Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Winter Bites 2017

Hello 2017! We've totally been slacking between life stuff and buying a new house! For the sake of our mortgage, we've been going out less often but have come to savor each bite we've come across this winter: 
Four Corners Luncheonette: As newly minted Delmartians, you can find us quickly becoming regulars at our favorite brunch spot. Eggs Benedict are my go to standard because nothing beats a perfectly poached egg. The Luncheonette's Lafayette is a winning new take on the classic featuring house smoked salmon that melds so well with a velvety yolk. But it's the corned beef hash that has us coming back each time. It's simply the best.
Ala Shanghai Chinese New Year: Gung Hay Fat Choy! We rang in the year of the rooster with a FUSSYlittleBLOG blogger feast at Ala Shanghai. The multi-course meal featured a bevy of specialities including Grandma's Bowl, a hot pot of seafood and fish cake; stewed pork shoulder; steamed whole flounder; and my favorite, the jumbo spicy prawns with rice cakes. The best part of whole shrimp is the umami-packed head fat that's reminiscent of lobster. You know the food is going to be great when it's staring at you! 
The Sap House at Stone House Farms: Maple weekend is your excuse to shamelessly OD on everything maple.  You won't regret taking a road trip to Sharon Springs for the all-you-can-eat maple breakfast for a mere $7. One sip of maple milk will get you hooked and don't be afraid to load up on the maple butter, maple sugar, and maple syrup on both pancakes and waffles. Don't worry, the savory sausage will offset your sugar high.
Unagi Sushi: Be still my heart! Fresh sea urchin is hard to come by and we couldn't believe it was offered as a special at Troy's Unagi Sushi. So briny and creamy, uni is a sweet burst of the ocean!

Oaxaquena Triqui: How can you resist devouring a masterpiece the size of your face! Oaxaquena Triqui is the only local place we've come across that serves huarache. The sandal-shaped masa canvas is smothered with a base of black beans and topped with crema, pico de gallo, queso fresco, lettuce, avocado and our choice of flavor-packed al pastor. A drizzle of the homemade salsa verde amps up the flavors of this "Mexican pizza". 

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Top Bites of 2016

Another year down on the books as a delicious one. 2016 was filled with more eating than writing. A look back of our favorite local bite of the year on All Over Albany also brought back delicious memories from this past year, including some from our travels:
Eat Drink SF: A trip to San Francisco this past summer included a stop at the Bay Area's premier food, wine, beer and spirits festival. The best of SF's restauranteurs gathered for an epic tasting and the highlight of it all was this heavenly bite from Brasserie S&P. A dollop of creamed corn brought out the sweetness of the fresh, briny raw scallop and a pop of pickled blueberries brought it all together. I selfishly went it for seconds, it was that good. 

Duartes Tavern: Our West Coast trip brought us to the quaint little town of Pescadero, home of the iconic artichoke soup. It's California in a comforting, creamy bowl. The earthiness of the fresh artichokes in this soup is unlike anything we've had before. Asking for a swirl of spicy cream of green chile (an off the menu tip from Yelpers) further enhanced the flavors. 
Maharaja: Our favorite Indian restaurant has a mean weekend brunch buffet. What's unique about Maharaja's is that they include their Indo-Chinese fusion fare plus these diy pani puri!
Troy Kitchen: We love the choices at Troy Kitchen! Fell head over heels in love with the fried chicken from Allie B's Cozy Kitchen and couldn't get enough of the crepes at La Petite Crepe. Now there's Hoist Sandwiches with a pork belly banh mi that's calling our names! 
Chester's Smokehouse: There are too many delicious things from this place. We're big fans of the bacon ribs, liverwurst, and slim chesters (their own better version of a slim jim). Their homemade pierogies makes a frequent appearance at our dinner table, but it's the smoked chicken bacon potato ones that we can't stop thinking about. It's so good! 

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Fall Bites 2016

Our blog has been taking a bit of a hiatus lately but that doesn't mean we haven't been eating our way around! Here's a few of our favorite fall bites from the Capital Region:
Innovo Kitchen: Bring on the carbs. A giant bowl of pasta is as comforting as it gets during these fall months, especially when it's from Innovo Kitchen. Flavors were on point. From the succulent, buttery shrimp to the tangy bites of feta and peppery arugula with vinegary slices of pepperoncini. All these flavors blended beautifully but it was the house-made gemelli that was the star of the bowl. Cooked to a perfect al dente, each bite was as wonderful as the last.

Gracie's Luncheonette: Our favorite Hudson food truck now has a brick and mortar home in Leeds! Truck favorites like the burgers and fries are back and so are these light and fluffy doughnuts. Seasonal flavors like pumpkin spice is perfect for fall and the chocolate sea salt is a decadent treat for chocoholics like my husband. Enjoy other house made items like cream soda!  

Smorgasburg Upstate: The Brooklyn-based flea and food vendor showcase had its own Upstate spinoff in Kingston this past summer/fall. We caught the last one of the season in October and enjoyed a bevy of locally-sourced Hudson Valley eats from house-smoked salmon c/o Hookline Fish Co. to a spicy thai coconut ice cream cone c/o Jane's Ice Cream. Our favorite was a feast for the eyes and stomach from The Grille Wagon: a drool-worthy BBQ brisket parfait layered with succulent, smoky meat; creamy, crunchy coleslaw; buttery mashed potatoes; drizzle of BBQ sauce; and topped with not only a cherry tomato but a tender fall-off-the-bone pork rib. This was hands down my husband's favorite. It was a meat-astic affair. 
Coco Mango's: This has got to be Troy's best kept secret! What cold weather? Any time of the year is a good time for a cool treat especially when it's a Dominican icy. It's got a very unique texture, somewhat like Italian ice but better! Plus tropical flavors like mango and creamy coconut will transport you to those warm, beachy places we all dream about this time of year. 
Namu's KFC: Move over Colonel Sanders. A new fried chicken is in town: Korean Fried Chicken. The thick, crackly crust on this KFC is on a different level as it's double fried and tossed in your choice of a sweet soy and garlic sauce or a hot and spicy glaze. Either choices go great with a tall, cold glass of beer. Get to Namu on weekdays for the fried chicken. It's only available on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays. Cheers! 

More Seasonal Bites:
+ Summer Bites 2016

+ Spring Bites 2016
+ Winter Bites 2016

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Troy Kitchen

From Mexican to French and Korean, Troy Kitchen's ever expanding list of eateries is an international feast of flavors waiting to be savored. The food court boasts eight shops, each with its own tantalizing specialties:
Troy Lobster: Our No. 1 spot goes to Troy Lobster. Save a trip to Maine and get yourself to Troy. The seafood here is as fresh as it gets from the coast and flavors are on point. The chowder and lobster rolls are good but it's The Kracken that lures us to this side of the river. Look how drool-worthy that sandwich is! It's everything you ever wanted: lobster, applewood smoked bacon, guacamole, and egg with chipotle cream. It's a magical moment when the egg yolk breaks and coats everything.  

Allie B's Cozy Kitchen: It was love at first, crispy bite. Allie B's fried chicken belongs in the the Capital Region's top picks. It's seasoned just right and fried to perfection. Plus what's better than a classic chicken and waffle combo? One with sweet potato waffles, it's a game changer. 

La Petite Crepe: It's a taste of Paris in Troy! For authentic French crepes and savory galettes, say oui to La Petite Crepe. We've yet to taste the savory side of the menu but the sweet crepes are heavenly. The batter is slightly sweet lending a beautiful canvas to fresh fruit filings like nectarines with berry coulis, apples with housemade caramel, and my favorite to date, The Suzette with oranges and a buttery sauce. All topped with homemade whipped cream of course.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Summer Bites 2016

How is it fall already? Before we're inundated with everything apple and pumpkin spice, here's a look back at our favorite bites from this past summer:
The Dutch Udder: We were first introduced to The Dutch Udder and their hard cider sorbet at an AOA/Nine Pin Cider Cheese Pairing event. Throughout the summer, TDU has returned to Nine Pin for Cider and Sliders events where we've indulged in flights of ice cream. Why choose one flavor when you can have them all! Their creamy, decadent beer-inspired flavors had us coming back. Our favorites so far include The Wit (a wheat malt base ice cream with coriander and orange peel) and The Chocolate Oatmeal (made with Brown's Oatmeal Stout). Louis' Lunch: An impromptu trip to Connecticut led us to the OG of all burgers. Established since 1895, it's the birthplace of the hamburger and it doesn't get any old school than those vertical gas grills. Not to mention that condiments, especially ketchup, are not allowed. As for toppings, the only options are cheddar cheese spread, onion, and a slice of tomato. That's all you need really because all the flavor is in the broiled meat. Keeping it simple for 121 years. 

Donut Dip: Another road trip jem was Donut Dip in West Springfield, MA. Opened since 1957, they have mastered the perfect donut. Fresh yeast donuts are delightfully chewy and fluffy with a crispy shell and the cake donuts are tender with a crunchy exterior. While the frosted ones are bit too sweet, the stars of the bunch were the honey glazed, sugar raised, and the oh so dreamy strawberries 'n creme filled. It's the kind of donuts that are worth driving an hour for a dozen.

Maharaja: We were delighted to find out that our favorite Indian restaurant, Flavors of India, has reincarnated as Maharaja. It's back and better than ever with classic masalas and curries, Indo-Chinese fusion, and new favorites like these wings. You're probably scratching your head but Indian wings are fantastic! The Kalmi Kabab is marinated in an almond and pepper sauce and roasted in the tandoor oven giving these wings are wonderful smoky aroma and charred bite. Dare I say they might be better than buffalo wings?! 

Sunhee's Farm & Kitchen Soup: Who says you can't have soup in the summer!
We've explored several bites at Sunhee's and the menu just keeps getting better. I have no idea when Korean New Year is but I'm glad the KNY soup is a regular staple on the menu now. It's a combination of satisfyingly chewy rice cakes with dumplings, egg, and seaweed in a lightly seasoned broth. Consider this Korean New Year's soup a new favorite comfort food.

More Seasonal Bites:
+ Spring Bites 2016
+ Winter Bites 2016

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

PJ's Bar-B-QSA

Summer just screams BBQ. It's been a lazy summer and sadly our own smoker has been on hiatus. Lucky for us, PJ's Bar-B-QSA has satisfied our need for smoked everything this summer season. For ages we drove past without a second thought, even though TC Paris' Chef Paul always told us how delicious PJ's pulled pork was. On Memorial Day, we drove up to Saratoga in hopes of getting into a certain crawfish boil but hours-long lines led us to BBQ instead. We're kicking ourselves for not stopping by any sooner!

Get ready to take your tastebuds on a BBQ tour! The Q-S-A Road Trip platter was the perfect way to sample from every BBQ region: New York chicken, Texas brisket, North Carolina pork, Virginia sausage, and Memphis ribs. The pulled pork was as good as Chef Paul described it. We got ours with vinegar; the sharp tang cut the fattiness of the pork yet you could still taste the wonderful smoked flavor. Chunks of fatty brisket was moist and crusted with a succulent bark. The ribs weren't quite falling off the bone but still tasted good and the sausage had a great snap and char from the grill. The only slightly disappointing bite was the Cornell smoked chicken, a tad dry but good flavors reminiscent of Brook's BBQ. 

On a return visit we braved the slop bucket: a hot mess of bbq beans, curly fries, a swap of mac salad for the coleslaw, our choice of vinegared pulled pork, all topped with melted cheddar. Hello fat tooth! It shouldn't taste this good but it certainly hit the spot. Think of it as Upstate's own version of a garbage plate. Wash it all down with a can of Crystal Beach, PJ's unique beverage concoction of loganberry juice. It tastes like a cross between a blackberry and red raspberry and very addicting!

Equally as addicting are these wings. Smoked to perfection and fried to a delectable crispiness. Each bite showcases the smoked flavor and they're a great vehicle for sampling PJ's range of bbq sauces. Our favorites are the original hickory and tangy Carolina sauce.

Be sure to save room for dessert! You're going to want a loganberry sundae with a scoop of extra creamy vanilla custard, or be a glutton and get both a sundae and a loganberry milkshake. 

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Bangkok Bites

Back in April, a family emergency unexpectedly took me across the world to Bangkok. While I spent most of my time in a hospital, Thailand surprised me with some of the most unique and complex flavors. I made the most out of my two weeks overseas by eating my way through it: 
Khao Chae: The summer heat in the States is nothing compared to the scorching, humid temperatures of Thailand. Most people cool off with an ice cold beverage so you can only imagine how confused I was when my dinner came with a side of iced rice! I merely pointed at a picture so I had no idea what I ordered.  Some Googling revealed that khao chae is a seasonal dish served during the hottest months to cool off, which explains the rice soaked in iced jasmine water. Considered a "royal dish", it was almost too pretty to eat.  Dinner was an elaborate dance of alternating bites of deep-fried shrimp paste balls, shredded pork floss, and egg-battered pork-stuffed pepper with spoonfuls of the floral rice. At first I thought the vegetables were decorations only but nibbles of green mangoes and scallions balanced the sweetness of sides. It took some time to adjust to the sugar levels in Thailand, even in savory dishes. 

Pad Thai: One of the first dishes I had upon landing was a classic pad thai. It was from a Sodexho cafeteria and it was amazing! The hospital cafeteria is managed by a company that we as Americans look down on, but in Bangkok stalls are independently run by mom-and-pop operations. You won't find balut and freshly roasted duck at a Sodexho cafeteria here in the U.S.! Back to my pad thai, as sweet as it was the flavors were well-balanced and a squeeze of lime perfected it. I loved the tiny dried shrimps in addition to the fresh prawns, fried tofu and bean sprouts. You could even taste the bit of smoke and char from the wok. This was a legit stuff! Pad thai has never tasted the same since. 
Som Tum: The one dish that slightly scarred me was the Thai papaya salad. It looked really appetizing between the fresh, shredded green papaya, cherry tomatoes, and long beans but the assertiveness of the fish sauce, fish paste, and scorching heat of the tiny amount of Thai chilies was enough to make me cry. After a few bites, my tongue was on fire and begging for a cooling scoop of ice cream. They really hold back on the spice level here in the States. 
Beef Meatballs: The wonders of Instagram led me to some meat on a stick down the road from the hospital. Turns out that Anamai was named one of CNN's Top 10 best street food stalls. The stall is known for its beef meatballs and some picture pointing got me some meatballs grilled and covered in the typical sweet chili sauce. I also got a bowl of beef noodle soup. The clean, clear broth was very welcomed after a few too many spicy dishes. It was very pho-like but with a much simpler soup base. The meatballs were tender but I much preferred the texture of the ones with the chewy tendons. Alas, there were no hot guy sightings per Miss Tam Chiak's blog
Tropical fruit: Not a day went by that we didn't try something new. The abundance and variety of fresh, tropical fruit was mind boggling. Papaya and pineapples never tasted so good. I fell in love with Thai mangoes, both the crisp green versions and fragrant golden ones. I tried a custardy sapote that tasted like creme brulee and new fruits like langsat with its logan-like flesh and date palms that are indescribable. What a treat this all was!

Durian: I couldn't leave Thailand without trying the king of all fruits! As stinky as it was, I was happy to devour this lovely fruit on the balcony of my hotel. Some people find it so offensive but it's a heavenly custard to me. What's neat is that in its fresh form, you can taste the difference in varieties. If I could've I totally would have brought some back with me but I'm sure the folks on my 22hr journey around the world wouldn't have appreciated it.