Catskills Comfort Food

© J.N. Urbanski – Usage prohibited without consent

Spring so far has been like a Bronte novel. First, we had snow right up until April 20th, and now we have continual rain on our face and gloom like we’re in England getting our hair salted and ruffled by sea winds. Any minute now, we might expect Heathcliff to run over the fields yelling for Cathy, but wet is good. We like to keep our many “kills” flowing, but it’s still chilly out there and expected to worsen: on Monday we will welcome more snow. To put it mildly, we’re not breaking out the salads. Locally, menus are changing with the season, but there are still good, hearty options in some places. The best Catskills comfort food has to be the Zephyr for its rib-sticking chicken pot pie, pictured above (and its decent prices, especially its good value prix fixe). So much of restaurant food is salty and loaded with butter, but the Zephyr’s isn’t. It uses tarragon in its pot pie and corn to add sweetness. It’s unfailingly delicious every time: a steadfast fixture on the Catskills food scene.

The Zephyr also does a good cream of broccoli soup loaded with smoked cheese and the most perfect chunky zucchini fritters (pictured below) with three kinds of sauce. One could live on these alone.

© J.N. Urbanski – Usage prohibited without consent

Peekamoose’s remarkable ramen (pictured below) is light for a ramen with noodles and pork, yet still hearty, but also as elusive as the sun this month. It has only been offered at selective times this season. Its been fun to try and catch it on the menu, and then make do with their luscious wild mushroom risotto: a rib-sticking classic with the wild mushrooms being a faint hint of spring, which is, co-incidentally, all there is outside. If you’re forlorn enough with this weather to eat cake for breakfast, last night the Peekamoose chocolate pudding was coffee chocolate pudding with whipped cream, which keeps well overnight and is breakfast of champions.

© J.N. Urbanski

The British-style gastro-pub Bull & Garland‘s new menu includes their staple shepherd’s pie using ground lamb and rosemary, but also bangers and mash with the infamous banger being Cumberland sausage. If you want to get into the swing of this weather, you can console yourself in front of their roaring fire with fish and chips and sticky toffee pudding and sit there all night drinking copiously and complaining loudly about the weather (or anything) like a true Englishman. This is where you will find the Upstate Dispatch team doing exactly that tomorrow night.

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