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festivalballetNot even a fierce Nor' Easter that shut down many Village roads could stop the 2018 Scarsdale Chinese Association's Spring Festival on March 3, celebrating The Year of the Dog.

The festival was moved back to the Scarsdale Congregational Church after last year's larger festival celebrating the Year of the Rooster at Woodlands High School in Hartsdale.

The Scarsdale Chinese Association began 13 years ago with only 25 families and, as of last year, there were 250 families in the group. This years' festival was headed by Caroline Huang.

The festival began with the traditional Lion's Dance and included 11 additional performances of traditional dances martial festivaldarts, Tai Chi, and a violin solo. Children were involved in many of the acts, including a dance by beautiful young ballerinas.

Following the performances there were cultural activities including calligraphy, knot tying and lantern making. And of course no event is complete without food where there were spring rolls, dumplings, chocolate coins, tangerines and Chinese tea.

Commenting on the festival, SCA Chair Caroline Huang said, "The celebration was smooth and successful based on the feedback from the attendance. We had a good amount of turnout. We are thankful to our motivated and talented volunteers, Scarsdale Congregational Church and everyone who participated in the event."

 

{besps}YearoftheDog{/besps}

 

 

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Burrito PoblanoMain Street in Tuckahoe has seen many changes in recent years, with new businesses and residential buildings arising. Along with its convenient location near the train station, it has become a perfect spot for restaurants to thrive.

If thoughts of burritos, quesadillas, tacos, fajitas enchiladas, chimichangas and tamales cause your taste buds to tingle, may I suggest a trip to Main Street in Tuckahoe, where the casual and unassuming Burrito Poblano Mexican Restaurant is serving some of the best authentic Mexican fare in the area. The Burrito Poblano has been treating us to Mexican food for about 18 years. The adjoin space was just vacated and Burrito Poblano has now expanded. From a small storefront with a counter and a few tables, it now seats about 60 guests. The new space has cactus in the windows and large murals of Mexican dancers and landscapes on the colorful walls. It is in this very simple atmosphere with dark wood tables and chairs that you can enjoy some terrific Mexican fare.burrito poblano tables

Owner Gilberto Garcia offers a large menu of dishes from his native Puebla. Both his wife and his nephew are busy at work with him in the kitchen." We prepare everything from scratch. Fresh jalapenos, tomatillos, and avocados are some of the prime ingredients in our kitchen. Poblano peppers of green color are less ripe and not as hot as red poblanos which are riper. Our dishes are traditional and many of my recipes originated in my mother's kitchen in Puebla. Since our expansion, we are open for longer hours to accommodate our hungry guests. We do a brisk take out business, as well. Given the opportunity, I would love to continue serving my lawyer, John Roman, one of my first customers. One of my goals for the future, is to open another restaurant in the county. "Garcia arrived here in 1985 and worked at many restaurants in lower Manhattan. He learned all aspects of restaurant ownership, from dining room to kitchen and eventually open his own spot here in Tuckahoe. If Garcia was savoring a meal at his restaurant, he might start with a chorizo tostada and follow that with an enchilada with green sauce. Dessert might be chocolate mousse.

burrito poblano meal 1The colorful menu with mouth watering photos starts with several appetizers. On a cool day you may wish to try their tortilla soup or a steaming bowl of chicken or beef vegetable soup. A variety of nachos, guacamole with chips or on a tostada, or several choices of tostadas. We started our tasting with irresistible Mexican tamales. These labor intensive packets were among the best I have eaten. Cornmeal and a generous portion of shredded cooked chicken were wrapped in a corn husk and steamed. We enjoyed home made green sauce with it. Like many dishes on the menu these are prepared fresh every day. Here they are truly a classic. We passed on the salads and moved on to tacos. There were many choices ranging from shredded chicken, grilled chicken, grilled steak, Mexican sausage, spicy pork and shrimp and the list goes on. Choose soft flour or corn tortillas or hard shell tacos. We loved our soft corn Mexican style tacos topped with chopped onion, shredded pork and lots of fresh minced cilantro and a wedge of lime which added wonderful flavor to the tender pork.

Enchiladas are varied. A plate of three soft corn tortillas can be filled with vegetables, shredded orburrito poblano meal 2 grilled chicken, ground beef, steak or spicy pork. Topped with mild queso fresca, lettuce, onion, tomato cilantro and a slice of radish and a choice of red green or mole sauce, they were very satisfying. Garcia explained that chili peppers can vary in their spice level making the sauce more or less pungent. The mole sauce is an integral part of Mexican cuisine. This complex sauce includes Mexican unsweetened chocolate and chill peppers. At Burrito Poblano it is an exquisite addition to many dishes and like everything here, it is made from scratch.

If your appetite is craving a super sized entrée, try the burritos enchiladas. You might opt to share this generous dish. Ours was filled with chicken and steak strips as well as rice and beans. It was rolled up and topped with melted Monterey cheese and surrounded with that outstanding mole sauce. Chorizo, spicy pork, or ground beef are other possible fillings. Open wide and bite into this tasty treat. Our chimichanga arrived as a flour tortilla filled with sautéed red and green bell peppers, onion and grilled shrimp. Rolled up and deep fried in vegetable oil, it was crisp and accompanied by shredded lettuce and corn niblets as well as nicely seasoned guacamole, which was combined with onion, tomatoes and fresh jalapenos and cilantro. This colorful offering can be filled with different varieties of chicken, meat or vegetables. Freshly prepared red and green sauce and sour cream are at your table, if you wish to enhance any of your dishes.

Burrito Poblano set up Future visits may include chile relleno, the roasted poblano stuffed with cheese, chicken flautas, grilled shell steak, chicken mole, pork chop in green sauce or a selection of fajitas as well as several shrimp entrees.

The desserts at The Burrito Poblano are all home made as well. Both the classic flan and coconut flan were smooth in texture and just sweet enough to please the palate. They were not drowning in syrup. The homemade tres leches cake rested in the three milk mixture and was accompanied by freshly whipped cream and berries. The cake absorbed the milk mixture and supplied a satisfying finale to our Mexican feast. Margeritas, mojitos and sangria will add to your dining pleasure here.

Some new additions will be added to the menu soon including ceviche and fish tacos. Enjoy lunch or dinner seven days a week where you can concentrate on classic traditional dishes freshly prepared in a simple atmosphere.

The Burrito Poblano Mexican Restaurant burrito poblano tacos
85 Main Street
Tuckahoe
(914) 3377900

Green Sauce Recipe {about 2 cups}
10 Jalapeno pepper, boilded or raw, stems removed
¼ Of an onion, chopped
1 Bunch of cilantro
1 Clove of garlic, chopped
10 Tomatillos, peeled, boiled or raw
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions: Place first 5 ingredients in blender container. Process until smooth. Add salt and pepper to your taste. Enjoy with your Mexican meal. Store in refrigerator.

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vincentandchefsScarsdale is home to the new and delightful Café Alaia. This cozy space on Garth Road that briefly housed Petra has been reborn and redesigned to become an intimate, welcoming and sophisticated Italian dining spot, well suited to our community. Owned by Vincenzo Alaia, it offers the same wonderful menu at both lunch and dinner. Seating about 40 guests the room was designed by Nancy Rosner in simple good taste. Dark wood chairs and tables, a beautiful beamed ceiling, golden lighting fixtures and white walls accented by one modern painting giving the room a pop of color.

According to owner Vincenzo Alaia,"We take our food seriously. Our meals are an important part of the day. One of my favorite meals might include pappardelle or linguine and branzino." Alaia grew up in a town near Naples. He was exposed to the food industry at meat, bakery and trattoria businesses of his family. He watched his Mom, aunt and grandmother prepare fresh pasta every day. He wanted "to see the world", worked on cruise ships and arrived in New York in 1997. He worked in the culinary field for years and his dream was "to do what I love." Thus, Café Alaia became a reality. "I love people and I welcome our guests the way I would in my home, with a warm greeting. I believe in simplicity and fresh ingredients. I aim to have our guests experience and taste the culture of Italy. Many of our ingredients are Italian as are all of our wines. I love serving the food I believe in and hope that my guests recognize my passion for the simple natural flavors and come to taste the culture that Café Alaia expresses."

The kitchen is run by Chef Manuel Palaguachi and Chef Marcelo lambVictor Yubi, who execute the carefully planned menu items and daily specials. As we examined the menu, we were presented with warm and crusty country bread accompanied by a homemade sun dried tomato dip with hints of basil, garlic and extra virgin olive oil. This whet our appetites for the treats to come. A fine way to start your meal is with a selection of crostini. This grilled rustic bread can be topped with a classic mix of cherry tomatoes, scallions, basil and extra virgin olive oil, sautéed chicken livers, pearl onions and balsamic, a mix of imported cheeses or meats or burrata and prosciutto, or as I enjoyed a topping of mixed sautéed mushrooms and caciocavallo cheese. The combination of oyster and porcini mushrooms added a wonderful texture and woody taste to this terrific appetizer. The 4 large crostini, nicely grilled and crisp sat atop a wooden cutting board for a rustic presentation that was certainly ample enough to share.

As we moved on to selections from the antipasti, it became evident that each dish was thoughtfully conceived, with choices to suit every taste. We chose polpo alla griglia. The marinated grilled octopus was placed over a salad of potatoes, fresh green beans, parsley and olive oil. The combination was simple so the quality and freshness of the ingredients shone through. We considered house made tortellini in brodo, fried calamari and zucchini with aioli, beef meatballs with tomato sauce and buffalo ricotta, and grilled shrimp with sautéed cannellini beans and decided upon parmigiana blanca di zucchini as our second appetizer choice. The layered dish of zucchini and cheeses arrived bubbling in a small skillet resting on a wooden cutting board. A variety of cheeses and bread crumbs were layered with the sliced zucchini and a touch of fresh mint added a fine note. I look forward to sampling sformatino di melanzane a rich eggplant soufflé topped with burrata fondue and a light tomato sauce. On the lighter side, several salads are offered including a rainbow beet mix and a crispy artichoke salad.

pastaVery special here, are the pasta selections. The house made pappardelle al ragu di agnello was a dish to remember. The leg of lamb was braised and shredded and combined with red wine and tomato sauce. With a shaving of pecorino cheese this dish was just heavenly. House made potato gnocchi was light and excellent, as well. The bright green basil pesto that enveloped the gnocchi gave a spring like look on this cool winter day. Yet to experience is the very popular linguine alla vongole, house made tagliatelle alla Bolognese, spaghetti pescatora and home made tortellini with taleggio cheese sauce, ham and peas.

Secondi selections each served with daily fresh vegetables, include poultry, fish, lamb and beef offerings. We thoroughly enjoyed our salmone in padella. The hearty portion of wild salmon was perfectly pan seared perfectly and accompanied by a peppercorn, mustard lemon sauce. Fresh carrots and green beans added color to this delicious plate. For the lamb lover, I highly recommend the rack of lamb. The four grilled and trimmed chops were tender and filled with flavor. A reduction of balsamic, mint and herbs worked well with these glorious chops and carrots and green beans completed this plate. Future entrees may include orata marechiaro, branzino al forno, chicken Milanese or grilled sirloin with a rosemary and black pepper reduction. Several vegetable side dishes are offered, as well. Specials vary each day and may include stuffed squash blossoms or perhaps, potato crusted red snapper.

You can complete your meal with zabaglione, pear tart, or perhaps fig panna cotta.

Try this new dining experience at Café Alaia in Scarsdale soon, where the Cucina Italiana is simply superb.

Café Alaia
66/A Garth Road
Scarsdale
(914) 725-3000

Recipe: Parmigiana Bianca Di Zucchine (Serves 2)zucchini

4 medium zucchini
6 cheese slices, mozzarella
About 2 Tbsps. romano cheese
About 2 Tbsps. parmesan cheese
1 tsp. butter
Bread crumbs, to taste
¼ cup water
Fresh mint for garnish

Rinse and cut zucchini lengthwise into 1/8 inch thick slices. Grease a rectangular baking pan with butter. Add a sprinkling of the bread crumbs. Start to assemble the white parmigiana into layers. First layer is raw zucchini. Next is mozzarella slices. Next is ½ Tbsp. each of romano and parmesan. Repeat and end with zucchini. Sprinkle the top layer with bread crumbs Add the ¼ cup of water to the corners of the baking pan. Bake in a preheated oven at 356 degrees Fahrenheit for about 40 minutes or until surface is golden brown. Remove from the oven. Cut into squares and let it cool for at least 5 minutes before serving. Garnish with mint.

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patriasIt has been said that," strong vibrant colors attract guests to the Spanish table and half the eating is in the eyes." A visit to Patria's confirms this. Patria's, as the name suggests, is an homage to one's country or homeland, in this case of its co - owners Chef Mariano Aznar from Spain, and his sister in law Yvon Rodriguez from Peru.

Remembering previous visits, Chef Aznar, a culinary star from Barcelona, was my host. He riceballsexplained, "I love cooking new dishes and presentations so my food is not monotonous. My traditional tapas have inspired touches. My goal is to see happy guests." He did an apprenticeship in Barcelona at the tender age of 15. He studied at culinary arts school and went on to work at many French and Mediterranean restaurants. He was quite experienced when he arrived in New York in 1990. After working at Solera in Manhattan for several years, he opened his own restaurant in Port Chester followed by Espana in Larchmont. This was followed by Patria's which opened about 5 years ago.

At my very recent visit, co- owner Yvon Rodriguez was my charming hostess. Chef Aznar was visiting family in Barcelona. With the help of waiter Marco Gutierrez, I was royally treated to the Patria's dining experience. Ms. Rodriguez said, "I love when we are busy. I have learned so much from Chef Aznar. I always wanted to open a tapas style restaurant and Patria's is a dream come true. I love when I enter the dining room from the kitchen and our guests say good things about their experience. I enjoy every facet of the business, from keeping the dining room in pristine condition to cooking. Through the years, my Mom has inspired me. She is my God. Some of the most popular dishes here are our seafood paella, tuna tartar and ceviche."

The intimate space has a black and white color scheme, with touches of red. A large blackboard on one wall announces the menu and opposite, a light framed blackboard let's us know "It is Tapas Time."

A third wall evokes Peru's Lineas de Nazca. This sets the mood for the combination of the thrilling Spanish dishes from Barcelona where Chef Aznar hails from, as well as the delightful Peruvian ceviches from Yvon Rodriguez homeland of Peru. Dark wood tables and cushioned chairs, as well as a fabric lined bench supply seating for about 40 guests. Modern cylinder shaped lighting give a glow to the space. The shiny clean dark wood floor, indicates how carefully Patria's is maintained. Enticing Spanish music played in the background.

So many choices ..... from Peru, we started with Mariscos Classic Ceviche. Shrimp, bay scallops, and rings of scungilli combine with red onion, tomatoes, cilantro and lemon juice and marinate until the flavors meld, for a refreshing taste. It was a lovely bright way to start our tasting. The very fresh seafood was enhanced rather than overpowered by the onion, tomato, lemon juice and cilantro. We also sampled Patria's version of tuna tartar. Here, chopped fresh tuna was dressed with wasabi oil and chopped scallions. This was set atop, sliced avocado, tomatoes, and cucumber slices. A sprinkling of sesame seeds garnished the tuna, and a duet of grilled croutons added crunch to this variation of tuna tartar with an Asian flair.

Over two dozen tapas are offered. Many are classic Spanish choices and some are creative lambchopcombinations. I have always savored gambas al ajillos in Latin restaurants. At Patria's a sizzling pottery crock arrived bubbling with minced garlic, and guindillas peppers turning golden amidst the peeled shrimp. White wine and Spanish olive oil added zest to the sauce. Nice warm baguettes arrived which we promptly dipped in the sauce. It was sooo delicious and would be wise for your dinner partner to share this fragrant dish with you since its flavor will remain with you for a bit of time. To change tastes, we sampled dates wrapped in bacon and filled with almonds and strong cheese. The cabarales cheese balanced the garlic from the shrimp that preceded it. A tortilla espanola, the classic Spanish omelet, combined potato, egg, piquillo peppers, chorizo and parsley arriving in a perfect six inch disc topped with a dab of aioli. Crusty and crisp on the outside and soft and succulent within, it was well seasoned and a nice addition to the selection of tapas. Among the meat selections of the tapas was a plate of simply grilled baby lamb chops. They were nicely trimmed and easy to eat by holding the bone and devouring them in a few bites. Potato gratin and chimichurri a dip of garlic, parsley, olive oil and chili peppers and oregano went well with the chops. My favorite of all the tapas I tried was pochas con almejas. Here, a full-bodied well spiced sauce of chorizo and white beans, combined with Manilla clams. The clams were cooked until the shells opened and were tossed with the chorizo sauce- an excellent choice. Future tapas might include lamb meatballs with curry jus, Basque sautéed sausage, Canelones with shrimp, shrimp, spinach, ricotta and manchego cheese, cod fritters , Galician style octopus and beef skewers Moroccan style. This is real party food. It is a fun place to visit with a group so you get to taste a large variety of dishes.

patria4Larger plates include several varieties of paella to suit every taste. There is a paella de carne with chicken, chorizo, beef and pork, a vegetarian version with seasonal fresh vegetables, and as I enjoyed, paella de mariscos, saffron short grain imported rice studded with clams, mussels, scallops, squid and shrimp. Each component was properly cooked, and the bottom of the rice had a perfect crunch, while the rest remained tender. New to me was fideua, which I guess I would describe as a noodle paella. The imported small noodles were crisp and tossed with an abundance of seafood, all enveloped in squid ink, lending a black color to the dish. Other large plates include a Peruvian specialty of Lomo Saltado. Thin strips of hangar steak are sautéed in a wok with onions, tomatoes and fried potatoes. Flavored with cilantro and served with white rice it was a pleasant entrée. If you wish to stick to more familiar fare, strip steak and grilled tuna are offered, as well.

Crema Catalena, the Spanish rendition of crème brulee chocolate lava cake, classic flan, and a house made caramelized apple tart are some dessert options. Yvon Rodriguez learned to prepare this tart in her Mother's kitchen. One of these desserts with a glass of sweet wine, are a fine ending to your visit to Patria's. Spanish wines, sangria and beers are offered here.

Specials are offered each day. From Tuesday through Thursday you can enjoy Patria's happy hour where a selection of tapas, and house wine or sangria are $5 each.

A journey to Spain and Peru in one evening awaits you at the charming Patria's where tapas and sangria or a choice of paellas and other classic Spanish fare await you. Enjoy Patria's for a warm and welcoming dining experience where refined, yet lusty, simple yet sophisticated Spanish food is a celebration of Spanish culture.

Patria'spatrias 2
4 Lawton Street
New Rochelle
(914) 278-9811

Recipe: Gambas Al Ajillo
(Serves 4 as appetizers)

½ cup extra virgin olive oil
10 large cloves garlic, finely minced
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes or guindilla peppers*
1 pound shrimp (25 to the pound)
Juice of 1 lemon
2 or 3 ounces Spanish brandy
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
3 tablespoons fresh chopped parsley
Baguette for dipping

In a sauté pan or heavy frying pan, warm the oil over medium heat. Add garlic and pepper flakes and sauté for about 1 minute or until garlic just begins to brown. Be careful not to let it burn. Raise heat to high and add the shrimp, lemon juice and brandy. If you are using paprika add that, as well .Stir well and sauté until shrimp turn pink and curl or about 3 minutes. Remove from heat and transfer the contents to a warm crock, or serve right from the pan. Season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with parsley and serve with baguette slices.
• Available at Latin Markets

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37 MusiciansIt was a feel-good, bustling afternoon in the Scott Room at the Scarsdale Public Library last Sunday, as Scarsdale students and their families came together to raise funds for Friends of Music & the Arts at this year's Winter Festival. FMA is the parent booster club that supports and enhances music and arts programming in Scarsdale schools. 37 Student musicians from Scarsdale High School, Scarsdale Middle School, and the Scarsdale elementary schools performed as soloists and in groups in a cafe setting to an enthusiastic audience of parents, friends, and members of the community. Musicians secured sponsors for their performances to support FMA. The event also featured an exhibit of student artwork selected by district art faculty from all 7 schools. Many people in attendance commented on the sense of warmth and community that filled the room and expressed their delight to be part of the fundraiser and celebration of student music and art. All families with students participating in district music and art programs are encouraged to join FMA. For more information and to make a donation, visit the website here.
Piano Soloist
Art center

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