C'mon. Give me some of your tots. These crispy, golden nuggets of deep fried potato bits can be found at Comfort Kitchenin 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.
It was love at first bite when we discovered potato doughnuts at The Holy Donut in Portland. So when we heard Troy's Nibble Inc. was inspired by Maine's unique take on a beloved staple, we were super excited. Our expectations were pretty high especially after being greeted by this massive sign of adventurous flavors.
Doughnuts are made to order, which means fresh fillings and glazes, so prepare for long wait lines. Love that Nibble Inc. incorporates local ingredients and partners into its products, including Rare Form Brewery, Brown's, and Sweet Sue's.
The lemon fruit tarts at Sweet Sue's are stellar. In doughnut form, the Local Lemon curd filling had the same sweet and tart flavor that we love but the consistency of the filling was a bit runny, most likely because we got a fresh-out-of-the-fryer doughnut.
In addition to classic flavors, you'll find playful ones like maple bacon and cocktail-inspired ones like the Upstate Sour made with whiskey glaze, lemon-lime icing, and blackberry cassis filling. As much as we wanted to love the booze-inspired glazes, the filling far outshined its counterpart.
There's no doubt that tasty, high quality ingredients are being used but sadly the star of the show kind of fell flat. The potato doughnuts we've had in Portland were moist and crumbly but these were so heavy, dense, and tough. We came in during a pretty high volume morning so I wonder whether the doughnuts spent too much time in the fryer, or perhaps the recipe needs a bit more tweaking; it's only been two weeks since Nibble has opened its doors.
The one doughnut J and I both agreed was the best out of the four we got was the dark chocolate sea salt. This one had the soft(er) crumb that we were looking for. Plus the chocolate flavor really came through, especially with the touch of saltiness and honey glaze.
The flavors are there and with a bit more room for improvement, I can see us coming here more often. It's the kind of shop that's right up our alley so we've got high hopes for Nibble Inc. in the coming months. The Capital Region needs more places that think out of the (doughnut) box.
Some breakfasts are worth getting up early and driving 30 miles for. While its alter-ego Good Night Noodle is on summer vacation, Ballston Spa's Good Morning Breakfast Cafe is open six days a week to satisfy a hearty breakfast and brunch craving. GMC and GNN both pride themselves in sourcing organic, local foods and humanely raised and minimally processed ingredients.
That means pasture-raised farm eggs in our delicious breakfast wrap and eggs benedict that you can taste the difference in. When I broke into the poached eggs from my Dave's Un-Benedict dish, I could see that the egg yolks were creamier and brighter. The eggs just tasted like they came from happy chickens. Eggs benedict are my go to brunch staple; there's just something about a rich hollandaise sauce mixed with a luxurious egg yolk. I was a little skeptical when I read that this take on the breakfast classic substituted the rich butter-laden sauce with its own "un-hollandaise" version. But this tangy substitute was just as delicious as its calories-ridden counterpart. Made with yogurt, turmeric, and cumin, this sauce was super tangy and creamy without being heavy. It worked really well with the season's sauteed greens which today was kale, grilled ham steak, and toasted slice of sourdough. It's a healthier take on eggs benedict that tastes just as good, if not better, than the classic and better for you!
Sure you'll find healthy options at Good Morning like homemade granola, unsweetened applesauce, and tofu scramble but you can indulge a bit too. We were treated to a slice of baked french toast with warm maple syrup and whipped cream. Best eaten warm, it was essentially eating a custardy piece of bread pudding with just the right amount of sweetness. As much as we like our sweets, we like a savory brunch which meant bacon! J's eyes were immediately drawn to the red pepper bacon aioli from the Bacon Lover breakfast wrap. This smoky and spicy sriracha-laden mayo was addicting and the perfect condiment to the wrap filled with a generous portion of fluffly scrambled eggs, bacon, and cheddar. Spicy, cheesy, creamy, and greasy; this wrap really is meant for bacon lovers like us. As if that wasn't indulgent enough, J and I shared a side of smoked spuds--homefries loaded with cheddar, crumbled bacon, scallions and a dollop of sour cream. It's as delicious as it sounds. The homefries were chunky and crispy and the texture stood up to all the toppings. Just like Good Night Noodle, not one single item was a disappointment at Good Morning Cafe. So much thought and care is put into the creation of this menu, from the sourcing of ingredients to the execution of dishes. It's a gem of a breakfast spot and you'll leave feeling full, satisfied, and good knowing where your meal came from.
I don't have a green thumb. My basil plant is barely surviving this summer. When it comes to gardening, I'd be happy to leave that to the professionals. When it comes to eating, we're pros but harvesting was a whole new adventure. We've gone apple picking before and that seemed easy enough; why not try berry picking? Samascott Orchards always has a beautiful farmer's market spread of fruits and veggies. When we heard they did pick your own, it was a chance to put on our foraging hats. Samascott Orchards is only a 30 minute drive to Kinderhook from Albany. Bring your own containers or bags for picking or it'll cost you a quarter for a couple of plastic bags or $0.75 for a cardboard container. Right now blueberries are flourishing and we were happily eating sampling for quality control along the way; they kind of discourage you from not eating before paying. Sweet, plump, and still warm from the sun's kiss; it's so satisfying tasting what Mother Nature has to offer this summer. The best picking method? Cup your hands and pick with your thumbs and a bounty of blueberry jewels will fall into your palm. Sure you can easily stop by the Samascott Garden store on the way down but there's something to be said about working hard for your food. No sweat, no berries. There were still plenty of blueberry bushes awaiting ripening but strawberries and sweet cherries were at a premium and already picked over. We were able to find a handful of strawberries but it was more of a scavenger hunt. J grew up on sour cherries and while most people overlook these rubies, we appreciate its tart flavor and harvested a bucketful for a pie to be. But really all these berries are just as good, if not better, on their own.
A couple hours and a sunburn later, we walked away with $20 worth of blueberries, sour cherries, and strawberries. All the berries were priced at $2.00/pound, with the exception of black raspberries at $5.00/pound which we somehow missed. You can also pick for peas, squash, and cucumbers at $1.25/pound. At weigh-in, you'll find a variety of homemade jams and jellies, cold apple cider, frozen meats, and cider donuts at the farmstand. We decided to end our pick-your-own trip on a sweeter note with a scoop or two of homemade ice cream. We topped scoops of raspberry and peach ice creams with our freshly picked prizes. Delish! As an added bonus, we stopped by Ninepin Cider for a bit of libation. Ninepin uses apples from Samascott for their cider so it was only fitting that we completed the full circle with a tasting and growler to go. This summer is shaping up to be pretty sweet!
This visit was slightly different than our normal outings, inasmuch as food wasn't really involved and there was a cat. We
visited the Albany Distilling Co., which bills itself the first legal
distillery in Albany since the prohibition era. Currently, they offer 3
types of whiskey and a rum batch. We were informed that the next batch
of rum was being aged in whiskey barrels, which sounds delicious so keep
an eye out for that some time this January. The
Albany Distilling Co. is a small business that opened not too long ago in 2011. It's located next to The Albany Pump Station, perfect for grabbing a beer while waiting for a tour. There were only 3 people there
when we dropped by, and as far as I gathered that was the entire staff.
The equipment and ingredients, however, were top notch and the
distiller knew his field. Our entire tour took place in a single room,
as well as the sampling, where we were shown the ingredients going into
the mash (all of the whiskey grains were grown within New York State), different
batches in stages of fermentation or aging, and took a couple shots of
the finished products.
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.