Monday, January 16, 2017

Burned-out venue's chef moves to Century House kitchen

Danny Urschel
Anyone who misses the dishes they had enjoyed at the former Mio Posto restaurant in Saratoga Springs no longer will have to go without. Some will be offered as weekly specials at The Century House, according to an announcement today by the Latham restaurant.

The unusual arrangement has come about because Mio Posto chef-owner Danny Urschel, whose business was destroyed in a Thanksgiving Day fire after barely two years of ownership, has signed on at the Latham venue as the a la carte chef. He has several times said he wants to resurrect Mio Posto somewhere. Meanwhile, he'll be in the Century House kitchen for dinner service Tuesday through Saturday as well as for private parties dining on his specialties.

The Century House, located at 997 New Loudon Road (Route 9), has been in a bit of a flux since chef Mike Niccoli left in 2015 to open Restaurant Navona in Albany with wife Kim Baker who had been the Century's general manager. The most prominent successor has been the highly-regarded Dominique Brialy who briefly went there shortly after leaving The Epicurean Bistro & Wine  Bar in Latham Farms before it closed. He has been working as a private chef.

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Epicurean Cartoonery


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11 Berkshires venues in 'North County EATS' event

Eleven independent restaurants are gearing up for the 4th annual "North County EATS" promotional week in Williamstown, North Adams and Adams, MA.

The eight-day Berkshire County "week" will run from Saturday, January 28, through Sunday, February 5.

The 11 participating venues will offer a variety of fixed price meals, five of them for dinner only, the remainder for both lunch and dinner. You can get a rundown on the deals here. The participants:

North Adams
Grazie, 26 Marshall Street
Desperados, 23 Eagle Street
Village, 51 Eagle Street
Freight Yard Pub, 1 Furnace Street
Richmond Grille, 40 Main Street
Boston Sea Foods, 160 American Legion Drive

Williamstown
Mezze Bistro and Bar, 777 Cold Spring Road
Gala Steakhouse and Bistro, 222 Adams Road
The 6'House Pub, 866 Cold Spring Road
Water Street Grille, 123 Water Street

Adams
Haflinger House, 17 Commercial Street
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Boca Bistro, Druthers team up for beer pairing dinner

Boca Bistro and Druthers Brewing Company are putting together an all-Saratoga Springs pairing dinner.

The event, set for the start of Saratoga Beer Week, will be held at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, February 21.

Five beers from the downtown brewer will be paired with the Boca chefs' foods. They are: 

All In IPA, an American-style IPA made with Amarillo and Citra hops; Fist of Karma Brown Ale, an American brown ale; The Dare, Gose, a little-known German-style ale brewed with coriander and a small amount of salt; Scottish-Style 80, a  copper-colored ale; Against the Grain Hefeweizen, a Bavarian–style wheat beer made with beech wood-smoked malt.

Druthers' master brewer is George de Piro, winner of three gold medals at the Great American Beer Festival and gold, silver and bronze awards at the World Beer Cup.

Reservations, which are required, are available online at $65 plus tax and tip.

The original brewery, which also has an Albany facility, is located at 381 Broadway, adjacent to Boca Bistro which at 384 Broadway.
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Sunday, January 15, 2017

Schenectady Restaurant Week lines up 26 venues

Twenty-six restaurants are signed up so far to participate in the annual Schenectady Restaurant Week, scheduled for February 22-28.

Each will be offering a special three-course fixed meal for $25.

The promotional event is presented by the Downtown Schenectady Improvement Corp. and The Chamber of Schenectady County, an affiliate of the Capital Region Chamber. Here is a list of confirmed participants. Go here for links to their special menus in advance.
  • Ambition
  • Angelo’s Tavolo
  • Aperitivo Bistro
  • Bel Cibo
  • The Bier Abbey
  • Cafe NOLA
  • Cella Bistro
  • Centre Street Pub
  • Cornell’s
  • EK’s
  • Cibo
  • Jade Bistro
  • Johnny’s
  • John Riccitello’s Restaurant
  • Katie O’Byrne’s
  • Mad Jack Brewery
  • Manhattan Exchange
  • Mexican Radio
  • More Perreca’s
  • Sammy’s Burger & Bistro
  • Thai Thai Bistro
  • Tops American Grill
  • Turf Tavern
  • The Villa Tuscan Grille 
  • The Water’s Edge Lighthouse 
  • Zen

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Saturday, January 14, 2017

Epicurean Cartoonery


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Friday, January 13, 2017

Renovations under way at former Bradley's Tavern in Troy

The old floor's gotta go.
Anyone wondering how things are going with the closed-until-further-notice work at the former Bradley's Tavern in Troy will get an idea from these Keith Sweeney photos, posted today on Facebook by Vic Christopher.

Christopher and wife/business partner Heather LaVine purchased the 28 Fourth Street business, which had been closed for about six months, late last year.

No word on their renovation schedule, or whether they will retain the  Bradley's name, go back to its original Dempsey's Bar & Grill name, or something else all together.

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Owner's illness forces Slingerlands icon Toll Gate to close

A Slingerlands restaurant icon has closed indefinitely due to a serious medical problem the owner is battling.

The situation was explained in a Go Fund Me account created on Thursday by Mary Zautner Smart, sister of Rob Zautner, 55, the third-generation owner of Toll Gate, a casual spot perhaps best known for its extensive ice cream menu but a crowd-pleaser for for all sorts of homey food since its opening in 1949.

Smart is seeking contributions to help pay for her brother's medical expenses that began when he was treated for an intestinal infection that has been escalating since it was diagnosed and necessitated emergency surgery. He is unable to work, and the future of the Toll Gate is uncertain at this point.

As Smart explained in her funding message, "Those of you who know us will understand how difficult this is for my brother and I. At this point I don't know what else to do. The restaurant wasn't doing well and will have to remain closed for the duration of Rob's illness, assuming he recovers. I fear that his hospital bills will be close to six figures. It is with great sadness and humility that I ask the Toll Gate community for help now. Anything at this point will help. I thank you, and I know, if he could my brother would as well."
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Epicurean Cartoonery


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Cuomo asks sweeping changes to aid craft drinks industry

Governor Cuomo
New York Craft Beverage Week.

It has a nice ring to it and, if our adult-beverage-friendly governor has his way, it will become a reality. And, so will numerous other expansions of the state's drinks industries that have been the darlings of his administration. 

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo's sweeping proposals outlined in his "State of the State" speeches around the state this week are subject to approval by the State Legislature. Many of them will be included in his Executive Budget proposal, which is due next week.

One of the items submitted in his "State of the State" book is the creation of the craft beverage week to "highlight local beer, wine, cider and distilled spirits on restaurant menus across the state and in advertising," according to the governor's office.

His proposal would have the New York State Restaurant Association and the New York City Hospitality Alliance team up to promote the state's craft beverage industry, and the state government's Taste NY initiative that promotes New York-made beverages and food products partner with the New York State Liquor Store Association to market the week and hold craft beverage tastings.

In addition, there is a financial component to the initiative.

Cuomo is asking for a new grant for craft beverage producers to participate in joint marketing campaigns, and wants to offer stipends to breweries, cideries, distilleries and wineries to enter national and international competitions that  could help broaden recognition of the state's beverage products.

Cuomo also wants to establish the "Taste NY Culinary Trail System" that would provide support to the various beverage and food trails. That goes beyond the numerous wine trails that began the consumer-centric effort to encourage consumer involvement by adding regional beer, spirits and cider trails in recent years.

That trail system would assist with statewide promotion of current trails and serve as a one-stop shop within the state's "Taste NY" program. It would coordinate with the state Office of General Services and the Department of Transportation.
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Thursday, January 12, 2017

Save-the-date: Mac-n-Cheese Bowl's 8th round

Here's a February save-the-date item:

The 8th annual "Mac-n-Cheese Bowl" is scheduled for 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Saturday, February 18, at Siena College's Marcelle Athletic Complex, 515 Loudon Road (Route 9) in Loudonville.

Tickets, which often sell out in advance, are $20 for adults and $5 for children ages 5-12, with under-5s admitted free. Tickets cover tastings of every participating restaurant's dish.

The event is split into two separate admission sessions, one beginning at 11 a.m., the other at 12:30 p.m. Proceeds will benefiting the Regional Food Bank of Northeastern New York.
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Latest Slidin' Dirty restaurant project under way

Architect's drawing of the Foster redevelopment complex (Sequence Development)
Tim and Brooke Taney have come a long way in a short span of time.

In 2012, they created Slidin’ Dirty, a food truck that quickly became popular throughout the Capital Region.

In 2013, their signature Dirty Asian slider won the judges' choice award at the Albany Wine & Dine for the Arts Festival.

In 2014, they opened their first Slidin' Dirty bricks-and-mortar location, at 9 First Street in downtown Troy. It has been a hit with customers since Day 1.

Today, construction officially began on their second restaurant, at 512 State Street in Schenectady, part of Sequence Development’s rehabilitation of the former Foster Hotel complex. A late March-early April opening is projected. Sequence also was involved in building out the Troy venue.

“Tim and Brooke and the whole Slidin' Dirty team are the best tenants imaginable,” Sequence president Jeffrey Buell said at the time the Schenectady project was revealed. “They work hard, put out an awesome and consistent product, and make sure that everyone has a great time. We believe they will be hugely successful in Schenectady and add something new to a very dynamic restaurant scene. “

And, said Taney, "When Brooke and I opened our first restaurant our instincts told us that Troy was the right fit. Troy was experiencing a renaissance that we wanted to be part of, it was becoming a top destination in the area and we felt Slidin’ Dirty was a perfect match. Now, our instincts tell us the exact same thing about Schenectady.”
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Wednesday, January 11, 2017

B. Good 'healthy food' chain opens first Vermont location

Vermont does not have many fast-food chain restaurants, but as of the beginning of 2017 it has at least one more.

B. Good opened its first Vermont venue over the New Year's weekend in Burlington. Its twist: it calls its fare "healthy food," compared to the "unhealthy food" label most chains labor under.

The new location is at 92 Church Street, formerly home to the burrito joint Boloco. Although B. Good is a chain offering a variety of organic and other such ingredients, its offerings vary somewhat from location to location.

"We change seasonally depending on what's available from local farms. So one thing that is different about B.Good is we celebrate the fact that our food will taste different depending on where you go because we'll use different creameries, we'll use different beef, we'll use different bakeries and stuff like that," co-owner Bill Zolper told MyChamplainValley.com.

B. Good now has 44 U.S. locations -- 31 in New England, 11 in New York State, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and North Carolina, and one each in Canada and Switzerland.
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Schenectady gearing up for 2nd annual 'Soup Stroll'

Winter means soup to many people, but in downtown Schenectady they want you to work up an appetite for it.

The 2nd annual "Schenectady Soup Stroll" is the event, set for noon to 5 p.m. on Saturday, January 28. Visitors set their own  pace, stopping in at a participating restaurant to start there and pick up a map, then strolling to other locations all the while sampling a variety of soups at $1 per three-oun ce serving.

Here's the list of participating venues so far, although more may join. You can double-check closer to the event by going here.
  • Firestone 151 Bar & Restaurant
  • Ambition Coffee & Eatery
  • Aperitivo Bistro 
  • Apostrophe Cafe and Lounge
  • Backstage Pub
  • Cibo Fine Gourmet Foods and Spices'
  • Capoccia Wine Lounge
  • Centre Street Pub
  • Civitello's Italian Pastry Shoppe
  • Cornell's in Little Italy
  • Hunter's on Jay
  • Johnny's Schenectady
  • Katie O'Byrne's Restaurant & Bar
  • ]Mad Jack Brewing Company
  • Manhattan Exchange
  • Marotta's Bar-Risto & Tunnel Lounge
  • Mexican Radio
  • More Perecca's Italian Kitchen
  • Nico's Rooftop Tavern
  • Pho Queen
  • Pinhead Susan's
  • Puzzles Bakery & CafĂ©
  • Taj Mahal Restaurant

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