Showing posts with label ice cream. Show all posts
Showing posts with label ice cream. Show all posts

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

Monday, August 10, 2015

The Grocery Soft Serve

It's been the summer of soft-serve and we've probably eaten more than our weight in ice cream. Now that The Grocery started making their own soft-serve, plan to gain at least 10 more pounds. With tantalizing flavors like green tea, barley & rye, and bourbon vanilla, it was too good to resist a trip to Troy. Unique flavors rotate daily; we sampled chocolate cardamom and burnt honey orange on our visit. The quality of the ice cream is leaps and bounds better than most places around here but it's the adventurous flavors and equally unique toppings that really spoke to us. Chocolate ice cream is delightful on its own but the addition of cardamom adds so much warmth and complexity to a classic flavor. As for the honey ice cream, vanilla beans are speckled throughout a mashmallow-like concoction with subtle citrus notes. It was delightful, enough to turn a chocoholic into a believer. 

Ingredients are elevated to a new level, with playful toppings like caramelized rice crispy and sbrisolona citrus cornmeal crumble, each complementing the flavors of our soft-serve without taking away from the flavor profiles. The Grocery has taken soft-serve to a sophisticated level without being too pretentious; it's ice cream after all. Summer needs to last just a bit longer so we can squeeze in a few more trips. 

Monday, August 18, 2014

currently snacking on....

...homemade sweet corn ice cream made with local corn from the Farmers Market topped with Trader Joe's Chicago cheddar cheese and caramel popcorn mix. 

Monday, June 9, 2014

Cantine le Relais 202 Poutine

Some dishes don't need all the bells and whistles; simple is best. Simple and found on the road side? Even better. You know how much we love poutine, especially Canadian poutine. So on a recent wedding trip to Plattsburgh we made a 20 minute detour to the Canadian countryside for a snack at a little cantine in Lacolle, just a few miles across the border. When asked by border patrol what we were doing in Canada, we got a little chuckle from the guard when we said it's because we craved good poutine. We weren't kidding!

We've had numerous American poutines--from The Montreal Poutine Truck out of Saratoga; Creo; City Beer Hall; Shirley's; Jonesville Cafe; to Capital City Gastropub--but none have truly lived up to its Canadian counterparts. We've even been to La Banquise in Montreal but there's just something about this particular roadside shack. For the longest time we didn't even know what it was called until I Google-mapped it. It's called Cantine le Relais 202. What a name right? But don't judge a book by its cover. La Cantine serves Canadian comfort food at its best and that translates to poutine with all the right elements.  These are fresh, crispy hand-cut fries fried to order and smothered with the perfect balance of salty, hot gravy to squeaky cheese curds that are barely melted. So what if the gravy tastes right from a powdered mix. To be able to share this classic dish from my childhood with my guy in the middle of nowhere was a special moment. The greasy goodness also helped with a slight hangover from a certain crazy, late-night bachelorette party the night before.

Our mini-trip was even sweeter when we stopped by the ice cream shop next door. They had a poutine ice cream sundaes! So the real thing is nothing like the ad but it's a pretty genius idea: vanilla soft-serve with rice crispy cubes, chocolate wafers, marshmallows, peanuts, and a caramel swirl. Needless to say, our double dose of Canadian poutine was the best wedding detour ever.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

The American Hotel

As I'm sure you're all aware if you've read the rest of this blog, we are fans of the Beekman 1802 Mercantile in Sharon Springs, New York.  If you've never visited their storefront or had the goat milk ice cream, you owe it to yourself to drop by.  This post, however, concerns the historic American Hotel across the street, and I only mention Beekman 1802 because the hotel was featured during the show, which convinced us to stop in for brunch this morning.

Both of us love heirloom style, historically rich places and things.  Old hotels that used to house former presidents and diplomats are just fantastic, and I love nothing better than looking in the old lodge and ballrooms of those places and picturing the grand parties of a hundred years ago (while we may be using rose colored lenses, it's still fun to pretend).  I used to work in such a place, and actually dealt with a great deal of abuse from the owner of the place solely because the property was so great.

So we were prepared to love this place, we wanted to love the American.  We would have forgiven a lot of issues in a lot of areas just on account of what it was and what it represented in the modern world, not to mention its appearance on the Beekman boys.  Unfortunately, what we experienced simply surpassed what we are willing to forgive in any eatery.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

A Beekman Birthday

 A few weeks ago, J and I went on an impromptu brew tour to Ommegang Brewery and Council Rock Brewery. On our way to Cooperstown, we stopped by the village of Sharon Springs to visit the Beekman 1802 Mercantile and ever since that pitstop, I couldn't imagine not having a Beekman birthday. So this past Saturday, I spent my 28th birthday enjoying the simple things in life. No boots of beer or giant margaritas this year.

If you watch Cooking Channel, you might recognize The Fabulous Beekman Boys aka Josh Kilmer-Purcell and Brent Ridge from their reality show as city guys who left their Manhattan ways, bought a farm and decided to become full time farmers and raise goats. You might also recognize the Beekman Boys as the most recent winners of The Amazing Race. The Beekmans now make artisanal products from vegetables and goat milk from their farm. They are well-known for their goat milk soap, a product beloved by Martha Stewart. Now they have expanded their lifestyle brand to include edible products like goat cheese and goat milk ice cream. 

Of course I was good on my birthday and had lunch before dessert. My Beekman birthday wouldn't be complete without some Beekman Blaak mac 'n cheese, courtesy of the Black Cat Cafe conveniently located a couple doors down from the mercantile. At $48 a wheel for the Beekman Blaak cheese that is on a giant waitlist, it's a bit steep for my pocket but at $7 for a bowl of mac 'n cheese made with the same cheese at the cafe, it's worth a try. The blaak cheese is a hard cheese that melts beautifully in this mac 'n cheese. My only gripe is that the dish desperately needed salt and pepper but otherwise, an afternoon lunch spent outside on the porch was a perfect way to spend my birthday afternoon. The mac is a small portion so I was glad I ordered a side of Lebanese potato salad, which was mayo-less and a nice tangy alternative to the heavy classic. J of course went with a reuben and gave it a thumbs up. 

The goat milk ice cream is worth the trip alone, and well it was the only thing I really wanted for my birthday. It's that good. We actually stopped by the Mercantile during the day and on our way back to Albany stopped by again in the evening for the Ice Cream Jam. The Beekman 1802 Mercantile was hoppin' on a Saturday night with 80s music and glow sticks, which Brent insisted on giving us to wear. Brent even let me skip the request line and put Safety Dance on top of the DJ list as a birthday present. But the real treat of the night was a half pint of Beekman goat's milk ice cream. If you love the tanginess of goat cheese, you'll love this ice cream. The Beekman's version (part goat milk and cow's cream) is smooth, creamy and rich but that goat's milk gives the ice cream such a unique tangy flavor that you'll want a whole pint rather than the half pint that it comes in. No artificial flavors here so you'll feel that much better eating it. I've tried 3 out of the four flavors and I'd rank the Cateja Caramel Swirl (of course it's a goat's milk caramel) at the top followed by the Tart Cherry Almond Swirl (with sour cherries from the farm) and the classic vanilla flavor. The last of the flavors, fig balsamic, has eluded me but I'm determined to try on the next trip. Also, if you're thinking of brining some goat milk ice cream back to Albany, it travels pretty well in a cooler bag :) The Beekmans will even
offer you ice if you need it.

For more edible Beekman 1802 products, be sure to sample the creamed honeys (from Beekman Farm bees of course); we've picked up jars of lemon creamed honey and rosemary creamed honey. Another favorite of ours is the hickory smoked sea salt. This has been our crack of the summer. We sprinkle it on everything from steaks (the Meathouse kind of course) and simply on fresh cucumber slices for a healthy snack with a smokey flavor. We can't wait to try the Mortgage Lifter Bourbon BBQ sauce, which 25% of the profits are donated to directly help struggling small American farmers. Obviously that million dollar prize from the Amazing Race has gone a long way, yet Josh and Brent remain as community oriented as they were when they first started the business. Not to mention they are as friendly and personable as they are on tv. Josh and Brent are truly the most humble and nice celebrities I've met and to see them behind the scenes at the shop shows how much they care about their business, even after moments of fame. You can't help but smile and want to be their best friends when you meet them. P.S. Read Josh's book, The Bucolic Plague: How Two Manhattanites Became Gentlemen Farmers: An Unconventional Memoirabout their Beekman journey. It's a great summer read. -R

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Cooper's Cave Ale Company

We've been on a brew pub kick lately especially after the HopChef dinner and stops by Ommegang Brewery and Council Rock Brewery in Cooperstown. J and I decided to stop by Cooper's Cave Ale Company on our way to to Montreal this past weekend. Our first encounter with CCAC was actually at Council Rock Brewery where they carry CCAC's line of handcrafted sodas. My inner Harry Potter geek was intrigued by the Butterbeer (a butterscotch cream soda) complete with that trademark lightning bolt. After finding out that it was made in Glens Falls, a road trip was in order. 

It's the best of all worlds at the Cooper's Cave Ale Company flagship: handcrafted soda, homemade ice cream, great food, and craft beers. The menu is great mix of bar food with a gourmet twist, all homemade said the owner as she greeted us. Of course J started with a flight of beer but to be honest, the only memorable ones were the blueberry ale and abbey ale . Maybe the ones we had just lacked body and flavor, but we thought the beer was better utilized incorporated into the food. 

The pub menu has a number of typical comfort bar foods but with unique twists. Who doesn't love crack dip aka buffalo chicken dip? CCAC's version comes stuffed in fried wontons. This appetizer was one of the best munchies we've come across in awhile. Spicy, crispy, and paired with homemade blue cheese dip, it's something we could easily have had seconds of. We'd come back to Glens Falls just for these buffalo chicken wontons.  

J's go to dish at new places besides reubens are nachos, despite traumatizing experiences in the past that have involved Doritos chips instead of tortilla chips and rubbery ground beef at unnamed locations. CCAC's version comes with beer-b-que pulled pork. J likes to make homemade bbq sauce and he was happy enough with this beer version. I on the other hand went with the duck sliders. These sliders were infused with CCAC's ginger beer (which I had on the side and has a spicy kick!) and topped with goat cheese and apricot mustard. All of my favorite flavors on a tiny bun. I was afraid all these flavors would clash since duck and goat cheese tend to be heavy and strong, but it worked very well together here. The duck was  a very flavorful and well-seasoned sausage patty and the creaminess and the tanginess of goat cheese paired well with the gaminess of duck. 

After a full meal, how could we pass up on homemade ice cream too? For a full summer ice cream experience, order an ice cream cone at the window outside and enjoy the beautiful summer weather at the picnic tables. Armed with a cone each of vanilla honey and chocolate peanut cups, J and I were happy stuffed campers ready to tackle the rest of our trip up North. If you find yourself up in Glens Falls, make a point to stop here for food, beer, soda, or ice cream or all of the above like we did. -R

Sunday, June 23, 2013


Summer is awesome in the Capital Region, especially because we're blessed with so many delicious ice cream stands! FUSSYlittleBLOG has pretty much covered the best of the best spots in The Tour de Hard Ice Cream and I can certainly vouch for how good The Ice Cream Man is, as in Bobby Flay lost in an ice cream Throwdown good. 

TICM in Greenwich is dangerously close to our summer camp house and we stop by every chance we get. A favorite of mine is the Almond Joy Ice Cream (coconut ice cream with chocolate chips and almonds) but since we had a Living Social coupon, J & I decided to indulge a bit and went for a couple pints. Bordeaux Cherry (cherry amaretto ice cream with almonds and fresh cherries) and Mochacinno coffee ice cream for J. Not only is it locally made, but TICM also uses local, seasonal ingredients when it can like the hand melons, blueberries, and strawberries from the Hand Melon Stand right down the street. Rich and creamy, this ice cream hits the spot every time. 

Another favorite new ice cream discovery comes by way of the Troy Farmer's Market. Dreampuff Marshmallows makes unique sweets and now they have ice cream sandwiches! We tried a rhubarb ice cream sandwich and the tart ice cream paired with a soft sugar cookie was the perfect portable treat for a sunny Saturday stroll through the market. Apparently there is also a new storefront in Brunswick that is on my to visit list this summer. Bring on more gorgeous summer days so I can get more ice cream in me! -R

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Trader Joe's Treasures

Trader Joe's is one those places where it's dangerous to shop when hungry. But it's also the best place for snack attacks! I love it when TJ's features new products, and usually they are unique enough for me to want to try at least once. I'm a sucker for pretty packaging and different flavors. Case in point: Beurre Meuniere Popcorn and Cheddar & Horseradish Potato Chips. If you love wasabi peas, the cheddar & horseradish is a pretty good alternative. That horseradish is sinus clearingly good and who doesn't love ruffled chips? 

The Beurre Meuniere Popcorn on the other hand, more of a one time snack for me. What is beurre meuniere? It's a brown butter sauce with lemon and thyme and parsley. On popcorn, it tasted too much like boxed stuffing. As much as I love the Thanksgiving staple, it didn't quite work out here. I'd say stick to the cheddar and caramel popcorn. 

While I haven't had much luck with any of the Trader Joe's ice creams (too average and odd textures), I'm absolutely obsessed with Green Tea Mochi Ice Cream. Although not a TJ brand product, it needs to be shared. Haven't heard of mochi? It's an Asian dessert made with rice flour that's like a marshmallow. You might have seen it in the toppings bar of most fro yo places. It's not too sweet and has a fun chewy but soft texture. Most times you'll see mochi stuffed with red bean paste, but with ice cream it's the perfect summer treat! Some green tea ice creams have a bitter taste but this one is perfect and creamy. These mochi ice cream bites are addicting. It also comes in mango, strawberry, and chocolate flavors. Pick up a box, or two, this summer. -R