Visitors to the Catskills are likely to be familiar with the Phoenicia Diner on Route 28 near Esopus Creek, known for fly-fishing and tubing. The diner is a classic in the genre; it opened in 1962, was moved to its present location in the 1980s and fell on hard times until Mike Cioffi, who was in scenery construction for shows, bought it, fixed it up and reopened it in 2012. The cookbook reflects the diversity of the diner menu, and of the region. There are a number of Mexican dishes, alongside soft scrambled eggs with smoked trout from the chapter on breakfast all day; kimchi in sandwiches; and several recipes for grits, thanks to the chef, Chris Bradley from North Carolina, who is also an author. Some dishes call for local nettles, mushrooms and ramps. Essays on moonshine, the borscht belt and folk music are included.
“The Phoenicia Diner Cookbook: Dishes and Dispatches From the Catskill Mountains” by Mike Cioffi, Chris Bradley and Sara B. Franklin (Clarkson Potter, $32.50).