Showing posts with label pesto. Show all posts
Showing posts with label pesto. Show all posts

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Council Rock Brewery

Everyone has a weakness.  A certain place that, no matter what, they can't think a bad thing about.  I'm afraid the Council Rock Brewery in Cooperstown is falling fast into that status to me.  No matter how long it's been, no matter what mood I'm in or even my opinions about how the food and beer could be improved, I have never left there unhappy.  I think it says something that we have made the 1.5 hour trip multiple times primarily to stop there.

There's a refreshing honesty to the food and beer there.  In an age where the push is to culinary innovation and gastrology, it seems like simple done well doesn't get the attention it deserves.  Though the menu is pretty simple it is also executed very well with large portion sizes and surprisingly flavorful sides. You'll find standards like BBQ Pulled Pork simmered in their Brown Ale and Pastrami on marbled rye. But you'll also find some unique twists like Grilled Spicy Andouille Sausage with Gorgonzola Ranch Coleslaw. 

Our favorite are the garlic pesto fries.  Small shoestring fries cooked crispy but not overdone, tossed in an amazing pesto and sprinkled liberally with slices of garlic and served with chipotle aioli.  As much as we enjoy the rest, these fries are the reason we can't take a daytrip to Cooperstown without stopping at Council Rock.

So much for the food, but the reason you go to a brewery is for the beer, right?  Once more Council Rock's product stands proudly alongside any in the area.  I've found that a lot of larger microbreweries seem to stick to an identity to the exclusion of producing a great drink:  Shipyard uses a lot of English hops, Ommegang aggressively spices their drinks, etc.  Council Rock's identity, if it has one, tastes like balance.  The malt and hops are strong enough to be distinctive without drowning each other out, resulting in a surprising complexity for such relatively simple, honest brews.  The Friends and Neighbors Pale Ale is my favorite of the bunch, but even the ones I don't like are all an interesting take on their style.

In spite of its small size and unassuming look, Council Rock is one of my favorite upstate spots for food and beer.  With old-timers' day and the induction ceremony coming up, if you're on your way down to Cooperstown I would absolutely recommend a stop.  After all, baseball is much better with good food and beer.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

The Hollow Bar + Kitchen

This past week was Restaurant Week in Downtown Albany.  For those not from the area, or the blissfully unaware within the area, this is a week that restaurants advertise a three course meal for a low low price of $20.13.  As first-timers, we were afraid restaurants would cheap out on menu items and portion sizes. 

I feel like I've been the negative nellie on this blog, which is hopefully not a reflection of my real life attitude.  I do tend to be the one to write when we have a bad experience, for whatever reason.  Today, however, I want to tell everyone about a fantastic experience we had at The Hollow Bar + Kitchen in Downtown Albany.

The Hollow.  Though it failed to live up to its name in that we saw no headless horsemen--this is more disappointing to me than you'd think--the food, service, and hospitality managed to overcome this deficit.  Walking in the interior is fairly nondescript, with simple brick walls and white linen tablecloths.  The lighting is a little low, though I didn't have an issue reading anything (possibly because we sat near the window), and the music and atmosphere generally comes across as rock-indyish to me, but I may just be a cultural gorilla.