Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Fresh Food in Chatham New York part I

Ok so here's a disclaimer. I'm a vegetarian trying to eat in restaurants in Chatham near where I live. I like not having to cook, especially in the summer so here's my experience. I like Destinos on Main Street in Chatham for a couple of reasons. It has an outdoor patio, which I love, even though it has a view of the busiest corner/traffic light in Chatham. In summer, who wants to sit in a stuffy dining room on a beautiful night. I also like their happy hour, and the friendly staff serving at the bar and elsewhere. There isn't a lot of attitude among the waitstaff and as a matter of fact, I find them quite attentive. If you get there early, they serve you free chips with guacamole, sour cream and my favorite, this amazing salsa. As far as I'm concerned, everyone should go there just to taste this salsa. I could be wrong, but I think the chef there must put tequila in it because I always feel pretty good eating it. Either way, it's super with big chunks of flavorful ingredients and fresh cilantro. In hot weather, (and just about any time), fresh cilantro is heaven. Go eat this salsa. I usually get the big salad tropical which includes greens, mostly arugula and mango. Totally delicious. I think it has candied pecans too, which I'm not too crazy about. In that I've eaten there with lots of friends, I've seen them enjoy fajitas, and once or twice I've had the fish tacos which you can smother in salsa (I'm obsessed). There's a ton on the menu to choose from and I've never left there hungry. Margaritas are the way to go if you're drinking, unless you're like me and enjoy beer in these temperatures. I can say that both are good choices. There's a full bar and most nights a crowd four deep standing there enjoying the social environment. In the restaurant there are plenty of tables and I've never had to wait for more than a minute to be seated. If you miss happy hour you still get chips at your table and no one really cares if you linger for as long as you like. Weekends the place is packed so enjoy the scene.

The Old Chatham Country Store is about two miles from my house. It's technically part of Chatham and an interesting choice for breakfast, lunch and dinner. I've not had a chance to dine there at night, so I can only speak to the other two. I've lived close by for a number of years and this place has gone through a true evolution. One of my favorite things at the OCCS is their iced cappucino. I know that this isn't technically breakfast or lunch, but I put iced coffee into a major food group in the summer. Warning, this pleasure isn't cheap, maybe $3.50 or more, but go for it! It's delicious. The other thing I like at breakfast is their egg sandwich. They 'build' the sandwich any which way you want so pile things on as you prefer, but again, each item comes with a pricetag. If you go with the standard egg and cheese, it's about $4.00. The baked goods are locally made but go quickly. The french bread is yummy and they sell frozen baguettes you can pop in the oven at home. They have great rolls too and will create pancakes and omelette too. Specials are their specialty so on any given day you can find something rather creative from quiche to tartes and so on. Brian posts daily specials on their Facebook page.
Eating inside is kind of noisy, especially if the weekend crowd has piled in after a day of riding or tennis. Go for the al fresco seating which wraps around the patio and is ample. For lunch they really mix it up. While the previous owners had wiener Wednesday, Brian and Patrick create great big salads (I mean huge. The cob salad is the favorite), burgers, gourmet sandwiches, hot dishes, chowder, creative pizza, and pack the freezer with delicious organic ice cream. One of their signature desserts is a fudge brownie the size of a small brick stuffed with sinful chocolate chips. It hardly feels like it's been baked, which is what makes it so good. Enjoy reading the newspaper, chat with friends, dine alone, it's all good. Maybe soon I'll get there for dinner and write about them again.

Our Daily Bread Deli - Well I've saved the best for last. This is owned by the people who have Destino's and have the other eatery down at the traffic circle. It's new and big and lovely. You walk into the bakery deli part and it's hard to know that there's a large restaurant dining room to the left. Don't think you have to squeeze into the small area for lunch, ask to be seated. I kind of wish they wouldn't call it a deli because it really is a restaurant. The best thing about this place is that they've worked really hard to make it delicious and healthy with organic everything. I love that they cater to those of us who don't eat meat. Organic eggs, french toast, lox on bagels, fried potatoes if you go for that, amazing crispy toast, juices, pastries. I tend to eat la lot when I'm there. It's really good and certainly not expensive. The coffee is strong, the cream it thick and I'm a glutton for refills. No one seems to balk when you ask they bring the pot over again. In the winter it was really cold in the dining room, previously an old house and there are actually three rooms in all. It's pleasant in the summer with an added garden patio. For lunch you have 50 things to choose from and I enjoyed my veggie burger packed with toppings. Go on line to see the menu in advance. Kids are welcome here and are always part of the crowd. On your way out snag some of the baked goods or a fresh loaf of break which they bake on site. In the freezer there are other delicious things to go like local cheese and yogurt from our own Sheepherding Company. Next food entry I'll include dinner at the Blue Plate and a trip to the Co-Op. Stay tuned.