Items tagged with 'food'

Good wine classes?

Thumbnail image for wine bottle top against tableLauren emails:

I'm looking for someone who is interested in teaching a small group (2-4) people about wine once a week for around a month. I have two small children and attending a wine class out in the world is difficult, so I'm hoping to find someone willing to come to my home and share their love and knowledge of wine. Perhaps a sommelier at a local restaurant or a wine shop employee would be willing to provide private classes, but any suggestions your readers can provide would be greatly appreciated.

The in-home part, especially for a small group, might be hard. But maybe someone has a suggestion about how to make that work -- or a class somewhere that's worth arranging for sitter. (Or maybe this is an opportunity for someone to launch Saturday afternoon parents wine club/play date.)

Got an idea for Lauren? Please share.

The Best Dozen: Hannaford

Hannaford donuts in a box

By Daniel B.

We've enlisted Daniel B. to survey Capital Region donut shops -- and pick his favorite donuts -- for a short series called The Best Dozen.

Donuts are defined by their garnishes. Yeast-raised donut shells aren't very fun on their own. They require something extra to make them come to life. It can be as simple as a dusting of sugar. But part of the joy comes from the variety of toppings and fillings that make these fried rounds of dough a sweet treat.

A professional baker might be able to detail the technical difference between glazes, icings and frostings. For the purpose of this series, glaze is a clear sugar coating; icing is a thin, dense top coat; and frosting is what you typically find on cakes.

At Hannaford, many of the donuts from their bakery appeared to be frosted and drizzled with a fudgy icing. An abundance of caution and gut instinct told me to avoid the ones with bright red icing. Past experience ruled out the specimens covered in sprinkles.

But there were still plenty left to try in the search for the best dozen, including a cro-dough.

(there's more)

Tortas at El Mariachi

el_mariachi_torta_closeup.jpg

By Deanna Fox

You don't need to go south of the border for a lunchtime taste of Mexico. You just need to go a little south of Central Avenue.

Tortas are a traditional Mexican sandwich often sold on the street during lunch. Using whatever ingredients are on hand, tortas act as a quick, filling lunch that comes cheap, is easy to eat, and offers utility that is only rivaled by flavor.

The tortas -- in various interpretations -- at El Mariachi in Albany don't disappoint when it comes to a fast, hearty lunch that bring a hit of flavor to an otherwise drab, wintery workday.

(there's more)

The Best Dozen: Schuyler Bakery

schuyler_bakery_donuts_in_box.jpg

By Daniel B.

We've enlisted Daniel B. to survey Capital Region donut shops -- and pick his favorite donuts -- for a short series called The Best Dozen.

Donuts are old fashioned. Sure, there are new places sprouting up all the time offering a new take on the classics, whether via new flavors or new processes. But Schuyler Bakery offers those who walk through its doors a look into the past.

The trays of donuts that sit in the window are clearly made by human hands. The shapes are not uniform and the toppings are uneven. You will not find a hibiscus-glazed donut in this Watervliet institution. What you will find are some excellent versions of the classics.

Surely, each and every donut the bakery makes has its fans. And there may be some flavors that have been family favorites for over 60 years. However, if you're stopping in for the first time -- or willing to stop in again while taking a little friendly advice -- here's how you can cobble together the best dozen.

(there's more)

Drawing: Caribbean tapas party at New World Catering

New World Catering kitchen on Delaware Ave

New World Catering Kitchen on Delaware Ave.

Drawing's closed! Winner's been emailed!

New World Catering Kitchen in Albany is hosting a Pop Up Rhum and Caribbean Tapas tasting party January 22. We have a pair of tickets to the event and we're giving them away.

To enter the drawing, please answer this question in the comments:

If you could hop a plane tomorrow for any warm destination in the world, where it would it be? And why that destination?

Yeah, this is totally mid-winter fantasy. We'll pick one winner at random.

Blurbage on the tapas event at New World Catering:

We are featuring cocktails made with Rhum Clement for Martinique presented by Brendan Edwards. Ric Orlando is creating authentic tastes in grazing tapas format which will include real Conch, Calalloo with crab, oxtails, salt cod fritters and more!

The event is Thursday, January 22 from 6:30-9 pm. Tickets are $50 per person, and only 40 will be sold. Call (518) 465-3465 for tickets.

Important: All comments must be submitted by noon on Friday, January 16, 2015 to be entered in the drawing. You must answer the question to be part of the drawing. (Normal commenting guidelines apply.) One entry per person, please. You must enter a valid email address (that you check regularly) with your comment. The winner will be notified via email by 5 pm on Friday and must respond by noon on Monday, January 19.

New World Catering advertises on AOA.

The Best Dozen: Cider Belly

Cider Belly Albany donuts in box

By Daniel B.

We've enlisted Daniel B. to survey Capital Region donut shops -- and pick his favorite donuts -- for a short series called The Best Dozen.

For denizens of the Capital Region apple cider donuts are a seasonal rite of passage. Can fall even happen without a trip to go apple picking at your favorite orchard, fortified with a sack of freshly made apple cider donuts?

The best apple cider donuts are those made just moments before consumption. They don't travel well, and that has led some to suggest that these donuts are tied to a sense of place. And up until now, that place has always been the apple orchard.

Cider Belly has decided to turn that idea on its head by offering a fabulous array of apple cider donuts in downtown Albany. With so many to choose from, it's tempting to order one of everything.

But trust me, after eating through a box of my own, there's a better way.

(there's more)

Drawing: Wine & Dine for the Arts gala tickets

Thumbnail image for wine and dine for the arts wine glasses

Drawing's closed! Winner's been emailed!

The annual Wine & Dine for the Arts food and wine festival in downtown Albany starts January 15 (next week). The multi-day event includes tastings, chefs and restaurants, seminars, and competitions for sliders, baristas, and bartenders.

We have a pair of tickets to the grand gala reception and dinner on Saturday, January 17 and we're giving them away. To enter the drawing, please answer this question in the comments:

What is your 2015 resolution for the Capital Region?

It could be big, it could be small. It could be for yourself, it could be the area generally. We'll pick one person at random.

The gala starts Saturday, January 17 at 6 pm with a reception, dinner at 7 pm. Gala tickets are $125 each. Tickets for other events at the festival are currently on sale, though some events are already sold out and others have just a few remaining.

Important: All comments must be submitted by 10 am on Saturday, January 9 10, 2015 to be entered in the drawing. You must answer the question to be part of the drawing. (Normal commenting guidelines apply.) One entry per person, please. You must enter a valid email address (that you check regularly) with your comment. The winner will be notified via email by 10 am on Monday and must respond by noon on Tuesday, January 13.

AOA is a media sponsor of Wine & Dine for the Arts.

A look inside Peck's Arcade

peck's arcade troy kitchen overhead

Peck's Arcade -- the new venture from Vic Christopher and Heather LaVine, the people behind The Confectionery and The Grocery -- is set to open Wednesday.

The casual fine dining restaurant is in the building at 217 Broadway in downtown Troy, which also houses the Grocery and connects with The Confectionery via a covered patio. The duo say the restaurant will focus on small plates and meticulous service in a casual, relaxed atmosphere. (The name comes from one of the building's former lives as a 19th century department store.)

"We want people to feel like they're well taken care of," LaVine told us Thursday as the restaurant team was finalizing things ahead of the opening.

Here's a quick look at the space Tuesday, along with a few more bits and a conversation with Christopher.

(there's more)

Breakfast Pizza at Bella Napoli

bella napoli breakfast pizza

By Deanna Fox

Fortunately for me, eating pizza has rarely been a case of taking whatever cold slice might be left in the box from the night before. The Capital Region is flush with pizza options, so it comes as no surprise that the first meal of the day be covered by the pizza category.

How do you make pizza suitable for breakfast? You put an egg on it. Some iterations, like the Eggs in Purgatory pizza from More Perecca's, rely on coal-fired crust to support spicy, house-made tomato sauce with a few poached eggs on top. (Sidenote: I'm fairly certain EiP pizza is the perfect hangover cure.)

Others, like the breakfast pizza at Bella Napoli in Latham, forgo the sauce altogether and make the eggs the star of the show.

And even though sauce is my favorite part of the pizza, I'm OK with that.

(there's more)

Sciortino's closed, Taste closing

sciortinos exterior 2013

We'll miss tucking into a booth there.

Two bits of Albany restaurant news:

Sciortino's has closed
The pizza/Italian-American spot in the former Miss Albany Diner space on Broadway closed at the end of the year. Posted Matt Baumgartner today on FB: "Although Sciortino's was a very personal restaurant for me, I feel like something new and exciting in that space would be more beneficial to the booming Warehouse District."

The space is up for lease (details at the link). Baumgartner mentioned a few ideas for things he'd like to see there to Steve Barnes.

Taste is closing
The downtown Albany upscale dining spot is closing next week (it had been for sale for years) -- its banquet business will continue. The space is apparently being taken over by a restaurant group planning a pan-Asian concept. [Biz Review] [Table Hopping]
____

Speaking of the Warehouse District and food... It looks like Druther's is making progress on its new brewery space just off Broadway.

Earlier on AOA:
+ In 2012, Baumgartner talked with us about how the concept for Sciortino's was based on his and his business partner's family food memories
+ Architecture gawking in Albany's warehouse district

The Best Dozen: ShopRite

best_dozen_shoprite_box_of_donuts.jpg

By Daniel B.

We've enlisted Daniel B. to survey Capital Region donuts -- and pick his favorites -- for a short series called The Best Dozen.

With donuts you can't judge a book by its cover. I learned this the hard way on a recent trip to rural Pennsylvania where I encountered some gorgeous local specimens. But they were terrible. Truly terrible. I'll spare you the gory details.

On a recent visit to the ShopRite on Central Avenue in Colonie, the donuts looked sad in a corner of the bakery case. I got there on a Sunday morning to find a selection only seven varieties deep. They seemed more of an afterthought or an obligation of the bakery, rather than something celebrated and fussed over.

Fortunately, they taste better than they look.

(there's more)

Favorite local foods 2014

DeFazio's veggie pizza Tournament of Pizza final

Pizza that united family opinions.

With 2014 wrapping up, we thought it'd be fun to ask a bunch of people about some of their favorite/most interesting things from the past year.

First up: Favorite local things to eat or drink this year.

(there's more)

Sonic planning 8 locations in the Albany area

sonic indoor seating location rendering

A rendering of the indoor location design Sonic is using upstate.

Sonic is planning to open its first location in the Albany area in spring 2015 in Latham, the fast food chain announced Tuesday. It says it's planning to ultimately open eight locations around the Capital Region.

Press release blurbage:

[Franchisee] Fast Eats, LLC, led by an experienced service industry team, is already fast at work on their first location in Latham with expected opening in the spring of 2015. Within seven years, Fast Eats expects to open eight drive-in locations in the New York Capital District, including Albany, Latham, Schenectady, Troy, Saratoga Springs, Clifton Park, Amsterdam and the surrounding areas.

A spokesperson said the company didn't yet have officially confirmed details of the exact Latham location.

Sonic has been looking at this area since at least early this year -- back in February the company told us it was in talks with potential franchisees about setting up in this area.

The chain has been expanding through New York State over the last few years. It has locations in Watertown, Rochester, Binghamton, and the Middletown/Newburgh area, with Syracuse and Buffalo in the pipeline. The company says it currently has plans for 27 locations around upstate. Nationwide there are more 3,500 Sonics.

Sonic locations are set up like drive-ins. The company is based in Oklahoma, with a large concentration of its locations in the southeast and southern midwest. So it's planning some adjustments for its upstate locations, including indoor dining areas.

image: Sonic

Paska bread from Schuyler Bakery

Schuyler Bakery Watervliet exterior

By Deanna Fox

I went to Schuyler Bakery for the snowflake rolls, but I'll be going back for the Paska bread.

When everyone's favorite Speedo'ed Santa, Jim Larson, told me that the dinner rolls (AKA snowflake rolls, for their pre-bake dusting of flour like freshly fallen snow) at Schuyler Bakery in Watervliet were one of the best things he's eaten in the Capital Region, I knew I had to check them out. What I wasn't expecting was to come home with an assortment of other delights -- like the two other varieties of dinner rolls and a quarter-dozen of the bakeshop's famed glazed donuts.

But I'm glad I did, or else I'd never know how good the Paska bread is.

(there's more)

Restaurants with cozy spots for dining?

fire in fireplace Flickr Max Wolfe CCClearly thinking ahead for the next few months, Rebecca emails:

The counterpoint to Summer Outdoor/patio dining: Wondering about any area restaurants that have fireplaces for some cozy indoor dinners on a cold night? Thanks.

There are definitely spots with fireplaces.

So, got a favorite place for cozy dining -- with fireplace or without? Please share!

Crisan to close cafe

Crisan front window 2013 October

Updated at 3:40 pm: We spoke with Crisan's owners about the changes coming to the bakery in the new year.

News from Lark Street today: Crisan, the bakery that has become part of the neighborhood fabric over the last six years, will be closing its cafe. Neighbors were notified this weekend that starting January 1 the bakery will close its storefront and focus on wholesale orders and weddings and custom cakes.

From the note: "What was once a place to socialize, to ponder, to read and to work, will be transformed into a cake decorating workspace and a private tasting room." (An image of the full note is after the jump.)

Though the cafe portion of the business is closing, owner Claudia Crisan Calabria and her husband Iggy Calabria emphasize they're not closing the bakery itself and its products will still be available.

They took a few minutes to talk with us about their decision.

(there's more)

Local food gifts

cornelius applejack bottle

Well, it would be a very heavy -- and happy -- stocking.

By Deanna Fox

We're into the stretch run for December holidays, so we asked Deanna for a few stocking stuffer-type local food gift ideas.

Stockings are my favorite part of Christmas morning. In my family, you are not allowed to open any presents until everyone is awake and in the living room, around the tree. Stockings, however, are fair game. As soon as you wake up, you can tiptoe to the mantle, un-hook your stocking, and dump out all the goodies that are crammed deep into the toe.

Here are some local treats I'm hoping to find in my stocking this year.

(there's more)

Where to get latkes?

latkes on plate Flickr Sarah and Jason CC BY-SA 2.0Xina emails with a seasonal question:

Where can I get some excellent latkes in the Capital region? I have had no luck making good ones on my own, but I would love to eat some. :)

We get the sense that latkes tend to fall into the category of "foods people usually make and eat at home" -- in part because it's a holiday thing for a lot of people. But there's gotta be a place in the Capital Region that Xina get score some good not-made-at-home latkes. Or maybe you can share some advice on how she can make good ones at home.

Got a suggestion? Please share!

photo: Flickr user Sarah and Jason (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Drawing: DeFazio University pizza or pasta class

DeFazio's veggie pizza TOP final 2014

One of DeFazio's pizzas from this year's TOP final, the shop's second overall tournament win.

Drawing's closed! Winner's been emailed!

Two-time Tournament of Pizza champ DeFazio's is bringing back its DeFazio University pizza and pasta classes in 2015. Rocco DeFazio and his family started teaching the classes this year, and they've become pretty popular.

DeFazio University Shirt.jpgIf you've wanted to give them a try, this could be your chance. AOA is giving away a pizza or pasta class for four at DeFazio University. You and three friends can join one of DeFazio's upcoming pizza classes on February 8 or 22, or their pasta class on March 1.

Here's how to enter the drawing:

DeFazio's is a two time winner of the AOA Tournament of Pizza trophy. If you could give someone/something in the Capital Region a trophy, to whom/what would you give it and why?

Maybe it's a favorite food, or place to go, maybe it's a person or organization that should be recognized for doing good work or just somehow being worthy of praise. Tell us who you think should get a trophy and why and you'll be entered to win.

We'll draw one winner at random.

DeFazio's pizza and pasta making classes are being offered on Sunday afternoons from 1-4 pm for $60 per person. You can bring your own bottle of wine to enjoy while you're cooking, and everyone who takes a class leaves with a DeFazio's pizza or pasta kit so they can get started making their own pies and pasta dishes at home.

Important: All comments must be submitted by 5 pm on Friday, December 12, 2014 to be entered in the drawing. You must answer the question to be part of the drawing. (Normal commenting guidelines apply.) One entry per person, please. You must enter a valid email address (that you check regularly) with your comment. The winner will be notified via email by 5 pm on Monday, December 15 and must respond by 5 pm on December 16.

Lunch buffet at First Choice Caribbean

first choice caribbean troy lunch plate closeup

By Deanna Fox

Friends are great. Friends with surprising, delicious food recommendations are even better.

Thankfully, my friend Braden has that covered. When I found myself near his office in Troy around lunchtime recently, I thought I would see if he was interested in grabbing coffee or lunch. He was Johnny on the spot with his reply: "Caribbean buffet is good if you haven't been there."

First Choice Caribbean in Troy was what he was referring to.

No, I hadn't been there, but it sounded perfect.

(there's more)

The Best Dozen: Cookie Factory

Cookie Factory box of donuts

By Daniel B.

We've enlisted Daniel B. to survey Capital Region donuts -- and pick his favorites -- for a short series called The Best Dozen.

Donuts are sweet. Well, technically they aren't. They are fried dough that are are then glazed, dusted with sugar, or frosted. Sometimes they are even filled. It's these finishing touches that actually make the donuts sweet.

There are forces at work to help temper the sweetness of donuts. Primarily it's the fat from the frying oil. Richness cuts the sweetness. And then of course there is the bracing bitterness of coffee. It's one of the reasons these two morning staples are almost inseparable from each other.

The best donuts are well balanced, with enough toppings or fillings to provide great flavor and enough sweetness to brighten your morning. But if you aren't careful at The Cookie Factory you could end up with a box of sugar bombs. (Unless, of course, that's exactly your aim.)

After recently trying the flavors available at this Troy shop one morning, here's how to get the best dozen...

(there's more)

Pics from the AOA holiday cocktail party at New World Catering

new world catering party composite

The AOA holiday cocktail party in the kitchen at New World Catering in Albany was Thursday night, and we had a lot of fun! It was very informal -- a throw-your-coat-over-here-and-grab-a-cocktail kind of affair. And, of course, there was food: pan-blackened stringbeans, deviled eggs, ropa vieja sliders, an enormous pan of paella, and more.

Thank you to chef Ric Orlando and the New World Catering crew for hosting us. And thanks to everyone who came to hang out with us!

Here are a few pics...

(there's more)

Holiday cocktail tour: part 2

liquor bottles behind Malt Room bar

By Lauren Hittinger

Since the holiday cocktail is such a central part of any festive fĂȘte, we asked five Capital Region bars to create locally-themed versions of their favorite seasonal drinks.

Last time we stopped by New World Bistro Bar, dp, and 677 Prime to try their creations.

Today we'll finish up the tour with Speakeasy 518, The Malt Room, and the tasters pick their favorites.

(there's more)

Holiday cocktail tour: part 1

cocktail at dp

By Lauren Hittinger

It's December, which means we are officially into holiday party time. I know that you're not looking forward to endless crudités and cubed cheese. Let's be honest. It's all about the holiday cocktail.

Here at All Over Albany we recognize the importance of a good festive drink. That's why we asked five local bars to create the perfect holiday cocktail. To make things even more interesting, we requested that each beverage contain at least one ingredient local to the Capital Region.

We brought along some tasters to give their opinion, roped in designated drivers, and headed off to try the five festive creations.

(there's more)

A tour of the new Urban Grow Center

On River Street.

Two big pieces of news out of Capital District Community Gardens today. The first is that it's no longer Capital District Community Gardens. After 40 years the regional food org that runs eleven programs including the Veggie Mobile, Community Gardens, and Healthy Convenience Store program has changed its name to Capital Roots.

The new name comes as Capital Roots officially opens its long-anticipated Urban Grow Center in a rehabbed, 165-year-old industrial building in Troy.

The 12,000-square-foot building includes a produce market, gardeners'resource center, green roof, and community meeting space.

Here are few more details and a look around...

(there's more)

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.

Recently on All Over Albany

This week was brought to you by

This week was brought to you by checklists, arteries, expressions of love and extraordinarily fluffy snow. It was also brought to you by AOA advertisers... (more)

A quick recap of the week

Here are a few highlights from the past short week on AOA: + The Best Dozen took Daniel to Hannaford and, well, we think all... (more)

Today's moment of winter

A cold, blustery afternoon at Capital Hills. (Otto didn't seem to mind. Of course, he was also wearing a fantastic fur coat.)... (more)

"One hand washes the other, and everyone winds up dirty."

Over at WNYC, Andrea Bernstein looks into the slush funds -- some $200 million, unaccounted for publicly -- that the governor, state Senate majority leader,... (more)

The Capital Region's vehicle arteries

Map gawking: Check out this map of traffic volumes on major roads around the Capital Region. It's like an angiogram of the area's vehicle arteries.... (more)

Recent Comments

All of these articles make me stabby. I don't think the condescending tone is so faint. It's more like, "Isn't it amazing that people managed to live in this uncultured place before we discovered it and caused a demand for artisanal cheese?" ...

How much snow is that much snow?

...has 2 comments, most recently from Randal Putnam

It won't be the site of the Albany convention center, so what will it be?

...has 12 comments, most recently from Anthony

A check list for Upstate Place/Rust Belt City is the new Brooklyn articles

...has 18 comments, most recently from JC Delettrez

Day trip: Glens Falls

...has 14 comments, most recently from Peggy

The Capital Region's vehicle arteries

...has 2 comments, most recently from Jay