Saturday, December 11, 2010

If This is What Troy is Offering - I'm Taking...

With each passing day I am reminded how lucky I am to now be living in downtown Troy. Historic? You got it. Diverse? Check. Art scene? Absolutely. And food? ha.. are you kidding me?

Take today for example... I start the day off with a walk to Spillin the Beans coffee shop on Third Street. Their Stormy Midnight bold roast coffee and a vanilla almond biscotti is the perfect way to start my day.
By 11am I am off to the Troy Farmers Market in the Atrium. This gets tricky - I need to pace myself.. The first thing I see are the amazing breads and pastries from Our Daily Bread in Chatham. Take it from me, anything you buy here will be good - espcecially the not at all sweet walnut raisin rolls - unreal. Next I am bombarded with fresh vegetables from a host of local farms, dairy products, artisanal cheeses, chocolates, pastries, wine, honey, maple syrup, beeswax candles, soaps, jewelry, art work and more...  To top it all off there are samples being handed out everywhere you look - heck - you could eat lunch here on samples alone..

But I am a seasoned Farmers Market shopper - this is at least my 5th time there (!) - so I know the deal - pace yourself.. I limit my purchases to what I can actually eat in a week, while still being able to fit into my jeans.
This trip? Two "rustic rolls" and a mudslide cookie from my favorite local bakery, The Placcid Baker, carrots and beets from the Berry Patch farm, and a wedge of "Mercy" cheese and some crescent rolls from the Argyle Cheese Farmer. A very successful trip.

After my shopping adventure I was hungry.. go figure. So I stop ito Marmora on River Street for a light lunch. At the suggestion of my extremely helpful waiter, I ordered the Marmora falafel platter. This was a work of art. It came on a long red rectangular platter that featured pita bread triangles, and several dips including traditional hummus, baba ganoujsh, a feta and parsely dip, and a red pepper hummus. There were  also marinated, roasted eggplant and potatoes, tabouleh and the most delicious falafel covered in sesame seeds. It was as delicious as it was beautiful.  This was my first trip, but it won't be my last.

Now I am back home, full, satisfied and about to try and work some of this morning's treats off on the treadmill.. But it was so worth it..
I can't wait until next Saturday.

Friday, November 19, 2010

How to exist on tapas, wine and chocolate alone

Read my latest review - of Cella Bistro in Schenectady  -where wine and tapas made with local ingredients - are the specialty...

When I first started hearing the buzz about Cella Bistro in Schenectady, I simply assumed that this was another restaurant in what was the revival of the downtown area. In fact, up until my visit, I had no idea the restaurant was actually located in a mostly suburban area, close to Rotterdam, off Route 146. "I hope the trip is worth it," I remember thinking, as my dining companions and I navigated the residential neighborhoods of Schenectady County on a recent rainy night looking for our dining destination.

Located in a standalone building on a neighborhood street with its own small parking lot out front, Cella Bistro is nothing special from the outside... read more...

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Easy and Healthy Recipe for a Fall Afternoon

Soup is one of my all time favorite things to make. Why? No rules. I'm not good with rules, and directions and restrictions.. blah blah blah... I have no patience - and it limits my creativity!
But soup is different - this is not French pastry, this is not Beef Wellington..  this is a creation entirely borne out of my imagination and what happens to be in the fridge..I love to make soup..and you will too.
So yesterday, with a little chill in the air, it seemed liked the pertect time to whip up a batch. I was actually in the mood for Chinese food take-out... but it's often drowning in oil and expensive to boot. So I thought I could easily make an Asian-inspired soup for a fraction of the cost and the calories! Here is my recipe - and feel free to modify based on what you feel like and what you have on hand.. after all, that's the main attraction of making your own soup.. it truly can become "yours."

Asian Style Noodle Soup with Vegetables

Serves: 6 - This simple soup comes together in less than 30 minutes!

• 8-ounce package of noodles  (I used rice noodles)
• 1/2 cup sliced onions
• 2 to 3 teaspoons minced fresh ginger, to taste
• 3 tablespoons sesame seeds
• 1 ½ cups of sliced veggies (peppers, bok choy, carrots, mushrooms, anything you have)
• 2-3 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce
• 2-3 tablespoons Vermouth or White wine  
• 2 teaspoons light brown sugar
• 2 tablespoons sesame oil
• 32-ounce container vegetable broth
• 8 to 10 ounces fresh spinach, well washed, stemmed, and chopped
• 1 can bamboo shoots
• Freshly ground pepper to taste

Break the noodles in half and cook them according to package directions until al dente, then drain. Rinse briefly with cool water. Set aside.

Meanwhile, in a sautee pan heat some oil (I used canola oil spray) and add the onions.  Cook about 3 minutes until translucent, but not too soft. Add to this the grated ginger, stir. 

Then add some sesame seeds if you have them. Add the other veggies - starting with the "harder" veggies like carrots and peppers then adding the bok choy and mushrooms, etc.. After another 2-3 minutes add a splash of Vermouth, white wine or broth to de-glaze your pan. Add the soy sauce and continue to stir.

Add all the veggies into a stock pot, add the broth and the scallions. Then add the noodles, the sugar and the seame oil. Bring to a rapid simmer, then lower the heat. Cover and simmer gently for 6-7 minutes.

Add spinach and bamboo shoots and cook until the spinach is just starting to wilt, about 3 minutes. Season with pepper and some additional soy sauce if needed. Heat through and serve.

Delicious! And feel free to add in tofu, or pre-cooked shrimp, chicken or pork just after adding the broth.I also experiment with different seasonings - I actually added sesame ginger salad dressing one time when I was out of sesame oil - it was fantastic...! Bon Appetit!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Handsome Eddie & Frankie Knuckles: A NYC Culinary Adventure

Special thanks again to guest contributor, Frank Visco (aka "Frankie Knuckles"), who shares a recent NYC dining experience with us . This time he's joined by his culture-vulture counterpart, "Handsome Eddie", aka Ed Gandorf, aka "Chip"! Read on for a fantastic account of their dinner at Il Violino...

We took a day trip to Manhattan to see the new production of "Das Rheingold" at the Metropolitan Opera on Thursday, September 30.
Arriving at Lincoln Center at 4 pm from Loudonville by Yankee Trails/Siena Opera Club bus, and expecting torrential rains, we were prepared with fold-up umbrellas and sack-pack rain jackets. Instead, we found balmy, humid, tropical weather, and decided to roam the neighborhood.

Strolling north on Amsterdam, then east to Columbus, we criss-crossed the sixties (in a literal, not metaphysical sense), reading posted menus as we went.

Although we have contacts in the city, and experience living and working there, we decided to be adventuresome and not depend on recommendations or past history. It was a day to explore, and perhaps find something as new and promising as the avant garde production of the classic opera we would be attending that night.

The area a few blocks north of Lincoln Center has many choices. We weren't rushed for time. Price was a minor consideration, but quality was definitely the key to the search. It finally came down to a choice between a French restaurant on the lower level of a brownstone on 68th, east of Columbus, and an Italian restaurant at the northwest corner of 68th and Columbus. The friend with neither of those nationalities in his heritage chose the Italian establishment.

Couldn't have been a better choice.

The restaurant: Il Violino, at 180 Columbus, had opened for dinner at its usual time, 4 pm, but even an hour later, when we showed up, the place was empty, and the gracious staff seated us in the glassed-in porch, on the 68th street side. The walls were lined with Metropolitan Opera posters. We took that as a good omen.

Wood floors, uncluttered white walls and brick in the bar area, combined with open areas of the wrap-around porch give the place a clean, elegant feeling.

The wine list - one of the first items of inspection - proved to be reasonable and accommodating, both in selection of wines and in price. Oftentimes a wine list can be overbearing, with such a profusion of choices and price ranges that it becomes a major event just to select a bottle. Here, the wine list was clear and straightforward....essentially, one selection for each major varietal or type you might choose...four or five selections each in sparkling, whites and reds, all reasonable priced for NYC. Ed selected a fine Nero d'avola, a smooth, rich red wine from Sicily that complemented both of our entree selections.

The waiter recited the evening's specials, and Frankie Knuckles' eyes lit up when he heard the pasta was homemade orecchiette with sausage and broccoli rabe, and Handsome Eddie chose - after a period of indecision amongst more than a few selections - the pappardelle a la Bolognese. All of Il Violino's pastas are homemade, and these two were prepared al dente, the preferred consistency of true pasta lovers.

We each started with a tricolore salad, fresh and crispy endive, arugula and radicchio with cherry tomatoes and peccorino flakes, with a light and flavorful oil and vinegar dressing.

The crusty slices of fresh Italian bread were served with those little pats of foil-wrapped butter, but we asked for and received “Italian butter” – flavorful olive oil, served in a small cup with a spoon for drizzling on the bread.

We took our time with the salads, weren't rushed, and by the time we were ready for the pasta, the restaurant began to fill up, with a 50-50 mix of tourists and locals. It's always comforting to know that the restaurant you've chosen is a neighborhood favorite.

Generous helpings of delicious pasta challenged Ed & Frank's appetites, but our appetites won the day.

Frank’s entrée was fragrant and piquant with the intermingling of the homemade sausage and broccoli rabe. The spices and earthiness of the sausage were offset by the bite of the rabe, and cradled by the half-shells of the orecchiette. A mix of textures, combined with the mix of flavors, guaranteed a full, satisfying entrée.

Ed’s entrée was served in a heaping mound of aromatic Bolognese, supported by the wide, thin pappardelle noodles interwoven throughout. A thick, meaty sauce – it was almost a shame to label it as a sauce, given the density and richness of the Bolognese. Definitely not your mother’s meat sauce (at least, not my mother’s) of some ground beef thrown into a tomato sauce, this was hearty fare yet with a complexity of flavors – meat and garlic against a sparing backdrop of thick tomato…and, as we later found out, a few secret ingredients. The pappardelle was perfect for such a deeply flavorful dish, adding its own subtle yet substantial flavors.

Ed was intrigued by the Bolognese, and asked if he could have the recipe for both dishes. The waiter promised that he could.

After we shared a disappointing slice of dry cheesecake, which seemed a little overbaked or past its prime, and cups of full-strength cappuccini, , the waiter brought a complimentary pair of glasses of limoncello (not homemade, but chilled to the right temperature), which was followed by a visit from the young chef himself, the Cipriani-trained Nelson Slavichay, who recited the ingredients of both pasta sauces. We found out that the sausage for Frank’s dish was made on premises, as were both of the pastas. And, Slavichay imparted the secret of the Bolognese – after the meat was sauteed, butter and cheese were added to melt into and form the base of the Bolognese, before adding the tomato and spices. THAT tip went into Ed’s cookbook!

The total, including tax, for the bottle of wine, two salads, two pasta entrees, one cheesecake and two cappuccini was just over $130 before tip.

In Ed’s view – a well-recommended restaurant for – if not absolutely authentic le italiano – some of the best Italian-American in the area, set in comfortable and pleasant environs.

Il Violino is open for lunch Monday through Friday from Noon to 4; Dinner 7 days a week from 4 to Midnight, and weekend brunch from Noon to 4. Major Credit Cards. Online at:

Monday, September 27, 2010

More Perecca's: A Guest Contributor's Take on Brunch

Good friend, writer, blogger, real world "Mad Man" and food lover, Frank Visco generously shares his recent trip to More Perecca's in Schenectady.. yum.. I see a trip there in my future...Read on for his own review:

Ed & I went to More Perreca's for a noontime breakfast this past Sunday before heading to Proctors for the 2 pm showing of the restored "Metropolis" with live organ accompaniment.
Service at More Perreca's was friendly and fast, the place was buzzing, and the staff was keeping up, cleaning the tables and booths as fast as people left them. They keep pitchers of ice water with generous sized glasses on all the tables.

I had French Toast with a sausage patty and a do-it-myself blend of decaf and Costa Rican coffee, chosen from about 5 varieties. I had seconds of the coffee.

Three thick slices of soft-crusted bread, perfectly battered and toasted, served with those little cups of butter and terrible, light, flavorless syrup, although I admit I'm used to grade b genuine maple.

Sausage was not presented with toast, had to ask for it. It was a flavorful, sweet sausage patty. I don't know if it came from the great little Italian meat market around the corner, Garafalo's, but that shop is worth a visit if you ever want to cook some genuine Italian sausage at home.

Ed had eggs and toast and he scarfed it all down -- you should get his reaction to that.

Last week I had lunch there, and ordered the bracciole special. Fabulous! Prices are very reasonable.

More Perecca's is now serving breakfast and lunch 7 days a week in their newly renovated cafe just next door to their landmark bakery. They are located at 31 N. Jay Street (corner of Warren & N. Jay) in Schenectady, NY, 12305.  Phone:518-377-9800.

Hours: Mon - Tues:7:00 am - 3:00 pm Wed - Sun:7:00 am - 8:00 pm

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Learning to Love Eggplant

So.. I admit it.. this blog post title is really a function of my day job as a marketer.. I wanted something "catchy" to hook readers ... because the truth is, that actually there are very few foods I don't like..

And I've never actually disliked eggplant, it's just that now as a vegetarian I find myself looking for more ways to use it, just I do with all veggies. And it turns out, that similar to Portabello mushrooms, eggplant can be prepared in a variety of very satisfying ways.

My favorite way to prepare eggplant is my own take on a classic Ratatouille - not only is it a flavor explosion (Thanks Peter, I'm going to keep using that phrase whenever I get the chance!) it's a great way to avoid using a lot cheese and breading and additional oils that many traditional eggplant dishes feature - especially Italian recipes.

The recipe is not only healthy and delicious - it's a piece of cake to make - and its extremely easy to customize to what you have on hand, and the flavors that you prefer. Here's the recipe - try it with any combination of late summer vegetables all over the place right now..  You can also omit the cumin and coriander and go more authentic by using the traditional Herbs de Provence that traditional Ratatouille is made with.

My Slightly Middle Eastern Influenced Ratatouille (Eggplant and Tomato Stew)
Total time needed: 30 mins

Makes: 4 servings


1 large eggplant ( I usually don't peel it, but that's your call)
canola oil spray
½ cup finely diced onion
½ cup finely diced red bell pepper
½ cup finely chopped zucchini or spinach
1/4 cup sherry vinegar or Vermouth
1 ½ cups peeled and diced tomatoes
½ cup chickpeas or white beans
1 tablespoon cumin
½ tsp curry powder
½ tbs sugar
½ tablespoon whole coriander seed, toasted and ground
1/4 cup finely chopped cilantro or parsley


1. Wash the eggplant and cut it in half lengthwise. Then simply dice it into 1" cubes.
2.Spray a large saute pan with oil spray (like Pam) and set the burner to medium-high heat. Cook a third of the eggplant in the oil until golden brown. Repeat with the remaining eggplant in two more batches, using more oil for each batch.
3. After all the eggplant is cooked, place it on a plate and set aside. Add the onion and red pepper to the pan, and cook over medium heat until soft and caramelized, about 5 minutes.
4. Add the zucchini (or spinach, any green veggie you like, etc.) and cook until just turning soft about 5 minutes or less.
5. Add the sherry vinegar or Vermouth to the pan, scraping up any of the browned bits that have adhered to the bottom.
6. Cook until the vinegar/Vermouth has evaporated, then add the tomatoes and the chickpeas or white beans.
7. Cook mixture over low heat until it is thick and saucy. Add the cumin, coriander, curry powder and sugar then return the eggplant to the pan and continue cooking on low heat for about 10 minutes. Season with a little salt and freshly ground black pepper, and stir in the cilantro or parsley.

Serve this as is, or over rice (basmati would be perfect) ...wouldn't this be great on a Sunday afternoon while watching some sports?

Have any good fall inspired recipes of your own? Share!! I'm hungry and always looking for new dishes to try..

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Wine, Pizza and Friends = Perfection

Last night I hit the town (Troy, that is) after work with my two favorite accomplices. Looking for some good wine and a little comfort food we found ourselves at Bacchus, in downtown, on Second Street, downstairs from Daisy Baker's. (With a name like "Bacchus" how could we go wrong??)

After securing a nice table in the corner, all three of us started with a glass of the Murphy Goode Sauvignon Blanc - nice! This was a California Savvy B, so it had none of the overly "herbaceous" notes of a New Zealand version. It did have a nice, light citrus quality without being overly acidic. In a word: yum!
Now onto food - after a tough day at work we were all famished. We deserved something comforting - how about the Roasted Garlic Bulb appetizer to share? Why not... sounded amazing, and it was. We were brought a plate of 2 giant Garlic Bulbs, that were wood fire roasted with olive oil and.served with grilled Foccacia bread. Ahhhhh.... I felt better instantly.. my wine in one hand and a piece of bread smeared with roasted garlic in the other - I was set. Did I have a stressful day? Suddenly I couldn't remember.
But, we needed something green, so we all ordred the house salad (at a mere $2.50 you can't afford not to order this) and it was fresh, and lightly dressed with a tangy vinaigrette.
Now it was time for pizza. With the brick oven right there in plain view we knew that whatever we decided on would be satisfying. We chose the Special pizza which featured roasted vegetables and a little mozzarella cheese. Now apart from a few appetizers, Bacchus' menus only offers pizza and pasta - but they do both well - so there's no need to complicate things. The pizza hit the spot - satisfying both my veggie craving (with roasted peppers, eggplant and mushrooms) and my not so healthy craving for a nice salty cheese and a fantastic crust - a little chewy a little crispy.. totally sublime..
A slice of this pizza, with another glass of wine, and good friends made this night out pure perfection.
So today I'll be working off that decadant meal - but it was so worth it.. I'm thinking of starting off today with a few Italian pastries or maybe some sugar dusted zeppole at the Italian Festival in Schenectady... why not keep the Italian theme going another day?

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Read My Latest Review: The Jonesville Store

The last thing I thought I'd experience at a 150-year-old farmhouse in Jonesville, a tiny, historic hamlet near Clifton Park, is one of the most innovative, refined and thoughtful meals I've had in the Capital Region. The first thing that occurred to me was how on earth have I not come across this place sooner? The second thing was how soon can I come back? It's nice to know that no matter how many places you go out to eat or for how long you've been dining out, there are still great new discoveries to be made. This was one such unexpected discovery.
Before I continue, let me properly set the stage for this culinary revelation. The Jonesville Store has been owned and run since 2006 by two families, the Travis' and the Unger's. Not only is it a restaurant in a beautiful historic building, it also houses a gourmet deli, gift shop, features live music on Friday and Saturday nights, and is even home to an art gallery upstairs. So far, there's nothing not to like.
When trying to find a parking spot in the Jonesville Store lot on a recent Saturday night, dining companion Peter and I knew immediately that not making reservations was a mistake. On the other hand, the packed lot was clearly a good sign and we were excited to find out what all these people apparently already knew.
Read more here...

Monday, September 6, 2010

New Season, New Look

Hello foodie fans and faithful blog readers.. if this past weekend's cool temps are any indication, fall is here - no matter what the calendar may say.
With this new season I thought it was time to debut a new look - for fall.

So I hope you enjoy the new design, the new content (like polls and other blogs I follow), and there will be new posts coming soon - I promise!

In the meantime I'll leave you with what I ate last night at a "Comfort Food" themed Labor Day Celebration:

  • Garlic mashed potatoes, skins on, thank you very much, is there any other way to eat them?? Luckily Frank says: "No!"
  • Chicken Salad with walnuts and apples and tarragon - Frank says it was inspired by the salad at Allen's on 33rd and 2nd - a place I actually passed every day on the M15 bus on my way to Stuyvesant H.S. (btw: read Frank's blog,  Ad Mission, some great stories).
  • Feta & Artichoke Dip - a well worth it heart attack on a cracker - this is addictive and decadent.. thanks Tina!
  • Bruschetta - (also thanks to Tina) with so much garlic I couldn't help but smile every time I took a bite
  • Homemade Challah Bread French Toast Napoleons - Chip strikes again - these heavenly slices were grilled and topped with maple syrup, pecans and homemade ice cream or fresh fruit sorbet (take your pick)
  • Me? I made an orzo salad with cannellini bean, tomatoes, fresh basil and mozzarella tossed in a homemade vinaigrette of lemon, red wine vinegarr, olive oil and dried herbs. (see the super-easy recipe in my post below) I also made brownies, but after the Napoleons, it just seemed like overkill!
  • There was also plenty-o-wine to go around, including a lovely Sauvignon Blanc that Renee brought.. yum.
  • Special shout out to resident photographer (and No - it isn't as easy as it looks..) Jeff.. who took some great photos of some challenging subjects..thanks Jeff! Check out Jeff's beautiful Photography site here.
Ok - this is my cue to get off my butt and exercise.. till next time, eat well and tell me all about it..

Orzo and Cannellini Bean Salad

Here's a super simple (uh-oh, I sound like Sandra Lee from the Food Network - sorry 'bout that...) recipe for a pasta salad using cherry tomatoes and orzo pasta with fresh mozzarella and basil. The beauty of it is you can tweak it as much as you like - skip the beans, or replace with another variety, try diced provolone instead of mozzarella, or no cheese at all. The vinaigrette is equally flexible - try Balsamic vinegar for a stronger flavor, you get the idea...

  • 3/4 box Orzo pasta
  • 1 14oz. can cannellini (white) beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes, sliced into halves
  • 1 8 oz. container of Fresh Mozzarella "Pearls" (small ball-shaped pieces)
  • 1/2 cup of fresh basil chiffonade (basil chopped into small shreds)

 Vinaigrette: combine all ingredients, combine thoroughly with whisk
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/3 cup red wine vinegar
  • juice of one lemon
  • zest of one lemon
  • salt & pepper
  • 1 tbsp. Italian Seasoning (oregano, basil, garlic powder)
To Make:
  1. Cook pasta, drain, rinse with cool water, drain again, set aside
  2. In large bowl combine beans, tomatoes, and mozzarella
  3. Add orzo, toss gently
  4. Add vinaigrette, making sure salad is well coated
  5. Toss in the fresh basil chiffonade, chill.
Makes 8 servings.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Old World European charm (and chocolate) are worth the trip

A visit to Steininger's restaurant is kind of like a visit to your grandmother's house - if your grandmother lived in the quaint village of Salem, NY, and if she made classic American fare with a European twist, and crafted homemade chocolates that rivaled Godiva. Okay, maybe a visit to Steininger's isn't that much like a visit to your grandmother's house, but it's well worth the trip...
Check out my full review of this European style gem in Washington County that shouldn't be missed, here.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Zaika: An Assault on the Senses

Are you as addicted to Indian food as I am ? The mere mention of Naan, samosas, pakora, mango chutney, curries and biryani make me weak in the knees... not to mention desperately hungry.. .!

I recently went up to Clifton Park and reviewed an Indian restaurant called "Zaika". I was pleasantly surprised - the food was authentic, satisfying and tasty - and the prices incredibly reasonable. See my full review here: .

Monday, February 15, 2010

Happy Food To Cheer Up Any Gloomy Night

I’ve always said that Mexican food is ‘happy food’… and the whole El Loco experience supports my claim. Not only does El Loco serve delicious, authentic food, the atmosphere just seems to shout “good times will be had here”.

This past Friday night Peter and I ventured out in search of some happiness, in the form of food and alcohol - was there any other option but El Loco? No, mi amigo, there was not.
As we entered the building at 465 Madison Avenue in Albany, brightly colored and whimsical décor immediately started to have an effect – this is sooo what was needed…

It was a little later than most Capital Region residents tend to head out to dinner - but there were about half a dozen tables occupied. The hostess seated us in the back, at a nice cozy table perfect for devouring lots of tortilla chips and salsa in relative obscurity...

The drinks were easy: 2 Loco’s Gourmet House Margaritas, on the rocks with salt.. ahhhhh… just the sound of Peter ordering relaxed me.. is that bad? Whatever..
El Loco happens to make one of the best Margaritas around, the menu even states adamantly that “sour mix is never used”. (Warning: they do pack quite the punch, so don’t let the size of the small glass fool you!)
Our drinks were tart and refreshing, and paired with our basket of chips and Salsa Roja, I was fast approaching food euphoria. And our waitress was sweet enough to let us linger and after inquiring twice about whether we were ready to order, simply told us to relax and just let us know when we needed her.

So... the bowl of Salsa Roja was just about empty…thanks to Peter literally drinking from it, (picture that if you will....) so now it was about time to peruse the menu. Being newly “pescatarian”, (vegetarian who eats some fish) narrowed the menu choices down somewhat – but pleasantly there was still a decent amount of choices for us non-meat eating types. After flip-flopping between the Veggie Quesadillas (which Peter declared as a “lame choice” as anyone could make those..) and the Burrito Espinaca con Champiniones I went with the later. The dish translated into a Spinach Burrito with mushrooms, artichoke hearts, and shallots, topped with jack & cheddar cheeses, and served with black beans and Mexican rice, which I ordered with a side of guacamole.

Peter chose the Vegetable Enchiladas Mole Negro; a mix of zucchini, mushrooms, potatoes, peppers and onions, sauteed in mole sauce, wrapped in corn tortillas and covered with more mole and cheese. His dinner was also served with black beans and Mexican rice.

Both dishes it turned out were pure comfort food. It was hard not to feel good while cheese oozed out of my burrito and got all over everything, including me, while the spinach inevitably got caught in my teeth. The combination of spinach and mushrooms was a real winner, hearty and satisfying enough to make me not miss the meat. And the cheeses.. well, that’s always the icing on the cake, isn’t it?

Peter’s dish was just as consoling and fulfilling. The mix of veggies provided a combination of textures both crunchy and soft, and the complex, authentic mole sauce nicely kept the rich cheese in check. Again, our waitress let us take our time - we slowly savored every bite and every sip.

All of this paired with two more Margaritas and I think we managed to turn the night around to some degree. Olé!

Monday, February 1, 2010

Jack's Oyster House - Still Good After All These Years

The next restaurant review is live kids... check out it out here. I got to visit an Albany institution, Jack's Oyster House.
...Did I mention how much I love this gig? And this dining experience was truly a pleasure...
Have you been recently? What did you think?

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

The Standard Restaurant, My Take On a Mall Restaurant

It's live - my first Restaurant Review for Capital Region living magazine - check it out!

And keep your eye out for next month's issue when I review the legendary Jack's Oyster House in Albany - that was a fun review...