Thursday, November 21, 2013

Thanksgiving Made Easy!

Thanksgiving is rapidly approaching, we're here to help you avoid the hassle that comes with all of the prep and cooking. Below is a list of restaurants that will offer dine-in and or catered/pre-cooked meals to make your holiday easier. 

2013 Thanksgiving Restaurant Breakdown:

Catering/Meals to Go:

1.    Buca di Beppo
Wolf Road

Offer/Info: Bucca di Beppo offers a wide variety of options for your Thanksgiving meal. Let Bucca make the food all you have to do is pick it up. Thanksgiving orders must be placed by and confirmed by 9 p.m. on November 25. $150-$275, order size pending.

Meal includes: Thanksgiving Feast - Turkey,sausage Stuffing, Garlic Mashed P otatoes, Gravy, Green Beans, Cranberry Sauce. A variety of Bucca favorites are also available for order including pasta, a variety of popular menu entrées, and a slew of Bucca desserts.

2.     Desmond to Go

Offer: The Desmond will offer Thanksgiving To Go Dinners. Pick-up will be in the Tavern on Thanksgiving. Pick-up time: starts 9am, must be picked up by 11:30am. Package will include reheating instructions and a meat thermometer. Please call the Desmond special events hotline at 518-640-6075 to order.

Meal includes: 18 Pound Golden Brown Turkey, Rich Turkey Gravy, Apple Sage Stuffing, Home Style Whipped Potatoes, Glazed Sweet Potatoes, Buttered Corn, Orange Drizzled Acorn Squash Wedges, Rolls and Butter, Whole Berry Cranberry Sauce, Apple Pie, Pumpkin Pie, Freshly Made Whipped Cream, Additional Sides Can Be Ordered.

42 State Street

Offer: Don’t have the time to cook this holiday season? No problem! Jack’s Oyster House is offering three pre-cooked dining packages to choose from so you can offer your guests the best of Jack’s.

Menu includes:
Package 1: For 6-10 Guests (Includes a 14# Turkey, 1 Pie of Choice, and All of the Ala Carte Items.

Package 2: For 12-16 Guests (Includes a 18-22# Turkey, 2 Pies of Choice, and All of the Ala Carte Items.

Package 3: For 18-22 Guests (Includes 2 of the 14# Turkeys, 3 Pies of Choice, and All of the Ala Carte Items.

Ala Carte Items: Extra Turkey, Field Green Salad, Stuffing, Mashed Potatoes, Gravy, Green Beans, Cranberry Relish, Glazed Butternut Squash, Fresh Baked Bread.

300 Delaware Ave
Offer: offering an array of a-la-carte Thanksgiving dinner sides for households that want to cook a turkey but have everything else prepared for them. (The bistro will be closed on Thanksgiving Day.) Order by noon on Monday, Nov. 25, for pickup on Wednesday, Nov. 27.

Food choices include: Rock that Turkey with New World Sauces. Choices include: Meanhouse BBQ, Dirty Blonde BBQ, Jerk Sauce, Chimmichurri Sauce, Tomatillo Salsa, and Purple Haze Sauce. Thanksgiving Soup includingApple Potato Leek. Easy Appetizers for the Table, Blackened Stringbeans, Pumpkin Hummus, Chef Ric’s Award Winning ‘Eggplant Balls‘ smothered in four cheeses, in charred tomato ragout

Also available for purchase: Vegetarian options, Sauces and Gravies, Hudson Valley Cider Laced Gravy, a variety of sides, and Miso Garlic Gravy.

5.     Taste
45 Beaver St.
(518) 694-3344

Offer: Thanksgiving meals to go for six or twelve people. Order must be in and prepaid by Monday, November 25 for pickup from Thanksgiving Day Thanksgiving morning. An optional pick up time on Wednesday, November 27 is also available.

Meal: Package #1 includes 14lb Natural Turkey, Brined and Roasted. Choice of 2 pies and all side dishes. Package #2 includes 20lb Natural Turkey, Brined and Roasted. Choice of 3 pies and all side dishes listed. Side dishes include Sage, Sweet Sausage and Farm Bread Stuffing, Turkey Gravy, Buttered Yukon Gold Mashed Potatoes, Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Pearl Onions, Honeyed Winter Squash Puree, Apple – Cranberry relish, Artisanal Rolls. Pie choices include Apple-Pumpkin Tart with Pecan Crumble, Caramelized Pear and Almond Tart, and Bavarian Chocolate Crème Pie.

Available Holiday Dining:

1.    Albany Marriott
Wolf Road

Offer: The Albany Marriott on Wolf Road in Colonie will be serving a Thanksgiving Day buffet from noon to 6 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 28. The price is $34.95 for adults, $12.95 for kids ages 4 to 12, free for younger than 4, plus tax.

Meal Includes: First Course: Assorted Dinner Rolls, Field Green Salad with Assorted Dressings, Cole Slaw, Fresh Fruit Salad, Pumpkin Bisque. Sides & Assortments: Brown Sugar and Butter Broiled Sweet Potatoes, Cheddar and Garlic Whipped Potatoes, Broiled Green Beans with Brown Butter, Pan Seared Arctic Char with Orange Beurre Blanc. Main Course: Herb Roasted Turkey Breast With Cranberry Sauce and Gravy, Traditional Bread Stuffing, Honey Baked Ham with Whole Grain Mustard Desserts: Apple pie, blueberry pie, ultimate chocolate cake, Boston cream pie, pumpkin pie, carrot cake, bourbon pecan pie, lemon mist cake, as well as an assortment of cookies and brownies.

2.     Buca di Beppo
Wolf Road

Offer: Become part of the family and enjoy a traditional buca style Thanksgiving meal. Reservations are required and can be made now.

Meal includes: Tender, moist white meat turkey served with gravy, Garlic Mashed Potatoes, Green Beans, Whole-berry Cranberry Sauce, and our homemade spicy Italian sausage stuffing, flavored with garlic, sage and parmesan.

Plus, a perfect ending to your feast includes our mini chocolate chip cannolis for dessert

3.      Desmond Hotel

Offer: Enjoy the traditional Thanksgiving Buffet Dinner served around a beautiful Koi pond, in the courtyard and elegant ballroom. A spectacular holiday feast featuring all of the traditional holiday dishes, plus a whole lot more!

Meal includes: Carving stations of Butter Basted Whole Turkey and Whiskey Sugar Pork Loin, an array of salads, hearty soups to include Scrimshaw's famous New England Clam Chowder, entrees featuring selections such as; Tangerine Glazed Salmon, and Sirloin Madeira, harvest vegetables, and a spectacular dessert presentation.

4.       Jack’s Oyster House
42 State Street

Offer: Have dinner at Jacks for $27.99 a person and save yourself the hassle of cleaning and cooking for the big day. Enjoy a variety of deserts for just $7.99. 

Meal includes: First Course: Jack’s organic field green salad or autumn’s vegetables Main Course: Roasted maple butter glazed turkey, pan dripping sage scented Thanksgiving gravy, granny smith apple, celery and sage stuffing, fresh cranberry relish, honey glazed butter nut squash, buttery mashed potatoes, green beans almandine. Dessert: Pumpkin chiffon pie with cinnamon whipped cream, pecan pie with bourbon glaze,  dutch apple pie with Chantilly cream, chocolate cream pie with Chantilly cream. 

5.     Scrimshaw
The Desmond Hotel

Offer: Experience a Thanksgiving Dinner in Scrimshaw. Enjoy an elegant and leisurely four-course dinner in our Scrimshaw dining room featuring a fabulous holiday menu exquisitely prepared and impeccably served.  Reservations are required.

Meal includes: choice of appetizer, Desmond salad, Roasted Native Turkey, Chef's selection of vegetables and choice of Holiday Dessert.

6.      Simpson’s Grille
The Desmond Hotel

Offer: Bring the whole family for Thanksgiving Dinner in Simpson's Grille for $35.95. Dinner served from 1:00 pm - 9:00 pm. Breakfast served on Thanksgiving morning from 6:30 am until Noon. Offering a special holiday menu with traditional Thanksgiving favorites and more! Reservations are required.

Meal: Roasted Pumpkin Bisque or Fruit Medley with Cranberry Coulis Simpson’s Salad. Roasted Native Turkey, Slow roasted turkey, thinly sliced and served over apple sage stuffing, finished with a rich brandied gravy, and all the holiday trimmings Dessert includes Freshly baked Pumpkin or Apple Pie, New York Style Cheesecake, Carrot Cake, Brownie Sundae, Ice Cream.

7.     Taste
45 Beaver St.
(518) 694-3344

Offer: Enjoy a 4 Course Thanksgiving Dinner at Taste. Wine Pairings are available, as well as the Main Restaurant Menu. Reservations can be made for the following hours: 1p.m. to 5 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day. Reservations can be made by phone (518) 694-3322.

Meal: Menus for the Thanksgiving at Taste include choices from a 4-Course Menu. Course 1 includes: Pumpkin-Pecan Bisque or Truffle-Potato Soup and Horseradish-Ricotta Gnocchi. Course 2 includes: Butter Braised Radish and Beet & Fingerling Potatoes. Course 3 includes: Slow Roasted Natural Turkey, Sweet Fennel-Sausage, Farm Bread Stuffing, Sage- Turkey Gravy, Sweet Potato- Celery Root Gratin, Yukon Gold Butter, Whipped Potatoes, Honeyed Carrot & Cranberries, Spicy Green Beans, with caramelized onions. For Course 4 your pick your choice from Apple-Pumpkin Tart, Pecan Crumble, Caramelized Pear-Almond Tart, Sweet Potato Ice Cream, Vanilla Wafer, Granola, Espresso Dark Chocolate, Salted Caramel Parfait.


Harvest Fest Returns to the Desmond!

           The Desmond Hotel is the place for food and wine connoisseurs to be this weekend. Pride of New York Harvest Fest returns to the hotel on November 23rd and 24th. Harvest Fest offers the chance to taste the best food and wine products New York has to offer.
            Eat like royalty as you sample products from Sauces to Wine. Close to 100 vendors from around the state will be on hand to offer tastings. In addition, many of the products being presented for tasting will also be on sale to take home.
             A variety of passes and packages are being offered for access to the weekends events. The Weekend Pass going for $50 includes: 1 Sunday Tasting and 1 tasting Saturday, lunch is not included. You can recieve the Weekend Pass with lunch included for $100. For $375 you can receive the Weekend Celebration with Gala pass, which includes: Two Saturday tastings, Two Sunday tasting tickets, and two tickets to the Uncorked New York Gala! The final package offered is the Weekend Celebration with Gala (with Sat & Sun Lunches) at $425.
              A slew of tickets to individual events such as the tastings and gala will also be offered ranging from $30 a ticket to $75. As part of your ticket purchase, you receive also Free Admission to one Seminar of your choice. 
              The weekends tastings include: Wine & Chocolate: The Heart-Smart Marriage, Return of the Native with the Times Union's own Fred LeBrun, and Wine & Fish, Sarah Fish: The Hungry Fish Cafe.
              Harvest Fest will run both Saturday and Sunday 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Desmond Hotel located at 660 Albany Shaker Rd. Tickets can be purchased for all events online at the Pride of New York: Harvest Fest website.

Tonight is Girls Night Out at The Hollow!

         The Hollow Bar + Kitchen will host a special Girls Night Out, tonight starting at 6 p.m. The former Bayou Cafe in Downtown Albany will host this Sip, Shop, and Sample event with all proceeds going to Myles of Smiles. The foundation grants wishes to terminally ill children in the Capital Region.
           The evening will include a "fabulous" buffet compliments of the Hollow created by chef Henry Ciccone.  Drink specials will also be offered throughout the night.
           The evening will also include a silent auction, booths occupied by local boutiques, salons and more. Free mini-mani's, mini massages, and eyebrow waxings will be offered. The Hollow's House DJ will provide the entertainment all night with an open request taken on the Hollow stage.
            Girls Night Out is open to the public and costs $10, all of which will be donated to Myles of Smiles. The Hollow Bar + Kitchen is located at 9 North Pearl Street.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Guest Post: New restaurant, Flavors of India, marries first-generation dreams with second-generation savvy

Note from the editors: This guest post comes from Molly Belmont of the Central Avenue Business Improvement District. Her story gives the behind the scene look at Albany's newest Indian restaurant.

  Hardeep Singh is only a little nervous about this week's grand opening of Flavors of India, the latest Indian restaurant to open in Albany's increasingly competitive international food scene.
            What he feels mostly is vindication—here, in the fully renovated restaurant, replete with gleaming brass fixtures and opalescent tile, is the physical realization of what he has been trying to explain to his family for months.     
            It wasn't always easy to sell his family on his vision for Flavors of India: a modern, upscale approach to traditional Indian cuisine that targets a savvy young demographic who is as concerned with walkability and wi-fi as they are with food. But in the end, Singh's parents, Gian and Parkash Singh, uncle, Dalip Kapur, and brother-in-law, Jagit Singh, the restaurant's owners, opted to trust the exuberant young marketing professional to create a successful restaurant for them.
            “When my parents finally realized, 'Hey, let's back off a little and let him do what he needs to do,' it became a lot easier,” Singh says. After all, Singh, 31, is a public relations professional who makes his living telling businesses on how to reinvent their themselves and capture a younger demographic.
            What Hardeep Singh and his family--which includes Kapur, a former partner at the highly successful Aroma Bar & Grill in Great Barrington--are looking to do is to reinvent the Indian restaurant locally, creating delicious healthy food that is served in an upscale, modern setting, and appeals to an 18-35 demographic.
            The first factor is, of course, location. Flavors of India is located in a building on Townsend Park, just a block away from Lark Street and the more affluent Center Square neighborhood, and a hop, skip, and a jump away from stateworker lunches and downtown. The building was once home to Caribbean restaurant Brisas del Caribe, and prior to that, Clayton's, but today, you'll find no remnants of this tropical identity.
            “We completely gutted it and started over,” says Singh. The restaurant has been renovated from the ground up and then finished in a decidedly modern style. Absent are the heavy tapestries and dark corners that dominate so many Indian restaurant interiors. Instead, what you'll find is an open floor plan set with contemporary banquets, separated by wooden screens. Gone are the fusty red tablecloths that dominate the décor in most Indian restaurants. Instead what you'll find at Flavors of India is beautifully bare tabletops featuring parquet-like insets polished to a high shine and modern looking paintings featuring mythic scenes.
            Singh acknowledges that he is the latest Indian restaurant on a block that already features five, but explains that when it comes to menu and ambience, Flavors of India will stand in a class by itself. The restaurant is undoubtedly the most upscale on a block, and promises to be a good fit with the area's emerging identity as a Restaurant Row.
            Only this year, this block of Washington Avenue that abuts Townsend Park will welcome three new restaurants, including Umana, an African-inspired bistro and wine bar, and Terra International Cuisine, a Vegan restaurant and bakery. These restaurants join longtime businesses like LaZeez, Aashiana, and Hot Spot, and Singh says there's already a collegial atmosphere among the restaurant owners. “The chef at the African restaurant is actually a good friend of mine,” says Singh. The two have chatted about their menus, which both offer samosas and discussed individual culinary challenges. “We were talking about the goat curry [samosa] that he's doing, and I'm like, how are you going to get the goat dry enough to not seep through after it's been fried, and he goes, 'That's what I'm going to have to work on to make that work.'”
            Cultural exchanges like these offer exciting prospects for Albany's diners, many of whom are only just coming of age in this new, increasingly international city, and it's that very audience that Flavors of India promises to cater to.
            Flavors of India will host a VIP Reception for friends and media, Friday November 22 at 10:30am. This event will be followed by a private family reception, Saturday, November 23rd. The restaurant's official Grand Opening will take place Monday, November 25, 2013, at 10am.