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Recreation

A Winter Visit to Rhinebeck

Expeditions

It’s been 35 years since Donna and I last prowled Rhinebeck, the historic village in Dutchess County.      

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A Wild Place in Our Midst

Country Life

Should you want to see a red panda scooting about its open air shelter in a thicket of bamboo, or maybe a white-naped crane bossing a bunch of ducks around, check out www.millbrook.org/trevorzoolive, any time, day or night. Well, not exactly any time of day or night. Red pandas (also known, ignominiously, I’d say, as the lesser panda) are crepuscular creatures, zoo director Alan Tousignant tells me.They are liveliest at the edges of the day, early or late. 

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Norfolk Farmers Market: Fresh Food, Year-round

The Norfolk Farmers indoor winter market continues  Feb. 20, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on the second floor of Town Hall, 19 Maple Ave.
Vendors will be selling  local meats, cheeses, micro greens and mushrooms along with an assortment of jams, jellies, pickles, eggs, baked goods and olive oil. The products vary from week to week, so go to www.norfolkfarmersmarket.org and the market Facebook page for what’s available and to see pre-ordering options and bad-weather cancellations.

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A New Chef Comes to Town

Food

John Welch, the Interlaken Inn’s new executive chef, is a big, affable fellow who got his start in a restaurant kitchen at age 16, washing dishes in York Beach, Maine. The town was “desolate” in winter, Welch says. But in summer it was jammed with tourists, there for the surf, the lobster, the oysters and the fries. 

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What Makes Champagne Champagne?

Wine

When I was 15, my grandmother, a forceful and eccentric woman who loved travel, took me to Paris, and in the soft evening of our first day, she walked me across La Place Vendôme and into the Ritz. She ordered us each a Champagne cocktail with the little lump of sugar dabbed in Angostura bitters driving a flurry of bubbles to the surface. 
This was a heady moment. Paris. The Ritz. Hemingway. Champagne. Adventure. A universe away from East 91st Street.

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Busy With Holiday Stuff? Make Soup

Food

No one goes to a museum restaurant expecting a great lunch. Generally, the food is so-so. OK if you are starving. But at the Wadsworth Atheneum in Hartford, Leon Graham and I stopped in to the little cafe there on our way to a new exhibit, and I had a wonderful soup I had forgotten about: Thai chicken noodle. 

The museum’s version was fabulous. Silky, lime-spiked, a little hot, a little salty with slivers of chicken and wonderful, glassy noodles.

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A Final Word (This Year) On Thanksgiving

Food

Ah Turkey Tetrazzini, the great American dish following the great American holiday: a simple recipe for using up a lot of leftover bird after Thanksgiving: Just add white sauce, mushrooms, spaghetti, maybe a splash of white wine or sherry and bake with grated Parmesan on top. 

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The Whitney and Frank Stella

Excursions

never liked the old Whitney Museum. I could appreciate the daring and daunting strength of Marcel Breuer's design, but it always seemed inhospitable, protecting rather than cherishing the trove of great American art inside. So when the museum abandoned its several rejected plans to expand around the Madison Avenue location and turned its face south, we could hope for the best. And we got it.

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It’s Not Your Mother’s Cranberry Sauce Anymore

Food

Cranberry sauce. Every family has its own, from that solid jellied cranberry sauce circled with ridges from the can (my children’s absolute favorite), to the canned sauce with whole berries, and then many variations of cranberries with orange, with nuts, with cognac, with raisins. But the oddest and most famous must be Mama Stamberg’s cranberry relish, which National Public Radio reporter Susan Stamberg repeats for listeners year after year. Any day now we will get it again, I expect.

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Watching a Chef Make Your Dinner

Food

It’s a party, a  dinner party: Nice hosts, lots of food, plenty of cider and wine.

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