Free Wine and Food Festival tickets

Spac Wine and Food Logo.jpgNext week is the last event of the season at SPAC-- the big Wine, Food and Ferrari Festival.

And the central event is the Grand Tasting on Saturday, September 11th from 1 to 5:30. More that 100 Italian and international wines will be available for sampling, there will be wine and cheese seminars, delicacies from local chefs and lots of Ferraris and other beautiful cars. Not a bad way to kill an afternoon.

Over 35 importers of Italian wines and food products will be offering tastings. Tickets to the Grand Tasting are $75 a piece -- but we've got 4 pair to give away.

Gourmet food, fine wine and fancy cars had us daydreaming about living like the other half does. Which brings us to the question we'd like you to answer to enter the drawing:

How do you "live rich" in the Capital Region?

Maybe it's where you go to splurge or treat yourself when you've got a few extra dollars. Maybe it doesn't cost anything at all but makes you feel like a million bucks. Anyway, tell us what it is and we'll enter you into the drawing. And of course, let us know what's so great about it in case we want to try it too. That part's not a requirement, but it's more fun to share.

The deadline to enter is Friday, September 3rd at 8PM.

Very, very important: One entry per person. You must answer the question to be eligible. You must post your comment by 8 pm on Friday, September 3rd, 2010. You must include a working email address (that you check regularly) with your comment. The winners will be notified by email by noon on Saturday-- and must respond by 5PM Tuesday, September 7th.

Comments

When friends come in from out of town we give them the "Center Square Tour" which we have recently expanded to include the plaza. We show them all the interesting architecture and the free State Museum and Capitol. We take them to Cheesecake Machismo where they can get a slice of the most delicious cheesecake EVER and a beverage for only $5. We show them Dove & Hudson books and even the house where old Legs Diamond met his end. We look at the date stamps on all the gorgeous old brownstones, many of which predate the civil war. Up and down Lark street we stop in shops, bars and restaurants. We may walk through the park.

In the end, in the eyes of our visiting guests, we are living rich, for next to nothing at all. The community is so fabulous and eclectic, yet accessible to all. That makes me feel very rich indeed.

I'd have to say dinner at the Brown Derby. The food is always fab, and the interior of the restaurant is so lush. Plus, you've gotta love a place that gives you three butter options for the crusty warm bread, and a gourmet salt selection. (I love adding the Hawaiian volcano salt to my steak to really play up that charcoal flavor!) Bit on the pricey side, but it's worth it.

I "live rich" by enjoying everything the city and area has to offer. That includes the free plays in Washington Park, the festivals, music, art, and all the other wonderful offerings. There's so much diversity, not only among the neighborhoods, but also the people and cultures. Many do not know how blessed we are! Not to mention all the wonderful outdoor eating available in the nice weather. How much larger could we be without pay extravagant prices? People may call it "smallbany," but that's okay by me. I'd love to attend this event...thanks!

Sometimes if we just want something fun and affordable to do, or if we have guests from out of town, we'll just walk and drive around Saratoga to look at some of the incredible architecture. There are some beautiful houses in the area. This typically ends with my favorite part, Coldstone ice cream :)

Living in the Stockade neighborhood of Schenectady definitely makes me feel like we are living rich. My husband is from Philadelphia and our house looks like one of the gorgeous Society Hill brownstones people pay a million dollars for, but we got it for the price of a Clifton Park townhouse. As for an outing, I have a soft spot for breakfast at the Saratoga track, watching them exercise the horses as the morning mist rises, followed by a walk through the Yaddo gardens. It always makes me feel a bit like Zelda Fitzgerald (though she would have stayed up all night rather than getting up early for it.)

I love to go to the Saratoga race course and sit in the clubhouse watching the sport of kings. Turns out to be a very affordable luxury.

It may not seem like much but I love sitting on one of the barges on the Hudson or a restaurant on the lake and soak up the incredible scenery of water and if it is sunset... that makes it even better.

I love participating in Restaurant Week twice a year. It allows me to try places that I wouldn't be able to afford on a regular basis. One of my favorite restaurants that participates is Marche. The menu is always great and they focus on using local ingredients. I also had a great meal at The Brown Derby. Aside from Restaurant Week, I like to treat myself to sushi at Koto, Sake Kafe, or Kitsu. Van's Vietnamese is another favorite. For a bigger budget meal, Yono's and 677 Prime are excellent.

A glass of bourbon and jazz at 9 Maple in Saratoga. Makes me feel like I'm in a speakeasy - straight Gatsby style.

How to live the rich life in five easy steps:

1. Go to Saratoga Springs and grab one baguette from Mrs. London's.
2. Cross street and pick up a hunk of Taleggio cheese, a generous slice of mousse truffe, and a pile of sliced Salumi Mole from Putnam Market. (Don't forget to grab knives and cups!)
3. Go next door and select an enjoyable red wine.
4. Walk to Congress Park and find a nice quiet spot.
5. Rip off a piece of bread, schmear on some cheese or mousse, pop in an occasional slice of Salumi, and wash it all down with the wine.

Heaven!

Well, since we're both either finishing up grad school or working our first full-time job, it's tough to "live rich" these days. Since we live so close to the park, we always take advantage of the great free plays, festivals and soaking up the sunshine or playing tennis on a nice day..not to mention those calm morning runs by "the lake!"

We're naturally submerged in a fulfilling and rich lifestyle by living in Albany - We may not have the money to spend, but we certainly feel "rich" just by having the knowledge and experience gained by living in such a diverse and interesting city. We're certainly big fans of good wine and food...not to mention gawking at beautiful Ferrari's...so don't get me wrong - We'd love to live an afternoon on the other side of "rich" sometime and the Wine and Food Festival may just be the golden ticket.

Thank you! :)

There's a cool after party sponsored by Ketel One, too!
*Editors: Alas, the tickets we have won't get you into the after-party. Tickets to that are $40.

Living rich is tough to do on two tiny salaries, but we make it happen when the moment is too good to pass up. Happy client? Windfall freelance project? Friends in town? We (predictably) do the same thing---walk our wallets to a local wine shop and splurge on a bottle. Often doesn't have to be much more than a $20/bottle; and all the shops around 'Toga are full of knowledgeable people who have favorites they want to share. If we can smuggle that bottle and some cups into Congress Park---well, that's even better.

Living rich is easy... just climb to the top of the Palace Theater and enjoy the view. Doesn't cost a thing and makes you feel like a King.

We live rich by owning a 2-family house and having our tenants contribute substantially to our leisure budget. I really don't need 2,000 sq ft to be happy - I'd much rather be able to vacation 2 or 3 times a year, eat at wonderful restaurants, visit NYC a few times a year for overnights and not accumulate debt.

One word, two syllables: Crisan.

Lately they have offered a "Bearclaw" that is absolute perfection (it has almond paste AND chocolate mixed together).

Movies on the big screen of Proctor's or the Palace, and dinner at one of the exceptional restaurants in the surrounding area - Aperitivo or the Brown Derby - What you save on the cost of the movie ticket goes toward a fab meal.

I live rich by having some pretty amazing friends. There is nothing that can compare to that. Great friends will make you feel rich no matter what financial state you may be in.

5 ways I "Live the Rich Life":
5) Given: My name is Rich
4) I wine and dine at my mother in laws as much as possible (she is a good cook and the drinks are on the house)
3) I enjoy sharing the wealth (ex. when the city and Palace Theater gave away 4 movie passes to see the premiere of SALT - I gave a pair of tickets to a close couple my wife and I know - they were free but made me feel special)
2) Volunteering my time and services not only makes me famous (I'd like to think so) but more importantly brightens someone else's day. I simply use the gifts given me to give back to others.
1) I have a good spiritual relationship with God - John 3:16

I "live rich" by saving my pennies then going to Palais Royale for drinks.

- Wine & dinner at the Wine Bar and Bistro on Lark. I rarely drink when I'm out, and I love to splurge on trying new wine here.
- Events at the Troy Music Hall, which is just a lovely place to be!
- In the fall, packing some crisp local apples, cheese from the Troy Farmer's Market, and some bread and then walking around Grafton Lake with my husband and having a little picnic.

Splurging is sometimes dinner at the win bar on Lark because it's a less expensive way to have a very good dinner and try out some really nice wines without completely breaking the bank.

Other times i enjoy treating myself to locally grown/made foods from the farmers market in troy. My latest fixation is the sweet potato biscuits i got there a couple weekends ago.

Also making myself smoothies and guacamole and chips at home. My favorite, but slightly mismatched, dinner.

I love getting pampered with a pedicure! It always makes me feel special and "rich".

A hat makes me feel fancy!

My boyfriend and I make it a goal to spend an entire day at the track in Saratoga on $20 plus the price of admission (cheaper than going to a movie!!). I get all pretty in a sun dress and my big floppy hat (changing out the flowers depending on the dress of course!) and my boyfriend breaks out a tie and chinos. He brings a cigar, and I bring in some wine. We plant our camping chairs and cooler under "our tree" and make a day of it.

Gotta love the $.10 Superfectas!!

When I have a little bit of cash, I like to treat myself to a martini or a nice glass of wine, a cheese platter, and the live jazz at Justin's. When I can't afford to do that, I hit up Capital Wine & Spirits to grab a good bottle of wine. I get my friends together and we chill out on the stoop. We love to people watch, so the entertainment is free, plus you get to meet some interesting people as well as run into other friends who will stop and chat before they continue their pub crawl. I have had some of the most enjoyable evenings in Albany doing this!

I only occasionally get the opportunity to go out to eat in luxury, and live it up, in the Capital Region. So to really live the life of luxury, I enjoy mini trips with fancy packed picnics and wine, and a good view. Most often this means strolling down to Normanskill with my dog and a good friend, or someone i'm wooing, and enjoy a nice bottle of wine and fancy treats from Cardona's.

When I push that "order" button for an unreasonable 4 digits lens, and that little voice inside says "oh nooooooooooooooo, what did you dooooooo??". It's rare but worth it. Aw, pretty pixels.

Dinner at Wine Bar and Bistro on Lark and getting my haircut at Rumors both make me feel like a million bucks!

It's the little splurges that make me feel rich. Today, for example, I spent too much on fresh juice from Lil' Buddha Tea and let myself linger at the cheese counter at Honest Weight instead of picking up what I needed and heading home.

All you can eat Sushi for $20 at Kitsu!! Makes me feel like a Queen. "I'll have that, and that, and that..."

My best friend and I “live rich” by spending the majority of our not-so-much money on going out for lunch/dinner. We “live rich” by trying any and all kinds of food in the area. Though we may not have the money we make it a point to splurge once in a while and enjoy some of the capital regions best food places!

Just today we treated ourselves to Salsa Latina on Central and Cheesecake Machismo for dessert (I got my 10th stamp on my card today!). The other day we took advantage of a free meal at the new Chipotle in Stuyvesant Plaza (made us feel like a million bucks)! Our most recent big splurge was at New World Bistro Bar after seeing Chef Ric on Chopped & we absolutely loved the food!!

An hour massage at Spa Virgo

"Living rich" used to mean a delicious sushi dinner at Saso's (now closed) on Central Avenue, usually accompanied by two carafes of sake. I miss Saso's sushi so much! Now, it means dinner at New World Bistro, followed by one or more beers at Mahar's, or maybe we head over the river to Jose Malone's. I have a very limited budget, so eating out is "living rich." Luckily, I'm not a bad cook.

The tasting menu at Dale Miller. It's $89 a person and everyone at the table has to order it so it's very much a special occasion kind of meal (though it should be noted that DM doesn't by any means need to be an expensive night out, they have lots of low cost menu items as well). But wow, what an experience. You get all these mini courses to try and you can tell the chef is really showing off what he and his staff do best. Pairing it with a bottle or two of wine and it's a night of pure gastronomic luxury.

And an aside @ Megan G, I think he's now working at a new place in downtown Albany: http://blog.timesunion.com/tablehopping/16504/first-look-saso-is-back/

I just bought a house in the Upper Washington Avenue Neighborhood of Albany and I live richly by fixing up the place. Home ownership is frakking expensive!

Seriously though, spending my time and money making the house a nice little oasis with my Mr. is really rewarding.

a gorgeous evening out at Proctor's....nothing like seeing a play with a loved one, spending time with no electronic gadgets is as good as it gets! Proctor's wins my heart!

My brother and my cousin live in NYC, and every summer they come up for a City Boys in the Country Weekend. We go to the track, and I take them kayacking and hiking. Nothing makes me prouder to live in the Cap Region than watching them get all googly-eyed over trees, grass, wide open spaces and the cost of my mortgage compared the rent they pay for one-bedroom apartments.

Sitting in my backyard on a warm summer evening, eating soft shelled crabs just out of the pan and drinking Chartogne-Taillet rosé.

I *love* to get blotto and eat some gelato! ;-) Heh!

Gelateria Lisa in Troy has the best.

When I'm able to splurge, I like to "live rich" by treating myself to a haircut, facial, massage or mani/pedi at Kimberly's Day Spa. Fabulous!

Going to the Sagamore, enjoying a couple of drinks and apps on their terrace makes me feel like I'm living rich. The scenery is just so gorgeous it makes me feel lucky that I'm there and able to take it all in.

sometimes i buy organic bananas and slice them up with a butter knife, heated and dipped in honey. i sprinkle some cinnamon-y flavored granola on top, then add this mixture to kashi blueberry morning cereal. i top it off with fresh blueberries. instead of milk from a cow, i use 'very vanilla' soy milk. then i take off all of my clothes and sit in my lazy-boy recliner with the fan on high and drape bags of ice over my legs, shoulders, neck, and head. i put neil young on the stereo and stan brakhage on the tv. when i finish my food, depending on how i feel, i'll either go to sleep or drink a 1/5th of whiskey with my eyes closed and then go to sleep.

Making the most of the local farmers' markets (and PYO fruit); but also the fabulous libraries here. Granted I already 'lived rich' when my tax dollars went that way - but at least for the money we get a fabulous, erudite and educational place to hang out with our kids. Wine-tastings at Delmar Wine & Spirits, too.

I do miss Tosca..

i like to bring everyone to dejohns for their steak salad. best deal in town and the steak is delicious!!

i live rich by dedicating my free time to a local dog rescue organization. and when i'm not doing that, relaxing with a good book while enjoying the view from my window on to washington park with my own dog is quite fulfilling.

My beautiful girlfriend and I have a few ways to "live rich" in the ALB, and they generally involve food.
A bottle of wine or champagne, some cheese from the co-op, and some pig products from Cardona's. Extra points for homemade crostini.
Or if we're feeling less motivated, sushi delivery from Shogun (The rainbow caviar roll is the epitome of living richly!).

How I live richly: 677 Prime. Enough said. (and then I'm broke)

I like to cook fancier meals that I would not get the chance to otherwise.

Playing frisbee at the Empire State Plaza. Using modern art installations as obstacles seems like something the uber-rich would enjoy.

Coming home to the woman you love after a long day of thankless state government work is the best way to live richly.

i mix up a pitcher of homemade sangria with pieces of fresh fruit, pour it into a large wine glass and head to the backyard to listen to some music

An Amtrak ticket to NYC... oh wait that's living beyond my means, not living richly. Nettle Meadow Farm Kunik and a bottle of champagne - that's living rich.

making special dinners at home using rack of lamb, or various shellfish and when we are really feeling flush, for a very special occasion,going out to dinner at Dale Miller's, Yono's or Prime 677.

Driving to the ocean, opening up a bottle of vinho verde and raw oysters with mignonette sauce... just listening to the sound of the waves with your feet in the sand. Doesn't get any richer than that!

Argh! I hate to out this place, I really do, but I must due to you and your FREE fancy food tickets!!!
So I must. This is the most mystical, amazing feel-like-a-hoity-toity-old-school-1960's-somebody in the whole Capital District! And that place is:
The Victoria Pool in the Spa State Park in Saratoga Springs. If you have not been then you cannot appreciate the "scene". College kids mingle with 70 something Saratogians. Is that a guy wearing a ladies swimsuit? Or did he simply run out of money midway through his Sex Reassignment Surgery?
What the hell is George Hamilton doing here? (If you don't get that reference, too bad for you).
Want a fruity cocktail with alcohol? Yeah you can get that. Want poolside eats? Yeah you can get that. You want to surround yourself in 1930's Classic architecture oasis? Yes this is the place. Like a private pool club out of 1968. The Victoria pool is old school class. You can feel it all for a measly $8 a day. See you there.

I admire the fresh flowers of spring at Washington Park and throughout the region.

I bask in the warm summer sun at one of our many gorgeous lakes, or play "dress-up" for a day and visit the Track.

I spend a fall day hiking up one of our beautiful and plentiful Adirondack mountain peaks, and come down to enjoy dinner at one of our many fine restaurants.

I make a snowman with my toddler in winter, and then hunker down inside for cuddle time under a blanket with hot chocolate and a good movie --- living the richest of all with the love of family and friends.

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