Where and How to Celebrate the Holidays, Part II

By Morris Gut

Here are more suggestions for your holiday pleasure, dining in, out or at home. Follow COVID-19 protocols and stay safe.

One of the vans from the fleet of Ace Endico to Go, the six-day-a-week delivery service Ace Endico Marketplace launched shortly after the start of the pandemic.

Ace Endico to Go

The Ace Endico story began years ago out of a small grocery in the Bronx. Today, after nearly four decades under the guidance of co-founders William Endico and Murray Hertzberg, the company has grown into a major wholesale food supplier and distributor to the food service industry in the tristate area. Now they also offer home delivery to Westchester and Putnam.

Ace Endico Marketplace accepts retail customers at its state-of-the-art headquarters in Brewster, just off I-84, and their smaller outlet on West Lincoln Avenue in Mount Vernon. After the onset of the COVID-19 crisis, Ace Endico to Go was launched with a small fleet of new vans for home delivery. They sell a wide line of products: meats, produce, dry goods, dairy, fish, poultry, cheeses, canned goods, imported items and beverages.

During the holidays, free home delivery is available with a $100 minimum order. Deliveries are made Monday through Saturday. Their daily flyer is posted on the website and is customer friendly.

We took a drive north to Ace Endico’s 200,000-square-foot main warehouse and market on the outskirts of Brewster for some alternative shopping. I had to see this for myself. It turned out to be a fruitful road trip.

The retail marketplace is on the side of the facility and offers plenty of parking. We got a rolling cart, and once inside, started combing the aisles. It was well-stocked with assorted merchandise – fruit and produce, meats and fish, frozen foods, paper goods, gourmet items and kitchen supplies. Many items were packaged in large quantities for wholesale buyers. There were plenty of goods also sold in smaller quantities. You could pick your own apples or potatoes, for example.

The best part was that most prices were very reasonable compared to mainstream markets. On a follow-up trip, we bought fresh mussels and halibut from their fish counter, which made for delicious meals. In each case, by the time we got to check out, we had filled our cart with more than we had anticipated, which was fine. Some spur-of-the-moment buys had found their way into our order.

Ace Endico is located at 80 International Blvd. in Brewster. Info: 914-347-3131 or 1-845-230-9886. Ace Endico in Mount Vernon is located at 188 W. Lincoln Ave. Info: 914-699-5592 or visit www.aceendicotogo.com.

The delicious oysters at KEE Oyster House in White Plains.

Pristine Seafood at KEE Oyster House

Here is a treat you may want to take advantage of this holiday season. Kenan, Ekren and Elvi, owners of KEE Oyster House on Court Street at the corner of Route 22 in White Plains, continue to serve a delightful seafood-rich menu. I watched not long ago as staff helped shell a tempting lobster prior to serving. A pristine selection of oysters is served every day with all the trimmings.

I recently enjoyed a loaded lobster roll with a side of Old Bay chips at lunch. Their version of fried calamari teases my palate while a taste of their pan-seared scallops with seafood risotto and brown butter sends me into foodie heaven. There are dramatic hot or cold seafood towers, too.

For you carnivores out there, a hefty 16-ounce dry-rubbed prime sirloin is on the menu. There’s also good beer and wine.

KEE Oyster House is located at 126 E. Post Rd. in White Plains. Open Monday through Saturday. Info: 914-437-8535 or visit www.keeoysterhouse.com.

Italian Latin Fusion

Mother and daughter Miguelina Martinez and Gabriella Suriel opened Gabriella’s Italian Fusion at the former Ernesto’s space on West Post Road. The enhanced kitchen has been serving a hearty mix of classic Italian and colorful Latin fusion specialties.

An order of the plump wings with fries at Gabriella’s Italian Fusion, which combines Italian and Latin cuisine.

I recently indulged in their plump chicken wings and fries. There’s a Cuban sandwich on Italian bread, which includes mustard, pork, ham, Swiss cheese, pickle and mojo, and burgers served on a brioche bun. Pastas include fresh salmon farfalle (sliced smoked salmon, dill and alfredo sauce) and lobster ravioli, which includes parmesan, butter and sage sauce.

Gabriella’s big, hearty 24-ounce Tomahawk steak, prepared with portobello mushrooms, truffle oil sauce and yucca fries, comes with a complementary bottle of house-selected wine. A Spanish-style Paella Valenciana for two is served with rice mixed with seafood and meat. Traditional Puerto Rican Mofongo combinations served with mashed plantains come with choice of Frutti di Mare, skirt steak, shrimp, pork skin, chicken or cheese.

Gabriella’s Italian Fusion is located at 130 W. Post Rd. in White Plains. Open seven days a week. Cocktail bar and lounge. Happy hour from 4 to 7 p.m. Sunday brunch. Take-out and delivery. Info: 914-358-4416 or visit www.gabriellasitalianfusion.us.

Antipasti Platters at La Bocca

Tony Spiritoso has nearly 40 years as a chef and restaurateur under his belt in Westchester. A meal at La Bocca Ristorante usually begins at his signature antipasto bar loaded daily with tempting cured imported meats, cheeses and appetizing house-made salads. Spiritoso has brought his vintage bright red slicing machines wherever he’s been, and they sit ready to roll on the antipasto counter. Some consider La Bocca the most authentic Italian kitchen in the area.

The wine selection is among the best in the county. The dining room is filled with artistic columns and serving pieces. There is a new wine room for private events. Spiritoso and his veteran staff will take good care of you.

The antipasti platter at La Bocca Ristorante.

La Bocca Ristorante is located at 8 Church St. in White Plains. Open seven days. Info: 914-948-3281 or visit www.laboccaristorante.com.

Irish Cheer at Dunne’s Pub

Dunne’s is a neighborhood treasure, an authentic Irish tavern with all the traditional Gaelic accoutrements intact. New owner Declan Farrell, who also operates Vintage on Main Street in White Plains, has upgraded the premises but has taken great effort not to get caught up in the modernist mode. It is a friendly, homey place with a good kitchen dishing out generous servings of traditional Irish-style fare at prices that will leave some money in your wallet.

Farrell and his staff know how to pour that pint of Guinness while keeping the crowd in spirited conversation. Among the kitchen favorites are the corned beef Reuben sandwich; Plain Jane Burger served on a Kaiser roll; beer battered fish and chips; grilled Irish bangers; and cheddar cheese meatloaf served with Irish beans and mashed potatoes. Their sizzling steak is a tasty eye-catcher. Oktoberfest is celebrated the first Thursday of every month all year.

Dunne’s Pub is located at 15 Shapham Place in White Plains. Open seven days for lunch and dinner. There’s also a Sunday brunch. Municipal parking available. Info: 914-421-1451 or visit www.dunnespubandrestaurant.net.

Morris Gut is a restaurant marketing consultant and former restaurant trade magazine editor. He has been tracking and writing about the food and dining scene in greater Westchester for 30 years. He may be reached at 914-235-6591 or at gutreactions@optonline.net.

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