Showing posts with label Saratoga Springs. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Saratoga Springs. Show all posts

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. 

Monday, January 25, 2016

Hattie's Fried Chicken & Waffles

Brunch is your free pass to scoring fried chicken for breakfast and it doesn't get any better than chicken and waffles at Hattie's Restaurant in Saratoga. As we sat surrounded by pictures of Hattie Gray, the namesake of the establishment, we just couldn't help but feel the love for this beloved Southern fried chicken. Each succulent bite proved how special her recipe is. No wonder it beat Bobby Flay in a Throwdown Battle. 

The moment you break through the crisp shell is a euphoric moment. The contrast of textures and flavors is on point with just the right balance of seasonings. The crunchy batter is speckled with a good dose of fiery pepper and much to my surprise, the meat was so juicy and flavorful thanks to a brine. The waffle takes a backseat to the star of the show but it wouldn't be brunch without it. A swirl of syrup and a dash of hot sauce and you've taken chicken and waffles to another level with bursts of sweet, savory, spicy, and salty notes. But let's face it, the fried chicken is where it's at and it's finger-licking good at Hattie's. 

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Comfort Kitchen

C'mon. Give me some of your tots. These crispy, golden nuggets of deep fried potato bits can be found at Comfort Kitchen in Saratoga Springs. But these aren't just any ordinary tater tots; they're house-made and worth every delicious greasy bite. The interior is moist and fluffy while the outside has the perfect crunch. Talk about comfort eats. Ask for a side of "Awesome Sauce"--a creamy slightly spicy mystery dip--to complete the tater tot experience. Good luck sharing.
Comfort Kitchen prides itself in using local and seasonal produce, house made ingredients, and sources from local farms. This means quality meats like this slow-roasted pork with house-smoked ham and house-made pickles for a delectable Cuban sandwich. It wasn't exactly an authentic Cuban with Gruyere cheese, but it was a mighty tasty pork sandwich. The bread was pressed perfectly creating a crispy and compact vehicle for all the filling. 

Avocados aren't local but how can you turn down fried avocado?! My favorite local food truck staple are transformed by Comfort Kitchen into these veggie tacos. It's chockfull of textures and flavors--the creaminess of sweet roasted butternut squash, black bean salsa, and of course avocados are mixed with the crunch of the fried breadcrumbs, crisp peppery radish, fresh lettuce, and corn tortillas (albeit a bit stale). A squeeze of lime and the zesty chipotle mayo added that extra zip of flavor. If fried things and pork products are your vices, rest assured, Comfort Kitchen can make your dreams come true. We're eyeing the pork belly tacos and pulled pork mac 'n cheese next. 

Monday, August 4, 2014

currently snacking on...

...this crusty and chewy French baguette from TC Paris Bakery with gobs of salty butter. Tastes just like the ones from Montreal and Paris. Soon you'll be able to have this made into one tasty sandwich: Pick up something sweet while you're here too. The opera cakes and a sleeve of macarons come highly recommended. 

Sunday, December 22, 2013

TC Paris Bakery

You know what makes the best Christmas presents? The edible and delicious kind. We've told you how much we love TC Paris Bakery but let us tell you how much we love it even more. Now that TC has its very own storefront and kitchens, they're offering more specialty confections. For the procrastinators out there, these local treats are the perfect last minute gifts or a great addition to your holiday dessert spread. 

Behold the Winter Cookie: a buttery shortbread cookie topped with crunchy toasted almonds, a chewy honey caramel, and orange zest dipped in Valrhona dark chocolate.  This cookie is a delightful combination of textures and the floral notes from the orange blossom honey is so unique. We're planning on bringing a 1lb tin to Christmas dinner, minus maybe a few cookies because yours truly couldn't wait to share. You might want to hurry up to get these Winter Cookies. In true Alsace French tradition, TC Paris is only making these cookies up until January 2nd and then they are gone until next year! It's a one of kind cookie! 

Just in time for the holidays are jars of French brandied cherries. We got a special taste of this holiday item and it was lick-the-spoon-clean good. Tart sour cherries imported from France are infused with brandy, cloves, and cinnamon. Chef tells us they would be a great addition to the bottom of a champagne glass. That's something we could toast to and so would your guests! 

There are also a variety of chocolate dipped fruits and confectionaries but you can't go wrong with a sleeve of TC Bakery's signature French macarons.  We're avid fans of flavors like salted caramel and earl grey but new flavors like the chocolate dipped strawberry macarons are quickly rising to the top of our favorites. A flavorful and creamy strawberry buttercream with a dollop of chocolate ganache is sandwiched between delicate crisp and chewy almond shells. These macarons would be a great gift alongside its fresh chocolate-dipped strawberry counterparts. 

Be sure to make TC Paris Bakery part of your holiday. It's well worth a trip to Saratoga Springs. These are beautiful, quality handmade items made from the best ingredients and crafted by talented bakers. Your guests will be in awe and don't forget to get a little something for yourself too (or a lot!). You deserve it :) 

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Leon's Mexican Restaurant

Did you know Leon's Mexican Restaurant was a Rachael Ray's $40 a Day stop in Saratoga Springs? That's right, home of the Burro Ranchero with Rachael's seal of approval. I am obsessed with anything Food Network-related and religiously watched $40 a Day back in its early years. I couldn't believe that J had a special connection to the restaurant when we were first dating. Turns out Leon's was an extended family affair. Consider this our official disclaimer. Yes we are greeted by familiar faces when we walk through the door but having had my share of Mexican food around the Capital Region and San Diego, this is truly a gem that has gotten better within the past few years, even months. 

A change in decor and atmosphere in addition to changes in plating and presentation has improved the overall experience at Leon's. The restaurant has started using seasonal and fresh ingredients, which makes a huge difference in taste. On a recent visit J and I were quite impressed by said recent changes.  A new paint job and open seating with brighter lights made the dining room much more inviting. If you opt for bar seating, Uncle Jimbo the weekend bartender, will gladly make you a killer house margarita.