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Warm Hearts, Cold Hands and A Hudson, N.Y., Valentine’s Day

Valentine's Day

It’s that cold outside these days that I can barely stir myself to go get coffee at The White Hart, minutes from my house in Salisbury, Conn., wrapped in fleece and topped with a Carhart beanie.

So Hudson, N.Y., doesn’t seem very inviting to me right now. Somehow the cold wind seems to really dagger through me as I walk down the main drag — and that’s how I feel there in summer.

But the Hudson Jazz Festival is extremely tempting, and seems to be one of the main festivities in the region planned specifically with a nod to Valentine’s Day.

The two-weekend long festival mixes music, cinema, spoken word  and a really enticing menu from Kat Dunn’s Buttercup pop-up restaurant in Hudson. The arts events will be in the historic Hudson Opera House, curated by Cat Henry, formerly of Jazz at Lincoln Center. And yes, it is funny that everyone has cat names.

The jazz festival is Feb. 10 to 13 and 17 to 20 and is being called “Lift Every Voice,” in honor of the Black national anthem.

The eight-day festival “conveys a message of hope and revival and celebrates the artistry of Black jazz musicians and their innovation of the genre,” according to the festival website.

Some of the performances are already sold out; you’re encouraged to call 518-822-1438 for more information; you can also go online to https://hudsonhall.org/.

It seems to me that many of the highlights of this coming weekend are sports-related. There is ski jumping in Salisbury from Feb. 11 to 13, a curling introductory class at the Norfolk Curling Club in Norfolk, Conn., on Saturday, Feb. 12, the Super Bowl on Sunday, Feb. 13, and of course the ongoing excitement of the Winter Olympics in Beijing.

The Hudson Jazz Festival seems to be one of the only events that has the classic romantic combo of Dinner and a Show.

And the dinners sound very enticing, especially after two years of not dining out (or barely).

Kat Dunn opened her Buttercup catering company right at the start of the pandemic and (fortunately for her) did not commit to opening a full-scale restaurant before everything shut down. She’s been doing small, fun pop-ups with  hot dogs, lobster rolls, crab cakes.

For the Hudson Jazz Festival, Dunn and Buttercup are the food concession. You order your food and sexy cocktails ahead of time. There is not a lot of information online about how and when you pick up your meal but you can call  518-945-8224 or email buttercuphudson@gmail.com if you’d like to find out more.

But, oh, what a menu! So enticing. I’m not a big cocktail person but I love the idea of the Sexy Funk Velvet Jazz cocktail, and A Love Song cocktail with two of my favorite ingredients: persimmon and lemon.

For actual dining, you can order crab cakes, shrimp cocktail, salmon rillette, which is kind of a French hash (served with creme fraiche, herbed butter and crostini). You can get a black bean chili or a grass-fed beef chili — or you can order the entrée that is now inhabiting my imagination: A super creamy and luscious seafood stew with cod, shrimp, crab, leeks and “exotic mushrooms.” On top of the stew is a small garden patch worth of microgreens, and of course some lovely old-fashioned chowdah crackers.

There’s more, on the menu and on the roster of performers:  https://hudsonhall.org/.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

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