Tag Archives: ossining

It’s Always a Good Time for Gelato

What’s that?  It’s crazy to eat gelato in the dead of winter? Nonsense!  Gelato is to be enjoyed at any time of the year, temperatures be damned. And if you find yourself in Ossining, how about a quick stop in at Ossining Pizzeria & Restaurant.

The restaurant looks like your everyday, run-of-the-mill pizzeria, but connected to it is a cafe and gelateria, with around 20 homemade gelato flavors.

So many to choose from — I’d say about half were fruit flavors — and the hazelnut (nocciola) was calling.

Here’s what I noticed as the server packed the gelato into the cup, and then after I tasted it: Unlike the other flavors in the display case, the hazelnut didn’t have the smooth, creaminess of say a Baci gelato at Via Vanti! or Frankie & Fanucci’s; it was firm and almost crumbly.  I’m not sure how gelato is made, but I’m wondering if maybe this batch was over-frozen, or if it wasn’t as fresh as the others.

But the vivid and rich taste of hazelnut was top-notch.  And as the gelato melted in my mouth, its texture smoothed out.

I chatted briefly with the server, who had a heavy Italian accent.

“Is this all homemade?” I asked.

Yes. I make them all here,” she said.

“That’s a lot of work.”

(With a shrug) “I love.

Ossining Pizzeria & Restaurant
181 Croton Ave.
Ossining, NY

Quimbaya’s Hot Chocolate and Other Goodies

How did we live before the internet?  Did we actually speak on the phone since we lacked email?  Did we settle movie disputes by watching movies instead of racing off to IMDb? And for us food lovers, how did we find new places to eat?   Was our only option to, gasp, read restaurant reviews in the paper? Old school, indeed.

I ask this question because without ‘net assistance, I’m not sure I would have ever discovered Quimbaya in Ossining.

My meal at Caracas Arepa Bar put me in an arepa and empanada state of mind.  I was confident I could wander Port Chester and find something suitable, but that’d be too easy. After all, if I’m going to be a good food blogger, I’ve got to explore, right?

I googled “empanada westchester” and bam, up came a Chowhound message board for “Scouting the best empanadas in Westchester Co.”.  “i_eat_a_lot_of_ice_cream” wrote, “You MUST try the empanadas at the Colombian bakery and cafe in Ossining, Quimbaya.”

And just like that, I was in my car headed to Ossining.

Quimbaya sells all kinds of sandwiches and salads, but those could wait; I was after the Colombian pastries.

See those empanadas on the bottom shelf?  I did too.

I have no idea what was in the empanada; I’m pretty sure it wasn’t meat — I don’t think.  Was it beans? Yucca?  Potato?  I really couldn’t tell you.  Didn’t matter, it was warm and crispy and served with a nice side of hot sauce.  And what’s an empanada without an arepa to go with it?

The arepa surprised me; I was expecting a bread-like texture like the ones at Caracas.  Instead, this arepa was much more similar to cornbread — crumbly and sweet.  It wouldn’t have worked filled with meat, but with a thin slice of queso blanco on top, it was an unexpectedly delicious snack.

Then there are Quimbaya’s coffees and Colombian hot chocolates. I ordered the “Special Hot Chocolate” — a mix of unsweetened Cacao, panela, cloves and cinnamon.  Didn’t bother with a pic because well, it’s hot chocolate, and a picture of a cup of liquid didn’t seem too interesting.  But daaamnn, that was some rockin’ hot chocolate — rich, full of interesting flavors and best of all, not too sweet.

So thank you internet, and thank you “i_eat_a_lot_of_ice_cream” on Chowhound, wherever you are. If I run into you one of these days at Quimbaya, an empanada’s on me.

193 Main St.
Ossining, NY 10562