Monday, December 13, 2010


On occasion, I get the urge to the fill up the tank, put the truck in drive and let my stomach tell me when to stop. Being a caterer causes a hectic, unpredictable schedule but I usually get a chance to make this relaxing getaway on Sundays. I like to simply call it...."The Sunday Drive".

New York City is definitely the place to be when you are looking for the mecca of food innovation and quality. But there are some hidden treasures to be found in Upstate New York as well. The thruways of I-87 led me to the gem known as Bread Alone.
Tucked on a winding road in the Catskill Mountains, this bread retreat slices up a long list of fresh baked breads, desserts, sandwiches and soups. True to his name, Dan Leader, owner, prides himself on wholesome goodness without the fuss of complication.

On a mission to share their creations with the world, Bread Alone has baked up three (3) books covering bread and paninis. You can peruse all three when you visit their shop in the Catskills.
.With such an array of hearth-baked goodness, I did not have to ponder what was good, rather what would I start with. I gave in to the earthy aroma of olive bread and the day's special: pumpkin soup. There is something about handmade that speaks to your taste buds.

Bread Alone stands alone in upstate New York. With over a dozen bread varieties, you cannot go wrong with any selection. Be sure to stop in for a loaf at one of their three (3) Hudson Valley locations and at select New York grocery stores.

Taking in the rich colors of fall, I also stumbled upon Woodstock. What a treat! I was a stone's throw from the infamous mosh pits that littered the sacred grounds of the famous 70's revolutionary concert. I was sure to find great eats here! And there it was: The Country Kitchen! Their motto: Ordinary Name, Extraordinary Food. Jackpot!

Not only was the funky pink siding intriguing, but there was the homey feel as you entered the house converted to a restaurant; it had all the appeals of home. Local art work accented the walls and gave you a glimpse of the quaint town's flavor.

Not particularly hungry, I decided to take advantage of their "breakfast all day" section. I went with the breakfast classic: french toast and bacon. Described as lovingly prepared on challah bread, I just knew this was a great selection. Crossing meal types, I also ordered a grilled cheese.

A pretty simple presentation was my initial thought. But as long as the taste would be all it promised to be, all would be forgiven with the plating. Unfortunately sometimes you can tell a book by its cover. Overly eggy and bland, I wondered if they only used eggs in the dip. And was that really challah bread? I beg to differ. Tasteless and terrible is the telling truth. What would normally be a great compliment with the bacon only upset my taste buds more. Have you ever eaten something that tasted like it was microwaved? Well that was exactly how the bacon tasted.

In a virtually unprecedented move, I pushed the plate away after only a couple of bites. Thumbs down!

Grasping for taste and nourishment, I turned to the grilled cheese. How could you possibly mess that up? Fortunately they did not. The white cheddar was a nice touch. Granted, it was nothing to write a blog about, but I did finish it.

I would place The Country Kitchen in the category of false advertisement. You cannot claim "extraordinary" and deliver "bored-inary"! Sorry I felt the need to rhyme. Maybe the "extra" is in the lunch or dinner menu? Who knows? But if the breakfast was any indication of the kitchen's capability, I'll keep the car in drive and continue the ride.

Bon Appetit!

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