Saturday, September 23, 2017

'Empty Bowls' fundraiser back in Troy for 12th year

One of the more artistic food-centric fundraisers in the Greater Capital Region is the Empty Bowls project. The 12th annual such event is set for Sunday, October 1.

The venue is, as usual, the Italian Community Center, located at 1450 5th Avenue in Troy's Little Italy neighborhood.

Local ceramic artists will create the one-of-a-kind bowls that participants will purchase, and they will be filled with food from 21 local food establishments. Advance admission is $15, and at-the-door admission is $20. Tickets are available at Northeast Ceramic Supply, 10 Monroe Street, Troy; 3rd Street Potters, 3 Third Street, Troy; Albany Art Room, 350 New Scotland Avenue, Albany; and Dragonfly Pottery, 1849 VanVraken Avenue, Schenectady.

The process is simple. Each person selects a bowl, then has it filled with their choice of soup. Bread, drinks, and dessert are included in the admission fee. There is ample room at the Italian Community Center to sit, eat, and enjoy the music. At the end of the meal, the bowls will be washed and returned to attendees to take home as a reminder that every day there is hunger in our world. All proceeds go to area food programs.

The food providers include:
  • The Ale House
  • The Brown's Taproom
  • Carmen's Cafe
  • Carol's Place and The Eatery
  • Chester's Smokehouse
  • Italian Community Center
  • Koni Broadway Kafe
  • Lo Porto Ristorante Caffe
  • Muddaddy Flats Quesadillary
  • Muza Restaurant
  • Park Pub Restaurant
  • Patricelli's Deli
  • Plum Blossom
  • Spillin' the Beans
  • The Ruck
  • The Cookie Factory
  • Placid Baker
  • Culligan Water
  • Price Chopper
  • Hannaford
  • Shop Rite


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Harvest Fest & Art Show on Schenectady's Upper Union Street

It's nearly that time again. The 12th annual Harvest Fest & Art Show on Schenectady's Upper Union Street is set for Saturday, October 7.

The 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. event will offer visitors a wide variety of food served inside and outside, a gourmet market place, a farmer’s market, abouncy bounce at Home Style Pizza, face painting at One Huge Shop For You, and Balloon Buddies line dancing and other participatory dances. Musical performances include soft rock by John & Amy at Home Style Pizza. There also are numerous other features and activities on the agenda.

Go here for a list of the 87 varied businesses that are part of the Upper Union Street community. (Fair warning: The group says there are 87. I did not count them.)
• Go here to visit the Capital Region Brew Trail
• Go here to visit Dowd's New York Wines Notebook

Friday, September 22, 2017

Openings & Closings & Etc.


• The latest reports on restaurants and food vendor openings, closings and transitions from the Greater Capital Region, as well as occasional entries from the Catskills, Central New York, Southern Vermont and the Berkshires.

OPENING

Malcom’s, a French-influenced restaurant, is scheduled to open sometime in October at 617 Union Street in Schenectady, former home of Café NOLA. It will emphasize local ingredients and emphasize wine pairings. Nate Germain, a native of Scotia who spent seven years working in New York City restaurants, is the owner. of the venture that has seen the building being totally renovated

CLOSING

The 19th Hole, the Caroga Lake restaurant at the Nick Stoner Inn on State Highway 10 that opened recently following a significant renovation, plans to close for the season on October 31 when the adjacent golf course closes. Operated by Charlie and Rebecca Ward, the restaurant offers breakfast, lunch, dinner (Monday is bar only), and hosts themed parties and large gatherings.]

MOVING 

• If you've never heard of Brewtus Roasting that's because until Thursday the East Greenbush company was named Barkeater Coffee Roasters. Oh, and owner Stephen Pivonka also plans to move the operation to Delmar. He is being awarded a $12,000 micro-enterprise grant from the Town of Bethlehem to facilitate relocation to Hallwood Road where two microbreweries already operate. The changes were revealed at today's Bethlehem Industrial Development Agency meeting, but the grant still needs to be OKd by the town board and the site plan by the town planning board.

DEVELOPING

• Marla Ortega, chef-owner of the Illium Cafe on Monument Square in  downtown Troy, is expanding to a suburban venue as well. She is working with the Pinehaven Country Club, located on Siver Road in Guilderland, to create Illium Bistro at Pinehaven, with a spring 2018 opening targeted.

• Go here to visit the Capital Region Brew Trail
• Go here to visit Dowd's New York Wines Notebook

Epicurean Cartoonery

A gallery of artwork honoring those who draw conclusions. 



• Go here to visit the Capital Region Brew Trail
• Go here to visit Dowd's New York Wines Notebook

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Openings & Closings & Etc. (Vermont edition)


• The latest reports on restaurants and food vendor openings, closings and transitions from the Greater Capital Region, as well as occasional entries from the Catskills, Central New York, Southern Vermont and the Berkshires.

OPENING

• The Richmond Community Kitchen opened this week in the former Sonoma Station restaurant space at Bridge Street and Jolina Court in Richmond, VT. That space had most recently been occupied by the restaurant Sonoma Station. Ownrs Amy Gifford and  Susan Whitman, are selling prepared meals, both refrigerated and frozen and sourced from local farms, as they have been doing from Goodman’s home for the past two years. The new facility allows them to expands what they will do, with plans for food-centric classes and gatherings that could include movie screenings, recipe swaps, and soup clubs. Hours: 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Mondays-Fridays , 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturdays. Phone: 802-434-3445.

CLOSING
•  Jon, Lucie, and Max Fath have closed the doors to their Toscano Café and Bistro at 27 Bridge Street in  Richmond, VT, after a 14-year run. "We’ve decided it’s time for us to retire from the restaurant business,” they said on a website note. “We’d like to thank our staff & the greater Richmond community for your understanding & for the wonderful support we’ve enjoyed over the past 14 years.” 
The restaurant 51 Main at the Bridge, operated at 51 Main Street, Middlebury, for the past nine years by Middlebury College,  has closed. “Sales had declined and student interest had ebbed and flowed over the years,” said Sarah Ray, director of media relations for the college.
The Doughnut Dilemma at 55 Main Street in Burlington has closed after just four years. A sign in the window says, "We’ve loved bringing doughnuts to Burlington! It’s time to move south and enjoy new adventures.”

• Go here to visit the Capital Region Brew Trail
• Go here to visit Dowd's New York Wines Notebook


Epicurean Cartoonery

A gallery of artwork honoring those who draw conclusions. 



• Go here to visit the Capital Region Brew Trail
• Go here to visit Dowd's New York Wines Notebook

Chain Links

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

Pittsfield's Hot Harry's adds a franchise

Starbucks introduces new maple pecan latte for Fall

Dunkin’ Donuts giving away coffee on National Coffee Day 

Arby’s named a top workplace for women 

Fast-food chains pressured to revamp kids' meals

Chili's says goodbye to its massive menu 

• Go here to visit the Capital Region Brew Trail
• Go here to visit Dowd's New York Wines Notebook

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

The Ginger Man now lives on as merely a memory

A gloomy scene inside the former Ginger Man. (Julie Byron photo)

It often is sad when a longtime restaurant departs the scene. That's what makes Julie Byron's Facebook farewell today to her family's Albany business, The Ginger Man, so poignant.

The wine bar and restaurant was sold by Byron's parents, Michael and Pat -- who ran The Ginger Man at 234 Western Aveue for more than three decades and closed after service on Saturday. The new owners, Devin Ziemann and Kaytrin Della Sala  of the gourmet-burger restaurant Crave that is located just across the street, will reopen it in late October as The Cuckoo's Nest, a Southern-influenced restaurant.

Julie Byron's Facebook photo gallery shows front-of-the-house and kitchen scenes populated only by ghosts. And, in an accompanying post that drew an outpouring of comments , she says:

"Inside the hallowed walls of The Ginger Man lies 34 years of love, loyalty and friendship. Now that the sign is down and the building is empty, I can take a moment to publicly thank my staff for all their hard work and dedication to myself and my family. I am honored to have worked beside you all whether it be past or present. Most importantly I want to thank my parents for giving me the opportunity to be a part of such a special place. I am beyond lucky to have called The Ginger Man home. Thank you to all the people, friends and guests alike, who came to The Ginger Man this week and gave us a tremendous send off. The memories will always remain."

• Go here to visit the Capital Region Brew Trail
• Go here to visit Dowd's New York Wines Notebook

Panera's latest clean food move: kid-sizing entire menu

Instead of just a separate kid's menu, Panera Bread today announced it will offer nearly every item on its menu and its portfolio of Panera At Home products in a smaller size for children.

Panera, which has made a major push in the past few years to boost the nutritional value of its overall menu, is characterizing its smaller-size move as something meant to encourage parents and their children to move away from greasy, calorie-laden items.

"For too long, restaurants in America have served menus full of nutritionally empty chicken nuggets, pizza and fries, paired with sugary drinks and cheap toys," Panera CEO Ron Shaich said in a statement.

Locally, there are numerous Panera Bread locations, including in the Latham Farms shopping complex, on Wolf Roaf in Colonie, in Crossgates Commons in Albany, on Route 4 in North Greenbush, on Route 9W in Glenmont, on New Scotland Avenue in Albany, on Balltown Road in Niskayuna, on Maxwell Drive in Clifton Park, on Glenridge Road in Glenville, and in Malta-Saratoga Village.

The move was met with positive comments from restaurant industry analysts. For example, Bonnie Riggs, analyst for the Telsey Advisory Group, said, "Don’t call it a kids' menu ... . [It's] a smaller size of that same menu item that’s on the regular menu or the grown-up menu. Kids today are much more inclined to try new things than kids were 10 years ago. They're much more open to unique flavors and different foods."

Other aspects of Panera Bread's clean food push:

• The chain reviewed more than 450 ingredients, delving several levels into the supply chain to ensure the removal of all artificial flavors, preservatives, sweeteners and colors from artificial sources.

• Reformulated 122 ingredients, resulting in changes to the majority of Panera’s bakery-cafe recipes.

• Partnered with more than 300 food vendors to innovate solutions, ranging from ingredient replacements to rethinking how foods are prepared.

• Go here to visit the Capital Region Brew Trail
• Go here to visit Dowd's New York Wines Notebook

Chain Links

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

•  Buffalo Wild Wings bets on boneless as wing costs soar

McDonald's touts new McCafé menu 

Restaurants face long recovery from Irma

Chipotle cutting chorizo from the menu

20 top full-service chains in satisfaction and sales

Why are restaurants like Chili's and Cheesecake Factory struggling? 


• Go here to visit the Capital Region Brew Trail
• Go here to visit Dowd's New York Wines Notebook

Death Wish Coffee recalls its Nitro Cold Brew cans

Death Wish Coffee Company is recalling its Death Wish Nitro Cold Brew cans, according to a news release.

The company, based in the Saratoga County community of Round Lake, explained that the move is because of an independent recommendation that its adds a step to its manufacturing process.

"Nitrogen-infused coffee is a fairly new process, in which at the moment there are few federal standards and regulations through the Food and Drug Administration (FDA)," mthe announcement said. "With any nitrogen-based products on the market, there is a remote possibility of the risk of Clostridium botulinum (C. botulinum), a serious pathogen that can lead to the growth and production of the deadly toxin botulin in low acid foods commercialized in reduced oxygen packaging."

Mike Brown, founder/owner of Death Wish, said consumers who have purchased Death Wish Nitro Cold Brew should not consume it and can either dispose of it or return the product to the location with proof of purchase for a full refund. Customers who bought the product online at  will receive a full refund within 60 days.
• Go here to visit the Capital Region Brew Trail
• Go here to visit Dowd's New York Wines Notebook

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Openings & Closings & Etc.


• The latest reports on restaurants and food vendor openings, closings and transitions from the Greater Capital Region, as well as occasional entries from the Catskills, Central New York, Southern Vermont and the Berkshires.

OPENING

Fort Orange Brewing Company, a seven-barrel craft brewery now in development at 450 Broadway in Albany's Warehouse District, is shooting for an October opening, according to partner Jim Eaton. Speaking for Craig Johnson, John Westcott and himself, Eaton said today, "We are excited that the day we have been dreaming about for quite some time is almost upon us. Thank you for your support along our journey. As we head down the homestretch we created a crowdfunding website where you can help us put the finishing touches on our taproom. Check out the fun packages we created." As of today, the website has achieved 77% of its $10,000 goal.

• Arcadian Pastures, a restaurant/butcher shop expected to open by the end of the month in Gloversville, will be bringing a different sort of menu to town. Jamaican-born chef Julienne Cunningham gave locals a preview of her cooking at the first-ever Seafood Boil, an outdoors event held Saturday at Castiglione Memorial Park downtown. The new venture will be located at 1 North Main Street, next to Dunday’s Clothing Store. It is a franchise of Arcadian Pastures of Sloansville, Schoharie County. Cunningham's partner, Louisa Mathis, says the new business will have a Caribbean vibe.They plan to offer delivery service, catering, and online pre-ordering. Eventually, they want to sell a line of sauces that will garnish their food.

• The restaurant Mangalitsa, named for a Hungarian heritage pig breed, will open the last week of September in Woodstock, VT, in the 61 Central Street space formerly occupied by Osteria Pane e Salute. Owner Matt Lombard, who worked at Osteria in the late '90s, promises a continually changing menu featuring seasonal products, including those he raises or grows. including his Magalitsas, chickens, and ducks, as well as herbs and flowers. Those products and others from the area will be offered à la carte as small plates and shared entrées, or as part of a prix-fixe tasting menu. Nick Laurendeau will be the chef.

• Go here to visit the Capital Region Brew Trail
• Go here to visit Dowd's New York Wines Notebook


Black & Blue names new executive chef in Guilderland

There's a new face in the kitchen at Black & Blue Steak and Crab in Guilderland.

Jackie Price has succeeded startup chef Jeffrey Tabakian, who tells me he now is in Austin.

Price was born in New York City, raised in Rochester, and has a professional resume that began at age 15. She spent 15 years working at a variety of restaurants in Northern California then, in her 30s, cycled back to the Rochester area to be closer to family.

There, Price hooked up with the Two for Seven Restaurant Group -- owner of Black & Blue -- in 2012 at the then-new Rochester restaurant TRATA. When the executive chef position opened in Guilderland, she made the move.

"My thing is, if you dream big, work harder than anyone else, and put love into whatever you do, it will love back," Price said.

Two for Seven also owns and operates Black & Blue restaurants in Rochester and Buffalo, as well as several other restaurants, a bakery, and a catering and events service.

The local Black & Blue is located at 1470 Western Avenue at the foot of Fuller Road, diagonally across from Stuyvesant Plaza. Phone: 518-313-7388.

• Go here to visit the Capital Region Brew Trail
• Go here to visit Dowd's New York Wines Notebook

Monday, September 18, 2017

Chain Links

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

Customers outraged after Buffalo Wild Wings employee silences National Anthem

•  Cracker Barrel to grow off-premise offerings

Survey: Consumer perception of Chipotle remains weak

Arby’s named a top workplace for women

Olive Garden facing investor pressure to eliminate antibiotics

Cicis adds new pizzas inspired by wings 


• Go here to visit the Capital Region Brew Trail
• Go here to visit Dowd's New York Wines Notebook

Foie gras battles reignited by federal court ruling

An anti-foie gras demonstration.in California. (TNT Magazine photo)
The battle over foie gras has begun anew.

On Friday, Judge Jacqueline Nguyen of the federal 9th Circuit Court of Appeals overturned an earlier ruling that struck down a California law banning the sale of foie gras. She ruled that defenders of the ban were correct in their contention that California has the right to prohibit a practice deemed by many to be cruel and inhumane, and that the state could regulate the type of poultry sold for human consumption.

The ban has had a negative impact on foie gras producers in New York State. A spokesman for the supplier Hudson Valley Foie Gras, located in in Ferndale, Sullivan County, said an appeal of the Circuit Court decision is in the works, and restaurants can continue to serve foie gras until that appeal is settled, which could take another two to three months.

“The 9th Circuit ignored several precedents and is incorrect, and we feel very confident that, at some level of the appeal process, the ban will be overturned,” said Marcus Henley, manager of Hudson Valley Foie Gras.

Foie gras has been under attack in California since 2004, when the state first passed a law prohibiting the sale of birds that are force-fed to enlarge their livers, which then are harvested as foie gras.
• Go here to visit the Capital Region Brew Trail
• Go here to visit Dowd's New York Wines Notebook