Notebook with #StayStrongWestchester written inside
Behind The Scenes,  Series

Stay Strong Westchester

Today’s post is a little different from the usual content I post here on Big Flavors. I was asked to take part in a campaign called #StayStrongWestchester to share a bit about what my family is doing to stay safe in Westchester County, NY during this unique time.

Notebook with #StayStrongWestchester written inside

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How’s everyone doing? It’s been an interesting few weeks, to say the least. With a second-grader at home who needs daily help to navigate remote schoolwork, cancelations of travel and event plans, wonky work schedules, social distancing, and trying to keep everyone fed, healthy, and happy… it’s been a whirlwind.

Although I will say that a silver lining is that we have more opportunities than before to play games at home as a family.

We are hanging in there and doing what we can to get used to our new normal for the time being. We’ve been staying home, having pajama day every Friday, and taking daily walks in our neighborhood away from other people to get some fresh air and exercise.

We’ve also been playing lots of video games, not that it’s too out of the ordinary for us. Animal Crossing: New Horizons came out recently for the Nintendo Switch, and I’m loving it!

My son has been all about playing Fortnite and Minecraft with his friends, and I’m thankful that they get to play together even though they can’t hang out in person right now. And thank goodness for wireless gaming headsets – we upgraded ours recently and are loving it!

I recently finished Pokémon Shield, and also play a lot of Just Dance 2019 and Ring Fit Adventure to help keep active inside the house.

It’s been tricky, but we’ve been managing. Luckily I’ve been working from my home office for many years now, so that part wasn’t an adjustment for me. And thankfully I keep my bullet journal handy to keep my ever-growing and ever-changing to-do lists in some sort of order.

Ashley Covelli holding a notebook with #StayStrongWestchester written inside

One thing that’s been incredibly important during this time has been to support our favorite local small businesses. Many of these places are run by families that we’ve known for several years now, and we’ve been doing our part to help support them through this difficult season.

Whether it’s through ordering delivery or curbside pick-up or making sure our elderly neighbors are getting the food and supplies that they need without having to go out to the store, it’s more important now than ever to go out of your way to help others.

The amount of shuffling and reconfiguring that business are doing to keep up with the changes to daily life right now is mind-boggling. So hats off to them for pressing on and not being afraid to try out new things.

I’ve found that the best way to keep up with the ever-changing offerings and hours of many small businesses is to check out their social media updates. I’ve been doing my best to share some of those updates over on my Instagram stories.

Eclectic small businesses like these are part of what makes Westchester County so unique. I feel incredibly fortunate to live here after growing up in the Midwest. There is so much variety all within a few miles of my home (not to mention those scenic Hudson River views)!


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As a resident (and total fangirl) of Ossining, NY since 2005, I have fallen in love with many small businesses here and in the surrounding towns. Below are some of my favorite food and beverage places that have been adapting to the times and offering many wonderful, delicious things to the public:

    • Aji Limo Peruvian Cuisine in Ossining, NY – Awesome Peruvian food. The chicken with green sauce is amazing! Great prices on half or whole chicken with generously portioned sides – you can feed your whole family and still have leftovers for tomorrow.
    • Bridgeview Tavern in Sleepy Hollow, NY – Delicious burgers and wings, innovative specials menu, delicious cocktails, and a huge variety of craft beer on tap. Last I checked they can even do growlers to go!
    • The Blue Pig in Croton-on-Hudson, NY – This is by far my favorite local ice cream shop. They have lots of delicious flavors that utilize locally sourced ingredients. Their coffee flavors use coffee beans from a fantastic local coffee roaster, The Black Cow Coffee Company, which is right around the corner from the ice cream shop. The Blue Pig has been offering hand-packed pints, and they share the lists of available flavors on social media so you can be prepared to order.
    • Brother’s Fish & Chips in Ossining, NY – My favorite hometown restaurant! Chef Elmer Oliveros is one of the most creative culinary minds I have ever encountered. His food is fresh, flavorful, inventive, and insanely delicious! The fish & chips is always a good call, the ceviche is superb, the paella is out of this world, and he makes the best fish tacos ever. They also have a selection of beer, wine, & cocktails.


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    • Chilmark Wine & Spirits in Briarcliff Manor, NY – This liquor store is such a gem. Fran will get to know your tastes and preferences and can recommend the perfect bottle for to meet your needs and price point. Me and my husband have been supporting Chilmark for many years now, and it’s our local go-to for stocking our home bar for happy hour!
    • DD’s Diner in Ossining, NY – DD’s is one of our favorite local spots. They have both classic and more upscale diner food and large portions. I can almost always make 2-3 meals out of one order there. My son loves their chicken fingers & fries, my husband digs the fried poached eggs, and my go-to is the broiled salmon. And their homemade ranch dressing is insanely delicious!
    • Dylan’s Wine Cellar in Peekskill, NY – Another favorite liquor store, though it’s a little bit of a drive from Ossining. This cozy shop has a great selection for such a small space, and they have a lot of specialty bottles.


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    • First Village Coffee in Ossining, NY – Man, do I miss being able to hang out at my favorite local coffee shop. But they’re still offering their baked goods, including plenty of vegan options, beverages, and a variety of coffee beans to keep you caffeinated at home.
    • Goosefeather in Tarrytown, NY – We went to this upscale Chinese restaurant by Chef Dale Talde for a date night earlier this year. It was elegant dim sum at its finest. I couldn’t even begin to pick a favorite menu item, but a few of the standouts were the pork & black truffle wontons, kung pao chicken wings, and warm coconut cake. The cocktail menu was also phenomenal.
    • Mariachi Mexico in Armonk, NY – If you want some seriously delicious traditional Mexican food with a bit of NY flair, this is your spot! The food at Mariachi Mexico is made with love, the flavors are rich and delicious, and the specials are inventive and use lots of local ingredients. The cocktail menu is awesome, and Chef Joana Herrera is one of the most passionate chefs I’ve met.


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    • Melike Turkish Cuisine in Ossining, NY – Outrageously delicious Middle Eastern food right here in Ossining. We like to order the mixed cold appetizer plate and the large mixed grill platter to get a nice variety of appetizers and delicious grilled meat. Their hummus is outstanding!
    • Second Mouse Cheese Shop in Pleasantville, NY – Owner Ivy and her team are true cheese experts! I fell in love with this cheese shop at a cheese class last year, and have come to depend on their knowledge and variety of all things cheese over the past several months. They have everything you need to build a rockin’ cheeseboard. They sell a wide range of charcuterie, crackers, jams, and other accompaniments. They can build a board for you, or you can stock up to make your own.
    • The TaSH Farmers Market in Tarrytown, NY – This is one of the local farmers markets that I’ve shopped at for many years now. I just saw today that they’re launching a drive-thru, contactless, pre-order only version of their market on April 18th. I’m excited to see how this works out because I’d love to be able to support more local farms while still observing safe social distancing practices. **Updated to add that I went to the opening week and it was WONDERFUL. This week there are even more vendors available. I really appreciate everyone who is working so hard to get farm-fresh food to locals in a safe way.**


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    The current economic climate is especially tough on small businesses, and they need our support now more than ever. Share the love, and we’ll all get through this together. Stay safe and healthy out there, everyone!

    Doing some online shopping? Check out my Amazon Shop page for recommendations! The links below are some of the things we’ve been using most often since we’ve been home-bound for the most part. Happy shopping!

Ashley Covelli is a food photographer, recipe developer, and culinary instructor based in Ossining, New York. She loves helping people become enthusiastic and adventurous in the kitchen so that they can build skills and confidence to cook for themselves and their loved ones. She can almost always be found with at least 3 different beverages within arm's reach.

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