In with the old, in with the new.

Pictures and Words by Alan Katz

Had dinner at Kozel’s Restaurant in Ghent the other night. As old school Columbia County as you can get (est. 1936). Ordered the David’s “special” burger—a patty melt with American cheese, sautéed mushrooms and onions. Hand-cut fries and chicken rice soup. It was lightly snowing and comfort was the call. Hadn’t been here in two decades. Nothing’s changed, from the wood paneled walls to the wait staff—and that’s a good thing. Comforting, heartwarming and delicious. When I asked if the burger came with fries, my server replied, ‘If ya ask for them.’ Gotcha!

Today, comfort comes in a very different package. At Morningbird, located at the reimagined Knitting Mill, you might order vegetable green curry with sweet potatoes, or Tivoli trumpet mushrooms over jasmine rice. Something warm, nourishing and oh so au courant—that’s Morningbird for you.

Other dishes include an Overlook Farm egg sandwich on milk bun, lemongrass pork sausage, scallion chimichurri and sambal. Beef Rendang, consisting of shredded short rib, Bok choy and again that perfect jasmine rice. Breakfast and lunch in a serene country store setting as designed by modern artists with a larder of groovy sauces, spices and tableware befitting the smart Asian vibe. Desserts and pastries include another hat tip to the local scene: Dutch sausage roll, citrus olive oil cake, Vietnamese cinnamon coffee cake and mochi donuts. Wow.

Part of the newly refurbished Knitting Mill in Kinderhook are a group of restaurants including The Aviary Kinderhook, OK Pantry and the Kinderhook Bottle Shop selling fine wines and other libations.

The town of Kinderhook—including the villages of Valatie, Kinderhook and Niverville—is the former home of Martin Van Buren, America’s eighth president. His statue and name abound. Old meets new in this sweet, quaint town: Brooklyn-style pizza, fresh hot bagels with more than a schmear and a fanciful beer pub, Saisonnier, serving numerous fantastic beers on tap and more than a dozen cans of other diverse and delicious brews. Awesome pressed (and not) sandwiches. Nearby there’s the world-class art showcase The School–Jack Shainman Gallery.

This 248-year-old Dutch town combines the latest art, design and eclectic cuisine. Definitely my kinda pit stop and I’m guessing, yours.

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