Hudson River Cruise

The city of Hudson, New York has come a long way in the 24 years since we bought our house in Columbia County.  Beginning in the late 1980’s, it went from down-and-out to a center for the antiques trade, which filled many previously empty storefronts.  Each upturn and downturn in the economy resulted in the opening and closing of businesses, and over the years a more diverse group of  boutiques, galleries, restaurants, bars and cafes have joined the remaining antique shops, resulting today in a thriving downtown, a frenzied real estate market, and increasing cultural and recreational options.  One of these is the revival of ferries and sightseeing boats on the river, where we took a wonderful scenic cruise last weekend.

Since only beverages and snacks are served on the boat, we met our friends John and Andrew for a quick lunch in the beautiful garden at Ca’Mea, which opens at noon, giving us just enough time for panini and salad before heading down the street to the dock.

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Leaving from the riverfront park in Hudson, we traveled South to Catskill, along the Catskill Creek, then back out to the river and North to Hudson. It takes just under two hours. Here is the website for Hudson Cruises:

They also offer a ferry between Hudson and Athens, and other events such as a Poughkeepsie to Hudson cruise, and lighthouse tours.

This is a great way to see a beautiful part of the Hudson Valley.

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The boat, Spirit On Hudson

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The riverfront park in Hudson

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The Hudson-Athens Lighthouse

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Approaching the Rip Van Winkle Bridge

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Catskill Point.  The building at right is where the Hudson Valley Dance Festival was held last October, and will return this year.

For information about the performance, visit the website:–tickets/dra-hudson-valley-dance-festival-2014

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Amtrak train leaving Hudson.


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View of the village of Athens.

The captain carried on a stream of lively and informative banter, covering the history of the river and explaining the former economy and the many ruins along the shore.  He also gave shameless plugs for various businesses, including his own.  As we disembarked, one of the crew members encouraged us to come back during the Fall “foilage”  season.


Mighty Quinn’s Barbeque – West Village

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The newest location of MQ at 75 Greenwich Ave. is practically across the street from us, so we decided to give it a try when we needed a late dinner last week. We have walked past the East Village location many times on the way to other restaurants, but we are not barbeque afficionados, and as the clientele looked to us like a lot of doofuses, we never gave it a thought. We normally think of dining out as a leisurely meal with table service, so this sort of casual fast food format wasn’t something we could see going out of our way for.

Well, now that we have one closer to home, we could find out what we were missing. The food is exceptional, and cheap to boot! If there is a wait for a table, we could just take the food home, so this will be a great option when we just want something quick and delicious.

I had the smoked sausage, which was excellent, but the brisket that Stanley had was to die for. I can see why it gets so much praise. The barbeque sauce was a nice enhancement. The pickled cucumbers and the cole slaw were also just right, and I liked the sweet potato casserole even though I am usually not a fan of sweet potatoes, or potatoes in general for that matter. We liked the selection of beers on tap. The Founders Dirty Bastard Ale was a great choice.


Recipe: Angel Hair Pasta (Capellini) with Shrimp





Here is a perfect recipe for a Summer lunch.  It is made in 3 parts, a tomato, herb and vegetable mixture, a yogurt and mayonnaise sauce with shrimp, and the pasta, all being combined just before serving.  It is wonderfully light and refreshing, with a complex blend of flavors.  This came from an old Martha Stewart recipe, which I have adapted.  In the 25 or so years I have been making this dish, it has always been a hit.

Keep in mind that the measurements listed are approximate.  I don’t measure the ingredients exactly.

To serve 6 people:

For the vegetable mixture:

2 cups celery, sliced thin

1 cup scallions, sliced thin

1 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley

1 cup chopped basil leaves

6 cloves garlic, minced

grated zest of 2 lemons

juice of 2 lemons

salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

4 to 6 tomatoes, preferably heirloom or home-grown, cut into chunks

Put the cut-up tomatoes in a bowl and sprinkle liberally with salt, mix and let sit while preparing the other ingredients.  Combine ingredients in a large serving bowl, sprinkle with salt and pepper and stir to combine.  Drain excess liquid from the tomatoes and add them to the mixture.

For the shrimp sauce:

1 1/2 to 2 lbs. large shrimp, peeled and deveined

3/4 cup plain yogurt

3/4 cup mayonnaise, preferably homemade (see my recipe below for green peppercorn/caper aioli)

grated zest of 2 oranges

juice of 2 oranges

3 or 4 dashes of  Tabasco or similar hot pepper sauce

Bring a pot of salted water to the boil and add the shrimp.  Cook for 2 minutes, turn off heat and let sit for 5 to 10 minutes.  Drain and rinse several times with cold water until cooled.   Combine mayonnaise, yogurt, orange and Tabasco in a bowl.  Add the shrimp and stir.

For the pasta:

1 lb. angel hair (I prefer DeCecco)

Bring a pot of salted water to the boil and add the pasta.  Reduce to simmer and cook for 2 1/2 to 3 minutes.  Be careful not to overcook.  Drain the pasta and immediately add it to the vegetable mixture.  The hot pasta will “cook” the mixture slightly.  Stir until well-mixed and add the shrimp sauce.  Stir again and serve.


Recipe for green peppercorn/caper aioli:

1 large egg

2 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed

1 tsp. Dijon mustard

1 tbsp. capers, drained

1 tbsp. green peppercorns in brine, drained

1/2 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

1 tbsp. lemon juice

1 1/4 cups oil (I use 3/4 cup corn oil and 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil)

Combine all ingredients except lemon juice and oil in a food processor, and process until smooth.  Add the lemon juice and pulse to blend. With the food processor running, gradually add the oil.  The mayonnaise should be fairly thick.  Test with your finger.  If it drips off easily it is too thin, so add a bit more corn oil and pulse, then test again.

Bon appetit!