Items tagged with 'food'

Distilling the next life for Albany's oldest building

Van Ostrande-Radliff House oldest building in Albany 2015-10-01

As the building currently stands.

In a life almost three centuries long, you're going to cycle through a few different careers.

So it is with the Van Ostrande-Radliff House -- AKA, Albany's oldest building -- which has served as a townhouse, a wax factory, and an equipment storage space (among other uses) over its 287-year-old lifetime.

And now there's a plan for the Van Ostrande-Radliff House's next career: as a distillery.

(there's more)

Photos from the AOA cider pairing event at Nine Pin Cider Works

nine pin tasting event composite

We got a bunch of people together Thursday night for a cider pairing event at Nine Pin Cider Works in Albany.

People got to taste a flight of four ciders paired with four locally-made cheeses, along with a short introduction to each from Nine Pin's Alejandro del Peral and cheese makers and purveyors. Then everyone took a tour of the production facility, and finished off the night with free samples of cider sorbet made by the Dutch Udder.

It was a good time. Thanks to everyone who joined us!

Here are a handful of photos of the night...

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When New York was hopped up

hop farm near Cooperstown 1900 NYS Archives

The photo above is from the NYS Archives, and it's from a hop farm near Cooperstown around 1900.

Hop farm? You know it. From the accompany description on the archives site:

In Ostego County in the town of Madison, New Yorker James D. Coolidge planted the first hops yards in 1808. His commercial opportunity came fourteen years later when blight, insects, and unfavorable weather decimated crops in England. This increased the demand for New York's hops in both national and international markets.
The opening of the Erie Canal in 1825 and the influx of German immigrants during the first half of the nineteenth century also increased the domestic demand for hops. In 1850, New York shipped 750,000 pounds of hops to British markets. In 1880, all but sixteen New York counties were growing hops. Ostego, Madison, Herkimer, Schoharie, Chenago, Oneida, and Montgomery Counties were the leading producers of hops, with Ostego County producing more hops than any other county in the United States.

Disease and Prohibition pretty much killed off the hop growing industry in New York, and today most of the hops grown in the country are produced out in the Pacific Northwest.

But the crop is making a comeback here, a rise prompted in part by the state's farm brewery license, which requires breweries operating under the license to use a certain percentage of New York-grown ingredients. Casey wrote about the rebirth of the New York hop industry a few years back.

Among the local farms that are part of the re-hopped New York is Indian Ladder Farms in Altamont, which is growing a variety of hops. (You might remember the Indian Ladder Farms IPA at the Pump Station last year.) ILF recently finished this year's hop harvest and posted some photos of the process on its Facebook page.

photo: NYS Archives

Drink Albany

albany craft beverage trail map

Two things:

1. There is now an Albany Craft Beverage Trail -- it includes C.H. Evans Brewing (the Pump Station), Albany Distilling Co., Nine Pine Cider Works, and Druthers Brewing.

2. Said beverage trail has organized an event called Drink Albany for this Saturday, October 3 at Quackenbush Square. Blurbage:

Drink Albany features live music from Mirk, North and South Dakotas, and other local bands along with free samples of beer, cider and spirits from C.H. Evans Brewing, Druthers, the Albany Distilling Company, and Nine Pin Cider. Food trucks and other local vendors will also be present. Ticket includes an Albany Craft Beverage Trail signature glass and the opportunity to drink from Albany's best.

Drink Albany is Saturday from noon-5 pm.

Advance tickets are $10 / $25 VIP ticket. (And it looks like there's a $5 designated driver ticket.)

Nine Pin advertises on AOA, and Druthers is a sponsor of the AOA BBB Tour.

Polish food at Muza

muza polish food composite

By Deanna Fox

We are killing the American palate.

Or maybe we killed it long ago. In a land of more is more and bigger is better, we've lost an appreciation for small nuances in food that give it true character and speak to the origins of the recipe. Don't give us a classic roasted chicken; instead, give us just the wing, doused in fiery, sticky burnt-orange sauce that masks the chicken itself.

Post-World War II American culture saw the rise of heavily processed foods that oversaturated our palates with salt, sugar, and additives. We've dimmed our abilities to recognize true flavor because of how accustomed we've become to the overload of flavor enhancements pushed upon us by Big Food. Now, if we don't feel kicked in the teeth with astringent, bracing piquancy, we write food off as bland and boring.

Muza, in Troy, debunks this conception, proving that traditional foods prepared in simple ways can still pack a punch without walloping us with artifice.

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Beyond apple pie: Four ways to use up all those apples you just picked

deanna fox apple recipes composite
By Deanna Fox

Sad but true: There is such a thing as too much apple pie.

New York State produces 29.5 million bushels of apples annually, with more than half of that yield sold as fresh apples (according to the New York Apple Association). With numbers like that, chances are good if you are reading this, you have recently made a trip to the orchard or are about to.

And, likely, you'll have a few errant apples left in the orchard bag or crisper drawer of the fridge. If you just can't stomach another pie or crisp or batch of applesauce, fear not: Here are four recipes to save you from the apple overload.

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Schenectady Wing Walk 2015

wing walk 2015 logoThe Wing Walk returns to downtown Schenectady October 3, which is a Saturday (a change from last year). Blurbage:

From noon to 5 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 3, wing fans will try samplings from eighteen downtown Schenectady restaurants and vote for their favorite. Classic garlic parm wings will, of course, be in the running, but expect deliciously creative variations, too, like Mexican Radio's Vidalia Onion Georgia Peach Wing, Aperitivo Bistro's Seven Hour Cherry Pepper Wing, Taj Mahal's Spicy Masala Wing and Ninja Asian Restaurant's Boneless Chicken Yakitori Wing.
Other participating restaurants include: 2014 Wing Walk winner 20 North Broadway, Backstage Pub & Grill, The Bier Abbey, Bombers Burrito Bar, Café NOLA, Centre Street Public House & Garden, The Grog Shoppe, Isopo's Downtown Pizza, Katie O'Byrne's, Nico's Rooftop Tavern, Pinhead Susan's, Thai Thai Bistro and the Van Dyck. New nightspot Firestone 151 makes its Wing Walk debut this year, and will host the official after party.

Some of the restaurants will be offering beverage specials, along with live music. There will also be a comedy show rotating among some of the venues.

Wing Walk tickets are $10 / $5 for students (with ID) and available via Proctors. (That's also where you pick up the ballots for voting for your favorite wings.) Tickets for the rotating comedy show are $15, and there's a $5 discount if purchased with Wing Walk tickets.

FarmieMarket for sale

farmiemarket logoThe local online farmers' market FarmieMarket is for sale. Founder Sarah Gordon posted this message on Facebook this week:

It's bittersweet, but in effort to balance my growing family life with my professional responsibilities, I have arrived at the very difficult decision to offer my equity stake in up for sale. FarmieMarket is my firstborn -- I am fully committed to seeing it and its member farmers reach their full potential. As such, the time has come to hand over the day-to-day operations and marketing to a person or firm that has the time, resources and expertise necessary to grow the market to its fullest potential. That said, I am eager to stay involved if the buyer is willing (either as a board member, or volunteer advisor) to help guide FarmieMarket in its mission of cultivating a sustainable market channel that supports the long term profitability and economic viability of small, family-owned, environmentally- and socially-responsible local farms. If you, or anyone you know, may be interested in carrying the torch please contact me via email or private message.

Gordon started FarmieMarket in 2010, originally as Heldeberg Market, as a way to market and sell products grown on farms in the Hill Towns of Albany County to a wider audience. (Gordon was inspired by the experience of her family's grassfed beef farm in Berne.) Customers place orders online and the products are delivered one day a week.

Earlier on AOA: Interesting in 2011: Sarah Gordon

Girl's Best Friend Cookie from Bake For You

girls best friend cookie

By Deanna Fox

I was recently granted one-way passage on the bridge between "You are the best thing I have ever known" and "I never want to see you again."

That is, I just went through a gut-wrenching break-up. The kind that makes you wake up in a sweat at 3 am, unable to breathe, unable to sleep. Your mind replays the highlight reel of your relationship before quickly delving into the hopelessness of ever feeling happy or alive again.

And you might as well forget about eating; nothing tastes as delicious as the ghosted lips that linger on your mouth. When the desire for satiety arises, it is more likely gin on the rocks you reach for, but instead of sipping, you get lost in running your fingers around the rim of the glass, collecting the beads of condensation with your index finger and rubbing them into oblivion with your thumb.

If not for feeling like nothing, you'd feel nothing at all. And in those moments, you reach for your best friends.

Or in my case, a Girl's Best Friend cookie from Bake For You.

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A sampling of cooking classes, fall 2015

a big bin of apples


You can feel fall in the air and out thoughts are turning back indoors, toward the kitchen and the warmth of the stove.

So, here's a new a batch of cooking classes over the next few months that caught our eye -- and maybe you'll find them interesting: From Chinese take-out made at home, to apples, to sushi, the power of cauliflower, to grown-up cupcakes...

(there's more)

Longhouse Food Revival 2015

longhouse food revival 2015 logo

The Longhouse Food Revival returns to Rensselaerville this weekend. This year's focus is the Chinese American experience. Blurbage for the Saturday program:

Located on a historic dairy farm in upstate New York, the LongHouse Food Revival combines original multimedia presentations, great discussions and insight from leading thinkers in food media today. It's a place to make new friends, forge new connections and cook up new ideas. Our meals are one-time, unscripted happenings that emanate from our Live Fire Cooking Arena -- you won't experience anything like this anywhere else. People leave LongHouse Food Revival with full bellies and full minds.
The weekend will kick off with a lunch of chun-bing, Northern China's version of a burrito, crafted from scratch and made-to-order by the young kitchen powerhouses from Junzi Kitchen of New Haven, CT.
After lunch, we'll gather in the barn for our Pop-Up Food Magazine, a series of multimedia presentations, original documentary films, presentations by authors, bloggers, publishers and producers, as well as spoken word and cooking demonstrations, to set the stage for an afternoon of discussion. The experience has been called magical by more than one hard-bitten veteran of the nation's food media corps.

One of the organizers of the event is author and former NYT food writer Molly O'Neill -- here's a video in which she explains the background.

There's also a Saturday evening dinner headed up by chef and author Kian Lam Kho -- "at the helm of a team of fearless chefs to orchestrate a spectacle of stir-frying, braising and steaming, offering a Chinese take on the bounty of the Hudson River Valley" ($125). And on Sunday there's a food flea event with 50 food entrepreneurs, farmers, and artisans ($25).

Tickets for the whole weekend are $250. That's not cheap, but we've heard from people who have attended in past years and they seemed to get a lot out of it, so it might be worth it if you're interested in these topics.

(Thanks, Deanna)

AOA event: Cider pairing at Nine Pin

Nine Pin Cider Works four flight

Update: Sold out!

Apple season has arrived. And when we think of apples our thoughts also turn to cider.

Nine Pin Cider Works is rolling out a new charcuterie offering at its tasting room on Broadway in Albany. So we thought it'd be fun to organize a get-together there on October 1, pairing four Nine Pin ciders with a variety of New York fruits, cheeses and meats. Here's what you get:

Cider flight
Taste four Nine Pin ciders: Signature Cider, Belgian Cider, Blueberry Cider, and Ginger Cider.

Local foods
Ciders will be paired with samples of cheeses fruits, veggies and charcuterie from farms and orchards both local and from around New York State, along with Saratoga Crackers.

Guests will get a tour of the cider works with founder Alejandro del Peral to see how Nine Pin is made, bottled, and canned.

The Dutch Udder will be scooping free samples of its Nine Pin Cider Sorbet. (We got to taste this during the Startup Grant final and it was delicious.)

The Nine Pine tasting room will be also pouring that evening, so more of your favorite Nine Pin ciders will be available for purchase. And of course, you'll get to enjoy it all with other fun AOA people.

The event is Thursday, October 1 at the Nine Pin tasting room on Broadway. It's 21 and over.

Early bird tickets (purchased before September 15) are $15. After September 15, tickets are $20. Space is limited for this event, and we expect it to fill up, so buying early will both save you a few bucks and ensure you get a spot.

Nine Pin advertises on AOA.

Another resurrected Albany Ale is now available

gravina and demler working on previous version of Albany aleThe Albany Ale Project and C.H. Evans Brewing Co. have teamed up again to resurrect another version of the once-famous Albany ale.

This latest version is based on recipes from 1830 that were surfaced by Albany Ale co-creator Craig Gravina, and adapted by Evans head brewer Ryan Demler. (You might remember the first time they did this a few years back -- that version was based on an 1865 1901 recipe.)

Beer blurbage from C.H. Evans:

Our version of the 1830s recipe uses New York grown and malted 6-row barley from Pioneer Malting in Rochester, NY as well as NY produced honey from B's Honey in Watervliet. As with many older styles of beer, "Albany Ale" was brewed with hops, though at the time there wasn't a distinction as to the types or timing of additions, so we took a bit of creative license here and used some cluster variety hops and a token amount of NYS grown Cascade.
This mid-strength beer (of the time) clocks in at 7.9% Alcohol By Volume (ABV) and drinks rather crisp and clean for a recipe nearly 200 years old. The body is light, almost sharp and dry. The relatively heavy hopping rate (for the style) and heavy use of honey result in a brew that's dry and has a pronounced bitterness that helps clean up the finish. A bit of "breadiness" comes through from the grain and works well with the subtly piney hop flavor.

This latest resurrected Albany ale will be on tap exclusively at the Albany Pump Station starting today (September 2) -- and they expect it to be available for about three weeks.

So much of history is the little, everyday stuff that gets lost over time, or just isn't compatible with the way we transmit history. So the Albany Ale Project and the collaboration with C.H. Evans are interesting not just because they highlight Albany's robust brewing history, but also because they afford the opportunity to actually taste (more or less) something from the 19th century.

Ice cream at Martha's Dandee Creme

marthas dandee creme composite

By Deanna Fox

The unofficial last week of summer is upon us -- that time between August and Labor Day, when the calendar says it is time to sharpen our pencils and pull sweaters out of storage, but the weather claims cut-offs, beach towels, and ice cream.

The Capital Region is flush with classic ice cream stands, but few stand out the way Martha's Dandee Creme, just outside of Lake George, does.

(there's more)

Suggestions for mixing up workday lunch in Albany?

kung pao shrimp burger at crave albanyJanae asks via Twitter:

I want to break some habits and find a new Albany workday lunch spot. (quick, not sit-down) Any recommendations?

The "quick" part of Janae's question complicates things a little bit. But a lot of places offer order-ahead for lunch, so you can just stop in, pick up, and go.

We're guessing you have a few suggestions. But we'll start with one of our own: Crave recently opened at Western and Quail -- we've been twice already, and we're looking forward to going again. Some of the more unusual burgers are fun -- both the turkey reuben and kung pao shrimp burgers we've tried have been packed with interesting flavors.

OK, your turn. Got a suggestion for Janae? Please share!

Takeout from Nirvana

nirvana takeout overhead

By Deanna Fox

Fridays are so overrated.

In our youth, Fridays are the benchmark for excitement and prospects. Pizza lunches, sleepovers, sleeping in... maybe mom will even bring home takeout for dinner.

As adults, Fridays are exhausting. We build up in our heads what Fridays should be, built partially on the ideals and projections we concoct in our younger days. But the obligations and efforts of "functioning adult human" status leaves few of us with much energy to do, well, anything on a Friday night. We might meet up with friends, but we're still so wiped from the week prior that we just mill about in a fog of longing to please just get me into my bed.

Takeout on a Friday is a near necessity as we (and our list of responsibilities) grow.

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Washington County Cheese Tour 2015

Thumbnail image for washington co cheese tour 2015 posterThe annual Washington County Cheese Tour returns September 12 and 13. It is pretty much what it says on the label -- a tour of farms in Washington County that produce cheese. Blurbage:

At each farm, guests will sample specially selected cheeses while experiencing first hand the region's long-standing cheese making traditions reaching back to the nineteenth century. All are active farms, raising cows, sheep and goats that supply the milk for the cheese-making process.

A few years back Tim wrote a recap of the tour, which can you give a sense of how it goes. If you like cheese + farms (and farm animals), it's a pretty good bet you'll like the tour.

The participating farms will be open for touring from 10 am to 4 pm on Saturday, September 12 and Sunday, September 13. The tour is free.

Tour preview
On Sunday, August 23 the Honest Weight Food Co-op is hosting a "Meet Your Maker" event to preview the cheese tour. Cheese makers from farms on the tour will be there from from noon-2 pm offering samples and talking about their farms.

Autumn Evening in the Garden 2015

capital roots autumn evening in the garden 2015 BowdenCapital Roots' annual harvest fall harvest celebration -- Autumn Evening in the Garden -- will be at the Hilton Garden Inn in Troy on September 17. Blurbage:

"An Autumn Evening in the Garden" brings together more than 15 of the region's most talented chefs with 30+ local growers, producers, and beverage makers from all over the greater Capital District for a delicious "strolling supper." The farmers contribute their meat, cheese, and produce. The chefs use these contributions to create their dishes. Guests sample outstanding cuisine drawn from the creative kitchens of some of the area's finest restaurants while enjoying local wines, beers, and spirits, while mingling with chefs, farmers, and friends.

This year's featured chef is Brian Bowden of 15 Church in Saratoga Springs.

Tickets for the fundraiser are available online -- they're $150 / $75 for people 35 and under.

As you know, Capital Roots is the org formerly known as Capital District Community Gardens.

ASAP Festival of Meats 2015

ASAP Festival of Meats 2015 posterThe Albany Society for the Advancement of Philanthropy's annual Festival of Meats & Celebration of Bacon returns September 19 to the Elks Club in Albany.

Blurbage about the offerings this year: "Whole Pig, Pit Beef, Bacon Surprises, Amazing and Fantastic Meats, and fantastic apps from R'Eisen Shine Farm!"

There will also be a raffle to win $500 worth of meat and a Thanksgiving turkey.

Tickets are available online -- they're $20 until September 2. The price goes up $5 after that.

A stolen summer day: eating

stewarts happy camper ice cream in cup

"Happy Camper" ice cream from Stewart's got a mention.

By Deanna Fox

Seasonal foods are one of summer's pleasures. Fresh berries, salads, corn on the cob, and ice cream from a favorite seasonal stand are the stuff of many summer memories.

So if you could have your favorite summer treat from anywhere in the Capital Region, what would it be?

Deanna Fox asked a few local food lovers that question.

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Saratoga Wine & Food Festival 2015

saratoga wine food festival 2015 chefs

Left to right: Ellie Krieger, Josh Capon, Zak Pelaccio, Ric Orlando

The annual Saratoga Wine & Food Festival returns to SPAC September 11-13 this year. Among the details for this year's event:

+ The headlining food personalities are Josh Capon of Spike TV's Frankenfood cooking competition show, and cookbook author/dietician Ellie Krieger, who had a show on the Food Network about cooking healthy food.

+ Capon will be hosting the "Fired Up!" event on Friday in which "five of the Capital Region's best chefs" will go up against "five Manhattan grill masters." Krieger will be hosting the festival's grand tasting on Saturday.

+ Chefs Ric Orlando (of New World Bistro Bar) and Zak Pelaccio (of Fish & Game in Hudson) will also be there doing demonstrations as part of the grand tasting.

The list of events is after the jump.

Tickets for the various events are now one sale. They're $75 and up.

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BurgerFi, and the burger boom

burgerfi latham exterior

The latest local entry into the field of fast casual burger spots -- BurgerFi -- opens today in Latham.

"I thought it was a great concept," Mazzone said Tuesday during a media preview. The local hospitality group king is one of the backers of the local franchise, along with the Lia family (of auto group fame). "Everything is 100 percent fresh. We don't even have a freezer here. So things come in fresh. The produce is all fresh. We make our own fresh onion rings. We make french fries from potatoes that we cut ourselves. The beef is 100 percent natural, no preservatives, no antibiotics, nothing like that."

BurgerFi already has more than 70 locations around the country. And the local franchise backers have plans for more locations both here in the Capital Region and other parts of upstate.

Here a few pics from the Latham location, along with a few bits about the burger boom.

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Where to get freshly-made tortillas?

tortillas on plate Flickr cbertel CCChristine emails:

I'm wondering if we can pose a question to AOA readers, is there anywhere in the Capital Region that sells freshly made tortillas?

A variant of this question came up years ago, with only a few suggestions beyond "make 'em yourself." And, of course, things change.

A lot of big cities around the United States now have a factory (or multiple factories) that produce tortillas and distribute them locally. As far we know, the Capital Region does not currently have a such place. But we can hope -- because good tortillas are a great thing.

So, got a suggestion for Christine? Please share!

photo: Flickr user cbertel (CC BY 2.0)

Peach blueberry cobbler at the Palmer House

palmer house cafe peach blueberry cobbler

By Deanna Fox

Driving into Rensselaerville, the small and historic Albany County hamlet in the town of the same name, is like taking a trip back through time. Things move a little slower. The locals speak in less hurried tones.

And just as everything old is new again, the food at the town's public family room -- The Palmer House Café -- adheres to the old habit of using local, seasonal produce and ingredients to craft a meal. Farm-to-table was a way of life for eaters in decades (centuries) past, but today it's one of many options.

The Palmer House's peach blueberry cobbler is just one example of why this option should be priority once again.

(there's more)

Good brunch spots in/near Schenectady?

french toastLindsay emails:

I just moved to Schenectady, and I'm wondering if anyone has good recommendations for brunch spots (especially those with bars) for Saturday/Sunday mornings.
I've tried Union Cafe, which has fantastic service, darn good pancakes, and tasty Greek eats. Eating on the patio in the sun is nice (although the view leaves something to be desired), and there is no alcohol served (i.e., cravings for a bloody mary or mimosa go un-quenched).
Any tips from the AOA community would be greatly appreciated.

Lindsay mentions that she's been following Lauren's brunch mini-tour. But that hasn't made it to Schenectady, yet. So if you have suggestions for Lindsay, they can also double has possible spots for Lauren to check out.

So, got a good place in mind? Please share. And, as always, a sentence or two about why you're suggesting that place is like an extra kick of horseradish in the Bloody Mary.

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Recent Comments

I went to polish school, I grew up eating polish food, I even help cook polish food at the biannual polish dinner/ dances and even dressed up like a polish soldier for parades, so l guess I'm polish AND there is nothing better than going to Muza's for the food I grew up that is just as good as moms.

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