Monday’s episode of No Reservations will cover Istanbul (see preview footage of Tony’s wacky cabbie), and with black-market mussels, lamb’s head, and some meat on a stick that Tony calls “a throbbing missile of love”, it promises to be a good one. But we still just want to know where this season will take him in New York. So far, we have no further information about the “Obsessed” episode that takes place, in part, at Minetta Tavern, but the Travel Channel just sent us an exclusive recap of the Hudson Valley episode. If you’re looking to take a road trip on this long MLK weekend, Tony’s suggestions may prove useful. See you Tuesday!
Only sixty or so miles up the Hudson River from Manhattan, but worlds different, the Hudson Valley is a luscious land bursting with flowering plants, bountiful trees, and teeming waters, not to mention a land rich with history. In September of 1609, Henry Hudson was searching for a path to China, but Tony’s aspirations are much lower. He’s in search of, well, the usual — good food, good drink, and good people.
We first find Tony lounging rather comfortably aboard an old sailing vessel, the Cape Dame.
Its captain — Rip, and Rip’s son, first mate — Adrian. Tony doesn’t pretend to know the boat’s lingo, but understands precisely what the captain means when he mentions that a floating hotdog stand is in their sights. After Tony enjoys his first, but possibly not his last, water-borne hotdog, they set sail for another course. Verplanckt, New York, to be exact; a riverside town that epitomizes the constant change the Hudson Valley has experienced over time. Here, Tony meets John Vargo and John Tanyan, two lifelong friends who have lived here for many, many years. While they explain that the once dirty river has now been cleaned up, Tony has no plans to jump in for a quick swim. Instead, they boil up some freshly caught blue crabs with a little Old Bay and some crushed red pepper, and eat them right there, riverside, spread out over newspapers.
From there, Tony heads to the Black Dirt region of the Hudson Valley. An area that was once practically nothing but swamp, has been drained to uncover rich soil — thanks to Polish emigrants whose descendants now inhabit the little town of Pine Island. What was once just a general store is now a popular Polish restaurant called the Quaker Creek store. Here, Tony meets Bobby Matasheski, whose grandfather opened the general store in 1947. Bobby feeds Tony pierogies stuffed with potatoes and onions, fresh from the frying pan. But what Tony really came here for is the sausages — knockwurst, bratwurst, and homemade Kielbasa filled with smoked bacon, Granny Smith apple, onion, and seasoning and then slow-cooked in sauerkraut. As they eat, Tony breaks out a homemade bottle of dark red hooch given to him in the parking lot.
Later, Tony visits his old stomping grounds — the Culinary Institute of America. He brings along an old classmate of his and former Food Network judge — Michael Ruhlman. His visit is not a relaxing one, as very soon after his arrival, he and Ruhlman suit up in their old chef’s uniforms, somewhat unwillingly, and take part in an Asian cooking class taught by former instructor, Michael Pardus. Soon, we see that not much has changed since Tony once haunted these halls — he takes digs at his colleagues, hassles his cooking partner, and finishes with just moments to spare. That evening, Tony and Ruhlman head to a local bar filled with colorful, working class types who come together, united by their shared love of alcohol. There are no fancy foods to be had here — just a fun night of slurred conversation and lots and lots of booze.
The next day, Tony and Ruhlman take a drive to a secluded medieval castle-esque hotel called the Mohonk Mountain House. With winding roads, sprawling but seemingly empty estates, elegant rooms from a lost time, and an extensive, creepy hedge maze, there are more than enough Shining references to be had. After exploring the grounds, the two sit for teatime and delicately delicious canapés.
Tony’s last stop takes him to Yonkers on the eastern bank of the Hudson. Peter Kelly, chef of X2O, promises Tony a lunch date he’ll never forget — watch to find out!!
Quaker Creek Store
767 Pulaski Highway, Goshen, NY 10924
Phone: (845) 258-4570
Tony joins the Matuszewski family in their sausage shop.
Ixtapa Taco Truck
In front of the Family Dollar Store:
423 Broadway, Newburgh, NY
Tony samples authentic tacos with a Newburgh local, Montserrat.
Mohonk Mountain House
1000 Mountain Rest Road, New Paltz, NY 12561
Main #: 845.255.1000
Built on the waters of Lake Mohonk in 1869, this grand 265-room Victorian castle is one of America’s oldest family-owned resorts.
Culinary Institute of America
1946 Campus Drive
Hyde Park, NY 12538
Tony and Michael Ruhlman go back to school.
317 Springtown Rd
New Paltz, NY 12561
845 255 8769
Tony and Michael pick up some produce from local farmer Ray Bradley.
Rondout Bay Marina
1000 State Rt 213
845 339 3917
Tony and Michael share a few drinks with the locals of this marina in Kingston.
The Orchards of Concklin
2 South Mountain Rd.
Pamona, NY 10970
phone: 845 354 0369
Tony checks out the orchard and samples apple cider and donuts with local writer Chuck Steed.
71 Water Grant Street
Tony has lunch with a special guest at X20, Peter Kelly’s restaurant built on a pier on the Hudson River.
Tony checks out tugboat life in a journey down the Hudson.