The Catskill Mountains, with their rugged, untamed beauty, never fail to ignite my wanderlust. As a seasoned travel and lifestyle photographer, the allure of the unknown and the thrill of capturing the raw magic of natural landscapes have taken me to numerous places. This time, I found myself being drawn towards Big Indian's "forever wild" forest preserve, ringed by mountains, and breathing in the scent of wilderness. The promise of an offbeat culinary gem hidden amidst this natural grandeur sparked my interest: the Peekamoose Restaurant & Tap Room.
An Epicurean Journey through the Catskill Mountains: Unearthing the Charms of Peekamoose Restaurant & Tap Room – Big Indian, NY – Restaurant Reviews with Maxwell Alexander – Presented by Alluvion Vacations
Peekamoose is not just another pit stop on the culinary map. It is a beacon for gastronomic enthusiasts craving contemporary American cuisine in a setting that sings a melodious harmony of charm, rusticity, and comfort.
The evening sky was streaked with the colors of the setting sun as I reached the restaurant, a quaint farmhouse reimagined into a food lover's paradise. A rustic-chic design breathed life into the walls, striking a perfect balance between eccentricity and comfort. Every corner had a story to tell - lights and shelves repurposed from fallen branches added a naturalistic flair, and wall art crafted from found objects bore the imprint of creative minds. The place even boasted an indoor treehouse and an outdoor fire pit for marshmallow roasting, beckoning guests to savor moments beyond the dining table.
The moment I settled into my chair at Peekamoose, I was welcomed by a freshly baked loaf of rustic bread, a preamble to the culinary journey that awaited. The bread, still warm from the oven, boasted a perfect crust that was crispy on the outside yet yielded to a soft, airy interior that was speckled with finely chopped herbs. Each slice was a fragrant revelation, an invitation to savor the simple pleasures of expertly crafted bread. To complement the loaf, there was a pat of creamy butter that melted instantly upon the warm bread, its richness intensifying the herbaceous notes and the earthy, yeasty flavors. The presentation was unpretentious, reflecting the restaurant's philosophy of down-to-earth dining. This rustic bread and butter ensemble not only warmed my palate but also created an atmosphere of warm hospitality that set the tone for the rest of my dining experience. The humble bread loaf, often overlooked at many establishments, stood out at Peekamoose, emphasizing the care and thought invested in every aspect of the meal.
While I eagerly awaited the arrival of my meal, I found delightful entertainment in the Equinox Elixir, a cocktail that was as vibrant in its medley of flavors as it was visually tantalizing. Presented in a tall glass, this drink was a sensory delight with a radiant, golden glow. The first sip introduced my palate to a fascinating blend of flavors: Neversink gin offering a refreshing juniper backbone, heirloom genepy lending an aromatic complexity, and fenugreek imparting a slightly bitter undertone. Hints of cucumber, grapefruit, and thyme added a layer of freshness, creating a playful dance of sweet, tangy, and herbaceous notes. The elixir not only quenched my thirst but offered a visually captivating experience as the golden hue played with the evening light, beckoning my camera lens.
Next came the roasted Tomato Tart, a culinary paradise served on a canvas of puff pastry. This starter combined the deep, roasted flavors of tomatoes with the velvety creaminess of chevre. Each bite was a blend of earthy sweetness and tangy delight, beautifully complemented by the thyme's aromatic notes. The aged balsamic gastrique, drizzled artistically over the dish, added an element of surprise with its sweet and sour complexity, enhancing the tart's visual and gustatory appeal. As a photographer, the vibrant colors, the textural play, and the artful plating of this dish were sheer joy to capture.
For the main course, I indulged in the Zucchini ‘Fazzoletti’ – an edible sculpture that championed the virtues of Planet-friendly cuisine. The zucchini, thinly sliced and folded with precision, served as a vibrant green casing, enveloping a core of creamy cashew ‘ricotta’ and smoky roasted eggplant. The tomato confit added a tangy sweetness that perfectly balanced the creamy, nutty notes, while the basil oil lent an aromatic finish. The presentation was a visual symphony, inviting my camera to explore the beautifully sculptural composition from various angles. Each bite unfolded a story of textures and flavors, creating a memorable gastronomic narrative.
My evening at Peekamoose concluded with a sweet surrender to the temptation of a warm, freshly-made donut, topped with a glossy chocolate glaze and paired with house-made vanilla ice cream. The donut was a comfort food masterpiece, with its soft, fluffy interior and slightly crispy exterior. The smooth, rich chocolate glaze added a decadent touch, making each bite a sinful pleasure. The cool, creamy vanilla ice cream provided a delightful contrast, both in temperature and flavor.
The dessert experience was further enhanced by a Pear Martini, a luscious cocktail garnished with a slice of orange. The sweet, crisp pear flavor mingling with the punchy martini base was a refreshing complement to the rich, warm donut, creating a satisfying end to my culinary journey.
Peekamoose is a testament to the concept that food is not just nourishment, but a holistic experience that engages all the senses. Every dish, every cocktail, is a canvas where ingredients, cooking techniques, and presentation come together to create a masterpiece. As a photographer, I was drawn to the visual appeal of these creations, but as a diner, I was equally captivated by the layers of flavors, the textural contrasts, and the innovative approach to each dish and drink. This memorable dining experience at Peekamoose Restaurant & Tap Room is a chapter of my Catskill Mountains journey that I will fondly revisit, both in my photographs and my taste memory.
Beyond the delightful menu, what really made Peekamoose stand out was its spirit. This was a place where farm-to-table was not just a tagline but a deeply ingrained philosophy, a commitment to locally sourced, seasonal produce that reflected the Mills’ close ties with the farmers and vendors of the region. The dynamic menu, changing with the season’s bounty, was a testament to Chef Devin Mills' roots in the Catskills and his formative culinary experiences in the area eateries.
The Peekamoose Restaurant & Tap Room proved to be more than just a stop on my Catskills journey. It was a destination in itself, a testament to the transformative power of food and the joy of shared experiences. As a travel and lifestyle photographer, I found Peekamoose to be a canvas, where nature, food, design, and hospitality beautifully converge to create an unforgettable tableau. This delightful gem in the heart of the Catskills is a must-visit for anyone embarking on an epicurean adventure in this region. The magic of Peekamoose is not just in its food or its ambiance, but in the story it tells - a story of passion, dreams, community, and the enduring charm of the Catskills.
As a seasoned lifestyle and culinary photographer, I've chronicled my gastronomic explorations and shared my discoveries in vibrant, detailed reviews. From farm-to-table delights, sumptuous wine, and dining experiences, and innovative mixology, to picturesque al fresco dining, there's a rich tapestry of culinary experiences to uncover.
So, why not venture further? Discover hidden gems and popular favorites in the picturesque Hudson Valley, where rustic charm meets modern gastronomy. Unearth culinary treasures in the untamed beauty of the Catskills, where dining is infused with nature's bounty. Experience the vibrant, eclectic food scene of the Big Apple itself, New York City, where every corner is a sensory feast waiting to be discovered. And don't miss the laid-back luxury of the Hamptons, where seaside charm complements indulgent dining experiences.
Whether you're a self-proclaimed foodie, an adventurous eater, a wine connoisseur, or simply someone who appreciates a good meal, these reviews will surely take you on a culinary journey like no other. Experience the local flavors, learn about the passion and craftsmanship that goes into each dish, appreciate the artful plating, and feel the ambiance of each unique dining destination through my lens. Each review is an invitation to taste, explore, and indulge.
Come along on this culinary journey and explore the unforgettable foodscapes of the Hudson Valley, Catskills, NYC, and the Hamptons. Stay tuned for more reviews as we continue to uncover the region's gastronomic secrets, one restaurant at a time. Each dining experience is a story waiting to be told, and I can't wait to share them with you. Bon Appétit!