Items tagged with 'food'

Window shopping at the grocery, then

B. Lodge (Lodges)  and Grand Cash Market  North pearl albany ny 1940s

Check out this Pearl Street pic from the 1940s posted from the Albany Group Archive on Flickr. The Albany Muskrat highlighted it on Twitter with a Thanksgiving ad for the grocery, Grand Cash Markets.

Recommended: Heading over to Flickr and zooming in on the photo. You can see into the store itself a bit and gawk at the all the vegetables on display.

Also: There's a woman standing under the B. Lodge sign (same typeface as today!), and she has a "I'm an annoyed you're taking my photo" look on her face.

Benedict Trio at Tipsy Moose Tap and Tavern

tipsy moose benedict trio

By Deanna Fox

Thrice I've attempted to dine at Tipsy Moose Tap and Tavern, just off Latham Circle. The first time, not long after the comfort food destination opened, the wait time was over an hour. The result was a visit to Celadon Thai. The second time, during happy hour, was equally unsuccessful. Zaitoon Kitchen stepped in instead.

But three is the magic number at Tipsy Moose, and my third attempt during peak Sunday brunch hours was a success.

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A look inside the new Cuckoo's Nest in Albany

Cuckoo's Nest Albany exterior

Sometimes the right spot is right across the street.

When Kaytrin Della Sala and Devin Ziemann -- owners of the Albany fast-casual burger shop Crave -- heard that the longtime home of The Gingerman was available again, the opportunity was, as Ziemann describes it, "a no-brainer."

The location is just up Western Ave from Crave, and the young restaurateurs -- Kaytrin Della Sala oversees operations, Ziemann is a chef -- had been thinking about a second restaurant.

So they jumped at the chance. And this past weekend, they opened The Cuckoo's Nest, a sit-down restaurant inspired by Southern cuisine. The menu includes riffs on items such as fried chicken, biscuits, shrimp and grits, and fried green tomatoes.

"It's been pretty much a dream of ours to open this kind of concept, with this look, since before we even opened Crave," said Della Sala on Saturday a few hours before the restaurant's first reservations from the general public started showing up. "So it just means a lot to us to see it come to life."

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Pollo mofongo from Mi Ecuador Juice Bar

Mi Ecuador East Greenbush mofongo

By Deanna Fox

I'm not a fan of molded foods.

I'm not talking about moldy foods -- though funky cheese and fermented foods are always ok in my book -- I'm talking about the foods that are manipulated into cutesy forms to somehow exude superiority and sophistication. Save for cookie cut-outs, any food that has been pressed into some sort of ring or mold, including but not limited to: Anything in aspic; anything with Jell-O; chopped salad pressed into a circle; tartar also pressed into a circle. Those ring molds really do nothing except drive up labor cost and convince eaters that they should pay more for the effort.

There are times when I can be persuaded to step outside these boundaries, and pollo mofongo is one of those times.

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A look around the new Fort Orange Brewing

Fort Orange Brewing in Albany opening

The new Albany brewery -- Fort Orange Brewing -- officially opened Wednesday afternoon.

Its space, a combination brewery/tap room, is on North Pearl Street in the Warehouse District. Six of its brews were on tap, along with cider from Nine Pin.

Fort Orange Brewing is the product of Craig Johnson, John Westcott, and Jim Eaton. The three friends from Castleton started brewing at home together a few years back and decided to make the jump to a full brewery. As Eaton told us back in August, the plan is to offer their beers in the tap room, along with snacks. They'll also be inviting food trucks to set up outside. Eaton said the goal is to create a family-friendly atmosphere.

It's the third brewery now operating in the city of Albany, joining the C. H. Evans Brewing (the Pump Station) and Druthers. The craft beverage producer list also includes Albany Distilling Co. and Nine Pin Cider.

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

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Stewart's is selling dough boys from Esperanto

esperanto doughboy

Updated

There is no doubt an alternate universe where this has already happened because it makes sense: Stewart's is now offering dough boys from Esperanto in Saratoga Springs at a handful of its locations in Saratoga County.

Doughboys are, of course, chicken, three types of cheese (including cream cheese), and spices wrapped into a pizza dough. (Esperanto also sells a dough girl that swaps out the chicken for vegetables. Those are not being offered by Stewart's right now.)

They're very popular (especially late at night, because you know). When we talked with Esperanto many years ago about them, the Caroline Street shop's signature item made up a third of its business.

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Beef vegetable soup at Chuck Wagon Diner

Chuck Wagon Diner beef soup

By Deanna Fox

Let's face it, beef can be boring. And most times, it is.

Burger joints focus on loading up toppings instead of creating a flavorful patty. Steak is almost always overcooked and improperly seasoned. Soups made from beef stock are nearly universally oil slicks, too unctuous to sip.

Fortunately for me, I live in a place rife with great beef preparations. I can get house-aged Chateaubriand within walking distance of my abode at The Bears. Quality cuts of farm-fresh meat are just a quick drive away at various farms and a butcher shop.

But it's a humble preparation -- beef and vegetable soup -- that is unrivaled.

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Vegetable stew at Kismet

Kismet vegetable stew

By Deanna Fox

Hey, there you are, autumn!

I've been waiting for you, patiently tapping my foot with arms crossed, hoping you would show up soon. Not that I was getting tired of all those garden tomatoes or anything, but I'm ready for colder weather and hot soup.

Kismet provides.

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Market Bistro cooking school schedule includes two Quintessence classes

quintessence chicken

From the Quintessence revival back in 2009.

There are a bunch of classes on the October schedule for the cooking school at the Market Bistro in Latham, but there were two that immediately caught our eye:

October 7: Hands On & Dine: Quintessence: Shrimp Scampi
"Another Quintessence favorite that customers love! Recipes include: shrimp scampi with green fettuccine noodles, Quintessential salad, and brownie sundae." $60

October 21: Hands On & Dine: Quintessence Chicken Teriyaki
"Back by popular demand! Learn how to recreate this delicious meal in your own kitchen. Recipes include: chicken teriyaki, spinach fettuccine, Quintessential salad, and crepes." $60

Quintessence is, of course, the longtime favorite restaurant that once operated in an old diner building on Scotland Ave in Albany's Park South neighborhood. It's no longer there -- neither the restaurant, nor the building (which was demolished for the redev there). And the chicken teriyaki was its signature dish.

As the list notes, Market Bistro has offered the chicken teriyaki class before and it always sells out. In fact, it looks like it's already got a few people signed up for it. So if you're interested, don't wait to claim a spot.

Cereal sundae from Bumpy's Polar Freeze

bumpys polar freeze cereal sundae

By Deanna Fox

The lies we tell ourselves as adults: It's completely fine to eat ice cream -- just ice cream -- as a meal if 1) you skipped some other meal in the day, or 2) you've been sick/it's been a bad day, or 3) it's the only viable thing you can really bring yourself to make.

The guilt association or judgements of ice-cream-as-a-meal are laid to waste when you add in some sort of traditional meal fodder -- for instance, cereal.

Bumpy's Polar Freeze in Schenectady understands.

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Second Cafe Madison set to open this fall

Cafe Madison raspberry pancakes

Three words: oatmeal raspberry pancakes.

BMT Hospitality is planning to a open second Cafe Madison location at Loudon Plaza on Northern Boulevard in Albany, the developers of the plaza announced Tuesday. Press release blurbage:

Construction has started on the 3,000-square-foot space which will include dining for 80 people with additional seating at the bar and flexible indoor/outdoor dining during the warmer months. Off the bar, windows will open to the outside for ease of food pick up or for guests grabbing a coffee-on-the go. ...
Café Madison is scheduled to open in late fall and will be open daily for dining from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Space is available at night for private events such as bridal parties, rehearsal dinners, holiday parties, birthday parties and more.

Loudon Plaza is the strip located where Northern Boulevard intersects with Route 9/Loudon Road, across the street from Albany Memorial Hospital. It had been in foreclosure until a development company called DF Acquisitions took over the property last year -- it's been working on a total makeover of the plaza. [Biz Review]

Cafe Madison is, of course, a mainstay of Albany's Pine Hills neighborhood, frequently with long waits for breakfast on the weekend. BMT owns a bunch of establishments along that strip of Madison Ave, including Junior's, The Point, and the Madison Pour House. The company's become an Albany restaurant empire -- it also owns Ama Cocina, Albany Ale and Oyster, Spinner's, and The Pub. It opened a second Junior's in North Greenbush last year.

Breakfast sandwich at Wren & Rail

wren and rail breakfast sandwich

By Deanna Fox

A little piece of nirvana exists in the geographical center of Albany County. It's tucked away in a gravel yard in New Scotland behind a series of red barns, an unassuming tin-roofed trailer bordered by enormous pine logs and framed by a few ecru umbrellas.

Unless you were passing by on a regular basis, commuting into Albany or off to buy a load of pea gravel for walkways and patios, it is unlikely you would find Wren & Rail, a food "truck" that serves fresh, seasonal, and locally-sourced food.

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A different take on the snack machine

Capital Roots healthy vending machine

The machine in the Arbor Hill/West Hill APL branch.

Check it out: Capital Roots is coordinating the roll out of new vending machines that offer healthier snack options.

The first two machines are Albany Public Library branches. The org introduced the program Tuesday at the Arbor Hill/West Hill branch of the Albany Public Library, which has one of the machines. The other is at the Howe Branch in the South End. A third machine is headed to the Albany Leadership Charter High School for Girls on Hackett Boulevard.

Capital Roots is aiming to place as many as 50 of the machines at spots around the area as part of the program's first phase.

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Neba Sandwich from Mike's Neba

Mikes Neba Schenectady neba sandwich cross section

By Deanna Fox

Whoever coined the saying "absence makes the heart grow fonder" probably didn't mean for the quip to apply to a sandwich.

Hey, love comes in many forms, including -- but not limited to -- roast beef layered between bread.

When people speak of comfort food, sandwiches are rarely listed in the ranks, but sometimes a PBJ just the way Mom made it, or a melty grilled cheese, provides a feeling of warmth akin to the embrace of a lover after a detente from distance or quarrels.

The Super Neba from Mike's Neba in Schenectady offers the same.

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Fort Orange Brewing

Fort Orange Brewing Jim Eat

Jim Eaton in the Fort Orange Brewing space. He's part of the team that includes Craig Johnson and John Westcott.

Albany's Warehouse District is in line to add another craft beverage producer this fall with the planned opening of Fort Orange Brewing.

Here's a quick overview of what's in the works and who's involved...

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Wagel bagel at West End Bagels

West End Bagels wagel bagel

By Deanna Fox

For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction, right? So it's no surprise that for as much attention as "mindful" or "healthy" eating receives, things like over-the-top bagels exist.

Social media was stormed by the rainbow bagel phenom out of New York City, and now we have our own version, too -- the beast that is the wagel bagel at West End Bagels.

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Canning and preserving classes

Puckers pickles in a jar closeupWe're just about reaching the height of the summer growing season here, which means farmers' markets and backyard gardens will be overflowing with all sorts of produce. There will be tomatoes -- many, many tomatoes.

So, there are a few options:

1. Subsist on a diet made up totally of zucchini.

2. Can and preserve those tasty veggies.

Toward that second option, the local arms of the Cornell Cooperative Extension has a few upcoming classes...

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Halal options at Zaitoon Kitchen

zaitoon kitchen chicken wrap

By Deanna Fox

How bold is this claim: The best new dining hotspot in the Capital Region is that area around the Latham Circle.

I mean it. When was the last time you dined there? I bet you opened social media in the last week and found a photo of someone eating in that area. Superior Thai, Chinese, Eastern European, and pub food can all be found just off Exit 6.

Now there's halal food, too, with the recent addition of Zaitoon Kitchen, another example of why this spot is becoming a premier local food destination.

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Talking about the Veggie Mobile on its 10th anniversary

veggie mobile side

Capital Roots is celebrating the 10th anniversary of The Veggie Mobile -- its rolling green market on a truck -- with a party called The Big Veg this Friday, July 28 at the org's headquarters in Troy. There will be music from a bunch of acts, food trucks, and drinks.

The Veggie Mobile is an established part of the food landscape, making stops around the Capital Region each week, selling fruits and vegetables in neighborhoods that don't have easy access to such products.

But a decade ago?

"Everybody I talked with afterwards thought it was a crazy idea," Eric Krans said to us recently about taking the job back then. He helped start the program and headed it up for almost eight years.

Eric -- who's known as EJ on the Veggie Mobile -- has since moved on to a job at UAlbany, but he's still involved with Capital Roots. And he'll be playing The Big Veg as part of The Parlor, the band he and his wife, Jen O'Connor, have had for many years.

We got together with Eric to talk about the early days of The Veggie Mobile, the power of relationships, what it was like to move on from something he helped build, and what's up with The Parlor these days.

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Pick-your-own blueberry season 2017

box of blueberries at samascott

Blueberry season has begun around the greater Capital Region. And there are a bunch of places where you can pick your own.

Blueberries are just about our favorite PYO crop because they're 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.

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

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H&L on the Hudson

H&L on the Hudson

Albany has a lot of waterfront. But it doesn't have a lot places along that waterfront to grab something to eat.

So we were happy to find our way to H&L on the Hudson this week, a food trailer set up along the riverfront at the C. Springer Marina on the south end of Broadway.

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Ice cream sandwiches at Different Blend Bakery

Different Blend ice cream sandwich big bite

By Deanna Fox

Summer, man. It's fleeting. It is hard to believe that already, here we are in mid-July. I recently had a conversation with my dad about how time just speeds up as you age, and I feel that phenomenon is finally happening to me this summer. I'm nostalgic for summer before it has ended.

In my house, summer begins on the last day of school. We write out a "summer to-do" list posted to the refrigerator and get busy enjoying the warmest season. Top of the list: Eat ice cream sandwiches.

There's no such thing as too many ice cream sandwiches, especially when they are homemade like those from Different Blend Bakery in Guilderland. And they also happen to be gluten free.

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Follow up: Troy Kitchen

Cory Nelson at Troy Kitchen 2017-June

Cory Nelson at Troy Kitchen

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

Troy Kitchen opened its doors in February of 2016 in the former Pioneer Food Coop space in downtown Troy. Entrepreneur Cory Nelson had a vision for a luxury food court and local food incubator in which small food businesses could get a start, learn the ropes, and move on to start their own restaurants. Admittedly, he had no experience in the food business when he began the venture. But Cory Nelson is an optimist.

So, now a year and a half after its opening, how are things going at Troy Kitchen? We stopped by to catch up on what's new and talk with Cory about the challenges and rewards of entrepreneurship, some of the lessons he's learned, and the plan for his next food court.

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Follow up: Berben and Wolff's

Berben and Wolffs Joey Berben 2017-June

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

A little more than a year ago, Joey Berben and Max Wolff opened a vegan restaurant on Lark Street with the goal of making food that appeals to all sorts of people -- vegan and non-vegan.

As Berben said last year, "It's just good food. Vegetable forward, plant-based food."

And it's worked. Berben and Wolff's has built a following of fans, expanded its wholesale business that sells to other restaurants, and now has an eye on expansion.

We talked with Joey Berben last week in the busy second-floor dining space that looks out onto Lark Street about drawing an eclectic crowd, staying positive, and snowballing small successes.

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Follow up: Sunhee's Farm and Kitchen

Sunhees Jinah Kim 2017-June

By Cristin Steding

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

When we first spoke with Jinah Kim in 2016, she had big plans for Sunhee's Farm and Kitchen.

The goal, she said, was for Sunhee's to not only be a Korean restaurant, but also a hub for social services, specifically focused on the refugee and immigrant community. Walking into the restaurant today, you'll find little placards dotting the walls labeling things in Korean and English -- evidence of the English classes currently offered to staff members.

We caught up with Jinah to talk about how things have progressed over the last year, including a bar and a new patio, and how she's balancing between running a successful restaurant and giving back to the immigrant community.

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I'm glad to see people involved in community decisions. But at the same time, we can't just keep saying we want development "somewhere else" or "not in my backyard!". Having mini-suburbs in the city of Albany was feasible at one point in time, and now development is catching up. ...

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