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New businesses in the 518

There are some new businesses in the area that I wanted to highlight. If you’ve had the chance to visit any of them, let me know!  I’d love to hear about your experience.


Old Tavern Farm Winery- Located on a horse farm in Saratoga, they finish and bottle all of their wine on site. Currently they offer a Rosé, Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay.

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Nighthawks- A farm-to-table restaurant in Troy. Their menu changes on a regular basis and everything looks fantastic.

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Caskade Kitchen and Bar- in Cohoes. Caskade offers shared plates like Green Papaya Salad, Street Corn Dip and Pork Belly Katsu. Plus, how pretty is this cocktail? I can’t wait to get over there and try it!

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Bard and Baker- A board game café offering over 400 games to choose from. Located in downtown Troy.

 

Hank Hudson Brewing at Fairways of Halfmoon. Inspired by British pub culture, the brewery is located in a new space reflecting rustic and industrial design with a view of the golf course. Currently they have 10 beers on tap.

Dove + Deer- Located in the heart of Albany’s Center Square.

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Solevo Saratoga- Traditional Italian restaurant right in downtown Saratoga.

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Unified Beerwoks- Located in Malta near Global Foundries, they offer a nice selection of craft beers including IPAs, Stouts, Sours and more. I really liked the Saison.

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Lake Placid Dining Options

If you’re in the Lake Placid area and looking for a great spot to grab a meal or a drink, I have compiled a list of places to check out. If there is an establishment that you love and I failed to mention, please let me know!

Artisans and Maggie’s Pub at Lake Placid Lodge

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KANU at Whiteface Lodge

The View at Mirror Lake Inn (BTW they make the BEST granola for breakfast!)

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The Cottage (I recommend a Bloody Mary)

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Top of the Park (I love their cheese plate)

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Adirondack Wine & Food Festival 2018

I always enjoy the Adirondack Wine and Food Festival held every June at the Charles R. Wood park in beautiful Lake George, NY.  There are over 80 wineries, distilleries, breweries and food vendors giving attendees the opportunity to uncover new local favorites or stock up on products they know and love. Although the weather wasn't ideal for the event, the crowds didn't indicate that. You can't rain on our parade! Since the Adirondack Winery sponsors the event, I wanted to head there first for a tasting. After sampling a few different varietals, I ended up going with some bottles of the Pinot Gris which is perfect for these warm summer days. 

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There were 10 food trucks to choose from and each one was offering a $4 menu item. I was lucky enough to get a VIP ticket before they sold out and it included a voucher for one of those menu items. Feeding into my sugar addiction, I made a beeline for the liege waffle from The Plaid Pancake. I chose to have it topped with Nutella, strawberries and whipped cream because why not? 

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The Sparkling Rosé from Galway Rock Wines is always a favorite. I usually enjoy it out of the bottle (in a glass of course:) but they offer it on tap during the festival so it's a never ending supply of crisp, bubbly goodness that will keep you smiling all day long. I mean hey, sparkles happen! 

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You can never go wrong with Saratoga Crackers because of the countless cheese options to choose from at the event. I always like to grab a few flavors before going on a hunt for ways to top them off. 

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Another $4 food truck item being offered were the fish tacos from the Adirondack Pub & Brewery. They were light, crispy and topped with slaw and pico de gallo.  Included was a Root Beer to wash it all down. 

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Okay enough eating, back to the drinks. :) 1857 Spirits was sampling a few varieties of their potato vodka, all of which went down incredibly smooth. We also uncovered a new brewery and really enjoyed their Sunrise Session IPA.

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We discovered that flour could be made out of wine so you can literaly "eat wine" and that we did! Hello cupcakes!

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You can never go wrong with R&G Cheese Makers and their products go perfectly with the Saratoga Crackers. A flavor I found particularly interesting was the goat cheese with ramps. Very unique and absolutely delicious. 

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A few other highlights from the day included the pulled pork grilled cheese from Gourmeli's Taste, Nine Pin Cider (everything:), wood fired pizza from Mach's and spirits from Lake George Distilling Co. and Tommy Rotter

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There were plenty of other vendors to visit as well offering options for everyone. The Adirondack Wine and Food Festival is the perfect way to kick off summer in Lake George! Hope to see you there next year! 

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Sunhee’s Farm & Kitchen in Troy

If you’re looking for fabulous Korean food, a welcoming environment and a great experience, Sunhee’s Farm & Kitchen in Troy is the place to go.

I had the pleasure of sitting down with one of the owners recently to chat about how they got started and why they are passionate about the food they serve (video under the Bite Me Show tab coming soon courtesy of Filmworks 109). The dream began when two longtime friends combined their love of cooking, Korean heritage and names (a mashup of the owner’s names Sun Hwa and Chun Hee) to create Sunhee’s.

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Their love for food is evident in the farm fresh dishes they serve on a daily basis. They take special care when choosing where to source ingredients and like to utilize local farms like one out of Cambridge, NY specializing in Korean and domestic vegetables.

The menu looked fantastic and I had a hard time deciding what to get but the Bibimbap is one of their signature dishes so I went with that. I added beef and a fresh sunny-side egg which I highly recommend. If you're unfamiliar with Bibimbap, it's a rice bowl served with fiddlehead, spinach, carrot, turnip, bean sprouts, shiitake mushroom, cooked egg strips, sesame oil and sesame seeds. Sunhee's offers the option to add beef, a sunny-side egg or tofu.

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The kimchi is made from a family recipe that’s been handed down for generations and it had the perfect balance of spiciness and crunch.  It was so good I ended up buying a jar which is available at their restaurant as well as the Troy Farmers Market on Saturdays.

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The restaurant also has a small market where you can purchase other products like these incredible puffed cereal cookies (which are completely addicting).

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There were a lot of other interesting items as well so if you want to try something new or unique like shrimp chips, definitely check out what they have to offer.

Sunhee’s is such a special spot located right in Troy. The traditional Korean fare, warm inviting atmosphere and incredibly nice owners will make you feel right at home.

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I ♥ Bake For You

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There’s no shortage of places to grab baked goods in the area, but I have to say that Bake For You in Albany is one of my favorites. Not only do they make fabulous treats like the Girl’s Best Friend (a chocolate chip cookie with pretzels and potato chips) and the Earl Grey cookie, but the owner Linda couldn’t be any sweeter. Not sure if all the sugar is rubbing off on her :)

I had the pleasure of stopping in this week and was immediately greeted with the inviting smell of warm baked cookies in the oven. I told her that if Instagram could project scent, she’d be sold out by 9:00 AM.

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The case was filled with cupcakes, cookies, scones and one of their newer items, croissants. The Gobbler Croissant consisting of turkey, stuffing and cranberries sounded divine. I’ll take 2 of those and a few cupcakes to go please!

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Not only did she have her everyday items on display, but Valentine’s Day goodies as well. If you’re looking to treat yourself, a loved one or friends, make sure you stop in and grab something at Bake for You.  The enormous heart shaped shortbread cookies covered in either red sugar or chocolate were a huge hit as was the red velvet scone smothered in cream cheese frosting. You can also get heart shaped brownies and smaller heart shaped cookies filled with caramel and topped with chocolate.

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All of these made my heart and taste buds sing! Bake For You will sweeten up any day and Valentine’s Day is no exception. I ♥ this place and you will too!

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Farmers Market Favorites

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We are lucky to have a great selection of farmers markets in the Capital District, all of them offering a nice selection of local products. I find that I end up at the Troy Farmers Market, Spa City Farmers Market and the Saratoga Farmers Market most frequently and I wanted to share a list of some of my favorites in no particular order. Pak Dong from Puckers Gourmet

It's delicious on tacos, burgers, hot dogs or right out of the jar. Totally addicting!

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Waffles from Pika’s Farm Table

The Liege waffle is one of my absolute favorite things to get at the Troy Farmers Market. It’s served warm and has the perfect amount of extra crunch on the outside from the caramelized pearl sugar. LOVE LOVE LOVE!

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Mean Green Smoothie from the Smoothie Shoppe (Spa City Farmers Market)

It’s so refreshing on a warm summer's day. During the fall, they offer Pumpkin Spice and Apple Cider smoothies which go perfectly with a fresh cider donut.

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Pizza or Calzones from DeFazio’s (Troy Farmers Market)

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Hummus and Falafels from Beirut (Troy Farmers Market) The owner of Beirut is so sweet and he genuinely wants to make you happy. They have a restaurant right around the corner and everything they serve is delicious and authentic. If you go, try the Moujadara (lentils and rice served with golden onions) and the Kibby (layers of beef and wheat mix stuffed with ground beef and onion). I have to say that the descriptions don't do these dishes any justice. Just try one and see for yourself :)

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Peanut Butter from the Peanut Principle

They have a large selection of flavors to choose from so you are bound to find a bunch that you’ll fall in love with. Bring on the Dashing Through the Dough (cookie dough peanut butter) please! The Life of Pie and I Want S'more will have you looking for a spoon or a piece of bread ASAP.

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Saratoga Sparkling Rosé from Galway Rock Wines

Light, crisp and refreshing with just the right amount of effervescence. This will add some sparkle to your Saturday night or pizzazz to a Wednesday.

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R&G Cheese Makers Fig Goat Cheese

Figs and Goat Cheese are a match made in heaven. The other varieties they offer like Orange Ginger or Garlic and Herb are wonderful as well.

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Nine Pin Cider Ginger

I love all of the cider from Nine Pin but my favorite is the Ginger. It’s great for fall too!

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Beef Patty from First Choice Caribbean (Troy Farmers Market)

A perfect combination of spices and beef, this will have you thinking palm trees and sandy beaches.

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Three Cheese Travers from Saratoga Crackers

There are plenty of options to choose from but this stands out as one of my top picks. The cinnamon sugar is a  home run too!

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Gathers Granola

Enjoy their granola plain, on top of yogurt or ice cream or as a streusel topping.

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Saratoga Peanut Butter

The Pumpkin Pandemonium is perfect for these cool fall days and upcoming holiday season.

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Kunik from Nettle Meadow Farms

Wonderful on its own or with crackers or bread. Pair it with a glass of wine and you’ve got a winning combination!

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A few other notable mentions are Yummy Kitchen (Troy), Crepe Me Up and Oh Corn! Arepas and More.

This is by no means an exclusive list and there are a TON of other local purveyors with wonderful products. I just wanted to call out a few that I really love. What are some of your favorite farmers market finds?

Eating my way through Cape Cod

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Summertime means trips to the beach, and what better place to be during the dog days of summer than Cape Cod. The only other thing I plan more diligently then my beach days, are my dining days. We arrived in the charming town of Chatham, MA and after a morning stroll on the beach, we headed down to Main St for one of my all-time favorite treats, a Ritzie from the Chatham Candy Manor. It is a perfectly salty sweet combination of peanut butter sandwiched between 2 buttery Ritz crackers covered in dark chocolate. So simple, yet so good.

I noticed just above the Ritzies that there was something called Jordon Crackers. It piqued my interest so I asked what they were and uncovered another addiction. They were oyster crackers covered in either dark or milk chocolate and irresistible.

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After indulging on chocolate for breakfast, we headed over to Chatham Cookware for something a little more substantial. We started with the Nitro Cold Brew which was the perfect way to fuel up while enjoying their delectable breakfast sandwiches served on toasted Portuguese rolls (sorry no pics, we ate them too fast :).  If you are looking for a quick breakfast or lunch, stop in and grab one of their many different sandwich or salad options.

After a day on the beach and some down time, we headed out to dinner. Chatham has a lot of dining options, but one of my favorites is the Wild Goose Tavern located right in the heart of the main strip. We started with the Tahini Hummus and Greek Salsa served with pita bread. For the main course, we ordered the Nicoise salad and the Fish and Chips. The salad consisted of Haricot verts, boiled egg, fingerling potatoes, olives and cherry tomatoes then topped with pepper seared ahi tuna. It was absolutely delicious and the combination of the egg with the potatoes, salty olives and crisp Haricot verts was perfect. The Fish and Chips were also wonderful and fried to perfection (although anything fried usually is). The Goose offers outdoor dining which is nice since a lot of restaurants on Main St don’t. The fun party atmosphere and entertaining bartenders inside make that a great option too. Try one of their house made infused vodkas or gin if you’re looking for a fun cocktail.

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Friday turned out to be a little more overcast which means it’s time to dine! You can’t beat the inimitable beauty of Chatham Bars Inn, and we have made it an annual tradition to have lunch at The Beach House.

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I swear I am going to try something new every year but the Swordfish Tacos get me every time. They are topped with queso fresco, shredded cabbage, cilantro lime crema and pickled red onion then served in a white corn tortilla. It’s the perfect seaside lunch with a breathtaking backdrop.

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Since the weather wasn’t the best for a beach day, we headed up to Rock Harbor to check out the iconic trees that are placed in the water which mark the channel boats can take. After seeing so many pictures of it on Instagram, it was really fun to actually see it in person.

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As we headed north, the sun started to shine and it put me in the mood for a sweet treat. PB Boulangerie located in Wellfleet has some of the best croissants, freshly baked bread and desserts on the Cape. This French bistro is a must no matter where you are staying. Although the Chocolate Tarte and Coffee Eclair looked superb, I thought I’d keep it light and get the Pavlova. The fresh tart raspberries on top balanced out the sweet crunchy meringue making it the perfect afternoon pick me up.  I can’t recommend their croissants, bread or desserts highly enough. They also serve dinner and offer a prix fixe menu option as well. Bon Appétit!

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After some Wellfleet adventures checking out the Bookstore and Mac’s Seafood, it was time to hit up another Cape Cod staple, “the Comah.” The Beachcomber consistently gets rated as one of the top 10 beach bars in the country and if you’ve been, you know why. The views overlooking the endless beach and blue sky are spectacular.

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The vibe at the Comah is fun, relaxed and beachy (not to mention crowded ALL THE TIME.) We usually try and grab a seat at the bar (after I hover over people paying their bill;) since the wait to sit at a table is typically pretty long. They have a raw bar where you can order oysters, clams, ahi tuna and a plethora of other freshly caught seafood. After enjoying some freshly shucked Wellfleet oysters, we apparently couldn’t get enough and ordered the fried oysters and tuna tacos. The reggae, fresh seafood and beach vibe will keep you in a summer state of mind making you never want to leave. It’s one of my favorite places to go, EVER!

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We started Friday out at The Chatham Cheese Company which offers a wonderful selection of artisanal cheeses, charcuterie, wine and crackers along with bread and other small snacks. This is a great shop to check out if you are looking to bring something to the beach or want some delicious options for a cheese board. The staff is more than helpful and if you are looking for recommendations, they know which direction to point you in. If you go, I highly recommend the Manchego.

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A new and extremely cool experience we discovered this year was the Chatham Shellfish Company. It’s a little place near Harding’s Beach where they raise oysters that you can buy right out of the ocean for one of freshest oyster experiences you'll ever have. It was so interesting to see how they cultivated them and to check out the operation. It was a really fun thing to do and if you're an oyster fan, it’s worth the experience if you think you won’t lose a finger trying to pry them open yourself :).

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Apparently dessert is always on my mind so we headed to another Cape Cod staple, Sundae School. This was actually our maiden voyage (ummm hello how could this be?) and all the hype is true. The chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream taught me why this will be another annual tradition. The rich creamy ice cream, gobs of cookie dough and bittersweet chocolate chips were a match made in heaven and Sundae School gets an A++ on this one.

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Another fun adventure to check out if you’re in Cape Cod is Truro Vineyards. They offer both wine and spirit tastings in a beautiful setting just south of Provincetown. It’s a relaxed scene with plenty of tables to hang out at and enjoy some wine or food from one of the food trucks. If you go and want to grab wine before or after a tasting, I recommend the Rosé and Cabernet Franc. Wine tastings are done every half hour overlooking their beautiful vineyards.

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As we journeyed back to Chatham, we stopped at another yearly favorite, The Wequassett Resort. This spectacular hotel has impeccable views and amenities with a giant gas fire pit and pool overlooking Pleasant Bay. In keeping with the Cape Cod theme, I started out with the Devils Purse Kolch which was crisp and refreshing.  It went perfectly with the soy and green chili tuna poke. If you want fabulous food in an incredible setting, this is a must.

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Another tavern to check out in Chatham (they also have a location in Dennis Port) is the Red Nun. It has a relaxed vibe, good crowd and delicious food.

After some fun at the Nun we headed to The Squire where it’s always a party and a great way to wrap up a late night.

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While we were out and about over the weekend, three separate people mentioned Bluefins Sushi and Sake Bar. We have walked past this place many times but it was never on our radar to stop in. After all the notable mentions, we thought we’d bid farewell to the Cape and have lunch there before leaving to go home. We started with the Asparagus Fries which were tempura battered and came with a truffle aioli dipping sauce. My only complaint is that I had to share. We also had the Lettuce Cups which were filled with grilled pork belly, pickled cucumber, carrot and daikon slaw and miso mustard aioli served on top of bibb lettuce. Along with that we had a couple of sushi rolls which were unique and delicious. If you are in the area, definitely put this one on your list.

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A few other notable mentions- Although we didn’t have dinner at Bistro on Main, the menu and atmosphere looked great.

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The Chatham Wine Bar is also excellent and we really enjoyed the food there last year (shown below is the tuna tartare with miso sorbet). Plus they have a pretty outdoor dining area with fire pits.

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If you’re in Provincetown, check out The Canteen and definitely get the Crispy Brussel Sprouts in fish sauce. Make sure you walk around back and check out the outdoor dining area and views of the ocean.

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If you need something sweet, head over to Scott Cakes where you have to “open your mind because there’s only one kind.” They only offer one type of cupcake but the soft velvety vanilla cake topped with their signature pink frosting is really all you need.

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Wishing you delicious travels in Cape Cod and beyond!

Cheers to the new tasting room in Bolton Landing

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The Adirondack Winery has opened a beautiful new tasting room in Bolton Landing, NY. Upon walking in, you are greeted with Adirondack inspired artwork, wine barrels and the friendliest staff.

There’s a large area to do tastings on one side and then an entire wall dedicated to wine on the other. It’s a great way to browse through all of their products after sampling so you can grab some of your favorites.

We ended up doing our tasting with Bunnii who was very friendly and knowledgeable and just a lot of fun to chat with. She asked what type of wine we liked and then made some recommendations based on that.

To accompany this, I ordered the Locavore slate plate which featured all local products like cheese from the Adirondack Cheese Company, Saratoga Crackers, Birnn truffles (out of VT), tapenade made with their Red Ruby wine from a local chef and a delightful strawberry jelly also infused with their wine. I highly recommend getting this along with the upgraded tasting glass that they offer. Both really enhanced the whole experience plus the glass is yours to keep!

After trying a lot of different varietals, we wrapped up our tasting with 2 wine slushies. The first was a ginger hibiscus and the other was a delectable frozen coffee creation made with Kru coffee out of Saratoga, Cabernet Sauvignon and chocolate syrup.

In addition to offering a great tasting experience, the winery also sells products from a lot of local businesses, wine gift baskets,  and all of the products featured on the slate plate. There are a lot of really nice gift options if you need something for a friend, relative or just yourself.

We had so much fun talking with Bunnii, Ava and everyone else while doing our tasting and I highly recommend checking out their beautiful new tasting room in Bolton Landing. Cheers!

 

Weekend Wrap Up in Food Photos

It was a delicious weekend where I kicked things off at Oaxaquena in Albany with some of the most amazing and authentic Mexican food I’ve had in a while. The chips and guacamole were wonderful, and all 3 tacos we tried were fabulous.  I had a Cricket taco for the first time, and really enjoyed it along with tacos al Pastor and Tinga tacos.

We had dinner at Blue Water Manor in Lake George on Saturday, and the pulled pork paired nicely with the mountains as a backdrop. I wish I could eat here every night with views like this!

You can't have dinner without dessert and what better place to grab an ice creme than at Martha's Dandee Creme in Queensbury. I think the entire Capital District and beyond may have been there, but it's worth the wait.

Enjoyed a cool glass of Sauvignon Blanc at The Sagamore on Sunday before heading to Bolton for a wine tasting.

The Adirondack Winery has a new tasting room in Bolton Landing (blog post to follow later this week) so we stopped in to sample some wine which was delightful and went really well with the Locavore cheese plate. It was such a great time and we really enjoyed talking with the knowledgeable staff about their products along with the other local items they sell. If you are in the area, make it a point to stop in and say hi. They also have another tasting room in Lake George Village as well.

Finally, I picked up some limited edition Polar seltzer at Healthy Living Market in Saratoga to help rehydrate OR use with Pick Six Vodka :) #biteme #localequalsgood

 

The Adirondack Wine and Food Festival 2017

The Adirondack Wine and Food Festival is quickly becoming one of my favorite annual events. You can’t beat the setting or the spectacular weather we’ve been lucky enough to have each year. The event is held at the Charles R. Wood Park right next to Lake George, and this year they featured over 80 artisan food vendors, wineries and breweries.

The festival partners with the SUNY Adirondack culinary program and a portion of all ticket sales goes towards a scholarship fund. They were nice enough to ask me to be a part of a promotional video a few weeks back, and I met with Chef Matt who is one of the instructors. He prepared one of the dishes that was featured at the event where students from SUNY Adirondack do cooking demos on both Saturday and Sunday. It was a lot of fun and the best part was getting to try the beef carpaccio topped with pickled shallots and horseradish mayo. Pair that with The Adirondack Winery’s Syrah, and you’ve got a perfect match!

 

What’s great about the festival is that you are able to sample lots of products giving you the opportunity to try before you buy. Seeing as though the Adirondack Winery puts the event on, I thought we’d start at their tent for some samples. It was a warm sunny day and their Sauvignon Blanc really hit the spot. So much so, we ended up grabbing three bottles (and plan on going to their new sampling room in Bolton Landing this weekend to pick up more:). Another favorite was the Saratoga Sparkling Rosé from Galway Rock which was light, dry and crisp with the perfect amount of sparkle.  The 1911 Grapefruit Cider was a delicious new discovery and provided a tart refreshing splash of refreshment. The distilleries offered a lot of great options as well, and Saratoga Courage Distillery’s Pick 6 vodka is one of our favorites to use in Moscow mules or just over ice. The Peach Tea Cider from Nine Pin  will cool you off on a warm summer day too so I recommend grabbing it while you can.

After lots of sipping, it was time to check out the food vendors. The Empanada Sonata food truck was calling our name and we got the Hawaiian BBQ chicken empanada which was fried to perfection. The crispiness on the outside paired well with the flavorful pulled chicken smothered in Hawaiian BBQ sauce on the inside. Delicioso!

Nettle Meadow Farm had a nice display of cheeses to try which were all wonderful and I ended up grabbing the Sappy Ewe to go with the Saratoga Crackers I had purchased. It was a match made in heaven! The cheese is described as a bloomy rind cheese consisting of sheep and cow curds coated with an Adirondack maple reduction and aged to perfection. I couldn’t agree more! After a few other nibbles at the Cheese Filled Company and Lake George Olive Oil Company, it was time for dessert. When I saw that Martha’s Dandee Creme was there with ice cream sandwiches, I knew what had to happen. The only problem was picking a flavor.  Since we couldn’t decide on one, we got two (hellooooo salted caramel)!! It was a sweet way to end the day.

Like wine and cheese, The Adirondack Wine and Food Festival just gets better with age. If you weren’t able to make it this year, mark your calendar for June 23rd and 24th 2018. You don’t want to miss out! Cheers!

Patio Party

It’s the most wonderful time of the year! Summer is in full swing, and what better way to celebrate than with cocktails and great food at many of the outdoor patios in the area. I put together a list of my favorite places to dine and wine al fresco. I’d love to hear where you like to go, so let me know by commenting or sending me a message. I’m sure there are plenty that I missed. :)  Cheers to warm days and fun outdoor nights!

Southern Saratoga County

Lake Local

Doc Browns

The Mill on Round Lake

Carson’s Woodside Tavern

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Hope to see you this summer!

Fun Filled Food Adventures in Maine

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We headed to Maine this past weekend for a little getaway, and I discovered some great new places in addition to visiting old favorites.

David’s KPT located right on the water in Kennebunkport, showcases Maine ingredients with a contemporary twist, and in addition, offers a great happy hour  from 3-6. We had dinner plans so we decided to go light and get the cheese plate which was a nice accompaniment to the happy hour rose´.  The BBQ Pork Steam Bun with pineapple-honey BBQ sauce and Bruschetta with white bean hummus and corn & black bean relish really appealed to me too. This has always been a favorite of ours, and I’d highly recommend stopping in.

Another Kennebunkport gem is Rococo’s Ice Cream. They offer an array of artisan ice cream flavors like Banana Red Hot, Amarula Pecan, Ginger Sour Cherry Jam and Green Tea Ginger. I tried a lot of samples before deciding on Speculoos & Chocolate Pretzel on top of Horchata Rum Cake in a pretzel cone. I have to say that the Salty Sweet Cream was AMAZING and I wish I got that one too. Thankfully my husband did and he’s used to sharing (a lot).

Apparently, I’m an "eat dessert first" kind of person because we had this BEFORE going to dinner. I guess it doesn’t really matter which order things go in, as long as you get to indulge. I read a lot about Old Vines Wine Bar which is in the Lower Village so we decided to try something new and check it out. I would definitely put this place on your list because we loved the vibe, food and atmosphere. The cocktails were fantastic and the OVWB hand cut fries were to die for! They consisted of Maine potato, taro root and sweet potato fries topped with Cajun dust and served with tamarind ketchup. You’d be remiss not to get these as either a starter or side. Their cocktail list offers a lot of options like the Bee’s Knees which had Plymouth gin, honey, lemon and lavender and the On a Whimelet made with barr hill gin, lime, honey, egg whites and brandied cherries.  Both hit the spot on a sunny evening by the fire pits on their patio.

While driving through Wells, ME on our way to Ogunquit, I spotted a candy shop on the side of the road that caught my eye called Perkins Cove Candies. Figured why not see what they have since we didn’t eat enough this weekend. Well let me just say that they had amazing chocolates and may take the prize for one of the BEST dark chocolate covered sea salt caramels I have ever had. The caramel was rich, soft and buttery drenched in delectable dark chocolate. The sea salt on top is what took it over the top though. It was a nice combination of small and big pieces that added the perfect amount of crunch and saltiness. Glad to see they take online orders because this would make a great gift or nice treat for yourself.

We continued down Route 1 as we headed into Ogunquit, and decided to stop and walk around the town as well as check out the beach. Apparently I can’t stop eating sugar because there was this beautiful looking chocolate shop called Harbor Candy House that was calling my name. I swear I was just going in to browse, but everything looked so good that we had to get a couple of treats (at least we try and share cutting the calories in half. Or at least attempt to;).  One thing that really jumped out was the Trifection which is white, milk and dark chocolate with a layer of hazelnut butter and almond butter. I use the term “share” lightly here since my husband may have only gotten a third. They also had something called Sucre a la Crème which is described as “a deliberately brittle fudge made with brown sugar, butter and fresh heavy cream.” It was like having penuche fudge on steroids.  Next time you are in the area, stop in and check out their confections and maybe try a Caramallow?? Apparently that’s their specialty and they looked deliciously decadent.

As we headed out of Maine for the weekend, we stopped at Robert’s Maine Grill in Kittery which is a farm to table restaurant and raw bar. I recommend sitting upstairs and outside to get a view of the water. They offer a lot of New England staples which pair nicely with their craft brew list featuring many local Maine brewery’s. It was hard to decide on what to get because the menu offered so many great options. You can’t go to Maine and not get seafood, so we started with oysters, clam chowder and the fish taco served with napa cabbage and cilantro lime crema. For lunch, we went with the House Smoked Turkey served on herb cranberry bread and topped with bacon, onion and goat cheese. The Haddock Rueben looked exceptional too and was served with ale braised cabbage, Swiss cheese and spicy tarter on Rye. You really can’t go wrong with either one of those sandwiches. Since we needed a little green, we ordered the Grilled Romaine Salad with bacon, romano, roasted tomatoes and sweet garlic vinaigrette. I can’t wait to try grilled romaine at home after having this. It was such a nice way to change up the lettuce routine. Robert’s Maine Grill is the place to check out if you are in or passing through Kittery. Oh and did I mention it’s right next to the Crate & Barrel outlet?!?!?!

If you are headed to the charming New England towns of Maine, I would recommend trying any and all of these places. Each one offers something unique and delicious! #mainelocalequalsgood

 

Three new Bite Me episodes

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I'm excited to announce that there are 3 new Bite Me episodes.  I want to thank Bake For You in Albany along with the Slidin' Dirty food truck for being a part of the pilot episode.  This wouldn't have been possible without them, or Filmworks 109 and their amazing film crew.  Check it out under the "Bite Me Episodes" tab. Hope you enjoy learning about these great local food businesses! There's plenty more to come :)

New farmers market and the "art" of food trucks

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There are so many wonderful food businesses in our area, and going to a farmers market is a great way to experience lots of local goodies at once. Today was the first day of the Spa City Farmers Market, which makes it Saratoga’s second market. There were over 50 vendors with tons of local produce, flowers, baked goods and much more. The Peanut Principal was sampling a lot of varieties of peanut butter including S’mores and dark chocolate among many others. Zorbas makes great hummus as well as a product called Gar-La-La. Gar-La-La is a potato-based dip with garlic. It tasted incredible and would be great in place of mayo, as a veggie dip, or on a pizza. It was hard choosing which flavor to buy because they were all so good. Donnas Stuf’t makes pretzels filled with all sorts of delectable things including the peanut butter from The Peanut Principal. One thing I was thrilled to find was the Pak Dong from Puckers Gourmet.

I love anything pickled so this is the booth I tend to gravitate towards (well that and anything with sugar). The Pak Dong is a spicy slaw that tastes incredible!! If you see it, buy it because they always sell out. It’s great on burgers, sandwiches or salads. Nighthawk Kitchens was sampling bacon caramel popcorn (OMG!) that was to die for and we discovered a new brewery from Chatham.

Another local favorite is Gatherer's Granola which makes really tasty flavors of granola that will help get your day started (or finished if you want to throw it on ice cream). The new farmers market is a great place to uncover some wonderful local goodies all while supporting our community. I can’t wait to go back again this summer.

Saratoga Art Fest is also happening this weekend so we headed over to Beekman St to check out some of the artists.

Luckily for me, Eat Good Food and Slidin’ Dirty were there. These are two of the many food trucks cruising around the Capital District lately.

Now I’ve heard a lot of buzz about the avocado fries from Slidin’ Dirty so I made a bee-line to the window to get them. Unfortunately they were already sold out! I guess a lot of other people had the same idea. Instead we ordered The Dirty Ninja slider and they threw in fried green tomatoes as a substitute for the fries. I'm almost glad that they were sold out of the avocado fries because we wouldn't have tried these other two things. The Dirty Ninja comes with sautéed bok choy, shitake mushrooms, scallion, sesame seed and Asian mustard.

You can choose from beef or chicken and we went with the beef. It was fantastic!! The fried green tomatoes are a must try too! I loved that they were small (about 2 bites each) and topped with a roasted red pepper sauce. I haven’t had a ton of fried green tomatoes in my life but these were some of my favorites.

Slidin’ dirty will be featured on Live with Kelly and Michael this summer since they are one of the finalists in the Truckin’ Amazing Cook Off! Let’s hope they take home the grand prize and show the rest of the country that the Capital District knows how to roll when it comes to food trucks. If you see this truck or any of the others crusin’ around, be sure to check out some of the delish food they have to offer. We couldn’t finish off the day without stopping at The Local. The outdoor seating area was open and the big red Adirondack chairs were calling our names. Nothing like a pint of great beer to round out a nice Sunday afternoon.

It’s Christmas time in THE city! Let’s eat!

The holiday season is one of my favorite times of year, and being in New York City in December is magical. The energy, people, holiday lights, festive decorations, tree and of course food are all so much fun to be a part of.  We booked our trip a few weeks back which meant I needed to start doing some research on which foods we will be eating and where we should have dinner.  Baked by Melissa cupcakes have been on my hit list for a long time so they were a top priority for me.  What I love about these mini cakes is that they are all about the size of a quarter which allows you to try a lot of different flavors.

I tried the S’mores, Cookie Dough, Chocolate Chip Pancake, Cinnamon, Peanut Butter cup, PB & J, Red Velvet and the mini of the month which is vanilla cake with fudge stuffing, vanilla icing and a snowflake coconut crunch topping.  They were worth the wait because they were all delicious.  The cake was moist and the flavors were great.  My favorites were the PB & J, Snowball (mini of the month) and Cinnamon, although I really loved all of them.  After my “mini” sugar fix, we headed to the holiday shops in Bryant Park.  I stumbled upon the French macaroon booth which not only got me psyched for more sugar, but looked beautiful as well.  The array of colors and flavors offered by Woops macaroons and cookies was so much fun to look at.

It was a tough decision in terms of what flavors to get because they offered 15, but we went with Nutella and Caramel Fleur De Sel.  Both of them were excellent but the Caramel Fleur De Sel was absolutely unbelievable.

It had a rich butter flavor and just enough sea salt to balance out the sweetness.  After working towards a diabetic coma, we figured it was time for lunch.  Not really having an agenda, we walked down 5thAvenue looking down side streets to see if we could find something that looked interesting.  We found a place called Brinkley’s Station offering up classic American fare from local New York farmers, markets, winery's and brewery’s.  This is the way to support local businesses for sure!  After grabbing a spot at the bar along with a Six Point Righteous Rye, it was time to check out the menu.  We were given the brunch menu which I thought was a little weird because it was about 2:00 on a Saturday and they also offer a lunch menu but that’s okay.  The selection was still great and after looking things over, I went with the eggplant and chickpea burger.

It came with spicy Tahini dressing and thinly sliced cucumber along with kale on a 7 grain bun with a side of sweet potato fries.  This dish was awesome!  The burger had really great flavor and the fries were served with a very generous dusting of some sort of brown sugar spice mixture.  The dipping sauce was a chipotle mayo as if the brown sugar topping alone wasn’t enough.  I absolutely LOVED these.  Now that I have the fuel to power down the rest of 5thavenue, it was time to do some shopping.  After seeing the spectacular windows at Saks, and the amazing décor on the outside of Harry Winston and Bergdorf Goodman, it was time to check out the Rockefeller tree. Making our way through human grid lock was worth the pushing and shoving because as always, it’s quite a beautiful sight.  I had one more place on my hit list (involving sugar of course) and it was Momofuku Milk Bar.  There’s a lot of hype around their amazing cakes along with their Compost Cookie.

I would consider myself a cookie connoisseur because it’s one of my absolute favorite things to eat and I’ve probably consumed more then the average human being.  When I heard that the Compost Cookie consisted of chocolate chips, graham cracker crumbs, potato chips, pretzels, oats, coffee grounds and toffee I had to get my hands on it.  Luckily there was a location close by so we stopped in to see this work of art in person.

I have to say that the cookie looked great but it honestly tasted like a toffee cookie which was a little disappointing.  It was a good cookie, don’t get me wrong, but I don’t really see what all of the hype is about.  Save the calories for one of the other 8 million amazing things offered in New York.  The weather was starting to get cold and windy which meant it was time for a little winter warmer a.k.a. cocktail.  We wanted to go somewhere cozy and Christmassy and the Cock and Bull British Pub was both.  The beer selection was good and I guess they are known for having a couple of rare British beers on tap.  I was in the mood for wine so it was Cabernet Sauvignon for me.  The place was decked out for Christmas and Bing Crosby was keeping things festive.  We figured we would come up with our dinner plans despite the fact that I had already made a few reservations.  My first choice was Mario Batali’s restaurant Babbo, but it’s one of the hardest places to get into. I called the day of to see if there were any cancellations but no such luck.  I decided to cancel our reservations at his other restaurant Lupa along with our reservations at Bobby Flay’s Mesa Grill since they were both a little bit further away and we didn’t want to risk missing our train.  A nice trade off was heading to restaurant row between 8th and 9thAve in the theater district.  We didn’t have reservations anywhere so I popped in to about 5 places till I found one with less then an hour wait.  It was a great little Italian restaurant called Lattanzi.  After waiting about 20 minutes, we were seated in a beautiful room with brick walls, a wooden ceiling and lots of candlelight.

While noshing on bread sticks and sipping some wine, we decided to order the tortellini which was filled with veal and chicken in a tomato sauce along with the Veal Scalopini.

The food was very good but definitely not out of this world. The tortellini was the better of the two dishes and the potato’s that came with the veal were very good too.  If you happen to be in this area and you're looking for a place to eat, I wouldn’t cross Lattanzi off of your list, just don’t expect anything over and above the norm.  The day was winding down so we started heading towards Penn Station.  Lucky for us, Heartland Brewery was on our way back so we thought we deserved a beer for all of the walking around we did.

What better way to try a local brewery then ordering the sampler.  The beer was good and the vibe was cool but I think we are spoiled by Brown’s Brewing in Troy.

There, I said it! The beer in Troy is better then NYC in this particular case (of course this is only my opinion:).  Our last and final impromptu stop was at Garrett’s Popcorn right next door to the train station.  When I saw that they had gingerbread caramel popcorn, I couldn’t contain myself.

After a day fueled by sugar and wine, I figured lets go for the gusto and finish things off the only way I know how, more sugar!  If you are in the city this holiday season, I highly recommend getting this as a snack to walk around the city with because it was AWESOME!!!

If you're lucky enough to get to New York over the next few weeks, I hope you get to enjoy a lot of the amazing food the big apple has to offer.  My picks for the day were the Baked By Melissa cupcakes, Caramel Fleur de Sel Macaroon by Woops in Bryant park, and the Gingerbread popcorn at Garrett’s.  Happy Holidays!

To discover great local food businesses, "Like" me on Facebook and Twitter.  Thank you!

Moby Rick’s, Olivia! and some fun food events this Sunday

There are a couple of new businesses that have opened up just recently and both are worth checking out.  The first one is Moby Rick’s located at 173 Lake Ave in Saratoga Springs.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Moby Rick’s is a seafood market offering top-quality fresh seafood.  Rick Lofstad Jr., owner of Pura Vida Fisheries has been a regular vendor at The Saratoga Farmers Market for over two years and has decided to open up a retail location.  Rick says that they will offer all different kinds of seafood like shrimp, crab or anything else his customer’s request.  Don’t expect the market to look fancy though.  The main focus for this fish man is the quality and freshness of the seafood.  Another business that just opened this past Saturday is Olivia!, located in Clifton Park Center (or as I affectionately refer to it as CCM).  Olivia! is a family run business offering an extensive collection of olive oils and balsamic vinegars from around the world.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

They import their products from both hemispheres in bulk allowing them to provide customers with fresh extra virgin olive oil all year round.  Stop in to sample a variety of their products before deciding on which olive oil will be coming home with you.  I plan on swinging around the corner to pick up a loaf of fresh bread from The Meat House and maybe some craft beer to round out my dinner of champions.

Are you looking for something to do this Sunday?  The 4thannual Harvest Festival is happening between 12-4 at the Washington Park Lakehouse in Albany.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This festival first started in 2009 as a way of bringing a lot of the amazing local vendors in the Capital District together for one event. There will be over 45 local businesses and bands including Bake for You, Mingle, New World Bistro, All Good Bakers, 3 Chicks and a P, Bro’s Tacos, Creo, and many many more.  If you haven’t filled up on all of the incredible food at the Harvest Fest, head up to Saratoga for the Henry St Festival which is also from 12-4 happening on none other then Henry St. :) This is a fundraising event for Ballson Spa’s Gateway House of Peace.  There will be a wine tasting at Scallions, a beer tasting and The Forthlin Road Band and Irish music by The Saratoga Celtic Music Session at The Parting Glass. Several local vendors will be in attendance as well including Eat Good Food, Sunnyside Gardens, Thousand Island Winery, The Chocolate Spoon and Chane’s Deli.  There are lots of great local places to check out this week so enjoy your fresh fish sautéed in some EVOO from Olivia!  You’re going to want to eat light leading up to Sunday’s food festivities!

To discover great local food businesses, "Like" me on Facebook and Twittter.  Thank you!

 

 

Thanks MAMA!

So I was asked to do a guest post for the popular blog www.SaratogaMama.com which meant I had to find a business that was not only local, but it had to be food related and kid friendly.

 

 

 

 

 

 

I don't have any kids of my own so there was a slight challenge involved.  After asking some of my friends that are moms what they recommend, I kept hearing about Tiny Tots Tea Room in Clifton Park.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What a great find!!  To read more about this great local business and the amazing local food products they carry, including their own brand of tea, check out www.SaratogaMama.com

Thanks so much to Colleen at Saratoga Mama!! If you have kids, her website is a great resource with tons of information.

To discover great local food businesses, follow me on Facebook and Twitter.  Thank you!