Bonus Food Pic: Zora Dora Popsicles

Sorry about the crappy picture, but I really wanted to talk about Zora Dora’s Paletaria in Beacon, NY. As anyone who knows me or has read this blog for any amount of time knows, I’m not a big fan of desserts or sweets. Instead of eating a dessert at the end of a meal, I’d much rather just eat more mashed potatoes or a piece of meat. I’ve just never had much of a sweet tooth and I rarely search out such things.

My wife digs sweets though and the last time we were in Beacon — a town across the river that we’re just now discovering — she wanted to hit up a place she’d heard of that does microbatch, homemade popsicles. We walked into the tiny shop on the main street and there was a huge list of flavors on a chalkboard. From left to right in the grainy picture above you can see the mojito one which my wife had, the baby’s strawberry/banana one and my chocolate dulce de leche pretzel delight. My wife’s really nailed the lime and mint found in one of my favorite cocktails. Lucy’s was actually a smaller banana pop surrounded by a strawberry one and she devoured it. Mine was pretty intense. The chocolate bit was very sweet and rich, but also had salt sprinkled on top. At first I was a little worried because the first lick was very salty, but that was pretty much it. Until I took a bite towards the center and there was an actual pretzel rod inside! Then, at the bottom you’ve got the creamy dulce de leche. It was a rad combination even for someone who doesn’t really dig sweets.

If you’re in the area and don’t mind dropping $3 on a frozen treat — something that didn’t seem so bad considering how hot it was and how good they turned out to be — do yourself a favor and hit up Zora Dora.

Sweet Spot: Malley’s Chocolate Covered Fritos

Our Easter was relatively candy free. The baby can’t have any of that yet and my in-laws kept it pretty simple with just a few things. However, when we got home, a package was waiting for us from my parents filled with chocolaty treats from Cleveland area chocolatiers Malley’s. I’m not the biggest chocolate fan in the word, I’d rather eat more dinner than desert 99 times out of a hundred, but every now and then I see something interesting I want to try. This box was packed with interesting things that I’ll cover over the week.

But, the foremost thing that caught my attention was a box marked Chocolate Covered Fritos. Now, this was something new. Junk food and chips are right up my alley, so this was curious and interesting. And it’s a great idea because, if you like chocolate covered pretzels with that excellent mixture of salty crunch and milk chocolatey sweetness, then these treats will also be in your wheelhouse. It doesn’t look like they have an online store, but if you’re in the northeast Ohio area, you should do yourself a favor and stop in. If you go to the one near where my Grandma lives, you can even eat chocolate or ice cream on a (slow moving) carousel of sorts. That’s a fond memory from childhood.

Baking Peanut Butter Banana Bread

I don’t do a lot of baking. For one thing, my wife is a killer baker, so I don’t feel the need, but I’m also not that big on sweets. Never have been. But, we had a trio of rotting bananas sitting in our fruit bowl and I figured I’d give banana bread whirl. I don’t believe I’d ever cooked it before, but I know it’s a pretty basic baking thing, so I said I’d try. My wife suggested using a recipe she had for peanut butter banana bread. I have no idea where this recipe came from, it’s just printed out in her cooking binder, but it was pretty simple and I got to work.

First I greased the loaf pan with Crisco, set the oven to 325,¬†got my 1/2 cup of butter softening and started measuring things. I got a cup of sugar, 3/4 cup of peanut butter, 1 3/4 cup of all purpose and 1 teaspoon of baking soda (combining those last two in one bowl). After smashing up the bananas, I broke out the mixer and mixed the butter and sugar–which is apparently called “creaming”–then added a pair of eggs, beat that, then mixed in the peanut butter, bananas, flour and baking soda until it was all mixed together.

That went into the greased loaf pan which went into the oven for 70 minutes and we had some tasty bread. I was worried that it hadn’t cooked long enough because the center was kind of mushy, but it turns out that I like banana bread with some mushiness in the middle. Overall, this was really simple and I like how baking is more of a science with exact measurements and the like. You don’t have to think as much when making simple things like this, which was perfect at the time.

Restaurant Review: Main Course

Main Course
175 Main Street
New Paltz, NY 12561
(845) 255 2600

By now we’ve eaten at most of the places of interest on New Paltz’s main drag. There’s a few we haven’t hit up yet, but they’re a little more upscale and we’re usually wearing T-shirts when we head out there (I absolutely hate being under-dressed). A few trips back we noticed a place a little bit closer to the highway called Main Course that we decided to check out tonight. As far as I can tell from the website, the business started off as a catering company and somewhat recently opened up a restaurant. They boast “Farm to table foods and catering” on their signs and menus. Seemed like an interesting enough concept and the building itself looks so nice that I was actually worried I would be under-dressed. As it turns out, the place while quite nice inside, actually sells sandwiches, salads, soup, bread, bakery, sides and a handful of daily specials of the dinner variety, so we were good to go. Even though it’s been pretty darn hot lately, I decided to start off with their Tomato Basil Soup With Goat Cheese. I’m a big fan of this soup and quite enjoyed Main Course’s version. The tomatoes tasted really fresh and while the basil wasn’t very prominent I think they put in lemon, lemon zest or possibly lemon grass to add some acidic pizzazz. There could have been more goat cheese, but overall, I really dug this and so did my wife. It was a departure from the usual flavor profile, but I liked that. For my main meal, I ordered the (deep breath) Grilled Northwind Farm Hanger Steak which the menu described as coming with melted Cabot cheddar, fire roasted onions and portobello mushroom hash. I also went with the potato salad side dish. I started off by tasting the potato salad because it looked the most intriguing. I don’t think I’ve ever seen on with the taters cut thin like that, potato chip-style. The dressing itself was tangy with the onions giving it all some kick. I still like my mom’s mustard covered potato salad best, but this was pretty good, another nice take on something familiar. I tried the pickle next which is made in house and came with a few clumps of soaked dill. They weren’t super sour like I usually like my pickles (the ones in NY tend to be pretty weak as far as I’m concerned), but these reminded me of a dill chip dip and almost tasted a little creamy. Really good stuff.

Then I finally tried my sandwich and it was just okay. The Cabot cheddar and roasted onions were great, but the meat didn’t really add much to the flavor and now that I think about it, I’m not sure if there was any portobello hash on mine. If so, I didn’t notice it whatsoever and only remembered it was supposed to be on the dish when reading the menu for this post. My wife let me taste her Smoked Turkey sandwich which just about made me fall of my chair it was so good. She only wound up eating half of hers, so she let me finish her avocado, roasted pepper, cheddar and chipotle aioli covered mound of awesomeness. After working for years in a bagel place back home in Toledo, I have a strong love of smoked and honey roast turkey, this being the best I’ve had since moving out here. All those wonderful flavors mixed together so well to make a really enjoyable sandwich eating experience, rivaling the one I had last weekend at The Cheese Plate even. I even decided to get dessert, something I rarely do. While my wife went with the huckleberry pie, I got a coconut macaroon. I generally like coconut and thought (maybe erroneously, like I said, I’m no dessert expert by any means) that it’s generally a light sugary delight. This one wound up being pretty big–like if one golf ball ate another or more succinctly a big lemon–and really citrusy. I really enjoyed the first few bites, but couldn’t finish because the flavors did not mix well and wound up tasting bitter by the end.

Overall, I liked Main Course and would go back there, but they have a LOT of competition in New Paltz. It doesn’t help that they’re not among all the other restaurants. You’ve got to walk a little further or drive to get there, something that won’t help them when we’re trying to figure out what to eat after looking around the boutiques, book stores and record shops. But, like I said, good stuff for the most part and I like any place that mixes up their menu by tossing in specials, which Main Course definitely does.