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challahHere is a letter from UJA’s CEO Eric S. Goldstein about the cancellation of their winter celebration – and the mitzvah they did for the Jewish community.

The Friday before Purim would usually be the time for a lighthearted message. But while preparing to celebrate one of the happiest holidays in the Jewish calendar, we must acknowledge the anxiety surrounding coronavirus and all that comes with it.

In Westchester’s Jewish community, families are coping with sick loved ones, several schools and synagogues are closed, and many hundreds of people are living under quarantine. More broadly, across the New York area, many people — particularly the elderly and those with underlying health issues — are understandably fearful.

On one hand, it’s uncharted territory. On the other hand, we’re facing this challenge the same way we have other challenges past and present — as a community made stronger because we’re in this together.

Somewhat paradoxically, this might be the one time coming together as a community means keeping a healthy distance from one another. Which is why, very regretfully, we decided yesterday afternoon to postpone our much-anticipated Westchester Celebration, scheduled for last night. Over 400 people were set to attend and pay tribute to two wonderful couples, Rikki and Barry Kaplan and Allison and Ben Friedland, for their incredible contributions to UJA and the Jewish community.

But our disappointment in canceling the event was tempered by an unexpected silver lining.

We asked Foremost, our caterer, if it might be possible to distribute the food from the event to the families in Westchester under quarantine. Foremost staff immediately volunteered to divide and repackage the food, putting together 600 kosher Shabbat meals. Those meals were all delivered this morning by our Westchester office staff and volunteers to families from the Young Israel of New Rochelle under quarantine. (The volunteers left the packages at the front door, without going into the house.)

And so, while the mitzvah on Purim of delivering mishloach manot (food packages) to friends and neighbors doesn’t formally begin until the start of the holiday this Monday evening, many in our community got a beautiful head start today.

On a parallel track, UJA’s staff has been actively planning for different scenarios and evolving needs. For example, knowing that the elderly are more vulnerable to the coronavirus and may be self-quarantining, we’re contingency planning with our partners to support the home delivery of food to those who normally rely on our pantries and community centers for meals.

Our government relations team has also been in constant touch with state, city, and county leadership and public health officials to get the most relevant information and share it with our nonprofit partners. Yesterday, we hosted a webinar for 140 nonprofit professionals to provide the best available information and steer people to appropriate resources.

Similarly, to support day schools (including those that have already faced closures), we helped organize a conference call for 220 school leaders on Tuesday featuring medical and trauma experts.

As Governor Cuomo noted in his press conference earlier this week, the general risk remains low in New York and it’s important that facts outweigh fear. At the same time, we need to be cautious and prepare to meet developing needs in our community and beyond.

One of the central concepts of Purim is v’nahafoch hu — “it was turned upside down.” Purim is such a joyful holiday because tragedy is averted; instead of the Jews being destroyed, as was Haman’s plan, v’nahafoch hu, it was turned upside down, and the Jews are allowed to fight back and defeat their enemies. Dread gives way to celebration. On a very small scale, this reversal is what happened when a canceled event was turned upside down and became 600 meals. And while we ready ourselves for what might come next, we pray and hope for another v’nahafoch hu, one that will transform this painfully uncertain moment into a period of peace, calm, and swift recovery for all.

Shabbat shalom and Purim sameach.

CopperHouseThe Culinary Institute of America was the starting point for many renowned chefs. That is where the start began for three students, who met there, became friends and soon introduced our county to their style of restaurant management by becoming partners and opening Copper House, providing locally crafted comforts in Westchester. The team of Alex Avellino, Joe Engongoro and Joey D’Angelo redesigned the space that was formerly Trevi Ristorante in West Harrison. The free standing cream colored brick building with brown awnings has its own adjoining parking lot. Enter through the atrium with several cocktail tables and shelves filled with country style memorabilia. Step up to the bar area and there is a warm glow on your right. It is the wood burning pizza oven with the kitchen beyond.

Dining area accommodates about 85 guests and is divided into two sections. In warm weather the patio offers seating for about 40. I was seated in the dining room, and my eyes were focused on the country style décor. Dried flower displays, vintage pots and pans, utensils, antique clocks, barn doors, old signs and rustic artifacts line the walls. Lacquered wood table tops add to the country style.

Alex Avellino, the Director of Hospitality and host said, “We chose West Harrison since it is an ideal location and easy to get to from so many communities in Westchester and Connecticut. We are a casual modern restaurant with good food, good quality and good value. Our restaurant has a vibrant feel. We welcome families as well as adult diners. Accessible describes Copper House. We have families with young children dining early and couples enjoying a late evening out. Our menu is New American with touches of Italian. Some of our most popular dishes are Copper short ribs, our pizzas and chicken scarpariello. It is hard to make everyone happy but we try our best to see that our guests realize that we are working for them. Our menu changes to accommodate the seasons and market availability. We take great pride in our challenging job.”

Joe Engongoro is the executive chef and works well with his kitchen staff. “It is important to have an open mind and hear people out without having a knee jerk reaction to criticism. If I could invite a group of guests to dine at Copper House, I might include Jean George Vongerichten, Alain Ducasse, Eric Ripert and Massimo Bottura, some truly admired chefs. If I were dining at Copper House I might start with wood fired octopus, followed by Copper House short ribs over polenta and complete my meal with wood fired oven apple crisp “

To complete the trio of restauranteurs is Joey D’Angelo, the owner and chef at Hartsdale’s successful Copper Kettle, where he cooks his innovative dishes.

The extensive menu offers about 15 starters and small plates. It will take several visits to sample the many CopperPastaenticing choices. The cauliflower fritter was so good. It rested on a thin slice of prosciutto. It was battered and sautéed and drizzled with lemon aioli for a delicious result. Eggplant meatballs were another tasty beginning. Here, the eggplant was roasted and pureed {no meat involved} formed into meatballs, battered and sautéed. A perfect choice for vegetarians and non-vegetarians, alike. I especially loved the grilled jumbo shrimp paired with a beautifully flavored caponata and arugula. Among the small plates waiting to be sampled are octopus tacos, goat cheese with beet and pistachio pesto, and whipped ricotta dip with homemade bread.

If you wish to enjoy a salad, the choices are inventive. Add chicken, shrimp or salmon to make your salad a complete meal. Appealing is the Tuscan kale salad with toasted kale, butternut squash, pecans and ricotta salata and the quinoa and farro with avocado, cucumber, scallions and cherry tomatoes . Chopped salad and classic Caesar salads are offered, as well.

CopperPizzaThe wood fired pizza oven offers many choices. There is ‘shrooms with mixed mushrooms and truffled pecorino, the goat with black currants, honey, goat cheese and pistachios, homemade fennel sausage, as well as classic Margherita . Gluten free pizza crusted pies are available upon request.

We moved on to the pasta choices. To me, a classic Bolognese sauce is always a welcome treat. At Copper House paccheri pasta, those larger than rigatoni pastas were the perfect noodle to be enveloped by the pork and beef ragu. The long cooking of the sauce assured the rich flavor of this dish. Another popular pasta here is the spaghetti carbonara. Here, the al dente strands of pasta arrive tossed with pancetta, black pepper and pecorino cheese, just awaiting for the egg that sits atop the dish to be mixed with the spaghetti. The result is a creamy rich bowlful. I look forward to trying the garganelli with fennel sausage, peas, tomato and cream, and the ricotta gnocchi with crushed tomato, arugula and mozzarella. Gluten free pastas are available upon request.

The main courses include dishes for every taste. We loved the Copper short rib. The meat was so tender, CopperShortRibsthat a fork was the only utensil needed. It rested on a mound of soft polenta. The natural juices from the meat permeated the polenta in this lovely dish. I look forward to sampling the wood fired pork chop with vinegar peppers, seafood paella, lamb shank with toasted quinoa, mint and raisins, chicken pot pie and parmigiana crusted sole with arugula pesto.

For me, a meal must end with something sweet. The wood fired oven apple crisp was prepared with a variety of apples, both sweet and tart, and it arrived in a cast iron skillet topped with vanilla whipped cream. A miniature butterscotch baby was in a mini mason jar filled with butterscotch custard, salted caramel and whipped cream. They were a sweet ending to a very pleasant meal at Copper House.

Copper House offers on and off premises catering, as well. On Tuesday through Friday from 4-7 enjoy Copper Hour for drinks and comfort bites. Thursday evening is Ladies Night.

At Copper House, you can savor the creative, beautifully prepared dishes, and a capable professional staff in a warm and friendly atmosphere. Add their own private parking lot, and you have the ingredients for a very pleasant dining experience.

Copper House
11 Taylor Square
West Harrison
914 949 5810

purplecornshrimpAs I meandered along busy Mamaroneck Avenue in White Plains, the sign Purple Corn Rotisserie Joint caught my eye. It brought back memories of my many trips to Lima, Peru, where I enjoyed rotisserie chicken, ceviche and purple corn. I stepped inside the small shop and noted the stark simplicity of the décor. There are seats for about twenty diners at a banquette and at tables. The walls are tiled in white. The bare bones atmosphere allows you to concentrate on the authentic traditional dishes on the menu. It was Sunday at about noon and a line was forming outside for lunch. They also provide a busy take out and delivery service, if you prefer to dine in the comfort of your own home or office.

I had the pleasure of chatting with owner David Pineda Mayo. Purple Corn has been open for about a year. He said, “I worked in the dining room of a Peruvian restaurant in Portchester for 12 years. Since White Plains is a very busy area, it seemed like an ideal spot for our super casual restaurant or “joint “as we chose to call it. Our goals for the future include opening other spots. The best part of my job is relating to my customers and offering a pleasant environment for both my staff and guests.”

It was time to sample some Peruvian specialties. The wait staff were very helpful in describing the dishes. We started with the very popular ceviche. Ceviche in the Peruvian style can be ordered with fish, mixed seafood, shrimp or as a trio. We enjoyed the shrimp variety. The shrimp were marinated in freshly squeezed lime juice with red onion slivers, fresh cilantro and crunchy kernels of roasted corn. Sweet potato wedges completed its presentation as it always was in the restaurants of Peru. Parihuela is the famous Peruvian seafood soup. At Purple Corn, it is a meal in a bowl. A fish broth is seasoned with aji amorillo, (yellow Peruvian chili), chopped tomatoes, celery, leeks and an ocean full of seafood. Here, there were shrimp, cod fillets, squid and shellfish. This brightly colored bowlful had a whole soft shell crab clinging to the bowls rim. Fish noodle soup and chicken noodle soy soup are other possibilities. On future visits I plan to start my meal with mussels marinated in lime juice, as well as the classic potatoes in Peruvian cheese sauce with olives and hard boiled egg.

Three interesting salads are offered which can be topped with chicken or shrimp. The Purple Corn Salad includes baby spinach, carrots, peas, cilantro, queso fresca, avocado and boiled egg. The Solterito Salad has Peruvian corn, those very large kernels, spinach, avocado, edamame, tomatoes, roasted peppers, black olives and cilantro among its ingredients. I just loved the Andean Quinoa Salad with organic quinoa, baby spinach, avocado, roasted peppers, and shredded queso fresca. A fresh lemon dressing complimented these colorful ingredients which were layered on our plate making the dish pleasing to the eye as well as to the taste.

The Peruvian cuisine is greatly influenced by its Spanish as well as its indigenous Inca civilization who were worshippers of the sun, which explains the yellow color of many of the dishes because of the use of aji yellow chili. The Incas are responsible for the many varieties of corn, potatoes and healthy grains such as quinoa grown and utilized in their cuisine. There was also a large infusion of Chinese immigrants which explains the plentiful use of soy sauce.

We moved on to the varied entrees. Lomo saldato is a Peruvian classic. Here, the beef is sliced into strips and sautéed with onions, tomatoes and cilantro and flavored with soy sauce. Served with fragrant jasmine rice it is a tasty entrée with a Chinese influence. Chaufa is Peru’s version of fried rice. Its base is jasmine white rice. Roasted red peppers, scallions, egg, bean sprouts and soy sauce are all combined. At Purple Corn, you can enjoy it with added chicken, beef, shrimp, fish or mixed seafood. If you wish to indulge in something fried, try the chicharron des mariscos. This is a fried seafood platter with fish fillets, shrimp, squid and octopus. It was not at all oily and was delicious. A sliced onion salad accompanied it. Other entrees of arroz con mariscos, tallarin verde, spaghetti with Peruvian pesto, and tallarin saldato are offered.

I’ve saved the most popular dish for last. The pollo alla brasa which can be ordered as a whole, half or quarter chicken, is marinated for 48 hours with a fine combination of herbs, spices and wine. Then it is roasted on the kitchen’s special rotisserie which can accommodate 32 chickens. People come from far and wide to savor this Peruvian classic. It is tender within, full of flavor, and crisp and beautifully seasoned outside.

For dessert we sweetened our palate with crema valtreada, a Peruvian flan and some very delicious alfajores, the South American sandwich cookies filled with dulce de leche and sprinkled with powdered sugar. Chicha morada, a drink prepared with purple corn, cinnamon and cloves originated in The Andes and horchata a rice, cinnamon, vanilla and sugar beverage are pleasant accompaniments to your meal at Purple Corn.

Purple Corn is very popular with the take out crowd. They deliver or you can pick up your order.

Purple Corn Peruvian Rotisserie Joint
72 Mamaroneck Avenue
White Plains
914 339-0900

Recipe: Chicken Chaufa – Serves 4


2 cups jasmine rice, cooked
1 cup chicken breast, sliced and sautéed until tender
½ cup diced, roasted red pepper
½ cup bean sprouts
½ cup diced scallions
2 eggs, beaten
Soy sauce, to taste


Heat oil in large skillet. Add chicken and eggs and scramble together. Add peppers, scallions and sprouts and stir for a few minutes. Add cooked rice and soy sauce to taste. Stir so that the soy sauce is incorporated in the mixture. Serve.

GoosefeatherPorkBellyPhoto Credit: All Good NYCIt’s an unlikely combination: a restaurant featuring reimagined Cantonese food in a historic 19th century Georgian mansion on an old estate. But that eclectic mixture of past and present is what you’ll find at Goosefeather Restaurant at Tarrytown House in Tarrytown. Finding it might not be as easy as you would think – as once you enter the 26 acres estate off East Sunnyside Lane you are taken up a long winding drive, passing a conference center and hotel rooms before reaching the King Mansion at the top of the hill.

Built in 1840, the home changed hands many times. In 1900 it was purchased by Thomas M. King, Vice President of Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, and the house retains his name more than a century later. The main floor of the house has several dining rooms and a bar where Goosefeather is thriving. Upstairs the mansion operates as a hotel, with ten bedrooms available.

Downstairs the ceilings of the four dining rooms and bar have been painted a la Jean Miro, making for another juxtaposition in era and style.

The menu is the work of Chef Dale Talde who has run several successful restaurants, appeared as a popular cast member on Top Chef and authored his own cookbook, Asian American. With a big variety of small and large plates, vegetables, noodles, barbecue, fish and beef, there’s something for everyone, no matter what their food preferences or dietary restrictions. It’s a great place to sample and to share.

The menu is divided into seven categories: Salads, Vegetables, Dim Sum, Chinese Barbecue, Noodles and Rice and Large Plates. Our party of four was able to try quite a few selections, and we ended up cleaning the plates.
To start we ordered the grilled delicata squash, served with sesame leaf green goddess and Imperial style Chinese broccoli. Also tempting were the dry aged beef pot stickers with Chinese mustard horseradish. In fact every imaginative dish in the menu is topped with an even more flavorful sauce.

On the waiter’s recommendation we ordered the Char Sui Berkshire Pork Belly, with grilled scallions and Chinese mustard and we were glad we did. The pork was blackened on the outside, tender on the inside and well complemented by the spicy mustard.

Not to be missed was a large bowl of pork fried sticky rice topped with chicharrones, egg and Chinese bacon. There was plenty for everyone and the rice was flavorful and done right. Another hit was the Cantonese roast duck with scallions, caramelized hoisin, lettuce and drunken cranberries. Roll all this up in a lettuce leaf and enjoy.

goosefeathersquashWhat else? From the large plates we ordered steamed branzino with ginger olive scallion relish and Marcona almonds as well as wok-roasted scallops with snow peas and cashews. The fish was fresh and both seafood plates were tasty.

We should also note that our servers were friendly, helpful and efficient – and we were able to enjoy our meal at a leisurely pace in a spacious dining room that allowed for private conversations.

We booked on RESY and were cleared for a table using the NOTIFY feature that alerts users if a table becomes available at your desired time.


So if you need a diversion consider taking a short trip across the county to sample exotic cuisine in a novel setting at Goosefeather.

49 E Sunnyside Ln,
Tarrytown, NY 10591

Photo Credit: Matthew Mancuso

Scrabble1No one was at a loss for words at Scarsdale Cub Scouts Pack 440 Scrabble Tournament on Sunday February 9 at Hitchcock Church. The event was held to raise funds to support pack activities, which are for elementary school boys and girls and their families. While a new event for the pack, it managed to draw a crowd of 20 parent-child teams and seven players in the adult category.

Each adult-child team played two 40 minute games, as did each single player. Top scorers won prizes donated by several members of the community. These included Alamo Drafhouse, Bareburger, Bowlmor, California Pizza Kitchen, Learning Express (Scarsdale), The Puzzle Parlour, River One River School of Art + Design, Scarsdale Pizza Station, and Squire Day Camp. Friends of the pack also donated season tickets to the Rangers and Yankees. The wordy winners were:

Adult Singles
1st place - Jeff Kapner
2nd place - Kate Simpson
3rd place - Lynda Roca

Family Teams (Elementary)
1st place - Charlie & Brian Rosenthal
2nd place -Dylan & Carol Meiselman
3rd place - Michael & Rick Cecil

Family Teams (Middle School)
1st place - Emily & Melissa Attar
2nd place - Kay & Steve Fitzgerald
3rd place - Caitlin & Sharon Higgins


A word search contest was also held at the end. Winners were:

Elementary - Nicholas Cho

Middle - Kate Simpson
Adult - Sharon Higgins

Photos courtesy of J. DeDianous

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