Items tagged with 'food'
Celina Ottaway took a circuitous route to the kitchen, but it's paid off. The global influences of her life in business, journalism, and personal endeavors now show up in dishes for her Celina's Kitchen menus: Asian pesto, poulet creole, japchae. Together with chef Pierre Farvil, they're pulling together vibrant, rich flavors that reflect past experiences while looking ahead.
If you want to first hand taste of what they're cooking, your best chance is to bundle up and head over to The Low Beat on Sunday for the spot's latest pop-up brunch.
This could be a good way to learn more about CSAs if you're been curious: Takk House in Troy is hosting a CSA fair April 15 from 11 am-2 pm. The event is a collaboration between the Hudson Valley CSA Coalition, Hudson River Exchange, and Glynwood.
CSA = Community Supported Agriculture, in which you pay at the beginning of the season for a share of a farm's produce and then get regular allotments during the season. Event blurbage:
CSA Fairs provide an opportunity for local residents to learn about the vital role Community Supported Agriculture plays for independent farms, to shop around the various shares available and sign up for their Seasonal Share. From fruits and vegetables to herbal wellness to meat and dairy, CSA shares offer community members access to the diversity of farm fresh products - and land based wisdom - that make Hudson Valley living plentiful and enjoyable.
The event at Takk House will include reps from Colfax Farm, Denison Farm, Field Apothecary, Laughing Earth Farm, Roxbury Farm, and Soul Fire Farm. Also: "Remember to bring your checkbook for share deposits and be entered to win on-site sign up giveaways when you buy a share at the event."
Hudson River Exchange advertises on AOA.
photo via Hudson Valley CSA Coalition Facebook
Every culture and cuisine has its own version of a greasy spoon diner. Places with quick crowd-pleasing menu items that focus less on modern, qualitative platitudes (farm-fresh local zero hormone free range organic sustainable conflict-free!) and more on getting cheap eats dipped, fried, or otherwise laden in fat on the table with haste.
Greasy spoons are abundant in Albany, and in many ways, these sorts of establishments comprise the hallmark of our local eating scene.
When it comes to the Tex-Mex variety, Sala Latina reigns, and its Monday night buffet is one of the best bargains in town.
The factory for the Albany Ice Cream Company -- "Wholesale and Retail Manufacturers of Plain and Fancy Creams and Ices" -- was located on Pleasant Street in North Albany. (There was that time that the Albany Ice Cream Company realized that -- gasp -- women could work in that factory.)
It also had an important message for its customers of the late 1910s.
Downtown Albany Restaurant Week is set to return April 1-7. (That's Saturday through Friday of the next week.)
Participating restaurants will be offering three-course meals for $20.17. And on the Monday of the run -- April 3 -- students with valid ID can get meals for $17.17 at some of the participating restaurants.
Sixteen establishments are lineup for the week. And that first link above includes links to restaurant week menus for most of them. (We're intrigued by the cauliflower schnitzel with beetroot spaetzel on the City Beer Hall menu.)
As with any restaurant week, reservations are a good idea. And spots often fill up fast.
It's spring! It's winter! It's winterspring! Whatever it is, it's ice cream stand season again.
A few stands are already open, 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 much appreciate it.
If you are a safe eater, someone unwilling to go beyond your culinary comfort zone, stop reading now.
What I'm about to tell you about can only be described as Chinese grandmother cooking, and for the typical American palate, stagnating in predictable flavors and preparations, that's bad news.
But for you adventurous types in the AOA readership, those who can open their minds (and mouths) to unusual ingredients and authentic, ethnic technique, read on:
David's Uptown Noodle and its ramen menu are awaiting you.
The The Capital Craft Beverage Trail has an event called Drink Schenectady coming up Saturday, April 15 at the Schenectady Armory from 2-6 pm.
It's similar to the Drink Albany event held in the fall. Blurbage:
Enjoy samples from all local Capital Region beer and cider producers along with local live music, vendors, food and games. All proceeds for the event go to benefit the Capital Craft Beverage Trail Association. ...
Early bird general admission tickets are $35 until April 1, after that they're $40. There's also a VIP ticket for $60 that gets you in early for a cocktail hour.
Capital Craft Beverage Trail? Mission statement: "To promote the facilities of craft and farm-based beverage producers in the Capital Region of New York as a unified tourist destination, including representing, protecting and promoting the common business and regulatory interests of its members and their role as part of the fabric of Capital Region and to promote tourism in the region."
Changes are coming to Brew, the popular beer/coffee shop on Lark Street.
Owner August Rosa says he's changing the name to Pint Sized. And he's opening a second location in Saratoga Springs -- what he believes could be the Capital Region's tiniest bar.
Fifth Tier Baking Studio is tucked into a section of Columbia Street in downtown Albany that feels like an alleyway, hidden away from the typical bustle of North Pearl Street. It's the sort of spot that requires a bit of sleuthing.
With no seating and a limited menu, the shop isn't focused on creating a comfortable lingering experience for its customers. Instead, the focus is on production, churning out scones of sweet and savory varieties, jumbo-sized cookies -- and massive cinnamon buns that blend warm spice with sweet dough in a masterly fashion.
Whatever you call that in-between season from late February through April -- often not totally winter, but not really spring -- also happens to be a beer fest season.
And this year is no different, with a handful of festivals around the region...
People who work in the food industry often play a game of telephone (y'know, the one you played as a kid, passing a message to each other in a series of whispers) when it comes to good food. One person finds a place, mentions it to another, who then passes the news on again. I was the lucky recipient of the message in a triad including Celina and Daniel. Go here, they said. Try the whiting.
Who am I to turn away from news like that?
The place they passed along was The Breakfast Spot, a space vacated by the old Portelli's Joe N' Dough Cafe, a location that's hosted many incarnations of an early morning/late night (depending on how you view it) diner intended to serve locals and the work shifts that miss noonday food carts and regular-business-hour establishments.
Tucked away in a skinny building on Central Avenue in Albany, it's a gem that's due for wider recognition.
Quickly noted: Elevation Burger finally opened in Latham this week. The location for the new-school burger chain in the Fresh Market Commons shopping plaza -- at Route 155 an Route 9 -- has been in the works since 2015.
There's been a boom in more-upscale, fast-casual burger chains lately: BurgerFi, Smashburger, Burger21 have all opened locations in this area in recent years. And they've joined Five Guys and locals such as Crave and Juicy Burgers.
Elevation Burger's claim to differentiation is that the beef for its burgers is "100% organic, grass-fed, free-range." The company says its chicken, bacon, and the beans and grains for its veggie burgers are also organic.
We haven't had a chance to try the food. (Maybe you have?) But we might have to get a crew together and do another tasting tour.
When you think of the Super Bowl -- that high holy American holiday -- and all the food and feasting it entails, the first thing you think of is donuts, right? Right! We thought so, too.
That's why when Nick at Cider Belly in downtown Albany reached out to Daniel B. (and Daniel B. reached out to us) to come check out some donut creations inspired by the game, we jumped at the chance.
Fun names, interesting flavor combos, and an excuse to eat donuts for lunch like real adults. We're all for it.
Food & Wine editor in chief Nilou Motamed pointed to the rise of rum distilleries in the United States as one of the trends. (See recent Food & Wine listicle about rum being the "spirit of the year.") ADC's name wasn't mentioned, but Al Roker picked up the bottle and mentioned it was from Upstate New York and Motamed added it was from Albany.
As you know, Albany Distilling is located on Montgomery Street at Quackenbush Square in downtown Albany. It opened in and was Albany's first distillery since Prohibition. It produces whiskey and rum, as well as a coffee-flavored vodka in collaboration with Death Wish Coffee.
screengrab from The Today Show
The organizers of the week and festival are from Oliver's in Albany and Westmere Beverage in Guilderland. Press release blurbage:
The festival will focus on high-end and limited-release craft beer. Rather than offering an alternative VIP admission that would exclude many consumers from sampling, the organizers are working to curate a selection of hundreds of these exclusive beers making the entire experience VIP. In addition to providing a never-before-seen selection of beer, the festival will offer the opportunity for many consumers to talk to brewers, reps, and other beer enthusiasts. There will be local food vendors, festival-centric merchandise, charitable raffles and giveaways.
Tickets for the festival are $65, which includes a tasting glass, unlimited tastings, and four tokens for limited quantity beers. There's also a $20 ticket for designated drivers which includes a $10 food voucher and one free Stacks Espresso coffee.
It looks like a detailed schedule for the events during the week has not yet been posted.
Exit 6 off the Northway is a surprising culinary destination in the Capital Region.
Not hip by any means, nor safely walkable, there are unexpected bright spots of good food that makes one reconsider the notion that the suburbs are inherently void of worthwhile restaurants. Heading west off the exit, find Euro Deli and Ayalada. East, you'll come upon Tipsy Moose and A La Shanghai.
Just across the street is Celadon Thai, a family-run jewel that serves up generous portions of pad thai and fiery curries that glimpse authentic cuisine. Chief among those offerings is tom kha, a classic soup that alone could make Exit 6 a food destination
What's he doing in Saratoga? Attempts to reach Tyler through social media and his management company haven't provided information yet.
But he did fly on a private jet through Albany International Airport, and his visit provides a peek into how local restaurants provide catering for such stops. It turns out Tyler -- or someone with him -- likes his sweets.
Sometimes the push to finally do that thing you've always talked about arrives in the form of disaster.
Almost two years ago there was a fire in the building that houses the Downtube, the well-known bike shop across from Washington Park in Albany. It took a year of reconstruction and renovation before the shop's showroom reopened last March.
At the time of the fire, Emma Fullem -- whose parents, Robert Fullem and Marilyn Kaplan, own the Downtube -- was living in the San Francisco area, working for an organization that helps people learn how to be food entrepreneurs. And as renovation work on the building started up, she got a call from her dad: Come home and let's open a coffee shop.
So she did. And they did.
This weekend 3Fish Coffee -- located in a former garage space alongside the Downtube -- has its soft opening. It'll be operating weekends this month and next before opening full time in March.
We stopped in recently to get a look at the new coffee spot and talk with Emma Fullem about the family story behind the shop, being a part of the neighborhood, and the search for good English muffins.
Hey gang, you've never steered me wrong before, and I'm looking for some gluten free restaurants, or some places that offer gluten free menus. I have been eating paleo for a while now, and have started dating a girl who has celiacs (I swear, we're not annoying about it!!), and am looking for some good places for dinner or desserts.
As Fred mentions in his email, we've touched on this topic a bunch of years ago. And the topic of restaurants with good gluten-free options came up again last year.
But we figured it could be good to focus on spots with good gluten-free desserts -- whether they're restaurants or some sort of other outlet. Because what's life without dessert? (It's also interesting from a culinary perspective because of the creativity the challenge prompts in chefs, much like vegan food.)
So, got a suggestion for good spots in the area for getting gluten-free desserts? Please share! And sentence or two about why you're recommending a place can be helpful.
As a lifelong pizza eater, I've come to learn there really isn't such a thing as "bad" pizza. Sure, there's pizza that doesn't quite hit the mark of great -- or even good -- pizza, but even subpar pizza is better than no pizza.
That fact became abundantly clear during the last few rounds of the Tournament of Pizza that I helped to judge. (RIP, TOP **kisses hand, points to God**.) A few slices were questionable, in the kindest terms, but I didn't flat-out refuse to scoff down any of them.
Those slices are few and far between, however: As a whole, I'd put Capital Region pizza up against pizzas from any corner of the world. We've got an amazing array of styles and varieties here. The doughy Sovrana's slices. The interesting crusts and no-Parm rule at DeFazio's. The pan-baked pub-style pizza at Kay's. The giant foldable slices from I Love NY and Paesan's. Farm-fresh sourdough pizza from 9 Miles East. (Tell me when to stop...)
If you're going to break into the pizza game 'round here, you better be darn confident in what you are offering. Sometimes that comes via the actual pizza. Other times, it's an experiential thing. Mia Lucci's in Colonie gives us a little of both.
The restaurant space on the ESP near the foot of the Corning Tower is back operating as a restaurant again -- Cornerstone at The Plaza opened this week.
It's serving lunch Monday through Friday from 11 am-3 pm while in the state legislature is in session. There's also a happy hour Wednesday from 3-7 pm.
You might remember this space once housed the restaurant The Sign of the Tree -- it closed more than a decade ago. Mazzone Hospitality -- which also operates a cafeteria on the concourse of the ESP, as well as a bunch of other local restaurants such as 677 Prime -- is running the new Cornerstone restaurant. (It had already been hosting events there during the past year.)
New restaurant blurbage:
The menu will include foods and beverages produced in New York State, including a locally-sourced selection of artisanal cheeses; a warm winter kale salad featuring chorizo from Dashing Star Farm; a vegetable torta made with local farm eggs; and beef short ribs braised in Nine Pin Cider.
Here's the menu.
We stopped in for lunch Thursday. It was nice. The space -- about half of which was set up for lunch service -- has great windows which look out onto the plaza. The atmosphere was relaxed, and the service friendly. The music could use an upgrade. (If you're ever wondering if a chamber orchestra version of "Hotel California" is a good idea, the answer is always no.) There's an elevator inside that connects to the concourse below.
Here are a few pics if you're curious.
With 2016 about to end, we're talking with a bunch of people about favorite/interesting things from the past year.
First up: We asked about people around the online Neighborhood about their favorite local foods or drinks of the past year.
The Save-A-Lot chain opened a new supermarket on Central Ave in Albany Thursday, just about two blocks west of Swinburne Park. It's the company's second store in the city, joining one on Delaware Ave.
The store is in a building that, in the immediate past, was an Albany Med office. But its earlier lives include time as both A&P and Star grocery stores. So it's new, but also kind of old.
Save-A-Lot is a discount chain that specializes in small-format stores -- at 20,000 square feet the Central Ave store is one of the smaller supermarkets in this area. And one of the location types it looks for is densely-populated neighborhoods, the sorts of neighborhoods that, at least in the Capital Region, have struggled to attract new supermarkets over the last few decades.
"We're like a well-kept secret from a lot of people even though we have 1,300 stores across the United States," said Tom Kallio, the northeast business unit director of Save-A-Lot, Thursday. "But because we don't have a big footprint, we don't make the big thunder."
Here's a quick look around the new store, along with a quick chat with Kallio about why the company seeks dense, urban neighborhoods.
Eating at the mall used to mean Sbarro pizza or chicken from a Chinese food kiosk. (You know you always bought it out of guilt because of the free sample.) Maybe you opted for giant hot pretzels with neon "cheese" sauce, Orange Julius, or the week's worth of calories with a Cinnabon.
But malls are no longer just a place for power-walkers, angsty teenage meet-ups, or chain shopping; malls are becoming destinations for everything from underwear purchases to rock concerts.
The dining is changing to keep pace. Take Rascals -- a business-in-the-front, party-in-the-back space -- in Crossgates that allows for fine steakhouse dining in one space, a sports bar with several large TVs in another, and a performance space with its own bar and dining options in the rear.
The menu is designed to accommodate the varied patronage, but Rascals' take on chicken wings is a sure bet in any of the restaurant's environs.