In Ulster County there exists a motherlode of cheap eats to fill your belly without busting your budget. Like a vein of quartz through rock, this gorgeous region boasts a wealth of culinary choices, with an amazing abundance for a rural area. On and off Routes 213 and 209, you can dine on a dime in hamlets nestled among the rolling terrain and meandering waterways.
Recently I drove along some of this area’s lovely winding roads, exploring High Falls, Rosendale, Accord, Kerhonkson and Stone Ridge, finding many options for low-budget takeout and eat-in alike. Time and monetary constraints kept me from experiencing firsthand what each place had to offer, so at some I lingered a while and tasted, while at others could only skim the surface and savor some ambiance, but I pass on the good reputation of places when I can.
My first stop was in the historic hamlet of High Falls, where at the sandwich shop the Last Bite, a black tee-shirt for sale proclaims, “High Falls – the Center of the Universe.” With its laid-back, cozy vibe, the Bite reminds me of places where I loved to hang out in college in Vermont. There I only tasted a bracing, Day-Glo-orange juice concoction of carrot, orange and ginger ($5.50 for small), but also noted the three appealing soups of the day: a beef stew, a potato/kale and a sweet-and-sour stuffed cabbage ($3.25/cup, $4.25/bowl or $10/quart).
Other features include all-day breakfast and creative panini like ham, cheddar and Granny Smith apple with pomegranate/walnut butter on sourdough for $6.95; or the Widowmaker, with roast beef, Swiss, horseradish mayo, onion and tomato on marble rye for $7.95; or a Reuben with tempeh or turkey instead of the standard corned beef for $8.50. Find salads, too, like Le Goat, with mesclun greens, dried cranberries, pecans, goat cheese, red onion and cucumber with balsamic dressing ($6.25). Besides standard breads, you can get sandwiches on naan, whole-wheat wrap or gluten-free bread. “Fakin’ bacon” and other pretend meats are available for any diet.
The Last Bite is located between the Post Office and the DePuy Canal House, at 103 Main Street in High Falls. It is open seven days: weekdays from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. and weekends from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Find it at (845) 687-7779 or https://thelastbitesite.com.
At the corner of Lucas Avenue and Route 213, you’ll find the High Falls Food Co-op. There, in a pretty purple-and-pea-green building, amongst the vitamins, fresh produce, sustainably raised meats, bulk grains and bulk liquids from syrups to oils, you can get all manner of tasty takeout for a quick meal. Chili to heat up and salads galore are there, along with a selection of hot soups and even dinners to go, waiting in a hot box.
The Co-op is located at 1398 Route 213 in High Falls, and open at 8 a.m. Monday through Friday and 9 a.m. on weekends, closing at 7 p.m. every day but Sunday, which is 6 p.m. Call (845) 687-7262 or see www.highfallsfoodcoop.com.
The popular and versatile High Falls Café moved not long ago to a serene setting only a few miles off the beaten track. It offers sandwiches like a smoked salmon club ($12) and a grilled ham and Brie on 12-grain with honey Dijon dressing on the side ($10). Plenty of starters and small plates include pot stickers ($6), artichoke hearts au gratin ($9) and grilled tofu with spinach, pesto, artichoke hearts and roasted pepper purée ($10). Flatbread pizzas ($9), quesadillas ($10 to $13) and housemade specialties from meatloaf ($12) to fish-and-chips ($14) round out the menu. Musical acts serenade you, from blues/dance nights to acoustic Thursdays, jams and jazz.