Friday, June 24, 2011

The Taproom (Brown's Brewing Co.)

First off let me just clear the air - I have a confession to make. Even though you can't see it in these pictures, I made a questionable beverage decision when I went to The Taproom. I ordered a Bud Light. I'm a little fuzzy on whether or not I lived under power lines growing up so I'll blame the paint chips I ate as a kid for forgetting to order one of their signature award winning beers. It must run in the family, I have a relative that insists on ordering spaghetti everywhere. Even Chinese buffets.

So good I ate half of them before I remembered 

to take the picture.

Breaded, fried, crispy and delicious - small wonder these wings are consistently chosen as the best wings in Troy by RPI's Wing Fest.  All of their sauces are good but I recommend Carrie's Sassy BBQ - it's a good change of pace for a wing sauce especially if you're looking for a break from Buffalo sauce. It's sweet but not too sweet. The sauce was so good I ended up dipping my fries in it. Anyway, you get plenty of wings to share. One thing stood out to me - the wings were huge. I don't know what they were feeding these chickens but, by the looks of them, they could bench press me. Hopefully they didn't grow up in Chernobyl Farms. All kidding aside, they were some of the best wings I've had in a while so I can't fault RPI for choosing them.

The Southwest chicken wrap I had was good but it wasn't something I'd order again. It was lacking some "oomph" and didn't have the kick I expected after reading the description on the menu. They were pretty light on the jalapenos too - it was not as memorable as the wings. If you go, I'd suggest the jambalaya as your entree - I've had it before and it was very good. It definitely gets my seal of approval. Their beer pretzel appetizer - two large soft salted pretzels - are also worth a try, but only after you had the wings.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Why I can't wait for Friday

If you are like me, you undoubtedly know that we are just hours away from one of the greatest days in our lives. Graduations, getting married, the birth of children, and the fact that Hooters is returning to the Capital Region, these are the moments that will flood your final moments before meeting Saint Peter.  That's right faithful followers, Hooters returns to the Capital City on Friday with a new restaurant on Wolf Road.

I never understood how or why they left Crossgrates a few years ago.  It was always fairly packed - maybe it was an issue of high rent.  Plus the fact that Hooters is coming back to the region, outside a mall setting with built in foot traffic, and in a down economy proves that the region can sustain the restaurant, that or maybe it was the 1,132 letters I have sent to Hooters Headquarters in recent years.

Average Joe doesn't like chain restaurants but the is one specific reason I love Hooters.  Hooters is known for its friendly environment and 14 televisions in sight no matter where you are looking.  Yet that is not the one thing that makes Hooters so great.  That one aspect of Hooters is the reason I was drawn to the parking lot on a Wednesday night just for a look.  Like a Grateful Dead fan who camps out front of the Radio Shack three days before tickets go on sale (been there, done that) I feel a magnetic force drawing me to Hooters.  It is that one thing that Hooters has that no other restaurant or chain in the world has, the one thing that keeps you coming back time and time again, the one thing that I have missed for years....... the wings. 

I know what you are thinking because people have said it to me for years, isn't that like saying you read Playboy for the articles?  To that I say, I am the exception.  I love Hooters’ wings, breaded and hot, they are simply the best.  In fact, I find the overly outgoing waitresses a little too pushy and I hate that they give you a thimble full of blue cheese then charge you for more.  Yet I over look all of that for the wings.  I can't wait for Friday.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Good News for BBQ Fans

Winter has never been my favorite time of year. What can I say - I don’t look forward to throwing my back out shoveling or slipping on the ice and falling on my face. But, it isn’t just the weather that gets to me, it’s also the disappearance of seasonal restaurants. One of my favorite BBQ places, PJ's Bar-B-Q, shutters their doors every time Old Man Winter comes around so I usually count down the days until the Saratoga Springs restaurant reopens but I’m happy to say that’s about to change.

Some say it’s smart business sense but I prefer to think that my prayers were finally answered. It won’t be long now until we can finally enjoy PJ’s Bar-B-Q the whole year round. Construction will begin in October to make PJ’s restaurant more suitable for year-round dining. The restaurant will reopen in 2012 as Bar-B-QSA Restaurant complete with a new slogan “A taste tour of the American barbecue” and an expanded menu featuring Texas-style brisket and North Carolina-style pulled pork in addition to the Kansas City and Memphis-style products they serve now.

Oh and don’t worry, PJ’s will keep the picnic tables and traditions you’re used to such as bike nights and classic car nights during the summer.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Watervliet Armenian Festival

St. Peter Armenian Church in Watervliet is hosting their Armenian Festival on Saturday, June 11 from 4:00 - 8:00 p.m. and Sunday, June 12 from noon - 4:00 p.m. St. Peter Armenian Church is located at 100 Troy Schenectady Road. Both parking and admission are free.

You can expect rides for kids and raffles as well as Armenian and Middle-Eastern music and food. Those of you who are there on Saturday night will be able to join a tavloo (backgammon) tournament at 4:30 p.m. The entry fee is $15. A dance instruction will be held Sunday afternoon.

For more information, click here.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Saati Catering's Friday Night Take Out for Four

Yeah, I know I'm up late tonight but I stumbled onto a pretty good deal I wanted to pass along before I hit the hay. Saati Catering in Latham is offering their new "Friday Night Take Out Special for Four" this Friday, June 10th for $24.95.

Seems like a lot of local restaurants figured out that, after putting in a 9 - 5 shift at the office, the last thing many people want to do is stand in front of a hot oven for an hour and cook. You have a few pick up dinner options available to you now at some pretty good local restaurants.

What's on the menu? Tuscany Chicken served with pasta, served with a Chef's Salad and some bread. If you're interested in placing an order, grab your phone and dial 518-783-1600. You can pick up your order on Friday from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m.

For more info click here.

Bomber's Burrito to Open in Troy

First Dinosaur now Bomber's? Troy is definitely doing something right for Capital Region foodies. I'm a big fan of Bomber's (see my review) so I'm going to be keeping an eye on this project as it unfolds and I'll definitely have to see if the food is as consistent at the new location as it always is in Albany.

The powers that be are mulling over 2 Kings St. in Troy - right across from Ryan's Wake, Jose Malone's and Brown's Brewing Co.. If everything proceeds smoothly then construction could begin as early as July and last until the Fall.

For more about the project check out Danielle Sanzone's story for the Troy Record here.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Fresh Market

I try to be as open minded as possible when it comes to food, but something about meeting my friend at a supermarket for lunch sounded a little odd to me. I didn’t get it and I wasn’t too excited about eating nestled in the corner of some tiny cafeteria. I thought to myself – “Great, if I wanted dried out, old pizza reheated for me, I could have found some closer to work.” Weird request or not, when I finally had the food I became a believer. Everything was fresh and surprisingly tasty. It’s been a few years since that trip and I’ve had more than enough time to pull my foot out of my mouth. I was wrong, let’s move on and fast forward to lunchtime yesterday.

I checked out the Fresh Market when it first opened and I’ve been back a few times since for groceries but I never got around to trying their prepared foods. I decided to give them a shot yesterday – I wanted to see if lightning could strike twice. Was the food worth my time? Short answer: yes.

Let me start with the cole slaw – the cranberry cole slaw. It was crunchy, not soggy or overloaded with sauce. The cranberries were a nice touch, they were tangy and added a good contrast to the slaw. The broccoli and cheese potato salad was the highlight of the meal for me – nice and cheesy but the broccoli was MIA. The chicken was cooked just right. It was moist, juicy and tender. The skin wasn’t dried out and it had just enough BBQ sauce for me to taste without being overpowering. The best part was I had plenty to share – they gave me a huge portion of the sides and a lot of chicken. Definitely well worth stopping in.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

St. Basil's Troy Greek Festival

I know, I know, I'm late to the party with this one but I still wanted to get the word out before it was too late. Like I said a few days back, this is the time for church festivals. That means there will be plenty of food and fun to go around for the whole family. St. Basil Greek Orthodox Church in Troy is holding its 17th Annual Greek Festival this weekend. It started Friday and continues today (Saturday) noon - 10 PM and Sunday noon to 5 PM.

What can you expect? Food, dancing, a bazaar, raffles...and did I mention the food?!

For directions and more info, please click here.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

A Troy Classic: The Notty Pine Tavern

As I'm sure you can tell by now, I'm always on the lookout for solid pub fare. I had a sudden craving the other day so I started scrolling through my mental Rolodex and I remembered a place I hadn't visited in awhile. If you're a Troy native, I'm sure you've heard of the Notty Pine Tavern. It's one of the city's many landmark neighborhood taverns. If you haven't stopped in yet, you need to pencil it into your schedule, especially if you like pizza. It's located off of Hoosick Street near RPI.

The roots of the restaurant date back to 1945. While Italian-American food has always been their specialty, the menu offers an extensive selection of sandwiches from Philly Cheese Steak to Turkey Club to French Dip. On a recent trip, I switched it up and got "The Mayflower" sandwich. How can you go wrong with that classic Thanksgiving fusion?  I was a little thrown by the white bread (it's been awhile since the Missus switched the house over to wheat), but the thing was really solid. I need to put the place back in the regular rotation.

If you go, here's some advice. It's a neighborhood joint so everyone will look you over to see if they know you. It's the type of place where everyone knows almost everyone. All the regulars eat at the bar or at the booths in the bar. If you want to real experience, don't be shy about bellying up. If you're a wallflower by nature, it's also ok to go sit in the dining room too.