Thursday, February 27, 2014

Desmond to Host Craft NY Beer Fest!

The Desmond Hotel and Conference Center will host the Craft New York Beer Festival on March 22. The evening event running from 5-8pm will offer a tasting room with more than 30 New York State Craft Breweries including C.H. Evans Brewery, Brewery Ommegang, and Druthers (which will soon have a venue in Downtown Albany).

Entry prices are as follows: Online: $40 Event Day (if available):$50 Designated Driver: $15. The pay-one-price admission includes a 5 oz. souvenir tasting glass and the freedom to enjoy 3 oz. samples from any exhibiting brewery. If you really love great beer, better yet, great New York State craft beer and food, then this is the festival for you!

The fun doesn't end there. Food pairings from a collective group of local restaurants and live music will be a part of the event as well. Click here to purchase tickets or find out the full list of attending breweries. The Desmond Hotel is located at 660 Albany Shaker Road, Albany, NY (12211).

NOTICE: This is a 21+ event. All attendees must show valid photo ID at the door. All attendees, including designated drivers, must be 21 or over to attend this event. No exceptions!

Mad Hatter Tea Party at the Albany Institute!

Popular area bakery, Coccadotts, winner of Food Network's Cupcake Wars invites you to celebrate their achievement at the Albany Institute with a Wonderland-themed tea party. The mystically themed party will take place this Sunday, March 2 from Noon to 3 p.m..

Children of all ages can be inspired by Coccadotts creations and decorate their own cupcakes.  The proceeds will benefit the educational programs of the Institute.

Cost for the event is $10 per person which includes admission to the event and into the galleries! Our suggestion is enjoy some tea and cake and then explore the GE Presents The Albany Mummies Exhibit.
Reservations can be made by calling Kate at (518) 463-4478 ext. 412 for tickets and more information.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Downtown Albany Restaurant Week to Celebrate 10th Anniversary!

Editors Note: This story comes to us from the Downtown Albany Business Improvement District. Their story gives us a look at the 10th Anniversary Downtown Albany Restaurant Week!

The Downtown Albany Business Improvement District (BID) is pleased to announce the 10th Anniversary of the Downtown Albany Restaurant Week. The 10-day celebration will take place from Wednesday, April 2, 2014 through Friday, April 11, 2014, in honor of the event’s milestone. Program highlights include 10 Year Anniversary drink specials on Thursday, April 10th, a Downtown Albany Ambassador evening and a concert in the park. Ticket give-a-ways to upcoming events at Downtown’s major entertainment venues such as Capital Repertory Theatre, The Palace Theatre and The Time Union Center are also planned. New this year, restaurants such as Taste and The Capital American Eatery and Lounge, will be changing their menus every five days to offer optimal choices for patrons. Popular promotions such as Student Night (Monday, April 7, 2014) and Capital Ticket Nights (Wednesday and Thursday, April 9-10, 2014) will also return for the annual event. Additionally, many participating restaurants will be extending their special menus beyond the event and into Saturday, April 12, 2014. The BID will be announcing the full program for Restaurant Week in mid-March at

 As the first Restaurant Week in the Capital Region starting in 2004, the event has brought over 182,000 diners to downtown Albany over the past 9 years, translating into $6.3 million in economic impact for the locally owned BID businesses. Seven restaurants from the inaugural year continue to enjoy welcoming patrons back to their dining rooms each Restaurant Week. This year, 16 Downtown Albany Restaurants are scheduled to participate in the special offering of three-course meals for $20.14 (valued at a minimum of $35.00).

  “As an anticipated and successful event for the past 9 years, Restaurant Week is a great time to come and experience all the activity happening in our Capital City,” said Mayor Kathy M. Sheehan, “Albany boasts some of the best restaurants in the entire region. Congratulations to all the businesses that make our Downtown a vibrant destination for residents and visitors alike.”

Participating restaurants for the 10th Anniversary Restaurant Week include: *Victory Café, V&R
 (* denotes a founding restaurant from 2004). Diners are encouraged to make advance reservations with individual restaurants. Menus, hours of operation and specials for all 16 participating restaurants are available at

  “Over $180 million in development projects are currently under construction or will begin later this spring/summer resulting in 680+ permanent, net new jobs and an estimated 427 additional residents in Downtown,” explains Georgette Steffens, Executive Director, Downtown Albany BID, “Investment at this level has not been seen in Downtown since the Albany Plan in 1998. These projects are providing cutting edge technology jobs, visitor experiences and living spaces right in the heart of our Capital City. We invite you to come enjoy fabulous food and see all the exciting changes taking place.”

Special promotions will be offered to Restaurant Week participants including:
Italian Ristorante, Taste, Olde English Pub & Pantry, Merry Monk, *La Serre, *Jack’s Oyster House, Hudson *Harbor Steak & Seafood, The Hollow Bar + Kitchen, *Franklin’s Tower, City Beer Hall, Charter (Hilton), The Capital American Eatery & Lounge, *Café Capriccio, Buddha Tea House, *Albany Pump Station
  • Student Night – On Monday, April 7, 2014 students are encourage to come out and dine the 3-course menu for only $15.14 at select restaurants. Four restaurants are participating, including: The Hollow Bar + Kitchen, Jack’s Oyster House, La Serre, and V&R Italian Ristorante.
  • Capital Ticket – Wednesday, April 9 and Thursday, April 10, 2014 parties of four (4) or more participating in Restaurant Week will have a chance to win a $200 gift certificate to any business located within the Downtown Albany Business Improvement District. One winner will be randomly awarded on Wednesday and one on Thursday.
  • Eat Great. Win Great. All week long in addition to the 3-course dining promotion, Restaurant Week patrons can enter to win hundreds of dollars in Downtown dining gift certificates by filling out a brief survey about their dining experience at their chosen restaurant. Winners will be chosen at random from all completed surveys. Survey prizes include: One Downtown Albany Winner (a grand prize winner to receive four gift certificates totaling $200). Two I Love Downtown winners (second prize winner to receive two gift certificate totaling $100) and four Illuminate Downtown winners (third prize winners to receive one gift certificate totaling $50).
“Wrapping up the always popular Restaurant Week, we are pretty excited to welcome Christopher Kimball, host and founder of America's Test Kitchen on PBS to downtown Albany,” explains Holly Brown, Executive Director of The Palace Theatre, “Tagged as one of the most popular cooking shows on television today, Kimball will feature a live, behind-the-scenes experience of the America's Test Kitchen.”

The show is scheduled for Sunday, April 13, 2014 at 3:00 PM. For more information and tickets visit

Restaurant Week attendees are invited to take advantage of numerous parking options in downtown Albany including the Albany Parking Authority’s (APA) parking initiative, 2 Blocks, 2 Bucks, 2 Easy. After 6:00 PM parking in APA garages, (Riverfront, Green-Hudson and Quackenbush) a short walk from participating restaurants, is available for $2.00. This offer is not available when special event rates are in effect. Visit for additional information. On street meter parking is also available for no charge after 6:00 PM.

 The Downtown Albany Business Improvement District (BID) is reorganizing its public programming focus to include one Restaurant Week in 2014 along with an upcoming announcement for an additional food related event in the fall.

America's Test Kitchen coming to the Palace!

With all of the drama, heat, and spice it makes sense that one of PBS' hit shows would translate well to the stage. No, we're not talking about Downton Abbey, even spicier - America's Test Kitchen Live! The hit PBS show will take to the Palace Theatre stage on Sunday, April 13 at 3 p.m.

America's Test Kitchen on PBS is one of today's most popular cooking shows on television. Christopher Kimball, Host and founder of the show, will bring you on a one of a kind live, behind-the-scenes experience :of the world of America's Test Kitchen to fans around the country."

Kimball is on a never-ending quest to answer the question, "What is good cooking all about?" Dan Souza from America's Test Kitchen will be joining Chris on stage for demos, tests and more!

As host of America's Test Kitchen for the past 14 seasons, as well as editor of the popular Cooks Illustrated magazine, Christopher Kimball will share his strong and entertaining opinions on culinary trends and cooking equipment. He'll take questions from the audience as well as test their knowledge of unusual ingredients in an interactive segment during the live show. America's Test Kitchen Live with Christopher Kimball will deliver a fun and informative evening for fans and foodies around the country.

Dan Souza is a senior editor of Cook's Illustrated and an on-screen test cook for America's Test Kitchen. In addition to his work on Cook's Illustrated, Dan has contributed content to a dozen America's Test Kitchen cookbooks, most recently executing and editing the test kitchen experiments for The Science of Good Cooking (October 2012). Dan cut his culinary teeth as an apprentice in Hungary before graduating first in his class from the Culinary Institute of America (CIA). After cooking in restaurants in New York City and Boston, however, he found his true calling: applying good science to create great recipes for the home cook.

America's Test Kitchen Live will coincide with Downtown Albany 10th Anniversary Restaurant week! A limited number of VIP Tickets are available for $85. The "VIP Ticket" includes:
  • Ticket to the show
  • Meet & Greet with Christopher Kimball 
  • A Copy of Christopher Kimball's book "The Complete America's Test Kitchen TV Show Cookbook 2001 - 2014."
Tickets for the show itself will go on sale February 28 at 10 am for $34 and $45, respectively. Tickets can be purchased at the Palace Theatre box office and online.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Nine Pin Cider Works to Open in Albany!

Albany will officially welcome it's newest resident the Nine Pin Cider Works, located in Downtown Albany next week. You can check out the Times Union article about the local markers of hard cider and their dream of opening their business in the area.

You can read the entire article, The apple's other sauce, by clicking here. Nine Pin Cider works is located at 929 Broadway,  it's the newest neighbor in a growing bar scene that includes: and Wolff's Biergarten, Barrell Saloon, and Stout.

Nine Pin Cider Works tasting room will host a grand opening and open house next Friday, February 28 at 3 p.m.

Wine & Dine Raises $116,000 for the Arts in 2014

The Fifth Annual Albany Chef's Food and Wine Festival:Wine and Dine for the Arts held last month at the Hilton Albany raised around $116,000 for six arts groups this year. This years recipients included: the Albany Barn, Albany Institute of History & Art, Albany Symphony Orchestra,  Capital Repertory Theatre, and Park Playhouse.

A check presentation ceremony was hosted at Yono's Restaurant in Downtown Albany this past Tuesday.

Wine and Dine for the Arts has raised  $406,000 for a variety of local arts programs since its conception in 2010.The weekend long event takes place in Mid-January and features close to 70 chef's and area eateries in a myriad of culinary events.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Yono's Grabs Second Nomiation for Top Wine Program!

For the second year in a row, Yono's Restaurant has been nominated and made it to the semi-finals for the coveted James Beard Award.

Yono's is one of 20 semi-finalists in the category: Outstanding Wine Program.

The coveted award is known as "The Oscars of Food." James Beard Awards are granted for excellence in cuisine, culinary writing, and culinary education in the United States.