Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Updated: Valentine's Day Dining!

Updated February 12: Valentines Day is only 3 days away. If you haven't already, it's time to make reservations for a romantic dinner! We have a slew of great recommendations for you and your special someone to enjoy:

Blu Stone Bistro
661 Albany Shaker Road
(518) 869-9976

Dining: A special  Valentine's four-course menu with choices will be offered at $55 per person, the regular menu will not be available.

Seatings: 5 p.m., 7 p.m., 9 p.m.
Note: The dining special will be offered on Valentine's Day (Friday, Feb 14) as well as Saturday, February 15! An overnight package including dinner for two at the attached Indigo Hotel with breakfast for $199.

La Serre
14 Green Street

Dining: Valentine's Day menu for two that includes: lobster ravioli, Caesar salad, Chateubriand for two, selection from dessert cart and sparkling rosé toast for $129. Their usual a-la-carte menu will also be available on 2/14.
Seatings: Valentine's Day seating will be available from 5 p.m.-9 p.m. on Friday, February 14.

New World Bistro
300 Delaware Ave

Dining: A four-course menu will be offered for $65 per person or with wine pairings for $100 apiece.
Seatings: 5pm-11 pm, Reservations are strongly recommended!

Portofino’s Italin Ristorante in Latham
831 New Loudon Road

Dining: Four-course Valentine’s Day menu with choices for $35 per person. the regular menu will not be available.
Seatings: 5:30 p.m.-11 p.m.eating from 5:30 to 11 p.m.
Note: This will be offered on Valentine's Day (Friday, Feb 14) as well as Saturday, February 15! An Early Bird special will be available both days from 3 p.m.-5:30 p.m. - Same great deal but the price goes down to $29 per person.

45 Beaver St.

Dining: Taste will offer a four course menu for $69 a person. The regular menu will also be available during this time.
Seatings: 5 pm-10 pm each day, reservations are strongly recommended.

Note: The Valentine's Day special menu will be offered from Thursday, February 13 through Saturday, February 15.

At The Desmond
660 Albany Shaker Road

Dining: Three courses with choices for $51.95 per person or with wine pairings for $82.95
Note: Special Dining available Thursday, February 13 through Saturday, February 15. An overnight package is also avilable for $249. The package includes dinner for two, overnight accommodations with bottle of champagne in the room.

The Hollow
79 North Pearl Street

Dining: Three course menu with choices for $50 a person. Includes complimentary bottle of Italian Prosecco per Couple. Enjoy one of the areas top R & B bands as Mirk plays the hall.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Score Big Deals Before/After the Game at Legends on Pearl!

The reasons to enjoy a game at the Times Union Center in Downtown Albany just went up. Legends on Pearl is offering a new promotion for attendees of Siena College Basketball Games and Albany Devils hockey games. 

Ticket holders can get a variety of specials on the day the ticket is for. Special offers include $3 samplers, $2 Beers (miller lights), and $4 specials for wine and fireball shots.

The discount will be available before games and until 10 p.m. after a loss for the home team. The offer will run until midnight on the days that the hometeam(s) win. Not a bad way to spend the day, Legends is loacted at 84 North Pearl Street.

Wine & Dine Tickets Selling Out Fast!

The Albany Chef's Food and Wine Festival: Wine and Dine for the Arts, is the highlight of Culinary Events in the Capital Region. So it's no surprise that half of the events are already sold out, some of which have been such for weeks now.

The good news is there are still tickets available to some events however it's strongly suggested that tickets be purchased online soon to guarantee entry to any events with space.

The Mayor's Opening Celebration at City Hall on Thursday, Slider Slam and on Friday and the Grand Tasting and Gala Reception on Saturday have all sold out.

However tickets can still be purchased for Fridays Grand Tasting Seminar and VIP Reception & Book Signing. The Barista Albany competition on Saturday also has tickets for only $10.

The Friday Grand Tasting Seminar will feature 70 Innovative Chefs & Restaurants featuring a variety of food with 250 Global Wines, Spirits, and Beers for Sampling. While the VIP Reception and Book Signing will feature celebrity chef Suvis Saran.

The Barista Albany is your chance to watch the Capital Region's top coffee houses in a competion for bragging rights as Albany's Best Barista!

Grab tickets to these events while you still can! The 2014 Wine and Dine for the Arts benefits The Albany Barn, Albany Institute of History and Art, Albany Symphony Orchestra, Capital Repertory Theatre, and Park Playhouse. Remaining tickets can be purchased online.

You Could be Cast for Guy Fieri's New Game Show on the Food Network

Guy Fieri is looking to find the new last chef standing. The food guru and tv personality is ready to put self proclaimed chef's to the test in his new supermarket-themed showdown, Guys Grocery Games.

Contestants will have to race against the clock while shopping on a budget and substituting out-of-stock ingredients.Think you have what it takes to compete? Then visit Guys online application to apply.

May the best shopper/chef win!

Thursday, January 9, 2014

5th Annual Mac & Cheese Bowl on Sale Now!

Tickets are now on sale for the 5th Annual Mac & Cheese Bowl at area Price Choppers. Profits from the annual event benefit the Regional Food Bank of Northeastern New York. This years event will be held at the Albany Marriott on Saturday, February 15.

The event will include 30 tasting stations featuring local restaurants. Ticket holders will have the opportunity to taste all of the Mac -n- Cheese dishes and vote for their favorite.
Participating restaurants include Albany Pump Station, Mazzone Hospitality, The Standard Restaurant & Lounge, and Farmer Boy Diner & Restaurant. Tickets are $20 for adults and $5 for kids. There will be two tasting sessions at 11 a.m. and 12:30 p.m., respectively.

Other participants include: Albany Marriott, The Century House, Capital District Catering, Chez Mike, Comfort Kitchen, Druthers Brewing Company, The Ginger Man Wine Bar & Restaurant, Hannaford Supermarkets & Elegant Touch Catering, Illium Café, Katie O'Byrnes, Lark Tavern, and The Mallozzi Family.

As well as Mio Vino Wine Bar & Bistro, Nighthawk's Kitchen, Price Chopper Supermarkets, The Red Lion Inn, Samantha's Café & Catering, Sea Fish Market and Grill, Slidin' Dirty Food Truck & Catering.

Uncle Marty's Adirondack Grill, Valente's Restaurant, Wolff's Biergarten, and Wheatfields Bistro & Wine Bar will also offer tastings.

Awards for the top dishes will be given out as part of the fundraising event. Here's how the judging will take place according to press notes: "Local food-savvy judges will rate mac-n-cheese from the 30 participating restaurants, and attendees also will have a chance to vote for a people’s-choice award. In addition, 10 reader-finalists will be invited to bring their version of mac-n-cheese to compete for awards from the judges."

The Albany Marriott is located at 189 Wolf Road in Colonie. Only 1,600 tickets will be sold at Price Chopper Stores. After that tickets will only be available at the food banks headquarters in Latham and at the door day of the event. Those tickets will be to the later tasting at 12:30 p.m. Click here for more information.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Wine & Food Fest Announces New Event!

The fifth annual Albany Chef's Food & Wine Festival: Wine & Dine for the Arts will be spicing up it's event lineup with a new competition. Six of Albany's finest bartenders will battle head to head during the Battle of the Bartenders: Bloody Mary Edition!

Click here to read all about the new Battle of the Bartenders: Bloody Mary Edition Contest. Tickets for this event are still available.

Wine and Dine for the Arts will kick off Thursday, January 16th at 5:30 p.m. with the Mayor's Opening Celebration at City Hall. The majority of the weekend events will be held at the Hilton Albany with the Slider Slam at 90 State Street on Friday night. 

Purchase your tickets at Complimentary parking to all festival events at the Hilton Albany is included with ticket purchase.

Friday, January 3, 2014

A Taste of Restaurant Week all Winter Long!

Can't wait for Downtown Albany Spring Restaurant Week in April? You won't have to! The Hollow Bar + Kitchen will offer a three-course special for $20.14 each Tuesday through at least the end of March. Participants will have their choice from three appetizers, three entrées, and two desserts from the regular menu.

The Hollow will be joined by several other Downtown area restaurants who will also participate in the weekly program. Additional eateries include The Capital American Eatery & Lounge, Carmine’s, and The Merry Monk. Full menus will also be offered at their regular prices.

J&A Prep Kitchen to Close

J&A Prep Kitchen will close its doors at Crossgates Mall on Monday according to Steve Barnes. The Times Union Senior Writer reports that owner Joe Marello is searching for a new location for the J&A Prep.

You can read Barnes' blog on J&A Prep by clicking here.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Wine & Dine for the Arts Gala Reception has Sold Out!

The Albany Chef's Food and Wine Fest has a good problem on its hands: no tickets left for the Grand Gala Reception! The Saturday, January 18, Reception dinner officially sold out last weekend.

Tickets are still available for a variety of events throughout the three-day festival which kicks off with the Mayor's Opening Celebration at City Hall on Thursday January 16 at 5:30 p.m. Not only does this event kick off the weekend, it's also the first major event for Albany's new Mayor, Kathy Sheehan. 

More than 3,500 people are expected to attend this years event which benefits are variety of local arts organizations including: the Albany Barn, Albany Institute of History & Art, Albany Symphony Orchestra, Capital Repertory Theatre and Park Playhouse.

We'll have more information on the 2014 Wine and Dine for the arts in the days and weeks to come.

Honest Weight Food Co-Op moves into the Plaza! **UPDATED**

The Honest Weight Food Co-op is scheduled to open a cafe inside the main cafeteria at the Empire State Plaza on January 6 This will be the businesses first attempt at a remote branch. Hopes are high that this will in turn open the door for similar possibilities around the area as time goes on.

Honest Weight Food Co-op recently opened a new hub store on Watervliet Ave in Albany replacing the original store built in 1976.

The Honest Weight menu will offer healthier choices for the many visitors and employees on the Plaza grounds. The menu will include soups and sandwiches made with local/organic ingredients, smoothies, fresh-made organic juices, and salads. Vegan and gluten-free items  will also be available daily.

The cafe comes in replacing Sodexo USA, the food services group that left the plaza at after their contract ended last November. Honest Weight's will run on a temporary contract through May 23. If successful, the cafe could stay open beyond the spring.

Updated: The opening of the Honest Weight Food Co-op has been postponed until January 6th while the state adds some finishing touches to the Café.

Stewart's Raises $1.3 Million for Kids Charities!

Stewart's Shops raised $1.34 million dollars for its 27th Annual Holiday Match-Fund Drive. The chain stores raised $670,000 and matched it dollar for dollar. The campaign runs annually from Thanksgiving through Christmas.The same exact amount was raised as last year, however there were six less days to contribute this year. A perfect sign of peoples continually growing generosity. 

The money raised will be dispersed to a variety of children's charities in March. Charities can still apply for funding at a store or at through January 31. You can read all about Stewart's success here in the original Business Review Article.