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Our Favorite Meals of 2018 in the Hudson Valley 

5 Chronogram Staffers Pick their Favorite Dishes

click to enlarge Binnekill Tavern chef Bryan Calvert plating smoked trout soup with crispy parsley. - NATALIE CHITWOOD
  • Natalie Chitwood
  • Binnekill Tavern chef Bryan Calvert plating smoked trout soup with crispy parsley.
As the cast of "RENT" famously queried in the ballad "Seasons of Love"—"How do you measure a year in the life?" Our answer—how about meals? We asked our fellow Chronogram staffers to look back on their year in dining and pick their most memorable meals on the town. The recommendations reach far and wide from Beacon to Bovina, brunch to burgers, Alpine comfort food to experimental molecular gastronomy, a testament to Hudson Valley's ever-evolving restaurant scene.

Feeling stuck in your old routine? Try these 5 Hudson Valley dining recommendations on for size.

1. Tacos Al Pastor: Elephant, Kingston //
Grilled Swordfish Belly: Wilde Beest, Kingston

Our editorial director, Brian K. Mahoney, has karmic chemistry with 310 Wall Street. Just two doors down from the Chronogram office, this address has long been his go-to spot for a culinary fix. When the experimental tapas joint Elephant closed down in May, Mahoney lamented the end of an era. And though he was skeptical at first, when the replacement restaurant Wilde Beest proved it could shoulder the culinary torch and carry the legacy forward, he rejoiced in earnest. Mahoney maintains that his favorite meal of 2018, though bittersweet, was on Elephant's closing night: the last order of tacos al pastor ever served by Rich Reeve. A close second, unironically, is his first-ever taste of chef Chris Turgeon's grilled swordfish belly, served with parsley cream, shaved patty pan squash, and pipperade. The Belly, The Whole Belly, and Nothing But the Belly: $15.

2. Pork Schnitzel: Brushland Eating House, Bovina Center

"The pork schnitzel is the best shnitzel I've ever had—actually, the best fried anything I've ever had," says office manager Molly Sterrs passionately. "I’ve had fancier meals this year, and more expensive ones, but none were as memorable as that dish." While off the beaten path for many, Brushland Eating House in Delaware County is a dining destination worth the detour. The schnitzel is served with a buttermilk-marinated zucchini salad that is "absolutely bonkers." Sterrs adds, "the pork was buttery and perfectly crispy without being painfully crusty—Just *Italian chef kiss*!" Mamma mia. Pork Schnitzel: $15.

3. House Blend Burger: Silvia, Woodstock

"I know my burgers," says marketing associate Victoria Levy, "and Silvia's made the best burger I had in 2018." And no wonder, Silvia's uses grass-fed ground beef for a richer flavor. While not cheap at $19, the house burger comes with griddled onions, smoked gouda, fermented pickles, caper aioli, and potato fries or field greens for a flavor-packed field day. Head to Silvia on Tuesday for burger nights to get $5 off. House Blend Burger with Fries: $19.

4. Salmon "Bacon" Egg Sandwich, Kitchen Sink, Beacon

Our newest media specialist Jordy Meltzer is a Beacon resident and avid fanatic of the town's culinary scene. Her fave meal from 2018 is the Salmon Bacon Egg Sandwich on the brunch menu at Kitchen Sink. "I had never heard of salmon bacon before—it’s ridiculous," she raves. "I don’t eat bacon (but miss it constantly), so this really hit the spot." Served on perfectly toasted challah bread with creme fraiche, apple, and guacamole, the spin on a brekkie classic is a satisfying, unexpected treat with "a complex combination of flavors." You can also order it on gluten-free bread. Salmon "Bacon" Egg Sandwich: $13.

5. Pork Belly: Binnekill Tavern, Margaretville

Digital editor Marie Doyon gobbled up every part of her assignment to write about Binnekill Tavern for the December issue, from the super rich cauliflower soup to the lamb meatloaf special. But the crispy pork belly starter was her favorite, served with Napa cabbage slaw, spicy honey glaze, cilantro, and basil. "The pork belly was perfectly balanced. The Asian flavor profile doesn't hit you over the head, but is a nice, subtle elevation of the dish," she croons. "The whole thing melts in your mouth." Pork Belly: $12.


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