The Bedford Post Inn’s Mighty Panini with Brie, Portobello Mushroom & Pesto

Bedford Post Inn's Brie, Portobello, Pesto PaniniLast weekend Reed and I stopped by the Bedford Post Inn for lunch while we were driving around Connecticut and the Hudson Valley looking for summer rentals in the area. This handsome boutique hotel about an hour northeast of New York City has glamourous connections.

One of the founders and owners of the Bedford Post Inn is Richard Gere.  Also its rumored that Martha Stewart lives nearby and occasionally rides her horse over to the Inn for brunch. Sadly, neither made an appearance while we were there last Sunday but the excellent food more than made up for the disappointment.

Lunch at the Bedford Post Inn

The Bedford Post Inn looks like it was restored by Hollywood royalty with the guidance of Connecticut’s most famous taste maker. Everything is just so. The yoga loft leads out to a quiet private garden. A pair of lawn chairs rest out on the grass just far enough away from the terrance for private reflection and the Inn’s eight rooms are elegantly appointed in understated neutrals.

Someday it would be lovely to stay there but this time we were visiting to try the Bedford Post Inn’s casual dining option, the Barn.

Ingredients for Portobello, pesto, and brie panini

While Reed was planning to order the Hammy-Cheesy-Eggy-Croissant, he was swayed when he asked our server what her favorite item on the menu was and without hesitation she said the Dutch Pancake. He’s a sucker for pancakes and it was a really good pancake. Light and fluffy in the extreme. Almost soufflé-like.

Brie de Meaux

Room temperature brie, a bad idea... see below

I, on the other hand, was ready for lunch. I went with the Brie, Portobello Mushrooms, and Pesto Panini because I thought it would be small and I wasn’t that hungry.

However the Bedford Post Inn does not follow in the Italian tradition of paninis (i.e. panini translates to a small sandwich). No. Their’s was a mighty panini. Each slice of bread was almost an inch thick. I thought I’d never finish it. But then I took a bite and it was as delicious as it was mighty. A lot of butter involved and I’m ashamed to say I ate the whole thing with very little help from Reed. Continue reading

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Chicken Tinga Quesadillas with Oaxaca Cheese

Chicken Quesadilla from Mexico City Before going to Mexico, I asked my friends who’d already been what they recommended doing there and almost everyone told me to try tacos from vendors in the markets.  Since I love to sampling local street treats while traveling, I was all over this. I find street food vendors inspiring because with only the most rudimentary kitchen set-up they dish up numerous, delicious, regional dishes. It gives me hope for my tiny ill-equipped kitchen.

Some people get nervous about street food and worry that Montezuma’s Revenge is lurking in each quesadilla and under every chip every but if you a few simple guidelines you’ll be safe.Quesadillas in Mexico City from Street Vendor

Look for the most popular vendors; the locals don’t want to get sick either and they know what to look for so follow their lead and as a bonus they’ll lead you to the best tasting food too.  Never eat any fresh, unpeeled fruits or vegetables. Be wary of ice in juices or smoothies; if the ice was made from tap water, and it probably was, you’ll regret it tomorrow.Ingredients for Chicken Tinga Quesadillas

We were walking through the Zocalo, when I found my taco trunk. This team was so popular there was a crowd three deep around them. After working our way to the front, we  ordered two of their most popular item and by ordered I mean pointed at said item on the griddle, smiled, nodding vigorously, and said “Dos por favor.”

They turned out to be chicken quesadillas, not tacos, and they were delicious: greasy, cheesy, and spicy.  The type of food, where once you bite into it, you know you should have asked for more napkins.

Chicken Tinga Steps 1 & 2Chicken Tinga Steps 3 & 4

Generally, I don’t like chicken quesadillas because they always come with sliced, grilled, chicken breast tucked into generic rubbery cheese. Its not even the cheese that gets me so much, because even bland cheese is still pretty good but the dried out, tasteless, strips of chicken don’t add anything to the over all quesadilla so why include them?

The chicken tinga quesadillas from Mexico, however, used shredded chicken, that had been cooked with tomatoes, chiles, and spices. It added tons of flavor to the quesadilla.  Mexican chicken tinga quesadillas have American chicken quesadillas beat hands down.   Continue reading

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