Sunday, November 05, 2006


Ever get a hankering to get out of the city? Here's a way to do just that, spend hours admiring one of the great wonders of the East Coast, and treat yourself to a funky (and affordable) gluten-free lunch--all without a car!

It's simple: All you need to do is board a Metro North train to Poughkeepsie. You can start your trip at beautifully restored Grand Central Terminal and then seat yourself on the west side of the train for a great ride--much of it alongside the scenic and historic Hudson River. There are views of the Palisades and, farther north, the picturesque Hudson Highlands (including the island ruins of Bannerman Castle). There are some engineering marvels, too: many bridges and the track itself, which at times runs very close to the river. Foliage views make autumn a good time to make the journey; if it's a cold winter, the ice floes on the river can be fascinating--but the excursion is worthwhile any time of the year.

At the end of the line is Poughkeepsie, the home of Soul Dog, a newfangled hot dog joint affiliated with GFRAP restaurant. It's just a short uphill walk from the south end of the train platform--you can check the restaurant's website and phone for more details. (Soul Dog can probably be reached via one of the taxis hovering around the station, too.)

Choosing from the varied menu, I started with a beef hot dog on a homemade gf bun with a bottle of New Grist. I ordered no less than three of the many house toppings: Chipotle Cream, Caramelized Onion, and Roasted Poblano Pepper Salsa.

Then came the crispy, seasoned Soul Fries--most excellent!

I followed the fries with a chicken dog with only one topping: a Spicy Peanut Sauce (with scallion and cucumber). For Soul Dog first-timers, I recommend this one-topping approach, so you can familiarize yourself whatever single topping interests you most.

For dessert, I enjoyed an amazingly moist pumpkin cupcake that I washed down with a warm cider. (These items aren't always available.)

I bought some of Soul Dog's other baked goods to take home with me--my two faves were the spice cookie and the snickerdoodle.

And then it was time for the train ride back--on the west side, of course!

Note: Soul Dog offers a gluten-free pizza, but it has to be ordered in advance.

Also note: Soul Dog lists Dr. Brown's Cel-Ray Soda as gluten-free--yippee!

Photos: David Marc Fischer

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