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
La Empanada Llama is located on Picotte Drive, next to a strip mall, off of Whitehall Rd. in Albany. The space has only just opened, but features the culinary fare seen most often at the Troy Farmer's Market. The space itself is pretty sparsely furnished. Even the drink case had ten items, when its capacity is easily 7 times that. The decor was 'okay,' decorated with llamas of varying heights, and cloth tables. The problem with cloth tables is actually keeping them clean as they're turned. The empty table we sat at had a few food pieces scattered about.
Since La Empanada Llama is most known for their empanadas, I decided to order an assortment of Beef, Mexican, and Cabbage w/Chorizo with a side of Rice and Beans. Brian ordered the Apanado de Pollo dinner. Now, according to the menu, Brian's dinner comes with "a choice of Rice and Beans or White Rice, and a side of Plantains, French Fries, Mashed Potatoes or Chickpeas with Greens." Based on how the menu read, Brian wanted White Rice and Mashed Potatoes. He was told that it's actually Rice, Potatoes, or Fries, and Plantains or Chickpeas. This is not what the menu says, but we adjusted and ordered Plantains. For dessert, we ordered the Nutella Banan, and Dulce de Leche (without coconut) empanadas. To top it off, we also ordered two Chicha Morada soft drinks.
First and foremost, the service was horrible. Our food came out in parts, one empanada here, two more there, a side dish here. It took at least ten minutes of this before Brian even saw his entree. We weren't told that silverware, which is actually wrapped plasticware, was on the counter behind us. The one person actually at the front of the house was prone to vanishing for long periods of time, on top of having to multi task with the phone, customers walking in, and servicing other tables, which delayed service overall even more. Also, all of our food came in ready-to-go containers.
My savory empanadas were very underwhelming. The actual empanada shell itself was perfection. It had amazing texture and chew, and was cooked flawlessly. The fillings, however, I found to be on the bland side or just not done well at all. The beef empanada, with rice, corn and raisins inside was just bland. I had maybe one wonderful bite out of the entire thing. The Mexican empanada, with guacamole, beef, and refried beans inside had so much refried beans that the main inside texture was just mush. The cabbage and chorizo empanada had spice, but very little flavor outside of that. I was expecting so much flavor, and felt as if the fillings were dulled down instead.
By contrast, Brian's chicken was immensely flavorful. The two chicken breats were marinated so well, flattened, lightly breaded, crispy on the outside and so juicy and tender on the inside. This was the flavor I was searching for with the empanadas. It was hiding in the chicken! That chicken was jam packed with awesome. Likewise, our dessert empanadas were to die for. The dulce de leche was warm, creamy, and sweet. The Nutella had the perfect blend of chocolate to hazlenut flavor with the soft cooked bananas mixed throughout.
If I were to recommend La Empanada Llama, I'd say order take-out. You get the same containers, and better service. I wouldn't order the savory empanadas, because (outside of the shell), there's really no flavor. The perfection of the Apanado de Pollo has me intrigued as to how their other meal entrees would taste, and I would definitely order the dessert empanadas again.
|Apanado de Pollo
Rice & Beans
- Category: Restaurant Reviews
- Written by Brian
Inga's Diner is located on Fuller Road between Washington and Central. From the outside, it looks like it is falling apart. Missing shingles, siding in disrepair, overall not a place that you'd really want to visit for food. Inside shows recent work done to fix it up a bit, but it still needs work. But most importantly, it is clean inside.
I asked for a recommendation from our waitress, and she recommended a special they had that came with eggs, pancakes and bacon. The pancakes had a nice golden brown on them, but they were a little rubbery, I would guess they came from a store bought batter. Eggs were cooked well, but lacked any seasoning, and the bacon had a strange aftertaste to it, but was the perfect amount of crispiness (probably not a word, but it works)
We also ordered french toast with bacon. Again, the bacon had a strange taste to it. The french toast was made with standard white bread, but was thoroughly battered, so it was thin, but had a nice flavor to it.
Service was friendly and prompt, which raised Inga's Diner from a 2 Fork rating to a 3.
|Breakfast special (part 1)||Breakfast special (part 2)|
|French Toast with Bacon|
- Category: Events
- Written by Kent
There are many Capital Region Food events in the coming weeks!! So many (even many on the same date), that we can't visit them all.
Checkout our Calendar for the Month of September and October as we have added some of the local events we are aware of and the next Downtown Albany Restaurant Week.
Some Events added to the calendar include:
Bennington Garlic Fest, Greek Fest (Schenectady), Little Italy Fest (Schenectady), Hudson Valley Wine & Food Fest, Saratoga Wine & Food Festival, Washington County Cheese Festival are among some of the entries to the calendar.
Also, a reminder to any of our readers or fans, if you hear about a restaurant opening, a Food Festival, a Capital Region Restaurant week, or any special events relating to food in the Capital Region, don't hesitate to shoot us an email and let us know. Thanks
- Category: Restaurant Reviews
- Written by Josie
Grandma's is located on Central Avenue, closest to Fuller Road. Most people know Grandma's for their pies. Our visit, however, was for breakfast which they serve until 11AM.
The decor of Grandma's is just horrendous. I'm sorry, but it is. It takes the "granma's house" cliche and just does bad things to it. The carpet is beyond dark, and doesn't match the curtains. The chairs don't match, and there are decorations strewn for several holidays gone by (July 4th, Easter, and Christmas most noticeably), and that's not mentioning the random couch in the dining room.
If you can get past the decor, the food is "okay."
I ordered Cinnamon Swirl French Toast with Bacon, and Brian ordered the "Granny's Special" with scrambled eggs, and sausage. It took longer to actually put our order in, than it did for the meal to arrive.
My French Toast dish was skimpy to say the least. It was almost as if I had 3 end pieces on my plate. I'm glad I didn't order the short stack. The flavor was "okay." Nothing special, but passable. I attribute that to the flavor of the cinnamon swirl bread (what little there was on my plate). The crust was also very hard. The bacon was just this side shy of being jerky, and had very little salty bacony flavor.
Brian's dish was better executed. The sausage was cooked perfectly, and was flavorful. The eggs were cooked very well, but lacked any sort of flavor. The potatoes were perfectly tender, but unevenly seasoned and came with a boat load of onions that weren't described anywhere. The toast, though, was buttered well. Which, while it sounds like that shouldn't be a highlighted thing, we've found that very few establishments do this.
Our waitress, while nice, was very slow. It took a while for her to come to the table. It took a while for our beverage orders. It took a while for the check, and she left before even bothering to tell us to pay up front.
A very mediocre experience overall.
Cinnamon Swirl French Toast w/ Bacon