Because I have been setting up my new commercial kitchen and didn’t turn on the walk-in fridge until three days ago, I have been eating out. As you might recall, I adore my little upstate town but it’s not an eating mecca for vegans who love to eat outside the college-town veggie trifecta of (perfectly decent) falafel wraps, burritos and bar food.
I have to eat a little crow though, because the so horribly menu-ed quasi-anonymous restaurant I spoke of at the beginning of the Dining Guide has – gasp, sigh – perfectly decent food. In fact, there is a mushroom appetizer (it’s called Magic Mushrooms, but sane people call it “the mushroom appetizer”) with shiitake mushrooms in a red wine and balsamic reduction with garlic bread that you can request to be made with olive oil that is damn, damn good. And many of the pastas can be made vegan, and make a reasonably lovely lunch.
OK, crow eating over.
In other New Paltz restaurant news, I am proud to plug my friend Youko’s new and hotly anticipated restaurant, Gomen Kudasai.
Youko made these cards for me to take on a trip to Japan. “Watashi wa bejitelian desu” (I am a vegetarian) helped me out of many a jam, as did many repetitions of “sumimasen” (excuse me/I’m sorry/thank you – the Japanese holy trinity)
Gomen Kudasai is a traditional Japanese noodle shop serving real Japanese home cooking. Finally – a Japanese restaurant with no sushi! Much as I love sushi, New Paltzians need to learn that there is more to Japanese food than fake wasabi. I’ve eaten at Gomen Kudasai twice this week and loved the thick udon noodles, fresh tofu appetizers, and wagashi (traditional Japanese sweets – think green tea, black sesame seeds, and red bean kuzu mangu [sweet dumplings with an exterior made of kuzu – a white powder thickener used like cornstarch that is made from kudzu – and a sweet bean paste interior]. There is a great fresh kimchi made with yuzu juice – yuzu is an aromatic Japanese citrus fruit that is barely available in the US, and tasting Youko’s yuzu-scented kimchi was transcendent. There are traditional Japanese teas, seasonal veggies and local produce.
Congratulations to Youko and hooray for the improved New Paltz food scene!