I love food, and I love exploring new to me or new to the Capital Region food establishments (whether they are restaurants or niche businesses.)
COVID definitely continues to be hard on restaurants and small businesses, yet amazingly the news is not all bad. A number of places (75) have opened up around the Capital Region during 2020, many more than the 43 that have closed.
The Iron Works
This family friendly casual restaurant focuses on serving comfort food and BBQ. When the weather warms up, they have outdoor tables alongside the Burden Pond. I had the pleasure of being invited to a soft opening and tasted many of their delicious items. They serve breakfast all day, and although we have yet to try it, it is on our to do list! For ice cream fans, they have 8 rotating flavors available. My favorites? The Tri-tip platter and the pulled chicken tower, served on soft challah rolls with cole slaw.
Two Little Dumplings
This three generation family cottage industry is in my neck of the woods, Slingerlands. They make delicious flash-frozen dumplings – vegan, pork, chicken, or beef (sold in 1 lb packages, about 12-13 in a packet.) They also make their own dumpling dipping sauce and I’ve heard that a spicier option is on its way. Our favorite? The vegan dumplings, but they sell out fast! New stock is posted on Thursdays around 4 pm and pick-up options are Saturdays (between 9-2) or Mondays ( between 2-6). Currently, they are also offering Nian Gao (sweet, sticky rice treats – in either pineapple coconut or matcha red bean.) These treats are offered in honor of the upcoming Lunar New Year on 2/12/21 and are only available for Saturday pick-up. They are my newest vendor/partner in Taste of Troy Food Tour’s February Box of Local Love. Their dipping sauce will be included in the box!
This small Lebanese restaurant opened on Ontario St. in Cohoes 4 months ago and the owners are in the process of opening an ice cream and sweet shop on Remsen Street in April. I noticed the sign as I was driving to the winter home of the Troy Farmer’s Market and it has become a weekly stop. Our favorites? Pita bread (made on the spot and the best we have found in the US to date), the Labneh (yogurt cheese), the zata pie and their babaganoush. While bakalavah is not my preferred dessert, my spouse said it was very close to his mother’s – pretty high praise indeed!
Tara Kitchen (Guilderland)
Tara Kitchen has long been one of my favorite restaurants in the Capital Region. I have often gotten surprised looks when people heard that I would travel “all the way” to Schenectady just to eat there. However, those who know me, know I will travel for food. I was so happy when they opened up in Troy, I was able to recommend it to my Central Troy Historic District Food Tour guests, although its location on River Street, was not on my tour route. Now they’ve opened their third location on Western Avenue in Guilderland! The menu in Guilderland still has their amazing tagines (actually many more tagine options) but also offers plates in other styles. Our favorites so far? Rfissa Chicken, and lentils served on a bed of msemen (flaky Moroccan flat bread) and my vegetarian spouse loved the 3 peppers with potato, tomato and poached eggs. We did dine in for lunch and pandemic protocols were followed.
Parchment Baking Company
Parchment Baking Company started as part of the Troy Market’s incubator vendor program in 2019. This Scandinavian inspired bakery hand makes all the baked goods with organic and local ingredients. They have wonderful dense sourdough rye bread in three sizes. Our favorites? My spouse especially loves the Kardemummabullar (cardamom rolls) and I am partial to their Pepperkaker (ginger spice, cut out cookies.) Parchment has expanded to be a weekly presence at the Troy Market as well as at the Sunday Schenectady Green Market on Sundays and the seasonal Tuesday Delmar Market. A variety of Parchment’s delicious treats have been regular offerings in my Boxes of Local Love. Her newest cookie, Judekaker (a cardamon, cinnamon heart shaped cut out cookie) will be in my February Box of Local Love.
Son Of Egg
This mother and son owned and operated fast, casual restaurant offers Korean-American bowls and sandwiches at very reasonable prices. Located on Madison Ave. in Albany, just east of Lark St., the interior is sleek and modern, with calming colors of yellow, grey and white. I enjoyed a nice chat with Justin, while his mom made my order. My favorite? The Mix Well Bibimbap – which you can get with beef or tofu.Whether you are looking for breakfast, lunch or dinner Son of Egg will have something for you on the menu.
AliasCoffee recently joined @518craft’s collaborative space on the corner of Broadway and 2nd in Troy. This micro batch coffee roaster and espresso bar pairs well with the craft brewery and Primo Botanico chocolate. Perfect for a cuppa!
This newly opened Pakistani restaurant uses family recipes, to create authentic cusine. The interior has been beautifully done, with a tin-type ceiling and there is a section with a cozy low table surrounded by comfy banquettes that will be wonderful for a gathering (when we can comfortably dine indoors with more than our bubble.) It is a great place to pick up dinner after a day of hiking in Thatcher Park or one of the nature preserves in Altamont. We grabbed a snack of their vegetarian samosas (10-12 bite sized pieces with a nice spicy dipping sauce) on our way back from hiking the Winne Preserve. We will be back to further explore their menu soon.