Sunday, January 27, 2013

Stuffed Breadsticks!, Pizza! ... and Buffalo Chicken?

I decided to grab a couple of friends and go on a road trip down south. It was a true road trip, we didn't go on any highways, we stayed on the beaten path of the back roads.

By following route 9W south, we found our way in Catskill, New York. I have been to this area before when I visited Crossroads brewery in Athens. My friend Bradley was driving and decided to stop a pedestrian on the side of the road to ask where we can find a good spot for lunch. 

We were directed to go visit Pomodoro's Italian Restaurant, just off of route 9W. As soon as our new friend told us about Pomodoro's, it occurred to me I have heard of restaurant. I was now excited for lunch (when am I not excited for lunch?). 

We each ordered a couple appetizers and pizza. The menu was filled with delicious options. Bradley decided to be different and ordered a buffalo chicken sandwich. Bradley definitely did not make a poor choice. I saw his meal, it looked great and Bradley said it tasted even better than it looked. You could smell the flavor. The heat of the hot sauce and the melted bleu cheese. 

Outside of Bradley's buffalo chicken sandwich, the highlight of the day was Pomodoro's stuffed breadsticks. They were stuffed with mozzarella cheese, topped with parmesan with a side of their homemade pasta sauce. The cheese was gooey and the dough was soft and fluffy. I can clearly see why they are a best seller. I strongly recommend a visit to Pomodoro's in Catskill and order yourself the stuffed breadsticks. 

 Pomodoro's Italian Restaurant
90 Catskill Commons
Catskill, NY 12414

Thursday, January 24, 2013

100 Years of Oysters

One century ago today, on January 24, 1913 Jack's Oyster House opened up on Beaver Street in downtown Albany. More info on this great achievement here in The Record . Yet another centennial anniversary in the Capital Region as we also saw Manory's in Troy this month.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Wine for the Arts

Wine and Dine for the Arts

Those of you active in the local dining and arts communities, are probably confused by the title given this past weekend's event.  Give Joey a second.

When it comes to food, no one loves the Capital Region more than this guy.  So I’m sure you can understand the excitement I felt when I first heard about the 2013 Wine & Dine for the Arts.  Wine for Mrs. Average Joe, Dine for Average Joe….the perfect date!  On top of that, this weekend long event is a huge fundraiser for the local arts community.  How could it go wrong?

Easy.  They forgot the food.  Not completely, but I felt like I was at a wine tasting.  Maybe it’s sour grapes (pun alert), but as the Designated Driver, I did not have nearly as much fun as Mrs. Average Joe.  Am I embellishing?  100% .  There was food, and boy was it great.  I just felt that Mrs. Average Joe got more out of her $50 than I did.

Enough pouting.  Jack’s, 677, New World Bistro.  That’s a good week of eating right there, and I got to do it all in one day.  More importantly, this day wasn’t about the wine or the food.  It was about supporting a cause.  We went on Saturday afternoon and the room was packed, with some of the top culinary experts in the area. 

Maybe I went with the wrong strategy.  I went with an empty stomach, expecting to eat like Kobayashi.  I’ll give the Wine & Dine for the Arts another chance in 2014, but this time I think I’ll check out the Slider Slam on Friday night.  I can definitely put on a show at that.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Manory's Restaurant Celebrating 100 Years

Manory's Restaurant in Troy is getting ready to celebrate its first centennial this spring. I happened to be there this weekend and noticed a few new things including the new mural behind the counter. Here's a great article in the The Record. The great thing about Manory's is that not much has changed in 100 years.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

The Simple Things

You've seen me order a lot in my day here on this blog, but how often do I ever just get a salad? It's so simple yet delightful in its own way. You have to be in that sort of salad mood though, which is rare for me I suppose.

The simple things are what's important sometimes, and healthy. Normally when I go to Francesca's I get the special. I check its Facebook page, the special's usually posted daily. Last week I just had to stop in because it had been a while.

I had a bite at the salad, it was the perfect combination of leaf and chicken, I felt in my element at that moment. I have to say the flavor was there with every bite. Like I said though, rare occasion for me, I need to eat less healthy the rest of this week, I have to get back into the old swing of things here.

Next time you're at Francesca's don't hesitate to order a simple salad.

Stay healthy.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Cheese & Wine With A Friend Of Mine

A few Saturdays ago, while snow flurries transformed into a serious snow, a good friend and I explored Troy’s artsy River Street shops, planning to end the day with a visit to the new Charles F. Lucas Confectionery and Wine Bar. About 3:30, as the early winter dusk fell over snowy streets, we headed over to the wine bar at 12 Second Street in pursuit of warmth and sustenance.

When we arrived the door was open, but we were early and my spirits sank—the place opens at 4 pm Monday to Saturday, 12 pm on Sunday. The moment was saved, however, when we were greeted by a friendly server who said she’d be happy to pour us a glass of wine, even though they weren’t officially open and the kitchen wasn’t ready to serve. I admit I balked for a moment, seriously thinking of heading to a restaurant in full swing. I was tired and cold and seeking immediate gratification, but the exposed brick interior, trendy low lighting and warmth of the woody decor drew me in.

From that moment on, life got better. First, we drank delicious wine from a great wine list with really interesting choices, and an upbeat, pleasant and knowledgeable bartender. As my dry red wine choice I was served a delicious Italian Barbera Piemonte (Boschis, $10/glass), while my rose-loving friend enjoyed the Tavel Rose (Domaine Pelaquie, $9/glass) from France. The full wine menu (by the glass and by the bottle) is on the website, and excitingly, it’s full of thoughtful choices with distinctive tastes. These are the types of wines which remind you why you drink wine in the first place—at an affordable price.

Next we sampled mouth-watering cheeses and meat from the Cheese & Charcuterie menu. Presented on a beautiful slate tile and artistically arranged with a fresh baguette, dijon mustard and cornichons were:  thin slices of Spicy Capicola (pronounced by local Italians as “gabba ghoul”); Old Chatham Sheepherding Co.  Shaker Blue paired with figs; Kunik, from Nettle Meadow Farms, smooth and creamy with hints of lemon and paired with tiny gingersnaps; and the piece de la resistance, a cheese called Barely Buzzed, cheddar-like and hand-rubbed with espresso and lavender—and you could actually taste these wonderful hints of flavor!

The place really delivers on everything it appears to be—intimate, special, unique, planned and well executed from the tiny European water glasses of infused drinking waters (cucumber this day), to its smart collection of craft beers, to the canisters of brightly colored classic candies it sells and beautifully displays as a shout out to the location’s confectionery history. And I haven’t even mentioned the great music that plays as if almost calibrated to fit the room.

When--not if--you find yourself longing for a spot to go that’s as good as one in Manhattan--or any of the other places we visit and then whiningly compare the Capital Region to--go to the Confectionary and Wine Bar. It’s all that and more—and without the snobby attitude and big city prices.

For more information, visit the website at