Saturday, August 1, 2015

Dunham's Bay Resort seeking a new top chef

LAKE GEORGE -- If you're a chef who likes being near the water year-round while serving an eclectic clientele, a new job posting may be an attractive possibility. The executive chef's position at the posh Dunham's Bay Resort is open, according to an online ad posted today.

The 40-unit property, located at 2999 Route 9L on the east side of the lake, hosts numerous weddings and other special events annually, and operates The View Restaurant & Bay Bar and The Bears Den Lounge seven days a week during the heavy tourist season. The View offers a la carte breakfast, lunch and dinner, with a featured Sunday brunch. Out of season, it is open Thursday through Saturday plus Sunday for the brunch service.

The new head chef will be responsible for menu creation, among numerous other duties. You can get a look at the current menu, created by former executive chef A.J. Richards, online. On the whole, it's not a bad starting point for a new chef.

Dr. Frank scores best-in-show in Atlantic Seaboard test

Dr. Frank's Vinifera Wine Cellars picked up a best-in-show award in the 11th annual Atlantic Seaboard Wine Association (ASWA) Wine Competition's July 25-26 judging held in Haymarket, Va.

The honor, among several for the Finger Lakes winery, went to its 2014 Semi Dry Riesling. In addition to that achievement, Dr. Frank entries took four best-of-category honors with its 2014 Gewurztraminer (Gewurztraminer), its 2014 Semi-dry Riesling (Riesling), its 2009 Blanc de Blancs (sparkling vinifera wines), and its 2013 Late Harvest Riesling (Sweet White Vinifera RS > 4 %).

Dr. Frank is located at 9749 Middle Road in Hammondsport, Steuben County, on the west side of Keuka Lake.

Among other New York State successes were best-in-category awards to Martha Clara Vineyards' 2013 Northville Red (Bordeaux-style red blends) and its 2014 Sauvignon Blanc (Sauvignon Blanc); Osprey Dominion's 2012 Cabernet Franc (Cabernet Franc) and its 2010 Merlot (Merlot); Thirsty Owl's 2014 Snow Owl (White Hybrid/NA Blends); Anyela's Vineyards' 2013 Avail (White Vinifera Blends); Coyote Moon Winery's 2013 Marquette (other red hybrid/NV varietals), and 21 Brix Winery's NV Champella (sparkling hybrid/NA wines) and its NV Ellatawba (Sweet Blush RS > 4 %).

In its competition, the Atlantic Seaboard Wine Association looks to promote the wines and wineries from the 17 states along the Atlantic Seaboard. Entries must be wines produced from grapes grown within any of the states.

Those states, grouped by the Standard Federal Regions, are: Region I (Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Vermont), Region II (New Jersey, New York), Region III (Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia), and Region IV (Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina).

Dr. Frank takes 3 best-in-class awards in Indy International

Tracking the entries  in the competition backroom.
Entries from New York State wineries did well in the three-day Indy International Wine Competition that wrapped up Friday at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Ind.

The most successful foray was from Dr. Frank's Vinifera Wine Cellars with a trio of best-in-class honors -- its 2014 Gruner Veltliner won in the "white vinifera" category, its 2013 Riesling Late Harvest won "white vinifera late harvest and ice wine," and its 2012 Lemberger won "red vinifera varietal."

Dr. Frank is the iconic Finger Lakes facility and consistent competition victor founded in 1962 by its namesake, whose grandson Fred Frank now runs the operation with a cousin, Eric Volz, serving as vineyard manager.

Other New York State best-in-class awards went to Merritt Estate Winery's 2014 Bella Ice and its 2014 Seyval Blanc; Liberty Vineyards and Winery's non-vintage Fredonia in "other red American," Coyote Moon Vineyards' 2013 River Run in "American blush/rosé," and Swedish Hill Winery's 2014 Cayuga White in "Cayuga white."

In  the hard cider category, New York's Kaneb Orchards took two bests for its 2014 Cranberry Crisp Cider Cranberry in "hard cider, cranberry, apple" and 2014 St. Lawrence in "hard cider, apple."

The event, organized by the Purdue Wine Grape Team, is a fundraiser to help support graduate students enrolled in the university's enology lab. It typically receives more than 2,000 entries from 15 countries and 40 states, and bills itself as "The nation's largest scientifically organized and independent wine competition."

Full official results from the competition will be available online as of August 3.

Hudson-Chatham Winery debuts 2 collaborative beers

The 2 collaborative brews.
The Hudson-Chatham Winery has gotten into the beer business, today introducing a pair of collaboration beers.

The winery's two brewing partners in the effort are The Beer Diviner, a Rensselaer County microbrewery, and Chatham Brewing, winner of the Vassar Cup as "Best Craft Brewery In the Hudson Valley" in this year's TAP NY Craft Beer & Food Festival competition. Also part of the project is Vasilow’s Confectionery of Hudson.

Carlo DeVito, co-owner of Hudson-Chatham, explains the impetus of the project: “Collaboration beers are very hot in the brewing industry, and numbers of small craft businesses are pooling their efforts to make really cool special, exclusive, small production products. We wanted to sell beer, but we didn’t want to start carrying a lot of other people’s products. We wanted to do something unique, something special to the winery.

"I am a beer editor and enthusiast, and we at the winery decided to consult with some of our local brewing brethren. We’d already done a very successful grappa with Harvest Spirits [Distillery of Valatie, Columbia County], so another collaboration project was a worthwhile endeavor.”

DeVito recruited owners Jake Cunningham and Tom Crowell, and master brewer Matt Perry at Chatham Brewing for the project, with Perry in charge of the process. He then approached Jonathan Post at The Beer Diviner to join in, and then Jim and Kate Vasilow for their experience in creating specialty confections.

What resulted from the combined work is Chatham Brewing Barrel 8 Reserve and Beer Diviner-Hudson Chatham Stagecoach Porter. The former is a strong brown ale aged in the winery's used Baco Noir barrels made of French oak for six months. It is available only at the winery and Chatham Brewing. The latter is a caramel porter made with caramel from the confectionery and aged in used Baco Noir barrels. The winery's Baco Noir was named one of the best wines for the holidays in the December 2014 edition of Wine Enthusiast magazine.

“Collaboration is fun, but intoxicating," DeVito said. "I was constantly asking poor Matt if it was ready yet. I felt like Mars Blackmon [a reference to the pesky Spike Lee character in the 1986 film "She's Gotta Have It"), 'Is it brewed yet, money? Is it brewed?' He was incredibly patient. I was like a little kid. Even when I was ready, he was like, 'Wait, wait, it’s getting better flavor'.”

Hudson-Chatham Winery is located at 1900 Route 66 in Ghent, about midway between its namesake communities. Phone: 392-9463. Chatham Brewing is located at 59 Main Street in its namesake village. Phone: 697-0202. The Beer Diviner is in the process of moving from Stephentown to Berlin. Phone: 210-6196. Vasilow's Confectionery is located at 741 Columbia Street in Hudson. Phone: 828-2717.

More details, and photos, on the project are available on DeVito's blog.

The long, hot summer's food-and-drink events schedule

Are you tired of having to go from site to site and publication to publication to find out the latest information on cooking classes, wine dinners, beer dinners, restaurant weeks, specialty food events, grand opening festivities, tasting events ... and then only finding bits and pieces?

We long ago solved that problem. Join the people who have been taking advantage of our Capital Region Food & Drink Events Calendar, arguably the most thorough and live-linked compilation of events involving, well, food and drink. It even has a subsection dealing with cooking classes both for adults and for kids.

If you're not already regularly 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.


Boucher, South Glens Falls restaurateur, dies at 76

A memorial service is scheduled for today for Ronald M. Boucher Sr., 76, who with wife Cathy owned Ron & Cathy's Restaurant in South Glens Falls.

Boucher, who died Monday, is described in his obituary as "a jack of all trades, a do-it-yourself type of man. He had a very creative mind and could make anything he needed, including restoring the restaurant and his home."

Their restaurant, located at 1737 Route 9, is known for its Michigan hot dogs and fries specials.

He is survived by his wife, sons, Ronald Jr., Robert and Rodney Boucher, 10 grandchildren; four great-grandchildren, brothers Al and Art Boucher, and a number of nieces, nephews and cousins.

Contributions may be made in his memory to the South Glens Falls Rotary Club Scholarship Fund, c/o David Rosebrook, 3 Paris Road, Moreau, NY 12828.

Van Gogh tour, dinner at Clark Art Institute (+ brunch)

A Van Gogh (top) and a buffet.
WILLIAMSTOWN, MA -- The Clark Art Institute is planning a "Dinner and the Show" event in conjunction with its "Van Gogh and Nature" exhibit that runs through September 13.

The event, scheduled for 6 to 9 p.m. Saturday, August 22, will include a private gallery tour of the Van Gogh exhibit, led by curator Richard Kendall, and a French-inspired dinner created in the Institute's Cafe 7 by executive chef Dan Hardy of Stephen Starr Events, a division of the Starr Restaurant Group, the Clark's new culinary partner.

Reservations, which are required, are priced at $55 for Clark members, $60 for all others (tax and tip included, beverages extra). They're available by calling 413-458-0524. Vegetarian and gluten-free options are available by advance request.

The menu:

First course -- Seared diver scallops, fried green tomato, corn veloute, tomato bacon jam.

Second course -- Roasted Misty Knoll Farms chicken, caramelized cauliflower, capers, mustard herb gnocchi, spinach, carrots, Moroccan lentils, jus.

Third course -- Sweet corn cake, salted caramel, buttered corn, ice cream, spiced blueberries.

Earlier that same day, a members-only buffet brunch is scheduled. It will include highlights from the summer exhibitions with a 9 a.m. introductory talk for "Whistler's Mother" at the Lunder Center, followed by brunch at the Clark Center Cafe at 10 a.m., with an introductory talk during brunch on the "Van Gogh and Nature" exhibit. Reservations are $35 for adults, $12 for children 10 and younger.

Friday, July 31, 2015

Sky's the limit for Tierra Coffee Roasters Cafe

A sketch of the Tierra project.
ALBANY -- If Darren Grout and Gunther Fishgold are successful with their latest business venture, we'll be seeing a rooftop garden atop the Tierra Coffee Roasters Cafe they operate next door to their Madison Theater, which they purchased in 2013.

They have applied for a grant from the state Environmental Facilities Corporation to help underwrite the project at 1036-1038 Madison Avenue in the Pine Hills neighborhood. It would include space for growing organic vegetables for the cafe, create a storm water  collection system, and provide space for cafe patrons who want a different sort of venue for sipping their lattes.

"This garden is designed to be a little stormwater treatment facility. It will capture rainwater, and store it for irrigation later, reducing the strain on the city's water treatment facility. Know anyone who works for the Environmental Facilities Corporation? Let them know if you think this idea rocks," the partners said on their business Facebook page.

Grout and Fishgold recently turned over the operation of their other Tierra Coffee Roasters Cafe location, adjacent to the Spectrum Theater on Delaware Avenue and formerly known as the Ultraviolet Cafe, to the owners of the Hudson River Coffee House. They still operate their original business, Tierra Farms in Valatie, Columbia County.

Epicurean cartoonery

Foodie bus to tour Albany ethnic stores

ALBANY -- If you're interested in learning a bit more about ethnic foods, here's a local bus tour that may interest you.

The International Center of the Capital Region (ICCR) and the Central Avenue Business Improvement District will sponsor the event from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, October 17. Participants will be driven to five different stores for some sampling, behind-the-scenes looks and shopping. Participating businesses:

• Rolf's Pork Store
• Breakthrough West African Market
• Tay Vietnamese Market
• Chester's Smokehouse
• Parivar Spices and Food

Further details and reservations are available by calling the ICCR at 708-7608. The center's Facebook page is available here, and its web page here.