Items tagged with 'food'
This could be fun: The Confectionery is offering a holiday cookie decorating party hosted by its pastry chef, Starla Bradshaw. The event is Sunday, December 15 from 4-6 pm. Tickets are $20 ahead (available at The Grocery) / $25 at the door.
Blurbage: "Cookies and decorating supplies will be provided, as well as your choice of a glass of mulled wine or sipping chocolate."
Getting together with some friends to decorate cookies and have some wine could be fun wherever you do it. But we suspect there could be some interesting twists for these cookies. Bradshaw has been using some unusual flavors in her creations for the Confectionery. Example: macarons in flavors such as pine (ground pine needles and sugar), bee pollen, charcoal and smoked vanilla bean, and spirulina.
Oh, and the Confectionery's patio now has a retractable glass roof.
Earlier on AOA: Checking out The Grocery in Troy
The Confectionery was a stop on the AOA Historic Bad Boys, Broads, and Bootlegger tour.
Umana Restaurant and Wine Bar in Albany opened on November 1, the end of a three-year project for owner Dale Davidson. The interior of the space was gutted during that time, and Davidson had some of the furnishings built for the restaurant in Haiti -- tables and chairs were constructed and hand-woven there -- and the walls were hand-painted to create a bright and inviting space.
While this is truly impressive -- and Umana is one of the most striking restaurant spaces in the entire area -- the menu is equally compelling. And the menu item that intrigued me most was the Samosa Trio.
The state Office of General Services announced a new lineup of food options at the Empire State Plaza. The new options include an outlet for Pho Yum, the casual Vietnamese restaurant in Colonie, and Capital Q, the barbecue place in Albany's Pine Hills neighborhood. The new vendors start serving Monday, November 25.
The new vendor lineup was prompted by a switch from Sodexo, the current food service provider. Local restaurant empire Mazzone Hospitality is taking over the ESP's cafeteria and will have catering rights in the Albany Room. OGS says Mazzone will start December 9. [TU CapCon]
Also: "An announcement regarding the former Capitol Deli is forthcoming."
A full list of the new -- as well as still present -- food options is post jump.
Sherry Lynn's Gluten-Free in Latham -- which for years has been a source for items such as doughnuts and mac 'n cheese for people who can't eat gluten -- is moving and changing a bit. From a post on its Facebook page (link added):
As everyone knows our lease is up at our current location. Our plan was to purchase a building and continue. Unfortunately with the growing competition offering gluten free in the area there is little support for the restaurant portion of our business, being a small family business we are unable to compete. So we we will be closing mid December ( exact date unknown ). We have found a location at 11 Herbert Drive, Latham, NY 12110, where we will be able to continue offering safe gluten free baked goods, but will not continue the restaurant at this location. We are getting a late start on fitting out this building so we will be closed for sometime. Please help us spread the word and share this on your wall. we will keep everyone posted as soon as we know closing date and reopen date. Thank you for your continued support.
In the last few years there seems to have been a significant upswing in awareness of celiac disease and the number of people avoiding gluten, and restaurants and supermarkets have reacted accordingly. It's not uncommon now to see the menu at a restaurant include at least a few items that are specifically marked as gluten free.
And while that's good for people who are allergic to gluten, it sounds like the spread of gf options has cut into Sherry Lynn's business. One of the complications of a niche going mainstream.
Earlier on AOA: A few years back we compiled a listing of local gluten-free restaurant options (2011)
exterior photo via Sherry Lynn's Gluten Free FB
Words fail to truly capture the emotions evoked by the newest work from Mr. Dave, proprietor of The Ridiculous Food Society of Upstate New York. He calls it "Capital Region in Aspic." (There are more photos at that link, including cross sections. Bonus photo.)
Leaving behind meatloaf and mashed potatoes of his other recent work, Mr. Dave has instead embraced a new collection of media: Knox gelatine, Stewart's Mountain Brew, a Hot Dog Charlie's mini hot dog.
As with any work of art, it's better not to attempt explanation. Meet the work on its own terms. Experience it. Allow your interpretation to flow, as if water, finding its own level.
You will find yourself changed.
Our goal is to continue to grow the expo into a nationally renowned event, drawing diverse speakers with an array of educational exhibits, bountiful information, and providing resources for those interested in making positive life changes for their health, the environment, and the animals.
We hope that with the continued growth and production of NY's Capital Region Vegetarian Expo that the surrounding community will begin to more readily support those who choose a plant-based lifestyle.
The ultimate goal is to demonstrate and promote the global health benefits of green sustainable living, environmental awareness, compassion for animals and all beings and to highlight their relationship to plant-based lifestyle in the Capital Region area of New York and surrounding areas.
The VegFest is from 10 am-6 pm on Saturday. Admission is free, but a $5 donation is "greatly appreciated."
At some point over the past few weeks, I'd venture to say, we officially transitioned into soup weather. With gray skies and chilly winds blowing, there are few things as satisfying as getting out of the cold for a bowl of soup. For me, a large, steaming bowl of pho is the most satisfying soup in these conditions.
This traditional Vietnamese noodle soup can be found in a number of area restaurants, but in my opinion Kim's Restaurant in the Pine Hills neighborhood of Albany is making the best pho in the area.
The leaves have turned, the sun's setting earlier, and the air grows colder. It's wine season, folks. Time to hide from the cold by crowding into a cozy winery and warming yourself with sips of Riesling.
And, as it happens, a winery might be closer than you think. The Altamont Vineyard & Winery -- llocated along the Albany/Schenectady county line -- is a small venue that's been in operation since 2006.
But its grapes were established long before that.
Word started circulating this week that an Ideal Food Basket supermarket is set to open on Broadway in Menands sometime in the next month. It'll be the first location for the Long Island-based chain, which already has stores downstate, as well as in Connecticut and Massachusetts. [Biz Review]
We'd never heard of Ideal Food Basket, and after some poking around -- and admittedly without stepping into one -- we get the impression it's a pretty average "neighborhood" style supermarket, maybe with slant toward being a discount market. The thing that did stand out, though: Where it's decided to set up here.
The Ideal Food Basket is going in to the former Save-A-Lot space at 100 Broadway in Menands. That spot is notable because it's located near areas in North Albany and Arbor Hill that are designated as "food deserts" by the federal government. What's that mean? Well, in the simplest sense, it means there isn't a supermarket within a 1-mile (or half-mile) radius of those neighborhoods (the whole definition is a bit more involved). A map we created last year about Capital Region supermarket geographic distribution might make it clearer.
The chain's parent organization has apparently decided to focus in part on opening stores in such areas. Said the company's CEO to the Times Union: "We get into areas where most organizations don't go into ... We go into underserved areas. We hire only from the neighborhood." Just this past month it opened a store in Nassau County on Long Island that was hailed as bringing a supermarket to an area with a "critical food-access issue." [TU] [Newsday]
For all the booming that's happened on the local supermarket scene in the last few years, the development has almost entirely focused on high-end products (Fresh Market, Whole Foods) and/or areas that already had other supermarket choices (ShopRite). It's interesting to see a company looking at areas not currently served as a business opportunity.
Speaking of Albany mayors and their representations on food, Barry T emails with the photo above:
Why is my oatmeal approved by John Boyd Thacher??
And to Barry, we say: That is a totally reasonable question.
Please stop what you're doing and take a moment to view a new work of art. A marking of a historic moment in Albany history as it makes an every-few-decades-or-more transition. A tribute in the media of meatloaf and mashed potatoes.
Behold: Loafy Jennings.
This masterwork is the creation of the esteemed Mr. Dave, proprietor of the Ridiculous Food Society of Upstate New York -- where he details the process of creating the meatloaf relief:
Albany Mayor Jerry Jennings has been synonymous in my mind with the city at large for the past 20 years. Alas, as all things eventually do, his run as the leader of the city in which I was born has come to an end. One of the dominate traits of my personality is that I do not handle change very well and that I am prone to fits of nostalgia. I am already nostalgic for the Jennings era and it hasn't even come to a close yet. So I was thinking of how, in my own small way, I might offer tribute and in my own nonsensical manner immortalize Mayor Jennings.
All hail Mr. Dave. He has won the local internet today.
Chuck Schumer was at Golden Harvest in Kinderhook today pushing for legislation that would change the way the feds regulate and tax hard cider. Zzzzzzzzz... yeah, doesn't sound super exciting, but this clip from the press release explains why it could be important (emphasis added):
Schumer was joined by Golden Harvest Farms owners Alan and Derek Grout as he launched his proposal, the CIDER Act (Cider, Investment & Development through Excise Tax Reduction Act), to update the definition for hard apple and pear cider in the Internal Revenue Code (IRC) that would increase their allowed alcohol by volume from 7 percent to 8.5 percent, encompassing significantly more hard cider products and allowing them to be labeled and taxed like hard cider, rather than wine. Schumer's proposal would also address existing tax issues related to carbonation levels in hard cider, and would put the new definition in line with that of the European Union, so producers can better compete with European products abroad. Hard cider is a value-added product that is sold around the same price every year; therefore hard cider gives producers a stable source of income when apple crops suffer due to weather and other unforeseen factors. New York apple producers are increasingly interested in producing smaller, artisanal batches of hard cider, but cite the cost and difficulty to comply with the IRC definition as significant impediments to expanding their businesses.
New York is the second largest apple producer nationwide, harvesting a total of 29.5 million bushels annually from over 650 farms and 41,000 acres across the state. In recent years, thanks to the growing popularity of hard cider, many apple producers have turned to producing this craft beverage as a method to keep apple orchards profitable, generate new economic development opportunities, and attract a new visitor demographic to their farms. There have been an increasing number of hard cider producers as a result, starting with a few producers a few years ago to over 20 today. And Schumer highlighted that number should only continue to grow, as a significant number of apple farmers are interested in adding this popular product, and have sought out advice and expertise from the Cornell Cooperative to do so.
So, short story: Changing the federal rules could make it easier financially for orchards to make cider -- which could help provide new revenue to keep orchards going, and provide the rest of us with something interesting to drink.
Golden Harvest/Harvest Spirits: Schumer was at Golden Harvest because of its Harvest Spirits distillery, which already makes excellent spirits from apples (and other fruit) -- and it sounds like Harvest Spirits is also interested in getting into the hard cider business, as well.
Earlier on AOA:
+ More fizz for the cider business in New York
+ Nine Pin Cider Works in Albany
+ Eat this: Old Sin Cider from Slyboro Ciderhouse
+ Eat this: Peach Jack from Harvest Spirits
+ Poking around at Harvest Spirits
Now that apple season is almost over -- this upcoming weekend is probably that last for pick-your-own -- we return to our totally subjective, completely unscientific -- yet thoroughly authoritative (of course) -- power rankings of apple varieties.
See also: Early season apple power rankings.
The craft beer/spirits industry is booming, and there's a been a lot of attention over the last few years in New York State on "farm" breweries, distilleries, wineries, and (most recently) cideries. The state has passed legislation that makes it easier/cheaper for these small scale operations -- if they use a specified amount of agricultural products from New York. The goal is to help foster an end-to-end industry in the state: crops are grown here, products are made here, and they're sold here.
But that means getting a lot of different people -- farmers, brewers, economic development orgs -- moving in the same direction. Toward that goal, the Carey Center for Global Good in Rensselaerville is starting a "farm brewery incubator." Blurbage:
For the past year, the Carey Institute has been working to start a model farmstead brewery in Rensselaerville. The aim of the project is to create a new economic development and social networking hub, bringing farmers, brewers and the Capital Region community together.
The Carey Institute has partnered with CSArch, an Albany architecture firm, to reconstruct a 1760's New World Dutch barn donated by Randolph J. Collins from the town of Guilderland. This icon of local history will be erected on our campus and adapted to house New York State's first farm-to-glass classroom and farm brewery incubator. Here, we will provide start-up brewing space and educational opportunities to emerging farm brewery enterprises, cultivating economic opportunities for farmers and brewers in New York State's budding farm-to-glass industry.
The Carey Center has a kickoff fundraising event for the project lined up for November 16, from 5-6:30 pm.
The new food market in downtown Troy -- The Grocery -- officially opened Tuesday on Broadway, half a block from Monument Square.
It's the latest project from Vic Christopher and Heather LaVine, owners of The Confectionery, located in an adjacent building. And much like the wine/coffee bar, Christopher and LaVine have created another space with a definite sense of place.
We stopped in Tuesday afternoon to have a look and talk with a few of the people involved, about how it came together and trying to find the right approach for a grocery store in downtown Troy.
The Cajun Pork Belly and Crispy Prosciutto Open-Faced Panini from Illium Café in Troy is fatty, rich, heavy food. It packs such a punch that it's liable to knock you out for the rest of the afternoon, if not the entire winter.
Truth be told, a sandwich that features pork belly, prosciutto, a fried egg, hollandaise sauce, a savory bread pudding, and a creamy brie sauce is not something you want to be eating with much regularity. It may also seem, at first glance, to be an exercise in excess.
But once you taste this panini, you can't help but wonder how it was that you never before found all of these ingredients served together on a plate.
This upcoming event at Albany Law caught our eye: "Carnivore, Locavore, Grocery Store: The Economics, Politics, and Regulation of Sustainable Meat Production." It's a panel discussion and community forum November 7. Panel members:
+ Parke Wilde, Associate Professor of Food Policy, Tufts University, and Author, Food Policy in the United States
+ Jerry Cosgrove, Associate Director, Local Economics Project of the New World Foundation, and Author, Agricultural Economic Development for the Hudson Valley
+ Naftali Hannau, Co-founder and Owner, Grow & Behold Kosher Pastured Meats, New York City
+ Anna Hannau, Co-founder and Owner, Grow & Behold Kosher Pastured Meats, New York City, and Author, Food for Thought: Hazon's Sourcebook on Jews, Food, and Contemporary Life
+ Timothy Lytton, Albert & Angela Farone Distinguished Professor of Law, Albany Law School, and Author, Kosher: Private Regulation in the Age of Industrial Food
There seems to be growing public interest in where food comes from and how it gets to us, not just ends but also means. So this even could have some interesting threads for a range of people.
The discussion starts at 7 pm on November 7 at Albany Law. It's free and open to the public.
A quick heads up: Bake For You is planning to take over the former All Good Bakers space at 540 Delaware Ave in Albany -- the DelSo (Delaware South) area that also includes The Cheese Traveler, Mingle, and Nicole's.
Bake For You has been operating out of a small kitchen near Albany's Washington Park for the last few years, selling at the Delmar Farmers' Market and producing baked goods for local businesses. It's become known for its interesting cookies -- including locally-themed varieties such as the DelSo cookie.
Owner Linda Kindlon tells us she'll be using the 540 space to sell a range of sweets, coffee and tea, as well as cards and other gift items. The opening target date is November 12. Kindlon said she's excited back in the neighborhood where she grew up.
photo: Bake For You
It's Work Week on AOA. We'll be talking with people about their jobs and working. Part of that includes anonymous conversations with people about what it's like to do their jobs.
Next up: The Restaurant Server.
While she currently divides her time between restaurants and a teaching job, the Restaurant Server has been in the restaurant business for 30 years, most of that time here in the Capital Region.
This could be interesting -- and fun -- if you're into coffee: The Capital Region Coffee Collective. Blurbage:
The Capital Region Coffee Collective will hold its first public event on Saturday, November 2nd at the Lucas Confectionery in Troy, N.Y. The goal of the CRCC is to promote the awareness and enjoyment of specialty coffee in the Capital Region. The group intends to spend half of its time arranging public tasting events and the other half holding private educational events for area coffee professionals.
The initial founders of the collective wear the hats of baristi, barista trainers, coffee roasters, green coffee buyers and most importantly coffee lovers employed at a few different coffee shops and business entities in the region. So far the CRCC has met privately each month since May this year to explore palate development through tasting exercises as well as features of roasters across the country.
That first public event at noon on November 2 (a Saturday) at the Confectionery. It will include a "tasting of one coffee roasted to three different roast levels, displaying a wide range of taste possibility from a single green coffee source." If you go, you'll get to try all three and there will be a discussion after the tasting.
As we've seen from pizza and other things we've tested, side-by-side tastings are a good way to better understand a food and get a sense of what you like/don't like. So this might be a good opportunity to get a better feel for coffee.
We hear more public events are in the works.
Earlier on AOA:
+ Eat this: Iced coffee at the Confectionery
+ Talking with David Schulman, winner of the Barista Albany competition
photo via Capital Region Coffee Collective
The Cuomo admin announced Thursday that the governor has signed the Farm Cideries Bill. The legislation extends a range of opportunities and tax advantages to cideries that "farm" breweries, wineries, and distilleries in the state already had thanks to other recent legislation. From the press release:
The Farm Cideries bill authorizes the establishment and licensure of farm cideries for the manufacture and sale of cider made from crops grown in New York State and would exclude licensed farm cideries from the sales tax information return filing requirements. In order to obtain a farm cidery license, the hard cider must be made exclusively from apples grown in New York State and no more than 150,000 gallons may be produced annually. Farm cideries will be allowed to offer tastings of and sell not only cider, but also beer, wine, and spirits made from New York products. In addition, because farm cideries may also sell products such as mustards, sauces, jams, jellies, souvenirs, artwork, crafts and other gift items, these businesses, much like farm wineries, will become destination locations that will promote tourism within their communities. Also, the need for apples in the manufacture of New York State labeled cider would create a sustained demand for products from New York's farmers.
Here's a practical example of what all that means: The Farm Cider Bill opens the way for Nine Pin Cider -- the startup cider maker in North Albany -- to eventually open a tasting room and retail shop at its location on Broadway. (When we talked with Nine Pin founder Alejandro del Peral earlier this year, the Farm Cider Bill was a key part of their business plan. They had been eagerly anticipating its signing.)
For much of the last century hard cider has kind of been a fringe product compared to beer, wine, and spirits. But it has a long history in this country -- Johnny Appleseed wasn't setting up those orchards for eating apples -- and was once very popular. It never recovered its status after Prohibition, though. [Serious Eats] [Slate]
But the beverage has been on the comeback in recent years. New York State is even promoting a "cider revival." And if you look around this area, you can see signs of it taking root here (again). There's the aforementioned Nine Pin. Hicks Orchard in Granville is planting more than a thousand new trees for its Slyboro hard cider. The Rogers Family Orchard near Johnstown is setting up a hard cider operation. And apparently Saratoga Apple is considering it, too. [Nation's Restaurant News] [Post-Star] [Daily Gazette] [Saratogian]
Hey, you gotta do something with all those apples.
Earlier on AOA:
+ Nine Pin Cider Works
+ Last year the founders of the Albany Distilling Co. told us about how the state's Farm Distillery Bill helped open the way for their business
The match-up in this final pairing:
DC's (Albany) vs. DeFazio's (Troy)
How we got here: DC's posted a good score in the semi-final meat lover's match-up with Mario's from Niskayuna. And DeFazio's put up a very strong score -- tied for fifth highest in TOP history -- to withstand a solid challenge from Mama Mia's of Saratoga.
And there are compelling storylines in the final matchup:
+ This is DeFazio's third straight year in the final -- can the Troy shop finally take the title?
+ On the other end, this is DC's first year in the tournament. The shop across from UAlbany upset last year's tournament champ -- Marisa's Place of Guilderland -- in Round 2. Can it rally for one more big win?
Let's eat some pizza.
Andrea asked this morning on Twitter:
I want bubble tea. Does @alloveralbany know where I can get some?
Our first thought was the Hong Kong Bakery on Wolf Road. But people on Twitter had a few other suggestions -- they're after the jump.
Got a suggestion for a local spot for bubble tea? Please share.
The Tournament of Pizza is now in year 5 of the modern 100-point scale era. So we have a lot of numbers piled up from the tournament -- and a lot of stats. Let's break some of them down...
A heads up: This year's -- well, next year's -- OK, the next Albany Wine & Dine for the Arts Festival is January 16-18. That's a bit of a way off, but tickets for the festival went on sale this week. And because many of the events associated with the annual festival sell out, buying tickets earlier rather than later is probably a good idea if you're interested in attending.
This year's festival events include:
+ A grands tasting, with 70 chefs and restaurants and 250 wines, spirits, and beers
+ The "rising star" chefs pavilion
+ A reception and book signing with chef Suvir Saran
+ The Slider Slam -- 15 chefs competing to make the best sliders
+ The Barista Albany competition, in which local baristas compete
+ A mystery basket-style competition for chefs
+ A gala reception and six-course dinner
Some of the events require individual tickets, and prices start at $10 and go up from there.
The beneficiaries of the 2014 festival are: Albany Barn, Albany Institute, Albany Symphony, Capital Rep, and the Park Playhouse.