Monday, December 28, 2009
Small Town Adventure
New Paltz, NY is the type of quaint town upstate that once you experience it you may end up staying for good, as my Aunt and Uncle ended up doing. It's a college town proud of its art heritage, proximity to Woodstock, and active outdoor lifestyle. It's a place where aging hippies, and young entrepreneurs live rather harmoniously.
Downtown New Paltz has its assortment of antique stores, restaurants trumpeting organic everything, and haberdasheries specializing in hemp clothing. In short, a perfect place for a vegan meal.
To work up an appetite we visited the newly opened Walkway Over the Hudson which is a 120 year old iron trussed railroad bridge just recently converted to a pedestrian pathway over a mile long with stunning views of the Hudson River over 200 feet below. Standing in the chill and looking at the ice flows swirling below, and capturing the stunning sight of the enormous Hudson River Valley you can't help but celebrate the outdoor life and quickly forget any childish remorse over not having ham on Christmas!
It was 1:30 and I wanted to leave for NYC soon, but I had to try a restaurant in town. The Main Street Bistro is a restaurant owned by the sister and brother-in-law of a friend. I had met them at a party and they were fiercely proud of the quality of their food - I really respected that. There was a vegan restaurant across the way, but since I can find something vegan-friendly to eat in most any restaurant, I decided to try the restaurant voted best breakfast in the Hudson Valley something like 8 years in a row.
The Main Street Bistro sits in a a wood and brick building as old as the railroad bridge across the Hudson . It was small, and crowded and clearly a popular spot. I sat at the old counter covered with Plexiglas over photos and press clippings which, besides in need of a thorough cleaning, showed an active, fun and successful history of this Bistro. I positioned myself under the TV set showing the hapless Giants and looked at the menu. As suspected, I fell in love with most every item on the menu which included various concoctions of eggs, cheese, and meat. As I began to think that perhaps that hippie-dippy tie-dye looking place across the road advertising vegan friendly food might be my best bet, I saw Robin. Robin's Burrito that is. A tortilla with hummus spread, grilled broccoli, mushrooms, onions, spinach, tomatoes, and topped with fresh salsa. It was amazing! It was so fresh and tasty and healthy. It was not terribly filling even though it looked large, and well, that bridge walk really worked up an appetite, and I had to be a glutton and ordered a second one. It was that good! If I lived in New Paltz, I can assure you I would knock Robin off her crown and adopt the burrito for myself! The owner, and brother-in-law of my friend was seen feverishly cooking in the kitchen so saying hello and complimenting the food was out of the question. But I will be back!
I drove back to NYC and when making a pit stop at one of the rest areas off the freeway I realized for the first time that all the food served at one of these areas are high fat, greasy fast food. Hey, sometimes that is exactly what a truck driver, or a family of 5 stuck in car for hours needs. But, is it impossible to get a healthy alternative, any alternative, to a soggy hamburger which has been sitting under a heat lamp since breakfast?
Thankfully my two vegan burritos set me straight for the rest of the day.