Items tagged with 'food'

Buffalo wings from 20 North Broadway Tavern

20 North Broadway Tavern wings

By Deanna Fox

"Can we try Buffalo wings sometime?"

Finally. My youngest child is now a true Upstater.

A kindergartener in public school, it was only a matter of time before he heard about wings and was tempted to try them. He was barely off the school bus when he asked, and then asked again, and asked a subsequent half-dozen times over the next few days.

It was happening. We were going out for his inaugural taste of this quintessential Upstate New York dish. But where do you go to make sure the first bite is a good introduction?

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Ben & Jerry's open again in Lark Street neighborhood

Ben and Jerry's Madison Ave Albany exterior 2016-May

The Lark Street Ben & Jerry's has re-opened -- and it's on Madison Ave now. Specifically, it's at 467 Madison Ave, which is right next to El Loco and just east of Washington Park. (It's the former Little Moon storefront.)

The store opened this past Saturday, and there will be a grand opening set for sometime in the near future. Hours are noon to 11 pm every day.

Rich Wilson, who owns the franchise with business partner Mike Sperduto, was in the store this afternoon working on the wall art when we stopped in for a few minutes. Some of the furniture is yet to arrive, but there's ice cream in the cooler and they're scooping. Wilson said they're enjoying the feel of the new space and the extra work space it affords.

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A quick look around Berben and Wolff's

Berben and Wolff's exterior

That new vegan deli on Lark Street -- Berben and Wolff's -- opened Tuesday. It's in the space at 227 Lark formerly occupied by The Brakes.

The deli is backed by Joey Berben and Max Wolff, who had already been making seitan for local restaurants. As Berben told us back it in March, their plan is to serve "things you would expect in a New York deli, but all plant based." And the menu reflects that aim. It includes items such as a housemade seitan pastrami reuben, a tempeh bacon lettuce and tomato sandwich, and BBQ pulled jackfruit with cabbage slaw on a bun. (We'll have more about the food in the near future.)

Hours currently are Tuesday-Saturday 10 am-8 pm and Sunday brunch from 10 am-3 pm. It's closed Mondays.

Here's a quick look around...

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The buzz on New York honey

lloyd spear honey trioAgricultural fact of the day: New York State produced almost 3.6 million pounds of honey in 2015, according to numbers from the federal government.* That's up almost 9 percent from the year before.

New York's total ranked 10th among all states last year. (It ranked #13 last year.) And it's by the far the biggest producer in the Northeast. (Next up is Maine at #31.)

The state's production was valued at a little more than $10.5 million. The average price per pound that New York producer were able to get was $2.94. (The national average $2.09.)

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Hot Plate from K-Plate at Troy Kitchen

K-Plate Hot Plate

By Deanna Fox

I love the idea of a food court. Part of my college decision came down to the schools with the best cafeterias. There is something so American about being offered a plethora of food options without having to walk too far to explore them.

Sadly, most food courts are depressing. Just look at most malls. It almost gives the term "food court" a biased, bad reputation. Unless -- like me -- you grew up in a magical land shaped by the mythos that is Wegmans and its epic food court, there is little hope when one hears that term.

We have no Wegmans here (yet), but there is light in the dark tunnel of "food courts." Galleria 7, on Troy-Schenectady Road in Latham, is part of it. As is Troy Kitchen, the food court that recently opened in the old Pioneer co-op grocery building on Congress Street in Troy.

As much I love options, I'm basically ruined from trying most things that are offered at the handful of food stalls within Troy Kitchen. Because the Hot Plate, from K-Plate Korean BBQ, is my new go-to.

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Fork in the Road returns this Friday

Fork in the Road Tricentennial Park

Tricentennial Park is the park on Broadway across from Kiernan Plaza/the old train station.

The Fork in the Road food truck series returns to Tricentennial Park in Albany this Friday, May 13 from 5-8 pm.

The truck lineup for this month:
+ The Hungry Traveler
+ Sweet Mama Mia
+ Emack & Bolio's
+ The Chuck Wagon
+ The Hollow will be serving beverages

There will also be music from Morris Code.

This is the second year for Fork in the Road. The Downtown Albany BID has said it averaged 600 people for each event last summer. And the spot seemed to work well, with the trucks lined up along Broadway and people sitting around the park. Here are pics from the first one last May.

The dates for this summer are: June 10, July 8, August 12, September 9, October 14.

The Downtown Albany BID advertises on AOA.

Talking with the new manager of the Troy farmers' market

Troy Waterfront Farmers Market River Street

The Troy Waterfront Farmers' Market starts is it's new outdoor season this Saturday morning on River Street in downtown Troy.

And its 17th season includes a new manager: Liz Hammond. She comes to the job with experiences that include both working on farms and the Veggie Mobile, Capital Roots' mobile vegetable market.

We met up with Hammond this week to talk about the state of the market, its place in the local food scene, and the connections between the market's producers and customers.

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Idea: A farmers' market for Washington Park?

washington park lake house exterior

Ryan emails, not so much with a question as an idea to float (link added):

As we enter outdoor farmers' market season, I have been thinking that the Washington Park Lakehouse would be the perfect spot for a weekend summer farmer's market. Aside from the beauty of the park in summer, the Lakehouse is well equipped to hold markets (as evidenced by the Half Moon Market, which is a welcome addition), and there is plentiful parking around the park. On top of that the development in Park South will likely add thousands more residents within a few blocks of the park over the next several years. Not to take anything away from the other summer outdoor markets in the area, because they are great, but Washington Park seems to be screaming for a farmers' market. If you have any insight, I'd love to hear it.

Ryan had asked if this idea had ever come up before -- we're almost certain it has in some way, but as we were thinking about it we couldn't point to a specific instance.

A quick take on the idea: A farmers' market in the park might work, though there would be organizational (Who runs its?) and logistical (What about Park Playhouse?) issues to address. The overall question we come back to is whether there's enough room for another entry in the already crowded local farmers'-market market. It's not just a matter of there being enough customers to go around, it's also about whether there are enough farms with the resources necessary to show up each week at an Albany market and contribute to a critical mass of vendors. If you're a small farm, showing up at more than a few markets each weekend is probably a big stretch.

That said, there's also the possibility of induced demand. Would an Albany market add customers who wouldn't otherwise be shopping at farmers' markets? Would that make it worthwhile for more farms to participate or expand?

Like Ryan, we're curious to hear your thoughts.

Death Wish Coffee Vodka

death wish coffee vodka albany distillingThe latest local beverage collaboration: Albany Distilling Company and Death Wish Coffee have teamed up to create a coffee-flavored vodka. And there's a release party for the product of the collaboration this Saturday, April 30 at Olde Saratoga Brewing Co in Saratoga Springs.

Vodka blurbage: "Our most recent joint project has been a long time in the making - Death Wish Vodka. This silky smooth coffee flavored vodka is balanced by roasted choclate and just a touch of sweetness."

The release party is from 2-6 pm. There will be samples of the vodka, and bottles available for sale, along with beers on tap from Olde Saratoga. Also lined up: music from The North & South Dakotas, Angels on the Fourth, and Better Pills. Tickets are $5 ahead / $10 at the door.

Bottles of the vodka will be available on retail shelves starting Monday, a spots such as Empire Wine and Exit 9 Wine and Liquor.

Earlier on AOA:
+ Death Wish Coffee gets a Super Bowl ad
+ The Brew Brew

photo: Optimum Exposure Photography / ADC

Ice cream slider at Kurver Kreme

kurver kreme ice cream slider

By Deanna Fox

I have to be honest with you. I don't think there is much more that I could add to this story than this: There is a magical place on the western fringes of Albany proper that serves soft serve ice cream inside a glazed doughnut -- and then rolls the whole thing in sprinkles.

Really? You're still reading? You need more details than that? (sigh) OK, let me share with you that which I have tasted.

And by the way, it's called The Slider, and it is from Kurver Kreme.

(there's more)

A spot for Mother's Day brunch that's a bit different -- and kid friendly?

City Beer Hall Chocolate Decadence French ToastJamie emails:

Every year or family gets together for brunch on Mother's Day (6-8 adults and 3 children).
This year I'm trying to come up with a unique place that works for kids, but is more than a feeding frenzy around 50 chaffing dishes and 5 year olds in matching khakis lobbing marshmallows and old fruit into a chocolate fountain. Any ideas?

You know, some place should just go all in on the five year olds throwing marshmallows at a chocolate fountain concept. That could be a winner.

In all seriousness, the only thing we'll add for this topic is that if you're thinking about going out for brunch on Mother's Day, MAKE A RESERVATION NOW. Many places fill up. You have about two weeks to go. Do not wait.

Got a suggestion for Jamie and her family? Please share! And, as usual, a sentence or two about why you're suggesting a place can be helpful.

photo: Lauren Hittinger Hodgson

Checking out the new Wolff's Biergarten in Troy -- and Troy Cantina

Wolff's Biergarten Troy

The newest Wolff's Biergarten opens today in Troy in the King Street location formerly occupied by a Bombers Burrito Bar franchise, just off the eastern side of the Green Island Bridge.

The restaurant group headed by Matt Baumgartner and partners took over this location after the franchise owners decided to stop operating last fall. While assessing the situation they decided to switch the concept from Bombers to Wolff's. They also added a new concept upstairs that location -- Troy Cantina -- focused on tacos and tequila.

This is the group's fourth Wolff's, joining locations in Albany, Schenectady, and Syracuse.

We stopped by Wednesday to get a look at the transformation of the space, and talk with Matt Baumgartner for a few minutes about making the switch, plans for more biergartens in other cities, and how he picks out opportunities.

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Pastrami from Chester's Smokehouse

Chesters Smokehouse pastrami sandwich

By Deanna Fox

You can smell Chester's Smokehouse in Albany before you can see it.

In most circumstances, one should take that as a warning. In this instance, I urge you to proceed with haste. That is, go immediately. Once the intoxicating smell of hardwood smoke draws you in, your eyes are treated to yards-long display of meat and cheese, the beneficiaries of all that smoke.

Of course, if you are a vegetarian, this place might not be for you (that smoked cheese, though...), but for the omnivores among us, the sight of all that meat -- from classic Kielbasa to custom takes on Slim-Jims and jerky -- is enough to have you whimper in pleasure. At least that was my reaction.

Needless to say, once I laid eyes on that pastrami sandwich, the cartoon AH-OOO-GA horn in my mind went off and my jaw went slack.

If ever there were a sandwich, this was it.

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"Soul Fire Farm: Reclaiming a Tradition of Black Farming" at Albany City Hall

Soul Fire Farm Leah Penniman and Jonah Vitale-WolffAlbany City Hall will be hosting a presentation by Soul Fire Farm founders Leah Penniman and Jonah Vitale-Wolff this Thursday, April 21. Blurbage:

Soul Fire Farm in Grafton, new York was born in Albany's South End in 2006. Soul Fire is both a beautiful working farm and a unique, nationally recognized educational center. Leah Penniman and her husband Jonah Vitale-Wolff's mission is rooted in a commitment to fighting racism and dismantling oppressive structures that misguide our food system. Using strategies like day-long educational workshops to reconnect youth to their innate belonging to land, leah is working so that everyone, regardless of class, color, or creed, has access to fresh, healthful food and an understanding of how to grow their own. This will be a lively presentation and discussion about the connections between producing healthy food, youth empowerment, and social justice.

Here's a 2014 profile of Soul Fire Farm over at Civil Eats that includes some more backstory.

The event is Thursday starting at 5 pm in the city hall rotunda. It's free.

photo via Soul Fire Farm website

Veg Out: Van's Vietnamese

van's vietnamese restaurant exterior 2016-April

By Cristin Steding

Veg Out is short series about vegan dining options around the Capital Region.

Has there ever been a restaurant you've wanted to try for ages but never get around to? Someplace you know you'd love, but put off trying because you know you'll be there all the time once you finally go?

For me, that place is Van's Vietnamese Restaurant in Albany.

When I asked for suggestions of where to go for vegan food in the Capital Region, Van's was consistently one of the top answers given. I love all spicy foods, especially when they involve noodles, so I was pretty excited to give Van's a try. But for some reason, it took me months from hearing about Van's to actually try it. Perhaps it's because, as many fellow Trojans can attest, with so many great restaurants within walking distance of downtown Troy, it can be easy to never venture out to Albany for food. Or maybe I'm just lazy.

Whatever the reason, I finally made the pilgrimage, and man, was it worth it.

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The Brew Brew

brew brew tap handleOne of the interesting things about the fermenting craft beverage scene in the Capital Region the collaborations that happen between the different players.

Here's a new one: Brew -- the shop on Lark Street in Albany -- has teamed up with Chatham Brewing and Barkeater Coffee Roasters to create a line of specials beers to offer in the shop. Press release blurbage:

The Brew Brew will be a rotating line on the shop's growler menu that will feature various combinations of Chatham Brewing beers with the Brew Blend, a private label coffee created specifically for Brew by Barkeater Coffee Roasters.
The first batch (The Brew Brew: Batch 1) will be a Coffee Maple Amber Ale. More concoctions are in the works and will be announced as they are released. The shop hopes to rotate this offering every 2-3 months with different brews each time.

The launch of the first Brew Brew is set for a tasting during 1st Friday on May 6 (also Tulip Fest weekend) from 5-8 pm.

Earlier on AOA: Checking in with Brew

Death Wish/Albany Distilling: It sounds like another local beverage collaboration -- a coffee-flavored vodka from Death Wish Coffee and Albany Distilling Co. -- will also be released soon.

photo via Brew

Call for "pass it on" peer cooking classes at Dali Mamma for favorite dishes

dali mamma window sign old storefrontThis might be fun/interesting to take part in: Dali Mamma in Albany is putting together a series of "pass it on" cooking classes. Blurbage:

Known for a special dessert?
Are your kids or grand-kids always asking for your recipe??
Is your dish always requested for summer BBQs?
Let's take the opportunity to pass on all of those favorite recipes we love so much. Share your knowledge with fellow cooks, both new and experienced! ...
Where: Dali Mamma Cafe
When: Evenings and/or Weekend times available
How: Contact Katrin@Dalimamma.com with your name, contact info and recipe and we'll be in touch! We'll work together to market your class to the community, set up the kitchen, provide teaching tips and be your assistants during class.

The internet has opened up all sorts of ways to learn how to cook -- websites, recipe blogs, how-to videos -- but there's something special about being able to actually work alongside someone as you learn how to make a dish. And for the person sharing a recipe or technique, teaching someone is a way of preserving that bit of culture or shared history.

Maple. Maple. Maple.

deanna fox maple recipe composite

By Deanna Fox

The coming weekend is the last Maple Weekend for 2016. Sure, you could purchase maple syrup year-round at local markets, but there is something charming about traveling to a local sugar house to buy that gallon of syrup to get you through the year. It feels so quintessentially Upstate.

Pancakes are great. Arguably, waffles are better for the syrup-lovers among us. (All those little wells for syrup!) But there is more to maple than just topping your breakfast food. The smoky, rich flavor from maple syrup is taste that is hard to replicate and lends to the overall character of many meat recipes, side dishes, or sweet endings.

Here are a few ideas -- beyond pancakes and waffles -- for using all that maple syrup.

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The Influence of the Dutch on the American Kitchen at the State Museum

Joachim Bueckelaer's Well-Stocked Kitchen

Joachim Beuckelaer's "The Well-Stocked Kitchen" from 1565.

Food historian Peter G. Rose will be at the State Museum for a talk about how the colonial Dutch influence American cooking. Blurbage:

This PowerPoint presentation is based on a 17th-century Dutch gardening- and cookbook, which features a calendar for gardening activities and a cookbook that explains how to use the fruits and vegetables grown in the garden to best advantage. The 400-year old book with its contemporary theme helps in understanding the kitchen gardens of the early Dutch settlers of the Hudson Valley and gives insight in our colonial diet. Illustrations include etchings from the book; works by the Dutch masters such as kitchen scenes by Joachim Beuckelaer; market stalls by Quiringh van Brekelenkam and Pieter Cornelis van Rijck; as well as sumptuous still lifes by Abraham van Beyeren.

Rose is originally from The Netherlands and has written many books about the Dutch and their influence on the food and culture of the Hudson Valley. Her latest book is Delicious December: How the Dutch Brought Us Santa, Presents, and Treats.

The talk is in the State Museum's Huxley Theater at 1 pm on Sunday, April 3. It's free.

Earlier on AOA:
+ What did Albany eat in the 18th century?
+ Baking that Albany Cake

Caribbean food at Trinbago

Trinbago oxtail

Oxtail at Trinbago

By Deanna Fox

That old adage that it's better to have one good friend than many mediocre ones is so true. And thankfully I have not only one good friend, but one that's also willing to eat basically whatever I put him up to.

The truth is, I am lucky to be rich in friendship, I just can't say that all of my friends are willing to tag along on all of my food adventures. My pal Craig, though, is one of them. So when we meet up for our regular lunch dates to talk about beer, history, kids, and whatever else is on our minds, I also know I can drag him along to eat whatever I'm feeling at the moment, as long as it's in downtown Albany (to accommodate work schedules).

Feeling tired of our usual haunts, a cursory search for "lunch, downtown Albany," on Google netted me a little jewel I've never heard of: Trinbago. Next door to Lombardo's On Madison Ave, the internet told me, but admittedly I walked past it twice and then went in the wrong door before realizing where the restaurant was.

What a lucky find it was. Bright, spicy flavors of the Caribbean perked up a dreary mid-March afternoon. The kindness of the staff and owner were enough to put a smile on my face. Paired with a great conversation with an even better friend, Trinbago might end-up being my new go-to lunch spot.

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Veg Out: Beirut Restaurant

Beirut restaurant Troy exterior 2016-March

By Cristin Steding

Veg Out is short series about vegan dining options around the Capital Region.

No tour of vegetarian and vegan food would be complete without a foray into ethnic food options. Trying to veganize traditional American food tends to be an exercise in frustration. Dairy-heavy, meat-centered dishes like hot dogs, mac and cheese, and pizza are difficult to replicate with satisfaction. But when you widen your view, the vegan options multiply.

One of my favorite places for a more global meal is the little treasure of a Lebanese restaurant in Troy, Beirut.

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Mexican street corn at Ama Cocina

Ama Cocina street corn

By Deanna Fox

In our college days, my then-roommate Lyndsay and I had exactly two things in common: Our mutual love of certain bands, and our penchant for margaritas. Jose Cuervo (when you are a poor liberal arts student, it's the "fancy tequila"), a jug of neon-green sour mix, and a $15 Target blender were on standby to whip up a frothy, icy, puckery-sweet libation.

Those margaritas were about as authentic to Mexico as our palates would get, but this year we both turn 30. We're more worldly now, with more sophisticated tastes, and the cash to spend on food that doesn't make our mothers hang their heads in shame.

To celebrate Lyndsay's recent milestone birthday, I suggested trying our hand at Mexican once more, but this time at Ama Cocina, just off North Pearl Street in Albany, a neighborhood that peppered our college years in questionable ways. If all else failed, at least the tequila would be better, right?

Right.

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Troy Kitchen grand opening set

troy kitchen pre-opening exteriorSome quick follow-up on Troy Kitchen: The food court's grand opening is scheduled for this Friday, March 18 at 5 pm. The venue has been closed after its initial opening night in late February in order finish setup and final details.

The lineup of vendors announced today (descriptions via Troy Kitchen):
+ K-Plate: Korean barbeque, featuring marinated beef and short ribs
+ Troy Lobster: Lobster rolls, crab rolls, shrimp rolls, soups and salads
+ Magdelena's Menu: Mexican cuisine, including tacos and burritos
+ Butter & Sugar Co.: Cupcakes, truffles and custom cakes
+ APT: Retail home goods and furniture

The planned hours of operation: 11 am-11 pm Monday-Thursday / 11 am-2 am Friday and Saturday / noon-4 pm Sunday.

Earlier on AOA: A look at Troy Kitchen

Lark Street Ben & Jerry's re-opening at new spot

467 Madison Ave exterior

467 Madison Ave is the storefront on the left.

The Ben & Jerry's shop that had been on Lark Street in Albany for many years will re-open at a nearby storefront on Madison Ave, according to a post on the shop's FB page: "We are very excited about our new location and look forward to scooping for you in Spring!" In a comment, the shop says it's hoping to work out something for the annual free cone day, which is mid April.

The storefront is at 467 Madison Ave -- it's the space formerly occupied by the Little Moon gift shop, and it's nextdoor to El Loco.

Owner Richard Wilson stopped operating at the shop's longtime spot on Lark Street earlier this year because of a repair problem and reported dispute between the building landlord and an adjacent property owner. [TU]

Around that same time Wilson talked with AOA for that big collection of perspectives on the state of Lark Street and its future. He remarked that Lark appeared to be in a down period, but he also had some optimism: "It's our little Greenwich Village in Albany -- it would be great to get it back to that."

(Thanks, D)

Earlier on AOA:
+ Thinking about the future of Lark Street
+ It's never too cold for free ice cream (2008)

Now open: Crisan Cafe at the Albany Institute

Crisan Cafe at Albany Institute

Crisan Cafe at the Albany Institute of History and Art

The cafe in the storefront of the popular Crisan bakery on Lark Street closed a little more than a year ago.

But now it's back in a new form. And it's joined by New World Catering. And art.

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