Are you a dessert person? If so, you’ll love these chocolate orange pots de creme with olive oil and sea salt that I recently featured with Piro. olive oil. You’ll find my recipe at olio-piro.com. Why not make the recipe and gift a bottle of Piro. Use code SUSIEDP for 20% off Piro. online.
The Fox and Burn is an entertaining newcomer to the River Street Food Hall in the Hedley Building deserving praise for its interesting cocktails and slew of social events, (even if I can’t help but read the word “Burn” as “Bum” due to the font they chose.) Regrettably, a lackluster meal at its older sibling, Risotto, is, in a nutshell, what gives upstate dining an unfair and outdated bad name. I make the point, it’s no longer okay, with many local chefs serving up creativity and bang-for-the-buck on upstate plates. If you’ve been, you know what I mean.
The Yard Albany, an ax-throwing-cocktail venue, has re-styled its greenhouses in Alice In Wonderland or Barbie’s party house themes and matching menus.
Wondering which wine to take as a host gift this holiday season? Josh Cellars has been named the 2021 American Winery of the Year by Wine Enthusiast. The winery was founded by Albany-raised Joseph Carr and named after his father Josh, and while the popular California wines are often on area restaurants lists, you might not know in the early years he mortgaged his house and sold Josh Cellars out of the back of his truck.
I wrote about the single item restaurants flourishing in downtown Albany from the incredible house-baked banh mi loaves at Banh Mi 47 to the superb twin-track meat or vegan menu at Herbie’s Burgers on Lark and my appreciation for chunky clam chowder and fish fry on a windy weekday from Ballistic Shrimp in front of the Times Union Center. And while you’re downtown check out the latest downtown arts mural on North Pearl.
Arthur’s Market in the historic Stockade District of Schenectady is back, full of charm, and continuing its 226-year old history as a community meeting spot. Go for the coffee, the scratch-made lunches, or frozen dinners made by their CIA-trained chef. Read the review here.
I was lucky enough to dine at the secret Hudson Valley hotel, The Dutchess, and sample the vegetable-forward, open-fire cooking of young chef Mark Margiotta. Although stays at this exclusive spa sanctuary are pricey (rooms start at $500 a night), a limited number of dining reservations are held on weekends for non-guests. Read more about this exquisite hidden gem in my full Times Union review. Of special note, stunning eggplants grown on the farm were blistered over an open fire, split open and served almost alone. Trout, again fire roasted, served with a glowing ember atop a grilled lemon half. The simplicity and flavors in each dish, coupled with the staff care and hospitality, had me thinking about pre-Covid times.
The Dutchess is featured as part of our six week Kitchen Raid Subscription. Chef Mark spends some one-on-one time making drinks and some simple ways to incorporate Aioli into your recipes.
Let me point you to my recent review of Radici Kitchen in Glens Falls. I was there a hot minute before the restaurant shutdown came into effect, then ventured back for takeout over the summer, and was thrilled to get back to write this review. Chef Bowden is absolutely nailing his small plate menu and while I was lucky to get one of the few outdoor tables, they have restarted their 3-course weekly dinner to go. This one’s a date night meal for you to pick up and plate at home. You can read my review here.
On the Italian-inspired menu you might find a few of Bowden’s classics alongside some real treats. I swooned over the Hamachi crudo with grapefruit, Fresno chile slivers and torn mint and marveled at the crispness of lightly battered goat cheese stuffed squash blossoms. Make sure to try the fried oysters with honey-Sriracha and caviar inspired by WD-50 in NYC.
November is a good month for cocktail lovers! I’m a fan of Negronis for their simplicity (equal parts Campari, sweet vermouth and gin) and ease in batching for a group. But if a Negroni feels too boozy, you might consider the Negroni’s origins in an Americano. The Americano is equal parts Campari, sweet vermouth and seltzer. You get the bitterness which is ideal to whet the appetite and a little less of a whomp in the head.
At Radici Kitchen (in Glens Falls) I was taken with bartender James Humphries’ Radici Smash in which he blends George Dickel 8-year bourbon with simple syrup, muddled fresh mint, strawberry and lime for a refreshing variation on a rum mojito.
One night at Farmacy, I was fortuitously seated at the next table to Lisa Elovich, founder and importer of One With Life (OWL) organic tequila. She was busy taking pictures of her OWL tequila cocktail, I was snapping our meal, and we were soon chatting. (Interestingly, both of us had former criminal justice careers.)
Elovich’s certified organic ultra-premium blanco tequila is handcrafted in small batches from 100% sustainably grown blue agave in Jalisco, Mexico, by a third generation family-owned farm and distillery. Ripe agave is roasted, naturally fermented without additives, and double distilled in stainless steel with only water so that the natural crisp, vegetal flavors of the agave plant shine showing “citrus on the front end and vanilla custard creaminess on the back. Finding a woman-owned tequila company in Saratoga Springs felt like a gift, and you can find her O.W.L. tequila in numerous Capital Region and ADK restaurants and liquor stores, or order it through Mash & Grape online. Find OWL.