Articles by the Chef
Click here for articles and recipes by Elaine Pusateri Cowan, owner and chef de cuisine for Foodies of New England Magazine.
DISCOVER CENTRAL MASSACHUSETTS
The Great Food List 2018
Great Restaurants for Foodies In Central Massachusetts
Every chef on this list in some ways touts his or her sourcing of ingredients and proudly wears a local badge of honor. None are as ambitious or as devoted to sustainability as Elaine Pusateri Cowan. Everything from the restaurant’s warm wood tables and walls to the smallest ingredient in every dish shows an attention and devotion to detail and our local abundance. Picturesque Uxbridge is a perfect setting for that approach and the restaurant overlooks that landscape while a wood-burning oven warms the inside space. Which is what really makes this place special. No other restaurant in Central Mass so fully embraces the fact that we are one of the largest agricultural counties in New England AND puts a stake down in that land. Cowan calls her food “slow peasant fare,” but this is a high-class approach that leans Italian/Sicilian. It’s just a perfect escape for a warm and fuzzy meal even the most high-brow foodies long for now and then.
The UXLocale assembles a reverent following
FOOD ★★★★ AMBIENCE ★★★★ SERVICE ★★★★1/2 VALUE ★★★★
The church pews didn’t feel at all out of place as we walked into The UXLocale in Uxbridge. It may not have been Sunday (we visited on a Friday night), but it was clear that a trip to “The UX” constituted a weekly ritual for countless members in the community. The dining room and the bar were both at capacity, and a few brave souls had even taken up residence on the patio under the heat lamps.
Our server greeted us with a basket of freshly baked bread and red sauce. She introduced herself and walked us through the menu, explaining UXLocale’s commitment to local and sustainable sourcing. During every interaction, she struck me as intelligent, calm and polished, despite the demands of her section, which was clearly at capacity.
The pizzas were stunning in both taste and presentation. The result of UXLocale’s woodfire oven was a light, airy crust that had been slightly scorched and hung daintily over the edge of the pan. The “funghi” had been topped with shredded gruyere, thinly-sliced apples, rosemary-infused portobella mushrooms and caramelized onions – a divine combination of sweet and salty to balance our taste buds. The “down with gpp” embraced gorgonzola, pear and prosciutto, with a faint nod to fresh thyme. The UXLocale has a serious aptitude for unconventional placement of fruit on pizza.
On our way out, I spotted a tray of microgreens growing beside the large pizza hearth, confirming my notion that the ingredients on my plate had been properly tended to.
As The UXLocale’s popularity continues to grow, it is my expectation that their precision and attention to detail remain consistent. Put an extra loaf in the oven, the dinner rush is on its way.
VISITING NEW ENGLAND
The UXLocale in Uxbridge, Massachusetts Captures the Locals Flavors of New England in an Idyllic Rural Setting
As the sun sets over the hills in rural central Massachusetts, the brilliant rays of light and panoramic views of fields that seem to have no end point reflect endless possibilities for Elaine Cowan at her new restaurant, The UXLocale in Uxbridge, Mass.
Positioned at the top of a hill and as a restaurant that goes beyond satisfying diners who love locally-sourced food and drink, The UXLocale offers the dining-out dream-come-true combination of delicious fare, a rustic and welcoming atmosphere, an owner, family and staff as genuine and welcoming as the beautiful countryside, and incredible scenic views from the seasonal outdoor patio.
Cowan has created a restaurant perfectly compatible with her sincere, gracious, unaffected personality. The dining room exudes a authentic warmth that could only seem genuine in rural America with its knotty pine walls and high ceilings, as well as an antique piano in the back. Art work by local artists line the walls and occasional live music also takes place in the quaint space.
The menu — with virtually all the food made from scratch — showcases salads, small plates, appetizers, pizza, pasta, daily specials and homemade desserts. The pasta with sausage in vodka sauce is to die for, as well as the light, flavorful Margherita pizza with a fresh sauce of pomodoro tomatoes, mozzarella, freshly torn basil, and a touch of oregano.
THE YANKEE XPRESS
UXLocale of Uxbridge promises locals “La Dolce Vita”
Elaine Cowan, owner of UX Locale, may be more tired than she’s ever been, but she’s never been happier. Her restaurant, known for “slow, peasant food with an Italian twist” reflects a desire to do something she’s wanted to do her entire life. Her recipes and cooking style come from fond memories of watching her family, friends, and “Grafton Hill” neighbors cook with love, affection, and a yearning to nurture others through food.
In her mind’s eye, and while she cooks, Elaine sees the enormous hands of her father flipping over a frittata in a cast iron pan. She sees the kind eyes of her former landlords, Fuji and Stella, whom she lived above in a three-decker home during early marital years. She sees the verdant leaves of dandelion salads tossed into olive oil, and can still smell the dusty earth of a freshly picked summer tomato.
Elaine Cowan is a foodie, a gardener, an artist, and an interior decorator whose Sicilian and Irish roots have become the fruits of her essence. Memories of the slow, sweet life, the dolce vita, she claims, have found their way into the kitchen of her new restaurant, UXLocale. Here, at her home away from home, she’s able to express a lifelong passion to cook, commune, and create. Tucked away on 510 Hartford Ave, Uxbridge, the restaurant is approaching its one-year anniversary and boasting a fine show of just how good it gets when people come together to eat.
In order to ensure that her dishes—such as the Antipasto Di Mare Misto, a ceviche- like salad with calamari, Spanish onions, fresh parsley and lemony vinaigrette, or Papa’s Vitamin G Carbonara, with smoked bacon, garlic, white wine, egg, peas, and parmigiana reggiano—are both creative and fresh, Elaine is indebted to local farmers (such as Aaron Socrat of Douglas Farm and Orchard) who are only a text away and able to “rescue her” daily when in a pinch.
“There’s enough time for devices in the world. I just want that sweet, slow life. People here are hanging out, talking, and enjoying each other’s company. My family had something that they gave. They were so proud and loving. I’m doing the same. It’s exactly what I want.”
TELEGRAM & GAZETTE
Dining review: A fresh face on farm-to-table scene in Uxbridge
The meals at UXLocale are simple and based on rural Italian cuisine, meaning there is an abundance of pizza and pasta dishes on the menu. The use of fresh vegetables, greens and eggs from local farms adds to the appeal. Additionally, desserts come from a local, sweets specialty shop.
What was surprising was the short but impressive wine and beer lists. We ordered a robust red Italian wine that went well with nearly everything on the menu.
All pizzas are judged by the crust and the crust at UXLocale is spot on. Thin, crispy, slightly burnt on one side and surprisingly light, the two pieces did not sit like stones in my tummy. Add fresh, local vegetables and cheeses and you have a masterpiece.
With its successful beginnings, and growing popularity, UXLocale is destined to be a favorite.
UXLocale offers Ice Cream & “Slow, Peasant Fare”
Uxbridge, MA has had a new place to cool off since UXLocale opened to serve ice cream earlier this month. And, since recently being approved for its liquor license, UXLocale is expected to become be a new culinary destination harnessing local resources in a rustic setting.
THE YANKEE XPRESS
Chef Elaine, UXLocale set to debut with a bang
If the work Founder and Chef Elaine Pusateri Cowan and her large family have put into readying UXLocale is any indication, the Blackstone Valley’s newest culinary destination is going to be a success.
As David Kmetz points out in a press release he prepared for her, Chef Elaine and a large contingent of relatives—“moms, uncles, aunts, all pushing 80 I might add, brothers, sisters, nieces, nephews, friends and colleagues” have “all pitched in” for months of intense designing, building, refurbishing and painting to get “spiffy yet rustic digs” atop West Hartford Avenue in shape for a grand opening in the next few weeks.
Chef Elaine’s husband Charles Cowan III, her son Charles IV and daughter Antonia have been mainstays in preparing UXLocale for its unveiling. The ice-cream window is already open.
All of the dishes at UXLocale will be made from scratch for a wide-ranging menu (small bites, salads, red and white pizza from a custom 900-degree oven, pasta, pasta del mare) that reflects Chef Elaine’s training from childhood in industrial kitchen service, an Italian deli and various restaurants. “Slow, peasant fare,” she says, “a fun mix.”
Asked about her background on July 14th, while continuing renovations that have included a “scrubbing of everything from ceiling to floor,” the creation of countertops and “a lovely terrace that overlooks fields and farms,” she said “I’m a social worker-turned-educator-turned…” well, restaurateur!
TELEGRAM & GAZETTE
Meet the Chef: Elaine Cowan/The UXLocale
Elaine T. Cowan is chef/owner of The UXLocale, a restaurant in Uxbridge that has garnered a lot of attention since its opening last fall.
“My recipes and cooking style have evolved from the many memories of people at the stove: family, friends and neighbors. Those people, and their spirit, live in my kitchen with me.”
“I believe in the quality of sustainable life, not just living well, and possess a strong sense of duty to integrate such sustainability into every aspect of life, beginning with perhaps the most basic of all elements: food.”
“My promise is to offer a high standard of fresh and flavorful food made with seasonal, limited and local, high-quality ingredients, all at a reasonable price.”
TELEGRAM & GAZETTE
UXLocale a dream come true for owner/chef
“It’s been a dream of mine for a while,” said Cowan about her first restaurant. The owner and chef de cuisine said the business is a “perfect fit” for her, and she’s “extremely happy and fortunate” that she is able to do something she loves to do.
UXLocale is described by Cowan as a place where diners can enjoy “Italian peasant-style food based on fresh, local ingredients. Dishes that get their distinctive flavors from how they are prepared,” she said. “Simple, yet flavorful. Not complex.”
A seasonal outside patio offers a breathtaking view of sunsets and the rural countryside that surrounds the hilltop restaurant, according to Cowan. “It’s just a beautiful, quiet spot,” she said. “It would be a great place to get engaged.”
Cowan previously worked at the Worcester Center for Crafts and the Worcester Art Museum for 15 years. She was a chef at the Specialty Sandwich Bar & Grille in Holden and owned Elaine’s Epicurean Enterprises. She is a regular contributor to Foodies of New England magazine. Cowan also is a community advocate and volunteer, and is a member of several community advisory boards.
Foodies, check out UXLocale.