Items tagged with 'food'

Food truck events coming up

food truck festival troy 2013 slidin dirty crowd

From last year's festival in Troy.

The Food Truck Festival of NY is set to return to Troy's Riverfront Park May 16 -- that's a Friday -- from 4-8 pm. Admission is free.

The event has yet to announce the list of food trucks that will be there. But it has two musical acts lined up: Paranoid Social Club, Conor Kennedy, and Wild Adriatic.

Last year's event was very popular -- so, as an attendee, it pays to employ some strategy.

Food truck showcase
A group of local food trucks are getting together for a "food truck showcase" May 4 at the Saratoga Eagles Club, from noon-6 pm. Admission is free.

Among the trucks announced: Slidin' Dirty, Eat Good Food, Pies on Wheels, the Crisp Cannoli, and Capital Q.

TAP NY 2014

TAP NY judgingThe annual TAP NY craft beer festival will be back at Hunter Mountain April 26 and 27. Tickets are on sale now -- they're $73.44 for that Saturday / $60.48 for Sunday / $21.60 for designated drivers.

There are more than 70 breweries registered for this year's festival, 18 of them new to the event. Blurbage:

Many of the invited brewers produce their beer for sale only in their location.... whether it is a restaurant, a brewpub or a small brewery. Others are breweries large enough to distribute on a larger scale, but maintain an excellent quality through their commitment to hands-on, craft-brewing their product. You won't find Anheuser-Busch, Coors, or Miller products here. What you will find are some truly remarkable beers that will tantalize your taste buds... beers that offer a variety of color and flavor that the big brewers don't do. You'll find everything from pale ales and pilseners, to weisbiers, porters, stouts, and scotch ales; from hearty Bohemian and Bavarian-style lagers to glorious Belgian-style ales and much more.

The festival is also a competition for beer brewers in the state.

We get the impression the Saturday session of the festival often sells out, so if you're interested in going, it's probably a good idea to get tickets sooner rather than later.

Hunter Mountain is in the northern Catskills, a little over an hour's drive from Albany.

New breweries: Over at In The Name of Beer, Greg Back has been profiling the breweries that are new to the festival this year.

Earlier on AOA: Trying the "best craft beer in New York State"

photo: TAP NY FB

Fried oysters at Javier's

javier's fried oysters overhead

By Deanna Fox

Fried oysters are a fairly common dish on Capital Region menus. It's not a revolutionary preparation of the shellfish by any means -- fried oysters have been a hallmark of po' boy sandwiches for at least a century, and they've made appearances in many a basket at a fish fry or seaside shack.

However, if done right, variations on the dish can elevate the mere mollusk into something memorable, crave-able, extraordinary.

The fried oyster put forth by Javier's Nuevo Latino Cuisine in Saratoga Springs does just that.

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New York, honey

honey jar backlit

This honey's from Amsterdam.

Agricultural fact of the day: New York is 16th in the country for honey production, and by far the biggest producer in the Northeast. The Empire State produced 2.6 million pounds of honey last year, worth about $5.3 million, according to the USDA.

We came across these facts today after seeing word that the FDA has proposed stricter rules on what can and can't be called honey. The rules are in response to accusations that some producers -- especially in other countries -- have been cutting their honey with sweeteners such as rice syrup, and that "honey" is finding its way into this country. Chuck Schumer, in buzzing about his own efforts on the issue, referred to the practice as "honey laundering." [Minn Post] [Chuck Schumer office]

There's been some concern about funny honey business for a few years. Last year one of the nation's largest packers of honey admitted it had been involved in a mislabeling scheme in order to import cheap honey from China. Imports from that country have been subject to heavy taxes for the last decade after the feds decided China was dumping honey here at artificially low prices. As a result, illegal schemes cropped up for getting the stuff into the US. [NPR x2] [Bloomberg Businessweek]

By the way: North Dakota is far and away the largest producer of honey in the country, according to the USDA. It's 33 million pounds of honey was more than twice that of Montana and South Dakota's totals at #2 and #3.

Given the other stuff that comes through here from North Dakota, we're kind of wondering now why we can't (also) have a honey transfer depot at the Port of Albany.

The Low Beat brunch

low beat brunch cinnamon bunA(nother) sign that The Low Beat is not just Valentine's II: The music spot on Central Ave is planning the "first of many brunches" April 27, with chef Josh Colleto* heading up the food.

Among the menu items: Beans and Greens Omelette, Captain Crunch French Toast, Banana Bread Pancakes, Biscuits and Gravy (vegetarian or meat gravy), and Jumbo Cinnamon Bun (see pic).

And (of course) there will be music -- provided by Many Trails.

* You know, From Finnbar's in Troy.

Brits R Us

brits r us colonie composite

Bangers for your mash. And other things British

By Lauren Hittinger

Anyone who appreciates candy (chocolate in particular) from across The Pond, knows there are a lot of flavors, ingredients, and brands that are tough find in the USA. Things like Flake bars, Aeros, and Crunchies are hard to come by here. And what you can find -- British brands such as Cadbury -- may not taste quite the same on the Hudson as they would on the Thames.

Which is one of the reasons ex-pats and anglophiles in the Capital District may be excited about one of Colonie's newest additions: Brits R Us.

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Would you drink tree sap?

vertical water maple water packageSo this is a thing, apparently, and it's a thing from New York that will be showing up in stores in this month: maple water.

You know another word for maple water? Sap. Not boiled down into syrup. Just "minimally" processed sap.

From the Cornell Cooperative Extension, which assisted in developing the product:

As temperatures warm and maple sap starts flowing, gallons of it are collected and boiled down to make syrup. But the subtly sweet watery sap also tastes great straight from the tree, said Michael Farrell, director of Cornell's Uihlein Forest in Lake Placid and author of a recently released comprehensive maple guide, "The Sugarmaker's Companion."
"I love drinking the sap - it's absolutely delicious," Farrell said. ...
If the popularity of coconut water is any indication, there could be a big market for an all-natural product that is mostly water with a bit of sweetness and minerals, Farrell said. In taste tests conducted at Cornell's sensory laboratory, participants preferred maple water to coconut water, he added.
The success of the product would be a big boon to the state's maple producers and forest owners, Farrell said. Cugnasca is now working with members of the New York Maple Producers Association near its western New York bottling plant to supply sap for the first batches of Vertical Water.

As mentioned above, the commercial product is called Vertical Water, and it comes in one of those Tetra-Pak containers with a screw top. Also, from the company website: "The ideal temperature for drinking it is the temperature when it first comes out of the tree: around 40°F."

How does it taste? Over at Slate, L.V. Anderson writes (asterisk added): "It tasted like ... slightly sweet water.* The maple flavor was so mild as to be almost impossible to discern." And a tester for Business Insider concluded: "All it needs is vodka."

Why do we get the feeling Canada is laughing at us right now.
____

* As for sweetness, Vertical Water says its maple water has 3 g of sugar per 8 fluid ounces (and 15 calories). For comparison, Coke has about 26 g of sugar per 8 oz, and orange juice has 21 g. (Different types of sugar have different apparent sweetness, so this is just a sort of rough frame of reference.)

Earlier on AOA:
+ A new way of producing maple syrup: "like a sugar-filled straw stuck in the ground"
+ The art and science of maple sugaring

photo: Vertical Water

Startup Grant Contest update: The Cheese Traveler

The Cheese Traveler's Eric Paul was a runner up in the first Startup Contest.

There are just a few days left to enter a business idea in the All Over Albany Startup Grant Contest, sponsored by Staff Ciampino & Company P.C., Certified Public Accountants. One winner will receive $1,500 from Berkshire Bank to help start up a new business, or take an existing business to the next level. You should apply. Don't wait! The deadline is Friday.

The Cheese Traveler was a finalist in the second Startup Grant Contest in 2012. Back then cheesemonger Eric Paul was selling artisan and farm cheeses at farmers' markets, but he had a plan to team up with Tilldale Farms to open a storefront.

Today Eric operates The Cheese Traveler, selling artisan cheeses and specialty foods as well as meats from Tilldale, at a shop on Delaware Avenue.

startup contest 2014 sponsor ad staff ciampino

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French onion soup at The Ginger Man

ginger man french onion soup closeup

By Deanna Fox

A round of applause for Jeff Janssens, who very capably headed up the Eat This feature over the last year. And now we're happy to welcome Deanna Fox, who's next to occupy this seat at the table.

There are few times when eating soup requires the use of a knife. The French onion soup at The Ginger Man in Albany is one of those instances -- unless you plan to use your fingers to rip at the gooey cheese and broth-soaked toasts that encrust the soup.

I wouldn't blame you for throwing decorum aside and just going for it. This soup -- which is so much more than the typical French onion soup -- is worth it. But, just in case, keep the knife at the ready.

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Collar City Hard Pressed

collar city hard pressed jessica garrity

Collar City Hard Pressed's Jessica Garrity

By Lauren Hittinger

Juicing been getting a lot of attention over the last few years. So I was curious about Collar City Hard Pressed, a stand that opened at the Troy Waterfront Farmers' Market during the indoor season this past November. And after trying one of its creations, I was converted. Not only did the juice taste good -- but also you could see exactly what was going into your drink as it was being made.

So I went back to sample more -- and talk with Collar City Hard Pressed owner Jessica Garrity why she started the business, her plans for it, and how she feels about the whole juicing movement.

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Checking back in with the Crisp Cannoli and its croissant donuts

french toast crodo crisp cannoli

The French toast crodo: "Plain CRODO rolled in cinnamon sugar & egg dipped and fried - drizzled with glaze and maple syrup, and then topped with crispy bacon."

After seeing this French toast "crodo" (with bacon) from The Crisp Cannoli today, we thought it'd be fun to check back in with the East Greenbush bakery and the craze around the croissant donut. (Remember the apple cider crodo.)

"Cannoli are still my #1 seller, but no matter how many crodo I put in the case, I sell out," owner Jason Grant told us today. Since September of last year when he first started selling the crodos, Grant figures the Crisp Cannoli has sold about 5,500 of the pastries.

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The Whistling Kettle, Troy

Whistling Kettle Window outside.jpg

It's tea time in Troy

By Lauren Hittinger

The folks behind theWhistling Kettle Tea Room in Ballston Spa opened their new location in Troy this week.

The Whistling Kettle Tea Shop & Cafe launched quietly on Thursday. I stopped by for a look and a chat with owner Kevin Borowski about their new location.


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Startup Grant Contest update: 3 Chicks and a P

Jennifer Rittner-Paniccia

Jennifer Rittner-Paniccia

There are just over two weeks left to enter a business idea in the All Over Albany Startup Grant Contest, sponsored by Staff Ciampino & Company P.C., Certified Public Accountants. One winner will receive $1,500 from Berkshire Bank to help start up a new business, or take an existing business to the next level. You should apply. Don't wait!

Two years ago 3 Chicks and a P, a family-run hummus and tapenade business, took home the $1,500 prize in the Startup Grant Contest. Back then owner Jennifer Rittner was just starting the business with her husband Matt, and their delicious hummus recipes had become farmers' market favorites.

Today you can find their products at The Niskayuna Co-op, Honest Weight, Healthy Living Market, and the Schenectady Greenmarket. They're now preparing to move into larger markets, and Jen says their startup grant is still working for them.

startup contest 2014 sponsor ad staff ciampino

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Wontons in Spicy Flavor and Rice Cake with Pork & Capsella at Ala Shanghai

Ala Shanghai rice cakes and hot sauce

Don't forget the hot sauce.

By Jeff Janssens

When asked to name the one Capital Region restaurant that I never get tired of, the answer is easy: Ala Shanghai in Latham.

The xiao long bao (soup dumplings) get the most acclaim at Ala Shanghai, and deservedly so. I wouldn't dare suggest that one not order the soup dumplings during a visit there. But I'd like to make a couple of additional suggestions from Ala Shanghai's extensive 12-page menu.

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Bread and Honey

bread and honey kitchen

Like anyone else, Naomi Davies had a handful of reason for making a career switch. But, really, the choice boiled down to one important reason: "I was craving a great bagel."

So she's opening a new bakery -- Bread and Honey -- on Madison Ave in Albany's Pine Hills neighborhood.

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Ice cream stand season 2014

Thumbnail image for snowman ice cream sign troy

Now open: The Snowman.

Updated March 25

Public service announcement: Ice cream stand season has started.

The Snowman in Troy opened today. Bumpy's in Schenectady opened yesterday. And a few other season stands will be opening over the next week or so.

Here's a round up of a bunch of season ice cream stands, with opening dates. In some cases the dates are TBA, or we just couldn't find out (yet). So if you can fill in some of the information in the comments, we'd very much appreciate it. Because ice cream.

Who wants sprinkles...

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Plum Dandy Cookies and Milk

plum dandy cookies and milk three cookies

A PB Dark, a Gooey Louie, and Zoo Animal cookies.

By Lauren Hittinger

When I first walked by Plum Dandy Cookies and Milk, with a charming family inside enjoying sweet treats with adorable glassware and fancy straws, I felt like I was staring into a modern-day hipster Norman Rockwell painting. I wanted to stop in right then, but I was on my way to meet friends somewhere else.

I love sweets, so it was only a matter of time before I arranged another chance to stop in. And here's what I discovered when I finally made it inside.

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A spot for a post-wedding meal that won't break the bank?

fork on tableT asks via the Facebook:

I am having a City Hall wedding in August and I am looking for a nice place to have a decent meal afterward for about 20 people that won't break the bank. I would like it to be an Albany restaurant. I have researched several options and they are just too much. I would like to do something that would work out to be $20 or less per person. Can you throw this out to your readers for suggestions? Thanks.

Sometimes it seems like there's almost no ceiling on how much can be spent on a wedding. But trying to keep the cost down -- that can take some creativity and flexibility.

So... got a suggestion for T? Please share! We're especially curious if maybe there's some sort of non-traditional option that might work.

Earlier on AOA: Planning a Capital Region wedding: catering

Chipotle's new tofu "sofritas" has arrived here

chipotle sofritas bowl

The sofritas is vegan. This bowl was not.

Chipotle recently announced that its much-anticipated vegan "sofritas" would soon be arriving at Northeast locations, and there it was when we stopped into the Stuyvesant Plaza location Tuesday evening.

From the chain's description of the tofu product:

We start with organic tofu from Hodo Soy that we shred and then braise with chipotle chilis, roasted poblanos, and a blend of aromatic spices. The result is a delicious, spicy tofu that will give vegans and carnivores something they both will love.

The sofritas has gotten a lot of attention because 1) Chipotle almost never introduces new menu items and 2) it's tofu at a major national chain. The product has been hyped as a tofu "turning point", and the possible beginning of a "chain reaction" that could lead other chains and restaurants to add vegan items. It also didn't hurt that it was developed by Chipotle's star chef/culinary manager Nate Appleman, and that early testers said the stuff actually tasted pretty good -- so much so that it might appeal to non-vegans/vegetarians.

So, anyway, we got the sofritas in a (very not-vegan) burrito bowl. Initial reaction: It's... OK. It has the texture of crumbled sausage or chunky ground beef. And the chipotle flavor definitely registered. It sort of reminded us a little bit of ground beef with "taco" seasoning. We still prefer just the straight-up "vegetarian" bowl (something we get often) over a bowl with the sofritas.

Oh, and it should be mentioned that tofu in a burrito isn't exactly groundbreaking or anything. Bombers has had tofu burritos for a long time.

Earlier on AOA: Vegan dishes worth trying -- even if you're not a vegan

Vanilla Porter Braised Beef Short Ribs at Midtown Tap & Tea Room

midtown vanilla porter short ribs overhead

By Jeff Janssens

Slow-braised beef short ribs are the perfect dish for a cold winter night. Rich, heavy, filling, they are quintessential comfort food. And with a long, frigid winter that just won't quit, it's a fitting meal for the first week of March.

That said, it isn't terribly hard to make braised short ribs taste good. So for a time I held off on writing about the Midtown Tap & Tea Room's Vanilla Porter Braised Beef Short Ribs, despite how much I enjoyed them when I first tried the dish last summer, thinking I could probably get a comparably tasty version at many other area restaurants.

But a recent bad experience with short ribs at a different restaurant made me reevaluate -- and re-try -- the Tap & Tea Room's version.

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Kimchi fries?

mingle kimchi fries

Update: And here they are, kimchi fries from Mingle, via the restaurant's FB page. That's a photo above. (Thanks, Jerry!)
____

The Chopsticks Optional crew tweeted this afternoon:

I saw a picture of kimchi fries and that's all I want to try now. Can a 518 eatery make that happen ASAP?!
Potato fries topped with kimchi, pork belly, melted jack and cheddar, and sour cream and onions...*drools*

This seemed like an idea whose time has come -- and it should arrive here. Jerry talked with the people at Mingle in Albany -- and it sounds like it's on. Let us offer our strong encouragement. (Hey, sometimes these sorts of requests turn out really well.)

And if you know of where these already exist, locally, please share.

By the way: Chi'lantro, a Mexican-Korean fusion food truck in Austin, claims to be the originator of kimchi fries.

By the way x2: We're generally in favor of all sorts of things being piled on fries with cheese.

Mingle advertises on AOA.

Checking out the Price Chopper Market Bistro

Price Chopper Market Bistro

The new Price Chopper Market Bistro -- the company's long-planned concept store in Latham -- is just about ready for its grand opening. But you can check out much of what's new right now, as we did this week when we got a tour.

There's been a lot of change in the Capital Region supermarket scene over the last few years -- a lot of new stores, new competitors, new upgrades. But it's not a stretch to say that there is nothing else like Market Bistro in this area.

Here's a quick photo tour and a few bits.

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A look at the plans for the Capital District Community Gardens Urban Grow Center

CDCG Urban Grow Center.jpg

The CDCG' new Urban Grow Center building on River Street in Troy.

A few years ago the 100-year-old manufacturing building at 594 River Street in Troy was home to a company that produced that little liquid piece that goes inside levels. By this time next year it's expected to house a low-cost produce market and it will be home to the Capital District Community Gardens headquarters.

And a few years from now, if all goes according to plan, the building and the land beside it will also include a hydroponic garden, educational and job training space, and a commercial kitchen.

CDCG executive director Amy Klein says the new Urban Grow Center is unique -- a space that will combine urban agriculture, education, and food access.

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America's Test Kitchen Live at The Palace

christopher kimball america's test kitchen

Christopher Kimball

The Palace announced today that America's Test Kitchen Live -- a stage show from the popular PBS TV cooking show -- will be at the theater April 13 at 3 pm. Tickets go on sale to the general public Friday (February 28) -- they're $35 and up.

America's Test Kitchen is produced by the same people behind Cooks Illustrated, the popular magazine devoted to careful testing of recipes, cooking techniques, and kitchen gadgets. Event blurbage:

As host of America's Test Kitchen for the past 14 seasons, as well as editor of the popular Cooks Illustrated magazine, Christopher Kimball will share his strong and entertaining opinions on culinary trends and cooking equipment. He'll take questions from the audience as well as test their knowledge of unusual ingredients in an interactive segment during the live show. America's Test Kitchen Live with Christopher Kimball will deliver a fun and informative evening for fans and foodies around the country.
Dan Souza is a senior editor of Cook's Illustrated and an on-screen test cook for America's Test Kitchen. In addition to his work on Cook's Illustrated, Dan has contributed content to a dozen America's Test Kitchen cookbooks, most recently executing and editing the test kitchen experiments for The Science of Good Cooking (October 2012). Dan cut his culinary teeth as an apprentice in Hungary before graduating first in his class from the Culinary Institute of America (CIA). After cooking in restaurants in New York City and Boston, however, he found his true calling: applying good science to create great recipes for the home cook.

(This NYT Mag article from a few years back is an interesting look at Kimball and the Cooks Illustrated empire. )

The Palace event also has a VIP ticket that includes a book and meet-and-greet with Chris Kimball's bowtie. It's $85.

photo: America's Test Kitchen FB

Tempeh burger at The Hollow

the hollow tempeh burger cross-section

A cross section of the The Hollow's tempeh burger.

By Jeff Janssens

Few foods are as satisfying as a classic hamburger. Lately, though, I've been making an effort to eat less red meat.

So even though I'd heard that The Hollow Bar + Kitchen in downtown Albany has a very good beef burger, one featuring a fried egg and habanero ketchup, I was more interested in their tempeh burger, curious to see if I could leave satisfied even after opting for the vegetarian option.

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The Scoop

Ever wish you had a smart, savvy friend with the inside line on what's happening around the Capital Region? You know, the kind of stuff that makes your life just a little bit better? Yeah, we do, too. That's why we created All Over Albany. Find out more.

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