Very pretty presentation. The delicate lobster meat was different from any lobster I tasted. It was very soft. Serving size was minimalist, about the size of a finger, but delicious.

For my entree, I had the Roasted Long Island Duck Breast. It’s been a long time since I’ve eaten duck. Few restaurants I go to offer it, and it is not the easiest meat to cook right. In this case, the duck was cooked to perfection, and the black currant sauce was incredibly tasty. While the sliced duck breast was delicious, I liked the shredded part even better. Tom had the Yellowfin Tuna. I tasted his, and it was very light. He went on and on about the fennel sauce, but I preferred my Long Island Duck Breast.

Dessert was a tough decision. Although the Table-side Ice Cream for Two was not part of the prix-fixe menu, I had the Table-Side ice cream in mind since last year so we decided to splurge for the extra $12 per person and get it. Of course, I also tell myself, “Oh, I must eat it for the blog, for the readers!” (You know that expression about how it’s the sins we don’t commit that we end up regretting? Well, I knew I’d regret not ordering this special ice cream presentation at Bocuse). I’m glad we did. The ice cream cart came out with a lot of pomp and circumstance. Fellow diners and other servers looked at our server with curiosity and envy. An older gentleman hovered over our server briefly. After he left, our server said, “That’s good. My professor just gave me a thumbs up!”

I was happy for him! All the servers at Bocuse are CIA students who are close to graduating we were informed. Though I did sense a touch of nervousness at times, all the future chefs walk with confidence and appear so happy to be doing what they love. The service was exceptional. It is fun dining in a chef’s classroom. There were many different young chefs-to-be serving us. As we were enjoying our coffee, a young couple entered the restaurant with a baby, probably about a a year old. They sat down with confidence, and the baby barely made a peep while the maitre’d brought over a high-chair. I’m guessing the baby had a good track record of dining in fancy restaurants because he was so well-behaved as his mom and dad studied their menus. I hope his parents rewarded him with a little white coffee ice cream at the end. I’d recommend Bocuse as a perfect place to go for a unique dining experience.

Follow Vanessa Ahern's Hudson Valley adventures at Hudson Valley Good Stuff, a blog about where to eat, play, and recharge your spirit in the Hudson Valley.

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Hudson Valley Events

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Painting the Portrait with Andrew Lattimore @ Andrew Lattimore Fine Art Studio

Painting the Portrait with Andrew Lattimore

Wednesdays, 1-4 p.m. Continues through Dec. 31 — In this class, students will focus on painting the portrait from life....
Tai Chi Beginners Solo Form @ Roost Studios & Art Gallery

Tai Chi Beginners Solo Form

Third and Fourth Wednesday of every month, 5-6 p.m., Last Wednesday of every month, 5-6 p.m. and Second Wednesday of every month, 5-6 p.m. Continues through Aug. 14 — This ancient and gentle martial art form can be practiced in a...

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