Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Spirit of Albany: La Serre

Not all restaurants hold lofty ambitions. There are many successful establishments that find their sweet-spot in refined familiarity. These restaurants offer fare reminiscent of one’s childhood, and they do so in polished yet unpretentious setting.  Every city boasts of at least one such gem, and in Albany, it is La Serre.

La Serre is coyly tucked away in downtown Albany on Green Street. And despite the fact that it is a stone’s throw from many  other noteworthy eateries, La Serre has carved a niche for itself – in a thriving, yet saturated market, by giving patrons exactly what they want; a tasteful trifecta of food, service and ambience. As well as par none, banquet and large party facilities.
 
The ambiance of La Serre deserves mention. The restaurant is housed in a building that dates back to the mid-eighteen hundreds. The historic edifice was a product of a modern restoration, although most of its dated, old-world charm shines through some of the modern updates. There is also ample patio space which presents the option for patrons to dine al-fresco when the temperatures permit.

The menu of La Serre is engineered to reflect the heavy influence of French and Italian culinary traditions that has informed New York State over the centuries.  From Pate Maison to Classic Bolognese, the chef at La Serre puts forth an offering list that brings together the best of both worlds.  There is also a distinct presence of modern American fare as well, as evidenced by the wildly popular NY Strip Steak.  And chances are, for most diners with an established palate, it would not be difficult to navigate around this menu since it features dishes that are in essence, tried and true.  Gracious hospitality, heaping portion sizes and decadent dessert options bookend the entire dining experience.  And for those who opt for the classic, old-timey look and feel of a restaurant, La Serre delivers.

For the Spirit of Albany campaign, master bar man Al Fuller created the Hudson High Tider. This libation is more than just a geographical tribute to the restaurants’ proximity to the Hudson river – La Serre is steps away from river’s bank.  This drink is also a nod to a time period in which the river would sometimes overflow unto its environs.

The Hudson High Tider combines the kick of Patron tequila, with a three-prong citrus flavor attack  – from grapefruit juice, fresh lime juice and Rose’s lime juice. This likely marriage – of tequila and citrus – is moderated as well as accented by the sultry richness of Chambord. Chambord is a stand-out black raspberry liqueur which was introduced to French nobility, Louis XIV during one of his visits to Chateau de Chambord during the late 17th century.  The final touches to the Hudson High Tider are splash of club soda – which offers slight effervesce and a lime wedge on the rim of the martini glass, which serves as an apt garnish.  Altogether, the cocktail is a tasteful way to imbibe La Serre’s long standing history with the Hudson River and Albany alike.

Editor's note: We asked some of Albany’s best mixologists to create original cocktail recipes that embody the spirit of Albany, and we compiled those recipes into our 2014 Spirit of Albany Recipe Guide. In this exciting blog series local foodie Brigid Washington, a Culinary Institute of America grad and local restaurant consultant, explores each restaurant – it’s menu, it’s atmosphere, and of course, it’s custom cocktail – and provides her perspective on how it all comes together to create part of Albany’s creative culinary scene! (The ACCVB does not, in any way, condone drinking and driving so please designate a driver as we did for this series.)

Holiday Meals at La Serre

37 years may not seem all that long, but for one restaurant to have a tradition that has lasted for that many years is impressive.

La Serre Restaurant has been serving their Holiday Roast Goose for the past 37 years and this year is no different. Enjoy a festive lunch or dinner in downtown Albany's La Serre on Christmas Eve.

More holiday festivities follow on December 31. Join the festivities from 7 pm until 11 pm for a New Year's Eve complete with live music by Sonny & Perley and a fabulous dinner a la carte.

Great food, good music, and fine people!

La Serre
14 Greene St.
Albany, NY
518-463-6056

Call for reservations today! 

Added 12/12/14

New Year's Eve Menu:

Appetizer

Duck Spring Rolls ~ Sweet chili dipping sauce  10
Escargot ~ Cognac garlic sauce   11
Saffron Seafood Bisque   11
Beef Carpaccio ~ Shaved parma reggiano, truffle oil, & black pepper   14
Shrimp Cocktail  & Delaware Crab Salad T 16

Salad

Caesar Salad~  Romaine, garlic croutons, dusted with romano cheese and 
a creamy anchovy dressing    11
Nicolina ~ Mixed greens tossed with lemon herb vinaigrette, 
portabellas, chevre & roasted peppers   11

Entree

Wild Mushroom Ravioli ~ Truffle cream, exotic mushroom, parmesan & fontina  25
Classic Bolognese Paparadelle ~ A blend of pork, beef & sausage, tomato ragu  25
 Chicken Rustico ~ Breaded cutlet with herb ricotta and balsamic reduction   25
Sliced  Tenderloin of Beef au Poivre ~ Cognac glaze, studded with Madagascar peppercorns   39
Stuffed Portabella Mushroom ~ Greens, roasted red peppers & fontina cheese   23
Pomegranate  Salmon ~ Crisply seared, soy scented,  dressed with tangy - sweet pomegranate molasses  29
Surf & Turf ~ Sliced Filet mignon & Lobster tail, garlic butter    55
Lobster & Crab Ravioli ~ Egg & squid ink pasta, roma tomatoes  in a sage butter    28
Yellow Tail Sole ~ Lemon Buerre Blanc  29

Duck a l’orange ~ Espresso rubbed breast with Grand Marnier glaze 30

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

In the hopper: Cidery/brewery planned for Altamont

It seems that Altamont, NY, may be home to New York State's newest brewery and cidery, according to the Albany Business Review and All Over Albany. 

The owners of Indian Ladder Farms, a popular destination for apple picking and wine, will be home to the new operation once proper licensing is acquired through the State. Meanwhile, the barley and hops grown on the farm have been shipped to other local facilities such as C.H. Evans Brewing Company at the Albany Pump Station.
A view from Indian Ladder Farms
If you're interested in tasting a very local brew, the Pump Station will have the ILF IPA on tap this week.
C.H. Evans Brewing Company at the Albany Pump Station in downtown Albany, NY.
For all the details, read the full articles at the Albany Business Review and at All Over Albany.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Taste NY Holiday Expo

On Sunday, December 7 from 11:00 am - 4:00 pm, the New York State Museum will become a holiday market for New York State's finest specialty foods, cheese, chocolates, hand-crafted beer and wine, maple and apple products, and other edible gifts.


Shop, sample and sip - and find something delectable for every foodie on your holiday list at the TasteNY Holiday Expo (formerly the Chocolate Expo). Cooking demonstrations and children's activities will be offered throughout the day.

Admission is $5 per person, cash only. Children ages 12 and under are free.

For more information, visit: http://www.nysm.nysed.gov/programs/tasteNY/.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Be the Big Cheese with this year's Bread, Wine & Cheese Event

A cheese plate is a delicious substitute for excessive desserts through the holidays (or any time), but figuring out what to include can be a challenge. At this event, you will learn more about cheeses made right here in the Hudson Valley and explore pairings of different wines with those cheeses. After your afternoon at the winery, you'll be the Big Cheese of the Cheese Platter!

On November 15, Hudson-Chatham Winery will host an evening of bread, wine, and cheese: The 7th Annual Bread Wine and Cheese event!



Meet the Cheese Makers and Bakers for the Bread, Wine & Cheese Event:

R & G Cheese 
R&G  produces artisan camemberts, chevres, and unique cheeses with fennel pollen, truffles, exotic pepper blends, and more. Sean O'Conner's fresh chevres come in staples like plain and garlic-herb, but also maple-chipotle, orange ginger, and more. Working with locally sourced milk from cows and goats, Sean makes a diverse range of hand-crafted cheeses that are always super-fresh and fabulous.

Hawthorne Valley Farm
Hawthorne Valley Farm was one of the first dairies in the US to be certified organic. Their philosophy is simple: happy cows and healthy soil result in delicious dairy products, ranging from soft, spreadable cheeses to harder, aged cheeses. Hawthorne Valley Farm also produces a range of baked goods made from flours, grains, nuts, seeds, and fruits that are all biodynamic or organically grown. They will have both cheeses and breads at the event.

Four Fat Fowl
This new creamery's motto is "Cheese worth clucking about," and one taste of their signature St. Stephen triple creme and you'll know why. The creamery is in nearby Stephentown, but with rave reviews pouring in, the cheese is finding its way to stores and restaurants from Albany to Manhattan. And the Hudson-Chatham Winery!

Bonfiglio and Bread
With a shop on Warren Street in nearby Hudson that draws accolades from every foodie in the
Hudson Valley, we're always thrilled when Bonfiglio brings their breads and pastries up Route 66 to the winery for this event. This is Seriously. Good. Stuff.

Sample the products and educate yourself so at your next holiday party, you can confidently serve your guests the best bread, cheese, and wine.