Thursday, February 28, 2013

Wine & Dine Raises Record Breaking Funds for the Arts!

The 2013 Albany Chef's Food Fest: Wine and Dine for the Arts Festival broke all previous records by raising more than a $100,000 for the first time in it's four year history according to the Business Review. The article also states that Wine and Dine had a 151% increase in fundraising over the 2012 final tally of $86,000.

The overall years earnings of $121,495 will go to benefit the Albany Barn, Albany Symphony Orchestra, Albany Center Gallery, Albany Institute of History & Art, Albany Pro Musica, Capital Repertory Theatre, Irish-American Heritage Museum, and Park Playhouse.

The annual weekend event was held at the Hotel Albany (formerly the Crown Plaza soon to be renamed Hilton Albany) from January 17-19, 2013. Click here to read the entire Business Review Article.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

The Desmond’s Scrimshaw Restaurant Awarded Prestigious Honors

The Desmond has reason to celebrate as one of its restaurants, Scrimshaw, has been awarded the AAA Four Diamond Rating for a fourth year in a row.

The Desmond announced the teaming up of Chef de Cuisine Stephen Fratianni and Frank Rivera, Sommelier and Director of Restaurants, to combine classic favorites with unique new menu offerings; including select table-side preparations to create memorable and one of a kind fine dining experiences.  

“Scrimshaw has always been recognized as a restaurant that exceeds its guest’s expectations in terms of quality and service,” stated Frank Rivera.  “We are truly proud that the hard work and commitment to excellence of our Service and Culinary teams has earned Scrimshaw the AAA Four Diamond Award for a fourth consecutive year.”

According to the press release: "AAA’s Diamond Rating System is the only rating system that covers all of North America, and is one of only two that conducts on-site evaluations.  Information about AAA Diamond Ratings and the complete 2013 Diamonds Award winners list is accessible at:  "

Scrimshaw has more reason to celebrate. The restaurant recently received both the American Culinary Federation Achievement of Excellence Award and the Wine Spectator Award of Excellence.

Scrimshaw at The Desmond is open Wednesday through Saturday at 5:30 p.m. Reservations are strongly recommended and can be made by calling 518-869-8100 by booking them online at .

Monday, February 25, 2013

Life is a Cabaret at Taste!

Enjoy a delicious meal from the Winter Menu at Taste tomorrow, Tuesday, February 26 and have a chance to win tickets to a cabaret! The contests will run from 5:30 p.m. -7:30 p.m.

You may win a ticket to the Ruby Cabaret when you sip a "Ruby Sipper" or any other cocktail. Here's how the contest goes: Each person will receive an envelope. Some will contain gift certificates and others will have a ticket to the cabaret on March 2. You can also purchase Ruby Cabaret Tickets at taste on Tuesday evening.

Just for this blustery blue season Taste will also offer a Winter 2013 Specialty Cocktail Menu including such drinks as Maple Chi Manhattan, Hot Cider, and Apple Jack Martini. The entire Winter Cocktails Menu is available online.

For more information on the Ruby Cabaret be sure to go to:

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Culinary Craft Beer Dinner to Raise Money for a Good Cause

According to a recent press release: "On Thursday, March 14th , 2013 Michelle Hines Abram will kick off a series of extraordinary culinary dinners to benefit the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s Man & Woman of the Year Campaign. This dinner will be a beer-centric event with craft beer by Brewery Ommegang and food pairings by a team of renowned chefs. The event will be hosted at Angelo’s Prime Bar + Grill in Clifton Park at 6pm in the evening and will include a 5 course dinner with beer pairings. Tickets for the dinner will be $75 per person and will be available for purchase [online] beginning on March 1st."

Participating Chef's will include Teddy Folkman of Brewery Ommegang and Ric Orlando of New World Bistro Bar, among others. Abrams will also put on a chef's apron for the event.

The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society's "Man & Woman of the Year" titles are given to people who work raise funds for blood cancer research. Candidates compete in honor of the Boy & Girl of the Year, whom are local children that are blood cancer survivors.

Voting for Man and Woman of the year runs for ten weeks and each dollar is counted as a single vote, the top fundraisers in the country win the national titles. Michelle is among the many competing nationally for a good cause.

According to the Michelle Hines Abram 2013 Candidate for LLS Woman of the Year Facebook Page several other events are in the works including a Scotch Dinner and Gala.

St. Sophia's to Offer Greek Cooking Course

In Upstate New York the name St. Sophia's Church is synonymous with Greek Fest and Souvlaki Fest, two of the most anticipated annual food festivals in the area. Now St. Sophia's is offering the opportunity to learn the tricks of the trade to create popular meals many look forward to enjoying at the festivals.

The annual Greek Cooking Class will be held Sunday, March 10 from 4pm to 7pm. Food Demonstrations will be offered by Angelo Bousbouras of East Greenbush Diner Catering, among others. Recipies offered will include Greek Dips, Greek Salad, Spanakopitam Pasitchio, Baklava, as well as Rice Pudding.

The night will offer both dinner and a show as the church youth will perform Greek folk dancing. The course will be held in the St. Sophia Banquet Room. Admission is $30 per person with reservations required with the proceeds benefiting charitable programs that the Philoptochos Society of St. Sophia's Greek Church work with.

Mac-n-Cheese Bowl Raises More than $40,000 for Regional Food Bank

The Hopping Mac-n-Cheese Bowl held last Saturday, February 16, at the Albany Marriott raised more than $40,000 according to a recent article from Table Hopping with Steve Barnes.

Though the final number hasn't been announced yet the event which raises money for local charities proudly exceeded last years earnings of $35,000. The beneficiary of this years event is the Regional Food Bank of Northeastern New York.

Thirty area stores and restaurants participated in the fourth annual event. Winners of the 2013 Mac-n-Cheese bowl included the Albany Pump Station, Mazzone Hospitality, and Hannaford. A list of all of the 2013 winners can be found here.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Yono's Nominated for National James Beard Award

Dominic Purnomo of Yono's stumbled on a great surprise according to the Business Review. The article states that Purnomo was on facebook when he read an article stating that Yono's had been nominated for a James Beard Nomination. Which is Purnomo explains in the  articles is "the Oscars of the restaurant industry".

For more information on Yono's big nomination, check out the Business Review's Article.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Sweet, Sweet Springtime

Punxsutawney Phil predicted an early spring this year, so we thought we’d prepare you for all the maple syrup fun in Albany’s Hilltowns that is sure to be sweet!

As the weather warms and the trees begin to thaw from the winter chill, the sap beings to drip through either traditional spiles into buckets, or high-tech tubing into large plastic barrels. The sap is boiled for hours at the sugar house, producing a warm and sweet aroma that is difficult to resist. This process transforms the slightly sweet and watery liquid into the thick and delicious maple syrup that we all love to devour with our morning pancakes. And if pancakes aren't nearby, take some fresh powder snow and pour some syrup onto it to create a maple snow treat!

Having some fun at the Sugar House while the sap is boiled!
Throughout the Albany County Hilltowns, many residents and farmers take to the woods with their equipment and begin harvesting the sweet liquid. The syrup season has become such a celebrated tradition that there are a number of festivals dedicated to the sticky substance.

Two weekends in March will play host to the New York State Maple Producers Association Maple Weekend™ at the Mountain Winds Farm in Berne. On March 24, the Knox Firehouse will host a delicious all-you-can-eat pancake brunch, complete with (you guessed it) pure maple syrup! And in Cooperstown, the Farmer’s Museum hosts Sugaring Off Sundays each Sunday in March, in which the maple syrup industry is explored through a variety of fun activities.

Pack up the family and head to the Hilltowns to learn about this fascinating (and delicious) tradition! For more information and other event detail, visit!

Friday, February 15, 2013

Getting Cheesy for a Good Cause!

30 area restaurants will take part in the 4th Annual Mac-N-Cheese Bowl this Saturday, February 16, from 11 a.m.-2:30 p.m. at the Albany Marriott on Wolf Road. Tickets for this event are $5 for children and $20 for adults with all proceeds going to the Regional Food Bank.Tickets can be purchased ahead of time at your local Price Chopper.

Your ticket will give you entry to the event allowing you try all 30 bowls of Mac-N-Cheese as well as the opportunity to vote for your favorite one. Last years event raised $35,000.

According to the Regional Food Bank "The cheese for this event has been generously donated by the 1,200 farm families who own Cabot Creamery Cooperative and the pasta donated by Ralcorp Food Group." Among the restaurants taking part are the Albany Pump Station, Taste, The Century House, and Yono's/DP's

It's Game On at the Albany Pump Station!

                  On Tuesday, February 26, the Albany Pump Station will offer a special menu pairing their home brewed bears with game meats. $70 covers the cost of four courses with pairings, tax, and tip. Meats offered will include: rabbit cacciatore, boar rack, pheasant breast, and chipotle bison sausage. Reservations are strongly recommended for this event.

                   This event comes on the heals of the success of the Pump Station Oktoberfest Dinner last September. The entire menu of the upcoming meal is available online.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

A Sweetheart of a Deal!

Portofino's Italian Restaurant will offer a Valentine's Day 4-Course Menu from Thursday, February 14-Saturday, Feburary 16.

The meal begins with an appetizer with choices ranging from Shrimp Cocktail to Grilled Waygu Skirt Steak, followed by a Salad Course. As well as a delicious/wide variety of entrees from Prime Rib or Bison Short Ribs to Swordfish Au Poive or Pan Seared Scallops. Several vegetarian entrees will also be offered including Mushroom Risotto and Eggplant Parmigiana.

The delicious meal will be topped off with three dessert options: Mocha Cashew Pot de Creme, Warm Brandy Crisp, and Tiramisu.

This three day offer is available for $32 a person and also includes a champagne toast, chocolate covered stawberries, live music, and a rose for your sweetheart. Portofino's, a member of Home Style Caterers, is located within Travel Lodge Inn and Suites in Latham. Reservations are recommended.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Valentine's Day Specials

Looking for the best way to celebrate Valentine's Day? Several local venues are offering their services to create a top-notch day filled with romance.

The Hudson-Chatham Winery is offering V-Day Gift Baskets that include wines, cheeses, a Chocolate Port wine sauce, and other goodies.

Several restaurants will offer Valentine's Day menus, including Taste, Blu Stone Bistro, and Scrimshaw at the Desmond. Menu favorites included Filet Mignon, Cedar Plank Salmon, Lobster, Various Shrimp and Seafood Items, as well as vegetarian meals.

Several area hotels will also be offering combined dinner and over night packages for Valentine's Day.