Sprouting Appetites in the Hudson Valley

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Rhinebeck, NY
Even on weekdays, Rhinebeck is abuzz with specialty shops, films, art and food.

Rhinebeck, NY
Gigi’s Trattoria: Fresh house-made ricotta with chive, lemon and pepper gnudi with carrot puree.

Rhinebeck, NY

Look up the word “locavore” in the dictionary and it should send you to the Hudson Valley. A bounty of fresh Spring veggies are sprouting up in restaurants throughout Dutchess County right now.

Asparagus, endive, leeks, green onions, peas, parsley, spinach and sweet turnips are menu mainstays for purveyors of sustainable and organic dishes.

I visited Rhinebeck on Wednesday, the perfect outdoor dining day, with client-favorite and foodie Jennifer Lawrence. It was a tug-of-war between dozens of CIA-trained chefs and famed restauranteurs.

We happily picked the award-winning Gigi’s Trattoria, described as “Hudson Valley Mediterranean” that prepares dishes almost exclusively with a bevy of foods from local farms. The dining destination is best known for their Skizza™, a flatbread pizza that won Best of the Hudson Valley award for Best Pizza in 2012.

With a hearty glass of Pinot, I complemented an arugula salad with a dish of sweet, fluffy ricotta ravioli called Gnudi, a type of gnocchi. Jennifer enjoyed the fish special albeit finding staring at the eyeballs a little creepy.

After 5p, all the novelty, specialty and thread shops close for the day. We were delighted to find Oblong Books to be the exception. Even with full stomachs, we found it hard to get past the hundreds of cooking memoirs that welcome patrons when they first enter.

That inevitably lead to a cup of goat cheese and honey gelato at Artigiani del Gelato. Technically, it was closed and the lights were off but the door was open for a light breeze and the owners succumbed to our pleas.

“Did we even work today?” I asked Jennifer. She couldn’t remember.