The son of an Irish father and a Mexican mother, Jose O'Brien got his first taste of fusion cuisine as a child in New Mexico. While his grandmothers colluded on Mexican-Irish holiday meals, Jose acted as translator, taste-tester, and pint-sized UN Secretary General. The cuisine born in that kitchen lives on today in a restaurant named after Jose and located far from its regions of origin.
As one might expect, the menu features both traditional cuisine such as the casa burrito with shredded chicken, pico de gallo, and guacamole; and slightly more unusual combinations such as the Irlandes burrito, with ground beef, Irish bacon, bangers, mash, and cheddar cheese. It's also punctuated by a huge burger section, brimming with items like the Tijuana Philly, drowning in mushrooms, jalapeños, cheese, and barbecue sauce; or Jose's burger, a house favorite that comes with bacon, avocado, green chili, and the coup de grace, a fried egg. Those with a taste for unaltered Emerald Isle cuisine can get their fill as well: Jose O'Briens makes a mean shepherd's pie and a quite personable bangers and mash.
U-Me Sushi Hibachi Japanese Restaurant forges together the flavors of its ample menu with the flourishes of fiery tableside hibachi-style preparation. The behind-the-scenes action leaps to the fore at the sushi bar, where nimble fingers assemble delectables into neat bundles such as the california maki roll ($5). Understudies of Elvis impersonators can rouse mouths with the Rock'n roll, its tobiko-ensconced shrimp tempura, eel, avocado, and cream cheese tastefully harmonizing ($12.50), and the vegetarian roll composes notes of lettuce, carrot, cucumber, radish, and more ($6.50). Those seeking heated eats can let eyes alight on the scintillating energy of the hibachi-style craft as chefs sear steaks and sizzle edibles on table-mounted gas griddles. Chicken teriyaki ($14.50) and sukiyaki nabe, a medley of beef and veggies cooked in succulent broth ($14.50), are among many offerings sweetly capped off with fried bananas ($5.50) or fried ice cream ($5.50).
Since 1978, Champion Day Camp has sated kids’ hunger for summertime adventure. During day camps, children are divided into small groups organized by age and supervised by staff members who are responsible for three to five campers each. In this nurturing environment, kids can make friends and learn new skills as they enjoy a range of activities such as the Ropes Adventure program—which includes climbing walls, ziplines, and a 52-foot “Humongous Tower”—or computer-, yoga-, and photography-based activities. Champion also stages traditional camp activities, such as swimming, soccer, and speculating on the ingredients of bug juice.
It’s a typical Saturday night at Turkois Grille—the dining room is lit up by warm lanterns, lively Mediterranean music fills the air, and a beautiful belly dancer glides across the room, rolling her hips and shaking her glimmering bangles. Diners perch at white-clothed tables, applauding and raising glasses of fine wine. Meanwhile, in the kitchen, the strains of chatter and music are drowned out by clattering pots and the hiss of sizzling lamb, veal, and chicken. Chefs bustle about, skewering marinated meats and seasoning dorado, snapper, and salmon in authentic Turkish spices. They pair warm, crusty bread with seasoned olive oil, a dip that the Journal News lauded as “an addictive combination of toasted sesame and nigella seeds plus a sprinkling of lemony, thyme-like zatar.” The versatile chefs even extend their culinary expertise to a menu of kid-friendly dishes, including crispy chicken fingers and small skewers of lamb, veal, and vegetables shaped like gummy bears.
It was a fateful day for Santhosh Kochuparambil when the chef at his restaurant didn't show up for work one morning. Unwilling to turn away hungry customers, Santhosh rolled up his sleeves and began cooking the dishes himself. From that day fourth, Santhosh continued to work in the kitchen, developing a knack with the saucepan and a skill with spices. After graduating from culinary school, Santhosh took on jobs in top kitchens across India, eventually leaving his native home for restaurants in Russia and New York.
Today, Santhosh brings his years of culinary experience to his own restaurant—Karavalli Regional Cuisine of India. Deep in its kitchen, the skilled chef stirs pots of spicy curries and bakes lamb, seafood, and breads in a traditional tandoori oven. He whips up his authentic Indian dishes using only fresh herbs and fiery spices, eschewing pre-made sauces or counterfeit magic beans. When discussing his dishes with reporters from The Saratogian, Santosh maintained, "after you eat, you feel something. Your taste buds are up. Once you start eating Indian food, then you like it. Plus, the spices are very good for the health".
The self-described "beer geeks" at Growler & Gill Craft Beer Shoppe work double duty, pouring brews behind the bar and helping customers select six-packs in the retail section. Made up of certified cicerones and experienced home brewers, staff members are happy to explain the difference between a lager and an ale or a wheat beer. Visitors who decide to pull up a barstool and sample a few gills—a unit referring to a quarter-pint—can also order a bite to eat off a pub menu that includes Bavarian pretzels, Polish pierogi, and bratwurst. They also offer regular events throughout the week, such as Wednesday night trivia to free brewery tastings on Thursday. In the spring and fall, the Lower Hudson Valley Craft Beer Fest comes to Growler & Gill Craft Beer Shoppe and features beer-centric food and samples from several domestic and international breweries.