Foodies of the Capital Region! Your source for news, events, and reviews of all things food.
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- discover the wine of the month club .
- Category: Restaurant Reviews
- Written by Josie
Snyder's is located in Clifton Park, on Route 9, just North of Route 146. The interior looks brand new, and was divided into front and back seating sections. When we arrived, we waited patiently by what looked to be the hostess station. There was no sign saying to seat ourselves, and no sign saying to wait and be seated, so there was no way to know what we were supposed to do. Thankfully, a friendly, neighborhood Sherriff was perched nearby. He noticed us, and told us we could seat ourselves anywhere.
We went for the back section, as it had the highest concentration of server attention and was where the kitchen was. Upon finding a booth, we were promptly greeted with menus.
I ordered French Toast, with a side of Bacon. I'm beginning to think that this will be my breakfast meal measurement for dining establishments. Brian inquired as to what was good, or, in other words, is there something special that the diner is known for? Our server was new, so she couldn't really answer that question, but recommended the combo plate that came with Pancakes, Eggs any style, Bacon, Sausage, and toast. Brian ordered that, plus a side of Home Fries. Our order arrived in good time, and I give a plus for that.
I'm consistently amazed at how difficult it's been to find a good French Toast in this area. This one, although the batter did distribute throughout the bread, had absolutely no flavor. I couldn't taste vanilla. I couldn't taste cinnamon. Brian said he could detect a hint of cinnamon, but outside of that, there was nothing that indicated this dish was anything more than egg battered bread.
I found more flavor, and overal success, in Brian's pancakes. They were fluffy, and cooked well. Normally I shy away from pancakes because I know how easy it is to make them dense and unappealing. These ones weren't. I was more a fan than Brian was. His eggs were cooked perfect, for my tastes. He ordered them scrambled, and I happen to be a fan of a softer scrambled egg.
The homefries were cooked perfectly, but lacked seasoning completely. In fact, that seemed to be a theme. The eggs had not even a dash of flavor (though they were cooked well). The potatoes were perfectly cooked, with just the right amount of crisp but would have taken more work to make them palatable than it was worth.
The stars of the meal were really the meats. Both the bacon, and sausage were winners here. They had a wonderful flavor, and were cooked well. Second to the meat, the toast was also perfect. Brian ordered Italian bread for his toast, and it was buttered well on both sides, in addition to being perfectly toasted (not under, not charcoal).
The meal was "okay." Not something I would run back to try again.
|French Toast w/Bacon||Combo Platter|
- Category: Restaurant Reviews
- Written by Josie
Illium Cafe is located in Troy, on Broadway, which is around the back side of where the outdoor Farmer's Market is held. The restaurant is not a restaurant per se, but a breakfast and specialty sandwich place. The decor is a bit rustic, but also nice and open. When I arrived, it took a few minutes for me to be seated. As it turned out, the one server on staff was also doubling as host, and was in the back at the time.
Since I was dining solo, I had to be creative in ordering my menu sampling. For my "dine-in" meal, I ordered the Cajun Pork-belly & Crispy Prosciutto Open Faced Panini. For "to-go" items, I ordered the Chimichurri Surf & Turf Sandwich, and Crispy Peanut Butter & Jelly Pain Petite.
The theme of my experience is "almost perfect." Each dish, while wonderful in many ways, was just "one off" from being perfect. Take the Cajun Pork Belly, for instance. What can go wrong with a sandwich of bacony goodness? Sadly, the misstep here was with the savory bread pudding. It really wasn't savory at all. There was a sweetness, and maple flavor, that really didn't go well with bacon, eggs, and cheese. The bread pudding would have been best served as its own menu item because it had great flavor. Just not a flavor that went with the rest of the dish. Also, the construction of the sandwich made it impossible to cut through with the butter knife that's provided. It really needs a steak knife. However, the other components (brie, bacon, eggs, spinach) were absolute perfection. The hollandaise sauce had no flavor, so I'm kind of negating its presence for the most part.
My "to-go" items were sampled soon after, to ensure freshness for my review. For the Surf & Turf, the filet was absolutely divine. It was tender, juicy and flavorful. I was skeptical that a filet, served on a sandwich, would actually be tender. I was happy to have been proven wrong. My main critique was that the blue cheese really overpowered the dish. In general, filet and blue cheese go really well together. However, with marinated flavors in the filet, and a pesto dressing that comes with its own competing cheese, adding blue cheese to the mix was just one step too much. Again, a great sandwich, but just one step away from perfection.
The PB&J was dessert on a sandwich! I'm normally not a peanut butter person, but throw chocolate hazlenut, marshmallow, and jam, and even I'll turn into a believer. The one component that made me sad was the condition of the marshmallow. It was so warm that it basically bled underneath the sandwich, making the eating of it a challenge and ridding the inside of much of the marshmallow flavor. The makings of a great sandwich, but a misstep on part of the execution.
One highlight I do have to make is the bread. Whether it was the savory bread pudding, the foccacia, or ciabatta, the bread was some of the freshest, and moist I've had. Along the same lines, their homemade cole slaw was very, very good.
My server was very pleasant, and friendly. However, I believe he may have been new. His tone of voice was so low, I found it difficult to hear him. He also wasn't too familiar with ingredients. I do give him credit for going back to the kitchen to ask. Since the open floorplan gave direct view of the kitchen, it wasn't difficult to overhear the conversation transpire between the chef and the server. I was somewhat disappointed to hear the tone of the chef. She didn't really seem overly willing to help answer a simple question.
All in all, would I return to Illium? Yes. The individual flavors were that good, even with the execution missteps. I'm intrigued to see what their other offerings taste like.
|Cajun Pork-belly & Crispy Prosciutto Open Faced Panini||Chimichurri Surf & Turf Sandwich|
|Crispy Peanut Butter & Jelly Pain Petite|
- Category: News
- Written by Brian
There were 17 different wineries, breweries, and distilleries as well as over 20 food vendors present to sample their products from all over New York and Massachusetts
Even with the bad weather, there seemed to be a decent turnout for the first day of this two day event.
The bad weather made event organizers move things around at the last second, so the ticket tables were moved inside (making the entrance a bit hard to find) and parking attendants were few and far between.
You still have a few hours to visit tonight, as well as all day tomorrow. If you do go, be sure to visit the food vendors outside, they need some love too, and the bad weather keeps people from seeing them as much as the vendors inside.
- Category: Restaurant Reviews
- Written by Brian
Johnny's is a new venture by Mallozzi in Schenectady across from Proctors. They are known for their daily homemade pastas and upscale dining experience for a reasonable price. I'm happy to say that Johnny's does not disappoint.
As we walked up to the door, someone was there to open the door and greet us. The hostess was standing ready to seat us, and our waitress (Jennifer) was prompt and friendly - Actually that isn't fair to say, she was far, far better than prompt and friendly, she was amazing. I would say I am quite experienced at eating at various restaurants, and Jennifer provided the best service and dining experience I have ever had. She was knowledgeable, professional, and truly passionate about the food and restaurant.
On our server's recommendation, we ordered the Italian Nachos ($10) and the Arancini Sicilliani ($10). The Italian Nachos were homemade tortilla chips with sausage, onions, tomatoes, olives, peppers, mozzarella, and an alfredo sauce. It was huge, and absolutely amazing. The chips stayed crispy, the sausage was flavorful and cooked perfectly, and the alfredo sauce made everything blend together. We were arguing about what the star of the dish was, and decided everything made the dish perfect. The Arancini Sicilliano is risotto balls with ground beef and peas in a cocktail sauce. The risotto was cooked great, and the flavors worked well together. I think the homemade marinara sauce stole the show on this dish, it was flavorful but not overpowering. The risotto could have used a little more flavor on it's own.
For the entrees, we ordered Pink Sauce alla Olivia with shrimp ($18) and Lobster Mondello ($22). The Pink Sauce all Olivia with shrimp came with tagliatelle. The homemade pasta was absolutely perfectly cooked, the shrimp was fresh and had a light grilled taste to it. The sauce was a little mild, but it just made the pasta and shrimp stand out even more. The Lobster Mondello was also served with tagliatelle. The lobster was butter poached, with an amazing butter flavor. Again the pasta was cooked to perfection and the sauce was seasoned enough to compliment the dish but not overwhelm it.
There are two things I need to stress again. Their homemade pasta is a must, and Jennifer is an amazing waitress. When (not even if) you go to Johnny's try the Italian Nachos, a pasta dish and ask to sit in Jennifer's section (I'm not sure they can do that, but never hurts to ask). This is a great dining experience for a reasonable price.
|Pink Sauce alla Olivia with Shrimp