by Rochelle Riservato
The earliest form of soup was a combination of peas, lentils and beans for a quick, easy meal. Some call it the first “fast food”—but certainly way more nutritious than today’s definition of such.
Since then soup has evolved into a cold weather friend that nourishes and “warms the cockles,” running the gamut from classic French Onion to creations so elegant and sophisticated, they become autumn tonics that cause your taste buds to tingle with joy.
While you’re checking out the Valley’s autumn color show; visiting historic sites; camping; and experiencing what folks from around the globe come to see in this beautiful countryside—there could be a slight nip in the fall air. A chill that starts you hankering for some warm comfort food hits you—but you’re in the right place for soup.
The Hudson Valley provides an array of succulent soups made from local produce, meats and homemade stocks from restaurants in a Valley that boasts The Culinary Institute of America—where the most famous chefs may have first sharpened their knives and sported their chef chapeaus.
With that in mind we figured what could be better than providing our Valley wanderers and leaf-peepers with a Soup Trail? So we’ve scouted out the most popular and inventive soups at choice restaurants, cafes and farm stands to add some warm sustenance to your fall adventures—no matter what part of the Hudson Valley you’re traveling through.
For example…you stop and visit a winery or two while following country roadways—and you happen to stop in the Town of New Paltz or Gardiner. Not only are both towns replete with quaint shops, they have fantastic eateries that’ll comfort you with a quick stop and a warm meal in a bowl—aka Soup!
Feel like authentic Italian? Go for the Escarole and White Bean soup in a fresh chicken-based stock at Gardiner’s famous Tuthill House at the Mill Restaurant. Or for a more informal farm-stand stop—go with Wright’s Farm Market’s Fresh Pureed Squash soup ... another Town of Gardiner special.
While in New Paltz you have several great choices. Bacchus’ Black Bean soup garnished with tomatoes, sour cream and scallions. And for something adventurous, nourishing, and truly unique—try The Main Course’s Butternut Squash and Pear Bisque.
Winding through the Valley, you may want to experience small town living…what better place than High Falls with its little metropolis of antique, apothecary and exclusive shops that showcase designer décor nestled into a small stretch of Route 213. The kind of wares you’d never expect off Manhattan Island.
After you shop, visit the historic D&H Canal Museum, and take the stroll along the Canal’s corridor, you may want a nutritional hug. Yes, I’m talking soup! Within a stone’s throw away you can indulge yourself with soup from a venerated five-star restaurant—The DePuy Canal House with Chef John Novi. Taking his advice (as he’s been acclaimed in just about every epicurean magazine there is), Novi recommends stopping in for his vegetarian Hot and Sour Soup with Seitan. With a savory trace of sesame oil drizzled atop, this taste-bud tantalizing soup combines mushrooms, bamboo shoots, seitan, and soy sauce in an egg-thickened chickpea stock garnished with scallions.
It’s the kind of slow and smooth warmth that takes the chill out of a breezy fall day.
But for veteran visitors of High Falls, nicknamed The Center of the Universe—you may wonder where the High Falls Café took off to. Don’t fret; they’re not far since relocating to the High Falls Stone Dock Golf Course. Co-owner Brian, aka The Soup Man, awaits your company with a special spicy vegetarian Southwestern Black Bean with fresh cilantro ... yummy.
Craving some farmlands and sensational sunsets? Head over to the open spaces along southbound Route 209 (take the short-cut just over the bridge in High Falls making a left onto Lucas Avenue). Once at the end, head south to Accord and Kerhonkson where you can check out either Saunderskill Farms homemade Roasted Red Pepper & Smoked Gouda Bisque or Friends and Family II Hillside’s Creamy Parsnip-Apple—a pureed, vegetarian delight.
However, if you are heading toward the historic city of Kingston, New York’s first capital, you have a plethora of warm-soup stops as you travel to a city that history books chronicle. Two perfect family quick-stops in Stone Ridge are at Cherries (serving up a fresh Broccoli and Dual-Cheese soup).
Your Kingston journey will offer you many choices—sit-down restaurants, a healthy, artisanal take-out or eat-in bistro, and a natural food emporium.
For authentic Kingston a-la-Italiano head to Dominick’s Café for Stracciatella with eggs, spinach and Luciano cheese in a chicken-based broth, or Savona’s Trattoria and mangiare on a thick, robust Imported Pancetta and Lentil Soup—certainly hearty and made from the heart!
For those who love organic, slow-food nutrition take a ride to Blue Mountain Bistro-to-Go where you choose take-out or sip-your-soup in the bistro setting. As owner Mary Ann put it, “Our soups rock! People love them and we make two each day and freeze what's left at the end of the day. Some people come in and buy six at a time from the freezer.”
Or visit Mother Earth’s Storehouse in the Kings Mall where the deli serves up Sweet Potato and Apples chunky meal in a veggie broth that’s vegan and gluten-free.
Now you have two compass choices from Kingston—either go east and cross the Hudson on the Kingston-Rhinecliff Bridge to visit upper Dutchess County or travel west on Route 28 toward Woodstock and environs. And you can do both—as you are enjoying a weekend of Hudson Valley fall, right?
Tourist or resident—most of us would never forego the back-to-‘60s charm of Woodstockian shopping. Aside from being fun—it’s also exhausting and brings on that hungry-as-a-bear tug on the tummy. That’s when you head to the Bear Cafe for a bon appétit au gratin favorite of French Onion soup that’s cheese-engulfed and definitely satiating.
However, if you passed on Woodstock, this time around, you can still savor a Classic French Onion at the Catamount Restaurant at Emerson in Mt. Tremper or head to Brios Restaurant and Pizzeria in Phoenicia for a variation on a theme. Brios’ classic French Onion Au Gratin has three cheeses—Swiss, Parmesan and provolone coupled with homemade croutons.
And don’t forget Peekamoose. No it’s not a game—it’s a restaurant and tap room in Big Indian presenting something completely vegan and totally different: Cream Pureed Roasted Butternut Squash soup garnished with crispy Brussels sprout leaves and an aged balsamic reduction sauce. It’s as unique as the restaurant’s name!
Now we’re sure you’ll want to visit Mr. Jimmy Fallon’s hometown of Saugerties, if not because this great comic hails from this town chock-full of great shops and eateries—but because the Lobster Corn Chowder soup with avocado, bacon relish, and roasted paprika oil at the Diamond Mills Restaurant is out of this world.
On a sweet note—Saugerties is also home to Lucky Chocolates where owner Rae not only dishes up the likes of toffee, truffles and turtles—oh my—but likes people to “experience that ‘Aaah’ moment,” as she puts it, with her warmly inviting authentic Mexican Chicken Posole, which she describes as, “A hearty, but not spicy, stew-like soup with raw chopped-up cabbage, hominy, and a fresh lemon squeeze finish.”
Well, the trail is almost finished, but first you have to visit the last two on our soup hunt cross the river and through the woods to a trio of eateries you won’t want to miss. And because you just viewed the majesty of the Hudson as you traveled over the bridge –didn’t you think of fish? Rhinebeck’s Puccini Restaurant has a New England Fish Chowder that’s a medley of seafood—including clams, mussels, and chopped-up cod coupled with potatoes in a light white cream sauce.
Or maybe the bridge breeze gave you a shiver and you’re craving something hot? Hot as in Mexican? Hola, Terrapin Restaurant (also in Rhinebeck). Enjoy their delish Tortilla Soup with pulled chicken, avocado, Mexican queso fresco cheese, cilantro, and tortilla strips in a red chili chicken broth. It’s certain to heat up both your palate and your body.
Well, there you go.
Happy Soup Trails to you!
We have listed here the contact information for each restaurant mentioned in the article:
Puccini, Rhinebeck. 845-876-3055
Terrapin, Rhinebeck. 845-876-3330
China Rose, Rhinecliff. 845-876-7442
Dominick’s Cafe, Kingston. 845-338-4552
Savona’s Trattoria, Kingston. 845-339-6800
Mother Earth’s Storehouse Deli, Kingston. 845-336-5541
Bistro-to-Go, Kingston. 845-340-9800
NEW PALTZ & Environs
Bacchus, New Paltz. 845-255-8636
Barnaby's, New Paltz. 845-255-2433
Main Course, New Paltz. 845-255-2600
Wright’s Farm Market, Gardiner. 845-255-5300
Tuthill House at the Mill, Gardiner. 845-255-4151
STONE RIDGE & HIGH FALLS Cherries, Stone Ridge. 845-687-9121
Asia Restaurant, Stone Ridge. 845-687-9800
Crossroads Deli, Stone Ridge. 845-687-0872
Friends and Family II Hillside, Accord. 845-626-7777
Saunderskill Farms, Accord. 845-626-2676
Inn at Stone Ridge. 845-687-0736
Northern Spy, High Falls. 845-687-7298
Gill’s Farm, Hurley. 845-338-0788
High Falls Café, High Falls. 845-687-2699
UPPER ULSTER & WOODSTOCK
Catamount restaurant at Emerson, Mt. Tremper. 877-688-2828
Peekamoose, Big Indian. 845-254-6500
Brio’s Restaurant and Pizzeria, Phoenicia. 845-688-5370
Diamond Mills Restaurant, Saugerties. 845-247-0700
Bear Cafe, Woodstock. 845-679-5555
Lucky Chocolate, Saugerties. 845-246-7337