Friday, January 30, 2015

February 14th: A Day of Good Food

After being denied by my crush in 7th grade, which I remember being very disappointing and
embarrassing, I was never the type of person to celebrate, acknowledge, or otherwise participate in the typical Valentine's Day traditions. Thankfully, I got over my embarrassment and have found that celebrating with loved ones, whether they are a significant other or just a very good friend, is quite nice.

So, whether you are the romantic type that is looking for the perfect plans to surprise your love, or you're just looking for a fun place to hang out with your girls, here's a list that we've created with deals, specials, and more for the quickly approaching day of love. Or celebrate February 14th instead, as a day of good food.

Angelo's Tavolo
Full dinner menu plus a few features
Enjoy dinner at Tavolo, where they will be serving their entire delicious menu and a few extras just for the occasion!

Buca di Beppo
Valentine's Day Package
A promotional package that includes: small garlic bread, choice of small mixed green salad or small caesar salad, heart shaped lasagna, and two mini cannoli’s for dessert. $48 for two and available from Feb 13 - Feb 15!

Valentine's Specials available Friday and Saturday
V-Day specials include: Sautéed Prince Edward Island Mussels, Spring Salad, A sautee special and a grill special that both include a complimentary glass of draft beer or house wine, and two special desserts. Find the full list of specials at the bottom of this entry. 

The Ginger Man
Special V-Day Menu in addition to the regular favorites
Avoid the crowds of Saturday evening and head to the Ginger Man on the 13th or the 14th! Enjoy a special menu crafted just for the holiday or stick with the regular menu. Either way, you're guaranteed great food and ambiance! Reservations are highly recommended for both nights and dinner service will begin at 4:30 pm. Find the full special menu at the bottom of this entry. 

La Serre
Will offer a special prix fixe menu for the evening which includes Lobster Ravioli with blush vodka sauce, Caesar Salad, Passion Fruit Sorbet, Chateaubrian ~ Roast Filet for two, selection from Dessert Cart, and Fansz Sparkling Rose Toast all for only $129 per couple. In addition, they will offer a special menu for the evening. Find the full special menu at the bottom of this entry.

The Melting Pot
Featured Valentine’s Day menu available Feb 13-16
An incredible menu created just for the day is available from the 13th to the 16th of February. This menu will be the only thing available on the 14th. Click the link to see the full menu. 

New World Bistro
The Big Easy Valentine's Day Menu
This large prix fixe menu looks to be borrowed from NOLA with frawfish, grits, and more traditional favorites. Click here to see the full menu. 

Cider is for Lovers - 4 Course Prix Fixe Menu for $85 per person
For one night only, Nine Pin’s industrial setting will be staged for lovers. Award Winning Chef Jeff Loshinsky will showcase a romantic four course dinner paired with four glasses of Nine Pin’s finest ciders. A one of a kind experience for your one and only? I think so!
Menu: First Course: Dungeness Crab Bisque or (V) Red Pepper Miso with Upland Cress, Carrots, and Jicama; Salad Course: Winter Salad of Lacinato Black Kale, Carrot and Blood Orange; Main Course: Duck Leg Confit, Smashed Root Vegetable, Ginger Roasted Pear or (V) Risotto with Asian Chives and Chanterelle Mushrooms; Dessert Course: Pot au Cholat, Pistachio Tuille. 

Reel Seafood CO. 
Valentine's Day Specials available throughout the weekend
Delectable specials available throughout the weekend include oyster stew for two, a spicy tuna roll, a seafood trio pasta, and surf & turf for two all at reasonable prices! Click the link for the full list of specials. 

Scrimshaw at The Desmond Hotel & Conference Center
3 Course Prix Fixe Menu for $52.95
Try this incredible restaurant! Their three course Prixe Fixe Menu created especially for the occasion is complete with some of my favorites like lobster bisque. And as an entree--HEART SHAPED RAVIOLI! Plus so much more and three desserts that will make choosing just one pretty tough. Click the link to see the full menu! Complete the night with this package to stay overnight at the hotel. Click here for hotel package info.

Texas de Brazil
Special Hours for Valentine's Day!
Normally open at 4 pm on Saturdays, Texas de Brazil acknowledges valentine's Day by opening it's doors at 12 PM! Only dinner pricing will be available.

The Victory Cafe
Special dinner menu for February 14
Casual dining with a gourmet twist; enjoy an all new special menu just for the evening at Victory Cafe! Find the entire special menu at the bottom of this entry. 

Interested in one of these specials? Call and reserve your spot now!

Looking for other restaurants in Albany County? Click here for a list!

Menus, click to enlarge:

C.H. Evans Brewing Company at the Albany Pump Station

The Ginger Man

La Serre
The Victory Cafe

Friday, January 23, 2015

Spirit of Albany: The Century House

The House That Became a City’s Home

Enterprise prevailed in the Fall of 1949, for it was then that The Century House in Latham first opened.  For proprietors, Jim and Dorothy O’Hearn, the acquisition of the land and once “century old” farmhouse was a decision wrought in incredulity and promise.  They allowed the travel patterns of Route 9 to chart the vision for the property (the only way to get from Manhattan to Montreal was through that route) a route, which fortuitously ran right outside the property.  Armed with a loyal band of family members and that American resilience to stay the course, the O’Hearn’s turned an improbable edifice into a celebrated and beloved icon of upstate New York.
Fast forward, and today, The Century House still affirms its original concept; part destination for wearied travelers and part dining facility. But, at its core it is a business in service of others and one wholeheartedly dedicated to its most valuable entity, its patrons. Hence the reason why this Federal Style Tavern hasn’t strayed too much from its philosophy or from its physical appearance.

The House retains its farmhouse charm and old-world elegance – evidenced in its landscaping and
detailed use mid-century lanterns-- while at the same time allowing some modern design touches to accent the almost Dickens-esque, storybook structure.  Striking the tasteful balance of incorporating the antiquity of yesteryear and the appeal of modern elements, is something that many seasoned designers find elusive, but it is a balance that the folks at The Century House achieve with ease because it is an extrapolation of their core philosophy of comfort and service.

The food at The Century House will always be of mention as it continues to be a steadfast crowd pleaser.  Their vibrant lunch service features a full menu and hyper-attentive service from the wait-staff.  The dinner service hits on all the notes characteristic of a classic fine-dining experience and is complemented by the charm and whim of experiencing The Century House after dusk. With a full bar service, ample portion sizes and generous dining room accommodation, dining at The Century House undoubtedly takes you back to a by-gone era in American history, where “going out to eat” was a grand affair.

For the Spirit of Albany Campaign, The Century Houses’s own Mike Niccoli concocted a cocktail that celebrates an equally noteworthy edifice in Albany’s history, The Schuyler Mansion. With Pindar Merlot and Hudson Baby Bourbon as its main components, this crimson libation salutes the red brick characteristic of the mansion – and National Historic Landmark -- for which it is named. The combination of the merlot and bourbon at first tastes like they are at odds with each other, but the Schuyler Mansion Manhattan is an inventive spin on the classic Manhattan. “It’s an acquired taste” my wait-person noted and after a couple of sips, I saw in it, the bold and robust distinction that this drink is meant to embody, as it mimics the mansion that still stands strong.

Editor's note: We asked some of Albany’s best mixologists to create original cocktail recipes that embody the spirit of Albany, and we compiled those recipes into our 2014 Spirit of Albany Recipe Guide. In this exciting blog series local foodie Brigid Washington, a Culinary Institute of America grad and local restaurant consultant, explores each restaurant – it’s menu, it’s atmosphere, and of course, it’s custom cocktail – and provides her perspective on how it all comes together to create part of Albany’s creative culinary scene! (The ACCVB does not, in any way, condone drinking and driving so please designate a driver as we did for this series.)

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Local, Farm Raised, and Delicious: Creo to Host Lamb Dinner Next Month

The Event: a Lamb Dinner on February 5, 2015 

The Purpose: to shed light on locally sourced produce and meat

Creo's head Chef, Davis Gibson, has partnered with Gary Kleppel, owner and operator of Longfield Farm, located in Altamont, NY and author of "The Emergent Agriculture: Farming, Sustainability, and the Return of the Local Economy" and Dee Woessnet, owner and operator of the farm, Toft East, to create a four-course meal featuring local lamb and wine pairings. 

The dinner will highlight Chef Gibson, Gary Kleepel, and Dee Woessner speaking to attendees about the numerous benefits of purchasing and consuming local products. 

Tickets are $55 per person and can be purchased online at or by calling the restaurant at 518-482-2000