May 16, 2016

gin rickeyIf you could, how would you reimagine your life? Have you daydreamed about doing something different? Following your dreams? Maybe that means being a chef or a writer or a dancer or singer. For Laura Silverman, it means co-producing a gathering spot in her Catskills hometown.

Laura and I met via Food52 and I grew to know her through her blog, Glutton for Life. I’ve always admired Laura’s way with words, foods and beverages. She’s a forager, a fermenter, and a glorious photographer. Everything she does is so damn stylish.

CocktailsAnd that’s why I am thrilled to see her dream, Fish and Bicycle, moving closer to reality. Laura has teamed with Juliette Herman, the equally stylish owner of a Narrowsburg antiques business. Juliette has the space (a 1920s industrial building), Laura has the food and beverage ideas, all they need is a little support.

I hope all of you, my dear and faithful readers, will take a moment to watch this video and see the dream writ large on Laura and Juliette’s faces. Here is the link to the Indiegogo video (

I spoke to Laura the other day about Fish & Bicycle, reimaginings and more. That’s Laura on the left in the photo below, Juliette on the right.

LS&JH2CB: How did Fish & Bicycle happen?

LS:  Juliette moved to the Catskills (Narrowsburg, NY) from France and opened this glorious business. We got to know each other, she came to my home, ate my food and drank my cocktails. We started talking about it, about this amazing space and what we could do with it. [Ed. Note: Laura has a reputation. She’s known as ‘The Alchemist’ and she hosts an annual, epic, Bastille Day pulled pork fête.] 

CB: I’ve reimagined my career four times. Each time has been terrifying. Each iteration has been informed by the last one. I wouldn’t change a thing. How do you feel, here on the brink of a new career?

LS: I’m a writer. I’m not planning to give it up. I’ll be doing things simultaneously for awhile. I never thought I would be the type of person who would slow down, but I hadn’t really envisioned I would be leaping into something of this magnitude. It’s not about risk, so much, it’s about the enormity of it.

CB: How do you prepare?

LS: I’m working hard to make sure I have the physical strength. You need a lot of stamina. I’ve done some trails [at local restaurants] just to get a sense of the work. Everyone told me ‘It’s hard on the body, long hours, standing on your feet.’ I was kind of relieved that it didn’t kill me. I attribute that to yoga and hiking.

troutCB: Through your beautiful blog, Glutton for Life, I’ve watched you learn about foraging and you’ve spend hours in the forests around you. How is the menu at Fish & Bicycle an expression of all that?

LS: The menu showcases the bounty of farms, forest, and fields. I’m going to try to forage for both the bar and the café. I’ve developed great relationships with our local farmers. We’re creating a Catskill cuisine. I’ve been researching the foods the Lenape Indians ate: They definitely ate the trout and venison and blueberries and the other foods that were here like local eel, fished from the Delaware River. We’ll be offering a fresh, herbaceous, intensely local cuisine.

CB: Tell me a little more about what you envision.

LS: I’ll be behind the bar, and we’ll have a chef in the kitchen. Initially, we’ll just go out with dinner. There will be a small grocery, an open central patio under skylights, a small café and horseshoe bar.

I grew up in a house where my parents did a lot of entertaining. They had all kinds of gatherings in the home. I feel very comfortable and happy when I am in a room of people transported by the food, drink, company and ambiance. I see a community gathering place where people can come to enjoy the bounty of the region in a simple, new way, that educates and inspires and allows them to escape their daily life. The best places, the ones we love to return to over and over do just that – bring people together.


Please give Laura and Juliette a boost! Even a small contribution makes a big difference.

And that glorious cocktail at the top of the page? That’s a Gin Rickey. Here’s a link Laura’s recipe. Summer’s coming!



2 Responses to “fish & bicycle, narrowsburg, ny”

  1. gluttonforlife

    Thank you, thank you, thank you, Cathy! With any luck, lots of blood, sweat and tears and the support of our extended community, our dream will come true. xo

  2. Mark Talisman

    reading this dreaming posting of a life well lived , thoughtful and kind to what is around you, how bout making a crafted vermouth which could ramp up that commonly taken for granted base to allow it to be more widely used. Infused with an amalgam of scents and sweetness, able to morph the ordinary and make it extraordinary?
    There is one company in France I know which has done their versions (three in all, now texting by selling narrowly in Brooklyn shop only and very closely held and monitoring sales for several years I tasted theirs and it is very good. But it seems to me this challenge begs your kind of attention me thinks? What say you? Possible? Not?! What?
    Reason I feel strongly bout this need is that i have come to love hand made bases like this with which to further mix as coolers to compliment the tastes we work so hard to make from all the good ingredients we cherish and search widely to find. To pair with finely crafted cheeses, and spreads and meals makes such a finely crafted Vermouth base is a fine idea to me infused with herb amalgams widely available from gardeners and others?
    I started long ago in Cognac when i discovered a few small makers presenting very small quantities of Pineau de Charente that accident made long ago lasting til now, with which I mix with a good tonic a little ice instead of gin on our hot humid days here in DC. Variants on Cassis and, or crushed fresher berries and….and a range of the fine basils now readily grown widely crushed and bruised infusing water, ditto certain mints. But a hand made Vermouth at the hands of you might produce something as fine as the finest of perfumes with all the portends. How bout that, Cathy, Friend?


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