Eating in a winter wonderland


First of all, I have been a complete and total blogging slacker. Between the holidays and starting a new job, blogging has taken a back seat recently. Over the holidays, I had the opportunity to go to Lake Placid and what a wonderful trip is was. Being at the Mirror Lake Inn during the holidays is like something out of a greeting card. The Christmas decorations both inside and out are amazing.












Everywhere you look, something beautiful and festive just pops up. I’ve been looking forward to this weekend for a couple of months for many reasons, but the two things I really had my eye on were the Abby Ale from the Adirondack Steak and Seafood Company and the house-made granola from Mirror Lake Inn. More on those wonderful treats in a bit. We arrived to freshly baked chocolate chip cookies upon checking in which is always the best way to be welcomed in my opinion. Although they weren’t the best chocolate chippers I have had, I managed to have a couple just to be sure ☺. We arrived around lunchtime and knew that having a little nosh at The Cottage is the only way to go for lunch. It’s a great spot that’s part of MLI and sits right on the lake. We were able to get a cozy table right next to the window where we enjoyed the spectacular views and a Harpoon Winter Warmer.






















We decided to get the cheese board which came with a loaf of fresh bread, wheat crackers, grapes, apples, Boursin cheese, strawberry chardonnay cheese and maple cheddar. Boursin is a favorite or ours so we knew that wouldn’t go to waste but the maple cheddar was something new to us. I’ve had a lot of cheese and many varieties but my first instinct wouldn’t be to reach for a maple cheddar. Well I’ve been converted my friends. This combo was excellent!!! I can’t wait for my next get together so that I have an excuse to get it. The maple added just a hint of sweetness but it wasn’t overpowering at all. It was a great way to have a different variation on cheddar. It was time to check out the holiday stroll going on in the village so we walked around and got to eat free Christmas cookies and gumbo samples. This place is truly heaven on earth! As we reached the end of the strip, there was a cute little bakery called the Sugar Shack Dessert Co.












I had to pop my head in to see what they had and the cupcakes looked really good. In the dessert hierarchy, cake and cupcakes don’t usually come in at the top of my list but these looked delectable, so I went with the Sno-Cap cupcake which was chocolate cake with chocolate frosting topped with nonpareils. I don’t want to say that this cupcake was topped with frosting because it was reminiscent of chocolate mousse.











Needless to say, it was excellent and I could have eaten the frosting by the gallon. The light airiness of the chocolate mousse frosting combined with the crunchiness of the nonpareils was so good. The only thing I regret is getting a mini, but seeing as though our next stop was the Lake Placid Brewery, it was probably a good idea. Now that I’ve had my sugar fix, it was time for my beer fix so LPB here we come!






















The cozy ambiance of Christmas lights inside and out made it the perfect backdrop for my Moose Island Ale. Now I definitely enjoy the beers at LPB but one of THE BEST beers I have ever had can be found at the Great Adirondack Steak & Seafood which also has a brewery (Great Adirondack Brewing Co.) located on the main strip in Lake Placid. All of their beers are excellent but the Abby Ale is unbelievable!!!




























I practically have dreams about this beer it is SO good. It’s worth stopping in for a sampler so that you can try all the beers they have on tap but I say just skip to the good stuff and get a pint of the Abby.











Now that we’ve had a few beers to keep up warm, it was time for dinner. I’ve always been a fan of Milano’s in Latham, so we thought we would check out Milano’s North right here in Lake Placid. We got a great spot in the window (again) overlooking the main strip so we could watch holiday shoppers and strollers wonder about. I’ve been completely obsessed with figs lately so we started with the Fico pizza which had Adriatic figs, roasted shallots, prosciutto, gorgonzola and fontina with a balsamic glaze. (the Latham locations' version comes with fig jam, not Adriatic figs).






















It was so good I almost ordered it again as my meal. I loved the sweetness of the figs and balsamic glaze against the saltiness of the prosciutto and cheeses. I would almost drive back up to Lake Placid just to have this pizza and an Abby Ale. Unfortunately, that was the best part of the meal. For dinner I got a pasta dish which had chicken, roasted squash, eggplant, red peppers, tomatoes, spinach, toasted almonds and extra virgin olive oil. Sounds good right!?!?! Not so much.






















There was practically a puddle of water on the bottom of my plate and everything was soggy and flavorless. Such a huge disappointment after such a great start. My husband’s pasta dish was not much better so we decided that it’s probably best to stick to the pizza. After a fun night playing games at the Inn next to some of the most amazingly decorated Christmas tress, we headed to bed as visions of sugar plums and Mirror Lake Inn granola danced in our heads.




























The breakfast buffet at the hotel has a decent selection of your typical morning fare but there is one item that is head and shoulders above the rest, and it’s the house made granola. It has huge chunks of oats, brown sugar, cashews, cinnamon and some other heavenly type ingredients along with a TON of butter. I’m going to try and convince myself that it’s healthy because it’s “granola,” but nothing that good could actually be good for you (at least in the quantity I eat it in:). Okay, I would add this granola to my list of items worth making the trip to Lake Placid for. I noticed that the granola is on the room service menu so you might be able to just pop in and pick some up. If not, it’s worth getting the breakfast buffet just for this-it is that good. All in all, it was a wonderfully festive and delicious weekend at the lake. My picks are obvious so enjoy some Abby Ale from Adirondack brewing, grab a Fico pizza from Milano’s and start your day off with the Mirror Lake Inn house-made granola. You won’t be disappointed!

Max London’s plays the coolest music ever! Oh and the food is great too.

Max London’s has been on my hit list for a while now and I’m mad at myself for waiting as long as I have.  It was a beautiful Friday evening in downtown Saratoga, and after some happy hour drinks at Saratoga National, it was time to eat.  We only had to wait about 15 minutes for an outdoor table which was great! I’ve been eying their menu and was told that they are known for their Chickpea Polenta Fries and Piggy Back Dates.  Since we were being piggy’s and going to Boca Bistro the following night (where I have to have their dates), we went with the polenta fries.






















Wish I had gone with the dates because they were okay at best.  Drizzled in a black olive aioli, the fries themselves didn’t have much flavor.  The aioli was good but it was sort of like eating a plain fried stick with some salty sauce. Thankfully that was the only disappointment.  For our main dish we got the Opah (also known as moonfish) and Smoked Salmon Tartare along with the wood-fired Eggplant pizza. Both of them were excellent!  The fish came with capers, shallots, sweet corn, crème fraiche and crostini.  It had a wonderful flavor, was nice and light and paired well with the dry rose our waiter had recommended.






















The pizza was very good too and we both loved the thin crust.  One thing they could have done to take this pizza over the top would be to add crumbled sausage giving it a salty element which would contrast with the subtle sweetness of the pizza.  I’m not saying I didn’t like the pizza, but sausage makes things that much better.





















What’s great about Max London’s is that their menu changes daily according to what’s fresh and in season.  There are a lot of items that are standbys too so if you are hooked on their dates (like I have heard a couple of people say), don’t worry, they will always be on the menu.  An unexpected element of our dining experience was the music. I couldn’t believe the great tunes they had playing from artists like The Pharcyde and Arctic Monkey’s.  I felt like I was at a fine dining restaurant with the coolest soundtrack going.  Now that I’ve had dinner there, it’s time for brunch.  The feedback I’ve gotten from friends who have gone say that it’s excellent.  I would definitely start out with the Breakfast Stout Float which is O’Reilly’s Stout and house made vanilla ice-cream.   The main dish would be much harder to choose since the selection is incredible but the French toast with cinnamon butter and local maple syrup or the Pulled Pork Ranchero Pizza which has smoked pulled pork, tomato, cherry peppers, Serrano chilies, cilantro, fontina, house made mozz and baked egg (OMG!!!)  would be two strong contenders.  If you happen to have any room left after “maxing” out, Max London’s is connected to Mrs. London’s who serves some of the best baked goods and desserts around. Max London’s is located at 466 Broadway in Saratoga Springs.

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White Pizza from Cate’s Italian Garden in Bolton Landing

Bolton Landing is a wonderful place to be in the summer.  After a day out on the boat or a nice hike, we usually like to head over to The Boathouse or The Algonquin for a drink and or an app.

We decided to stay overnight this time and thought that we would walk around the quaint little town and find a place to grab dinner. I’ve heard that Cate’s was good so we decided to try that. The other indication that it must be good was the fact that it was 8:30 at night and still packed.  We were seated outside which was great since it was the perfect summer night.  Our not so friendly waitress came over to take our drink order and we decided to get the jalapeño poppers while we looked over the menu (they charge extra for your standard bread and butter).  I’m a fan of anything fried and these were definitely good but they were your standard poppers.  I of course burnt the roof of my mouth on them like I always do because I’m impatient and even said that I should wait but I didn’t. Oh well, they were good and the cold beer helped to cool things down a bit.

We decided on the white pizza since that’s what was recommended to me.  It came with ricotta and mozzarella and we had them add broccoli to cancel out the cheese :).   To read the rest of the review, please visit Thank you!

Vino and Wood Fired Pizzas from the Saratoga Winery

After hearing that the Saratoga Winery features live music and wood fired pizzas on Friday nights, I immediately looked at my calendar to find my next free Friday.  Pizza, wine and music are a match made in heaven in my book.  We got to the winery around 6:30 and started out with a tasting.

I have to admit that I am not the biggest fan of NY state wines (Please don’t hate me! I love NY but I’m not sure if wine is our strong suit.) I tried the Chardonnay, Merlot, Pinot Noir and Cabernet Sauvignon which were all good but I decided on a glass, then a bottle (or 2:) of the chardonnay since it was so warm out and the wine was oh so cold (yes, even though I don’t LOVE NY wines, I am able to drink plenty of it.  It’s my super power).  We found a seat outside where we got to enjoy the live band playing on the Adirondack themed deck.  It was time for some wood fired pizzas so we went up and ordered the Buffalo Chicken Pizza which had olive oil, garlic, mozzarella, hot sauce, blue cheese sauce and chicken.  For our second choice, we opted for good old-fashioned Margarita pizza which had tomato sauce, fresh mozzarella and fresh basil.  We only had to wait about 10 minutes till our personal sized wood fired pizzas were done.  They looked great and we loved the fact that they cooked them in a traveling wood fired oven.  Unfortunately, they were a little disappointing.  To read the rest of my review, please visit

Rich and Tara Nimmo began making wine in Rich’s uncle’s winery in Western Pennsylvania.  As their hobby grew, they starting taking annual trips to the Finger Lakes where they did a lot of wine tastings, took vineyard tours and explored the grape varieties the region had to offer.  Those trips fueled their passion, and in October of 2009 their dream of owning a winery came true.  Located just 4 miles outside of downtown Saratoga, the winery has a great Adirondack look which serves as a warm and inviting backdrop for tasting wines.

They carefully select the finest grapes from the Finger Lakes regionfor all of their wines supporting New York state grape growers.  The Saratoga Winery is a fun and relaxing place that would definitely be worth checking out. They are located at 462 Route 29 West Saratoga Springs, NY.  Cheers!! To follow me on my culinary adventures, please "like" me on Facebook and Twitter.

Fifth and Fifty Pizza in Scotia, NY

There’s nothing like a good slice of pizza and Fifth and Fifty has it!

The crust was thin and very crunchy and I loved the sauce, which is always important.  If the sauce isn’t good then forget it, the pizza is ruined!  All of the items here are made from scratch. No pre-packaged stuff is going on or in one of their pizzas!  One thing that’s really great about Fifth and Fifty is that they offer a gluten free option for all of their pizzas.  Their gluten free pizza is so good in fact, that it won them the number one spot at Pizza Wars earlier this year.  Bob, the owner, bought this business 11 years ago after working for a large food chain.  He said he would rather work double the amount of hours for himself versus slave away for someone else and I couldn’t agree more! He obviously made a good choice since they have been in business a long time.  If you are in the Scotia area, this place is definitely worth checking out!