Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving to all

Today's ride on the Capital Region's foodie-go-round


• Hot Dog Heaven, which has operated at 216 Lark Street near the intersection with State Street in downtown Albany since 1995, is closing. The last day is scheduled for this Sunday. The following message was posted on its Facebook page: "After almost 20 years of business it is time for Hot Dog Heaven to say goodbye. We would like to thank all of our customers for business and memories you have given us over the years. Although this is a bitter sweet moment it is time for the next chapter and to celebrate Barbara's retirement. We hope to see you all before our last day ... ."


Mazzone Hospitality, the sprawling network of restaurants, banquet spaces, food services and catering operations that grew from one restaurant with four employees in the 1980s, is in the process of moving into new corporate headquarters that will consolidate many of its test kitchen, administrative and warehousing activities that have been spread around various locations in Scotia, Saratoga Springs and Albany. About 70 people will be employed in the new facility, located at 743 Pierce Road in the community of Ushers in the Town of Clifton Park. Among restaurants under the Mazzone brand are Prime at Saratoga National, Angelo's 677 Prime in Albany, Tala Bistro in Latham, Aperitivo Bistro in Schenectady, and Angelo's Tavolo at the Glen Sanders Mansion in Scotia. The Business Review has a slideshow of interior an exterior photos of the new facility.


• We've just posted on our Capital Region Food & Drink Events calendar the December class schedule for adults and kids being offered at The Cooking School @ Market Bistro. That's the Price Chopper chain's facility at 873 New Loudon Road in Latham. Most of the classes are for seasonal-related dishes and events.

Finding free meals on Thanksgiving Day

The Times Union has put together a listing of venues offering free Thanksgiving Day meals for those in need. I'm copying it and posting it here in the spirit of getting out the word to as many people as necessary.

• Equinox Thanksgiving Day Community Dinner, First Presbyterian Church, State and Willett streets, Albany. 1-4 p.m. 434-0131. Roughly 9,500 meals will be delivered on Thanksgiving by 800 volunteer drivers and 500 meals will be served at the buffet sit down meal.

• Twin Bridges Rotary Thanksgiving Day dinner, Salty's Pub & Bistro, 215 Guideboard Road, Clifton Park. Seatings: noon-2:30 p.m. on the half hour. 491-5553. A table service at the pub with approximately 400 meals, all donated by Salty's and served by Twin Bridges volunteers. Reservations required; takeout available. 

• Community Thanksgiving Dinner, Tabernacle of New Hope, 3 Morris Ave., Schenectady. 11:30 a.m. 372-3354. This family-friendly event provides a Thanksgiving meal to anyone who is willing to stop by.

• Community Thanksgiving Dinner. Capital City Rescue Mission, 269 S. Pearl St., Albany. 11:30 a.m.-2 p.m. 462-0459. The Mission hosts its annual turkey dinner with all the fixings. Albany Medical College students and other volunteers will provide health education, blood pressure screenings and flu shots for South End residents who attend.

• Community Thanksgiving Meal, City Mission of Schenectady, Wallace M. Campbell Dining Center, 512 Smith St., Schenectady. 12:30-1:30 p.m. 346-2275, ext. 301. Sit-down dinner open to anyone in need.

• Community Thanksgiving Dinner, Presbyterian-New England Congregational Church, 24 Circular St., Saratoga Springs. 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m. The Saratoga County Economic Opportunity Council's annual sit-down dinner is catered by the Olde Bryan Inn.

• Tierra Coffee Roasters Thanksgiving Day meal, 1038 Madison Ave., Albany. 10 a.m.-2 p.m. This is the third year that the cafe has provided free meals for the homeless on Thanksgiving. Employees of the Tierra Farm family of businesses, which includes Tierra Coffee Roasters, Tierra Farm, and the Madison Theater, will be volunteering to prepare and serve the meals.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Check our calendar for holiday events

Are you looking for information on holiday fetes, cooking classes, wine dinners, beer dinners, restaurant weeks, specialty food events, grand opening festivities, tasting events ... in fact, anything going on with the local food and beverage scene?

The Capital Region Food & Drink Events Calendar is arguably the most thorough and linked compilation of events involving, well, food and drink.

If you're not already in the habit of checking it out on a daily basis, it might be helpful to acquire the habit so you're always fully informed on upcoming events of all sorts.

And, if you're part of a business or organization putting together an event, don't forget to let us know well in advance so we can publicize it.


Albany Distilling releases 2 new holiday spirits

The new Ironweed spirits.
The new Ironweed spirits.
ALBANY -- The Albany Distilling Company didn't waste any time establishing tradition. The fledgling craft distiller today released its second annual holiday spirit.

Or, rather it has two offerings -- Ironweed Bourbon and Ironweed Rye, each aged for 21 months in a single 25-gallon barrel. The label says 18 months, but the 21 is accurate, making it the oldest spirit the company has ever released.

As usual the release is a limited one, with about 120 bottles of each spirit. Prospective buyers can reserve bottles by e-mail, stating the type of spirit and the number of bottles. Bottles retail for $59 each. Reservations will be held for a maximum of two weeks before bottles are moved to buyers on a waiting list.

Albany Distilling will be open for sales this Friday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. in addition to its usual Tuesday and Saturday opening hours this week.

The distillery is located at 78 Montgomery Street next to the Albany Pump Station, just off Broadway in downtown Albany. Phone: 621-7191.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Uncle Marty's Adirondack Grill goes on 'hiatus'

AVERILL PARK -- Here's a mystifying development. Uncle Marty’s Adirondack Grill has closed.

The popular casual-dining restaurant that recently hired a new executive chef closed up after service Sunday night.

Although the holiday season usually is a busy one for restaurants, and owner Marty Balga is known for his holiday-themed special events (see one here), his Facebook announcement of the closing -- accompanied by a "Gone fishin' " sign, says:

"We are taking advantage of our quiet winter season to address some expansion and infrastructure goals so we can be more prepared than ever to have a great summer season. This hiatus also has afforded the opportunity to spend the holidays with friends and family. We will be reopening in the spring with details posted as we get closer. We apologize for the short notice but in the meantime, please continue to support all of our great local restaurants and other businesses."

In early September, Balga announced the hiring of Dustin Aipperspach as executive chef shortly after Aipperspach parted ways with new owner Aliki Serras at Reel Seafood in Colonie after a mere six-month collaboration.  

Uncle Marty's is located at 2930 Route 43 in this Rensselaer County community. Phone: 674-4080.

Wolf Hollow Brewing celebrating first anniversary

Screen shot 2014-11-24 at 4.16.50 PMWEST GLENVILLE -- The Wolf Hollow Brewing Company plans to mark its first anniversary with a one-day-only offering this week.

The Schenectady County nano-brewery will feature five types of beer for the first time at the facility, beginning at 5 p.m. Wednesday, the only day the venue will be open during this holiday week.

Its three mainstay beers will be available on tap, along with its seasonal Christmas Scotch Ale, Scottish Wee Heavy, 8.6% ABV, and a special anniversary beer. The "mainstays" are Wolf Hollow Amber, American Amber Ale, 5% ABV; District 6 IPA, American India Pale Ale, 6.7% ABV, and White’s Wit, Belgian-Style White Ale, 4.5% ABV.

Light foods from The Cock 'n' Bull restaurant in Galway will be available while the growlers are being filled.

Wolf Hollow, which produced its first brews on November 11 last year, is located at 2305 West Glenville Road.

A 'Black Beer Festival' set for Black Friday

Screen shot 2014-11-24 at 4.07.25 PMCLIFTON PARK -- If your significant others are planning on a Black Friday shopping spree this week, you may want to plan to let 'em go while you attend the 2nd annual "Black Beer Festival" at the Shmaltz Brewing Company.

From 4 to 8 p.m. the day after Thanksgiving, the brewery will be offering a lineup of black beers from its own He'brew line, including Jewbelation 18 Black Session Barleywine, and Death of a Contract Brewer Black IPA,as well as offerings from guest breweries. They will include:

• 21st Amendment Back in Black, Black IPA, San Francisco 
• Uinta Baba Black Lager, Black Lager, Utah 
• Uinta Dubhe, Imperial Black IPA 
• Davidson Brothers Oat Stout, Glens Falls 
• Peak Hop Noir, Black IPA, Portland, ME 
• Black beers from Adirondack Brewery 
• Ale Smith Brewery, San Diego 
• St. Lawrence Brewing Company Maple Porter, New York

Food will be supplied by the Fitzy’s Fork In the Road food truck, accompanied by music from deejay Jennifer Haley. There is no cover charge, and samples are priced at $2, pay as you go.

The Shmaltz Brewery Tasting Room is located at 6 Fairchild Square. Phone: 406-5430.

'Cask Ale Festival planned for day after Thanksgiving

Screen shot 2014-11-24 at 3.47.32 PMALBANY -- If you are either (a) a fan of cask ales, or (b) unfamiliar with them but curious, you're in luck. The Allen Street Pub is holding a "Cask Ale Festival" from 4 p.m. Friday through Sunday.

Cask ales -- more formally known as "cask conditioned ales" -- once were commonplace, but pressurized keg beers have ruled the roost for the past century. Now, the more artisanal ales are making a resurgence.

The festival will showcase several firkins (10.8-gallon keg) of beer from England and the United States. Among ales confirmed to be available are Dark Star Revelation Ale, Hobson's Manor Ale, Ilkley Mary Jane IPA, Ilkley The Mayan, Wandering Star Horatio IPA, Wandering Star Red Nose Rye, and Stone Pale Ale (w/basil, red bell pepper, American oak and Nelson Sauvin hops).

Grilled food and and Greek offerings from Anton's will be served throughout. Admission is free, with the beer being sold at regular bar prices for 20-, 16- and 10-ounce portions.

The Allen Street pub is located at 332 South Allen Street. Phone: 526-2455.

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