Have you ever felt a yearning when you first wake up in the morning? May not be able to identify what it is exactly and we go through the day trying different things to satisfy or quiet that hunger. That’s what happened while I was upstate with my sister’s family in Accord, NY, for the holidays. I looked for caffeine as the first option in the rented farm-house. Found nothing in the well-stocked kitchen. Then I went for a walk with my sister, nephew and my daughter. A nice long walk coupled with an intimate conversation produced enough endorphins to keep me satiated and temporarily assuage the yearning.
However, not until we got to Lydia’s Country Kitchen and Cafe in Stone Ridge, NY for brunch, did I realize what my body really wanted. The entire family mobbed the coffee and hot chocolate counter at Lydia’s. The three generations lined up in front of the counter with zeal, grabbing plastic cups to fill in various brown liquids. Ha! All addicted to caffeine, the world’s most widely used psychoactive drug.
I never put whipped cream in my coffee. This was the first time. Honestly, I don’t think the coffee was anything special but because of my mental state, I believed it was the best thing on earth at that moment in time. Completely serene although it was short-lived. Perhaps this is how first time is for everything.
Veggie Burger – on a hard roll with lettuce, tomato & onions. Does not look interesting. The plating lacked imagination. The food at Lydia’s is very main stream American – a composition of burgers, meat, and sandwiches. Our group ordered a lot of fried food as you will see below.
Lasagna – homemade meatless lasagna served with green salad & french bread. Did not try this dish but the French bread looked pale. And fundamentally I don’t understand meatless lasagna. I feel it takes away the flavor and the original point of a lasagna. A good lasagna should use a slow-cooked Bolognese sauce made with fresh tomatoes and 93% lean organic ground beef.
Fish & Chips – halibut batter dipped & deep fried served with sweet potato fries & cole slaw. The highlight of this dish is the sweet potato fries. There wasn’t any complaint from the eater. Nevertheless, the fried fish was repeatedly rejected by my one-and-a-half year old nephew. He is a picky eater and clearly knew what he was doing.
Fried Fish Sandwich – halibut batter dipped & deep fried with lettuce, tomato & tartar sauce on a hard roll. This is a variation of the fish and chip.
All American Grilled Cheese with mozzarella cheese. Now I can tell you that this was completely mediocre. In fairness to Lydia’s, it’s difficult to make a grilled cheese outstanding if the ingredients are so common place. The grilled cheese was well executed and average.
Chicken in a Basket – half chicken, honey dip batter, deep fried served with cole slaw & a pickle. The highlight here is the curly fries. In fact, curly fries were the second highlight of the meal right after the caffeinated drinks. The fries were crunchy, crispy, fatty, and salted like all good fries should be. The curls made it fun for the one-and-a-half-year old.
Texas Style Smoked Brisket Sandwich – this was mine. The meat was dry and the taste of the smoke had not gone into the brisket, placed within the two buns which were proportionally too big. Dry meat on dry buns does not make a good sandwich. It was not satisfying and instead I focused on my curly fries and the conversation.
French Toast – My nephew loved this dish. He dug in with enthusiasm and cried out when his parents wanted him to slow down. Did not try it and cannot comment on the taste.
Beignet – This was a surprise. The chef came out and gave us complimentary dessert. The beignets were warm and sweet. And fried. I was not a fan. It was a little greasy and the texture was only slightly better than that of Dunkin Donut’s munchkins. The powder sugar on top of the grease only served to cover up the oiliness. This was too much fried food for my system. But the beignets made some other people very happy. We even took the rest home.
For upstate New York, among farm houses and live stocks, Lydia’s delivered enough of the metropolitan flare for those of us who cannot bear leaving the civilization. Stick to simple things, like curly fries and coffee, then you will be fine. Enjoy the temporary serenity food brings.
This experience took place at
Lydia’s Country Kitchen and Cafe
7 Old US Highway 209
Stone Ridge, NY 12484, USA
ph: (845) 687-6373 (NERD)
fax: (845) 687-6372