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Food for Thought – Elegant Choices for Local Holiday Dining

Jazz at the Oak Room featuring Mark Morganelli, flugelhorn and percussion;
Roni Ben-Hur, guitar; and Cameron Brown, bass.
Photo by: Bob Plotkin, Mark Morganelli and Andrea Carter for Roni Ben-Hur.

What better way to celebrate December good cheer than by hearing top-notch jazz performed by Mark Morganelli and his Jazz All-Stars at Equus restaurant located in the sparkling Oak Room? A veteran of more traditional jazz clubs like Manhattan’s Birdland, Morganelli seems right at home in the classy confines of Tarrytown’s famous Castle Hotel and Spa, certainly the grandest and most upscale hotel destination in the rivertowns.

Roni Ben-Hur, guitar
Photo by: Andrea Carter

Morganelli is a trumpet and flugelhorn master, and his repertoire at Equus is drawn from Brazilian jazz, Duke Ellington, and the great American songbook composers like Jerome Kern and Harold Arlen. You do not have to be an afficionado to appreciate both his virtuosity and his trio’s friendly approach to a broad range of highly enjoyable sandards.

Morganelli has his own history with this historic site; he and his quintet played in the Great Hall for the public opening of the Castle on Hudson in 1997; his trio also played in the Tapestry Room in 1998, and he had a five-year gig in the Equus Restaurant Oak Room on Wednesdays with his quartet from 2003-2008. He has been back for a third stretch this fall, but his Wednesday night performances only last until December 20th.

Cameron Brown, bass.

Make no mistake, dinner at Equus is not a casual affair, but it’s also possible to enjoy the music from the bar while imbibing classic and modern Castle cocktails, a sumptuous bar menu or comforting artisanal cheese offerings. Shows are at 6:30 and 8:30, so you can also stop in for dessert and champagne – or coffee. And no matter what your taste, if you’ve not been to the Castle, it’s a unique spot filled with history and atmosphere. So, on one of the next two Wednesdays, treat yourself to some special holiday cheer and experience Morganelli’s music-making in elegant surroundings.

Welcoming friends and family to your decorated holiday table can be a truly creative and highly pleasurable, imaginative host experience. While preparing traditional dishes, making certain dietary requests are met, and organizing everyone’s favorite contributions to the celebratory meal, this year you can also greet your guests with a lovely floral arrangement, courtesy of Seasons on the Hudson in Irvington and enjoy a unique experience in the process.

High Tea with Seasons’
sophistication at Saint George Bistro, Hastings-on-Hudson.
—Photos by: Caitlin K Photography

Seasons is partnering with Saint George Bistro in Hastings-on-Hudson to present an elegant afternoon high tea on Sunday, December 17 from 2:00 to 4:00 in the bistro’s charming private wine attic.  Tea sandwiches, canapes and dessert will be served on fine china; an engaging way to garner ideas for your own holiday table.  Previous Seasons/Saint George Bistro high teas have featured smoked salmon topped with caviar nestled on a soft blini, lobster salad piled unto a fresh brioche,  gougere (French cheese puffs) and pistachio pate gracing crostini. Freshly baked scones with clotted crème and home-made strawberry jam – a high tea must in England – along with a decadent variety of petite fours, eclairs, and chocolate mousse should complete the indulgence.

Saint George Bistro, Hastings-on-Hudson.

Champagne (for attendees over 21) and tea provided by Nyack’s Teagevity will also be served. Seasons on Hudson’s  talented owner  Gerald Palumbo and store manager Miko Akasaka will be on hand to answer questions and give suggestions about how best to create a holiday ambiance with your signature style. And participants will leave with their own specially designed floral arrangement to grace their Christmas or Channukah table.

Enhance your home’s festive atmosphere this holiday with cut foliage, berries, and greenery from the natural world outside your door. And, remember to complement your unique taste with treasured keepsakes plus fresh flowers all arranged to welcome company with warmth and generosity this December.

If You Go

Equus 400 Benedict Avenue 914-631-3646 castlehotelandspa.com

If You Go

St. George’s Bistro 155 Southside Avenue (across from the Hastings train station) 914-478-1671 reservations credit card required/$95 per person 2-4 p.m. Sunday, December 17 wineattic@gmail.com

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