Day One: Whole Foods and Italian in Piermont, NY

So, I’m not exactly in NYC (yet). I’m staying with family in New Jersey, about half an hour from Manhattan Island. We spent the day in New Jersey today, and I had two unexpected foodie experiences. On the way to a lake where we would spend the hottest part of the day, we stopped at Whole Foods. Being from Buffalo, I’ve obviously grown up going to Wegmans.

Before the trip, my cousin and I had held faux-arguments over Whole Foods vs. Wegmans. I was sure that I’d remain a fan of Wegmans no matter how much Whole Foods impressed me. I’ve come to the decision that the two stores are just ultimately different. From what I can gather (today was just a preliminary visit… we’re going again later this week and actually shopping there) Whole Foods is has a decidedly larger prepared foods section. While Wegmans carries a pizza shop, Asian buffet, sub shop, etc., Whole Foods seems to make sure that the prepared foods section is not just an after-thought. In fact, Whole Foods’ prepared foods was beyond impressive: there exists sushi, pizza, panini, baked goods, gelato, espresso bar, and various buffets of different foods. While Wegmans carries some or most of these services, the entire experience seemed more impressive at Whole Foods. More to come later this week on how things at Whole Foods actually taste. (The pretzel I had today was extremely fresh and tasty: nothing like what you’d get from a typical mall. And for reference, a bit on Wegmans’ prepared food: the pizza is NY-style and very good, the subs are above-average and based on a Buffalo sub-company, and the gelato is extremely tasty. However, the Asian buffet is nothing more than average while expensive, and the coffee leaves much to be desired.)

Later on in the evening, the group of us went to Piermont, NY: a small, quaint town located just across the NJ-NY border. (For Buffaloanians, think of a Niagara-on-the-Lake kind of situation.) By the time we got there, it was nearly 9 PM, and we were able to secure a table at the restaurant Confetti just in time.

Immediately, the service there was careful and attentive. We were seated after a brief wait and immediately asked for drinks by our astute waiter. Also served was a fresh focaccia with herbed olive oil. For appetizers, we ordered (as a table): stuffed artichokes, Margherita pizzettes, sage french fries, and, described by our waiter as “a real treat”, an utterly fresh Buffalo mozzarella dish, dressed with tomatoes and greens. All were impressive and delicious. The Buffalo mozzarella was impossibly creamy, while the pizza was perfectly thin and extremely flavorful.

The entrees arrived soon after; they included veal saltimbocca (mine), pesto and almond pasta, gnocchi, swordfish, shrimp and vegetable risotto, and lasagna. While rave reviews were heard from around the table, I can personally speak for my own dish: the veal was pan-seared perfectly, set over a bed of wilted spinach, and served with mashed potatoes and a Marsala sauce. The flavors on this dish — as with everything had that night — were clean and delicious. Classic Italian dishes, cooked and seasoned perfectly, and presented with careful service and thought.

We did have dessert, too. A round of cappuccino for all and a sharing of creme brulee, cannoli, and cheesecake capped off a great meal for all. This was exactly the kind of experience we were looking for: a casual Italian dinner that would give us great food in a wonderful setting; an end to a great day, and a pleasant start for the rest of the week.

More to come later in the week!


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