For all his snark and (as far as I'm concerned, unjustified) judgmental attitude, I still like and watch Anthony Bourdain. He tries to bring travel destinations to you from angles that your typical travel show doesn't bother with. A floating hot dog stand in the Hudson River?! Who knew? Well, now I do, thanks to his "Hudson Valley" episode. It aired in February, and the sight of home-cured and smoked sausages at Quaker Creek Store in Goshen, NY inspired a trip north. While up there, I thought I'd also stop at nearby Bobolink Dairy, an artisinal cheese producer featured in his third-ever No Reservations episode, "New Jersey."
Effective June, 2010, this will no
longer be Bobolink Dairy's home.
The practice of feeding grain to animals is not limited to conventional farmers. Many certified-organic farmers do it, too; they just do it with organically-grown grain. So when the rare farmer comes along who believes in feeding animals grass, I feel the obligation to support and write about them.
|Jean-Louis and Frolic cheeses with|
Alfio Moriconi wine.
Quaker Creek Store
Pine Island, the heart of the Black
The region's original settlers included Germans and Poles who formerly farmed soil similar to the muck soil found here. Quaker Creek Store, formerly a general store but now a general store with a small eating area, lives alongside these fertile grounds on a road curiously-named Pulaski Highway (presumably connected to Casimir, but I do not know why). Appropriate to the area, owner and CIA (Culinary Institute of America) grad Bobby Mateszewski (guess his ethnicity) serves pierogis, kielbasa, bratwurst, and various other sausages appropriate to the season. Which is what attracted me to this place. Seeing all of that meat, all cured and smoked in house, on the No Reservations episode was too much to bear. I had to have some.
You may have noticed that the title of this blog entry does not include "Quaker Creek Store." That's because the food I had was a letdown. Not really knowing what to order, I got the Polish platter: pierogies with sauerkraut, kielbasa, and stuffed cabbage. (Looking back on the episode, I realize now that Tony Bourdain ate the same thing.) I'll be the first to admit that I do not know...um, anything about Polish food. It was good, and I'm sure it was true to its roots: hearty, warming, filling...but it lacked a certain je ne sais quoi to bring it to the next level. I think that if I had stopped by this unassuming roadside shop (that's it on the right, below) on a whim without any prior knowledge, I would've thought I'd struck gold. But driving an hour for this place wasn't worth it.
In other news, I met Bobby and his mother, both of whom were very nice. Behind the register, his mom greeted regulars in the store by name and chatted up a customer about her husband's recent trip, oblivious to the guy waiting in line behind her to pay (me). I wasn't upset, though; I was too busy fighting small town jealousy pangs. I love it when people connect that way. When it was my turn to pay I talked to her about Tony's trip up here. She said that the producers came in on a Wednesday to eat, asked her if they could film, and then returned on Saturday to shoot everything in a day. Pretty amazing how quickly stuff like that happens.
Despite the food letdown, I was still glad to make the trip. I satisfied my curiosity, I found the richest black soil I'd ever seen, and when I made it home I still had yet to discover how amazing the Jean-Louis cheese was with my pinot noir. All in all, not a bad day.