Greetings Upstater Friends and Fans,
It’s exactly at this time of year – every February – when I think I will just faint if I don’t get a #11 salad from Joshua’s Café in Woodstock. With chicken.
The #11 salad is my perfect salad. Its actual name is the “Grilled Chicken or Organic Sesame-Ginger Tofu Shawarma” salad, with tomatoes, avocado, brown rice, and cucumber-feta dressing. There is something about the warm brown rice and the crispy lettuce and the juicy chicken and the chilled tangy dressing…
Why the fainting? Because usually Chef Stefanie Schachter closes up shop for about a month in January and heads somewhere warm to relax and recharge. It’s actually a very nice thing, this vacation she takes. She gets a break and the other restaurants in Woodstock see a bump in biz, since she’s closed = win-win. And just around the time that I am literally foaming at the mouth for a #11 salad, she’s back and Joshua’s has reopened and all is well in the world.
This week, though, when I come charging in the door for the aforementioned salad, along with the rest of the Joshua’s groupies who are looking for their Middle Eastern/Mediterranean/global cuisine fix, there’s some eye candy mixed in with the beloved menu favorites.
Joshua’s, you see, has caught up with The New Woodstock. The longest serving restaurant in Woodstock – 42 years! – has undergone a bit of a makeover. Chef Stef has renovated and I got an early preview. Boy oh boy, does it look gorgeesimmo!
Working collaboratively with the Joshua’s team, who did some of the renovations themselves, Stefanie also tapped interior designer Mark Golderman and Mari Gaab Mulshenock of EvolveD, and together, they gave Joshua’s a bright and airy facelift, with fresh flooring, a new paint job, artful mirror installations, and other modern touches. Don’t worry, the newly tweaked menu remains largely the same, full of one delicious dish after another (I might also need the zucchini flat cakes with Lebanese apricot jam and yogurt sauce, and I’ve been dreaming about Stef’s spicy African peanut soup.)
EvolveD is another player in The New Woodstock scene. Here’s the story. EvolveD owner Mari Gaab Mulshenock logged years and years as a kitchen and bath designer and remodeling expert, overseeing oodles of renovations in both her native Delaware and the neighboring swanky Philadelphia suburbs before relocating to the Hudson Valley. Mari and former partner Sari Anneli Will collaborated in the space on Mill Hill Road, operating a showroom and gallery, before Mari took over the entire locale. In its latest incarnation and under a new name, the full service design showroom EvolveD now offers “design through completion” home remodeling know-how, as well as a soon-to-come assortment of soft goods and accessories including bed and bath linens (we’ll get a sneak peek of that too). Working alongside Mari is Mark, a decorator and designer who had decided to return to his upstate roots (he grew up outside of Hudson, NY) after a long and illustrious career in NYC. He landed in Woodstock and has lent his artful eye and many skills to EvolveD.
From what I hear, Chef Stef, Mark and Mari got on like a house on fire and the result is a sleeker, more updated Joshua’s, with the same delectable breakfast, lunch, dinner, and brunch served in the main dining room as well as upstairs in the Java Lounge, where you can dine and sip among the treetops. The regular customers will recognize artist Steve Heller’s handiwork at the updated Joshua’s – he built some of the original furniture for the restaurant and has augmented the new digs with at least ten tabletops. (Like what you see? Visit Steve at Fabulous Furniture in nearby Boiceville for more!)
I, for one, will be #1 in line for my #11. With chicken.