Monday, December 10, 2012

So Many Things Happening!

Hey guys! Remember when I posted on Facebook that I had a lot going on? Well let me tell you! My boyfriend (aka my date) got offered the ultimate dream job that is allowing us to move to New York City. This is amazing news, for me it's moving back home, and we couldn't be more excited. It also means we're getting ready for another move after just settling in to our new place AND it's my last week of grad school finals AND the holiday season is upon lots of things going on...

So unfortunately that means that I'll only be able to write Savoring Saratoga for another couple weeks. I've had so much fun becoming part of Saratoga's blogging community and getting to know people in the restaurant business, as well as hearing from you guys. When I first started I wanted to try as many restaurants in Saratoga Springs as I could, and I would say I got pretty close. Savoring Saratoga has meant so much to if we end up going out to dinner between now and moving day I'll write a few more reviews but then it'll be So Long Saratoga!

Here are some of the amazing meals we've had since the last review...

An incredibly satisfying lunch: vegetable burger at The Local

At the Triangle Diner my date got a ham, spinach and cream cheese omelette, hash browns and a grilled pumpkin muffin. With a side order of blueberry pancake of course.

I couldn't help myself, I got exactly what I got the last time, two poached eggs, smoked salmon, capers, hollandaise sauce, asparagus, hash browns and a grilled blueberry muffin. BEST BREAKFAST!

Upside Down Apple Cake at Cafe Lena with homemade whipped cream, what a 
great dessert for a great show!

Pasta at Chianti's with swordfish, capers and olives in a red sauce. Wowza.

If there are any restaurants that you think I need to try before we move, let me know! I would hate to leave Saratoga without trying as many restaurants as there one that I haven't mentioned on Savoring Saratoga that you think is the bees knees? Any hidden gems that you think I would like? Leave a comment or let me know on Facebook, I love hearing from you! 

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Henry Street Taproom

I've been excited to try Henry Street Taproom since the day it opened. I've had drinks and appetizers there, but last weekend was my first time there for a meal and I was pumped. A bunch of my friends wanted to try it too so six of us met up around 7:30 on a Saturday night for dinner. We tried calling ahead of time but unfortunately they don't take reservations so we thought we would try our luck and if there was a wait, we could just hang out at the bar. When we got there we put our name on the list and were told that it shouldn't be very long.

A half an hour later we were offered one of the small high tables. I couldn't imagine all six of us fitting at this table, and certainly not with six plates, so we said we would wait for a bigger table. A half hour after that we were seated...apparently everyone had gotten their checks, paid, and then were just hanging out at the table. I don't blame them, once you've got a seat at a hopping bar it's hard to give it up, but it stinks to have to wait that long. So after a whopping hour and twenty minutes after we walked in the door, we placed our order. 

Our waiter was funny, helpful and enthusiastic. He helped us work our way through the restaurant week menu and apologized for the wait. I think he, and the decor, really embodied what Henry Street Taproom describes on their Facebook page: passionate but never pretentious. I love everything about the decorations, the boar's head over the fire, the trendy lighting, the industrial feel of the bar, I love it all. While everyone else ordered appetizers from the restaurant week menu, I couldn't help myself, I went for some cheese.

How amazing does that look? I got the Humbolt Fog (right) and a goat cheese gouda (left) that I can't remember the name of, but they were both incredible and I loved pairing them with the bread and fruit. Henry Street Taproom as an extensive cheese menu (probably as many cheeses as beer?) and while it is a bit on the expensive side I thought it was worth it. 

One of the other appetizers ordered was the Scotch Egg, a soft boiled egg wrapped up in chorizo and fried. I had never heard of this before so I had no idea what it was going to look like...or taste like....

This, like many of the dishes on their menu, was an unusual combination of tastes and textures that somehow worked out perfectly. The Scotch Egg was spicy from the chorizo yet creamy from the egg, definitely something worth trying.

Some other friends also ordered the Roasted Fall Vegetables for an appetizer, a lovely salad to start off your meal.

The last appetizer was the duck pate with berry coulis, which I didn't try but my friend was very happy with.

And now onto dinner! I got the Falafel...

The Falafel was the only thing served that I wasn't particularly excited about. It tasted fine, but I think I prefer my falafel a bit on the crispier side...but as one of the few vegetarian options it wasn't too shabby.

The Fish and Chips on the other hand were the perfect amount of crispy and came with ketchup, tartar sauce, and cocktail sauce (I'm all for smothering cocktail sauce on anything and everything)

The quality of fish was great, and you felt like you were actually eating fish as opposed to fried-ness with a little bit of fish here and there. That's one thing that I really appreciated about Henry Street Taproom, it seemed like they really prioritized quality ingredients, something that always makes a difference.

The last entree was the Carolina BBQ Chicken Sandwich that came with brussel sprouts slaw and parsnip chips.

I'm loving the parsnip chips instead of potato chips! The only issue that we had was that one of my friends asked for the sandwich without bread which never happened. A small mistake that the waiter then apologized for, which to be honest I didn't mind because that meant I got to have some BBQ soaked bread!

And now dessert! There were two dessert options for restaurant week: pumpkin whoopie pie and cranberry bread pudding.

At first I was disappointed that you only got half of a whoopie pie, but it was so rich that it ended up being the perfect amount...I also loved the toasted coconut! The cranberry bread pudding was a little dry for me, but my friend who got it was happy with her dessert.

Overall I had a great experience at Henry Street Taproom, despite our long wait for a table. I think that this isn't necessarily a place you would go with a big group, maybe on a date or to catch up with a friend, but it just isn't a big enough space for large parties. I also felt that even though the prices may seem expensive, you're paying for high quality and creative food, so it's worth it. Have you been there yet? Do you have a favorite dish, or maybe a favorite beer?

Monday, December 3, 2012

Revisiting Izumi

Last time I wrote about how great Izumi is, and so for my revisiting review I'll tell you (mostly in pictures) about an amazing lunch I had there the other day. We were greeted and seated immediately, it wasn't too busy on a weekday lunch so we got one of those awesome barrel booths. Izumi has got some great lunch specials and inexpensive appetizers so we went to town!

We started with vegetable gyoza, which are traditionally pork so I was really excited they offered vegetarian options.

Then we got two salads, the seaweed salad and the cucumber salad. Both were light and refreshing, and the cucumber salad had a little spice to it which was a nice surprise. 

Last but not least we got one of the lunch specials, two rolls for $9! 

We opted for the shrimp tempura roll and a sweet potato roll. Both were delicious, though the shrimp tempura roll was so huge because it had two pieces of tempura that it made for awkward eating. But as long as you're able to laugh at yourself as you make a mess you should be fine. 

As always the staff there were incredibly friendly and both the owner and our waitress stopped by our table more than once to see how we were doing. Izumi for lunch is an amazing deal considering the quality of you have a favorite roll or appetizer there?

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Revisiting Boca Bistro

The other night my date and I went over to Boca Bistro for a romantic evening. I had such a great experience the last time we were there, I couldn't wait to try some more tapas! Boca was hopping by the time we got there so we were seated somewhat in the corner. I have to say though, it was quite the corner. I loved looking at the extensive wine collection, the wine boxes built into the wall, the tables made out of doors...Boca Bistro has got an amazing decorative atmosphere. Our friendly waitress came over to take our orders and talk to us about the's what we ended up with...

Artichoke hearts wrapped in bacon...even when I took the bacon off it was incredibly delicious, our waitress told us this dish was selling out right and left and I believe it, it was amazing!

Calamares Fritos, a big platter of perfectly cooked calamari. I enjoyed this dish last time I was there, and it was even better this time, incredible flavor and texture and I couldn't get enough of the garlic aioli.

This dish was the surprise winner of the night - Espinacas con Garbanzos - spinach with chick peas, raisins, almonds and garlic. I highly recommend you try this dish, the subtle sweetness of the raisins with the garlic...yum

Gambas Al Ajillo - shrimp with garlic and lemon. Save some of your bread for dipping, you're going to have your fair share of garlic by the end of the night, and it's going to be great.

Pimientos de Padron, these little guys are hot! We were told that about one in ten of these peppers pack a punch, but I'm pretty sure the first four I ate all had my mouth on fire. We only ate about half, they are tasty but make sure you've got a full glass of water and lots of bread on hand.

While we were enjoying our tapas both the owner and then the manager came over to see how we were doing, you gotta love that personal attention. Everyone at Boca is incredibly helpful and friendly, everything you would want in a restaurant. If you haven't already tried Boca Bistro, what are you waiting for? Taste a little bit of everything and then let me know what your favorite was!

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Revisiting The Living Room

So last time I went to The Living Room I wasn't blown away, but I heard that they had changed things up a bit so I wanted to head over and check it out. I went with two friends during the week and we got our choice of tables. They had added even more couches since last time I was there, I love that you can lounge with class during happy hour. We ordered our drinks (sidecar for myself) and checked out the new menu.

The new menu isn't on their website, but it's pretty straight to the point. There's a few appetizers and then two build your own options. There's a build your own burger section and then a build your own poutine section. Poutine is basically an amazing guilty pleasure/comfort food, french fries smothered in gravy and cheese curds. I ended up getting veggie gravy, spinach, cheese curds, grilled onions and truffle oil. Pretty sophisticated poutine if I do say so myself...

Sorry the picture's so fuzzy, it's was pretty low lighting that night. My friends ended up building their own poutine dishes as well, and I would show you pictures of theirs but they pretty much look the same. Now a dinner of french fries may not be the healthiest of options, but it was incredibly tasty! Especially on a cold night this cozy dinner really hit the spot. The Living Room has definitely changed it's style since last time I was there, and I think it's starting to grow on me...what have your experiences been like? 

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Revisiting The Turf Club

I went to The Turf Club almost a year ago and thought I would check it out again now that it's got Beverly and seems to have been making an effort to mix things up a bit. We walked on over and once we got there, around 12:30 on a Sunday morning, we were literally the only people there. It's like nobody knows about the place or something! It was nice not to have to wait for a table for Sunday brunch, but it's a little unsettling to walk in to a completely empty restaurant.

After settling in and ordering a coffee we checked out the menu - and it certainly looked like things had changed since last time I was there - and I recognized some of the choices from Beverly's menu. I ended up ordering a German Apple Pancake with homemade coconut syrup.

It was huge! I had never had a german apple pancake before, but it kind of reminded me of a popover. It was pretty good, but I think I would have preferred to have shared it and then gotten something with a little more substance, like eggs, on the side. As much as I love sweets, sometimes I need a savory breakfast that I can really dig in to and feel full afterwards. With this dish, I could only eat about half of it until I slid it over to my date to finish off.

The coconut syrup was really interesting too. I don't know why, but when I saw it on the menu I assumed it would be coconut flavored maple syrup. Instead it was exactly what the menu said it was, coconut syrup! It felt like something that you would use to flavor something else like coffee, it was a bit too intense when I poured it all over the apple pancake. Oh well, live and learn.

My date started off with the fresh fruit of the day and the Smoked Salmon Platter.

I'm not gonna lie, the fruit was pretty disappointing. The honeydew was barely ripe and there was probably a grand total of two sliced strawberries in there. And how much did this cost? $4.50, which is probably about how much an entire honeydew costs. I was hoping it was going to be the kind of honeydew that literally melts in your mouth it's so ripe, but that was definitely not the case. Now that I'm thinking of it, the last time I was there they had an issue with their fresh fruit...

The Smoked Salmon Platter certainly looked impressive...I don't think I've ever seen smoked salmon standing up like that...

This was pretty much a fancy do-it-yourself bagel and lox sandwich...which don't get me wrong is one of my favorite breakfasts, but I really don't think it needs to cost $15. Overall I felt that our meal was pretty overpriced, when the quality of food was only average. The one positive aspect of our meal was we had an extremely friendly waiter who was humming his way around the restaurant and always asking if there was anything else we needed. The thing is though, you need more than a great waiter to make me want to come back and I think my second experience at The Turf Club may have been my last.