Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Albany's REEL SEAFOOD is as real as airport Colonie town can be!(6-25-12)

Last night while waiting for a flight, we decided to run around the

corner from Albany airport and discovered REEL SEAFOOD on Wolf Rd in

Colonie (www.reelseafoodco.com). It's basic, but decent and we enjoyed

a bottle of Kim Crawford Chardonnay (unoaked) with our basic but tasty

seafood while Sam ate a way overdone hamburger with fries.

The bread here is a hit for sure and we did indulge. Will had the


scallops, a 1/2 dozen shrimp scampi, 2 clams casino, a chuck of cod

with a bread crumb coating and one huge Alaska King Crab. the dipping

butter was redundant as everything here is already loaded with butter,

even the yummy String Beans Almondine. The cole slaw is included and

we had that as a starter as each bowl is huge! My only real complaint

was that one of the clams had a piece of bacon that was quite hard and

what one might call wood-chip like.

The service is friendly and it sure beats the garbage you get in the

airport, so why not waste 90 minutes here instead!

Monday, June 25, 2012

lunching in Lake Placid & the fabulous FRIENDS Lake Inn, Chestertown, NY (6-23-12)

On our way out of Lake Placid we stopped for lunch at the BIG MOUNTAIN
DELI & CREPERIE (www.simplygourmetlakeplacid.com) on Main Street where
Samuel decided he adores crepes; his was stuffed with pesto chicken,
melted provolone and roasted red peppers. Will and I had the Turkey,
Tomato, Spinach, Feta and Tapenade which was also divine.
It was almost impossible to choose with a huge wall of dozens of
savory crepes and the "46 best sandwiches in the high peaks." I guess
we WILL have to go back.

We headed south to Chestertown, just west of Lake George and the
FRIENDS LAKE INN where we dined and stayed. Our superb dining
experience proves that there is great food and amazing wine in the
middle of nowhere. The amuses arrived in the form of a Seared Scallop
with Cajun Edamame Puree and seaweed salad, but they seemed to know
that Samuel would not even touch this and hence brought him a fried
mozzarella stick with mini pizza bite atop fresh tomato sauce. He was
We ordered a spectacular bottle of 2002 Maison CHAMPY GEVREY -
CHAMBERTIN that has some spice in the mouth at first and then mellowed
and smoothed to perfection.
Salads were the starters and these were some of the best with Samuel
and I basking in the sublime HEIRLOOM TOMATOES with Mozzarella & Fresh
Basil in a duet of Balsamic reductions. Will opted for the RADICCHIO
with Grapefruit Segemtns, Shaved Pecorino and what must have been a
ton of Crispy Prosciutto.

A sorbet of Apple Mango, Lemon, Tea came next and it was a nice break.
Samuel went with the All Natural STATLER Chicken BREAST and Sweet
Italian Style Chicken Sausage au jus with rice noodles, summer squash
and roasted red peppers that was cooked perfectly and came out like a
Will and I split two entrees each of which could have fed two people.
The amazing Maple Leaf Farms (Quebec) Lychee Pineapple Barbeque
Lacquered Half Duckling was ay more than half a duck with a ton of
super mango infused black rice and fresh heirloom style steamed
Then we went on to the Cast Iron Seared ELK CHOP with Juniper Cherry
De mi-Glace, Porcini Celeriac Mash and Roasted Baby Beets. The meat
was ever so slightly chewy, but the dish was superb overall with every

Will enjoyed a Passion Fruit Semifreddo with Raspberry Coulis and I
spooned up some White Peach and really fab Lychee Sorbets with fresh
berries as I ran out the door to a concert at the Seagle Music Colony
in nearby Schroon Lake.
Breakfast the next day was equally impressive with amazing Maple
Sausages and Crispy Maple Bacon amongst other things!

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Whiteface Lodge's KANU can do and more especially with wine in Lake Placid, NY (6-22-12)

After an awful delay getting out of Dulles of a DAY, we made it north for our weekend in the Adirondacks and headed straight to our overnight spot at the rustic, yet luxurious Whiteface Lodge. Dinner at their elegant dining space called KANU is a wonderful experience and was helped along with our sweet server Tiffany and the brilliant wine expertise of sommelier Scott.
The dining room is over two stories tall and loaded with taxidermy and animal heads as well as a chandelier of antlers. This is not for your PETA vegetarian! The chairs are comfy wooden Adirondack style and due to such a large space, nobody could ever feel crowded.
Scott gave us many ideas about NY State wines and we are now so excited about our upcoming August trip to the Finger Lakes.
We started with a bottle of Herman-Wiemar Reserve Chardonnay 2003 from Seneca Lake and the first bottle was corked, but the second was sublime and had aged perfectly. Scott told us where to visit in August and I bled him for every bit of info I could!
I started with a superb SMOKED CANADAIN DUCK & Fingerling Potato Salad with Sun Dried Tomatoes, Shallots, Dill, Olive Oil & Sherry Vinaigrette that was as tasty as a salad can be. Will went for the TUNA TARTARE with Cucumber, Ginger, Coriander, Sesame, Lime, Chives and Potato Gaufrettes, which he passed off to Samuel (remember our diets!). The tartare was tasty, but he said it's not nearly as good as mine that I have taken to making every two weeks while we are dieting!
Samuel ordered the "Chicken Fingers & Fries" which were three juicy breaded breast pieces that would have feed THREE children.
We moved on to an amazing CABERNET FRANC/Lemberger Blend from ARNOLD ROAD 2007 "Martini-Reinhardt" from Seneca Lake as well that would shame many other reds from more popular wine regions!
Will enjoyed this with his perfectly rare Pesto Herb Crusted YELLOWFIN TUNA, Green Beans, Fingerling Potatoes, Cherry Tomatoes, Olives & Quail Egg. My MISTY KNOLL STATLER CHICKEN BREAST with Grilled Vegetables, Orzo Salad and Roasted Shallot Sherry Emulsion was just slightly overcooked and hence a bit dry, but a truly tasty farm raised chicken that deserves note(read next night's review about same).

Samuel was full after a second order of those amazing skin-on fries, but Will tested his diet with the Adirondack ICE CREAM SANDWICH made from Brownie Cookie, Barkeater Toffee Ice Cream and Caramel Sauce. It was yummy, but came in three gigantic cookie slices that again could have fed three or more.
I headed for the cheese which was divine. Samuel gobbled up most of the BEENSTER POLDER 26 month aged Gouda from the Netherlands and I savored the local KUNIK from Nettle meadow Farm in Warrensburg, which we visited today and petted and named the goats and bought even more cheese from to take home! Old Chatham Farm Ewe's Blue is always nice, but a mild blue, and a local Adirondack Cheese Aged Cheddar from Barnveld, NY was creamy and crunchy and heaven. There were tasty berries and I polished it off with a glass of divine VIGNOLES, Berry Select "Martini-Reinhardt Selection" 2006 also from Arnold Road (we are going there!).
Thank's Scott for the wine and a wonderful evening.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

EAT BAR for a nosh or more in Arlington (Happy Father's Day! 6-17-12)

Well folks,

We've started to emerge from diet hibernation. We have lost a combined total of nearly 35 pounds and are still going, if slowly, so a treat is in order for Father's Day.

We were in Arlington after Samuel's ballet recital and chose EAT BAR (http://www.eat-bar.com)which we knew had yummy burgers for him and lots of choices for us from the large small plates menu.

Samuel headed right for the HAMBURGER with FRENCH FRIES and a Shirley Temple. Eat Bar's small plate burger at $9.00 is a steal. It's superb meat and seasoned so well, none of us (yes we took a bite) wanted ketchup!

The fries were hot and tasty.

Will & I started by splitting a STEAK TARTARE made with Pastrami Spices, & Egg and served with crispy thin slices of toasted pumpernickel. I've head this before, and still love it.

A glass of BONARDA MALBEC Alma Negra 2009 for will from Mendoza, Argentina was spicy and full bodied, while my RED BLEND from Thurston Wolfe of Washington's Columbia Valley 2009 was smoother yet intense due to a blend of 36%Primitivo,36% Lemberger and 28% Petite Sirah.

Next we ordered (to split) the SPICED LAMB BURGER made of pork and lamb with a curry-whipped feta, tzatziki and pickled onions on the side. I shmeared my onion on the very spicy burger and while I really couldn't taste the feta (due to the spice), it was a divine assemblage cooked to a medium-rare perfection.

Our two sides we ordered were the excellent and simple GRILLED RAPNINI with balsamic & crispy garlic, but alas they were out of the Roasted Beets with Ricotta, Cumin and Citrus vinaigrette. Our delightful server apologized and said we could have any side on the house and recommended the WHITE BEANS with Parmesan and Bacons Bits--she was spot on, but we both felt the fat settle in as we wobbled out the door and hoped that eating early meant our metabolism would get its job done before bed.

Off to the MUSIC MAN at Arena Stage with Sam! A delightful Father's Day and super eats at EAT BAR!

Monday, June 04, 2012

James Beard Foundation finds DC with SUNDAY SUPPER at UNION MARKET (DC's newest foodie venue) starring 20+ of DC's star chefs! (6-3-12)

Last night was truly one of the greatest foodie events DC has seen in decades. It combined great food, wine, company, chefs, mixologists and more in what is sure to be one of Washington's hottest new foodie venues when it opens on September 8. Union Terminal Market opened over 80 years ago at 4th & Florida Streets, NE and in its heyday was probably a pretty amazing place with over 700 vendors, cold storage and a cafe! A law banning outdoor sales of meat and eggs in 1962 killed the farmer's market and in 1967 a new indoor market was built. By the 1980's the area began to change with the advent of modernization and supermarkets in the 'burbs. The historic UNION MARKET is being revitalized the EDENS, a development corporation (they did the Ferry Terminal in San Francisco) and will reopen on September 8 at 6th Street & Neal Place, NE (near Gallaudet University) (www.unionmarketdc.com) with a mix of retail, restaurants, hotel, entertainment and more. Last night the James Beard Foundation took over the space for a fundraiser in conjunction with the charity Food Corps and it was indeed an evening to remember. Over 250 people sitting at two long tables attended and over $100,000.00 was raised. Entitled SUNDAY DINNER at UNION MARKET, we were greeted in the stark, but spanking new interior featuring bright open spaces with a chandelier of recycled water bottles over the main entrance. Waiters abounded offering sparkling water and wines and we progressed to the first "station" right inside the front door which will be the future home of uber-mixologist GINA CHERSEVANI (now serving at Eddy Bar at Hank's Oyster Bar) called "Soda Shop." She offered up the most spectacular Stormy Harbor-Rhum Clement, Buffalo & Berger Ginger-Lime Soda Cocktail that I went back for seconds only to discover they were gone and Gina had switched to a fizzy starwberry rum cocktail! Next to her was Derek Brown of the Columbia Room who had a cloyingly sweet Gin Punch a la Terrington made from Plymouth Gin, Green Chartreuse, Lemon, Cane Sugar & Mineral Water. Around the open space were counters featuring various appetizers: Spring tonic, Nettle Soup with Crispy Guanciale (pork cheeks fried to a crispy wafer) from Rob Weland of Cork Wine Bar Tabasco BBQ'd Hama Hama (California) Oysters from Jamie Leeds of Hanks Oyster Bar -I had to go back for seconds! Lardo Wrapped Fig with Lemon Honey from Nate Anda of Red Apron Butchery (see below) Japanese Deviled Egg-Half a Soy Egg with Sea Urchin from Katsiya Fukushima of Daisuke the soon to open ramen restaurant Daikaya White Gazpacho with Laughing Bird Shrimp & Cucumber Blossoms from Harper McClure of The Federalist was a refreshing summer treat. Rappahannock River Oysters on the Half Shell were served up by Travis Croxton who will open Rapahannock Oyster Co in the market this fall as well. Tables offered up glasses of various Virginia wines: Boxwood Winery Topiary (Cabernet Franc & Merlot) & Rose Veritas Winery Viognier Thibaut-Janisson Blanc de Chardonnay sparkling These wines were also on the table to be poured by us "Sunday Dinner style" when we sat down. Jugs of Chocolate City Beer Copper Ale also were on the table and poured draft-style during our arrival. The floor plan for the future market shows a cafe/wine bar as well as Lifestyle store from Amanda Clements, Righteous Cheese from Carolyn Stromberg, Peregrin Espresso, Oh! Pickles, DC Empanadas, Trickling Springs Creamery (dairy products), Lyon Bakery (breads), TaKorean (Korean BBQ tacos), Red Apron Butcher Shop, Dolcezza (from Georgetown) Artisanal Gelato and of course Rapahannock Oyster Co Oyster Bar and Gina's Soda Bar, as well as 40 local vendors and artisanal goods. After an hour of milling around, finding friends and meeting up with many of the star chefs cooking that evening, we were seating at the two long tables and served a four course dinner with each course consisting of three large plates passed around each section of the long tables "Sunday Dinner style." FIRST COURSE Nick Stefanelli(Bibiana Osteria) -Braised Pork Trotter with Early Summer Tomato Sauce and Poached Egg came in a deep fried rectangle in a rich sauce and I realized that I must truly beware of portion control tonight if I am to survive, having dieted for over a month now! Nora Pouillon (Restaurant Nora) served up a tasty New Morning Farm Arugula Salad with Shaved Artichokes and Lemon Vinaigrette that I begged for more of. RJ Cooper (Rogue 24) had a divine Rose Veal (tartare) with Wheat Germ, Artichokes served between two pieces of Flatbread (that I eliminated most of!). SECOND COURSE Scott Drewno (The Source) had "Angry Crab" which was a Fried Soft shell Crab with Traditional (spicy) Szechuan "Angry" Sauce and it was indeed spicy but superb Robert Wiedmaier(a James Beard Award winner - Marcel's, Beck's, Brabo, & Mussel Bar in Atlantic City ) wowed us with huge Grilled Scallops with Thyme & Aged Sherry Butter Emulsion that was darkened with Squid Ink and laced with Truffle Oil. Mike Isabella (Graffiato & Bandolero) -kept it simple but tasty with a salad of Grilled Local Summer Squash, Sweet & Sour Eggplant, Basil & Tomato I must note that so much of the food was locally grown and sourced and fresh as can be making this an even more special event. THIRD COURSE Cathal Armstrong (Restaurant Eve & more) - made the scene with a Crisp Muscovy Duck Leg Confit with Morels that begged for seconds! Bryan Voltaggio (Volt and a soon-to-open space in Chevy Chase!)-TV chef heartthrob from Top Chef showed he can truly re-invent with a Pumpernickel Radiatore (pasta swirls) with Pickled Veal Tongue, Garden Herbs & Flowers with Sea Beans. Fabio Trabocchi(another James Beard winner-Fiola) - served up a Casserole of Maitake Mushrooms, pea Tendrils and Flowering Sage that was one of the most amazing vegetable sides anywhere. Intermezzo I dare you not to finish this Lemon & Opal-Basil Gelato from Robb Duncan of Dolcezza (to open at this market as well!), a creamy delight topped with fresh micro basil greens. FOURTH COURSE As if one dessert were not enough we got TWO, plus a box to go! Warren Brown (CakeLove) -Dark Chocolate Bundt Cake with Lemon-Vanilla Syrup was a moist delight even if I only had one bite! Tiffany McIsaac (Birch & Barley, Tallula, Eatbar, Vermillion, Evening Star Cafe, Columbia Firehouse & Rustico) - easily raised the bar on desserts with a Goat's Milk Cheesecake, Glazed Cherries, Pistachios, Balsamic & Arugula Santosh Tipur - sent us home with a box of chocolates from Coco Salsa so we wouldn't starve on the way! I can guarantee that I would return for this event if it becomes annual!