Culturesplosion.

The Village TeaRoom + Formosa: Gems of almost-upstate New York

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Sometimes, the noise and craziness of NYC gets to be too much and a short getaway becomes necessary. When this happens, DH and I take a train ride on Metro-North and head up to the leafy glory of Dutchess and Ulster counties. When we get there, what else do we do but eat?

First stop upon arrival, FORMOSA CUISINE (map!) for some fab Taiwanese food.

Don't let the clip art deter you. There's good food here.

Located across the road from Marist College in Poughkeepsie, this restaurant has a pretty unassuming exterior, but there’s quality where it counts. Inside, the Asian-styled wooden decor, complete with ceramic pagoda tiles above the bubble tea bar area, is clean and cozy.

Try everything.

They have an extensive menu, but for the uninitiated, I highly recommend sampling the “Taiwanese Deli” selections on the first page, which has a number of popular Taiwanese staples. Here’s a rundown of my favorites:

Popcorn chicken with crispy basil!

Omelet with scallion pancake

Homemade Taiwanese style sausage

Steamed small minced pork buns (aka soupy dumplings!)

Oyster omelet (a gooey treat for the adventurous!)

I also really like a couple of traditional dishes from the main menu:

Taiwanese beef stew noodle soup

Taiwanese style mei fun. Sooo delicious.

And finally, we can’t forget the sweeties:

Strawberry, mango, and ice cream over shaved ice. This was an insane dessert, enough for 4 people.

ICE CREAM bubble tea. Maybe I just don't get out enough, but I've never seen this selection even in NYC. And there are duckies on the cup! Bonus points!

The prices are incredibly reasonable so you can try lots of different things, and it’s perfect for those who want good food on a budget. I can see why the place is popular with the college kids, but it’s a terrific spot for anyone.

Not content to stick to the east side of the Hudson, we make our way by car across the Mid-Hudson Bridge and head north to New Paltz. There, we stop at THE VILLAGE TEAROOM (map!) for some light fare and a good cuppa!

Tucked away from the street a bit, it's alll about the country farmhouse style...

Cute chalkboard drawing near the entrance. This is a popular place among the locals for afternoon tea.

Also right near the entrance. CAKES! And wait, what is that in the corner...?

....OMG, IT'S A HONEYBEE CAKE! Ok, we're eating that later.

We are seated upstairs, which I imagine is a good place for private events, and we happen to have the area all to ourselves! The waitress, who is super sweet and probably has calves of steel after running up and down those stairs all the time, happily explains all of our menu questions. We decide on the Ploughman’s Lunch (Cabot Sharp Cheddar, Organic Multi Grain Bread, Cornichons, Stone Ground Mustard, Seasonal Fruit, Lamb Pie, Plate of Cookies & a Pot of Tea) and choose the Lapsang Souchong tea.

All this for $16! I love non-city prices. Also, it seems silly to get excited over mustard, but that was some REALLY GOOD mustard.

The lamb pie, also amusingly called a "dingle pie", is perfectly spiced and very tasty. I would come back just for this.

The tea, with a great smoky flavor, goes perfectly with the savory food. We even get a little hourglass timer at our table to make sure the tea steeps long enough before drinking. Too cute!

And of course, we finish up with some of that awesome cake:

Bzzz! The bees are made of chocolate with almond wings. Genius.

Meanwhile, as we munch and sip away, a slight warm breeze drifts in through a side door and I hear the faint chirp of birds outside. I am feeling some serious relaxation, just what I was looking for! This is terrific.

After all this eating, we also stop by the WATER STREET MARKET (map!) for a little stroll to walk off some calories. There is a great antiques shop there, full of fun curiosities, but we also enjoy visiting a shop called “The Cheese Plate” to buy the obvious (mmm, aged Canadian cheddar).

There are more good places to share, but I’ll have to save that for another post. In the meantime, if you ever want a break from the city madness, just hop on the train and you’ll know where to go!

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2 thoughts on “The Village TeaRoom + Formosa: Gems of almost-upstate New York

  1. Hi!
    Thanks for the thoughtful comments about The Village TeaRoom Restaurant & Bake Shop. I’m delighted you enjoyed The Ploughman’s Lunch, you sniffed out one of the best values on the menu! BTW Dingle is a fishing village on the most westerly point on the coast of Ireland that ia famous for it’s mutton pies. I adapted the recipe from one that used “scaps of an old ewe”
    Agnes Devereux

    • Hello Agnes! Thank you for your comment! We had a great time and look forward to visiting again. Very interesting about Dingle, Ireland. My husband and I have visited Ireland twice in recent times but have yet to visit the southwest areas. Perhaps one day we will make it there and try the pies!

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