Showing posts with label all over albany. Show all posts
Showing posts with label all over albany. Show all posts

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Spring Bites 2016

This spring was a hectic one. A family emergency took me out of the country for a good month and before I knew it, summer was here. Bangkok was a journey in and of itself but here's a look back at our favorite spring bites from this side of the world:

All Over Albany: An AOA Birthday party wouldn't be complete without these iconic cupcakes! Congrats on 8 awesome years Mary and Greg! Thanks for letting us be part of the online neighborhood. 
Restaurant Nanova: [Parmesan Gnocchi: pork belly, brown butter white beans, charred tomato & broccolini rabe pesto] I was convinced that the addition of beans would make this dish too heavy but one bite proved me wrong. The homemade, pillowy soft gnocchi was enrobed in a bevy of flavors from the bright pops of pesto to the rich pork belly and creamy beans. Not to mention that brown butter makes everything better. 

Restaurant Phuong Thao: Of course mom's cooking will always be the best but when momma was away, dad took us out for the next best thing. For a homecooked-styled meal, we went to this Montreal shop for three classic Vietnamese dishes: caramelized braised fish in claypot (ca kho to); canh chua ca (sour fish soup); and tom rang muoi tieu (salt and pepper shrimp). It was a melting pot of sweet, sour, and salty bites. These are the flavors that I grew up and I loved being able to savor and share these moments with my husband. 
Rob and Deb's Frozen Dreams: It wouldn't be spring without the first ice cream cone of the season, or in this case the first sundae! An impromptu stop in Glens Falls led us to an insanely addictive hot maple fudge concoction. It's a family recipe exclusive to Rob and Deb's and boy is it worth the stop! The cherry on top really isn't the red glop but the generous gob of sweet maple sauce. If you were sad about the end of maple season, here's another reason to cheer up. 
Sushi Makio: We celebrated our first year wedding anniversary with a trip to our favorite sushi shop in Kingston. The omakase is always a treat and fun to watch Chef Makio prepare each dish with care and detail. A particular gem on this visit were these sweet Japanese whelks steamed with sake and soy. Unlike the texture of clams and oysters, these sea snails were pleasantly chewy and its flavor much more agreeable than its earthy escargot counterparts. What a lovely new experience. Cheers to making it to one year of wedded bliss and here's to many more happy bites together!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Marisa's Place

We had our first bite of Marisa's Place pizza at All Over Albany's 2014 Tournament of Pizza semi-finals. The 2012 Tournament of Pizza winner didn't move onto the finals but there was something about the classic margherita pizza that both John and I really enjoyed. We decided to stop by the shop itself for a taste of our own.

The shop is located in an unassuming strip mall in Guilderland. We saw more take-out orders than diners but decided to stay at the few tabletops for a full pizza experience. The menu is a mix of standard favorites but also Italian classics that piqued our interest including greens and beans but we were particularly eyeing the arancinis. Deep fried cheesy balls? Yes please. These were indulgent crispy bites of creamy arborio rice with ground meat and melty mix of mozzarella and romano. A side of sweet and tangy marinara complemented the flavors and textures very well. It's definitely a new favorite comfort food. Arancinis also come in a seafood version with salmon, shrimp, and green peas which is next on the to eat list. 

We came for the margherita pizza, also known as the Marisa, but our love of prosciutto gravitated us toward the Rusticana pie with asparagus, roasted red peppers, fresh garlic and basil, mozzarella, and normally portabello mushrooms but because J is anti-mushrooms, ours was fungus free. Both pizzas had an amazingly thin and crispy crust. Despite all the ingredients, the pies held together very well with a flavorful balanced pairing of ingredients. The sauce was right up my alley; bright and sweet and lightly applied. The classic fresh tomatoes (albeit off season and not as ripe), basil, and mozzarella on the Marisa was very reminiscent of Pasquale's, from what I could remember, and remains a top favorite pizza combo.

The difference between a hot and fresh and delivered pie is night and day. I can see how the mozzarella might not have traveled well to TOP and got a bit tough with cooling. Because when served fresh, a cheesy slice pulls away beautifully with that stringy and melty stretch that we all love. Our particular neighborhood here in Albany is a pizza dead zone so t's nice to know a great pizza shop isn't too far away. Thanks to AOA for introducing us to one of our new favorite pizzas. 

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Mingle's Kimchi Fries

It all started with a single tweet:

Then our fairy godmothers at All Over Albany, derryX, and Mingle Albany stepped in 
and made our culinary dreams come true

The end result is a unique cultural mashup whose introduction to the Capital Region has long been overdue. Kimchi fries have been on the urban food truck scene for awhile now and my only encounter with these loaded fries has been through my television screen as I salivate over the creation. Lo and behold, one and half days later, Mingle came through with a version of their own: "Our Kimchi Fries begin with skin on & baked fries layered with bulgokee chicken & beef, pork belly and kimchi layered with Havarti from The Cheese Traveler."

Sunday, December 1, 2013

The Illium Cafe

We're on the verge of a heart attack as we write this post but every bite of The Illium Cafe's Cajun Pork Belly & Crispy Prosciutto Panini was worth it. We've always been fans of The Illium and it's been our go to brunch spot after a visit to the Farmer's Market in Troy. Our favorite sandwich is the Surf and Turf Sandwich. It's a flavorful combo of grilled shrimp and marinated steak with blue cheese, roasted red peppers, and arugula on foccacia. But when we read about the pork belly panini on All Over Albany's Eat This! we knew it was one of those crazy concoctions that we had to try. 

Truth be told, this is the second time we've tried this sandwich within a three week span. We're gluttons but to be fair, J ordered his own last time while I got the Surf and Turf.  I devoured my own order this time around. I figured the pork would balance all the turkey from the Holidays plus I hadn't had any breakfast yet and we had a very late lunch. All justified.  

Be prepared to be unproductive for the rest of the day. The Cajun Pork Belly and Crispy Prosciutto Panini is an open faced sandwich made with a savory bread pudding with brie cheese, pork belly, and topped with a hefty mound of crispy prosciutto, fried egg, and hollandaise sauce. There is no shortage of pork here and it's all kind of magical. These are all rich and fatty elements but somehow it all works together. 

The bread pudding has all the familiar flavors of a classic Thanksgiving stuffing and is the perfect vehicle to mop the runny egg yolk and creamy taragon hollandaise sauce. Fresh elements of red onions and spinach helps break up the richness of all the other elements. Last time J got arugula instead of spinach, which I thought was the better of the greens. Love that peppery bite. Our version also differed a bit from Masticating Monkey's in that we got fresh spinach instead of sauteed. Plus instead of a brie sauce ours was a slice of grilled cheese with brie beneath the slice of savory bread pudding. I can only imagine that the cheese sauce would add another rich layer of flavor.  A touch of acid or something pickled would have helped cut the greasiness of the dish but when you're ordering a dish like this, you might as well go all in. Why else would there be pork belly AND crispy prosciutto. Over the top? Absolutely but so worth it. 

The pork belly is essentially a thick cut of bacon. My pieces were a bit tough and dry this visit and frankly I didn't really pick up on any Cajun flavor but it's ok. The mountain of crispy prosciutto more than made up for it. Crispy, crunchy, salty, and bacon-y. This sandwich is the ultimate comfort food. If you need to squeeze in some veggies, the dish also comes with slices of pickles and a side of potato salad or coleslaw. 

The Pork Belly Panini is a try at your own risk type of sandwich but since it's the holiday season, why not indulge a bit. You need some pork fat to warm up in this chilly weather anyway and it's fuel for all that Christmas shopping. 

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Casa Dominicana

I find lots of inspiration from fellow local food bloggers to try new and exciting places, mostly because I am salivating as I browse through their posts and pictures. My most recent adventure was inspired by Masticating Monkey's visit to Casa Dominicana for mofongo de chicharron on All Over Albany

One of my best friends was in town and we both have a love for all things culinary and food related. D is half Puerto Rican and knows her Latin food. Her Grandma makes a mean alcapurria and I can vouch for it. For the longest time we've been talking about getting mofongo but never knew where to find a good place for it in Albany. Lucky for us, AOA pointed us in the right direction for a lunch feast. 

Central Avenue never fails when it comes to getting authentic ethnic eats. No frills, no fusion-- just simple, good regional native food and that's what we found at Casa Dominicana. D, accompanied by her fiance J, were so excited to be greeted by a menu full of her childhood favorites. Casa Dominicana is a Dominican establishment but carries an array of Latin foods with Puerto Rican and Cuban favorites. I also have to mention how nice and accommodating the owner was. We were initially awestruck by the menu but he was very friendly, introducing each item in the hot trays and highlighting the specialties of the house.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

The Crisp Cannoli

All Over Albany's blog post inspired me to try the cronut craze that has plagued NYC. Fans wait hours in line for the original version at Dominique Ansel's in the city. I was overjoyed to find this half-doughnut, half-croissant concoction at The Crisp Cannoli in East Greenbush, and no crazy long lines around the block...yet. I forget whose Twittter feed I saw this amazing news on but once you bite into one of these puppies, you'll understand the hype.  

It took us three drive-bys to finally locate The Crisp Cannoli. It's located on the corner of a very unassuming building but inside are cases of wonderful pastries and sweets including the coveted cronuts. J and I hold very high standards when it comes to a good croissant. We use to get these amazing chocolate ones from TC Bakery when they were on Colvin Ave (now relocated to Saratoga) and haven't had a great croissant since until now. I can't compare this cronut to other cronuts, or crodo as it's called here since "cronut" seems to have been trademarked, but the magic is in the croissant dough. It's got to be buttery, flaky, and crispy on the outside yet chewy on the inside and this crodo hits all the above. It's as much fun taking a whole bite out of a crodo as
it is to pick apart those beautiful layers of sugared dough. It's no dainty pastry, be ready to be covered in lots of sugar. The Crisp Cannoli makes three wonderful versions of the crodo: glazed, vanilla custard-filled, and nutella filled. Try all three, you won't be disappointed; but I gotta say my favorite was the nutella filled one. 

The filled-to-order cannolis looked pretty damn good too but the lovely woman at the counter talked us into trying their other croissant invention: The Crodoli. Made to order, we were sold at freshly fried croissant dough filled with their homemade cannoli cream, dusted with sugar and drizzled with chocolate for good measure. This was best enjoyed right out of the fryer and boy did we enjoy it. I was expecting the crodo and crodoli to be heavy and greasy, but both versions were surprising light and crispy. With a name like Crisp Cannoli, the cannoli cream in the crodoli definitely lived up to its name; not too sweet and melt in your mouth creamy. We can't wait to come back for more crodos, crodolis, and of course cannolis. -R