We know the best thing about a long weekend is, in fact, that it is a long weekend. Period. End of story. However, when you can add a respite from the city, marrying great friends and meeting new people, perfect weather and some killer food, the ensuing short week seems miles away.
I headed back up to Lisa and Doug’s home in the Berkshires for another July 4 weekend. This year they threw a party Sunday for friends. I was happy to help out in my usual menu planning/shopping/prepping/cooking way.
After settling in and to save our energies, we bee-lined to Chatham to one of my favorite restaurants in the area, Blue Plate (1 Kinderhook St., 518-392-7711, www.chathamblueplate.net) for some good eats. We were not the only ones with this idea, but the wait is nothing a great cocktail and conversation cannot handle.
We started with appetizers of grilled romaine wedge with Applewood smoked bacon, tomatoes, chives and blue cheese dressing; spinach-potato pancakes with crème fraiche; and tempura haricot verts with soy ginger dipping sauce. The last was an afterthought once we saw an order land on another table. They were the first to go.
Lisa and Doug have their favorites at Blue Plate to which Doug succumbed with their signature bacon-topped meatloaf with whipped potatoes, chili glazed carrots and brown gravy. You just can’t say no to that! Lisa opted for their pan-seared scallops over fennel risotto and wilted spinach with orange beurre blanc (butter sauce). Divine.
Although I never order chicken out, something about a half roasted free-range chicken with whipped potatoes, crispy Brussels sprouts and thyme jus was talking to me. OK, so the breast was a little overcooked and dry, but the leg, skin and jus said, “Eat me, Kysha” and the silky whipped potatoes and perfectly crispy cooked Brussels sprouts raising concurred.
Blue Plate set us right for the weekend. Saturday started with a three-hour, three-cart grocery shopping moment for the ages. Lisa and I prepped for the Sunday party, and I made my bucatini Bolognese for dinner with a Greek salad.
Sunday, we were off to the races. Lisa brought in her 16-hour smoked brisket to rest while I helped her whip up her signature sides of pork and beans, dill potato salad, corn and black bean salad and an arsenal of other meats—hand pressed burgers, hot dogs and barbecue chicken legs.
To take the moment over the edge, in walks a platter of patriotic Jell-O shots from our friend Jennifer. Red, white and blue stars of vodka-laced berry Jell-O and sweetened condensed milk, skewered on a toothpick, made a fun college memory a delicious highlight to the festivities.
There are more long weekends to come. Make the most of them.
Happy eating and thanks for reading!
Kysha Harris is a food writer and editor, culinary producer, consultant and owner of SCHOP!, a personalized food service in NYC for more than 15 years. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram, @SCHOPgirl, on Facebook, /SCHOPnyc, and her blog, www.talkingSCHOP.wordpress.com. Questions? Comments? Requests? Feedback? Invitations! Email AmNewsFOOD at AmNewsFOOD@SCHOPnyc.com. Follow us on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook @NYAmNewsFOOD and tag us with #SoAmNewsFOOD with your food finds!