Items tagged with 'food'

Cider donuts, quietly

Autumnal cooking zen: Take a moment to watch as Cooper Nelson quietly makes cider donuts in his Delmar kitchen for his Silently Cooking YouTube channel.

See also this profile of Nelson from last year by Deanna Fox.

Debbie's Kitchen has returned

Debbies_Kitchen_Albany_2018__1.jpg

Important lunch news update: Debbie's Kitchen re-opened Monday. (We've included a menu and a few pics.)

Debbie Klauber announced back in August that she was working toward re-opening the longtime local favorite at its old spot, 456 Madison Avenue near Lark Street in Albany. She had sold the business back in 2010 to travel and try new things. She spent time in Belize. She did some catering. She worked summers at Siro's in Saratoga.

And Monday morning she was welcoming people back in to the shop.

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A look around Bard & Baker, the new board game cafe in downtown Troy

Bard and Baker The News Troy

The board game cafe Bard & Baker is now officially open in Troy. It's in the street-level retail space at the corner of Broadway and 5th Ave in The News, the redeveloped old Troy Record building.

The cafe has more than 400 games board games that you can play all day for as long as you like for a $5 cover. (You can even leave and come back the same day.) There's also a menu that includes all sorts of beverages (coffee, teas, soda, juice, beer, wine, cocktails), along with sandwiches, snacks, and pastries.

Here's a look around the new place...

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Where to buy Mexican-style chorizo?

chorizo taco La Mexicana Schenectady

A chorizo taco at La Mexicana. / photo: Daniel B.

Sean emails:

Do any of your readers know where I can find any of that good chorizo that crumbles when you remove the casing? Price Chopper used to carry some, but I haven't seen it in quite a while. I've been left having to use "hot-dog chorizo," which is nothing like the good oily, crumbly stuff. Please help!

As Sean mentions, there are two general types of chorizo: the Spanish or Portuguese style that slices up like a sausage, and the Mexican style that crumbles. The Mexican style is excellent in a taco with potatoes or mixed up with eggs (you can get it like that at Viva Cinco de Mayo in Albany).

Our first thought when we saw Sean's question was the Mexican Market on Central Ave, so we called over there and it sounds like they don't have it available for retail. (We wouldn't be surprised if you get it as a taco there, though.)

So then we called over to La Mexicana on State Street in Schenectady. And success -- the person on the phone said they do sell chorizo in the grocery there. (Also: You pretty much have to stop for a few tacos if you go to La Mexicana.)

Got other suggestions for Sean in his search for chorizo? Please share!

All the current Stewart's seasonal summer ice cream flavors, ranked

Stewarts summer seasonal ice cream 2018 overhead

We're already into mid August and that raises a very important fact: Summer ice cream eating season will soon be gone.*

But fear not! To help guide your end-of-season ice cream eating -- which is serious business -- we recently took on the task of trying each of the limited-time seasonal summer flavors at Stewart's. Then we ranked 'em, so you can make the most of this ice cream prime time.

Let's dig in...

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Debbie's Kitchen is returning (with Debbie)

Debbie's Kitchen 2010.JPG

Debbie's reopening the kitchen.

There's wondrous sandwich news in Albany: Debbie's Kitchen is planning to return to its old location on Madison Avenue in Albany -- with Debbie herself at the helm.

Debbie, of course, is Debbie Klauber, whose soups, sandwiches, and desserts were Albany famous for 25 years.

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Follow up: The Dutch Udder

Dutch Udder ice cream two scoops in a cup

AOA is on summer break. So we'll have new follow-ups with people we've met and covered during the last year (or so).

Kehmally Karl and Jeff McCauley started making ice cream as a side project -- creating fun flavors for family and friends. Slowly and methodically, they've turned a hobby, and an incredible talent for creating inventive flavors, into a successful small business: The Dutch Udder.

Flavors found on their ever-changing menu include Nine Pin Cider Sorbet, Grasshopper, Cinnamon Toast Crunch, and Rice Crispy Treat ice cream.

At first, they sold ice cream from a cart at markets and festivals and special events. And three years ago the then-fledgling business was also finalist in the AOA Startup Grant contest. Since then, Jeff and Kehmally have opened a storefront on River Street in downtown Troy and they've captured awards for their Philly Vanilla and for their other inventive flavors.

Jeff talked with us about their experience in the ice cream biz so far.

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Brewtus Roasting Co.

Brewtus Roasting exterior

We got a chance to stop by Brewtus Roasting Co. in Delmar on Wednesday, a relatively new coffee spot tucked into a space between Delaware Ave and the Helderberg Hudson Rail Trail near the Four Corners.

Brewtus was formerly called Barkeater and based in East Greenbush. Owner and roaster Stephen Pivonka changed the name last fall, and opened the Delmar space this past April.

He'd already been selling his products at the Delmar Farmers Market and said he was getting requests for a spot in the hamlet. The town of Bethlehem also chipped in a grant to help the move.

The other draw: Brewtus is in the same building with the Real McCoy Beer Co. and the Royal Meadery.

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Beer (and cider) ice cream is now legal to be sold in New York

mercers raspberry chardonnay

Wine ice creams, like this one, have been allowed to be sold for the past decade.

Noted: Beer and hard cider ice creams are now legal to be sold in New York State.

The state has allowed wine ice cream for the past 10 years, and this week the governor signed a bill that also allows for beer and cider ice cream or other frozen desserts. From the memo for the bill, which was sponsored by James Seward in the Senate and William Magee in the Assembly:

Ice cream made with wine is a food product manufactured in New York State that has been safely sold and regulated in a manner similar to confectionary that contains alcohol since 2008. This bill seeks to approve similar products made with beer and hard cider. As with wine, this bill would, limit the percentage of alcohol in ice cream to not more than 5% of alcohol by volume, prohibit its sale to persons under twenty-one years of age and require the same product labeling and warning statements similar to wine and confectionary that contains alcohol. This bill will help New York dairy farmers, craft beer and cider producers, dairy processors and manufacturers, and food retailers and restaurants meet the increasing consumer demand for these new and innovative products.

Five percent alcohol by volume is right around the alcohol content of many beers.

To go along with the beer and hard cider ice cream bill, the governor also signed another bill this week that allows wine frozen desserts to be sold in packages of less than one pint. (The original intent of the minimum package size was an effort to keep the products away from kids.) From the bill memo: "The sale of wine ice cream was enacted into law in 2008. Since that time, the demand for smaller packaging for weddings, fundraisers, recreational tours and other events has increased. This bill would lift the minimum requirements that are currently in law to accommodate this demand for smaller packaging sizes."

Both bills take effect immediately.

Earlier: Here's a map of every brewery in New York State

Pick-your-own blueberry season 2018

blueberries in box on grass

Mid summer is here, which means it's blueberry season around the greater Capital Region. And there are a bunch of places where you can pick your own.

Blueberries are are easy to pick (on bushes about waist high), relatively cheap (usually about $3 per pound), and they freeze beautifully, so you can stock up for later in the year. Picking them on a beautiful summer morning is almost meditative.

Here's a list of farms around the region for PYO blueberries, along with a few details.

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New York continues to produce more and more maple syrup

mountain winds maple syrup amber

New York State produced more than 800,000 gallons of maple syrup during this year's season. That's the highest total in 74 years, according to the Cuomo admin.

The Empire State was able to hold off Maine (539,000 gallons) for the #2 spot. Vermont continues to look across the border and congratulate New York on its hobby -- the Green Mountain State produced 1.94 million gallons last year. (But its production has more or less than been flat the last few years and New York is gaining...)

Here's the national production table from the USDA (pdf p. 9). And we rolled together a tree map of the numbers. (It's kind of like a square pie chart.)

The maple syrup production of both Vermont and New York State has been on an upswing since the start of this century. And in just the past five years their running three-year averages are up 50 percent.

One of the reasons: There have been major shifts in technology, as producers have switched over to use miles of tubing and vacuums to collect sap, and then reverse osmosis to remove some of the water before boiling.

Here's an interesting Washington Post article from this past spring about the way the industry is changing, and how the growth is attracting the interest of private equity and companies looking to scale.

Maybe the biggest question, though: Is New York's pancake industry ready to step up to the challenge?

How a strawberry grown from a "wasteland" in Albany helped spread a national strawberry craze

74 Morris Street Wilsons Strawberry

By Justin Devendorf

At the corner of Morris and Knox next to a small neighborhood park stands a two-story brick building, its front bearing a worn coat of paint. Built in 1838 in the Federal Style, it's the oldest still-standing building in Albany's Park South neighborhood.

But maybe more notable than its age is the fact that home and the land around it played a vital role in the growth of the strawberry trade in the United States, helping to set off a "strawberry fever."

This is the story of 74 Morris Street and The Wilson's Albany strawberry.

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Take-along food ideas for Tanglewood?

young Otto with picnic basketSpeaking of Tanglewood... Sean emails:

We're taking some friends from out of town to a show at Tanglewood this weekend on our way out to Boston. Our plan was to grab some takeout to bring with us to the show. I was wondering if any of your readers could recommend some good options, either local to us or to Tanglewood itself (Subway our last resort). Our usual smorgasbord of meats, cheeses, etc won't work this time since our final destination is a hotel (no fridge). We're coming from Albany and will have kids with us, but they shouldn't be overly limiting.

There are no doubt a handful of places either here in/around Albany or across the border closer to Tanglewood. (Making picnic baskets for Tanglewood is probably a whole mini-industry in the Berkshires.)

So, got a suggestion or two for Sean? Please share!

South End Healthy Market

Capital South Campus Center Albany 2018

The South End Healthy Market opens its 2018 season Saturday, June 30 from 10 am to 3 pm at a new location, the the lawn of the Capital South Campus Center.

Opening day will feature live music, kids activities, free Zumba and meditation classes, chair messages, and other activities.

The market sells produce from local and community vendors. It accepts all federal food assistance benefit cards, as well as Healthy Market coupons.

It's organized by AVillage, The Radix Center, and Trinity Alliance. If you're interested in being a vendor or volunteer: southendhealthymarket at gmail dot com.

The Capital South Campus Center is at 20 Warren Street in Albany, on the eastern end of Lincoln Park.

Checking in with Bard & Baker, the board game cafe planned for Troy

The_News_apartments_Troy_1.jpg

The cafe will be in the street-level corner space of the old Record building.

The new board game cafe that's been in the works for downtown Troy -- Bard & Baker -- now has a location.

The developers behind the new News Apartments announced this week that Bard & Baker will be taking one of the retail spaces in the old Troy Record building at Broadway and 5th Ave.

The cafe's owner is Charlotte Guyton, who was a key member of the team at Clark House Hospitality (Peck's Arcade, The Confectionery). And Bryan Connor, who was a pastry chef at Peck's Arcade, will be the cafe's kitchen manager.

Guyton first publicly announced the plan for the cafe during last year's AOA Startup Grant content, in which she was finalist. Even though she didn't win, the judges were very impressed by both her and her methodical approach. And Guyton got a boost last month when she won a $1,500 grant in the business plan competition for the Capital Region Chamber's Entrepreneur Boot Camp. She's aiming to open in September.

So we're curious to hear about how thing are coming along, and what to expect when the cafe opens this fall. And we figured you might be, too...

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Pick-your-own strawberry season 2018

strawberries in basket straw closeup

Strawberry season is here! A few farms opened their pick-your-own strawberry fields this past week, and a bunch of others will be doing so this week or next.

It seems like this year's season is more or less on schedule, though a few farms have noted that some cold and wet weather earlier this year delayed things a little bit.

A typical strawberry season at many farms in this area only lasts a few weeks, though some farms have strawberries for longer stretches -- even most of the summer -- because their fields include a range of varieties that produce at different times. When you're at the farm stand, ask about the varieties the farms are growing. In our experience people are happy to talk about what's available, for how long, and why. It's also a good idea to call ahead or check the website before heading out.

Here are a handful of places in the greater Capital Region that you can pick your own strawberries. Know of a good place not on this list? Please share!

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"My name is Sean Rowe, and I know I got a really low voice, but if you're stuck with me you're going to eat a tree, you won't have much of a choice..."

The theme song makes us smile.

Check it out: Sean Rowe has a new Youtube series in which he talks about foraging for wild edibles and then heads back to the kitchen to cook them up. It is called, appropriately: Can I Eat This.

The first ep is embedded above. And the second posted today.

Of course, Rowe is famous as a musician. But he's also an avid naturalist, and he's taught foraging classes around here. So this series isn't a surprise. And his endearing, nerdy enthusiasm for the topic comes through in the videos. About the series, from his Facebook page:

You're gonna get an earfull and an eyefull of my passion for wild food and living off of the land. I'll be taking you through some of my favorite foraging spots througout the Northeast, showing you what I harvest directly from the wild and exactly what i do with it when i get back to the kitchen! I'll also be encorporating guest spots on the show with touring musicians, local chefs and hmmmm...who knows where this could go?!?!

The episodes look great thanks to Troy-based Chromoscope Pictures, which is producing the series. Over at The Alt, Katie Cusack Cusick recently talked with Rowe and Chromoscope's Nick Spadaro about what's cooking.

Dim sum at Tea Plus

Tea Plus dim sum composite

By Deanna Fox

I've written about breakfast a lot lately, but not intentionally. It just happens that what Capital Region-ers consider breakfast food is expanding. What kind of food writer would I be if I didn't explore that?

Dim sum -- the traditional Chinese course of food that involves small plates of dumplings, buns, and meats -- was traditionally served as a breakfast or brunch-like option.

And after having a few dim sum options at Tea Plus in Clifton Park, I'm thoroughly convinced breakfast really is the most important meal of the day.

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The Cheese Traveler has a new owner

The Cheese Traveler Eric Paul 2012

Eric Paul back in 2012 when the shop opened.

The Cheese Traveler has been sold.

Mary Rizzo of Troy has bought the popular cheese and specialty food shop on Delaware in Albany from founder Eric Paul. It sounds like the plan is to keep a lot things the same for now. Press release blurbage:

The Cheese Traveler will continue most of the popular product lines and events our customers know and love. The Friday Night Cook-outs start on May 11 continuing through September. The menu will change weekly and feature local certified organic and grass finished beef from Tilldale Farm and certified organic and grass finished lamb from Hessian Hill Farm. Vegetarian options along with side dishes, starter plates and desserts will be created based on fresh, local, seasonal produce, and cheese plates will feature a variety of domestic and imported cheeses paired with the perfect accompaniment. A curated selection of wine, beer, cider and non-alcoholic drinks will also be available.

There will be reception for Eric Paul and Alifair Skebe, his wife, Sunday May 13 from 1-3 pm at the shop.

Over at Table Hopping, Steve Barnes reports that Paul made the choice to sell so he could focus more time working for a cheese importer and distributor based out of Brooklyn.

Eric Paul's been a fixture as a local cheese seller and expert going back almost two decades, first at Honest Weight, at the Cheese Traveler stand at the Delmar Farmers Market, and then at the shop on Delaware. He has a great depth of knowledge and passion for the subject, which always came through when talking with him at the shop.

The breakfast sandwich at Stacks

Stacks breakfast sandwich

By Deanna Fox

Breakfast sandwiches might as well be an official food of the Capital Region. We have enormous ones. We have taco-styled ones. We have vegan ones. We have everything in between.

When a new one comes to the market, it has to be really special to be deserving of page space. Make it with Taylor pork roll or smear it with n'juda. Custom-mill grains for a hearty, toasted roll. Use the eggs from backyard chickens.

Or just be this breakfast sandwich from Stacks Espresso Bar. That works, too.

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A look around the new Cafe Madison

Cafe Madison North Albany interior

The new Cafe Madison location on Northern Boulevard in Albany opened this week. It's now open 7 am to 3 pm, seven days a week.

It's the second location for the popular breakfast/lunch cafe, a follow-up to its longtime spot on Madison Ave in Pine Hills. The new restaurant occupies one end of the Loudon Plaza strip mall across from Albany Memorial Hospital. It has big windows, a long bar up front, and a brightly decorated interior designed by Jessica Evans. (She also designed Ama Cocina in downtown Albany.)

"This space allows us to do a little more behind the bar, including cold-pressed juices, but it's pretty much same [as the other Cafe Madison]," said Brian Viglucci, the managing partner of BMT Hospitality. The menu is, with the exception of a few additional items, roughly the same as the Madison Ave location. Viglucci said the both spots will eventually have the same menu.

This is the 10th restaurant for the Albany-based BMT, whose holdings also include Junior's (both Albany and North Greenbush), The Point, Madison Pour House, Ama Cocina, Albany Ale & Oyster, Spinner's Pizza, and The Pub.

Here's a look around the new Cafe Madison...

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Enfrijoladas at Cocina Vasquez

Cocina Vasquez Albany enfrijoladas de cecina

By Deanna Fox

I'm down to eat breakfast any time of day. In fact, I would rather eat traditional breakfast food post-noon than any time in the morning.

So when I walked into Cocina Vasquez on a recent Sunday looking to try something from this South-Central Mexican menu, I was on-board when the teenage girl behind the counter told me her favorite thing on the menu was enfrijoladas, a classic Mexican breakfast item.

I took her advice and order a plate for myself.

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A peek inside the new Pint Sized on Lark Street

Pint_Sized_Lark_Street_2.jpg

The craft beverage shop on Lark Street -- Pint Sized -- has re-opened at its new, expanded location at 250 Lark. It's the former Enigma/Ben & Jerry's space at the corner Lark and Jay.

Pint Sized started out in 2014 as a retail shop in a below-street level space at the corner of Lark and State. Owner August Rosa made the move to the new spot so he could have a bar area and seating.

It's a format similar to the one that's been successful at Pint Sized's Saratoga Springs location.

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A look around the new Albany Distilling bar and bottle shop

Albany Distilling bar bottle shop

The Albany Distilling Company has a grand opening for its new bar and bottle shop on Livingston Ave this Friday. The building includes a bar area, a striking outdoor courtyard, and an upstairs room for private events.

The distillery has been working on renovating the building over the past year, an expansion beyond its nearby production space at Quackenbush Square.

Here's a look around the new space, along with a few bits about it....

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Charlie Foxtrot at Mess Hall

Mess Hall Charlie Foxtrot breakfast

By Deanna Fox

It's not lost on me that a military-style eatery is serving up some of my most beloved comfort food, even though I've no military experience myself, and neither do my parents.

My grandfather was a WWII veteran, and I have uncles and cousins who have honorably served multiple tours of duty for the Marines and Army. But the food that marked their military careers had no effect on my own upbringing.

Somehow, still, the food from the bunker outpost that is Mess Hall, in Averill Park, hits me right where it counts when it comes to culinary nostalgia and edible comfort.

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A few different things that make me feel fancy: dinner and drinks at Peck's Arcade in Troy, drinks at the Speakeasy in Albany and catching a show at Proctor's in Schenectady. And one more out there -- going to a farm to table dinner at Dancing Ewe farm in Granville, NY (what a beautiful setting and absolutely delicious food and wine).

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