No man in the world has more courage than the man who can stop after eating one peanut.

Channing Pollock

I don’t know if I’ve ever touched on my true culinary love. Sure, pasta is great, I could honestly eat a good slice of pizza for every meal and get me a good deli sandwich and I’m happy. My true love though, the food that I want with everything all the time, is garlic. BaldMtnPeanuts-1I’ve been known to make garlic bread that burns taste buds, put enough garlic on pizza that makes a kitchen smell for days. In laymen terms, garlic is bae.

Every time I go to some sort of culinary festival and see someone say that their product has garlic, I’m drawn to it almost like a challenge. Usually it’s delicious but the garlic is faint, until I met Bald Mountain Garlic Farms and their Roasted Garlic Peanuts ($8.00). As they describe them, “A flavorful blend of peanuts, garlic, and sea salt. This snack includes large Virginia peanuts and roasted garlic chips. ” I mean, you honestly can’t get more garlic than actual pieces of roasted garlic in the bag, right?

These peanuts are delicious and made right. I hate when I find something I love and see that there are 50 ingredients and half of them I can’t pronounce. BaldMtnPeanuts - 2It’s a bag of peanuts, why can’t the ingredients just say PEANUTS? These peanuts? They’ve got it right- 6 ingredients and all things you’ll recognize. Virginia peanuts, roasted garlic, pure garlic powder, canola oil, peanut oil & sea salt. What I love the most is that they have the right balance of salt and not too much of a garlic kick that makes you run for water but enough that you know you’re getting your money’s worth.

If you missed the Adirondack Wine & Food Festival and don’t want to order them online, they will be at the 20th Annual Southern Vermont Garlic & Herb Festival (as will I, obviously).

My perfect morning is spent drinking coffee, eating porridge and reading the paper at a local cafe.

Anton du Beke

Based on the idea of my blog, I can assume that you assume that I’m all about local. I’ve lived in this area my whole life and I love the support and compassion we all have for our area. Local-2The minute I heard about the store Local in Bolton Landing (2 Karl’s Korner) on Instagram, I wanted to stop by and see what they had. They’re a smaller store directly near a public parking lot which was pretty convenient. LocalBoltonThey’re logo is the word “LOCAL” where the L is Lake George. How brilliant is that? You can not only go to the store and check out their polo shirts, fleece jackets, hats, shirts and decals but order them online 24/7. The best part besides the reasonable prices (my shirt was only $20!)is that the quality is awesome. The shirts are really soft! I can’t wait to rock it to work on Monday!

The company’s back story is pretty interesting too. You can find the whole story on their website but I’ll Sparknote it for you. It started with a love of tank tops and beer money which are two things I can totally relate to! After going through a few ideas they decided to go back to their first, their “Bread and butter” IMG_1767as they called it- the recognizable Lake George. They opened up Local and the rest is history.

I feel it would be hard to find anyone from this area that doesn’t have a love for Lake George either for memories or for the beauty. Why not wear your love on your shirt?

LAST THING- check out their 4th of July themed Lake George shirts for sale. Two of my favorite 4th of July things (aside from #Merica) is red/white/blue and Lake George! You can also grab a $3 coozy for your various delicious canned beverages.

 

ADK Wine & Food

This weekend is the Adirondack Wine & Food Festival (Saturday June 27th 12PM-6PM & Sunday, June 28 12PM-5PM). Tickets are $20 in advance and $25 at the gate at the Charles R. Wood Festival Commons (West Brook Rd, Lake George). I’ve been looking forward to this since I heard about it a few weeks ago and it’s got everything! A mix of some of your favorite local wineries, breweries, distilleries, and food!

ADKWineFood

Wineries
Adirondack Winery (Lake George, NY)
Americana Vineyards (Interlaken, NY)
Amorici Vineyards (Valley Falls, NY)
Brookview Station Winery (Castleton, NY)
Halfmoon Cellars Winery (Saratoga, NY)
Lakeland Winery (Syracuse, NY)
Ledge Rock Hill Winery (Corinth, NY)
Oliva Vineyards (Fort Edward, NY)
Swedish Hill Winery (Romulus, NY)
Thousand Islands Winery (Alexandria Bay, NY)
Victory View Vineyard (Schaghticoke, NY)

Breweries
Adirondack Brewery (Lake George, NY)
Davidson Brothers Brewing Company (Glens Falls, NY)

Distilleries & Cideries
Harvest Spirits Distillery (Valatie, NY)
Lake George Distilling Co (Fort Ann, NY)
Springbrook Hollow Distillery (Queensbury, NY)
Nine Pin Ciderworks (Albany, NY)
Slyboro Ciderhouse (Granville, NY)

Food Trucks
Pies on Wheels (Glens Falls, NY)
The Hungry Traveler (Delmar, NY)

Gourmet Food
Bald Mountain Garlic Farm (Glens Falls, NY)
Chef William Creations (Watkins Glen, NY)
Dutch Desserts (Kinderhook, NY)
Goats & Gourmets Cheese (Westerlo, NY)
Gourmet Gal’s Sauces (Glens Falls, NY)
Hidden Hollow Maple Farm (Thurman, NY)
Jiff-E-Chips (Averill Park, NY)
Lake George Olive Oil Company (Lake George, NY)
Mountain View Confections (Schuylerville, NY)
Palatine Cheese (Nelliston, NY)
Palatable Pepper Products (Hudson Falls, NY)
Saratoga Crackers (Saratoga, NY)
Worldlings Pleasure (Watervliet, NY)

Follow the festival on Instagram @ADKWineFestLG or on Facebook

Beauty is in the Eye of the Beerholder

Kinky Friedman

Being from Schenectady, Proctors is like a second home to me. I’ve been going to shows at Proctors since I was a kid and one of my favorite times of the year is to see their schedule to see what events are coming up. Proctors PinkBrew-1I’ve always seen the Pink & Brew event but have never been able to go before, until this year.

This year, Pink & Brew was Friday, June 12th and lasted a few hours between the GE Theater and Key Hall. The focus of Key Hall was “Pink” or “Designed for Divas” as they advertised. You walk in and there were opportunities for massages ($1/min) or psychic readings by time. Inside the main part of Key Hall is a mix of jewelry, fitness opportunities, clothing, purses, Jamberry nails and wine tastings all catered to women. Around GE Theater is “The Man Cave.” Aside from cigars, jazz music and jerky there were samplings from more than 75 beers. We were allowed 15 tastings from breweries like Sam Adams, Saratoga, Lake Placid, Van Dyck, Magic Hat, Blue Moon, Sierra Nevada and more!

Overall, I had a great time. PinkandBrew-2I walked around the room “Designed for Divas” but there wasn’t anything in there that really grabbed my attention. I spent most of my time around the beer, giving each one a try. I really enjoyed the food choices. ShopRite of Niskayuna had an entire spread, as did Zen, Nico’s as some other great Schenectady establishments (especially the delicious chocolate fountain). I loved the food and beer choices and Proctors always puts on a good time. I liked the idea of a Pink & Brew but they could’ve honestly just stuck to a beer tasting and I would’ve been happy with it.

 

I’m an old-fashioned guy… I want to be an old man with a beer belly sitting on a porch, looking at a lake or something.

Johnny Depp

It was just restaurant week in Lake George and there’s no way I would miss the opportunity to have food up in Lake George in this beautiful weather for $20.15. My family and I decided to check out Giovanna’s on the Lake inside of The Georgian (384 Canada Street, Lake George). GiovannasI’ve eaten there a few times before and never been disappointed but restaurant week is a strange monster. During restaurant week, note how much you’re paying for food that’s normally more expensive. Though I enjoy restaurant week, my experience is that the food during this week isn’t as good as food you would pay the full price for which I get.

To start I ordered the bruschetta and I loved it. Crusty bread with fresh vegetables and a balsamic reduction drizzled on top. I loved it. I’ve had bruschetta where the bread has gotten soggy or the vegetables were the wrong temperature but this was perfect and I’d be sure to order it again if it happens to be on their regular menu.

Giovannas-2 For my main course I ordered white fish with a white sauce and stuffed. I didn’t happen to catch what the sauce or stuffing was for that matter but it didn’t really matter. The fish was a tad disappointing. I ate about half of it, it was solid but I took home leftovers and didn’t finish them. The sauce didn’t really taste like anything and did nothing to enhance the flavor. The stuffing I felt just got in the way of the natural flavor of the fish that was already hard to distinguish. Overall, it was just okay. Giovannas-3 I didn’t hate it but I probably should’ve ordered a steak.

For dessert, flourless chocolate cake. I forget every time I order flourless cake, I always forget how rich it is. Granted, it was delicious but it took a lot of will power for me to finish it. Well, will power and that fact that I love chocolate. Though my main course wasn’t my favorite, I’ve never had a bad experience with the service there. Everyone that has ever waited on us has always done it with a smile and great disposition. Giovannas-4They’re incredibly accommodating and I appreciate that. Also, the view isn’t too shabby either. Gotta love Lake George!

“Knowledge is knowing that a tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is knowing not to put it in a fruit salad.”

Brian O’Driscoll

Whenever I go grocery shopping, I try to stay to the list I brought. I don’t necessarily buy any particular brand but go with things that are either on sale or my personal favorite thing to do, buy local products I find in my local grocery store. CasaViscoThis past time to my local Price Chopper was no different. I needed pizza sauce and being from Schenectady, I couldn’t get more local than Casa Visco‘s Pizza Sauce.

I love all kinds of pizza. I’ll make it on a flatbread, Chicago deep dish, New York Style, crusts made from weird things like cauliflower, pizza made on pitas, bagels or English Muffins, breakfast pizza, dessert pizza- I’ve probably tried all pizza.

I love to cook so I decided to make my first pizza all from scratch and I thought that this was the perfect opportunity to use my Casa Visco Pizza Sauce.

Carmella and Joseph Viscusi, Sr started a small grocery business in 1945 specializing in selling Italian products tCasa Visco 70hen at the request of their customers, began bottling and selling Carmella’s famous sauce and Casa Visco was born (Source). I’ve eaten Casa Visco sauce since I was a kid and it’s just as good now as it’s always been. Not into pizza sauce? No worries, they have tons of other products you should look into. Even Gluten Free if you have an allergy!

Casa Visco is celebrating their 70th year as a business and they want you to come! Join Casa Visco at the Glen Sanders Mansion on June 30th for a celebratory dinner! RSVP HERE by June 20th, space is limited and on a first come serve basis. I already reserved my spot, will I see you there?

 

“We all need to make time for a burger once in a while.”

Erica Durance

As I was growing up, we had a McDonald’s around the corner. I wasn’t able to drive so Summer to my friends and me was meeting up for lunch at McDonald’s with the money my Mother either gave me or what I made babysitting. McDThirdPounderAs I grew up, I visited McDonald’s less and less because of the stigma that McDonald’s was “bad” or “unhealthy” and not something you should be putting in your body. I had the opportunity to take part in an early tasting of McDonald’s new products on Tuesday, April 28th at the Latham Farms location with other bloggers/press. I’m so happy to learn (especially because the food tastes so delicious) that McDonald’s is working at not only making better for you food but better quality food because their customers mean something to them.

Nothing showed that more than Latham Farms McDonald’s owner Andrew James. He was so proud to not only share in what we were about to taste but the time, commitment and study he put in to learning about McDonald’s and the art of owning a franchise.McDThirdPounder2 It all began in 1987 when he decided he wanted to own a McDonalds and provide jobs for people, now he owns three in the Capital Region (including one in Clifton Park and one in Rensselaer). To him, it wasn’t just about buying a franchise and making money, it was for the love of what he was doing shown especially in how many local charities he involved himself in as well as  how he interacted with his employees and the customers who came in and knew him by name. He couldn’t wait to share the new burgers with us!

Before the event we had three options of Sirloin Third Pound Burgers to choose from:

Steakhouse: Made with a third-pound of 100 percent Sirloin beef topped with sautéed mushrooms, grilled onions, white cheddar cheese and creamy peppercorn sauce all served on a sesame seed bun.

Bacon and Cheese: Made with a third-pound of 100 percent Sirloin beef topped with yellow mustard, zesty ketchup, sliced pickles, red onion rings, Applewood smoked bacon and white cheddar cheese all served on a sesame seed bun

Lettuce and Tomato: Made with a third-pound of 100 percent Sirloin beef topped with creamy mayonnaise, yellow mustard, a fresh slice of tomato, green leaf lettuce, rings of red onion, sliced pickles and white cheddar cheese all served on a sesame seed bun.

MOUTH WATERING YET?

I got the Bacon and Cheese (solid choice in my opinion). They brought the burgers out to us on these silver platters, it was really a great presentation. McDThirdPounder3The burger was pretty delicious. I, of course, assume that because this was an event that they were as fresh as possible and done perfectly but I still enjoyed the flavor. The bacon was great and enhanced the flavor of the meat. I couldn’t really decipher between the different condiments but they seemed to work well together. I felt myself feeling like there was a little too much cheese and may have been able to go without it. The bun was okay. Nothing special or crazy, just kind of there to give me something to hold on to. Overall, not bad. I was impressed with how much better they tasted than the other burgers I’ve had.

We also had the opportunity to try the new Artisan Grilled Chicken. On April 13th, McDonald’s started using this chicken in all of their chicken entrees including the Deluxe Grilled Chicken Sandwiches, Premium McWraps, Snack Wraps and Premium Salads. The chicken starts with 100% white meat chicken filet seasoned with pantry spices and herbs, seared on the grill and finished with a zesty vinaigrette. My favorite part? No artificial flavors, added colors or preservatives. I was really impressed with how moist the chicken was and how the flavors of the different spices and herbs came out in each bite. I’m really happy to know that they’re replacing their other chicken with this one. Over the next two years, McDonald’s will be working to source chicken raised without antibiotics that are important to human medicine. McDThirdPounder4I’m going to be honest, though, I don’t really know what type of ecological difference that makes and they didn’t really touch on it at the presentation.

My favorite part of the experience? They brought us out McDonald’s fries. I don’t know what it is about McDonald’s fries, it brings me back to my childhood and I couldn’t stop eating them! The burgers were pretty good but as always, the fries where the fried golden crown on top of a pretty solid meal.

Get them quick, the chicken is here to stay but those burgers? They’re only around for a limited time!