There’s a cornucopia of culinary bargains to be found in the Valley, and we’re here to help you track them down
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Earth Foods’ own organic-flour pizza
523 Warren St., Hudson
The Deal: Shepherd’s pie
Although this casual breakfast and lunch spot is “safe for vegans,” as co-owner Duffy Sanchez puts it, it’s not just a crunchy-granola temple where carnivores feel like pariahs. The eclectic fare — much of it organic, and all made from scratch, including the bread — includes Cuban and Greek salads, enormous egg burritos, wraps, pizza (with organic dough), couscous, chili, chicken dishes, and hearty soups. “The Bombay vegetable soup for $4.50 is a meal in itself,” Sanchez declares. “And the squash soup is divine.” Sandwiches and wraps run around $6 to $8. The shepherd’s pie, for $10.95, became such a popular cold-weather dish, it’s now on the menu year-round.
Sanchez and her husband, Salvador, opened the restaurant in 1997, and it’s been a pit stop for hordes of antiquers, Hudson locals, and weekenders ever since, as well as a haven for those with dietary concerns.
Salvador, who grew up in the Canary Islands, learned the restaurant business in England, and cooked aboard Cunard liners, which helps explain the international influences. “What I’m good for is testing recipes at home,” adds Duffy, who tried many of them out on their five kids. The couple lives in Austerlitz, on a mini farm (“chickens, ducks, dogs, tractors”) that provides eggs and some of the produce for the cafe.
The mood is easygoing in the storefront space, which has just 11 tables, a small bar, a deli section, and an open kitchen in back, “where everyone can see what’s going on, and hear me fighting with my husband,” Sanchez jokes. Works by local artists add color to the rustic room.
Earth Foods owner Duffy Sanchez (left) with a plate of shepherd's pie, widely touted as “the best”
There’s no liquor license, but Sanchez is enthusiastic about the organic juices. “One, with apple, beet, lemon and ginger, is so good for you, we think it’s keeping people from getting swine flu,” she declares. “And if you need an additional quota of antioxidants, there’s the blueberry-strawberry juice.”
And that shepherd’s pie? “It’s touted as the best,” she replies. “It’s made with lamb, corn, peas, carrots, onions, celery, garlic, tomatoes, and spices, with mashed potatoes and cheddar cheese melted on top.” It’s a big portion that could satisfy two, especially if each had a salad to start, she adds. “And I probably shouldn’t say this, but the salads are large enough to share, as well. A real bargain.”
» Next stop: Bell’s Café-Bistro, Catskill