Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Live Music on Taste's Outdoor Patio Tonight!

summer line up final2

Tonight is opening night for Taste's outdoor patio live music series!

Come downtown on Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays from 7 - 10 pm to enjoy drinks from their new drink menu while listening to great music and good company, all for a $5 cover charge. Space fills quickly and reservations are strongly suggested at 518-694-3322 or by going to their Reservations page.

Here's the full schedule so you can plan ahead:

The New York Players: May 29, June 12 and 26, July 10 and 24, August 7, 14, and 21.
The Accents: June 5 and 19, July 17 and 31, and August 28

Mirk: May 30, June 13 and 27, July 11 and 25, and August 8 and 22
Wicked: June 6 and 20, July 4 (Fireworks Spectacular - Special Pricing in effect - Rooftop Party), July 18, and August 15 and 29

Silk & Steel Drum Band: May 31, June 14, July 26, and August 23
Robanic: June 7, July 19, and August 9
The New York Players: June 28 (Limited Seating)
Soul Sky: July 12 and August 30
Girlz Night Out: August 2 and 16

See you at Taste!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Albany Diners: A Step Up From the Rest

Many diners rely too heavily on what their customers expect the diner experience to be: a neat old building or restored dining car where mediocre food is served up by uninterested and exhausted staff. But just because many of us have become jaded by underperforming diners doesn't mean they can't be great.

Take the Albany area, for example: By and large, its diners are shining examples of why these simple culinary treasures are a quintessential part of the American experience. With huge menus, all-day breakfasts and servers who make you feel right at home, these Albany-area diners will send you on your way with a full belly and a huge smile.

alexis diner Alexis Diner 
294 N. Greenbush Rd. Troy, NY 12180

Located just over the Hudson River and in walking distance from the state capitol, the award-winning Alexis Diner has become an Albany-area staple since opening in 1999. The menu is so thick that it could be mistaken for a novella. There are over 300 items to choose from, including burgers, steaks, wraps, salads, a full breakfast menu and homemade desserts.

Different nights of the week are dedicated to different themes at the Alexis Diner. Monday is Texas night, Tuesday is pasta night and Wednesday is Greek night. The diner is also home to numerous car and bike shows throughout the year. They're open all week from 7am-10pm.

Gateway Diner, Albany,NY
Gateway Diner
899 Central Ave, Albany, NY 2.6 mi NW
(518) 482-7557

With ample neon trim, Gateway Diner on Central Avenue looks like a diner should, and it tastes like one should too.

Breakfast dishes at Gateway Diner get rave reviews for good reason: heaping dishes of bacon, eggs, and French toast made with quality ingredients (the most important being, of course, a pinch of love).

The diner also has delectable sandwiches, fresh seafood, steaks, and a portion of the menu completely dedicated to fried food (yummy -- put aside your diet constraints and indulge!). The pastrami Reuben on grilled sourdough with Russian dressing for $6.99 is especially tasty. Gateway Diner just added smoothies (alcoholic and virgin) to their menu as well. Operating hours are 7am-9pm Sunday-Thursday, 7am-11pm Friday and Saturday.

Portside American Diner 
240 Church St., Albany, NY
(518) 449-5008

The perfect diner should meet four criteria: it should be delicious, have cheap food, all-day breakfast and excellent service. The Portside American Diner on Church Street in Albany meets each of these with ease.

You feel at home as soon as you step inside, thanks to wait staff that treats customers like family. The walls are covered with pictures of local firemen and old pictures of pin-up girls.

Servers chat you up as they bring out a wide variety of home-style meals ranging from omelets (try the Meat Lovers), to beef liver, to fettuccini alfredo, to 1 lbs. burgers. There are also daily specials and a lengthy kids menu (blueberry pancakes are a favorite). Portside American Diner is open from 7am-9pm daily.

Colonie Diner
1890 Central Ave, Albany, NY 12205
518- 456 -1550

If you come to the Colonie Diner on a Saturday, you'll get what locals consider to be the all-star lineup of servers. Kathy and Ronda often work that shift, and they'll take great care of you from the moment you enter through the chrome-paneled entrance until you leave.

If it is true that you can judge a restaurant by the quality of their kids' menu, then Colonie must be top notch because even the kids' portions are huge. Unsurprisingly, the portions for adult meals are huge too - even the salads - and extremely varied (where do they store all that food??).

For breakfast, the Colonie Diner has 18 types of omelets (lox and onion is fantastic), bagels, breakfast plates, pancakes, and even milk and cereal. Otherwise, there's a complete survey of traditional diner food (open sandwiches, burgers, wraps, and pasta dishes), but their best offering may be their Greek dishes that the owners are clearly proud of. The Greek moussakka and rice is delicious.

Colonie Diner is open Monday through Friday from 6:30am-9pm, Saturday from 6:30am-10pm, and Sunday from 7am-8pm.

Edible Albany
Diners are a quintessential part of the American experience. Weary travelers know that they need only to find a diner to refuel themselves before continuing their journey. Residents know that day or night, local diners will welcome them with open arms and open kitchens.

While the idea of a diner may seem antiquated to some, those who frequent them know that they're as important now as they ever were, and diners are still going strong. Thank goodness for that! What is your favorite diner in the Albany area?

Jeffrey Ferraro is a travel enthusiast and expert. He is the Director of Marketing of Diamond Tours, the leading provider of charter group bus trips in the US and Canada, including bus tours in New York City. Jeffrey loves uncovering lesser known travel destinations and sharing them with his customers.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Cystic Fibrosis Foundation to host 65 Roses Gala

           The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation of Northeastern New York  has announced their main event, 65 Roses Gala presented by First Niagara, at the exclusive Fasig Tipton horse auction house on Opening Day of the 150th Season of the Saratoga Race Track. 

          The event will honor three special individuals, Kevin and Sari O’Connor; and Eric Cassalina. According to the press release, "Kevin O’Connor is a co-founder and the CEO of TechValley Communications.  Sari O’Connor is Chief Development Officer with Northern Rivers Family Services and has dedicated her career to the well-being of children and families.  Together, Kevin and Sari support families, community and economic matters in the Capital Region.

            Eric Cassalina is a 21 year old who lives with cystic fibrosis.  He is in his fourth year at Marist College in Poughkeepsie and works part time at Hudson Valley Federal Credit Union. Eric has worked tirelessly along with his parents, Margarete and Marc Cassalina, to create awareness and more importantly to raise funds for cystic fibrosis research.  Eric lost his sister Jena, when she was only 13 in 2006 to cystic fibrosis.  Eric continues the fight on her behalf." 

            According to press notes, "CF is a genetic disease affecting 30,000 children and adults in the United States.  It causes the body to produce abnormally thick, sticky mucus, which leads to chronic and life-threatening lung infections that lead to an untimely death. Since 1955 when the Foundation was established, the mission of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, a nonprofit donor-supported organization, has been to assure the development of the means to cure and control cystic fibrosis and to improve the quality of life for those with the disease." 

           Entertainment will be provided by the party band, the New York Players. The evening will also include a cocktail hour, four themed  dinner stations featuring a variety of culinary chooices from steak and seafood to lamb and pastas, as well as many other choices designed by Angelo Mazzone. Specialty Saratoga-style drink stations, passed champagne, open bar,  live and silent auctions,  and conversations with racing enthusiasts will also be part of the night.

             The 65 Roses Gala at Fasig Tipton will offer a unique opportunity to experience the famed auction house, and its recent $15 million renovation.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Spirit of Albany: The Kennedy Sour

Editor’s note: We asked Albany's best mixologists to create an original cocktail recipe that embodies the true Spirit of Albany. Today, we highlight The Kennedy Sour, created by Robert Mack of Yono’s/dp, using product from the nearby Albany Distilling Company.

What do you get when you mix Bourbon, grapefruit juice, and some bitters? Something truly delicious, of course. Not overpowering in the least, the Kennedy Sour is a balanced and delightful concoction that is pleasing to even the non- or not-so-often bourbon drinker.

Though simple in construction, the result seems the product of hard labor and careful execution on behalf of the bartender. That’s the art of this drink.

The Kennedy Sour is a tribute to Albany native and Pulitzer Prize-winning author, William Kennedy, who has written such novels as Legs, Billy Phelan’s Greatest Game, Ironweed (the namesake of the Bourbon used to create this cocktail), and O Albany!, a non-fictional account of Albany.

The Kennedy Sour
Take a tour of the Albany Distilling Company to learn how the Ironweed Bourbon is created, then walk to the nearby dp’s/Yono’s and order up the Kennedy Sour. Sip slowly, and be transported back in time to when legendary gangster Jack ‘Legs’ Diamond (also known as Gentleman Jack) was bootlegging and gambling around Albany back in the 1920s. And if you’re really getting into the story, walk up to 67 Dove Street in the Center Square neighborhood for a look at the house in which he was murdered.

When you've finished your stroll, head to for the full recipe and other Spirit of Albany drinks. Don’t forget to vote for your favorite recipe, which may earn the title of the 2013 Spirit of Albany.

Remember to have fun, but be smart. Designate a driver!

Monday, May 6, 2013

Marche' to Feature New Spring Menu

Marché, the fresh dining restaurant located within the 74 State Hotel, will offer a new Spring Menu. The menu will feature a variety of local farm to table items.

A statement made on the Marche' page states, "Regionally we work with farmers who supply us with fresh seasonal products. We believe that a remarkable meal begins with great ingredients."

The new menu will include Asparagus Salad, Orange Pepper Seasoned Tilapia, as well Rhubarb Crisp. The entire menu with wine pairings can be found online. Reservations for the restaurant are recommended but not required.