Items tagged with 'food'
As many of you know the Adelphi Hotel is going massive reconstruction and we are very excited for what is to come for them however it meant that we must vacate. We have no plans on relocating at this time, Bettie is exhausted and is looking forward to many more "yellow brick roads" towards happiness that lie ahead.
We have loved seeing all of your faces over the last five years and thank you for your continued support. Please know this decision did not come lightly.
Riding the cupcake wave of the last decade, Bettie's opened in 2009 after taking over the space in the then-Downtown Street Marketplace that had been occupied by an earlier cupcake bakery (Spa City Cupcakes). And it gained a lot of attention with its double-decker cupcake bus (the pic on the right is from 2009 -- it's all pink now). It later had locations at Hoffman's Playland and Colonie Center. (Colonie was at one point the epicenter of the local cupcake boom with four cupcake businesses competing within a short range.)
But trends change. And small businesses are hard to keep going.
This announcement isn't a total surprise -- earlier this month Bettie's put its famous double decker bus up for sale.
Earlier on AOA: Tasting Capital Region cupcakes (2012)
Drawing's closed! Winner's been emailed!
Capital District's Community Gardens' annual Autumn Evening in the Garden culinary event returns September 11 at the Hilton Garden Inn in Troy. We have two tickets and we're giving them away. To you? Maybe so.
To enter the drawing, please answer this question in the comments:
Fall is just ahead, so what local thing about autumn are you most looking forward to?
Could be an event, could be a certain fruit or vegetable that's coming into season, could be whatever. We'll draw one winner random. That person gets the pair of tickets.
Here's the blurbage for Autumn Evening in the Garden:
Join CDCG for a chef extravaganza where you can sample the work of more than a dozen of our region's top chefs all in one night! Culinary samples are prepared from fresh meat, cheese and produce donated by local farmers. Guests enjoy live music and local wine, spirits and beer while mingling with chefs, farmers and friends. Proceeds benefit CDCG's programs, including 50 Community Gardens, The Veggie Mobile, The Produce Project, Squash Hunger and more.
A list of participating chefs is after the jump.
The event starts at 6 pm on Thursday, September 11. Tickets are $250 for couples, $150 for individuals, and $75 for attendees 35 years and younger -- and they're available online.
Important: All comments must be submitted by 5 pm on Wednesday, August 27, 2014 to be entered in the drawing. You must answer the question to be part of the drawing. (Normal commenting guidelines apply.) One entry per person, please. You must enter a valid email address (that you check regularly) with your comment. The winner will be notified via email by noon on Thursday and must respond by noon on Friday, August 29.
Could be fun: Stacks Espresso Bar on Lark Street in Albany is hosting "a fun bracket-style latte art competition" on September 4. Blurbage:
A [Thursday Night Throwdown] event, is a common thread through the coffee culture of many major cities, often happening once a month, complete with rotating themes and innovative drink challenges, but this will be the first of it's kind for the Capital District. The evening is co-hosted by the Capital Region Coffee Collective; which started as a meetup for coffee professionals to help improve each others skills and knowledge and quickly morphed into a fun and engaging event to educate participants and raise awareness of the capital region's burgeoning specialty coffee scene.
The goal of a TNT is to foster a spirit of camaraderie, fun, and enthusiasm for local coffee from baristas, coffee shops, and anyone interested in all of the interesting behind the scenes workings that make coffee what it is. Beer will be provided by Troy's Rare Form Brewery to ease nerves, and though many competitors are expected to be local baristas, anyone is open to participate.
Sign-ups for competition start at 5:30 pm on Thursday, September 4. It's a $5 buy in to compete, and a winner-take-all prize package. Admission is free.
Hey AOA, is there anywhere to go pick your own peaches around the capital region?
For whatever reason, PYO peaches appear to be a rarity around here. Maybe because the fruit is relatively fragile and growers want to make sure their trees are picked with care. Maybe just because peaches aren't as plentiful around here as, say, apples.
That said, there are some places to score good peaches. We have had some really nice peaches from Golden Harvest in Valatie this year. And in the past we've gotten different types of good peaches from Maynard Farms, which sells at the Schenectady Greenmarket.
Know of PYO place for Julie? Or even just a good local farm or farm stand for buying peaches? Please share!
I am wondering if there is a casual eatery around where dogs are at least allowed, but I hope they are welcome. This place would ideally be anywhere at all between Albany and Gloversville. The casual [category] would necessarily include those places that only sell hot dogs and hamburgers, I guess, since we'll be eating outdoors. But I'm open.
Non-service animals are prohibited in restaurants by state regulation. But we've seen a bunch of places that (perhaps informally) allow dogs on (just off) patios. And it would seem seasonal outdoor places will have much more leeway.
Have a spot to suggest to M? Please share!
Pulled pork is probably my favorite barbecue offering. Barbecued chicken or ribs were never something I got particularly excited about, though I am a fan of brisket. But there is just something hard not to love about that tough chunk of pork being lovingly rubbed with spices and flavorings, then left to marinate in its own fat and juices in the gentle heat of charred wood and charcoal.
Patience is a virtue, especially in cooking, and nowhere is that more true than with pulled pork. Hours of anticipation lead to fork-tender strands of meat that await a sweet and tangy sauce and two pieces of bread to accompany it.
And the version at Stockyard Bar-B-Q is the perfect example of what pulled pork sandwich should be.
Some people go to The Track (that would be Saratoga Race Course) for the horses. Some go for the thrill of gambling. Yet others go for the chance to hob-nob with celebrities and big spenders.
Me? I go for the food.
I really do love the sport of horse racing and taking in the crowds who anxiously wait to see if their chosen thoroughbred will prove victorious. But there are few places in the Capital Region where you can get such a wide array of tasty delights all within walking distance from each other.
This year more than ever, those food choices have proven more copius and harder to choose from.
To ensure you don't miss placing that two-dollar trifecta or watching your horse leave the starting gate at the bell, it's good to go in with an eating game plan. Here are five picks for food at the track...
Waffle Week at Brown's Brewing in Troy is set to return August 18 (next Monday) and continues through August 24 (the following Sunday).
It's a celebration of Troy resident Cornelius B. Swarthout's patent of the domestic stovetop waffle iron on August 24, 1869.
Each day of Waffle Week features a different speciality waffle. And even if we don't make it over for a waffle, we like to gawk at the combinations each year.
Here's this year's lineup, which is named after "a cast of characters who may (or may not) have been Swarthout's contemporaries"...
The annual Washington County Cheese Tour is coming up in less than a month -- it's September 6 and 7 this year. It is pretty much what it sounds like: a self-guided tour to a handful of cheese-making farms in Washington County (and one in Vermont).
It is, by the accounts we've seen, an interesting and (literally) cheesy time. As Tim recapped the tour a few years back:
Crowds from around the area came to taste locally made cheeses and other dairy products right where they're made. Right. Where. They're. Made. I mean the animals whose milk helped to create the delectable products being sampled actually look on while you toothpick your way through lines of delicious, tangy, cheesy goodness. ...
I sampled some of the best, most complex cheese I have tasted in a long time. It's amazing to me how many different flavors artisan cheese makers can pull out of milk. The cheeses ran the gamut from hard, soft, pungent, and mild, raw, pasteurized, aged, and young. One thing united them, though. They were all delicious. And while the cheese event is only once a year, you can get the cheeses year round.
The participating farms will be open September 6 and 7 from 10 am-4 pm. The tour is free.
Cheese tour preview: The Cheese Traveler in Albany is hosting a tour preview at its shop on Delaware Ave this Thursday (August 14) from 5-7 pm. Blurbage: "Come meet the cheesemakers and enjoy cheeses from five Washington County creameries, paired with beer from Rare Form Brewery and accompaniments by The Cheese Traveler." It's $25 per person.
The Cheese Traveler advertises on AOA.
photo: Tim Dawkins
The new Cider Belly Doughnuts opened this week on Pearl Street in downtown Albany. We've been curious about the shop after first hearing about plans for it more than a year ago. That curiosity was further stoked this week after seeing a bunch of people tweeting about trying the cider doughnuts/donuts.* And it's hard to not get behind the idea of being able to easily stop in for a still-warm cider donut right in Albany.
So we stopped in today to try a bunch of the donuts. You know, for work.
Here are six quick takes after eating (parts of) six donuts...
Quick follow up on a post from earlier this year: Collar City Hard Pressed, the juice stand at the Troy farmers' market, opened a storefront today in downtown Troy.
The shop is in a small section of the building at 211 Broadway (the one that includes The Grocery, and eventually, The Tavern). Owner Jessica Garrity says it will be open Tuesday-Friday from 8 am-2 pm through the summer, with possible expanded hours in the fall. And the stand at the farmers' market on Saturdays will continue.
Earlier on AOA: Collar City Hard Pressed
Dare I say that carbs are making a comeback?
Years of low-carb/no-carb diets and increased attention on gluten intolerances have demonized the bread basket, including bagels. But if a recent batch of local bagel shop openings is any indication, bagels might be back in style.
Through bagel booms and busts, though, one place that's remained steadfast is Bagels and Bakes in Rotterdam.
Author/historian/wood-fired foods expert Paula Marcoux will be at Healthy Living Market August 6 for a talk and demo.
Marcoux's book, Cooking With Fire: From Roasting on a Spit to Baking in a Tannur, Rediscovered Techniques and Recipes That Capture the Flavors of Wood-Fired Cooking, was published this past May. From a Boston Globe article about her (link added):
After almost 30 years studying pre-industrial and ancient cooking methods, Marcoux, 53, a former Plimoth Plantation historic interpreter, has just published her first cookbook, "Cooking With Fire: From Roasting on a Spit to Baking in a Tannur, Rediscovered Techniques and Recipes That Capture the Flavors of Wood-Fired Cooking." The various outdoor cooking options on her land are both practical and part of her extensive research. The book, as much a summary of traditional cooking methods as a compilation of recipes, takes novices through making a fire, exploring age-old techniques and tools, and leading the more ambitious (with 12 pages of instructions and photos) through building a wood-fired mud oven. "Wood-fired ovens are for taking outdoor cooking to the next level or for fanatical bakers," she says. She considers herself one of the fanatics.
The Healthy Living Market event is at 6:30 pm on Wednesday, August 6. It's free, but re-registration is required.
Greulich's Market in Guilderland, in business since 1949, has closed, according to its Facebook page. The Gazette's Bethany Bump reports the situation around the closing is unclear, and there was at least some indication that the store might still have a future.
Greulich's, near the border between Guilderland and Schenectady, was like something from another time -- a small, independent grocery store that focused on customer service. But the grocery business is a notoriously difficult industry with tiny margins. And as manager Robert Van Allen told Liz Clancy Lerner for AOA a few years back, Greulich's was feeling the pressure of staying small in a world of supermarket giants:
You gotta realize when you go into a big chain, their groceries are going to be cheaper; they'll always be cheaper because they buy railcar loads, where I buy one at a time. ...
The biggest change is that years ago Hannaford wasn't down here, the beverage center wasn't down here. So when the other places come in, probably our grocery business has gone down a little bit -- but our perishables are still way up there because we can offer a more personal touch to that. The beer business has gone down because that's gone to drugstores and discount beverage stores because they get a huge quantity.
But as Van Allen told Liz about managing a small, independent store: "You become tight knit and you're able to do things on your own [here] where in a chain you have to just follow the policy 'bang, bang, bang, bang, bang.'"
Could be tasty: City Beer Hall's Baconfest is back this weekend. The annual celebration of porcine deliciousness starts this Saturday at 3pm. Stations will be set up inside and on the patio with bacon dishes, sweets, cocktails and beer infusions. On menu:
Chocolate covered bacon
candied bacon Rice Krispy treats
Maple candied chicharrones
Bourbon braise bacon bruschetta
bacon mac n cheese
pulled pork parfait with whipped potato,peach bbq says, bacon roasted tomato
Blue cheese and bacon ice cream with strawberry balsamic sauce
Baby bacon cakes
Butter rum cheesecake with chicken-fried bacon garnish.
Items are a la carte and can be purchased with tickets. Tickets are $7 a piece. A package of 5 tickets can be purchased for $25.
Ah, summer. What could be more quintessentially American summertime than baseball, beer, and moules frites.
Yep, I said it. Moules. Frites.
Okay, so maybe that's a reach. While baseball and drinking beer are endemic to this country, the fancy title for mussels and French fries is a classic Belgian item.
But there is a place where those three elements -- baseball, beer, and moules frites -- coalesce in harmony, and that's Cooperstown, the site of the Baseball Hall of Fame and the hometown of one of the best examples of Belgian beer and food in America: Brewery Ommegang.
Back in February Sarah Fish mentioned to us that she was lined up to be on the Food Network Show Guy's Grocery Games. And now, via Notes on Napkins, comes word that the Troy chef will be on the episode that first airs this coming Sunday (July 27) at 8 pm. The episode is titled "Arounds in the World Three Carts."
Fish told us in February that the Food Network producers were interested in her because of her focus on cooking with fresh ingredients:
But they were asking, "What do you think is going to be your competitive edge?" I actually think that it's going to be my from-scratch cooking, because if I see something in a box or can or whatever I'm going to know what preparation has already gone into it so I can eliminate half the work by knowing what has already gone into it.
She'll be the second local chef to appear on the show -- Illium Cafe chef/owner Marla Ortega won an episode that aired this past May.
Fish is currently in process of transitioning her new restaurant, Cafe Congress, in Troy.
Yep, Wegmans does top this ranking of grocery store brands for the Northeast, as compiled by the polling firm Harris. But the thing that caught our eye about these rankings: Six grocery chains with presences in the Capital Region ranked above the category average for the Northeast -- and three of them are relatively new arrivals.
In descending order, those chains were: Trader Joe's (2), Whole Foods (3), ShopRite (4), Hannaford (5), BJ's Wholesale Club (Groceries) (6), and Price Chopper (9).
Other brands with local supermarket presences -- Aldi, Sam's Club, Target, and Walmart -- ranked below the regional average.
We gotta admit, we're not sure whether these sorts of lists actually tell us anything because they're not based on direct assessment/measurement/analysis of price/value/experience/whatever for the chains. That link at the top has a methodology section at the bottom -- basically, this was an (methodically done) online poll that asked people to rate brands. So, if anything, the rankings give some sense of to what degree people are fans (or not) of a certain brand.
For what it's worth, Wegmans and Trader Joe's also ranked 1-2 in the Consumer Reports' national ranking of supermarket brands this year. The CR rankings were also based on a survey of the public.
Earlier on AOA: Wegmans? Really? Please explain.
image: Harris Poll EquiTrend
Something that made us smile today:
A server at The Ginger Man in Albany got a $1,000 tip this week on a $114 check.
The talks are on Sunday afternoons, and the series kicks off this weekend with Shmaltz owner and author Jeremy Cowan moderating a talk by beer journalist John Holl, author of the American Craft Beer Cook Book . Chef Rachel of The Ruck in Troy will prepare recipes from the book, which will be paired with Shmaltz brews. The tasting and pairing is $15.
Future Books on Tap talks/tastings include:
+August 3 - Giancarlo and Sarah Annese, authors of Beer Lovers New York
+August 10 - Ben Keene, author of The Great Northeast Brewery Tour
+August 17 - Tom Acitelli, author of The Audacity of Hops: The History of America's Craft Beer Revolution
(For the sake of disclosure, John Holl is married to Mary's cousin.)
Blueberry season has started around the Capital Region, and we'll soon be right in the prime part of the season. Blueberries are are one of our favorite fruits to pick because:
1) The bushes grow about waist or chest high, so there's not a lot of bending or reaching.
2) The berries tend to be cheap -- usually between $2-$3 dollars per pound.
3) They freeze beautifully, meaning we can load up on berries during the summer and enjoy them months later.
There are a handful of farms around the Capital Region that offer pick-your-own blueberries. Here's a list with some info. And, of course, if you know of a place that should be on the list, please share.
There's a "Food Media Boot Camp" in Rensselaerville July 17-20. The camp is billed an "intensive retreat in which people can learn to expand their writing, photography, interviewing, and recipe development skills," and it's in a converted barn space. Blurbage:
The cast of characters include: the fabulous Lee brothers who have written the James Beard award winning cookbook The Lee Bros. Southern Cookbook; Molly O'Neill, the famed James Beard award winning author; Diva of America Pie, Kate Lebo (whose cookbook Pie School: Lessons in Fruit, Flour and Butter will be coming up this September); writer, photographer and genius behind Local Food Milk Blog, Beth Kirby; and Kristen Miglore, the executive editor of the website Food52.
The price is steep -- $1,250, which includes all meals and dorm-style housing, or $900 if you arrange housing separately. (We also hear you might be able to swing a discount by posting about the camp on social media outlets -- be sure to ask.) But if you're interested in writing about food, and making something more out of what you're writing, it might be worth considering.
If you have questions or would like more info, email Ali Rea-Baum: email@example.com.
AOA's summer tour is headed to Hudson this weekend, so we thought it'd be fun to have Hudson Week on AOA. Each day we'll be featuring posts about things to do, see, and sample in this city on the river.
For being only a thirty minute drive from Albany, Hudson feels like another world, especially in the gastronomical sense. A distinctive West Village vibe permeates the eateries and food shops that dot either side of Warren Street, to the point that even the staff seems as though they probably arrived at work from a two bedroom overpriced apartment that seven unrelated people live in.
Thankfully, the prices in the Hudson dining scene haven't yet reached skyscraper heights. On a recent trip I challenged myself to eat on a $5-$10-$15-$20 budget for the day. I would find a meal at each price point.
The criteria were that the food had to be 1) delicious and 2) an adequate serving for the price. With joints like Fish and Game and Crimson Sparrow - both run by top NYC chefs who moved up the Hudson - I was worried I wouldn't be able to find anything beyond quick grab-and-go options (a tasting menu at Fish and Game is $75. Add wine pairings and it's another $75).
I couldn't have been more wrong.
New York State's highest court -- the Court of Appeals -- issued a decision today that blocks New York City's much-talked about attempt to cap the size of containers for sodas and other sugary beverages at certain outlets. The 4-2 ruling rejected an appeal of lower court decisions by the city's Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.
There are a lot of issues that intersect at the point of a 16-ounce soda -- health, business, personal liberty -- but the court's ruling was focused on... separation of powers.
CD asks via Twitter:
Can anybody recommend Albany area restaurants that use local ingredients and have a veggie friendly menu?
We checked to clarify that CD was looking for vegetarian options. Or as CD responded:
Vegetarian options from local sources. #NoBagSalads
It seems more restaurants are offering vegetarian options, though the choices aren't always engaging. That said, some spots have given it a surprising shot. 677 Prime, the fancy pants steakhouse, recently had a vegetarian tasting menu -- we tried it, and while not every course was a hit, there were some interesting dishes. (The best dish involved carrots prepared a few different ways -- it was really good.)
And that points to one of the reasons to be curious about vegetarian options, even if you're not a vegetarian: going meat free often prompts a different, more interesting take on food.
So we're curious to hear about people's vegetarian favorites. Got a suggestion for CD? Please share!
Earlier on AOA:
+ Vegan dishes worth trying -- even if you're not a vegan
+ Hungry for Shades of Green