Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Epicurean Cartoonery



Today's ride on the Capital Region foodie-go-round

SELLING 

From the Garden, located at 227 Lark Street in Albany, is being sold. The Times Union reported today that Larry and Kokese Lowe are purchasing the business from Allan Von Schenkel and Kristen Williams, who founded it about two years ago. The new owners plan to continue the format of serving a different $40, five-course, fresh-local-seasonal menu every week in its basement location. Hours: 5 to 9 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday. Phone: 427-388.

MOVING

• The 6th annual timesunion.com/Table Hopping Mac-n-Cheese Bowl, which raises money for the Regional Food Bank of Northeastern New York, is changing venues. The ever-growing event this year will be held from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, February 21, 2015, at the Marcelle Athletic Complex at Siena College in Loudonville. That location, serendipitously, goes by the nickname MAC. The event was held at the Marriott on Colonie's Wolf Road the first five years, but no February dates were available for 2015. More than $150,000 has been raised over the event's history. It features 30 local restaurants offering variations on pasta and cheese, and it typically attracts more than 2,000 people. The move to the larger MAC venue probably will result in an even larger attendance.

SAVING

• The Mr. Subb sandwich chain is making a push to increase the numbers of online orders. Consumers ordering $15 or more online will get a 5% discount and a free large order of potato nuggets. If you buy two orders, a third is free. And, if you register for a Mr. Subb newsletter you get a coupon for a free potato nugget serving with any other purchase.

Cuomo unveils more 'Taste NY' program enhancements

Governor Andrew Cuomo may have his detractors on many subjects, but when it comes to boosting the state's food and beverage products, thew producers are solidly behind him.

His latest move was this week's announcement of a major expansion of his administration's "Taste NY" initiative that is designed to triple gross sales of participating vendors in 2015.

The latest enhancements:

• The Taste NY website will be enhanced to enable online purchasing, as will the I LOVE NY mobile website.

• Taste NY displays, stores and vending machines will be added to all SUNY and CUNY campuses.

• All 27 Thruway Travel Plazas will have Taste NY offerings, and the Department of Transportation will add Taste NY stores at strategic locations on other highways.

• Liquor stores throughout the state will be offered Taste NY point of sale materials to support the sale of New York wines, spirits and ciders.

• A new mobile phone app will be released through I LOVE NY that will have designated Taste NY attractions from across the state.

• New York foods and beverages will receive export support from the Department of Agriculture & Markets, Empire State Development, and Food Export USA.

• A Taste NY office in Brooklyn will strengthen the connections between upstate producers and downstate consumers.

• A new Taste NY store has just opened at Grand Central Terminal in the heart of Manhattan.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Have you checked our calendar today?

The Capital Region Food & Drink Events Calendar is arguably the most thorough and linked compilation of events in the region involving, well, food and drink.

If you're not already in the habit of 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.

Cheers!

Today's ride on the Capital Region's foodie-go-round

OPENING 

• The signage went up today at the in-development Wolff's Biergarten in Schenectady. According to owner Matt Baumgartner, the expected opening date -- "assuming everything goes well with the liquor license" -- is Thursday, October 30.This offshoot of his original Wolff's Biergarten in Albany is located at 165 Erie Boulevard, in a former KEM Cleaners location. Baumgartner also owns Bombers Burrito Bars in Albany and Schenectady and also is co-owner of the Olde English Pub & Pantry and Sciortino's in Albany.

GRUMBLING

• Several new and/or remodeled McDonald's venues have made their debut in the Capital Region in recent months. However, company-wide things don't appear to be as rosy. The 64th McDonald’s Franchisee Survey,  in which the research firm Janney Capital Markets talks with 32 McDonald’s franchisees that collectively own 256 restaurants, revealed the following: (1.) Same-store sales fell 3.6% in September, continuing a downward trend reported throughout the summer; (2.) Asked about the parent company's efforts to streamline the menu and simplify kitchen operations, only one of the 32 franchisees answered the question by saying they’re yielding results; (3.) Continually rising prices of beef and cheese, two of the chain's biggest needs, are "stratospheric," and franchisees also are facing increased costs for labor, thanks to minimum wage hikes and public pressure to raise wages; and (4.) 15 franchisees rated their relationship with McDonald's as “poor,” 12 rated it “fair,” and one rated it "very good." None of the 32 rated it “excellent.”

SAVING

•  Carrabba's Italian Grill has a nice discount offering for wine drinkers. Every Wednesday, the chain is offering $10 off pitchers of housemade sangria or any bottle of wine. It also offers $5 glasses of sangria. In addition, on Mondays the restaurnt is offering $12 three-course dinners. You can see the menu here. In the Capital Region, Carrabba's is located at 675 Troy-Schenectady Road, just off Route 7 and the Northway. Hours: 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 11 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. Friday-Saturday. Phone: 785-8886.

Epicurean Cartoonery


'Taste of Colonie' in progress through Sunday

COLONIE -- The "Taste of Colonie" restaurant week began this week, and will run through this Sunday with 18 restaurants participating.

During the promotional event, restaurants are offering three-course meals from limited menus for $20.14.

New to this year’s restaurant week is the opportunity for diners to win a gift card to one of the participating restaurants. Each day, gift cards are being raffled off. To enter, diners need to send a Tweet containing a picture of their food and the participating restaurant where they ate to @coloniechamber2 using #tasteofcolonie.

Participating restaurants:
  • Bangkok Bistro
  • Bellini's Italian Eatery
  • BKK Bistro Thai Fusion + Martinis
  • Bill & Barrel Smokehouse Grill
  • Century House
  • Dolce Vita Ristorante
  • El Charro Mexican Grill
  • Epicurean Bistro & Wine Bar
  • Garden Bistro 24
  • Grandma's Pies & Restaurant
  • Grille Restaurant at the Wolf Road Holiday Inn
  • Joe's Crab Shack
  • Market Restaurant at the Wolf Road Marriott
  • Martel's Grill at the Town of Colonie Golf Course
  • On Tap
  • Orange Mango
  • Simpson's at The Desmond
  • Wolf's 1-11 Restaurant & Games
Go here for addresses and menus.

Friday, October 17, 2014

What does your NFL team's beer cost?


Epicurean cartoonery


State Room plans ribbon-cutting grand opening

ALBANY -- The State Room, a special events operation that started in an old downtown hotel and then moved into an old downtown bank, will hold a ribbon-cutting event from 5:30 to 7:30 next Tuesday, October 22.

Its present venue is the ornate 100 State Street building (it began in the old DeWitt Clinton Hotel), where community and business  leaders and other members of the community are being invited to meet and mingle while sampling free hors d’oeuvres and a cash bar.

Owner Tom Nicchi will say a few words and Mayor Kathy Sheehan will say whatever a politician calls a few words.