... The Ice Cream Man's Throwdown Sundae as seen on Food Network's Throwdown with Bobby Flay. Homemade vanilla hard ice cream, warm cinnamon apple pie filling, whipped cream with nuts and a cherry on top, in this case burried somewhere!
I was recently whisked away for a bachelorette weekend in Vermont for some much needed rest and relaxation. We spent most of the day at the spa at the charming Hartness House Inn in Springfield but by the time we got out, most of the shops were already starting to close early. Worried about a repeat of mediocre takeout Chinese from the previous night, we ventured out to the nearest town where we encountered Stemwinder Wine Barin the ski town of Ludlow. It was love at first sight as we were greeted by the words "duck fat" on the menu. The rest of the menu was an experience to remember:
Oven Roasted Potatoes: These crispy yet creamy potatoes were glistening in duck fat but it was the bits of braised beef brisket and herbed aioli with Plymouth Hunter cheese that made it extra special.
Seasonal Vermont Cheese Board: I can't recall the names of each cheese, just how delicious each nibble was. This particular board was curated with much thought, from the condiments to the bread. The baguette was a house-made bread with "everything bagel" toppings; house-pickled radishes; and a tangy balsamic caramelized onion chutney. Cheeses were a trio of an award-winning cheddar, a cumin infused hard cheese, and by far my favorite, an ash-covered goat cheese.The charcuterie was as delicious as the cheeses; the Vermont-made soppresatta was a particular standout.
Roasted Marrow Canoes: The best bite of the night was hands down these marrow bones. It's meat butter at its best. The marrow is so luxurious but the addition of a bright and acidic jalapeno scallop ceviche cut the richness just enough, elevating this dish to a whole new level.
For good measure we ordered a salad to balance out all the dishes we were indulging in and even that was phenomenal with elements like roasted beets, grapefruit, and pepitas. A couple glasses of wine and this bachelorette was in food heaven!
I cannot tell you how lucky you are Saratoga Springs to have TC Paris in your backyard. We miss having them in Albany dearly but have seen them grow and evolve into such a fantastic shoppe over the past couple of years. It's no longer about the macarons, albeit the best ones we've had in the Capital Region, but Chef Paul and crew are churning up more and new exciting things every time we get chance to get our butts up there. Things are getting savory and tres delicieux! We checked out their new Lunch in Paris menu:
Croque Monsieur: Not your typical lunchbox ham and cheese. This sandwich is grilled with a generous amount of butter and lovingly layered with carefully picked ingredients--European Ham from Niman Ranch, imported Gruyere, on "Pan de Compagne" bread. It's topped with a luxurious, creamy bechamel sauce spiked with thyme for added layer of flavor and broiled until brown and bubbly. A light spread of mustard adds just enough zip to cut through the richness of it all. How cute are the teeny tiny cornichons served alongside?
The Remy: The french baguettes at TC Paris remind me of the ones at home in Montreal. For me, the flavor and texture of the bread is very nostalgic with just the right balance of a crisp crust to chewy innard. Add some sweet fig jam, salty prosciutto, creamy St. Andre cheese, and some peppery arugula and you've got yourself another winning sandwich.
Mac 'n Cheese: What's so French about macaroni and cheese? Well the same buttery bechamel sauce adds a wonderful creaminess with a dash of nutmeg and imported Malaysian black pepper. But a simple but generous amount of cheese, both Gruyere and aged Canadian cheddar, add a very comforting and familiar taste. It's a well-made classic dish but somehow tastes more sophisticated.
Be sure to polish things off with a fleur de sel caramel. It's salted caramel taken to a whole new level with a deep bruleed flavor. For good measure, take an opera cake or Isphan macaron home too. What a treat to have a taste of Paris without a passport!
Between work, school, and wedding planning, we've been pretty stressed out lately. What better way to give in to a little comfort food and indulge with deep fried cheese sticks. After a whirlwind Tour de Tavern Pizzawith no room for anything else, the thought of Ralph's Tavern mozzarella sticks lingered for weeks taunting us. We finally caved and went for it.
Our first encounter did not disappoint. They clearly did not come straight from the freezer. Although not as crunchy as your typical mozzarella sticks, these lightly hand-battered logs had just the right amount of breading to let the cheese shine. If you're looking for an oozy, gooey, melty mozzarella stick, this hits the spot. It's also not too greasy which made wolfing these down way too easy.
Now what's a mozzarella stick without some sauce? While you can go the traditional way and have yours with marinara, you can also go the Upstate NY route and get yourself some raspberry sauce. J was more of a traditionalist preferring a savory sauce, while I leaned toward the salty and sweet combo. Don't get me wrong, the homemade red sauce is a classic and was just as good. The marina had great flavor and balance of seasonings but there's something about the grease, salt, and sweetness that was so addictive. I know, it's just jam from a jar but somehow it works. Are you a Team Mozz & Melba or Team Mozz & Marinara kind of person?
With a name like The Beer Belly, you wouldn't expect this type of joint to serve such addictive food but it does! J and I would probably come here on a daily basis if we still lived around the corner.The atmosphere is a perfect mix for the both of us; not too pretentious or hipster yet comfortable and approachable.
The Beer Belly has been curating an evolving list of excellent craft beers and a menu that is fun and thoughtfully prepared with simple and delicious ingredients. By now, you might as well call us regulars. We've tried nearly everything on the menu and while not all bites are perfect, there's been some memorable ones that are worth coming back for:
$1 Oysters: It's become a Sunday ritual for us pairing these freshly shucked beauties with a pick-your-own flight of delectable beers. You can also stop by on weekdays from 11am to 5pm for this daily deal.
Bresaola Bites: These artfully wrapped purses of thinly sliced cured meats are generously filled with a creamy chive goat cheese. It's a symphony of flavors between the tanginess of the cheese and salty bites of the air-dried beef. The basil pesto adds another dimension of flavor, bringing a fragrant accent that pairs wonderfully.