Foodies of the Capital Region! Your source for news, events, and reviews of all things food.
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- Category: News
- Written by Brian
Today was the 10th annual Wing Wars in Troy. All three foodies went to this event, and as usual, we all had our own top favorites. There was a good crowd attending again this year and 15 participating restaurants.
Wing Wars is a fun event that lets you try all sorts of wacky wing variations (some of the stranger ones this year were a pepperoni pizza wing and a raspberry wing with Thai peanut sauce -PB&J - wing). As with all events like this, there are some long lines and the very important cash bar.
Our own Foodie Josie was selected to be an official judge of the blind taste test.
At $20 / per person, it is a bargain for all the samples you get, and you get to help support a local school.
Brian: Forty One Sports Bar & Grill (Habenero wing)
Josie: Recovery Room (Blue Cheese Buffalo wing)
Kent: Black Bear (Bourbon wing)
UPDATE: Winners Announced:
Blind taste test (judges randomly selected from among attendees):
- Winner: Terry’s Kitchen Deli and Catering, Troy
- First runner-up: The Black Bear Inn, Watervliet
- Second runners-up (tie): The Recovery Sports Grill, Troy, and Villa Valenti Pub, Troy
- Winner: The Town Tavern, Averill Park
- First runner-up: Villa Valenti Pub, Troy
- Second runner-up: The Sports Grill, Rensselaer
- Category: Restaurant Reviews
- Written by Kent
After several recommendations from friends and co-workers, I finally had the opportunity to dine at Caffe Italia. In short, it was quite possibly the best Italian meal I've ever had and certainly the best in Albany and without a doubt in my top 3 in the Capital District.
Service was top notch and nearly flawless and very accommodating, as they were willing to modify two of our entree orders, to our liking.
I ordered the special of the night Asparagus Appetizer, which was roasted asparagus wrapped with prosciutto, and finished with a butter garlic wine sauce. Very flavorful and cooked perfectly with the proper portion size. A dining companion of mine ordered the special-of-the-night soup, which was roasted red pepper puree with croutons and allowed me to taste. I wish I had ordered it as it was one of the best soups I've had this wintertime. I failed to get pictures for either of the starters, but would personally order both again when I return.
Each entree comes with a house salad which was served on a chilled plate. A nice touch and the salad was very fresh and dressed well, with the choice of gorgonzola dressing with gorgonzola shavings for an additional charge.
The entrees got smiles and thumbs up from all four of us. One ordered the Mussels special which came with an unbeatable pile of mussels, served prepared with your choice of red or white sauce. Another ordered the Veal Rollatini which was executed perfectly and tasted heavenly. Still another ordered the Chicken Sorrento, which had a portion size so big it was 3 meals and tasted great and cooked just right. Lastly, I opted for Veal Mateo. This isn't on the menu, but the Chicken Mateo was the special of the night, so I asked if I could have them make the switch. A "certainly and a smile" was the answer for that request. Our server also let me know that meal could always be ordered.
Parking is a breeze and free. The atmosphere is a small dining room size, making the meal and atmosphere feel cozy, along with nice table linens. However, due to the number of tables in the dining room and the popularity, I recommend reservations, as all tables were filled the night I dined there.
Caffe Italia is located at 662 Central Ave, Albany, NY and their phone number is (518) 459-8029, for reservations.
Menu Here: http://www.allmenus.com/ny/albany/29986-caffe-italia/menu/ See you there!
|Veal Rollatini||Chicken Sorrento|
- Category: Restaurant Reviews
Tailored Tea is located at 1010 Troy-Schenectady Road. It's a teahouse/cafe with a B&B feel. Very unique for the area, but I think it works for them.
We went for breakfast, and upon entering we were greeted and seated promptly. Our server was friendly and attentive, and walked us through some of their teas.
We ordered two half pots; one of Chai and one of Peach Rooibos. The half pots were more than enough tea for us. It felt like the tea would never end! It was a great value. My one critique would be that when the honey was delivered, it was almost empty. I had to do the "wait and pour" in order to get honey into my tea.
The food was a different story. I ordered the Eggs Benedict on their Savory Scone of the Day. Brian ordered their Pancakes. Brian's pancakes were passable in flavor but had a rubbery texture. My eggs were not only dead overcooked (no poached runny-ness to be seen) but they would have been better served without the scone. The scone was so rock hard, I could've broken a window with it. It was inedible, and it boggled my mind that it left the kitchen in such a fashion in clear view of the chef and the waitress. There was no excuse.
If you're looking for a teahouse (sans food), then Tailored Tea does tea exceptionally well. If you want food, go elsewhere.
|Half Pot of Tea|
- Category: Restaurant Reviews
Defazio's is located at 266 4th Street in Troy. It can be kind of tricky to get to, given some of Troy's surrounding one-way streets, but well worth the trip.
Brian and I were in the mood for homemade pasta, so I went searching. DaFazio's popped up several times, which made us want to know more. Brian did his research and made resevations for the two of us (highly, highly recommended!). As you walk up, you'll notice there are two sides to DeFazio's; the market, and the pizzeria/restaurant.
When we walked in, we immediately knew why reservations came highly recommended. There were all of 6 tables, with a lot of business coming from delivery and takeout orders.
We were greeted immediately by a very nice gentleman behind the counter. He indicated our table, and came right over to get us situated. He explained the menu options, gave us the specials, and also told us that if there's a combination we wanted that wasn't represented in one specific dish on the menu, to let them know. Since their dishes are made fresh in house, combinations aren't a problem.
Our waitress greeted us a little later. We asked some questions (including what dishes were her favorite). Not only was she conversational, but she was knwledgeable and eager to assist. Brian ordered the Cajun Chicken Alfredo, while I ordered the Fettucine Rosario with a side of Meatballs.
All entrees come with garlic bread, and a piping hot basket of the homemade deliciousness was delivered to our table. I don't know what they do to their garlic bread, but it was buttery, garlicky, seasoned, and amazing.
Our entrees made their debut, piping hot, and we dug in. Brian's Cajun Chicken Alfredo was done very well. The chicken was moist, and the sauce had a really nice kick. A couple of critiques were the roasted red peppers which weren't listed as coming with the dish, and Brian's pasta was a little more al dente than he would have preferred.
I'm a fan of al dente, so I loved the chew on my fettucine. The meatballs were amazingly moist, and the sauce blend of alfredo and marinara was exactly what I was looking for. My one critique is that the dish could've used a touch of salt, and there was none on the table.
Our service was second to none. Even given how busy and jam packed the restaurant was, no less than three employees came over to make sure we were doing okay, asking us how we liked our dishes. One of DeFazio's long time regular customers (25 years) even took time out to chat with us and share his favorite meals.
Everything about this small intimate setting, with tasty scratch made food, makes us anxious to return for their pizzas. All of our research points to their pizzas as being "must haves," not the least of which included seeing the piping hot masterpieces being delivered to nearby tables. Given the same crust, DeFazio's will even do half of one specialty pizza on one side, and half of another specialty pizza on the other. No pizzeria we've encountered has offered to do that.
This place is a gem. We'll be back. The service was stellar, the food was tasty, and the atmosphere was as welcoming as you can get. There are lots of good things coming out of DeFazio's.
PS - 1) They only take cash or checks (no plastic). 2) You can bring your own alcohol. Wine has a small $2 per person corkage fee.
|Fettucine Rosario w/Meatballs
Cajun Chicken Alfredo