Friday, September 27, 2013

The best of the best in food and more

Inside of the 27th Annual Best of Hudson Valley issue of Hudson Valley Magazine they list more than 200 winners. Considering that the Hudson Valley stretches over one hundred miles, the fact that they boil all of the restaurants, specialty shops, shopping venues, and other desirable locations into 200 favorites says something wonderful about the places they listed. Out of these 200, here are the ones that you can find inside the Capital City.
Fresh Fish/Fishmonger
2050 Western Ave, Guilderland, NY
(518) 452-4565

Guilderland’s fresh fish market offers sustainable seafood from the world over that is premium, Grade A, top-of-the-catch. Straight from a pier in Boston, the quality assurance team ensures that Fin only gets the highest quality seafood to the region. The shop opened first as a food truck, parking in parking lots in the Capital City on the weekends. Now, Fin-Your Fishmonger is now located in Star Plaza, 2050 Western Avenue, Guilderland. Stop by today to get the freshest catch and be your own chef or get one of their amazing menu items at reasonable prices!
The Best: New Specialty Shop
540 Delaware Avenue, Albany, NY
(518) 443-0440

If you enjoy a good cheese, then this is definitely the place for you. Featured in the article, co-owner Eric Paul says that “all these cheeses have compelling stories and traditions.” The Cheese Traveler is a shop where the people are passionate about cheese and what to eat it with. You can find an array of fine cured meats from the U.S. and Europe, cured olives, pickles, specialty pastas, crackers, biscuits, as well as world-renowned, fine estate-produced chocolates and candies in the shop and maybe an interesting perspective on the products as well.  The final sentence in the Hudson Valley article states: “For me, cheese became a way to travel the world.” Be sure to stop by and check out some of the interesting and delicious treats soon!
The Best: Secret Bar
42 Howard Street, Albany, NY 
(518) 449-2332

Inside of an unmarked door lies a 1920s speakeasy, complete with a reservation-only guest list and flapper-like cocktail waitresses lies Speakeasy 518. Even the website is secretive… Luckily, Hudson Valley Magazine found out about this concealed jewel and found it to be one of The Best! This underground bar in the basement of the City Beer Hall building is one that we've written about before on our blog.  Click here to view Schuyler’s post about his own experience at Speakeasy, or call to make a reservation and experience it for yourself.
Readers Picks: Restaurants
300 Delaware Ave, Albany, NY
(518) 694-0520

With a menu full of old favorites with new twists, New World Bistro is one of the hottest restaurants in town. Although the staff is friendly and the environment is cozy and casual, the fresh food is sure to impress even the pickiest guest. Be sure to call ahead to make a reservation and don't miss their new fall menu debuting on October 2. You can also see our blog about New World Bistro.

Also, in this issue of Hudson Valley, they ranked the Empire State Plaza Ice Rink as the best “Way to While Away the Winter.” Why not work up an appetite on the ice before heading out to your favorite Albany dining experience? Admission to the rink is free. 

Monday, September 23, 2013

Chef Ric Orlando named finalist in national food competition

From the Times Union:

Ric Orlando, the chef, author, food activist and media personality behind New World Home Cooking in Saugerties and New World Bistro Bar in Albany, has been named the Northeast finalist in US Foods' Next Top Product competition for his signature Eggplant Balls, a vegetarian adaptation of Neapolitan meatballs. Voting was conducted on Facebook and Twitter from late August through Friday.

Orlando and seven other regional finalists will be flown to Las Vegas in early November to compete at the World Foods Championships. The winner will receive $5,000 cash and $15,000 credit to be used toward kitchen equipment and supplies from US Foods.

For more and to comment, visit the Times Union Table Hopping blog.

Taste restaurant recruits talent in the kitchen

Downtown Albany will have a new chef come October, just in time for Downtown Albany's Restaurant Week.

Taste restaurant welcomes Chef Mark Graham, currently a sous chef at Max London's in Saratoga Springs. Graham is working on the Restaurant Week menu now that will be featured during the event, which runs October 19-25. Following, his new menu will debut on October 29.

Restaurant Week is an opportunity for downtown Albany restaurants to showcase their culinary skills while remaining affordable to a wide variety of diners. Each meal must have a value of at least $35.00, but should not be sold for more than $20.13. The event is presented by the Downtown Albany Business Improvement District. Visit their website for more information on Restaurant Week, including theme nights and a list of participating restaurants.

And don't forget to check out Taste's new chef-inspired menu following its debut later next month!

Make Your Own Cider Workshop

The Carey Center for Global Good's Farm Brewing Project is hosting a ‘make your own’ cider workshop at Conkling Hall’s Annual Chili Cook-Off. If you’ve got an overloaded apple tree, here’s your chance to make some sweet or hard cider!

Also, coming up —a honey talk and tasting with Master Beekeeper and neighbor, Richard Ronconi, this Saturday, September 28 from 3pm to 5pm at the Carey Center. See the attached poster for more details.

Make-Your-Own Cider Workshop

Saturday, October 12
12 pm to 3 pm
Conkling Hall, Methodist Hill, Rensselaerville

You bring the apples. We’ll help you do the rest!
1 to 1.5 bushels (20-25lbs) of apples needed
Wild apples work great!
Grinding & Pressing Stations
1-Gallon Hard Cider Kits
Wild Apple & Sweet Cider Tasting

$15 includes hard cider kit and instruction. Does not include apples or entry to Chili Cook-Off. Limited amount of pre-picked apples available for purchase.

Pre-registration is required! To register and/or for more information call Rebecca at 518.797.5100 or email

This event is organized by the Carey Center’s Farm Brewing Project, funded in part with a grant from the Hudson River Valley Greenway, and with support from Hennessey Homebrew Emporium.

And the information on the honey talk and tasting:

Friday, September 13, 2013

Oh Bar turns the big 2-0!

            This Saturday at 2 pm Oh Bar, a Lark Street staple, will kick of it's 20th Anniversary with a bang! A variety of festivities will be held throughout the day starting with drink prices from 1993 from 2 p.m. to 9 p.m. With hor d'oeuvres being served from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. Free commemorative cups will be handed out throughout the day.
           Beyond the celebrations the day will stand as a way to help a good cause. T-shirts will be sold to benefit the Damien Center, which provides services to persons infected with HIV/AIDS, recovering from a recent fire.
          The celebrations will also include the unveiling of the bar’s new neon sign. Oh Bar is located at 304 Lark Street. Stop by to celebrate 20 years in the Capital Region this Saturday!


Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Oktoberfest at The Pump Station!

             It's Oktoberfest Season in the Capital Region. The Albany Pump Station will be hosting their own Oktoberfest beer dinner on Tuesday, Sept. 24 at 6:30 p.m. The popular downtown restaurant will offer a five-course menu paired with Pump Station beer at $60 per person, including tax and tip.

           The evening will kick off with a Welcoming Reception featuring Beer and cheddar fondue with assorted German sausages, soft pretzels and spicy mustard. Paired with Oktoberfest Lager.

          After the reception the First Course will be served including Lentil and spaetzle soup with smoked ham hocks and a Marinated cucumber salad. Paired with Quackenbush Blonde. Following that the Second Course will offer unique foods such as Hasenpfeffer, hunter-style rabbit stew with German sausage biscuits. Paired with Hellesbock.

        The Third and Fourth Courses will delight your taste buds Jager schnitzel, seasoned breaded pork cutlet finished with pancetta mushroom cream and warm potato salad. Paired with Knickerbocker Lager.  Followed by Beer braised German short ribs with dumplings. Paired with Doppelbok.

         The Fifth and final course, Dessert, will feature fresh linzer torte with hazelnut crust, fresh raspberry filling, assorted berries and mint. Paired with Bavarian-Style Hefeweizen.

         Reservations are required (518) 447-9000. The Albany Pump Station is located behind the Albany Heritage Area Visitors Center at Quackenbush Square.

Oktoberfest Wine & Beer Tasting Dinner at La Serre

La Serre will offer a special Oktoberfest Wine & Beer Tasting Dinner on Saturday, September 28 at 7 p.m. Music for this fun and unique event will be provided by local artist Franklin Micare.

Hors D’oeuvres served at the event will include Bavarian Obatzda Cheese Spread, Soft Pretzel Sticks, Black Forest Ham Stulle as well as Warsteiner Pilsner and Select Wines.

The main menu will feature Stuttgart Potato Soup, Saint M, Riesling, Sautéed Bratwurst, Weisswurst & Knockwurst,  Cucumber Salad, served with Düsseldorf Cabbage Spaten Oktoberfest.

Pork Tenderloin Schwarzer Pfeffer crust, potato pancakes, Blauer Zweigelt, Skeleton , a drink from Austria, will also be a part of the evenings menu.

Guests are welcome to wear Lederhosen to the meal.  Tickets to this event (meal included) are $80 per person. Seating is limited. Reservations are required and can be made by calling (518) 463-6056.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Honey Tasting at the Carey Conference Center

          The Carey Center for Global Good will host a Honey Tasting with Special Guest & Master Bee Keeper Richard Ronconi on Saturday, September 28. The tasty event runs from 3 pm-5 pm at the Carriage House Restaurant.

         This program is the second in a series of talks and tastings of foods that transcend time and place. Tickets are $20 and Reservations are requested which can be made via phone (518) 797-5100 or by email: