The beauty of staying in New York for five or six weeks meant we didn’t have to rush to do anything. There’s loads to do in the city but it’s always nice to take a day-trip and skip the traffic, sirens and hoards of people.
Northwest of the city is Warwick, a town of about 30,000 people in the county of Orange. It takes something like two hours to get there by bus from the Port Authority Bus Terminal. What drew me to Warwick? Well, the name did first of all. Way back when I was a rookie apprentice I moved to a town also named Warwick, except it was in rural Queensland, Australia. It was a brief eighteen months before moving on. So why not see another Warwick, right?
With New York’s plethora of greenmarkets and farmers’ markets, it was nice to get out and see one in a completely different setting. Small country town, non-city folk and no crowds. It may not stand up to New York’s Union Square Greenmarket in terms of size or variety, but it’s 30-odd stalls cover the basics of fresh produce, specialty and artisanal products.
Fruit and veg, breads, cheeses, pickles, meats and more. Even maple cotton candy.
Just across the rail tracks is La Petite Cuisine, a small cafe with a bit of a French flavour. Sandwiches, crepes, salads and some typically warm service from the wait staff. Snackage was all my body required so an espresso and French toast (9.95) did the trick. Stuffed French toast seemed all the rage everywhere I saw it on menu’s on our travels, and it was here that I tried my first one. Apparently it was stuffed with mascarpone, apples and pecans but all I had was two slices of toast topped with those ingredients. Not that I cared. It was delicious.
The centre of Warwick is small enough to be navigated and explored on foot in less that 10 or fifteen minutes. Main Street seems to have the bulk of shops, services and eateries with Oakland Avenue and a few other streets adding to the commerce. Walking up Oakland may seem ordinary to the locals but to us it was a nice way to check out some of the unique architecture and residential homes. Huge trees, manicured lawns and big Victorian houses complete with turrets, sweeping veranda’s and rocking chairs.
Starting its life as an 1855 Victorian residential estate, then an inn in the 1900’s, the current Dautaj restaurant looked like a perfect contender for a leisurely lunch. White tablecloths, smart service and an Italian menu with a few American flavours.
Thanks to the French toast I ate earlier, it was a couple of appetisers for me. I know, I know, a bit of a light-weight; but that’s where things were at. Clams oreganata (6.95) went down an absolute treat. Hot, stuffed clams with bread crumbs and lemon butter sauce. Loved it, even if a couple of them were gritty.
After seeing all the beautifully-ripe tomatoes at the farmers’ market, I was pleased to see a caprese salad (5.95) on the menu. It’s nicely presented as a stack of tomato slices and mozzarella cheese, with sweet roasted red capsicum and olive oil. The tomatoes, however, were as crunchy as an apple and had little more flavour than the glass of water I was sipping. A complete waste.
Aside from the clams, the other winner at the table was the meatball parmigiana sandwich (8.95). Mammoth in proportions and flavour, this thing was a beauty. Juicy meatballs, oozing cheese, marinara sauce, crusty bread roll and crinkle-cut fries. Two out of three wasn’t so bad.