Guest Columns

Menu Movers & Shakers: More Summer Bites and Pieces

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Oysters on the half-shell at Ernesto’s, White Plains.
Oysters on the half-shell at Ernesto’s, White Plains.

By Morris Gut – I have been stepping into some very flavorful situations all summer long and I would like to share more of them with you.

Shuck Those Oysters

There is an oyster trend going on all over greater Westchester as oyster aficionados can’t seem to consume enough of them and more eateries are featuring the slippery delicacies than ever. Here’s where I have been indulging.

Ernesto’s, 130 W. Post Road, White Plains (914-421-1414), is featuring a weekday ‘Buck a Shuck’ deal Tuesday through Thursday until they run out. The Virginia oysters I tried at the bar were fresh and delicious, served with cocktail sauce and horseradish. Bread and butter are optional.

Kee Oyster House, 128 E. Post Road, White Plains (914-437-8535), has a daily raw bar chocked with oysters from all over the region. They are most popular during their daily happy hours when they are priced at $1 per piece, some varieties in the $2 range. The blackboard lists the daily catch. And they are pristine, served with house made cocktail sauce, ground wasabi root and Champagne sauce.

Artie’s Steak & Seafood, 394 City Island Ave., City Island (718-885-9885), lists Blue Point oysters on their daily blackboard and they are terrific served with all the accouterments. Priced at $11 for 6, $19 for a dozen. Wash it all down with one of the house specialty cocktails.

Saltaire Oyster Bar and Fish House, 55 Abendroth Ave., Port Chester (914-939-2425) has a Wine & Brine weekday Happy Hour from 4 to 6 p.m. featuring Buck A Shuck $1 oysters (chef’s choice), along with a discounted selection of wines and beers. Oyster shooters, too. Bar room only.

A Great Fresh/Local Tomato Salad

One of my favorite treats this time of the year are fresh tomatoes. Once they start harvesting I just crave them. Nick DiCostanzo, proprietor of Mamma Francesca Italian Restaurant in New Rochelle (914-636-1229), has a major green thumb. He grows his own and offers them at the peak of freshness in his delicious refreshing tomato salads right into the fall. His Ischia Salad, named after the island where he grew up off the Coast of Naples, is simple and very flavorful with its tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, olives, onions and fresh basil. Combine it with Mamma’s fresh pizza bread, a glass of wine and a seat out on his enclosed deck facing L.I. Sound and you’re in summer heaven.

La Bocca to Hold Ferragosto Feast Aug. 14

Chef/proprietor Tony Spiritoso of La Bocca Ristorante, 8 Church Street, White Plains, will hold his annual Ferragosto Feast on Sunday, August 14 from 3:30 to 10 p.m. A major holiday in Italy, Ferragosto will feature a variety of traditional specialties: appetizers, pastas, main courses, wine and beer. Also, live music by accordionist Emilio and guitarist Nat Carbo. A charge of $85 per person is all-inclusive. The regular menu of regional Italian favorites will also be served. For information call: 914-948-3281.

Food-Themed Stamps

The United States Postal Service has published a new series of ‘Forever’ stamps highlighting iconic foods we love. The 49 cent stamps are now on sale at your local post office and online. One set is called: ‘Soda Fountain Favorites’ depicting ice cream sodas, banana splits, egg creams, two scoop ice cream cones and hot fudge sundaes. The other series is called: ‘Summer Harvest’ highlighting some of our favorite fruits and vegetables. They are fun and colorful. I have been using them on my correspondence hoping they will bring a smile to someone. Yes, I still use the mail. For further info:

Buying Local at Area Farmers Markets

Going ‘local’ when shopping for your food pantry is an ever-popular movement today. Searching out locally grown or prepared artisanal products from the surrounding area: ‘farm-to-table’ is another term often applied. To meet this demand farmers markets have sprung up all over the Bronx and Westchester making it easier for buyers to meet the grower or artisanal purveyor up close. Depending on the market, they offer a bounty of foods and demonstrations from cheeses to pies and baked goods, pickles to organic meats and wines. Its great fun for the whole family and most of the outdoor markets will run thru the fall.

White Plains Farmers Market takes place every Wednesday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Court St. between Martine and Main St. It will run through Nov. 23. Took a run through with Chef Tony Spiritoso of La Bocca, White Plains recently. Was tempted by the Walter’s Hot Dog Truck on another day.

We should mention one of my favorite markets takes place in Katonah at the historic John Jay Homestead every Saturday from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. It is a crafty one nestled in the Westchester countryside. Over 30 vendors. Live music. Picnic grounds. It will run thru Oct. 29.

The Greenmarket at the New York Botanical Garden in the Bronx is open Wednesdays from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and will run every Wednesday through Oct. 26. For the latest on what’s fresh at the market call: 718-362-9561. Admission and parking are free. Enter the market at the Mosholu Gate.

The Riverdale Y Sunday Market is open from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at 660 W. 237th Street, Bronx. Phone: 718-548-8200. .

Morris Gut is a restaurant marketing consultant and former restaurant trade magazine editor.

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