Thursday, December 5, 2019

Saranac Lake approves site plan for downtown wine bar

SARANAC LAKE -- Lady Rose is coming to town. That's the name of a wine bar project that this week received site plan approval from the Village Development Board.

Crystal Medley and Troy James plan to create the business in the currently-vacant storefront at 13 Broadway, facing Woodruff Street. They say Lady Rose would offer alcoholic beverages as well as light fare such as cheese plates and charcuterie boards.

Among conditions for approval was the necessity for repairing a porch area in the rear of the building that lacks support.

Wednesday, December 4, 2019

Albany Wine & Dine reveals its 2020 Rising Chefs list

ALBANY -- The 2020 class of Rising Chefs for the 11th annual Albany Chef’s Food & Wine Festival: Wine & Dine for the Arts was revealed today.

Chefs from seven Capital Region restaurants, one more than usual, were chosen from a larger field of nominees made by the public. They will cook for the festival’s grand tastings and be guests at its gala cooked by its Signature Chefs, a lineup of major local culinary talent.

Wine & Dine for the Arts will be held Thursday-Saturday, January 16 to 18, principally at the Albany Capital Center convention facility. Tickets now are available online at various prices.
The Rising Chefs:

• Hector Aquino, executive chef, Grano, Schenectady
• Harley Bleitzhofer, executive chef, The Hollow Bar + Kitchen, Albany
• Seth Corey, chef-owner, Salt: American Bistro & Wine Bar, Broadalbin
• Raymond Galka, chef de partie, Provence, Guilderland
• Jim Hughes, sous chef, The Wine Bar, Saratoga Springs
• Colin Miner, chef de cuisine, Park 26 at The Queensbury Hotel, Glens Falls
• Kevin Myers, chef-owner, Ribbon Cafe, Ballston Spa

Mazzone purchases Lake George resort-restaurant property

The sign lists amenities at the Clinton Inn. (photo provided)
LAKE GEORGE -- A pair of corporations with ties to the Glen Sanders Mansion has purchased the Clinton Inn on Lakeshore Drive for $3.22 million.

Citing Warren County deed records, the Post-Star today reported that the resort property has been acquired by Stonegate Resort LLC and Lakeshore Beach Properties. It notes that both corporations list an address of 1 Glen Avenue, Scotia, also the address of the Glen Sanders Mansion banquet and event facility owned by Angelo Mazzone since 1988.

Among Mazzone's catering business interests is at the Courtyard by Marriott in Lake George.

The Clinton Inn property has cottages, cabins, and an Adirondack Tudor-style house, and is home to the Hearthstone Restaurant which includes both indoor and deck dining with a lake view.

Eateries keep flocking to Colonie's Wolf Road corridor

Artist's drawing of Mosu.
COLONIE -- If there is one thing the Wolf Road commercial corridor does not lack, it is places to eat. Nevertheless, it's getting several more.

A 200-seat Asian barbecue and hot pot venue called Mosu and a Mexican restaurant called Toro Cantina are in development at 111 Wolf, where they will share the renovated former home of Wolf's 1-11 which closed late last year.

Both are targeting mid-winter openings. Mosu is being bankrolled by an investment group with restaurant interests in three states. Toro is from Jaime Ortiz, owner of 677 Prime in Albany and Prime Burger and Shakehouse in Troy's River Street Market food hall.

The parcel at 109 Wolf Road next to that repurposed building is home to a new building that now houses a new CoreLife Eatery and a sister location of the Albany restaurant Kuma Ani, with a Jersey Mike’s sub shop scheduled to join them.

Tuesday, December 3, 2019

Brown's, Wolf Hollow medal in international competition

Brown's Brewing Company of Troy and Hoosick Falls and Wolf Hollow Brewing Company of West Glenville emerged as medalists in the recent Great International Beer, Cider, Mead & Sake Competition held in Bridgeport, CT.

This year, 787 beers, ciders, meads, sakes, hard kombuchas, and hard seltzers from around the world were entered in the competition. Judging was conducted by 110 professionals in a blind tasting format. First, second and third place awards were presented in 84 categories.

Brown's took two gold medals -- its Beacon in the Belgian & French Ale-Saison category, and its  Bière Blanche de Paris in the Belgian & Frence Ale-Blonder <7.5% ABV & Specialty category.

Wolf Hollow took a pair of bronze medals, from its Brunette's Revenge in the Wheat Ale-American category and its Lock 9 Porter in the porter-robust category.

The full list of medal winners is available online.

Mazzone Hospitality offers $4M to settle staffers' lawsuit

Mazzone Hospitality, the Capital Region's largest institutional and special events caterer and formerly a major player in the local restaurant scene, has agreed to pay up to $4 million -- while continuing to deny any wrongdoing --  to settle a lawsuit by a group of servers.

The suit claimed, in  addition to other allegations, that the Clifton Park-based company wrongly withheld from their pay tips that were based on wine sales, gratuities that were labeled on banquet contracts as catering or service fees, and charges for staff meals, among other allegations.

Before redirecting its efforts into catering, Mazzone Hospitality owned and operated such restaurants as Angelo's 677 Prime, Glen Sanders Mansion, Tala Bistro, Aperitivo, Angelo's Prime Bar + Grill, Prime at Saratoga National, and Fish at 30 Lake.

The settlement offer now needs to receive approval from a judge before any payments can be made.The Times Union has a few other details on the case.

Skiing in Stowe? Make time to visit 'Maine,' sort of

STOWE, VT -- Those of you who like to scope out the restaurant scene for apres ski dining here might want to make a note. The popular Jeff's Maine Seafood, established a generation ago in  St. Albans, will open a location called Jeff's at Stowe as soon as next week.

The venue is in the Grey Fox Inn at 990 Mountain Road, succeeding the Dutch Pancake Café. It will serve dinner Thursday through Monday, and on weekends serve a breakfast menu that will be an homage to the former operation, specializing in sweet and savory Dutch pancakes.

The chef is James Lewis, a veteran of seasonal resorts in the Adirondacks, most recently at Winton's 1898 Tavern at Westport Golf in Westport, NY, on the western shore of Lake Champlain.

The general manager is Anna Walsh, niece of Katie Walsh, who bought Jeff's Maine Seafood in 2015 after working there for more than a decade. Anna had been general manager of the Skinny Pancake restaurant group's Burlington International Airport location.

Former Saratoga Springs chef gets upscale PA position

Jason Audette
SARATOGA SPRINGS -- Jason Audette, who in August left his three-year post as chef de cuisine at Adelphi Hotel under the famed David Burke, has been named executive chef of Solstice, a new fine-dining venue in upscale Bucks County, PA, just outside Philadelphia.

Solstice is expected to open this winter in Village at Newtown. The 160-seat project is being bankrolled by Captivate Hospitality Group, whose principals are executives with Shula’s Restaurants, for the last three decades usually dealing with steakhouses bearing the image of the legendary NFL coach Don Shula of Miami Dolphins fame.

Audette, trained at the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, previously was the head chef at Contrada, executive sous chef at Maison Premiere Limited, and sous chef at Del Posto, all in New York City.

Chain Links: Checking on the multi-venue companies

Your connections to the latest news items affecting chains operating in the Greater Capital Region or reported to be looking into locating there.

Menu Tracker: New items from McDonald’s, Sonic Drive-In, etc. 

KFC's mission: 'Frictionless fried chicken'

McDonald's giving new chicken sandwich a try

Golden Corral offering franchisees incentives to remodel restaurants

Moe’s Southwest Grill launches first all-digital / kiosk-only design

3rd Chili Chowder Stroll taking over Albany's Lark Street

ALBANY -- It's not in  the same league as the Troy Chowderfest or the Saratoga Springs Chowderfest, but it's an appealing holiday season event.

We speak here of the 3rd annual Chili Chowder Stroll, a part of the 14th annual Santa Speedo Sprint, set for noon to 4 p.m. Saturday, December 14, on Lark Street.

The events, sponsored by the Lark Street Business Improvement District and ASAP (Albany Society for the Advancement of Philanthropy), is free and open to the public. Visitors will be. able to purchase $1 samples of chilis and chowders from local restaurants, and vote for their favorites.

No list of participants has yet been released, but if knowing that is your thing you can keep checking the event website for details.

Monday, December 2, 2019

Glens Falls temple ramping up for annual Latke Fest

Latkes with traditional toppings. (Food Network photo)
GLENS FALLS -- One of the area's tastier food specialty events each year is the Latke Fest at Temple Beth El. This year's edition will be held this Sunday from 2 to 4:30 p.m.

The event will include live klezmer music, children’s activities, contests, and lots of latkes, those shallow-fried poptato pancakes enjoyed by everyone but regarded as a specialty of the Jewish culture. The main event of Latke Fest is the latke contest, in which attendees will be voting for their favorites.

Tickets are available at the door and tables can be reserved by calling the Temple office. Tickets are $15 for adults, $5 for children, and $150 for a reserved table that includes eight tickets plus Hanukkah treats. All proceeds go to support Temple Beth El.

Temple Beth El is located at 3 Marion Avenue. Phone: 518-792-4364.

Check for snow closings before heading out to eat

A view from my loft.

As Sunday's snowstorm continues into today, numerous restaurants are cutting their Monday hours or closing for the entire day. Many have been posting on Facebook and other social media, but that doesn't guaranteeing they'll get the word out to everyone.

Best bet: Be sure to call ahead before you venture out on an unnecessary drive in tricky weather conditions. Surely you have a can of soup squirreled away somewhere to get you through the day.

Food & Drink History

World War II was the golden edge of food propaganda posters. Various government agencies churned out poster after poster urging the American population to conserve food, rely on substitutes, have meatless days, save edibles to be shipped overseas to troops, and on and on.

They also issued a steady stream of posters offering advice -- such as this one in the archives of the National Agricultural Library.

It lays (no pun intended) out the case economically and patriotically for keeping rather than eating chickens still capable of producing eggs.

Kingston Winter Farmers Market to debut on Saturday

Historic Old Dutch Church (photo provided)
KINGSTON -- The Kingston Winter Farmers Market is scheduled to debut this coming Saturday in Bethany Hall at the Old Dutch Church.

The 21-table market, which will run from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., will feature jazz guitarist Michael Hollis, as well as hot foods from Samosa Shack and Willow Pond Sheep Farm, and hard cider tastings from Abandoned Cider.

There will be a mix of returning and first-time vendors offering items ranging from salads and cooking greens, sprouts, carrots, apples, pears, and potatoes to meat, free-range eggs, herbs and other specialty items.

The Winter Farmers Market will operate every other Saturday through April 25.

The historic Old Dutch Church, built in 1661, is located at 272 Wall Street.

18 venues set for Schenectady's Chili Chowdown

SCHENECTADY -- Eighteen businesses are lined up to participate in the 5th annual Chili Chowdown, scheduled for next Saturday downtown.

The tasting event, which will run from noon to 4 p.m., is a self-guided tour of participating venues. At any starting point, visitors will be able to pick up a map/ballot to be stamped at each stop. That will allow them to vote for their favorites if they visit at least half of the venues.

Tastings are priced at $1 per three-ounce sample. Visitors ages 21 and up may purchase three-ounce samples of a regional craft brews for $1 each.

Participating venues and their chilis:

151 Bar and Restaurant: Beefy bean-and-beer chili
Backstage Pub LLC: Smokehouse chili
Bombers Burrito Bar: Mexican vegetarian chili
Centre Street Pub: Chipotle black bean chili
The DillyBean: Maple pickle-back chili
Hunter’s on Jay: Chili verde
Johnny’s Schenectady: Thai chicken chili
Katie O’Byrne’s Irish Pub & Restaurant: Katie’s chili
Katz Kafe: Cheesy chicken chili
Mad Jack Brewing Co. at the The Van Dyck: Christmas chili infused with Christmas ale,  topped with avocado sour cream
Maria’s Cafe and Catering: Chipotle chicken chili
Mexican Radio: Dos XXX carnes
Nico’s Rooftop Tavern: Texas-style chili
Pinhead Susan’s: Beef chili
Raw Healthy Cafe: Grammy T’s chili
Taj Mahal Restaurant: Chicken chili
Union Inn: Cilantro chicken chili
Wolff’s Biergarten Schenectady: Wolff’s vegetarian chili