Friday, July 3, 2015

Plattsburgh plans initial brew fest on the beach

Screen shot 2015-07-03 at 4.31.47 PMPLATTSBURGH -- The inaugural "Plattsburgh Brew Fest" is set for Saturday, August 1, on the City Beach on Lake Champlain.

The festival currently has dozens of vendors registered, according to organizers, including both local and New England breweries, as well as cidermakers and wineries, and restaurants. Live music will be performed by Lucid throughout the festival, scheduled to run from 2 to 6 p.m.

Tickets, available online, are $32 plus fees. Designated driver tickets also are available at $10. The event also has a homebrewing competition component, sponsored by Southern Tier Brewing Company. Details on it are available here.

Confirmed beverage makers:

• Adirondack Cider Company
• Ausable Brewery
• Blueline Brewery
• Elfs Farm Winery
• Plattsburgh Brewing Company
• Valcour Brewing Company
• 14th Star Brewing
• Switchback Brewing
• Livingoods Restaurant & Brewpub
• The Great Adirondack Brewing Company
• Nine Pin Cider Company
• Lake Placid Pub & Brewery
• Angry Orchard
• Long Trail Brewing Company
• Saranac Brewing
• Harpoon Brewery
• Woodchuck Cider
• Southern Tier Brewing
• 1911 Cider
• Adirondack Brewery
• Brown's Brewing Company
• Good Nature Farm Brewery & Tap Room
• Ithaca Beer Company
• Kaneb Orchards

Craft beer sampling to be Saratoga Race Course staple

Screen shot 2015-07-03 at 4.20.24 PMSARATOGA SPRINGS -- The state's "Taste NY" program that promotes foods and beverages produced in New York will be extended to a weekly craft beer offering at the Saratoga Race Course during the upcoming racing season.

"Taste NY: Craft Beer" will be offered from noon to 5 p.m. each Friday beginning July 24 in the Saratoga Events Pavilion. A sampling fee will apply, and access is limited to persons 21 and older. 

Participating breweries confirmed so far:

• Adirondack Brewery
• Brewery Ommegang
• Brooklyn Brewery
• Brown’s Brewing Company
• Captain Lawrence Brewing Company
• Druthers Brewing
• Empire Brewing Company
• Ithaca Beer Company
• Keegan Ales
• Lake Placid Brewery
• Olde Saratoga Brewing Company
• Saranac Brewery

'Science of Brewing' event at Schenectady museum

Screen shot 2015-07-03 at 3.57.21 PMSCHENECTADY -- With the greater Capital Region becoming more and more a center of craft brewing, it sometimes helps to pause to reflect on "The Science of Brewing."

That is the title of an "After Hours Event" scheduled for July 23 at the Museum of Innovation and Science (miSci).

Visitors will be able to sample beer from area brewers, sample food and listen to live music, all while viewing the museum's presentation on brewing as well as its interactive exhibits and planetarium shows. Confirmed participants for the 6 to 8 p.m. event are Brown's Brewing Company of Troy, Wolf's Hollow Brewing Company of West Glenville, Brewery Ommegang of Cooperstown, and Nine Pin Cider Works of Albany. A cash bar also will be available.

Advance tickets, priced at $30 for miSci members and $35 for all others, are available by calling 382-7890 extension 237. Prices at the door are $35 and $40, respectively. Attendance is limited to persons 21 and older.

miSci is located at 15 Nott Terrace Heights.

Original El Mariachi closes, "II" remains open

ALBANY -- Twenty years ago, El Mariachi opened on lower Central Avenue. The Mexican restaurant eventually expanded to three locations. Today, it is back to one.

The original El Mariachi, which started at 62 Central Avenue in 1995 before moving to 144 Washington Avenue, closed after service on Wednesday. El Mariachi II, opened in 2000 and located at 289 Hamilton Street, remains open.

From 2005 to 2010, a third location, named El Mariachi III, operated on Route 9 in Saratoga Springs, near Northway Exit 13.

El Mariachi II, or whatever it will be called, is owned by Patty Bermejo-Bhola and Freddie Bhola. Phone: 432-7580.

About that Whole Foods corporate 'apology'

After once again being caught short-weighting products it sells to the public, the Whole Foods grocery chain has issued what these days passes for an apology.

If one accepts the modern weasel-wording many companies, politicians, celebrities and others use to surround their public responses to being caught doing something they shouldn't, OK. But, if one believes in the accuracy of language and the meaning behind it, Whole Foods is only sorry it got caught.

In a You Tube video released by the company, co-CEOs Walter Robb and John Mackey injected about every type of deflection they could in making their statement. A few examples:

"We made some mistakes."

"We apologize to our customers for any discrepancies that may have occurred."

"Unintentional."

"Inadvertent."

"We want to be perfect in this area."

"We don't want there ever to be any mistakes."

Really?

After being fined by Albany County in January for selling products mislabeled as to weight, you'd think Whole Foods would alert all its stores to be hyper-careful. However, the New York City Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) checked out more than 80 products at eight Whole Foods stores in the city and found that all of them were mislabeled.

In fact, the department called it "systematic overcharging for pre-packaged foods," and DCA Commissioner Julie Menin said her inspectors called it "the worst case of mislabeling they have seen in their careers," and found only a few instances in which the mislabeling was in customers' favor.

Weight discrepancies that "may" have occurred? More than 80 times?

"Unintentional" and "inadvertent"? More than 80 times?

"We want to be perfect in this area"? Obviously not enough to stop short-weighting customers in Colonie and New York City.

In Colonie, Whole Foods was fined $11,600 for its misdeeds. In the Big Apple, the fine is liable to be a lot more than that.

Menin said the company could face fines for thousands of violations. According to her office, the fine for a first violation is $950, rising to as much as $1,700 per each subsequent violations. Fines are assessed per type of food.

NYC's renowned Per Se bilked staff of half-million dollars

• From The Associated Press
ALBANY — One of Manhattan’s priciest restaurants bilked its workers out of hundreds of thousands [of dollars] in tips, the state attorney general’s office revealed Thursday.

Per Se, a Columbus Circle eatery operated by famed chef Thomas Keller, must fork over $500,000 to nearly 70 workers as part of a settlement with state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman to resolve claims it wrongly pocketed service charges that had been billed to private dining clients.
Go here for the full story.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

2-day tasting of Dave Matthews wines in Saratoga

Dreaming Tree's Pinot Noir.
SARATOGA SPRINGS -- The Dave Matthews Band is a major draw each summer at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center. Spa City Wine & Spirits is hoping Matthews' wines will be likewise.

Free tastings of the musician-singer's The Dreaming Tree brand wines are scheduled for 4 to 7 p.m. this Friday and Saturday, days on which the band is scheduled to perform locally.

The Dreaming Tree is a Geyserville, CA, collaboration between Matthews, who previously owned a Virginia winery, and winemaker Sean Mackenzie, a native of New Zealand. They produce Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon, a white and a red blend, each priced at $15 per bottle.

Spa City Wine & Spirits, which normally offers free wine tastings every Saturday from 1 to 5 p.m.,  is located at 129 Ballston Avenue (Route 50) in the Price Chopper Plaza. Phone: 587-7400.

Summer BBQ, free beverage tastings at Cranwell

Tasting setup for visitors.
LENOX, MA -- The lush Cranwell Resorts Mansion has begun an every-Tuesday wine and spirits tasting and a summer barbecue.

The tastings, scheduled for 4 to 5 p.m. are complimentary and include both domestic and international wines plus spirits from Berkshire Mountains Distillers.

After each tasting, a summer barbecue will be held from 5 to 8 p.m. Much of the menu will be locally sourced. Reservations for  the dinner, priced at $75 each, can be made online.

Cranwell Resort Spa & Golf Club is located at 55 Lee Road in Berkshire County. Phone: 413-637-1364.

Austerlitz Blueberry Festival set for July 26

AUSTERLITZ -- The Austerlitz Historical Society is putting together its annual Blueberry Festival, this year scheduled for Sunday, July 26.

The 16th annual event has a 19th Century flair, with craft demonstrations and wares, antiques, live music and entertainment for children.

Foodwise, the highlight of the day will be a blueberry pancake breakfast from 9 to 11:30 a.m. In addition, numerous vendors will be offering a variety of foods for sale. The full list is available on the event website.

Admission to the festival is $6, with children 12 and under admitted free. The breakfast is an additional $7, or $3 for children under 12.

The event will be held rain or shine at Old Austerlitz, a collection of post-and-beam houses, blacksmith shop, one-room schoolhouse, granary, church and other historic buildings in this Columbia County town.

Saratoga Winery joining forces with local farm

What do you get when a Schuylerville farm and a Saratoga Springs winery join forces? We'll find out beginning Sunday, July 12.

That's when The Saratoga Winery will begin hosting a team from the 9 Miles East farm from 1 to 4 p.m. each Sunday into the fall. The farmers will be selling "go bags" of farm-raised produce as well as ready-to-eat meals made from farm products. The bags will contain about five pounds of produce each and the meals will be of the heat-at-home variety.

The winery also will be selling its own wines, and offering live acoustic music from 3 to 6 p.m. Sundays and food truck service by The Lunch Brake from 3 to 7. Go-bags and meals may be ordered in advance by calling 695-4158.

The winery is located at 462 Route 29 West, about five miles west of downtown Saratoga Springs. The farm is located at 136 Goff Road, Schulyerville. Phone: 514-8106.