Items tagged with 'food'

Cider donut bread pudding

cider donut bread pudding serving

By Deanna Fox

We saw that Deanna had made this for a party and it looked like an idea that needed to be shared. So, we asked her how to make it.

I recently hosted a group of foodies at my house for brunch to celebrate a good mutual friend. Hosting brunch can be intimidating. Hosting brunch for people who seriously know their food? Even more so.

This was no time to hold back. This is when the big kitchen guns come out: the no-holds-barred, all-stops-pulled kind of cooking.

This was the time for cider donut bread pudding.

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A look inside The Shop in Troy

The Shop bar

By Lauren Hittinger

This Friday marks the grand opening for The Shop, a new restaurant and bar in downtown Troy. It's the third commercial space to open at the former site of Trojan Hardware along 4th Street and Congress, following the May opening of Rare Form Brewing Co. and the Collar Works art gallery.

Looking to create a neighborhood bar, owner Kevin Blodgett says The Shop will have a "casual atmosphere, with no pretense. We just want people who are going to enjoy good food and good conversation."

I stopped by to talk to Blodgett and his partner Nada Rifai to get the scoop on the restaurant, the building, and how The Shop fits into Troy.

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A look inside Wolff's Biergarten Schenectady

The new new Wolff's Biergarten in downtown Schenectady opens Wednesday around 4 pm.

This Wolff's looks a lot like the Albany location, but it's larger, with three garage doors, more picnic tables, lots of flat screens for viewing soccer matches, and the requisite indoor faux tree. The building has been vacant for about ten years. It started out as a service station and last belonged to KEM cleaners.

If the Erie Blvd location seems strange, Matt Baumgartner says, it is a little.

"I think that's also consistent with Wolff's in Albany, which opened before there was much down in that area. And hopefully it will grow the same way."

Renovations on Erie Boulevard and recent growth in Schenectady were encouraging factors, he says. And the building itself interested him. "It was really affordable, and I love an old, sad building -- and this one was really sad. But I knew you could have garage doors, and having the garage doors is a real asset. People love them."

So with a Bombers and a Wolff's, is there going to be a Schenectady Sciortino's too? Baumgartner just laughs.

"Well, that's a good question. There's an empty building across the street."

After the jump, a look inside Wolff's Schenectady.

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Chicken parm at D'Raymonds

D'Raymonds chicken parm

By Deanna Fox

There are two types of Italian restaurants in the Capital Region: The eh-talian, and the EYE-talian. The former are the restaurants that serve food more in line with something plucked from the Tuscan hills. The latter are the checkered tablecloth joints where most dishes come slathered in red sauce.

Unless you count D'Raymonds in Loudonville. Then I guess there are three.

D'Raymonds lies somewhere in the middle of the two mentioned above. It embodies the cuisine of red sauce joints with a more upscale vibe. It's Little Italy meets Upper West Side. It's Nonna meets your hot WASPy girlfriend. It's comfort, with class.

No dish on the menu emphasizes this more than the D'Raymonds chicken parmesan.

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Wine & Dine for the Arts 2015

 wine and dine for the arts wine glasses

Tickets for the popular next Albany Wine & Dine for the Arts Festival are now on sale. The annual Albany chefs wine and food festival is January 15-17 in downtown Albany.

Here's the schedule for this year's festival, which includes events such as the grand tastings, slider slam, barista competition, and battle of the bartenders. Event tickets range from $10-$175. Here are the arts orgs tapped as beneficiaries for this year's festival.

Many of these events have sold out in the past, so if you're interested in going, getting tickets sooner rather than later is not a bad idea.

Also newly announced: The finalists for the festival's rising star chef award. This year's list is after the jump -- it includes chefs from a range of restaurants, some established spots and others just getting started. The nominations can be a good prompt to try a place you haven't been to, yet.

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Official snacking

Thumbnail image for chobani containers in fridgeNoted: Yogurt is now officially the official snack of New York State. The Cuomo admin announced Wednesday morning that the governor had signed the bill making it so.

As you well know, New York has been the biggest producer of yogurt the last two years, thanks in part to the Greek yogurt boom and companies such as Chobani and Fage.

The press release doesn't mention anything about the heated debate over whether frozen yogurt would qualify as official snacking if consumed between meals. The Cuomo admin is obviously dodging this important question. (Zephyr Teachout would have put the screws to AC on this question in a debate, no doubt.)

Also: Empire State cottage cheese and sour cream -- call your lobbyists, it's time to get them earning their pay. New York was the #1 producer of both dairy products in 2013. (The Empire State rules cottage cheese.) So where is your official state designation and summit, huh?

TOP2014: The Final

tournament of pizza final a lot of pizza

Sometimes things live up to the hype.

The final of the 2014 Tournament of Pizza, sponsored by Keeler Mini, was this past weekend at Shmaltz Brewing Co. in Clifton Park. And, as would only be fitting for the Tournament of Pizza to end all Tournaments of Pizza, it featured a clash of local pizza titans: DeFazio's of Troy versus Marino's of Schenectady.

DeFazio's, so many times a finalist, finally broke through last year to take the title. Marino's won the title in 2010 by beating, yep, DeFazios's. The two shops have posted the two highest individual pizza scores this year. And they represent the two highest all-time shop averages in TOP history.

That all adds up to a lot of expectation. And they exceeded it.

TOP2014 Keeler Mini in-post-ad

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Waffles at Iron Roost

waffle sticks at Iron Roost

By Deanna Fox

The nearest Waffle House is 127.94 miles away from Albany. What a shame.

I'm normally not a big proponent of chains, but few places understand the utility and magnificence of a waffle. Waffles are the superior batter-based, carb-loaded breakfast option. Pancakes are great, don't get me wrong, and so is French toast, but neither can be manipulated the way a waffle can.

Many places in the Capital Region serve waffles, but few embrace the true glory of the waffle the way Iron Roost in Ballston Spa does.

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TOP2014: Crunching the numbers

16 slices of pizza on judges table
Your concept of "a lot of pizza" changes after 172 174 pizzas.

Corrected to include numbers from the 2013 final.

The the 2014 Tournament of Pizza, sponsored by Keeler Mini -- the Tournament of Pizza to end all Tournaments of Pizza -- is almost finished. One last clash of champions remains for this Saturday.

That means it's time for some number crunching. And there are a bunch of numbers now that we have six years of scores in the modern 100-point-scale era of the TOP.

Let's take a look.

TOP2014 Keeler Mini in-post-ad

TOP2014: Semifinal: Spicy

TOP2014_semifinal_pizza_boxes.jpg

This is it, the second leg of the semifinal of the 2014 Tournament of Pizza, sponsored by Keeler Mini. The results of this leg will decide which two shops face off in the tournament final.

This year's all-champions format has resulted in four past overall tournament winners meeting in the semifinal: 5th and 50 of Scotia (tournament champ in 2011), Marino's of Schenectady (2010), DeFazio's of Troy (2013), and Marisa's Place of Guilderland (2012).

The TOP semifinal is a contest with two legs, each pizzeria offering up a pizza for each leg of the contest (so two pizzas from each shop, eight pizzas total). The two best aggregate scores advance to the final.

The theme for the first half of the semifinal was "classic." The theme for the second: "spicy."

Back to the Keeler Mini showroom...

TOP2014 Keeler Mini in-post-ad

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Tasting a Snapdragon

snapdragon apple quarter

Because apples/autumn/upstate: We finally got a chance to try a Snapdragon apple, one of the new varieties publicly announced last year after being developed at Cornell. We picked a few of them up at the Samascott farm store in Kinderhook.

So, how do they taste? The texture is crunchy, and the flavor has an interesting sweetness. They've been described as having a "spicy-sweet" flavor -- and while we're not sure we'd describe it that way, it's more complex than a flat, uniform sweetness. We enjoyed the apples.

That the Snapdragon is crunchy isn't a surprise -- one of its apple parents is the super-popular Honeycrisp (the other parent is a numbered Minnesota variety). And we'd say the Snapdragon has a more interesting flavor. (Unpopular assertion: the Honeycrisp is overrated and kind of boring.)

Snapdragons are still a year away from being widely available, according to the New York Apple Association. But a handful of orchards in the greater Capital Region are growing them, including Indian Ladder, Goold, Golden Harvest, Samascott, and Bowman.

Apples as brands
The Snapdragon was introduced with the RubyFrost, and they represent a new effort by Cornell to partner with the New York Apple Growers org to license the apple varieties in North America. It fits into a wider trend within the industry to establish individual apple variety brands.

And, sure, that makes business sense. But we have to admit we're not fans of the names and slogans produced by this trend, like "CRUNCH INTO ZESTAR!"™. They don't have the romance/mystery/history of names such as Esopus Spitzenburg, Worcester Pearman, or Cortland.

Earlier on AOA
+ How 'bout them (new) apples?
+ Lost and found apples

TOP2014: Semifinal: Classic

tournament of pizza semifinal at keeler mini

We have arrived at the semifinal of the 2014 Tournament of Pizza, sponsored by Keeler Mini. And it's shaping up to be quite a clash.

This year's all-champions format has resulted in four past overall tournament winners meeting in the semifinal: 5th and 50 of Scotia (tournament champ in 2011), Marino's of Schenectady (2010), DeFazio's of Troy (2013), and Marisa's Place of Guilderland (2012).

The TOP semifinal is a contest with two legs, each pizzeria offering up a pizza for each leg of the contest (so two pizzas from each shop, eight pizzas total). The two best aggregate scores advance to the final.

And the theme for the first pizza match: "classic." The shops were given this prompt and allowed to interpret it however they wanted in deciding which type of pizza to make.

Let's head to the Keeler Mini showroom to see how things turned out...

TOP2014 Keeler Mini in-post-ad

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TOP2014: RD1: DC's vs. Marisa's Place

DC's and Marisa's shop windows

Dueling neon.

The final first round matchup in the 2014 Tournament of Pizza, sponsored by Keeler Mini is last year's tournament runner up, DC's of Albany, against the 2012 tournament champ, Marisa's Place of Guilderland.

This year's clash-of-champions format includes first round matches consisting of two pizzas. Highest aggregate score advances. And, again, the two types of the pizza for this first round: sausage and the deceptively difficult broccoli ricotta white pizza.

Can Western Ave handle the drama...

TOP2014 Keeler Mini in-post-ad

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TOP2014: RD1: I Love vs. DeFazio's

I Love and DeFazio's exterior

The 2014 Tournament of Pizza, sponsored by Keeler Mini -- the Tournament of Pizza to end all Tournaments of Pizza -- heads for Troy and matchup between 4th Street rivals I Love, a two-time semifinalist, and reigning tournament champ DeFazio's.

This year's clash-of-champions format includes first round matches consisting of two pizzas. Highest aggregate score advances. And, again, the two types of the pizza for this first round: sausage and the deceptively difficult broccoli ricotta white pizza.

Pizza fuit, pizza est...

TOP2014 Keeler Mini in-post-ad

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The Tournament of Pizza championship pizza tasting event is now free thanks to pizza miracle

TOP2014 logo final event 2

Update: The tickets have now all been claimed! And a waitlist has been set up.

Ladies and gentlemen of the Capital Region, we would like to take a moment to tell you today about a bonafide pizza miracle. Years from now, when they write the history of the Tournament of Pizza -- and they will (well, maybe they will) -- let them write that on this date, the first day of October in the year 2014, a great benefactor came forth from the world of real estate brokers and offered free pizza to the citizens of this great land.

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, it's true -- tickets to the All Over Albany Tournament of Pizza championship final tasting at Shmaltz Brewing on October 11 are now free thanks to realtors Brian Brosen and Reggie Monroe of The Capital Team at Realty USA.

Brian and Reggie say they're pleased to be able to share their love of pizza and beer with AOA readers. They've purchased all of the tickets to the first-ever public tasting event in the august history of the Tournament of Pizza, and they're giving them away to Capital Region pizza lovers.

No, you say -- it cannot be. But yes, we assure you, it is. So how do you get to take part in this delicious miracle? You need to claim a free ticket and you can do that at this link.

The event is Saturday, October 11 at 3 pm. The free ticket includes four slices of championship pizza (one from each pizza entered in the final), two five-ounce pours of Shmaltz brews, a ballot for the People's Choice Plate, brewery tours, and other surprises.

(And if you've already purchased a ticket (thank you!) keep an eye for an email confirming a refund and switch to the free ticket.)

The AOA Tournament of pizza is sponsored by Keeler Mini.

TOP2014 Keeler Mini in-post-ad

TOP2014: RD1: Mario's vs. Marino's

Marino's and Mario's exteriors

The 2014 Tournament of Pizza, sponsored by Keeler Mini -- the Tournament of Pizza to end all Tournaments of Pizza -- rolls along with a showdown between 2010 tournament champ Marino's of Schenectady and two-time semifinalist Mario's of Niskayuna

This year's clash-of-champions format includes first round matches consisting of two pizzas. Highest aggregate score advances. And, again, the types of the pizza for this first round: sausage and the ever-tricky broccoli ricotta white pizza.

Pizza judges, assemble!

TOP2014 Keeler Mini in-post-ad

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Grilled cheese at The Cheese Traveler

cheese traveler grilled cheese

That's the Sweet and Savory grilled cheese in the foreground.

By Deanna Fox

Ah, fall. How nice to see you again. I'm looking forward to fully enjoying you with cozy knit sweaters, marled wool socks, nights by the fire, and cheese... lots and lots of cheese.

There's just something about cheese that lends itself to cooler temperatures. Macaroni and cheese. Cheese fondue. Cheese-filled pastries. And did I mention grilled cheese?

The grilled cheese of my youth -- potato bread slathered with mayonnaise on the outside, holding together stringy slices of white American cheese -- is very different from the preferences of my adulthood. Today, artisanal cheese and bread is where it's at for me. And Thankfully there's a place that perfectly merges my autumnal longings with melty, oozing delight.

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TOP2014: RD1: Mama Mia's v 5th and 50

TOP2014 RD1 MamaMias 5th50 shops

And so it begins: The 2014 Tournament of Pizza, sponsored by Keeler Mini -- the Tournament of Pizza to end all Tournament of Pizza -- opens with a matchup between 2011 tournament champ 5th and 50 of Scotia against two-time semifinalist Mama Mia's of Saratoga Springs.

This year's clash-of-champions format includes first round matches consisting of two pizzas. Highest aggregate score advances. And the types of the pizza for this first round: sausage (classic, a test of fundamentals) and a broccoli ricotta white pizza (a little tricky, if only because of the lack of red sauce).

The judges assembled at the shops for the tasting...

TOP2014 Keeler Mini in-post-ad

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Drawing: A bag of items from the Honest Weight Local Harvest Festival

local harvest festival 2014

Drawing's closed! Winner's been emailed!

This Sunday is the annual Honest Weight Local Harvest Festival in Washington Park. Dozens of local producers and food vendors will be set up in the park from noon to 4 pm, sampling and selling all kinds of good stuff. And AOA is giving away a bag of some of that good stuff.

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

What's something local that you like to share with people who don't live here?

Maybe it's your favorite cider donut or cheese, maybe it's your favorite place, maybe it's something else entirely.

We'll draw one winner at random. The winner should bring a big bag to the Harvest Festival on Sunday, where they can collect their prizes in person, directly from the producers.

Here's what's in the "basket" of prizes:
+ A $50 Honest Weight gift card
+ A bag of each of Gatherer's Granola flavors.
+ An Autumn Sweet Pack from DreamPuff Marshmallows - a collection of seasonal sweets: marshmallows, caramels, and macarons.
+ A $25 gift card that is useable at Tierra Coffee Roasters, on Tierra Farms products or at The Madison Theater
+ A granola/muesli sample pack from Our Daily Eats, and an Our Daily Eats shopping bag.
+ A mason jar of juice from Collar City Hard Pressed.
+ A half gallon of cream line milk or quart of kefir or yogurt from Grafton Village Cheese.
+ A bowl of pumpkin bisque, two pickles-on-sticks, and Two Bears Kitchen Mulling Spices from Two Bears Provisions.
+ A box of truffles from Le Marais Chocolat
+ Three $5 vouchers from Bread and Honey

Important: All comments must be submitted by 10 am Wednesday, October 1, 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 noon on Wednesday and must respond by 10 am on Thursday.

AOA is a media sponsor of the Local Harvest Festival.

New donut shop for Troy: Nibble Inc.

Michael Cunningham and Jessie Cramer

Nibble Inc. owners Michael Cunningham and Jessie Cramer.

By Lauren Hittinger

Sometimes food can inspire you.

Jessie Cramer and Michael Cunningham had no plans for a donut shop until "eating a really good donut," says Cunningham -- "a mind-blowing donut."

"The best doughnut I've ever had," Cramer adds. "And I thought 'How can I make this donut so I can have it whenever I want?'"

The pair figured out how to make their ultimate doughnut and they're opening a shop -- Nibble Inc -- this Saturday to bring those donuts to Troy.

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Tickets are now on sale for the 2014 Tournament of Pizza final

TOP2014 logo final event

The final of the 2014 Tournament of Pizza, sponsored by Keeler Mini -- the Tournament of Pizza to end all Tournaments of Pizza -- will be October 11 at Shmaltz Brewing in Clifton Park. And for the first time ever, the final will be open to the public. People will get the chance to taste the pizzas entered in the final -- and, in another first, you'll also get to vote for the People's Choice Plate winner.

Tickets are now sale for the event -- they're $20 -- and available online (follow that link). There are a limited number of tickets.

The tickets include four slices of pizza (one from each pizza entered in the final), two 5-oz samples of Shmaltz beer, and a ballot for the People's Choice Plate, a competition to see which pizza shop created the crowd's favorite pizza of the four final pizzas. And, of course, there will be additional beer on tap for sale. And Shmaltz will be offering tours of its brewery.

The TOP final starts at 3 pm on Saturday, October 11.

TOP2014 Keeler Mini in-post-ad

TOP2014: Meet the judges

TOP2014 judging through window at DCs

Somebody has to eat all that pizza, you know.

Here are the judges for the 2014 Tournament of Pizza -- AKA, Tournament of Pizza: Clash of Champions; AKA, the Tournament of Pizza to end all Tournaments of Pizza -- sponsored by Keeler Mini.

TOP2014 Keeler Mini in-post-ad

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Tournament of Pizza 2014

TOP2014 logo

Each September in the Capital Region we mark the return of the crisp autumn air, the warm sun shining upon us from brilliantly blue skies, and a tradition most august: The Tournament of Pizza. Many years we have celebrated this tradition -- multiple champions have been crowned and (so) much pizza has been eaten.

So it is with great excitement that we now announce the Tournament of Pizza to end all Tournaments of Pizza -- TOP2014: Clash of Champions, sponsored by Keeler Mini.

For the first time ever the Tournament of Pizza will pit only returning winners against other in a new format that will challenge the shops on both quality and consistency. The winner will stand as the victor of the last-ever Tournament of Pizza.

But, wait, there's more: Also for the first time, you -- yes, you -- will have the chance to attend the TOP Final and your votes will help decide who wins a new trophy.

Here are the details...

TOP2014 Keeler Mini in-post-ad

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Lunch at Sweet Sue's

Sweet Sue's exterior on River Street in Troy

By Deanna Fox

If you shouldn't judge a book by its cover, neither should you judge a restaurant by the sign in the window.

Sweet Sue's on River Street in Troy has mastered all things sweet and sugary, but savory hasn't been forgotten. From weekend brunch to mostly-from-scratch lunch sandwiches, this "treatery" ignites all five tastes (sweet, salty, sour, bitter, umami), and bridges the sweet-savory divide in ways missing from many other eateries.

At Sweet Sue's for lunch you can have your cake (and eat it, too) -- and not neglect your more substantial savory cravings.

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City Line Bar and Grill

city line bar and grill exterior

A lot of new buildings in this area are nice enough, but they don't really stand out.

So we've been keeping an eye on the new City Line Bar & Grill building as it took shape on Western Ave, constructed new from the ground up on the site of the former Sutter's Mill -- because it doesn't really look like anything else around it.

City Line officially opens Saturday. But it was operating Friday afternoon for a soft opening and we had a chance to get a look at the new restaurant and chat with one of its managers for a few minutes.

Here are a few bits and a handful of photos...

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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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