Items tagged with 'food'

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.

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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.

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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.

Pick-your-own blueberry season 2015

box of blueberries at samascott

We are into the thick of blueberry season around the greater Capital Region. And as we've mentioned before, blueberries are just about our favorite pick-your-own crop because they're easy to pick (on bushes about waist high), relatively cheap (usually between $2-$3 per pound), and they freeze beautifully, so you can stock up for later in the year.

There are a handful of farms around the Capital Region that offer pick-your-own blueberries. Here's a list with some info. And, of course, if you know of a place that should be on the list, please share.

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Suggestions for a meal delivery service?

beet carpaccioDana emails:

We're expecting a baby soon and were looking for a meal delivery service in the Capital District. Not necessarily to lose weight, but something that's somewhat healthy, delivered cold, but that can be warmed up for meals, so we don't have to worry about meals every night once the baby's here. I've only seen services in other larger metropolitan areas, but not in ours. Any ideas/suggestions?

We are, of course, interested in hearing about local suggestions. But we've also noticed recently there are some web-based companies that offer shipments of meals or pre-prepped meal ingredients. So maybe that's a related option. (We really have no idea -- we have not seen those services in action.) Or maybe you can think of a different angle -- like, say, small-scale catering -- that could work.

So, got a suggestion for Dana and family? Please share!

Brunching about: Tala Bistro

tala bistro exterior

By Lauren Hittinger

Lauren has set out to survey a handful of brunch spots around the Capital Region for a short series.

I'll admit it. I am one of those people that tends to pass over suburban eateries, especially if they're located inside of a strip mall or plaza. In that way, I have become an urbanite, gravitating towards the downtown areas in the Capital Region. The only problem with this perspective is that you can miss out on some interesting places that are still locally owned.

An example of such a place is Tala, a Mazzone Hospitality restaurant located on New Loudon Road in Latham. I'm glad I abandoned my city preferences and visited this modern, bistro-style restaurant as part of my brunch investigation. Plus, as this was the suburbs, there was no Sunday morning test of parallel parking skill.

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New York State set to raise fast food minimum wage to $15 per hour

fast food wage increase schedule chart

The state Fast Food Wage Board has recommended that the minimum wage for fast food employees across New York State rise to $15 per hour -- eventually.

The board's recommendation, which now heads to the state labor commissioner before it can take effect, lays out two tracks for increasing the industry's minimum wage, for New York City and areas outside the city:

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Sovrana's gets the tabloid treatment

Laura W emails:

I was eating dinner at Sovrana's yesterday and got to hear the hilarious story from the owners John & Rose about how TMZ ordered pizzas from them, shipped to CA. Rose had no idea who [TMZ founder] Harvey Levin is, but she dutifully fulfilled their orders. They are such a charming couple and a great asset to Albany.

(Steve mentioned the TMZ appearance today over on Table Hopping, too.)

It's true -- Sovrana's pizza does have that distinctive crust.

And to think TMZ missed out on Death in a Cup -- that seems much more like tabloid fare.

Also: Sometimes the modern world is strange.

(Thanks, Laura!)

Dosas at Parivar

parivar dosa

A masala dosa.

By Deanna Fox

There are universal norms when it comes to street foods around the planet: It must be cheap, it must be portable, and it must be filling.

Dosas are the classic Indian-style version of a crepe that hits all these markers. And Parivar -- the Central Avenue Indian supermarket (No, not that one. Or that one. It's the one with the peacock on the sign.) -- serves them up fresh and piping-hot, just like one would get from a vendor's street cart in an alleyway in New Delhi or Mumbai.

But unlike a street cart, Parviar lets the eater indulge from the comfort of indoor seating in a nice air-conditioned café.

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Follow forward: The Wine Bar and Bistro on Lark

Wine Bar and Bistro Exterior.jpg

Soon to be under new ownership.

AOA is taking things a little easy this week for summer break. So we thought it'd be a good time to catch up with some local businesses we've covered during the last year (or so) and find out how things are going. But our last post of the week flips things a bit -- we're looking to the future of a local business that's changing hands.

Nine years ago, chef Kevin Everleth opened The Wine Bar and Bistro on Lark and turned a small wine and tapas bar into a popular neighborhood jewel. The food was always delicious, the staff was always welcoming, and the wine selection was always varied and interesting.

But Everleth is fond of saying about restaurants, "I buy them, I build them, and I sell them." And so, after nine years, he says it's time for him to move on. This week Everleth announced that he is selling The Wine Bar to one of his employees, Silvia Lilly, who currently works at the restaurant a few nights a week. (Lilly is a school librarian by day. And, of course, she lives in Albany's Delaware Ave neighborhood.)

Lilly has never owned a restaurant, but she's been working in Capital Region restaurants for more than 20 years and she's passionate about the business. And she's excited about carrying on the business Everleth founded.

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Follow up: Brew

Brew - Josh and August.jpg

AOA is taking things a little easy this week for summer break. So we thought it'd be a good time to catch up with some local businesses we've covered during the last year (or so) and find out how things are going.

Next up: a look at Brew. Almost exactly one year ago Joshua Cotrona, who owned the Fuzz Records shop at the corner of State and Lark in Albany partnered with August Rosa to turn the space into Brew, a beverage shop featuring craft beer and specialty coffees.

A year ago Rosa told us why they were opening a craft beverage shop on Lark Street:

The idea came up when we realized the need for a craft beer outlet in the Center Square neighborhood. We decided to expand the offerings to include coffee, teas, and other beverages down the road. Our shop will help residents in downtown Albany skip a trip out to the suburbs for these items.

A year later, they're still there educating customers about craft brews, hosting tastings, and balancing their dreams with the wants and needs of a constantly changing neighborhood.

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Follow up: Collar City Hard Pressed

collar city hard pressed 2015 jessica

By Lauren Hittinger

AOA is taking things a little easy this week for summer break. So we thought it'd be a good time to catch up with some local businesses we've covered during the last year (or so) and find out how things are going.

Next we're revisiting Collar City Hard Pressed (CCHP). When we first interviewed owner Jessica Garrity, now Jessica Quijano, she was running her business solely at the Saturday Troy farmers' market. Since then, she has moved to working full-time for her juice and smoothie business, taking up residence on Broadway in downtown Troy.

A snippet from March 2014:

"I found myself basically obsessed with fresh juice and smoothies and was suddenly annoyed that there wasn't a place in my neighborhood where I could get any. I kind of hate leaving my neighborhood on the weekend so just thought it was only fair that we had a juice place here downtown. I also recognized that juicing was a pretty trendy business and thought downtown Troy would be a great place to get to work."

I caught up with Quijano to see what it's like to be running a small business on her own, and to get the scoop on the different reactions to a juice bar in downtown Troy.

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Follow up: Bread and Honey

bread and honey 2015 July exterior

Bread and Honey is in the commercial strip on Madison Ave between Quail and Ontario.

AOA is taking things a little easy this week for summer break. So we thought it'd be a good time to catch up with some local businesses we've covered during the last year (or so) and find out how things are going.

First up is Bread and Honey in Albany's Pine Hills neighborhood. Owner Naomi Davies opened the artisan bakery in March of 2014 after a major renovation of the storefront at 809 Madison Ave. She has a background in construction management (and dance before that), and consulting on the new Honest Weight location had sparked the idea of opening a bakery.

A quick clip from 15 months ago:

"I learned so much about retail and food, just being with people who really cared about what they did and how they did it," she said recently as we stood in the bakery space. "And getting to know how they work, I saw an opportunity for a bakery here in Albany that could provide good, fresh, artisan breads. And I was craving a great bagel."

We got a chance to catch up with her last week -- and it was some real talk about what's it like to run a small, local business.

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Brunching about: Iron Gate Cafe

Iron Gate Cafe exterior front

By Lauren Hittinger

Lauren has set out to survey a handful of brunch spots around the Capital Region for a short series.

A tour of brunch locations wouldn't be complete without a visit to Iron Gate Café. This spot is well beloved, and I received many suggestions to stop by on my great breakfast quest.

I'm not surprised that people love this quirky downtown Albany spot, since it has a gorgeous patio and brisk service. If you're looking for a simple, savory, and satisfying breakfast, Iron Gate is the place.

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Mini hot dogs from Pete's Pups

petes pups rotterdam mini hotdogs

By Deanna Fox

It takes a lot of chutzpah to start a hotdog joint in the Capital Region.

We know our hotdogs, especially mini dogs. While other parts of the state have their own spins on hotdogs -- Plattsburgh: Michigans, Syracuse: white hots, New York City: dirty water dogs -- mini dogs are the exclusive claim of the Capital Region. Others try to replicate, but few meet the standards we find here.

And as it is, we already have enough mini dog eateries to keep us well-stocked. From Famous Lunch to Ted's Fish Fry, one doesn't have to look far to find a decent mini dog.

But now there is one more: Pete's Pups, in Rotterdam. And while it may be easy to overlook a new kid in preference for an experienced veteran, this underdog doesn't just bark, it bites with full force, too.

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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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