Daily Dose | Hudson Valley; Chronogram

Monday, March 31, 2014

KokoKobi Cafe in Kingston: Decadent Ice cream & Old-fashioned Egg Creams

Posted By on Mon, Mar 31, 2014 at 9:00 AM

A friend of mine suggested I check out Kokokobi Cafe on Ulster Avenue in Kingston, assuring me that they were indeed Hudson Valley Good Stuff worthy. I knew I'd find good stuff here since the owner Mr. Kobi owned Chocolate Cheers, a chocolate factory and retail store on Route 28 that closed. (That space is now The Tibetan Center). KokoKobi Cafe location on Ulster Avenue opened in February.

KoKoKobi Cafe has about a dozen different flavors of home-made ice cream, and a few sorbest, including an avocado one that was very good. The ice creams remind me of gelato as it is very thick and creamy. My kids loved the strawberry sorbet. Mr. Kobi is very patient. With so many delicious options it can take time for a kid to decide what flavor to get. I could have stayed there all afternoon tasting all the decadent ice creams. We decided on the Young Frankenstein Vanilla Orio Cookie Ice Cream. Maybe when we have something to celebrate, we'll go all out and The Unreal Koko-Split for $18.

As you can see from the menu, the ice parfaits and sundaes are a little pricier than other ice cream places in the area, but Mr. Kobi uses all natural ingredients with no additives or preservatives, and sells hand-made chocolates. He also serves house-brewed sodas, hand-brewed espresso, and New York Egg Cream. There is something here for everyone with a sweet tooth!

Check out my blog, Hudson Valley Good Stuff to find out where to eat, play and recharge your spirit in the Hudson Valley.

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Thursday, March 27, 2014

Woodstock-Area Photographer Bob Gruen Opens New York Show

Posted By on Thu, Mar 27, 2014 at 9:00 AM

Elton John, 1971 - BOB GRUEN
  • Bob Gruen
  • Elton John, 1971

When it comes to rock photography, the name Bob Gruen is synonymous with the genre. For more than 40 years, he has documented the rock scene in striking style, creating iconic images of such artists as the New York Dolls, the Clash, the Sex Pistols, Led Zeppelin, Blondie, the Ramones, Ike and Tina Turner, and, perhaps most famously, John Lennon and Yoko Ono (see Gruen’s famous shot of Lennon in his “New York City” t-shirt). A part-time Woodstock-area resident, Gruen continues to work today, shooting current acts like Green Day and the Strypes, and has just published Rock Seen (Abrams Books), his 14th book of photographs, which is being celebrated with a similarly named exhibition of his work that opens next week at New York’s POP International Galleries Soho.

The show will present nearly 100 photographs including many of the rock greats mentioned above, and will feature original contact sheets that correspond to each of the featured photographs, demonstrating the selection process of pre-digital photography. In addition, the exhibit will include a new collage of Rolling Stones photos from the Madison Square Garden concert on the band’s 1972 tour for Exile on Main Street, a “teenage bedroom” installation, and a new silkscreen series.

Here, Gruen talks about working with the Stones back in the day:

Bob Gruen’s “Rock Seen” show will be on view at POP International Galleries Soho in New York from April 4 to May 4. For more information, call (212) 533-4262 /.

John Lennon, 1974 - BOB GRUEN
  • Bob Gruen
  • John Lennon, 1974
  • Bob Gruen
  • KISS, 1974
Tina Turner, 1970 - BOB GRUEN
  • Bob Gruen
  • Tina Turner, 1970
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Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Gary Shteyngart Brings a Little Failure to Vassar

Posted By on Wed, Mar 26, 2014 at 8:00 AM


James Franco. Now that I have your attention, Gary Shteyngart’s new book is on shelves today. In Shteyngart’s promotional video for his latest work, Little Failure, audiences can tell he's a master of satire without any prior knowledge of his writing. The four-minute book trailer depicts Shteyngart married to Hollywood heartthrob James Franco (PDA included) who has published an “erotic journey” novel about their love, stealing Shteyngart’s thunder. Nobody wants to read Little Failure—a coffee shop worker (the same barista in HBO's Girls) won’t even accept it in his tip jar. Shteyngart’s publicists in the video (played by Rashida Jones and Paul Giamatti) reject his prospective titles of the novel, which poke fun at high brow works of literature. It is decided that the work is to be called “Little” because of the author’s small stature, and “Failure,” because...well, he’s a failure. While sitting in his kitchen in a pink bathrobe, Shteyngart whines to his husband about the title—“Failure? After the hundreds of books I’ve sold for Random House! After I’ve been translated into one language!” Franco replies, “Canadian isn’t a language, baby.”


Despite his careful self-deprecation, Gary Shteyngart has made his mark in literature far before calling in an army of celebrities. He’s a New York Times bestseller with a knack for capturing loss, best known for works like The Russian Debutante’s Handbook, Absurdistan, and Super Sad True Love Story. Absurdistan was named 10 best books of 2006 by New York Times Book Review and Time. Despite his modesty, he was named “Best Young American Novelist” by Granta, “Best Writer Under 40” by the New Yorker, and won numerous awards including the National Jewish Book Award for fiction.

Shteyngart was born into a Jewish family in the former USSR in an area now known as St. Petersburg, Russia. He packed up his memories and immigrated to the US at age seven. His heritage, upbringing, and travel knowledge are clear components to his writing, especially vital to his memoir Little Failure. He is known for his popular collection of book jacket blurbs, along with his effortless ability to make readers laugh. Bestselling author of Lit, The Liars’ Club Mary Karr described Little Failure as, “a memoir for the ages. I spat laughter on the first page and closed the last with wet eyes.”

Gary Shteyngart gives the annual Alex Krieger ’95 memorial lecture at Vassar College this year. He will be honoring the memory of Krieger, a Vassar student whose love for American writing inspired the lecture series. The free event takes place March 27, at 8pm, where the author will read from his memoir and answer questions from the audience. For more information visit Vassar.edu.

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Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Archer Aims to Visit Vassar on Sunday

Posted By on Tue, Mar 25, 2014 at 9:00 AM

Gail Archer
  • Gail Archer

Grammy-nominated concert organist Gail Archer, one of the few female artists in her field, has been hailed by the New York Times for the “sense of vulnerability and awe” her playing generates. Besides serving in New York as the chair of the music department at Barnard College and the director of artist and young organ artist recitals at Central Synagogue, Archer is the resident concert organist at Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, where she will perform this Sunday afternoon.

The program will feature music from Archer’s latest album The Muse’s Voice: A Celebration of Women Composers (Meyer Media). The release covers works by such leading modern female composers as Jennifer Higdon, Nadia Boulanger, Jeanne Demessieux, and Judith Bingham, The Muse’s Voice enthralls listeners with Archer’s ability to leap seamlessly from baroque to late romantic and modern eras. “I’m on a mission to celebrate women organists and composers in liturgical music,” says Archer, who has notably also performed compositions by the Hudson Valley’s own Joan Tower. “With the advent of this recording, I hope to share this captivating and important catalog of music to a much broader audience.”

Here’s a snippet of Archer playing at Vassar in 2010:

Gail Archer will perform at Vassar College Chapel of Music on the campus of Vassar College in Poughkeepise on Sunday, March 30, at 3pm. The concert is free. For more information, call (845) 437-7294 or visit www.music.vassar.edu.

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Monday, March 24, 2014

Hudson Valley Restaurant Week review: American Bounty at the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park

Posted By on Mon, Mar 24, 2014 at 9:00 AM

House-made brioche bread with sea salt

Roasted Carrot and Apple soup

Caesar Salad as Art

Sauteed Dorade with purple potato, leek puree & brussel sprouts

organic quinoa-filled whole wheat crepes, with quinoa chili, cilantro rice, guacamole sour cream, and tomata picco de gallo.
  • Hudson Valley Good Stuff
  • organic quinoa-filled whole wheat crepes, with quinoa chili, cilantro rice, guacamole sour cream, and tomata picco de gallo.

White Chocolate & Chestnut Dessert

For Hudson Valley Restaurant Week, we like to try out a restaurant that we haven’t been to yet, and last week we made lunch reservations at American Bounty restaurant at the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park. During the last HVRW we had “The Lunch of the Year” at Bocuse Restaurant at the CIA so we were ready to be pampered and wowed again. From the moment I step foot on the campus, I feel as if I’m on a mini-vacation. Perhaps it’s the anticipation of an interesting meal? I love seeing the students walk around in chef shirts and how they speak in hushed tones in the hallways.

The decor in American Bounty is elegant, but less modern than Bocuse. American Bounty didn’t have a special HVRW menu. Our server said that we could choose one item from each menu column (an appetizer and an entree) and when it came to dessert, we could pick whatever we liked. There were a few items that cost a few dollars more if you ordered the prix-fixe HVRW plan.

Soon a beautiful pan of house-made brioche with sea salt and butter was served to us. The brioche was just as moist and flaky as it is in French bakeries and we couldn’t resist finishing all six pieces with butter. Since my husband is giving up meat, chicken, and pork for lent, and I’m being a copycat just for moral support, we were happy to see a few vegetarian and fish selections. Tom started with the Cheese Platter of locally made cheeses. (We asked them to hold the salami). We ordered an additional ceasar salad to share. I started with the roasted carrot and apple puree soup.

Each cheese had its own intense flavor. The hard cheese was too strong for my taste, but Tom enjoyed all them. The caesar salad at American Bounty is a work of art. I have seen my share of Caesar salads since it’s one of Tom’s favorite menu items to order, but I’ve never seen a head of lettuce pierce through a crust like this.

For our entree, I ordered the Sauteed Dorade with purple potatoes, brussel sprout ragu, sweet leek purree, and herbed oil. The skin was very crispy and perfectly salted. Tom had the organic quinoa-filled whole wheat crepes, with quinoa chili, cilantro rice, guacamole sour cream, and tomata picco de gallo. The whole wheat crepes were very hearty and delicious.

As we were debating about which dessert to order, I told Tom that I might get the “Milk & Cookies” dessert because it came with a small vanilla rum shake which would look nice on the blog. I think the server overheard me because he said, “If you’re looking for something that is really unique and has a different presentation, go with the White Chocolate & Chestnut.” He paused and waved his arms. "It's really an amazing presentation," he added.

“Say no more!” I said. When this came out, I was so focused on my dessert, I barely paid attention to Tom and his dessert, which he said was delicious. The description didn’t give the presentation away: White Chocolate & Chestnut, coffee ice cream, chestnut cake, white chocolate “caviar” and kahlua sauce. I thought the server was offering me a white chocolate balloon! It was one of the most surprising desserts I’ve had in recent memory. I was told the chef covers a balloon with white chocolate and then pops it once it cools off to a certain temperature. The warm kahlua sauce is poured over it, right at the table. I had a sugar buzz after devouring all this white chocolate! The inside was delicious as well. I would definitely recommend American Bounty if you are looking for a fine dining experience in the Hudson Valley, or a very different kind of lunch date with a spectacular dessert.

Follow Hudson Valley Good Stuff, a blog I started 5 years ago about where to eat, play and recharge your spirit in the Hudson Valley for more good stuff. Please sign up for my newsletter too!

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Sunday, March 23, 2014

Spring Cleaning for the Soul, in Phoenicia

Posted By on Sun, Mar 23, 2014 at 11:35 AM


As the grip of winter loosens, it's time to clear out some darkness that's collected in the psyche. It's time to let the light in and start seeing possibilities again. You might call it opening up to Grace.

From April 4 to 6, the LA-based healer and life coach Grace Vieira will come to Phoenicia to offer "Spring Cleaning for the Soul," a weekend workshop. Designed to help participants clear emotional and mental blocks so they can open up to abundance and self-mastery, the 2-day journey will include guided meditations, expression through art, breathwork, and holistic nutrition. "Through this process, aspects that need healing will surface and quantum shifts in perspective are possible," says Vieira.

Designed as a weekend retreat, "Spring Cleaning for the Soul" can be experienced in full, from Friday night to Sunday evening - or in modules. Participants can attend the Saturday program from 10am to 6pm, covering breathwork and lineage clearing, for $180 (lunch included). Or they can choose the Sunday program, from 10am to 5pm, covering sexual energy clearing and heart manifestation, also $180 (lunch included). The price of the full retreat is $550 (with lodging and all meals included) or $420 (without lodging and breakfast).

To learn more and to register, e-mail grace@connectingwithgrace.com.

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Friday, March 21, 2014

Morning With Crows

Posted By on Fri, Mar 21, 2014 at 9:05 AM

On a Thursday I awaken to the noise of crows. (It's difficult to recognize the direction of crow voices — though, of course, they are generally above.) A number of crows are barking, almost mechanically. Some monumental event must have inspired them. In bed, I write:


The crows
are all

One of
a rat!

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Thursday, March 20, 2014

Medeski and Martin Duet In Woodstock

Posted By on Thu, Mar 20, 2014 at 9:00 AM

Billy Martin and John Medeski
  • Billy Martin and John Medeski

Besides being musical masters, the members of avant-jazz trio Medeski, Martin & Wood frequently lend their talents to support worthy causes around the Hudson Valley; witness Woodstocker and MMW keyboardist John Medeski’s anti-fracking activism. Continuing the trend, this Saturday Medeski and the band’s drummer, Billy Martin, will perform as Duo Mago in a benefit for the Woodstock Day School at Utopia Studios.

In a sense, it was actually Duo Mago that begat Medeski, Martin & Wood. Medeski and Martin first began playing together as a twosome at the latter’s Brooklyn loft in 1989, which eventually led to the formation of Medeski Martin & Wood in 1991. But the two never forgot their initial two-hour jam session, and dreamed of a duet project. Thus, Duo Mago released their first album on Amulet Records in 2007, simply titled Mago. The album features Martin on drums and Medeski on Hammond B3 organ.

Here, the pair lays down their righteous grooves at a 2011 performance:


Duo Mago will perform at Utopia Studios in Woodstock on March 22 at 8pm. Tickets are $45. For information, visit http://radiowoodstock.com/home.

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Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Mali's Imharhan Tombouctou Entrances Kingston

Posted By on Tue, Mar 18, 2014 at 9:00 AM

Imharhan Tombouctou
  • Imharhan Tombouctou

Oh, BSP Lounge. You’ve gone and done it again, you. You’ve booked some rad touring band I just can’t not write about here in my l’il bloggity-blog. Oh heck. This time it’s Imharhan Tombouctou, a mind-blowing “desert psych-blues” outfit from Mali that visits the venue on March 21 for a special early evening show.

Sadly, the current political situation in their homeland prevents Imharhan Tombouctou from performing there—which makes their U.S. appearances all the more important. Comprised of members of a family of nomadic Tuareg musicians, the group has deep roots in Africa’s northern desert interior and drinks from the same rich musical oasis that feeds the droning, rhythmically mesmerizing waters of more recognized acts like Ali Farka Toure, Tinariwen, and Toumani Dibate. A simmering cauldron of roiling traditional tribal percussion, sinuous electric guitars, and chanting vocals, the band’s exotic sound has made it wildly popular on the African club and party scene beyond Mali and at festivals around the world.

Sample this performance of the tune “Aicha Talamont”:

Imharhan Tombouctou will play at BSP Lounge in Kingston, New York, on March 21 at 7pm. Tickets are $10. For more information, call (845) 481-5158 or visit http://bspkingston.com/.

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Monday, March 17, 2014

Hunter Mountain: Snowboarding Lesson for Beginners

Posted By on Mon, Mar 17, 2014 at 9:00 AM

All geared up at The Learning Center at Hunter Mountain

Carpet Ride at Hunter Mountain

Snowboarding Progression Session Lessons Begin Here

I have been curious about snowboarding for a long time, and last Sunday Hunter Mountain invited me to check out a new package they have for beginners called the “Single Pack” which includes equipment rental, a 90-minute progression zone lesson, and a lower mountain lift ticket (or carpet ride ticket) for $79. I arrived there around 12:45pm, and Becky Pines, marketing and communications manager for Hunter Mountain, helped me check-in and get my gear. At that hour it is not crowded at all though so it was very smooth sailing. You can do a self check-in via computer, and then from there everything is easy to find. Helmets are strongly encouraged. (I bought my snazzy new ski goggles on sale at Potter Brothers hoping that I enjoy the sport enough to use them again one day!).

Once I got my gear, Becky sent me on my way and I was told to stand by the orange flags and an instructor would lead a group lesson soon. On weekends the group lessons are organized in a Progression Sessions Zones on-demand from 9am-2pm. The lessons are 90 minutes long. I hobbled over to Zone 1, carrying my snowboard for the first time. There was a young man there eagerly waiting, then two women joined us. Our instructor Dave, a young laid back guy joined us and gave us a crash course on snowboarding lingo. At this point, he showed us how to strap one boot on to the board. He was very patient with me. I’m a tough case. No, I’ve never skateboarded or been on a surf board, and the last time I went skiing Clinton was in office.

I’m reasonably fit, but snowboarding requires you to use all kinds of muscles and movements you just don’t use in every day life. I was nervous. I struggled to even get my boot in the snowboard strap, and at one point I heaved over losing my balance in the process. “Whoa, I got ya!” he said, catching my forward fall. At first members of the group took turns attempting beginner moves turning toe-side and heel side, and then after a few falls and successes, everyone practiced on their own while the instructors looked on offering suggestions here and there. Dave saw me struggling, trying to walk up the hill sideways with my one boot strapped on, and taught me a better way to walk up the hill. I was grateful for that. I soon moved on to Zone 2, where instructor Marty was trying to teach us how to stop and turn. I never quite made it to Zone 3.

It was a gorgeous 45F and sunny day. I wore thin leggings underneath a snowsuit, and a sweater. I was perspiring like crazy, and very thirsty, but my endorphins were in high gear, even though every time I went down that gentle slope, and tried following instructions (keep your knees bent slightly, lean into your heels to have control of the board, dip your shoulder this way and that), I’d crash land. Twice I landed on my behind, and twice I landed on my arms. Landing on your buttocks is a lot better! Once I landed at the foot of a clueless couple who were kissing as they waited to go on the carpet ride. I had in my mind to try the Carpet Lift, but you really have to be comfortable and have both boots strapped in to be able to go on it, and it was a challenge for me to just navigate the bunny slope we were using for our lesson so I told myself that I’d save that for next time.

There are 3 Zones in the Progression Session that Hunter Mountain offers between 9am and 2pm for beginners. I think I ended up in Zone 2.5. As the instructors will tell you, everyone learns at their own pace. What I learned is that when it comes to snowboarding, I’m a very slow learner. I think it is mind over body though. One young woman in my group, got the hang of it right away, and just sailed on through the Zones. That is a great thing about the Progression Session is that if there are slow pokes in your group, and you are coasting through the lessons, you can just move on to the next zone independently. I had fun trying snowboarding, but I knew that I wasn’t getting it yet. Dave and Marty kept on saying, how once you get it, then all of a sudden it’s easy and fun. After 90 minutes and a few texts from my husband enticing me with donuts, I felt winded from the exertion of my first snowboarding lesson. I asked Marty if I was free to go. He said I could stay until 4pm if I wished, but everyone is free to go as they please.

After one last attempt down hill, Marty asked me, “So, what made you decide to try snowboarding?” I guess my snowboarding moves did not impress him. He must think I’m an undercover customer. I had to laugh! That’s when I told him about Hudson Valley Good Stuff blog, and that it is something that I’ve wanted to try for a long time. The Catskills are well known for snowsports and I want to be able to share my adventures with readers. (What I forgot to tell him was how I loved watching snowboarding portion of the Winter Olympics, and what I loved most about the female snowboarders, was that they all seemed to just want to go out there for the fun of it, and competition seemed secondary. I loved their outfits too.

I grabbed two bottles of water after I returned my equipment, and my husband picked me up. As I was returning my snowboard, I overheard a French woman tell her companion,”Franchement, je préféré m’asseoir au soleil maintenant.” Loosely translated: Honestly, I prefer to just sit in the sun right now. I was feeling the same way, but very happy to have had the experience. My husband told me I had a “snowboarder’s glow” when he picked me up. If you are thinking of trying out snowboarding, Hunter Mountain is a great place to do it. They just announced yesterday that they are extending their season until at least April 13th in 2014 with new specials. You can check them out at “March Into Spring Pass” at the Hunter Mountain website.

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

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Sportsplex Flying Trapeze @ Sportsplex New Windsor

Sportsplex Flying Trapeze

Aug. 12-25, 6-8 p.m., Aug. 17-18, 12-2 & 3-5 p.m. and Aug. 24-25, 12-2 & 3-5 p.m. — Come fly with us! Learn or improve your flying trapeze skills at...
Furniture Painting 101 @ 23 E Market St

Furniture Painting 101

Sat., Aug. 17, 1 p.m.

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