Good taste tastes good
by Cheryl A. Rice
September 11, 2008 01:00 AM | 0 0 comments | 5 5 recommendations | email to a friend | print
"We're going to have a nice, broad range this year," said New Paltz Chamber of Commerce Communications and Programs Administrator Janet Nurre of this year's Taste of New Paltz celebration. On September 14, more than 31 representatives from restaurants, wineries and breweries in the New Paltz area will gather at the Ulster County Fairground to give visitors a chance to sample their goods. Last year between 8,000 and 9,000 visitors did so. "It's no joke," said Nurre.

This is the seventeenth year of Taste of New Paltz, and despite a recent kitchen fire that has the restaurant temporarily closed, P & G's will be on hand once again. "It wouldn't be the Taste of New Paltz without P & G's," said Nurre. Other restaurants will offer up their various cuisines, which include Caribbean, Hispanic, Indian and good old American melting pot styles. The Queens Galley Soup Kitchen will be there too, reminding visitors of the invaluable service they provide, offering free meals three times a day, 365 days a year at their Kingston location to all comers.

When you are full, there will still be a lot to do. The Craft Expo will include over 30 vendors with handmade, two-dimensional pieces. The Artistic Taste area will feature fine art items for sale. In the Country Store, pre-packaged edibles will be available. And don't hesitate to bring the kiddies. There's a Kids Expo too, where everything is free, and in addition to face painting, balloons, and inflatable bouncy rides, they'll have a chance to chat with "Fossil, the Talking Pterodactyl." At the Business Expo, each company represented will raffle off an item of considerable worth in the Great Giveaway. Last year's prizes included airline tickets, lift tickets at Hunter Mountain, a Food and Wine Basket, dinner for two at Mohonk Mountain House, and a $100 gas card.

"People come for the food and the music," said Nurre. At 11 a.m., the Bernstein Bard Trio will start things off, followed by the Shorty Key's Club and its swing rhythms at 12:30 p.m. At 2 p.m., the Motown-like sounds of Soul Purpose take charge, and the Deadbeats, playing guess what, wind things up at 3:30 p.m.

This will be the second year of participation, and his second year in business, for Dalmain Grant and Caribbean Cuisine of New Paltz. "We still have a lot to do to establish ourselves," explains Grant, whose wife, Rose, is the head chef. "Her family's been in the restaurant business for a long time." They'll be bringing Jamaican Beef Patties, Jerk Chicken, and Jerk Pork, among other specialities of the restaurant. Of the range of food styles in the New Paltz area, Grant said, "It's diverse. We're the new kids on the block." Caribbean Cuisine is located just east of the village, at the intersection of Route 299 and the Ohioville Roads.

Judy Steele and Cody Ritson are even newer 'kids' on the New Paltz restaurant scene, having opened just over eight months ago. Their place, Rock Da Pasta, offers a menu full of food dedicated to the legends of rock from over the last forty years. Joplin's Penne Rose is a customer favorite that fairgoers will be able to sample at Taste of New Paltz. With a creamy alfredo sauce and jerk chicken, the dish also boasts a shot of Southern Comfort. "I actually went last year [to Taste of New Paltz] and it was great," said Steele. "There were great crowds and lots of sophisticated palates. That's why I'm bringing some of our more unusual dishes."

Brook Farm CSA will be participating for the first time this year as well, with a message of sustainability and community awareness, "our mission," according to Petra Trunkes, co-chairman of the event committee and mission board member at the farm. "We want people to sample our sustainably grown and organic produce." The farm works on a cooperative basis, with members buying shares of the expected harvest in advance on a sliding fee scale, in addition to spending time working on the farm. Those who are unable to pay even according to the scale will be provided for, said Dan Guenther of Brook Farm. Monies raised at Taste of New Paltz by the sale of servings of their Organic Salad will go towards supplementing the cost of membership for those who cannot afford to pay, but still want to provide their families with high quality food.

Nurre's favorite part of Taste of New Paltz is, "just getting the chance to be out at the fairgrounds and looking at the Gunks, and getting to try out all the foods from the region. It's a chance to try food from a restaurant you may not have been to yet." Taste of New Paltz runs 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday, September 14, at the Ulster County Fairgrounds on Libertyville Road, just southwest of the village. Admission is $5, and children under 12 are admitted free. For more information, call 845-255-0243, or see the Chamber of Commerce's website,

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