Thursday, April 17, 2014

Domino's Specialty Chicken first new offering in 2½ years

The new Specialty Chicken offerings.
Domino’s Pizza has just introduced its first new product in more than 2½ years.

The addition, called Specialty Chicken, is the first new product since the introduction of Handmade Pan Pizza in September 2012. It also is the chain's first offering since it implemented a strategy of “fewer, better” menu introductions.

The new offering consists of 12 pieces of boneless chicken and includes layers of Domino’s sauces, cheeses and pizza toppings to create four varieties of the side item: Crispy Bacon & Tomato, Spicy JalapeƱo-Pineapple, Classic Hot Buffalo and Sweet BBQ Bacon.

“We are proud to be known as a pizza company, but Specialty Chicken shows we are not afraid to step out of our comfort zone and take risks, something that is truly part of our brand fabric,” chief marketing officer Russell Weiner said in a statement. “Not every risk we have taken has turned out to be successful, but as a brand we have learned that sometimes you have to fail in order to be great.”

Specialty Chicken will be available in Domino’s $5.99 mix-and-match value offer that also allows customers to select the chain’s pastas, sandwiches and medium, two-topping pizzas.

Update: Taco Bell reveals new Doritos Locos Taco item

The newest taco offering.
UPDATE: Taco Bell has unveiled its newest Doritos Locos Tacos. Beginning May 1 for a limited time, the chain will be selling a Spicy Chicken Cool Ranch Doritos Locos Tacos. Cool Ranch was the second shell flavor originally part of the taco line when it was introduced a year ago. It is priced at $1.59 or $1.89 for the Supreme version.

(Originally published 4/9/14)

Taco Bell has been in the chain-restaurant news of late, with the introduction of a breakfast menu that quickly is developing a strong consumer following.

Next up, a return to paying attention to its wildly successful Doritos Locos Taco line.

In early May, a still-secret flavor will be added to the offerings since "Fiery" was added last August to the original Nacho Cheese and Cool Ranch flavors.

Chris Brandt, Taco Bell’s chief marketing officer, won't share details of the new offering yet, but he did say on Tuesday that "the  innovation will be on the inside." That leaves a wide path for speculation.

Price Chopper recalls hummus product

Price Chopper Supermarkets is issuing a voluntary recall on its Price Chopper Brand Tuscan White Bean Hummus.

In an announcement issued today, the supermarket chain said:
"The product is being recalled due to it being mislabeled with the ingredient panel for Price Chopper Sweet Potato Hummus, which does not declare that the product contains parmesan cheese, a known allergen.

"Other than this labeling issue, the product is safe for consumption for those not allergic to cheese.

"The affected products were produced and purchased between March 19, 2014 and April 14, 2014.

Customers who have any of the affected product should return it to their local Price Chopper for a full refund."

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Glass painting party set for The Lager House

Screen shot 2014-04-16 at 4.37.20 PMLATHAM -- The craft beer bar The Lager House will be mixing on April 23. Not drinks, but rather art and glasses.

The event, scheduled for 7 to 9 p.m. Wednesday, April 23, is a wine glass/pint glass painting party. It's geared for inexperienced painters on up. The price includes two glasses (wine or pint), painting supplies and appetizers. Additional food and drink from the dining and bar menus will be available for purchase.

Admission is $38, plus tax and gratuity. That covers membership into The Lager House Mug Club, a $20 value. Anyone who brings their glass back on a Wednesday night will be eligible for discounts on beer, wine and appetizers. Reservations are available by calling 782-2500, or e-mailing

The Lager House is located at 185 Old Loudon Road.

76 breweries, cideries confirmed for TAP New York

Screen shot 2014-04-16 at 4.09.37 PMHUNTER -- TAP New York, arguably the state's largest craft beer festival, is fast approaching.

The event that began 17 years ago as a small one at the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park promises to have at least 76 breweries and cideries represented on the weekend of April 26-27 at Hunter Mountain.

Say the organizers, "Craft brewing is alive and growing bigger than ever in New York State. The popularity of craft brewing has led to fuller bodied, flavorful brews featuring rich colors, bold flavors, and imaginative ingredients. People ask for it, and the brewers are answering. Many new craft breweries are opening every year, and we're both happy and proud to welcome them aboard."

Literally hundreds of New York State beers will be available for sampling, with daily cooking demonstrations and various entertainments. Admission is restricted to people 21 and over. Awards will be made by a panel of judges on Sunday -- the Governors' Cup (best craft beer in the state), the F.X. Matt Memorial Cup (best brewery in the state) and the Matthew Vassar Brewers' Cup (best brewery in the Hudson Valley).

Tickets are limited both days, and Saturday usually is a sellout. Two-day tickets go for $105 plus tax. Saturday-only tickets go for $68 plus tax in advance, $72 plus tax at the gate. Sunday-only tickets go for $56 plus tax in advance, $62 plus tax at the gate. All designated driver admissions are $20. Group rates are available for Sunday. Tickets are available online.

Here is a rundown of confirmed breweries, with first-time participants indicated:

  1. Adirondack Pub & Brewery 
  2. Andean Brewing Co. 
  3. Bacchus Brewing Co. 
  4. Bandwagon Brew Pub 
  5. Barrier Brewing Co. 
  6. The Beer Diviner 
  7. Birdland Brewing 
  8. The Brewery at Bacchus 
  9. Brewery Ommegang 
  10. Broken Bow Brewery (new) 
  11. The Bronx Brewery 
  12. Brooklyn Brewery 
  13. Brown's Brewing Co. 
  14. Captain Lawrence Brewing 
  15. Cave Mountain Brewing 
  16. Chatham Brewing Co. 
  17. Community Beer Works 
  18. Cortland Beer Co. 
  19. Crooked Ladder Brewing Co. (new) 
  20. Crossroads Brewing Co. 
  21. CB Craft Brewers 
  22. Defiant Brewing Co. 
  23. Doc's Draft Hard Ciders 
  24. Druthers Brewing Co. 
  25. Dundee Ales & Lagers 
  26. Empire Brewing Co. 
  27. C.H. Evans/Albany Pump Station 
  28. Finger Lakes Beer Co. 
  29. Galaxy Brewing Co. (new) 
  30. 508 Gastrobrewery 
  31. Gilded Otter 
  32. Good Nature Brewing Co.
  33. Gordon Biersch 
  34. Great Adirondack Brewing 
  35. Great South Bay Brewery 
  36. Greenport Harbor Brewing Co. 
  37. Gun Hill Brewing Co. (new) 
  38. Hamburg Brewing Co. (new) 
  39. John Harvard's Brew House 
  40. High Point Brewing Co. 
  41. Hopshire Farm & Brewery (new) 
  42. Horseheads Brewing Co. 
  43. Hyde Park Brewing Co. 
  44. Ithaca Beer Co. 
  45. Keegan Ales 
  46. Keuka Brewing Co. 
  47. Kelso of Brooklyn 
  48. Lake Placid Pub & Brewery 
  49. Last Stop Brewing Co. (new) 
  50. Long Ireland Brewing 
  51. Mad Jack Brewing Co. (new) 
  52. F.X. Matt Brewing Co. 
  53. Mill House Brewing Co. (new) 
  54. Montauk Brewing Co. 
  55. Naked Flock Hard Cider 
  56. Newburgh Brewing Co. 
  57. Nine Pin Cider 
  58. The North Brewery (new) 
  59. Olde Saratoga Brewing Co. 
  60. Paradox Brewery (new) 
  61. The Peekskill Brewery 
  62. Port Jeff Brewing Co. 
  63. Rohrbach Brewing Co. 
  64. Rooster Fish Brewing Co. 
  65. Roscoe Beer Co. 
  66. Rushing Duck Brewing 
  67. St. Lawrence Brewing Co. (new) 
  68. Shmaltz Brewing Co. 
  69. Sixpoint Craft Ales 
  70. Sloop Brewing Co. 
  71. Spider Bite Beer Co. 
  72. Three Heads Brewing 
  73. Upstate Brewing Co. 
  74. Wagner Valley Brewing Co. 
  75. Wolf Hollow Brewing Co. (new) 
  76. Yonkers Brewing Co.

Hunter Mountain is about an hour's drive from Albany. Take Thruway Exit 21 (Catskill), turn left after the exit and go about two miles to Route 9W. Take 9W South to Route 23A, then 23A West to Hunter Mountain.

The State of NY vs. the use of common sense

Patricia Novo
Here is a rather pointed open note to New York State, posted on Facebook by Patricia Pendergast Novo, owner of Crush & Cask Wine & Spirits in Saratoga Springs:
dear nys--i would LOVE to know how in God's name we are supposed to know if a customer is paying for a bottle of vodka with an EBT card? Our processor has NO way of knowing if a card is EBT or not. And you want to FINE US if we accept it? Get your heads out of your asses please. Thanks.
So there.

Telling a true tale of two cities

The wine bar-to-be
Plenty of businesses are thriving in Troy, but when Don Russell closed his restaurant The Irish Mist last summer, he blamed what he termed the city's "high taxes" and poor economic development policies -- rather than considering, oh, I don't know, perhaps his own business model?

Unfortunately, many local bloggers have since been parroting Russell's excuses without context. Here's some:

The reality is that Troy does have an extremely business-friendly attitude and does not have particularly high property taxes. What it has, as mandated by the state, is a reassessment of property taxes. The idea was to balance the burden. Some properties that had been getting away with lower payments -- such as The Irish Mist -- were brought up to reality and told to finally pay their fair share.

In other words, Russell suddenly was faced with the fact he had to pull his own weight instead of riding on the checkbooks of others who had been overassessed for years. And all this came about in the midst of years-long knowledge that this might occur.

Now, Russell has decamped for the west bank of the Hudson River where he plans to create a wine and tapas bar in Cohoes. He told the Times Union he will be using a building at 231 Remsen Street. He lives in an upstairs apartment there and is working on renovations with a June target for opening. The business will be called Spindles on Remsen, a nod to Cohoes' nickname, the Spindle City.

Russell also continues with his rant against Troy, being quoted by the TU's Steve Barnes as recently as today as saying, “The taxes in Troy … and the general attitude toward business did me in.”

Local-business alliance backing E23 casino proposal

Architect's rendering of casino.
ALBANY -- As soon as a Rochester development company made it publicly known it wants to create a casino resort complex near Thruway Exit 23 on the outskirts of the city, the worrywarts took to local and social media with long lists of concerns.

However, a group of 40 influential local business owners has quickly put together something called the E23 Business Alliance to support Flaum Management Company's casino project.

While some fears have been expressed about increases in taxes, strain on public infrastructure and potentially siphoning off business from existing restaurants and lodging venues, many successful owners of such businesses are showing open arms.

Among the E23 Business Alliance leadership is Angelo Mazzone, owner of Mazzone Hospitality and its many restaurants and food services (Angelo's 677 Prime, Prime at Saratoga National, Glen Sanders Mansion, Tala, Aperetivo Bistro, etc.). Other restaurateurs among the membership:
  • Matt Baumgartner (Bombers Burrito Bar and Wolff’s Biergarten)
  • Dominick Purnomo (dp: An American Bistro and Yono’s Restaurant)
  • Mickey Blanchfield (Beff's Restaurant)
  • Dave Hostig (Normanside Country Club and its restaurant One Five Six)
The Albany Common Council is tentatively scheduled to vote May 5 whether to formally support the casino. All applicants for one of four upstate casino licenses must have support from the host community. The application deadline is June 30.

"E23 can be a significant piece of Albany's bright future," Mazzone said in a prepared statement. "We'll see an increase in tourism, and jobs, and with those increases come many benefits."

Capital Region food-go-round at full speed


• Motorists who regularly drive on the Hudson River Road in Waterford may have been startled by the change of a longtime business there. What had been Costanzo's Riverside Restaurant for more than 20 years has been renovated and now is operating as the restaurant/banquet house Chrome Food & Spirits. It is a first-time food enterprise by Darla and Dave Cherry of Halfmoon. Anyone looking for bargain-priced food will be delighted by their menu: There is only one item that tops the $10 level, and that's by a mere 25 cents. (You can view the entire menu on Facebook.) Hours for the 60-seat restaurant and 25-seat bar are 3 p.m. to midnight Monday through Thursday, 3 p.m. to 2 a.m. Friday, 1 p.m. to 2 a.m. Saturday and 1 to 10 p.m. Sunday. Phone: 326-2725.

Tierra Farm, the Valatie wholesaler of nuts, dried fruits, chocolate and coffee in 30 states, will open a store at 1034 Madison Avenue in Albany on Tuesday. The store is located in the complex that houses the Tierra Coffee Roasters cafe and the Madison Theater. The event will be marked by a free showing of the movie “Earth” at the Madison, free coffee at the cafe, live music by Jonathon Newell, Mary Leigh Roohah and DJ Matt., and a Randall Schmit art exhibit. The store’s regular hours will be 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.

• The average lifespan of a restaurant at the Peter Harris Plaza in Latham seems rather brief. The newest dining space in development their is El Charro Mexican Grill. It's being created where The Pasta Factory operated until closing last fall. Before that, the same space was home to Nothing But Noodles. The shopping strip is located at 952 Troy Schenectady Road near the Mill Road intersection. No word yet on a projected opening date.


• The bakery-cake shop Sweet Temptations, which had operated for more than four years at 469 Albany Shaker Road in Loudonville, apparently isn't operating anymore. The phone has been disconnected and the shop has not been open during regular business orders for several weeks.


• Things keep changing at the Normanside Country Club's restaurant One Six Five. The latest is a new adult beverage list. list. There are 19 by-the-glass wines, although none from New York State. In fact, only one New York wine is offered by the bottle, a Millbrook Cabernet Franc priced at $38. There are nine draft beers and ciders, and 10 signature cocktails priced at $9 each. "Social hour" food specials priced at $4 each are available from 4 to 7 p.m. Tuesday through Friday. Normanside, which is open to the public for lunch and dinner, is located at 150 Salisbury Road in Delmar.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Comment: Cuomo's efforts on drinks industry wins him over

Author/winemaker Carlo DeVito.
The point of view of a blogger commenting on a controversial topic is one thing. When said blogger also is inextricably linked to the topic as part of making a living, that's another.

Take the case of Carlo DeVito. The publishing executive, author and wine blogger also is the owner of the Hudson Chatham Winery in Ghent, Columbia County. And, the topic is that of Governor Andrew Cuomo's role in development of the state's wine, beer and cider industry.

Writes DeVito:

"To the governor’s credit, it’s become so obvious that the craft beverage industry is one of the better bets in New York State that the Legislature, who have long ignored us after they gutted [President] Jim Trezise’s [New York State Wine & Grape Foundation] budgets over the years, are suddenly even trying to get into the act.

"Even [Assembly Speaker] Sheldon Silver, who has not mentioned the wine industry in as long as I have been a watcher of New York State government these last seven years, for the first time held a news conference to promote the industry. Cuomo gets my vote the next election regardless, just for that.

"Now, I have complained bitterly in the past that the New York wine industry was falling behind many of its peers. But let me say emphatically, that it is with love and passion that I did so. I can complain about my mother, but you can’t! Let me say now, with the hackles of antiquated laws lifted from our hands, unchained, New York can rise to the occasion.

"It's not all strawberries and cream just yet. There's a lot of work still to be done. We need innovative marketing for our industry, we still need to band together better than before, and there's lots of good wine, beer, spirits, and ciders to be made. But ... ."

Go here for DeVito's complete posting.