Poughkeepsie: Nic L Inn

If there’s one thing I love to do, it’s trying new things. I like to think of myself as a good sport about the things I’m less excited about, but for those things that seems foreign but fun/interesting, I’m all about it. Take for example 2 years ago, when I was diving for spiky sea urchin only to open them up with a knife and slurp them down. Different, but one of the cooler experiences I’ve ever had.

Less cool is when I go out and try new restaurants. (I swear my life revolves around eating and I swear I’m not mad about it.)

The Nic L Inn in Poughkeepsie is a place I’ve passed by a few times only to ever immediately say, “we should really try that” and today, we finally did. Am I jumping for joy that it was able to make a believer out of a creature of habit who knows what he likes and doesn’t care to know much else? You betcha. Is the only reason we went there because I decided against moving and could therefore save a bunch of money? Also, you betcha!

I’d normally be more into the photo game of each course when it comes to food and places I like, but I was so into the meal and my sweet company that I only managed to grab two. Recommendations based on other courses we ate (read: devoured) would be the Dijon & Cracked Peppercorn Marinated Skirt Steak, Peach and Bourbon Cheesecake, and Brownstone Merlot.

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The Local Board: Sprout Creek Toussaint, Creek Kinkead and Creek Margie served with local honey, strawberry preserves and pistachios.
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Cavatelli Aglio e Olio with housemade (!) chicken sausage, sun dried tomatoes, grilled eggplant, broccoli rabe and ricotta.

My Favorite NYC Restaurants to Take Out-Of-Town Guests

There’s a plethora of restaurants that exist on this big (but actually little) island of ours, and half the joy of living here is never having to go to the same place twice, unless you really want to…and unless you have guests in town looking for a place you’re 100% sure about. With that said, here’s a list of some of my favorite spots in Manhattan (and a little Brooklyn). Keep checking back, because I update this list regularly.

The Smith

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Photo Credit: @r32dbp

What I really appreciate about The Smith is that their menu is expansive enough that your guests are guaranteed to find something they like. My favorite meals here have been the flounder as a main, brussel sprouts as a side, skillet macaroni and cheese as an app (the best I’ve ever had next to my dad’s homemade) and any and all of their spicy tequila drinks. You can’t go wrong with anything I’ve listed above, promise!

Bar Primi

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Don’t tell my Nonna, but it’s not too often you’ll find me eating a dish of pasta these days. Growing up, pasta was really all we ate, along with maybe a salad and some kind of meat (in that order). So in those far and few between moments that I am craving a taste of home, Bar Primi is one of my go-tos. Stay tuned, because I have a few of these places to list!

Felice Wine Bar & Ristorante

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Photo Credit: @coffeeandchampagne

I took my mom, aunts and cousin to Felice on Gold Street over a recent ladies weekend.  I hadn’t been there before, but it was located relatively close to the area of the financial district we spent the majority of the cold afternoon touring our way through. Inside we were welcomed by thick Italian accents and a warm, romantic ambiance incomparable to any other place I’ve been to in FiDi.

EATS on Lex

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I have taken every single person that has ever visited me in the city to EATS on Lex, a neighborhood spot I discovered while exceptionally hungover the morning after my birthday party. What I love about EATS, aside from it being close to my apartment, are the drink specials for Sunday brunch, delicious Eggs Florentine (my absolute favorite breakfast), and I can’t forget what they’re known for, their oysters.

JG Melon

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All I have to say is that this is the best burger I have ever eaten at. Your guests will overlook the smaller interior and semi-noisy space because the food is just. that. good.

Brook-Vin

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Photo Credit: @rachelschwartzmann

When any wine lovers come to town for a visit (I know a lot of these), the first place I take them is Brook-Vin. Located in picturesque Park Slope, this cute spot is home to the best selection of wines (of course) and small plates. Also perfect for a first date, if you ask me 🙂

Recipe: Baked Potato Soup

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This hearty (yet, Skinny) baked potato soup hits the spot when the weather gets a little chillier. There’s nothing I love more than a Sunday at home with both the game and the crockpot on.

What You’ll Need:

  • 2 medium russet potatoes, washed and dried
  • 1 small head of cauliflower, stem removed cut into florets
  • 1 1/2 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 1/2 cups 1% reduced-fat milk
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/2 cup light sour cream
  • shredded organic cheddar cheese
  • chopped chives
  • 3 slices nitrate-free bacon (for those of us with migraines trigged by nitrates), cooked and crumbled

How To Make It:

  1. Pierce potatoes with a fork; microwave on high for 5 minutes turn over and microwave another 3 – 5 minutes, until tender. Or if you prefer to use your oven, bake at 400° for 1 hour or until tender. Cool. Peel potatoes.
  2. Meanwhile, steam cauliflower with water in a large covered pot until tender. Drain and return to pot.
  3. On medium heat, add chicken broth, milk, potatoes and bring to a boil.
  4. Use an immersion blender to puree until smooth. Add sour cream, half the chives, salt and pepper and cook on low another 5-10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  5. Remove from heat. Ladle 1 cup soup into each bowl.
  6. Top each serving with 2 tbsp cheese, remaining chives, and bacon.

(Recipe via SkinnyTaste)