Monday, September 7, 2009

follow up...on the road

Labor day weekend has brought me back to Saratoga Springs. Saturday at the race track was exhilarating as we watched the girl wonder-horse Rachel Alexandra beat the boys by a nose in The Woodward Stakes race. The crowd was electrified by the narrow win and I felt like I had witnessed racing history, seeing the the first filly to ever clinch this classic race.

Fresh lemonade at the Saratoga Fairgrounds

My other goal this weekend was to dine at Chez Sophie, a landmark Saratoga Springs restaurant that will be closing at the end of this month after 15 years in the area. The chef owned restaurant has consistently served imaginative and delicious meals while championing and supporting the wonderful local farmers in the area.

Friday night's menu at the restaurant featured an appetizer of seared scallops with cantaloupe and heirloom tomatoes. I HAD to try it! The blog post about my Tomato,cantaloupe, and sweet onion salad back in August had caused many comments from readers about the unusual and to some, improbable combination of ingredients. I decided to make the salad for a potluck party I was invited to last week and got several requests for the recipe. It was exciting to share this dish and turn my friends on to this unexpected combination that all agreed was surprisingly just right.

Chez Sophie chef Paul Parker pureed his cantaloupe and made it the base of a vinaigrette with olive oil and chives that filled the bottom of a bowl. The golden cherry tomatoes carefully peeled and arranged around the scallops sat on top. Yummy! I had a glass of sparkling wine to go with it as per Amanda's blog post suggestion and it was perfect!
Incidentally, amid the extensive and impressive wine list the restaurant has La Vieille Ferme listed as their house table wine.

I will miss Chez Sophie. Chef Paul Parker and his wife Cheryl Clark are off to France with their two small children to run a vineyard/bed and breakfast/cooking school. It all sounds wonderful. I will even miss Cheryl's weekly email newsletter describing changing diapers, dealing with customers and managing a restaurant during floods, blizzards and electrical failures.

Bon Chance Parker-Clark family!

On another note:
This edition of the newsletter from The Roxbury Farm, a Community Sustained Farm  (CSA) in NY, does an excellent job of highlighting the concerns with the current American food systems as seen in the film Food, Inc. The newsletter provides excellent links to many of the organizations working hard to create better food standards for our country. It is well worth looking at, and see the film if you can!

Deb, sounds like you had a great weekend as well as a wonderful dining experience! My Labor Day weekend was chockful of barbeques and screaming kids. It was one of the most enjoyable weekends I have had all year! But the one thing I wanted to share with you was my fabulous day yesterday. Chuck and Maria Russo, owners of Wine and Spirit World had a birthday get together for their son, who is turning 13 next weekend. Among a fine assortment of delectable treats was your grilled vegetable ratatouille, which was simply superb. I had told Maria about it, and she went right to our blog and printed it out. It was perfect. The one addition Maria included was portobello mushroom. I took a nice big piece of crusty bread, and spooned a heaping mound of ratatouille right on top of it. I was drinking Pinot Noir at the time, and it made a fine companion to the dish. Delish!!


  1. Just wondering if you are taking advantage of the cork and carry law in New York allowing you to take unfinished wine home.

  2. Hi Bob,
    I have not yet taken advantage of the law. I live in NJ, and typically frequent byo's in the area. I have recently been to two NYC restaurants, but both times I was with a fairly large group and there was no wine left over. It's definitely a worthwhile law, especially with high prices of wine these days. That's why I love byo's!

  3. Hi Deb,
    Can you recommend some recipes that would freeze well. I host Thanksgiving dinner every year for my family and every year I end up exhausted, so I was hoping to make ahead and freeze, so far I haven't been happy with my recipes. Thanks so much !!

  4. Hi Maria- Great question. I do a huge thanksgiving every year too. I will be writing a lot about that in upcoming posts. One dish I always freeze in advance are my pies. I prepare the crusts and the fillings and then freeze before baking. That way I can just stick them in the oven on the big day.
    Baked onion dishes and baked squash dishes also tend to freeze well. I do a lot of these and have some great recipes that I use every year. I will think about this further and follow up in a future post.


Thank you for your comment. Spammers have forced me to now review every comment before publishing. So please bear with me as I read through your comment. Thank you for visiting the blog!