Empty Bowls

Empty Bowls

For those looking for a charitable and enjoyable evening out, it is without reservation that I recommend that you attend the Empty Bowl’s Dinner on Friday, April 19, 2013. The benefit dinner, which will be held at the Rondout Valley High School in Accord, NY from 5:00 pm-7:30  pm, helps raise money to provide food for families in need throughout the Hudson Valley.

Unfortunately, I will not be able to attend this year but from having participated in the past, I can truly say it is a unique and wonderful community event. The fun begins immediately when you arrive at the event and get to choose a ceramic bowl (made by professional artists and Rondout Valley High School students and staff members) to use throughout the night and then take home after. There will be approximately 800 ceramic bowls to choose from! Each ceramic bowl costs $15.00 and there is also an option to  purchase a disposable paper bowl  for $5.00 for those who want to help but do not want to take a bowl home. Approximately 25-30 vendors will be stationed throughout the cafeteria with soups and ice creams for you to fill your bowls up with and try. The participating vendors include local restaurants, delis, florists, a water company, Stewart’s Shop, and a local cheese shop. Their generous donations help make Empty Bowls an amazing event!

This year also happens to be the 10th Anniversary of Empty Bowls. The event was started back in 2003 by Marnie Hart, a Rondout Valley High School art teacher, and one of the school’s students who chose raising money for a local food pantry as her senior W.I.S.E project. During its first year, Empty Bowls initially started as an ice cream social event but expanded during the following year and continued to have both soup and ice cream in the years to follow. In 2006, Fern Sarnoff, who took over teaching ceramics, and her son, Sam Stewart, who attended the school at the time, continued on with the event.

Empty Bowls has proven to be a wonderful and charitable community event. In past years, they have managed to raise over ten thousand dollars. The proceeds from this event get divided between four local food pantries, which is a tremendous help to these pantries and the people they serve. According to Empty Bowls organizer, Fern Sarnoff, “For various reasons, food pantries region-wide are under more stress than usual. It has been difficult for some of them even to keep their doors open, let alone stock the shelves.”

I hope many of you readers will get a chance to experience this event. It is truly a great community experience that benefits a wonderful cause!

For more information, please visit the Empty Bowls website:


or their Facebook page:


or contact the Empty Bowls team via email:


A special thank you goes to Fern Sarnoff and Alex Stewart-Protoss for providing information about the event!


Ready…Set…Go Eat!

  March 11-24 is Hudson Valley Restaurant Week, where restaurants in the area offer special pre-fixe menus to highlight some of their tasty dishes at a great price. For $20.95 per person for lunch or $29.95 per person for dinner, this is a great time for diners to indulge and enjoy a delicious appetizer, a main course, and a dessert. Curious about a restaurant you have never tried? This is one of the best times to go! The Hudson Valley Restaurant Week website, www.hudsonvalleyrestaurantweek.com, has a list of all of the participating restaurants and also includes a link to most of the restaurant’s menus. If you notice that one of the restaurant’s does not have a menu on the Restaurant Week site, check out the restaurant’s homepage for more information.

You can make reservations for many of the restaurants through Open Table, www.opentable.com. This is a great site to use because it allows you to acquire points, which eventually turn into savings at restaurants. For a list of all of the Hudson Valley Restaurant participants that use Open Table, visit here:http://www.opentable.com/promo.aspx?m=8&ref=7420&pid=417.

Half Moon Restaurant

Last night, my fiance, Matt, and I went to one of the participating restaurants, Half Moon (www.halfmoonhudson.com). The restaurant is beautiful and spacious and sits right on the Hudson River in Dobbs Ferry, NY. The large windows capture stunning views of both the Manhattan skyline as well as the Tappan Zee Bridge. You feel like you are in a boat as you dine and watch the water ripple right outside your window. The dim lighting also contributes to the chic yet cozy ambiance of the restaurant. In addition to the lovely decorum, the staff service as well as the food were both excellent. We both ordered food off of the Restaurant Week Menu, http://www.halfmoonhudson.com/restaurantweekdinner.html,  however, you still do have the option to order from the regular menu.

The bread that they put on the table is fresh out of the oven and served with a side of fresh grated cheese to top it.

Half Moon bread

This is certainly a delicious start to a great meal. We also really enjoyed the appetizers, entrees, and desserts…everything was wonderful! Here are a few pictures of what we had. I apologize for the low quality images…I didn’t want to distract others with a camera flash. However, you can get an idea of what their food looks like and see that the portions are a great size and the presentation is lovely!

Half Moon Food

From top left to bottom right: Roast Tomato Bisque; Guajillo Rub 1/2 Boneless Chicken with carrots, smashed potatoes, and natural jus; Skirt Steak Chimichuri with fingerling potatoes & roasted leeks; Coconut Risotto Pudding with caramelized pineapple; NY Cheese cake with fresh berry compote

(not pictured but still enjoyed by Matt: pastrami spring toll with spicy pineapple slaw, Russian dressing, and spicy mustard)

I hope all of my readers in and around the area take advantage of Hudson Valley Restaurant Week. I would love to hear your recommendations and experiences at other places!


Reminiscing and the Rosendale Cafe


Photo Courtesy of http://www.therosendalecafe.com

             I am out of town this week so I haven’t had the chance to check out any new places in the Hudson Valley area. However, while away I had the chance to meet up with an old friend, Jessica, from NY and I got inspired while talking and reminiscing with her. As we sat over lunch at a Chipotle in West Palm Beach, Florida, we discussed the differences between the surrounding area and the Hudson Valley. One of the things that came up was the distinct difference in food choices. As much as I love sunny Florida, it is filled with a lot of chain restaurants and lacks some of the quaint eateries that the Hudson Valley is filled with. One in particular we discussed was the Rosendale Café, which was just minutes from SUNY Ulster, where we both attended college. Located on beautiful Main Street in Rosendale, NY, this vegetarian restaurant can be enjoyed by anyone. I vividly remember the last time I went in there, I was overcome by a feeling of warmth and comfort. It was a winter evening, the cafe was crowded, but not overwhelming, a live band was playing and everyone looked cozy and content as they chatted with friends and enjoyed their food.  It reminded me of why I love upstate NY so much.

        The menu at the cafe contains an array of savory dishes, and almost everything can be enhanced with some of their homemade Japanese dressing, which you can also purchase by the bottle. It makes a great asset to your kitchen as well as a great gift for someone else if you are looking for an easy and unique gift for someone in the area. (A great way to give the dressing is to purchase a gift certificate to the café along with a bottle of dressing, place the gift card in an envelope, punch two holes in the envelope, loop string through the holes, and tie the envelope around the bottle of dressing, place it in a gift bag and voila!)

        After you dine at the Rosendale Café, take a stroll down Main Street and enjoy the eclectic shops, art galleries, and the unique Rosendale Theatre.

Find out more about the café here:


See what awesome dishes they have to offer:


*In addition to what is listed on the menu, they also offer nightly specials

Learn more about their homemade Japanese Salad Dressing:



Take a look at what other patrons have to say about The Rosendale Café:

“I like their healthy food and I think it’s a good variety for vegetarians and even for non-vegetarians. People who aren’t vegetarians can still enjoy the food because it’s good quality and fresh. I also like the atmosphere there…It’s a place where you can sit down even for hours after you eat and just relax and talk with whomever you’re with. I like how they support local artists and have their art featured on the walls. It’s an overall relaxing and calm atmosphere. They also have live music and salsa dancing which I’ve attended and enjoyed especially for being a beginner.”


“[I like] the calm scene, the music, the food…the reuben is unreal”.


“The food is great and they usually can accommodate food allergies… …the décor is eclectic and [has] cool art on the walls…yummy food for vegetarians vegans… they have live music some nights. When it’s nice out, you can sit outside”.


“I’d have to say I absolutely love the one of a kind dressing, and overall vibe of the whole place. Nice and cozy, great place to relax and enjoy your food without a rush. And you don’t leave feeling full of greasy food, you feel satisfied and it’s good for you!”


“What I like the most is their involvement in the community. They always host art shows & have art work of local artists displayed on their walls”.


“I love the Rosendale Cafe. The vibrant sounds from local artists, the colorful food & excellent vegan menu. You would never know it was healthy, it tastes that good!”

-Jessi R.

As always, comments and suggestions are encouraged. Thank you!


Happy Valentine’s Day from theeleganthudson!


Happy Valentine’s Day everyone! Here are some links to some Hudson Valley Events…Know of any more? Please share below on the “Comments Section”. Thank you!

xoxo, Jessi

Romantic Restaurants:



Valentine’s Day Events for Singles:


Additional Events:




Check out this really awesome, detailed Valentine’s Day guide from

Hudson Valley Magazine!



Wallkill Valley Rail Trail

Rail Trail-Image from www.gorailtrail.org

(Above photo of the Rail Trail courtesy of http://www.gorailtrail.org)

With the recent unpleasant winter weather, it has been difficult to explore any new areas in the Hudson Valley so instead I will think warm thoughts and talk about enjoying the Wallkill Valley Rail Trail on a sunny, warm day. Formerly an old railroad track, The Wallkill Valley Rail Trail is now a 12.2 mile trail located in Ulster County, NY that goes from Gardiner to the end of New Paltz.  It is one of those places that no matter how many times you visit, you always find yourself discovering something new. The trail has many parking lots and can be easily accessed from several convenient locations. It is enjoyed by bikers, walkers, sightseers, and nature lovers to name a few. If you are looking for an activity on a hot summer day, the trail is shaded beneath a blanket of trees providing a cooler option for enjoying the outdoors. Below are images from one of my hikes along the trail in the New Paltz section of it.

turtles 1

One of my favorite discoveries on the trail; this group of turtles relax along the moss and water.


The ducks enjoying the stream alongside the trail add to the serene rail trail experience.

bird 3

Birdwatchers can enjoy the many beautiful birds that frequent the area.

birds  nes

The beautiful blue sky peaks behind the trees where one of the birds has built a home.


Whether you gaze up or down while hiking, there is always something interesting to be seen. Here, an over-sized mushroom is growing alongside the trail.

For more information about the Wallkill Valley Rail Trail, check out the maps below, as well as the site where the maps came from: http://www.gorailtrail.org.

Map 2


Lyndhurst Castle


In addition to the beauty of the castle itself , the grounds of the Lyndhurst Castle, located along the Hudson River in Tarrytown, NY are equally as magnificent.


The remains of the greenhouse allow for the radiant blue sky to peer through.


One of the many stunning views of the Hudson River from the rolling hills of the Lyndhurst grounds.


A lone bench sits beneath the comfort of the welcoming trees.


Explore the grounds of the property through the winding trail that allows views of both the castle and the Hudson River.


One of the greatest discoveries on the grounds, this adorable furry friend…thinking about visiting Lyndhurst? Gopher it! 😉

For more information about Lyndhurst, visit their official site: http://lyndhurst.org.


welcome to theeleganthudson blog. here you will find photographs and descriptions of many of the beautiful places in the hudson valley region of ny. please let me know if you have any suggestions of a place in the region to showcase on the blog. your feedback is greatly appreciated!