After we closed on our mountain homestead (“sign here, here and here, here, here and here and sign here, here and here… initial here, here and here…”) we wondered aloud where we should go to celebrate and without a moment’s hesitation, our realtor swung away from her conversation with our lawyer to respond: Peekamoose. That was eight years ago and there really wasn’t anything like it then and there really isn’t anything like it now. When we first went to Peekamoose I wanted to just hand the keys back to the bank and move in. The country farmhouse atmosphere is so cozy and relaxing and the food is phenomenal, end of story. The chef’s freshly made doughnuts feel like they could fly away if you don’t hold them down with a generous dollop of whipped cream. I could go on, and I will.
The husband and I like to sneak in just after 4pm when it opens on a Saturday afternoon and quietly decompress from a tough week at the empty bar with one of Deanna’s cocktails, silently ruminating with their homemade bread. Last night was such an evening. There’s really nobody like Deanna either and she is the best bartender in the region. She would claim gold for America for bartending in the Olympics so often that others would not bother entering and probably close down the category. Or she could be the Chris Evert of bartending and start a school, infusing all students with her star talent and charming personality. I’m not really exaggerating. The perfect birthday party would be to go to Peekamoose with a load of friends and order everything off the menu: take one bite, pass the plate along and contemplate with wonder. Tell the person next to you that you’re coming right back tomorrow. Wake up exactly five pounds heavier the next morning with a fridge full of magical leftovers and desserts.
Neighbours have told me that the restaurant has always been a place where you can get fresh, natural, local food and was started by a previous owner for members of his local ashram in Big Indian. You can still see the ashram on the way to the Lost Clove Trailhead.
Most of the food on the menu at Peekamoose is freshly made, even the aerial doughnuts, and the freezer is used only for ice. The restaurant supports local growers by changing their menu daily to represent the freshest ingredients available, according to their website. I was told by one of the waiters that the chef even makes his own salad dressing.
Our go-to appetizer over the years has been the beet tartare (pictured below) that one of us gets every time we visit. Last night’s cocktail was the Buckwheat Whiskey Old-Fashioned made with Lazy Crazy Acres maple syrup. I had the Arctic Char, the leftovers of which are waiting for me in my fridge, perfectly cooked and served with celeriac, pickled ramps and asparagus. There is also a doughnut floating in there beside it.
Peekamoose: 8373 State Route 28, Big Indian, NY 12410. Opening hours: Thursday to Monday, 4pm – 10pm.