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Westchester County Freak Shakes

Freak shakes have been around for a couple of years now.  These epic shakes are topped with everything from cookies, candy and even whole slices of cake!!  NY Foodie Family recently took a foodie tour of Westchester to try four of these monstrous dessert mash-ups.

The cotton candy milkshake from Lazy Boy Saloon in White Plains.

Our first stop was Lazy Boy Saloon in White Plains.  They serve four different milkshakes including Cotton Candy, Chocolate Chip Cookie, Oreo and Fruity Pebbles.  We decided to go with the Cotton Candy, since it seemed the most interesting of the four.  This strawberry shake is topped with cotton candy and  a lollipop. The rim of the glass is covered in vanilla frosting and sprinkles. Each shake is $12.

Verdict:  Of the four shakes we tried, this one was the smallest.  We found the milkshake to be very liquidy and the sprinkles are pretty much for show only, as they were pretty well glued on with hard frosting.  The cotton candy was a tasty and fun touch.  I think this shake lacked the amount of “stuff” to really be considered a freak shake, but was priced like one.  According to the menu description, it seems a lollipop should have come with our shake, but did not.  This was our least favorite of the shakes we tried. We will visit Lazy Boy Saloon to try their wings and other tasty-sounding apps and take advantage of their extensive beer selection.  We’ll just go elsewhere for our shakes.

The Boozle freak shake from Sugar-Hi.

Our second stop was Sugar-Hi in Armonk.  Sugar-Hi identifies itself as a “destination boutique sweet shop.”  The shop offers hand crafted chocolates, custom cakes, baked goods with a twist and more.  Of course, we had to stop by to try one of their freak shakes.

The freak shake menu at Sugar-Hi in Armonk.

They offer four different shakes, priced at $14 each.  We went with “The Boozle” – a chocolate shake with a vanilla frosted rim covered in m&ms, topped with a Hershey’s chocolate bar, chocolate covered pretzel rod, an entire Chipwich ice cream sandwich, whipped cream and chocolate sauce.  We got to choose between chocolate soft serve or their “Death by Chocolate” scooped ice cream.  No contest. We, of course, went with the “Death by Chocolate.”  Go big or go home, right?!  When we visited Sugar-Hi on a Sunday afternoon, it was crowded with families stopping by for an ice cream treat after soccer games.  The small dining area for guests to enjoy their treats inside was packed so we opted to enjoy our shake outside.  It was a blazing hot day so we had to enjoy our treat quickly before it melted.

Verdict:  This shake was voted unanimously by our family as (spoiler alert!) the favorite of the day, which included our trip to Lazy Boy Saloon and the next entry below.  Crafted at a boutique sweet shop, it seems fitting that they’d have the best sweet treat. We will be making a return visit soon to check out their other shakes and baked goods!

The Oreo S’mores Mega Milkshake from the Mt. Kisco Diner.

Our last stop of the day was the Mt. Kisco Diner.  I was surprised to discover that a diner was serving Insta-famous shakes.  The Mt. Kisco Diner dubs themselves, “the Diner not a Diner.”  Don’t expect your typical menu here.  For someone who isn’t a fan of diners, I will be returning here with an appetite and my camera.  The Mt. Kisco Diner prides themselves on creating Instagrammable dishes (their Instagram account has a mere 34.8 thousand followers) in a, “stylish setting.”  However, despite the creative selection of dishes, you will still pay diner prices.  They have five Mega Milkshakes on their menu including the Oreo S’mores, Rainbow Cookie, Love Shake, Chocolate Chip Cookie and Cake Poppin.  We went with the Oreo S’Mores shake which is an Oreo shake, a chocolate frosted rim covered in crushed Oreos, topped with whipped cream, Toasted Marshmallows and an Oreo cookie.  The Mt. Kisco Diner’s mega shakes are competitively priced at $10.99 each.

Verdict: Too bad that the Mt. Kisco Diner was the last stop of our foodie tour.  By the third shake, even with four of us sharing, we were just about in a sugar coma.  We ordered some salty, cheesy appetizers to even things out. As an Oreo fan, this was a tasty shake.  The whipped cream layer was a bit too much, so we took the layer off and enjoyed the shake and the “stuff.”

The Peanut Butter & Chocolate Out of this World Shake from the Hudson Creamery.

Before I could publish this post, we had to make one more stop.  I only recently discovered that The Hudson Creamery in Peekskill started making freak shakes, known as “Out of This World Shakes” there.  They offer five different milkshakes including the Peanut Butter & Chocolate,  Cookie Monster, S’mores, Candy Candy and Salted Caramel Pretzel.  We opted to try the Peanut Butter Chocolate milkshake.  This is a chocolate and peanut butter shake with chocolate & peanut butter fudge ice cream, Reeses PB Cups, Reeses Pieces, PB Sauce, Chocolate Syrup, Funny Bones and Nutter Butters.  These shakes are priced at $13.50 each.

Verdict:  Delicious!  I am so happy that we made a stop here.  Out of all the shakes we tried, this was our favorite.  In terms of quality and value for the money, this shake also wins.  This had a generous and delicious shake filling the glass, topped with a waffle cone overloaded with indulgent chocolate ice cream.  Then it was completed with all of the fun extras.  While we were told this could feed two people, it was plenty for the four of us to share.  We will be back to try some of their other “Out of This World Shakes” as well as their seasonal sundaes!

Broomstick Sweetie’s:The Dawn of the Suburban Underground Supper Club

(Thank you Nicole for hosting NY Foodie Family.  As always, all opinions are our own.)

The e-mail arrives in your inbox 24 hours before the event and gives you an address and an arrival time.  Wine recommendations are included, since this is a BYOB meal. You have no idea what the menu will be or who else will be attending.  This, my friends, is the dawn of the underground supper club experience and it’s taking place right here in Westchester County.  While the concept of an underground food event is not new, it has finally arrived in the suburbs of New York City.

Nicole Brake is the mastermind behind Broomstick Sweetie’s.  She is a mom of two children (ages 9 and 15), works part-time as a nurse, and is a former ballerina who still enjoys taking dance classes.  What started as a side gig, selling baked goods and fudge at local farmer’s markets, has evolved into an underground supper club.  The goal of Nicole’s supper club is to get people from all over to come together to share a unique dining experience.

Each dining event has a theme where, “seasonally inspired comfort food and dessert with a global influence” is served.  Nicole creates a 4-5 course menu reflecting that evening’s theme.  You don’t know what dishes you will be served until you arrive.  Therefore, the only requisite of the supper club is to be an adventurous eater. It is important to note that these menus are not vegetarian or gluten-free.

Ideally, you attend the supper club either alone, or with one other person.  The goal is to meet and mingle with others where you: “enter as strangers, leave as friends.”  As a super-introvert, I was hesitant about attending.  However, the whole concept intrigued me too much to pass up.  So, this past weekend I attended an October Harvest Moon themed dinner.

When I arrived at the designated location, a platter of bread and homemade chimichurri sauce was set out on the porch, along with homemade sangria. Nicole’s husband Robert was also at the event, greeting guests and making sure everyone was comfortable.   This was a very relaxed setting to get to know the other dinner guests as they arrived.

Eventually, we were moved inside to a dining room. There’s no awkwardness of where to sit, as name cards are set out.  Plus, the maximum guest count is ten, to keep the gathering intimate and manageable.

The printed menu was reflective of Nicole’s goal of seasonal comfort food. As a self-taught cook, many of the dishes she serves are tried and true examples that she’s made for her family.

The first course of the evening was a pumpkin soup.  This was delicious.  It had all the flavors of fall, including pumpkin and apple, and was garnished with pomegranate and pumpkin seeds.  Nicole served generous servings of soup in giant bowls. I chose not finish, although I would have gladly licked the bowl clean, because I knew there were many more courses to go.

Next up was a spinach salad.  The spinach leaves were covered in a peppery vinaigrette and the salad was garnished with slices of pear and Parmesan.

The main course was a garlic infused chipotle pork tenderloin with scalloped potato gratin and butternut squash.  The pork was moist and flavorful, while the potatoes were soft and creamy.  The butternut squash was so tender and sweet that it could have been served for dessert.  Once again, I didn’t finish every last bite on the plate in order to leave room for dessert.  Some diners were smart and asked for their leftovers to be wrapped.  Definitely something to keep in mind for the future, and an added bonus is being treated to Robert’s aluminum foil art.

Since Broomstick Sweetie’s originated as a baking and dessert brand, I knew dessert would be delicious.  I was not disappointed and was glad I had left room for the Apple Bavarian Torte.  An iced broomstick sugar cookie was a bonus treat!

The kitchen of this house was adjacent to the dining room, so we could see Nicole plating dishes.  As I mentioned, these dinners are BYOB.  Several guests brought bottles of wine and invited the other diners to share.  Throughout the evening Robert was making sure glasses were full (of water, wine, or both!) and serving and clearing dishes.

Okay, so the food is delicious but what is the dining experience like?

 

If this introvert had a great evening, then there’s no doubt you will as well!  The ages of the other guests ranged from early twenties to late 50’s.  At the Harvest Dinner there were ten guests including a film maker, an administrative assistant, a kitchen designer, a litigation lawyer, and a financial adviser. Conversation flowed smoothly as we all had at least one thing in common: we like food.  While Nicole does not sit and dine with guests, she does encourage them to come talk to her while she’s cooking.  She even had a pianist playing live music during the evening.

Discussions ranged from favorite restaurants to most adventurous foods eaten.  One guest had eaten Rocky Mountain Oysters (go ahead, Google it), another frog’s legs and alligator.  One couple attended a dinner party where they dined in a swimming pool.  I learned that, in India, there’s no such thing as what we Americans call “curry.”  Curry is really just a blend of different spices.  I also learned that there’s a restaurant in NYC that sells only one dish: steak frites, and obviously does that one dish very well at a super-reasonable price.

I highly recommend attending one of Broomstick Sweetie’s underground supper club events.  Future event through the end of the year include a costume-wearing “Dishes to Die For,” Tastes of Southwest, Friendsgiving Feast, Italian Comfort, a Charles Dickens Dinner and an End of Year Soiree.  The website gives further details on the specific dates.  These dinners are very reasonably priced at $65 a person.

This supper club is great because you can attend alone without any stigma. The whole point is to meet new people and enjoy a great meal.  This is especially attractive to a busy working mom like myself.  Scheduling a date night or a girls night out can be difficult at times.  But if I want to enjoy a night off from cooking, this dinner is a great escape that I can do alone. At the end of the evening, Nicole gave us a parting gift of homemade pumpkin fudge.

It was an enjoyable evening.  I arrived home and told my husband that he needs to attend a future supper club.  While we may end up going again together, I feel like it’s a different experience going solo.  Broomstick Sweetie’s underground supper club is truly a unique dining experience.  Please check out the Broomstick Sweetie’s website to learn more about the supper club as well as to reserve a space at a future dinner.

Westchester County Bucket List

As a long-time resident of Westchester County, I am still amazed at all there is to see and do here.  I’ve created this Westchester County Bucket List as a means for my family to get out and experience all that Westchester has to offer!  We haven’t experienced everything on this list, but we plan to!  Please let me know if there’s anything missing from this list that you think families in Westchester County should experience!  Listed in no particular order:

1. Visit Untermyer Gardens.

2. Walk part of the Westchester RiverWalk.

3. Ride the Dragon Coaster at Playland.

4. Build with Legos at the LegoLand Discovery Center.

5. See a Westchester Knicks game at the Westchester County Center and get a picture with Hudson.

6.  Indoor skydive at iFLY at Ridgehill in Yonkers.

7. Climb the rock wall at The Cliffs in Valhalla.

We enjoyed apple picking at Wilkens Farm. It was a hot day but we picked apples and enjoyed cider dougnuts!

8.  Go apple picking!  Westchester County offers several options including Wilkens Fruit & Fir Farm, Outhouse Orchards, Harvest Moon Farm & Orchard and Stuart’s Farm.

9. Visit the animals at Muscoot Farm.

10.  Get an ice cream from King Kone, the Hudson Creamery,  The Blue Pig, Longford’s and Penny Lick Ice Cream.

11.  Visit the Great Jack O’Lantern Blaze.

12. Cool off in one of Westchester’s pools or splash pads (Harbor Island Park – Mamaroneck, Wilson’s Wave Pool – Mt. Vernon, Tibbett’s Brook Park – Yonkers, Saxon Woods Park – White Plains, Pierson Park – Tarrytown)

13. Enjoy a picnic out in one of the many county or state parks.

14. Bike on the Bronx River on Bicycle Sundays.

15. Attend Teatown’s EagleFest.

16. Go on a food tour (in your town or any of the other towns in Westchester).

17.  Support local!  Visit one or several of Westchester’s farmer’s markets.

18. See a show at the Paramount Theater Hudson Valley.

19. Visit the PepsiCo sculpture gardens.

20.  Try a new restaurant during Hudson Valley Restaurant Week.

21.  Enjoy a meal from one of the many food truck’s including Walter’s, Dough Nation and The Souvlaki Truck.

22. Visit the Westchester Children’s Museum.

23. Tour Kykuit:  The Rockefeller Estate.

24.  Walk across the Croton Dam at Croton Gorge Park.

25. Take a tour of Stone Barns.

26.  See a show at the Westchester Broadway Theater.

27. Visit the Hudson River Museum and see a show in the planetarium.

28. Enjoy Sheep-to-Shawl or Djembes and Dance (or both) at Philipsburg Manor.

29. Visit the wolves at the Wolf Conservation Center.

30. Go to the beach – Glenn Island, Playland Beach, Island Harbor Beach, Oakland Beach, Hudson Park East and West and Croton Point Park Beach.

31.  See a movie at the Jacob Burns Center, the iPic theater and the Alamo Drafthouse.

32. Try to Escape from an Escape Room.

33. Visit Teatown Lake Reservation.

34. Climb the ropes course at Boundless Adventure and Spins Hudson.

35. Attend the Clearwater Festival at Croton Point Park.

36. Walk the Croton Aqueduct.

37. Enjoy a Freak Shake from Sugar Hi, Mt, Kisco Diner, Lazy Boy Saloon or the Hudson Creamery.

38. Visit the Neuberger Museum of Art.

39. Attend one of the many heritage festivals held at the Kensico Dam.

40.Visit the Hammond Museum’s Japanese Stroll Garden.

41.  Ice Skate and enjoy Winter Wonderland at the Kensico Dam.

42. Check out the crafts at the Lyndhurst Craft Festival and the Armonk Outdoor Art Show.

43. Listen to some jazz at the White Plains Jazz Festival.

44.  Attend a food festival – Westchester Magazine’s Wine and Food Festival, Lohud’s Food Truck Festival, Westchester Magazine’s Wingfest and more!

GoSu: An Asian Fusion Dining Experience

(Thank you to GoSu and Lifestyle Westchester for hosting NY Foodie Family.  As always, all opinions are our own.)

I was recently invited to a menu tasting at Asian fusion restaurant, GoSu.  This Irvington eatery opened in February 2017 and is located a short distance from the Irvington train station.  It’s a perfect place to dine with friends visiting from NYC, or for a quick dinner on the way home from work.

While the owner, Tony Kim, is Korean his menu is a mixture of both Korean and Japanese cuisines.  His Korean cooking skills were learned from his mom and grandmother but his first restaurant job was in a sushi restaurant.  He combined his two experiences and created GoSu.

 

Taken literally, the name of the restaurant translates to: card shark or cocky person.  Tony chose GoSu, from the Korean words GoGi (meats) and GookSu (noodles) to mean Meats and Noodles. When envisioning a traditional Korean restaurant, BBQ that is cooked right at the table often comes to mind.  However, GoSu was created with an emphasis on family-friendly dining.  No table-top grills are found here.  Likewise, you won’t be served banchan (the collection of small side dishes served with traditional Koran cuisine).  Instead, GoSu serves lots of delicious comfort food with plenty of kid-friendly options.

GoSu features so many tasty appetizers on their menu.  From left to right, I tasted the Agedashi Tofu (fried soft tofu in tempura sauce), Bulgogi Tacos (marinated sliced ribeye with house pico and cheese), Chicken Katsu (panko breaded chicken breast with Japanese BBQ sauce & chipotle mayo), Shrimp Shumai (with ginger soy vinaigrette) and Ika Yaki (broiled whole marinated squid with teriyaki glaze).  The chicken katsu and shrimp shumai are two of the most popular appetizers and will likely be enjoyed by most children.  I usually prefer firm tofu, but enjoyed the soft tofu in the tempura sauce.  Other appetizers on the menu that sound delicious include: Tatsutage (bite-sized Japanese fried chicken), Spicy Pork Buns and Loaded Fries (bulgogi, cheese and jalapeno on a bed of waffle fries).  These will definitely have to be tried on my next visit!

While you can make a meal out of appetizers, I strongly recommend you leave room for the “Meats & Noodles.”  My favorite meat dish was the Spicy Pork Sizzle Bop.  This Korean style marinated sliced pork was slightly sweet but had a nice spicy kick.  While some of my table mates found this dish to be a bit too spicy, if you like a little heat, I highly recommend this!  There are several other Sizzle Bop entrees including Galbi (marinated short rib), Bulgogi (soy marinated sliced rib eye), Beef Teriyaki, Beef Negimaki (asparagus & scallion wrapped with thinly sliced rib eye in teriyaki sauce), Chicken Teriyaki and Salmon Teriyaki.  I sampled the Salmon Teriyaki Sizzle Bop, which was a crowd favorite the night that I dined.  All Sizzle Bops are served with white or brown rice and vegetables, as well as a choice of miso soup or a side salad.

My favorite noodle dish of the evening was the Curry Udon.  This dish has bulgogi in a mild, Japanese curry broth.  This curry isn’t spicy like many Indian or Thai curries.  It has barely any heat but is packed with flavor.  It’s literally a bowl of pure comfort food.  When the cold weather comes, you will want to eat bowlfuls of this udon!  This dish was also a favorite of my fellow foodies.

Although GoSu prides itself on its “Meats & Noodles,” it accommodates those with dietary restrictions.  Several dishes on the menu can be made gluten-free and there are plenty of vegetarian options. The restaurant has several vegetarian main dishes including Tofu Steak (seared, sliced organic soft tofu w/a ginger teriyaki sauce), pictured above, Yaki Udon (sauteed udon noodles with cabbage and onion in a house special sauce) and pictured below, Spicy Soba (cold soba noodles on a bed of mixed veggies with House gochujang sauce).  Gochujang is a red pepper paste, and yes, is a bit on the spicy side.  Again, I like a bit of spice and think this dish is perfect for summer.

There is a children’s menu for kids 8 and under with favorites like Chicken Teriyaki, Bulgogi and Tatsutage.  Kids will likely enjoy ramune, a Japanese “marble soda.”  Nicknamed so, because of the Codd-neck bottle, GoSu sells several varieties of this fun drink.

The adults may prefer to enjoy some soju.  Soju is a very popular Korean spirit.  Similar to vodka, it’s a mild tasting alcohol.  But don’t be deceived, a little goes a long way.  Many bottles of soju have 20-40% alcohol!  This was my first time trying soju and even better, it was pineapple flavored!  Since I was driving, I only had a couple of sips, but I found it to be smooth with a slightly sweet taste.

For dessert we had NY-Style Cheesecake Tempura with green tea powder. This was a pleasant surprise, since most Asian restaurants I’ve been to don’t offer much more than ice cream for dessert. The tempura gave this treat a nice crunch while inside the cheesecake was nice and creamy.

As seen, the restaurant is furnished in mostly black and white.  A variety of live plants decorate the space and red spoons add a little pop of color.  Tony put a lot of thought into his restaurant decor, including benches that lift up so you can store your jacket and purse.  Plus, the bathroom has one of the coolest sinks I’ve seen as well as jars of toothpicks and mints.

Tony does a great job of combining Korean and Japanese flavors in his dishes and he is currently revising the menu for the fall/winter.  GoSu is definitely a restaurant in Westchester County worth checking out!

The Details:

GoSu (Asian Fusion Restaurant)
5o South Buckhout Street (entrance is on Astor Street)
Irvington, NY 10533
(914) 479-5898

Hours: Monday – Saturday 12 PM – 9:30 PM, closed Sundays

Parking:  Across the street and along Buckhout Street

Price:  $$ (most main dishes priced between $12 – $19)

Fondue Fun at The Melting Pot

I can’t believe that I haven’t written a review of The Melting Pot until now.  This restaurant has become a family favorite and is frequented annually for one, or sometimes even both, of our kids’ birthdays.  The restaurant is a chain, with locations throughout the United States.  While my husband and I aren’t huge fans of chain restaurants, we both enjoy the The Melting Pot as much as the kids do.

For those unfamiliar with The Melting Pot, it is a fondue restaurant.  Dining here is a fun, interactive experience for the entire family.  One of the best parts of The Melting Pot is that you can customize your menu.  If you only want to do appetizers and dessert, you can.  For our family of four, we usually order two 4-course experiences and share between the four of us.  They do have a children’s menu, but we have found that there is enough food for all of us, sharing the two adult entrees.  The kids do love the special kid cocktails they offer.  Be warned, they are very sweet!  We usually water them down.

The 4-course experience begins with your choice of cheese fondue.  Our go-to choice (and a signature item) is the Wisconsin Cheddar.  This fondue includes Aged Cheddar, Emmenthaler, Sam Adams Boston Lager, garlic and spices.  You get a board loaded with veggies, different types of bread (including our favorite, pretzel bread) and apples.

The second course is a choice of three different salads.  The kids usually share a Caesar salad and my husband and I share this California salad.  It’s super tasty with mixed greens topped with candied pecans, Gorgonzola and house-made raspberry vinaigrette.

The third course includes a choice of three different entrees.  I believe that different locations of the restaurant may offer different entree options.  We always opt for “The Classic” which includes Certified Angus Beef Sirloin, shrimp and Herb-Crusted chicken breast.

For our second entree our go-to is “The Pacific Rim” which includes dumplings,  duck, shrimp and Teriyaki marinated sirloin.

With the entrees you also get a bowl of veggies that includes potatoes, broccoli and mushroom caps. The fun of this restaurant is getting to cook the food yourself!  Every person gets two colored cooking forks.  The colors are different so it’s easy to keep track of whose fork is whose.  Your server will tell you cooking times, but it’s approximately one to two minutes for seafood and additional cooking time for other other proteins.

And we can’t forget about the sauces!  There are six different sauces that you can dip your cooked foodinto including a Green Goddess sauce (my fave), cocktail sauce, Gorgonzola sauce and a curry sauce.

The restaurant thinks of everything.  The plates have special compartments for you to scoop your sauce into.  As you can see, you will be eating your main entree in stages.  Since you only have two cooking utensils, you will be continuously cooking and eating the main entree.  You will also get a “Search and Rescue” slotted spoon, because inevitably, some food will fall off your cooking fork!

Of course, the kids’ favorite part of the meal is dessert! Since we most recently celebrated my son’s birthday, we let him choose the chocolate fondue, since there’s only one per table.  This time, he chose the Flaming Turtle which includes milk chocolate, caramel and and candied pecans.  There’s a splash of rum which is added and set on fire, thus the “flaming” part of the turtle.

When you arrive at the restaurant, they ask if you are celebrating a special occasion.  We mentioned to the hostess and our waiter that it was our son’s 10th birthday.  When our waiter brought us our dessert, he also brought this fun, colorful plate.

The Melting Pot is a fun restaurant that is great for celebrating special occasions, a date night or just a dinner out with friends.  When you dine here, you will have a memorable, interactive experience.

The Details:
(Please note that The Melting Pot has locations throughout the United States.  Check the website to see if there’s a location near you.)

The Melting Pot White Plains
30 Mamaroneck Avenue
White Plains, NY 10601
(914) 993-6358

Hours: Monday – Thursday 5 PM -10 PM Friday 5 PM -11 PM, Saturday 12 PM – 11 PM, Sunday 12 PM – 9 PM

Parking:  Street Parking

Price:  $$$ (Four-Course dinner for two plus cocktails approximately $100+)

 

Fun in the Trees at Boundless Adventures

(Thank you to Boundless Adventures for hosting NY Foodie Family.  As always, all opinions are our own.)

I’m always on the lookout for fun, new experiences for our family.  When I heard that Boundless Adventures recently opened in Purchase, this sounded like something we would enjoy. My kids, especially my daughter, love to try new things and are pretty adventurous.  Boundless Adventures was a perfect family day out!

So, what exactly is Boundless Adventures?

Boundless Adventures is a treetop adventure park.  It consists of 4 different types of courses that are all developed to  “test your boundaries.”  Local owners Brian and Lorrie Funtleyder’s mission is, “to empower and inspire people to challenge themselves both mentally and physically.  With challenge comes greater self-confidence and achievement.”

What should I expect when I visit Boundless Adventures?

When you arrive on the Purchase College campus, follow the signs to Boundless Adventures.  You will arrive at the parking lot and registration building.  Although reservations are not required, they are recommended.  The park can get busy and a reservation ensures that you have a harness ready for your arrival.  At the registration building you will check-in and sign waivers, if you haven’t already done so prior to your arrival.  I didn’t realize that you can pre-sign your waiver online.  All climbers also get a wrist band.  Since there are age requirements for the different courses, they write the age of each child on their wrist band.  There are bathrooms at the registration area, which I recommend using before you head to the courses as you’ll be harnessed for up to 3 1/2 hours.  They also sell snacks, beverages, and branded apparel here.  Once your wrist band is on, you’re ready to head to the course.

The park is located across the street from the parking lot.  When you arrive, you will first get harnessed up with the assistance of a staff member and get a pair of protective gloves to wear.  The harness is full-body with a special carabiner safety system.

You will then stop at the Briefing Station for a 15-20 minute tutorial on how to use the safety system. Then you use the Practice Lines to ensure you can use the system properly.  I highly recommend paying close attention to the briefing session.  We found that the two-carabiner system with the tweezle safety measure does have a bit of a learning curve.  Your instructor will also teach you how to properly use the zip line attachment and how to slow it down, if needed.  Although you may be anxious to get out on the course and climb, this is the time to ask all your questions and make sure that you can properly use a tweezle to unlock your carabiner.

Once you have completed your briefing session you are ready to climb.  You are given 3 hours, starting at the end of your briefing session, to enjoy the courses.  Although there are plenty of staff on the ground to assist you, you complete the courses on your own.  There are 9 courses in four levels of difficulty: 3 Exploration courses (Beginner-Yellow), 3 Motivation Courses (Intermediate-Green),  2 Strength Courses (Advanced-Blue) and 1 Conqueror Course (Expert-Black).  Each course is made up of multiple elements including bridges, beams and zip lines.  Only one person is allowed to be on an element at a time, while up to three people can stand on the waiting platforms between elements.  All courses begin at the main starting platform but end up in various places throughout the park.  You must follow walking trails back to the beginning to start a new course.

My husband and kids started out on a yellow course while I took some photos. The yellow courses are 10 feet above the ground and feature low-speed zip lines and easier bridges.  I have to admit I was a bit hesitant to try the courses.  I’m not afraid of heights, but psychologically, standing so many feet above the ground, trying to transverse moving logs is a bit scary.

My son and I completed all three yellow courses together and then moved on to complete two of the green courses.  The green courses are 15 feet above the ground and include longer zip lines and more challenging, rolling elements.

My daughter, the adventure-seeker, quickly moved from yellow to green to the blue courses with my husband.  These are 22-26 feet above the ground and really test your strength with harder elements.  My husband noted that she wasn’t afraid of any of the elements and was even excited to do the ending “leap of faith.”  Yes, on one of the blue courses, you need to literally  jump off a platform (while you are attached to a safety belay system) to get to the ground .

My son quickly learned how to properly use his zip line attachment (make sure both carabiners are resting in notches of the zip line attachment) after getting stuck in the middle of the first zip line.  What happens if you get stuck?  Well, you can either use your muscles and monkey pull yourself backwards to the platform like my son did.  Or, staff members can come assist you, like this girl I saw who needed rescuing.

What was the experience like? 

Our family had such a great time at Boundless Adventures.  Before my husband and daughter went off on their own, I saw the kids working together, helping each other with their carabiners.  I also found such a camaraderie among guests.  When a woman was having trouble with her carabiner, my daughter jumped right in to assist her.  When I was having difficulty with one of the elements, another guest stepped in to help.  And, of course, the staff members also came to the rescue, like when I got stuck on the zipline!

It was a great bonding experience as well for us.  My husband and daughter went off together and my son and I teamed up.  He enjoyed not being rushed by his sister.  I loved that, when I was having a bit of difficulty, my 10-year-old would yell words of encouragement.  Leaving the park, we were all commenting on how accomplished we felt and how proud we were of ourselves for completing the various courses.

Enjoy an adventurous day of family fun at Boundless Adventures! 

The Details:
Boundless Adventures
735 Anderson Hill Road
Purchase, NY 10577
(914) 893-4550

Hours:  Dates and times vary by season.  Check the website for the most up-to-date information.

Parking: Free parking in lot E2.

Admission: Adults (ages 12+)/$59, Youth (7-11)/$54  (Ticket includes 30 minute orientation and 3 hours of climbing)

Tips:

*You must wear close-toed shoes on the course.  I recommend wearing comfortable clothing as you will be climbing and crawling.

*The courses are strenuous and will tire you out!  There are water dispensers and a supply of paper drinking cones in the park but you may want to bring your own water.

*Picnic tables are scattered throughout the park for family members who are not climbing and want to watch.  You can also bring snacks and food into the park and enjoy them at these tables.

*If you have a 10-11 year-old child who is adventurous and will likely want to try the blue courses, make sure you have an adult with them that is climbing.  Children this age cannot climb the blue courses without an adult with them.  Similarly, children ages 12-13 who may want to try the black course needs an adult as well.

Newest Additions to Savor Westchester: The Little Beet And Melt Shop

 

(Thank you to The Little Beet for hosting NY Foodie Family.  As always, all opinions are our own.)

Two new eateries, Melt Shop and The Little Beet recently opened at Savor Westchester, the food hall type dining experience at The Westchester in White Plains.

Melt Shop is one of the newest eateries at Savor Westchester.

Melt Shop is all about comfort food.  We’re talking grilled sandwiches (with, of course, lots of melty cheese!), tater tots, and milkshakes.  Sandwiches are reasonably priced, ranging from $5.05 to $8.96.

The Signature Fried Chicken sandwich from the Melt Shop.

One of our favorite Melt Shop sandwiches is the Signature Fried Chicken.  A generously-sized piece of fried chicken is topped with pepper jack, red cabbage slaw, and Melt sauce.  A warning: This sandwich is messy, but so good!  Have plenty of napkins on hand.

We also tried the French Onion Beef.  Roast beef, frenched onions, Muenster cheese, arugula, and sherry vinaigrette are piled on Country White Bread.   This was a tasty sandwich as well, though the fried chicken was definitely preferred.

The loaded tots from Melt Shop at the Westchester in White Plains.

Melt Shop doesn’t serve fries, they have tater tots.  You could choose tots topped with just cheese sauce.  However, we opted for the loaded tots which are covered in cheese sauce, bacon, jalapeno and herbed parmesan.

Another new addition to Savor Westchester is The Little Beet.  This eatery has a strong plant-based focus, featuring lots of veggies. They have dining choices for special dietary preferences including gluten-free, vegetarian, dairy-free and more.

This is a quick-service create-your-own bowl restaurant.  You choose a base of either field greens, brown rice and spirulina (FYI -spirulina is a superfood algae), or a gluten-free ancient grain blend.  Then choose two veggies for your bowl.  They offer cool choices, like the cukes and tomatoes (which happens to be a fave of the staff at the Savor Westchester location), seaweed slaw and pea and radishes.  Warm veggies include chipotle kale, charred sweet potato and more. If you don’t want one of the bases, you can opt for a third veggie instead.  Step two is picking a protein.  Salmon is one of the best-selling options, since no other eatery at Savor Westchester offers a salmon dish.  Other options include chicken, tofu, beet falafel, sesame avocado, and braised pork.  Step three is to choose a sauce; Chimichurri, beet hummus dip and sweet chili garlic sauce are a few of the choices.  Finally, you can pick a garnish of either super seeds, turmeric almonds, pickled ginger or hibiscus pickled onion.  The combinations and options are nearly limitless!  Prices are based on the type of protein chosen but range in price from $11.40 for sesame avocado to $14.00 for salmon.  You can also just have the veggies and base only for $8.95.

One bowl we opted for was brown rice and spirulina topped with charred broccoli, cukes and tomatoes and braised pork.  We chose to top it with avocado bean dip and sweet chili garlic sauce.  This combo was definitely one of our favorites!

A beet falafel bowl from The Little Beet at Savor Westchester in White Plains.

On this bowl we opted for a third veggie instead of a base.  We chose charred sweet potatoes, golden cauliflower and shaved brussels sprouts topped with turmeric tahini, roasted red pepper and walnut dip and pickled onions.

We also tried the Chef Made Yuzu Poke Bowl.  We opted for a rice base which is then topped with salmon poke, grilled avocado, cucumber, sea vegetables, pickled ginger and sesame seeds.

I am not kidding when I tell you everything was delicious.  The kids loved it all as well and my husband noted that you don’t even need the meat.  The veggies and sauces are so flavorful.  If we could eat this every day, we could totally become vegetarians!

So the next time you are at Savor Westchester, make sure to stop by either Melt Shop or The Little Beet for some tasty eats!  Click the link to read more about some of the other dining options at Savor Westchester.

Westchester Weekend {May 5 & 6}

Every weekend there’s always a ton of events going on in Westchester County and the surrounding area.  Unfortunately, there are too many events to write about and I’m lucky if our family can attend even one event.  However, I’m hoping to showcase some highlight events that you may want to try to attend.  Here’s a quick look at some of the family fun and food events taking place in Westchester County and the surrounding area this weekend.

As always, please check with the website/venue for the most up-to-date information. 

Saturday, May 5:

I Love My Park Day 
Organized by Parks & Trails NY in a partnership with the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, this statewide celebration has volunteers helping to clean up and beautify state parks, public lands and historic sites throughout New York.

Pre-register for specific locations through the website.

K104’s 7th Annual Cupcake Festival
Main Street
Beacon, NY 12508

Enjoy sampling cupcakes (for a cost) from local bakeries throughout the Hudson Valley.  There are also family activities and local vendors selling goods.

1 PM – 5 PM

Free Admission
Rain Date –  Sunday, May 6

May 5 & 6:
Hudson Valley Wine and Chocolate Festival 
Patterson Recreation Center
65 Front Street
Patterson, NY 12563
(845) 878-7200

**This event is for adults only, 21+.  This year’s festival has a Kentucky Derby theme! Sip wine, spirits and cider, sample chocolates

11 AM – 4 PM

Tickets:  $30
Designated Driver Ticket:  $10

Valley Con
Jefferson Valley Mall
Hill Blvd.
Jefferson, Valley, NY

The first Valley Con will include video game tournaments, meet and greet and panel discussions with celebrity guests, free movie screenings and more.

Saturday: 12 PM – 9 PM
Sunday:  11 AM – 6 PM

Free

Westchester Weekend {April 28 & 29}

Every weekend there’s always a ton of events going on in Westchester County and the surrounding area.  Unfortunately, there are too many events to write about and I’m lucky if our family can attend even one event.  However, I’m hoping to showcase some highlight events that you may want to try to attend.  Here’s a quick look at some of the family fun and food events taking place in Westchester County and the surrounding area this weekend.

As always, please check with the website/venue for the most up-to-date information. 

Saturday, April 28:

Hudson Valley Mac and Cheese Fest
Brotherhood Winery
100 Brotherhood Plaza Drive
Washingtonville, NY 10992

Enjoy sampling over 15 different mac and cheese creations.  All tickets include a self-guided tour of the winery. Soft drinks, wine and beer are available for purchase.

1 PM – 5 PM

General Admission: $30
VIP Big Cheese Ticket (admission at 12 PM): $50
4 PK General Admission Early Bird Special:  $99
Kids 12 and under:  FREE

Sunday, April 29:

White Plains Cherry Blossom Festival
Turnure Park
26 Lake Street
White Plains, NY

Experience Japanese culture while celebrating the cherry blossoms.  Performances throughout the day include dance, taiko drumming, kendo, singing, traditional dance and more.  Food is available for purchase.

11:30 AM – 5 PM

Free Admission

April 28 & 29:
Hudson Valley KidVenture
Mid-Hudson Civic Center
14 Civic Center Plaza
Poughkeepsie, NY 12601

This is a two-day event that allows children of all ages to explore, discover and have fun.  There are performances, demonstrations, hands-on activities, Touch A Truck and more.

11 AM – 4 PM

Tickets:
$8 in advance
$10 at door
Weekend Pass:  $12 in advance
Children under 3 are FREE

Westchester Weekend {April 21 & 22}

Every weekend there’s always a ton of events going on in Westchester County and the surrounding area.  Unfortunately, there are too many events to write about and I’m lucky if our family can attend even one event.  However, I’m hoping to showcase some highlight events that you may want to try to attend.  Here’s a quick look at some of the family fun and food events taking place in Westchester County and the surrounding area this weekend.

April 21:

The Barley House’s 1st Annual Crawfish Boil
The Barley House
665 Commerce Street
Hawthorne, NY 10594
(914) 495-3333

2-5 PM rain or shine
$35/pp all you can eat

April 22:

A Cup of the Valley Coffee and Tea Festival
Culinary Institute of America – Marriott Pavilion
1946 Campus Drive
Hyde Park, NY 12538

11 AM – 5 PM
$17/pp in advance, $20/pp day of event

Sample a variety of coffees and teas from

Earth Day Celebration
Greenburgh Nature Center
99 Dromore Rd.
Scarsdale, NY 10583
(914) 723-3470

12 PM – 4 PM
Free

Celebrate Earth Day at the Greenburgh Nature Center with volunteer projects and workshops that will help make a difference and teach you about caring for the Earth.  A grounding yoga class will take place at 10:30 AM.

NY Metro Reptile Show
Westchester County Center
198 Central Avenue
White Plains, NY 10606

9 AM – 4 PM
Adults – $10
Kids (7 – 12) – $5
Kids (under 7) – free

This is the Northeast’s largest reptile expo.  There will be thousands of live reptiles, amphibians and arachnids on display and for sale.

April 21 & 22:

Historic Hudson Valley’s Sheep-to-Shawl Festival
Philipsburg Manor
381 N. Broadway
Sleepy Hollow, NY 10591

10 AM – 5 PM
Online tickets – Free for members, $16/adults, $12/seniors, $8/children 3-17  Onsite tickets – Free for members, $18/adults, $14/seniors, $10/children 3-17.

Celebrate spring and learn about the process of turning wool into cloth, 18th-century style!  Read our review of this fun family event!

Hudson Valley Comic Con
Gold’s Gym and Exhibition Center
258 Titusville Rd.
Poughkeepsie, NY 12603

Saturday:  10 AM – 7 PM
Sunday: 10 AM – 6 PM
Free Parking

2-Day Adult Pass: $35
2-Day Child Pass (ages 5-12): $20
Saturday Adult Pass: $25
Saturday Child Pass: $15
Sunday Adult Pass: $20
Sunday Child Pass: $10

The 3rd annual Hudson Valley Comic Con is taking place at Gold’s Gym and Exhibition Center in Poughkeepsie.  Meet comic book artists, play video games in the Gamer’s Lounge, enjoy stories and crafts in the Kids Zone, enjoy live shows and panels.  There’s also a costume contest.