Items tagged with 'food'

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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A look around Great Flats Brewing

Great Flats Brewing interior

Every month it seems like there's a new brewery somewhere around the region. And one of the most recent is Great Flats Brewing in Schenectady.

The brewery opened three months downtown, and this Thursday had its official ribbon cutting.

Here's a look around the brewery space, along with a few bits about what's going on there.

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A look around the new Slidin' Dirty in Schenectady

Slidin Dirty Schenectady

The popular restaurant Slidin' Dirty opened a new location in the Foster Building on State Street in downtown Schenectady Thursday. It's the second location for owners Brooke and Tim Taney, who started out with a food truck in 2012, and then opened a permanent location in downtown Troy in 2014.

The new spot in Schenectady is much bigger than the Troy location, occupying two floors behind a large arch window that looks out onto the street.

Here's a look around the new space, along a few quick bits from the Taneys about why the picked Schenectady and the path from a food truck to multiple locations.

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Bars or restaurants with an Albany skyline view?

Albany skyline from E Greenbush sunset background

A question from Jim:

Looking for a bar or restaurant with a view of the Albany skyline that is also outside... A roof preferably.

You might think there would be a lot of spots like this because Albany does have a rather distinctive skyline. When we thought about it, though, there wasn't much that came to mind. A lot of other cities/metro areas have dining/parks/whatever that take advantage of these sorts of views -- especially along rivers -- but this area not as much (in part because of 787, probably). Maybe that's starting to change with new development on the Rensselaer side of the Hudson across from downtown Albany. And maybe new amenities -- like the proposed/hoped-for pedestrian walkway on the next Livingston Ave Bridge -- would help spur that sort use and development.

But maybe you know of some spots. If so, please share!

Pick-your-own strawberry season 2017

strawberries in basket straw closeup

Strawberry season has arrived! Many local farms just opened pick-your-own strawberry fields this week, and others will be doing so shortly.

All that cold, cloudy, wet weather a few weeks back held up this year's crop. Multiple farms have noted that things are a bit behind schedule. But it sounds like the recent sunny weather has things rounding into shape.

A typical strawberry season at many farms in this area only lasts a few weeks, though some farms have strawberries for longer stretches -- even most of the summer -- because their fields include a range of varieties that produce at different times. When you're at the farm stand, ask about the varieties the farms are growing. In our experience people are happy to talk about what's available, for how long, and why. It's also a good idea to call ahead or check the website before heading out.

Here are a handful of places in the greater Capital Region that you can pick your own strawberries. Know of a good place not on this list? Please share!

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Lamb sloppy joe at Chez Mike

Chez Mike lamb sloppy joe

By Deanna Fox

Sloppy joes were a mainstay in my culinary repertoire growing up -- mainly because you can't burn them.

See, my mother (bless her) went through a period of time when she confused the smoke alarm with the kitchen timer. About the same time, my dad was the volunteer fire chief of our small town, and as a way to live-up to the job, installed 16 smoke alarms in our modestly-sized home that were all connected. When one went off, they all went off. And unless you completely forget that there's meat on the stove (like, go to the grocery store 30 minutes away while dinner is cooking), it's pretty hard to set off that many smoke alarms with sloppy joes.

So when I hear of someone "upgrading" the humble sloppy joe with lamb-sted-beef, I'm all in.

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Restaurants with really good dining experiences, not necessarily fancy?

chiogga beet carpaccioMelissa asks:

Assume money's no issue - what's your top dining experience recommendation in the area?
Any level of fancy is fine, just looking for places that people had really good experiences. The kind of meal that is memorable. The kind of place you go "remember that night, that was really great"
It might be a real "fine dining" or someplace you had a really great pub meal, but the environment and service were really memorable.

We understand Melissa is looking for this spot for a special occasion.

Of course, tastes and preferences are very subjective. But, to us, that last part of her question is key. In our experience, high prices or formality don't necessarily translate into great meals or experiences (in fact, sometimes it's just the opposite).

Got a suggestion or two for Melissa.? Please share!

A chef for at-home celebration?

fork on tableAnonymous emails:

Some friends and I wanted to host a small private dinner to celebrate and we are looking for suggestions of private chefs who could host a weekday meal at our apartment. Can you help?

In addition to private chefs who might be able to cater an in-house dinner, we're curious if there might be other options that are maybe more flexible -- maybe something along the lines of a pre-prepared dinner that can be served with minimal effort.

Got a suggestion for Anonymous? Please share! And a sentence or two about why're recommending a chef or service can be a help.

Pizza at Anna's Wood Fired Pizza

Pizza from Annas Wood Fired at Galleria7

By Deanna Fox

I was recently talking to a Capital Region native who moved to NYC for a few years before settling down back home. He said of all the great things New York City offers, the pizza in Albany is undoubtedly better, and so are the music venues (the little clubs that let you get right up close to the band).

But about that pizza thing...

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A restaurant for regular group meetings?

fork on tableAnne emails:

I am a member of a service group that meets 2 evenings a month, during the week. We are looking for a restaurant/food venue that is reasonably priced and can accommodate 10-20 people, preferably with a separate meeting area or space that is not too loud. Since our members come from all over the capital district, we are looking for something in the Colonie/Latham area. Looking forward to hearing your ideas!

That Anne included "food venue" with restaurant makes us think there might some flexibility here, so we're curious if maybe there are some other options beyond just a straight-up restaurant.

Got a suggestion for Anne and her group? Please share!

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