Items tagged with 'food'

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.

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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.

(there's more)

Eating a spaghetti sandwich in an alley

alleycarte spaghetti sandwich

By Steve Noisseau

I woke up this past Wednesday, and as I usually do (and I'm sure many of you do as well), I grabbed my phone and checked for any notifications. I'm very active on Facebook, and my wife who was up before me, shared Steve Barnes' post to my timeline about Peck's Arcade launching a food cart they're calling the Alleycarte.

I'm a huge fan of Peck's, and particularly head chef Nick Ruscitto. I enjoyed his food when he was the chef at The Wine Bar and Bistro on Lark, and I followed him over to Peck's when he became the chef early last year. I've dined at Peck's three times since they've opened, and I've become convinced it's one of the best restaurants in the area. Needless to say, I was excited about the food cart and decided I'd head over for lunch.

There were two items on the opening day menu, one of which was a spaghetti sandwich.

A spaghetti sandwich?

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Suggestions and advice on local CSAs?

lettuce bok choy radishes in garden

Carrie emails:

Wondering if you guys could do another post on CSA's this year...? I know you did one in 2009, I remember every time I search for updates and that comes up. And the Times Union did something in 2013. But this seems like a growing thing, and (I hope) there have been some new ones and some changes to old ones?

CSA stands for "community supported agriculture" (people also refer to them as farm shares). The way they basically work: People the farm upfront at the start of the growing season and then they get a batch of farm produce at some interval (usually weekly) throughout the season.

This is currently prime time for CSA signs-ups, and many of them fill up.

As those links above indicate, there are a bunch of CSA options in the Capital Region. So... have one you'd recommend? Any advice on picking one that's a good fit for a household? Tips on working through all that produce each week? Thoughts on sharing a share with another household?

If you have suggestions for any of those questions, please share! And as always, a sentence or two about why're suggesting something can be a big help.

Veg Out: The Bier Abbey

bier abbey schenectady exterior

By Cristin Steding

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

While visiting a friend in New York City recently I found myself at a bar that had no vegan options. Every single option involved meat or butter. The only thing I could order was french fries. Rookie mistake to not research beforehand. I had foolishly assumed that since most places in Albany have veggie options, surely a hip bar in Brooklyn, of all places, would have something.

Here in the Capital Region, being vegan is relatively easy. We have Whole Foods and Honest Weight for all our geeky animal­-free cheeses and most restaurants have at least one veggie option. It's easy to get spoiled.

One great veggie option for a low-key dinner date or after work drinks is The Bier Abbey in Schenectady.

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Ice cream stand season 2016

jims tastee freez bethlehem 2014-August

The Tastee Freez is always one of the first places to open, and this year is no exception.

Updated March 17

Spring, it is near. And ice cream stand season has started!

A few stands are already open (or will be very soon), and more will be opening in the next few weeks.

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

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Coming to Lark: Berben & Wolff's Vegan Deli

exterior 227 Lark Street

The space at 227 Lark Street.

A new vegan deli -- Berben & Wolff's -- is set to take over the Brakes Coffee House space at 227 Lark Street in Albany later this spring.

Berben & Wolff's is backed by Joey Berben and Max Wolff. About a year and a half ago they started selling seitan -- a protein product made from wheat gluten -- to local restaurants, as well doing pop-kitchens and event catering. They now make a range of vegan products: breakfast sausage, chicken wings, chorizo, burgers.

"We have both always been very involved in food." Berben told AOA via chat today -- he's worked in the deli at Honest Weight, and Wolff is a restaurant chef. "There has been quite a lack of vegan restaurants in the area, so I began hosting events and cooking for friends. I was approached by Max last year about starting a legitimate business selling some of the seitan products I made. It took off pretty quickly and has been doing very well."

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Egg in the Bread at The Breakfast Spot

egg in the bread

Simple, but comforting.

By Deanna Fox

Do you ever really miss your mom?

I do, especially when I am sick. Growing up, my mom used to make me Campbell's tomato soup with extra saltines, a juice box, and a crunchy peanut butter and jelly sandwich, cut into triangles.

But now I'm the mom, and moms don't get sick days. No one is there to make me a soothing meal when I'm feeling under the weather, but thankfully there is The Breakfast Spot (TBS) in Cohoes, which serves up meals that comfort from the inside.

Having breakfast at TBS feels like a trip back to childhood, though not my childhood; I was born in the 80s, and the decor at TBS feels straight out of a diner from Leave it to Beaver. Nostalgia never hurt the healing process anyway.

Still, the food at TBS alone can cure what ails you. Case in point: Toad in the Hole -- or what TBS refers to as Egg in the Bread.

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A Journey Rooted in New York State Beets at Dali Mamma

dali mamma window signCould be interesting: Dali Mamma in Albany is hosting "A Journey Rooted in New York State Beets" -- a 7-course dinner with beets as a theme -- on Saturday, March 26. Tickets are $75.

A group of chefs is collaborating on the dinner: Ellie Markovitch, Jillian Naveh, Josh Coletto, Sean O'Connor, Jeffrey Lentz, and Dali Mamma owner Katrin Haldeman.

The menu is listed after the jump. (We note that it does not include a beet/goat cheese/field greens salad.)

There's been a lot of more focus in food circles recently on vegetables. Some of that attention is probably because of interest in vegetarianism and environmental concerns, but vegetable also provide interesting opportunities for chefs to be creative in ways diners might not have seen before.

Dali Mamma is now located in the 41 State Street building (the entrance is on Broadway) in downtown Albany.

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A look at Troy Kitchen

troy kitchen pre-opening exterior

By Lauren Hittinger Hodgson

When you think of a food court, your first thoughts are probably of shopping malls and crappy fast food.
Troy Kitchen -- opening in downtown Troy Friday -- is hoping to change that.

The food court is an amalgamation of food and drink vendors located in the former Pioneer Food Co-op space on Congress Street. The venue is the brainchild of Cory Nelson, who confesses that he has no food service experience, but saw a business opportunity.

I talked with Nelson earlier this week as work was finishing up on the space to get the details on his food vendors, inspiration, and goals for the venue.

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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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