Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Spirit of Albany: New World Bistro Bar

In 2009 new life came to Delaware Avenue when restaurant New World Bistro Bar opened, helmed by accomplished Hudson Valley chef, Ric Orlando.

The menu introduced restaurant patrons to global fusion cuisine, in a buttoned-down, unfussy manner, and in a bigger sense created a new diction in the way enterprising foodies in the Capital Region ate. The restaurant is also consistently lauded for its impassioned commitment to local and sustainable food sourcing.

For the Spirit of Albany campaign, mix master and bar-keep, Sarah- Jane Mc Laughlin, wields an ambitious cocktail named after the punch-line of a joke, the “That’s All Benny.”

The jalapeno, coupled with the lime and fortified by vodka and apple liqueur, made for a beverage that requires an adventurous palate to imbibe. My appetizer – the Asian Guacamole - displayed an assertive fruitiness in the yuzu-ginger dressing, coupled with the cooling and refreshing cucumber and the buttery heft of the avocado.
The Asian Guacamole
At New World Bistro Bar one has time to notice – and in this case, admire – instances in the gastro-pub where coherency shines through with authentic ease. The physical space is one such example. Unlike lesser restaurants, New World Bistro took a cue from the street on which it’s perched and allowed some of the eclectic edge of Delaware Avenue to inform its dining space. The warm colors, exposed brick and unpretentious space deservedly continues to enhance the value proposition of this establishment; global cuisine and local pride.

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.)

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Taste announces new menu format

Farm to table continues wielding its influence on the local culinary scene as evidenced by an announcement by the proprietors of Taste in downtown Albany. Their standard menu has been defrocked in favor of a weekly rotation of culinary creations based on local market availability.


Each week on Monday, Taste will announce their menu for the upcoming week, which will be available Tuesday through Saturday. The three course dinner is $25 per person, and the five course dinner available only on Friday and Saturday is only $37 per person. Here's the menu for this week:


PRIX FIXE MENU

Menu for September 16th – 20th
Does not include beverages, tax or gratuity
Wine fights Available for $15 per person
Menu Alterations Politely Declined


First Course

Pumpkin Soup
Pancetta and Crème Fraiche GF

Warm Lobster Potato Salad
Potatoes, Pickle, Radish, Lemon Aioli GF

Short Ribs
Three Cheese Creamy Polenta GF

Roasted Sweet Potato
Citrus Cumin Glaze, Fresh Thyme, Garlic
Shallot, Orange Marmalade, Lime Juice, Farro GF



Second Course

Roasted Beef Tenderloin 6oz
Sautéed Kale, Mashed Potatoes GF

Roasted Trout Filet
Potato-Leek Nage, Truffle, Crispy Prosciutto GF

Duck Breast 
Pickled Cranberries, Mushroom, Marcona Almonds
Roasted Carrot-Orange Puree GF

Brussels Sprouts
Ricotta Gnocchi, Mushrooms, Dried Figs, Pine Nuts GF



Third Course

Fruity
Brown Butter Almond Cake, White Chocolate Crème Fraiche,
Pumpkin Gastrique and Candied Pistachios

Chocolate
Chocolate Chili Semifreddo, Mexican Chocolate Gelato

Gluten Free
Frozen Flight ~ Chef's Choice, an assortment of gelato & sorbet GF

Taste is open 11:30am to 10pm Tuesday-Friday, 5-10pm on Saturday. To make reservations call them at (518) 694-3322 or go online.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Apples and Wine Signal Autumn's Arrival

Capital Region Apple & Wine Festival
One thing I’ve learned in my few years in destination marketing is that people travel on their stomachs. Some of the most successful destinations take a regional food, incorporate it into a festival, and voilà! People flock! Autumn brings many people to the Albany area for this simple reason: we have foliage, food, and festivals.

One of such festivals takes place this weekend at the Altamont Fairgrounds. The Capital Region Apple & Wine Festival will be the perfect complement to a weekend that is supposed to be mostly sunny and about 70 degrees. Enjoy a craft and quilt show, car show, food vendors, cooking demonstrations and wine tastings all day while music drifts through the fairgrounds. Tickets are a reasonable $8 for adults and can be purchased at the gate or in advance at Price Chopper locations through September 12. Parking is free, and more information can be found on their website.

Another event you wine lovers will want to add to your calendar is Hudson-Chatham Winery’s BACO-NALIA event on October 18th. If you’ve ever tasted their Baco Noir wine, you understand that it’s some pretty incredible stuff; just read the reviews on their new website here. Well, it’s very exciting to announce that they’ll be releasing some additional Baco Noirs in their tasting room that day: their first Estate Baco Noir (BN) made with grapes from the winery; the '13 BN Reserve Casscles Vineyard; the '13 BN Middle Hope Vineyard; and the '12 Field Stone BN. They join the already released '13 BN Old Vines.

Then, at 1 pm, they'll be doing a first-ever vertical tasting of the Baco Noir Old Vines. This is the chance to taste multiple vintages of this wonderful wine. The cost is a worthwhile $35 per person ($30 for their Case Club Members) and includes wines and food.

To cap the day, at 6 pm, they’re celebrating with a private wine dinner featuring only the Bacos. It'll be a true wine-and-dine celebration of Hudson-Chatham Bacos past and present, paired with a 5-course meal. This event costs $75 per person ($65 for Case Club Members). Email Hudson-Chatham winery about reservations to these events here.

For information on other events and festivals in the area, be sure to check out our events calendar!

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Spirit of Albany Series: 677 Prime

This first installment of The Culinary Capital Blog is designed to invite locals and visitors to experience the rich dining culture of Albany through partner restaurants, as part of the Spirit of Albany campaign.  Over the coming weeks this blog will highlight six inspired cocktails that were crafted by these participating restaurants; Jack’s Oyster House, The Hollow, New World Bistro, 677 Prime, La Serre and The Century House. Follow along as we chronicle how the city is depicted through this diner’s journal of food and fare.




One of Albany’s staple establishments – 677 Prime – a restaurant which has served the Capital Region in good stead, since Spring of 2005, is one that undoubtedly delivers the ultimate dining experience. The unmistakable feel of an up-to-the-minute men’s club is exuded in the entry way, where regulars have the option of stowing coveted dining essentials – like a twenty-year-old single malt Scotch whisky – in individually lit lockers appropriately constructed in rich mahogany and metal mesh doors. 

Such a display, affirms the restaurants’ position of marrying luxury with high-toned whim.  In the dining room, tradition meets contemporary in a deceivingly large and lavish dining space.  The wood tones are balanced by cool brushed metal accents, which are highlighted by a smattering of beautiful crystal and industrial light fixtures; it is indeed, the ultimate juxtaposition of masculine and feminine touches. The tufted leather booths coupled with crisp white linens adds to 677's understated sophistication. And a gallery wall pageants the artistic work of talented local artists.

Elegantly constructed floral arrangements and topiaries add brilliant hue to an otherwise quiet and neutral palette. And as the old adage goes, “you eat with your eyes first” and this atmosphere certainly sets the stage for something truly delectable. 

The menu at 677 runs the gamut from the expected to the exceptional. And although it is branded as the quintessential steak-house, some of the offerings buck conventional steak house fare and are truly thoughtful and purposefully inventive, such as the molten “crab cake” dip. The prices do skirt industry standards, however, every guest would attest that hand-cut steaks from top purveyors is definitely worth it.


There’s no dispute that 677 is a classic dinning institution, however, of late, its well-stocked bar now brandishes a cocktail that is anything but traditional.  The Dark and Spicy is an improbable combination of Ginger Beer, a smattering of rums; ADC Quackenbush Still House Rum and Gosling Rum, as well as, Golden Falernum and Simple Syrup, garnished with fresh lemon.  It is well composed, in that, the initial spice attack from the Ginger Beer and Golden Falernum was not overwhelming but rather warming as it facilitated the distinct taste and heft of the Rum to create a long and lingering, pleasant mid-palate.  

Although this drink features enough lemon juice to create somewhat of a palpable pucker, the characteristic acidity was muted by other dominant spice flavors.  However, in the end, it was the subtle saccharine notes which complemented the smooth finish to reveal a truly balanced cocktail; one which distinctly plays on the contours of the city in which it was created to represent.

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 BrigidWashington, 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.)

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Take a fresh look at Reel Seafood

If you haven’t been to the Reel Seafood Co. on Wolf Road lately, it’s time to return. Since January, the restaurant has undergone a $1 million renovation, hired a new executive chef and extensively trained their staff on the new menu, and launched a new website, all under the leadership of the new owner and daughter of the founder, Aliki Serras.

Voted the #1 Seafood Restaurant by Capital Region Living, Reel Seafood offers guests the freshest seafood cuisine in the area.



The seafood is shipped in daily from the finest seafood purveyors and you'll know after your first bite that they mean fresh. From the ocean to your plate, Reel Seafood Co. demands perfection. You can count on Reel Seafood Co. to provide you with the freshest seafood in the Capital District.

Not a fan of seafood? Don’t worry, this impressive menu includes fresh seafood, quality meats, pasta dishes and homemade dessert.


Reel Seafood Co. is now offering Happy Hour 7-days a week. Stop in for $1 oysters and clams, drink specials, and amazing sushi and sashimi. Take a look at the new menu, read recent reviews, and plan your next visit at www.reelseafoodco.com.