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. 

Tuesday, November 6, 2012


Hey guys, go get your vote on today! Mamatoga's got the scoop on some great voter discounts and specials downtown. Anyone check them out yet? Always nice to get a little perk for voting, don't you think?

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Triangle Diner

Last Sunday I met some friends at the Triangle Diner, a place I had driven by so many times and had always wanted to check out. When I drove up I thought parking would be impossible, it is after all on a sharp triangle made by Route 9 and Maple Ave with only a few parking spaces in front. But once I turned on to Maple I realized there was plenty of parking on the residential street.

Don't you love the Christmas decorations? Walking in I got that amazing feeling that I had finally found a true diner in Saratoga. Coming from New York City I guess I'm a bit of a diner snob, I have high expectations for that classic neighborhood feel. This place had it all from swivel stools at the counter to the black and white checkered floor. The Triangle was packed but they know how to handle a crowd, we got there at 10:30, were seated by 10:35 and had our orders taken by 10:45. Granted, there was a wait for our food until about 11:15, but during that wait we had at least three coffee refills....there was always someone walking around with fresh coffee looking for empty mugs to fill. 

When I saw the menu I was even more excited about my new diner discovery...they had almost everything that I missed from my diners from home. My friend ordered something that I hadn't seen on a menu in a  while - blintzes. More specifically - strawberry blintzes with a side of bacon - sweet and salty heaven.

For those of you who are not familiar with blintzes, they are sort of like crepes, filled with sweet cheese and normally topped with some sort of fruity sauce. They are amazing. I normally tend towards savory breakfasts, but that doesn't stop me from sneaking a bite or two from anyone who orders blintzes. If you've never had them before, I highly recommend them next time you're at the Triangle Diner. 

I ended up getting what I felt like was the ultimate breakfast. Ready? Two poached eggs with hollandaise sauce, smoked salmon with capers, asparagus, home fries, and a lemon poppy seed muffin. I promise I didn't order all of that separately, it was already a meal on the menu. And yes I ended up taking half of it home. 

My two favorite types of eggs benedict are with smoked salmon or any kind of green (spinach, asparagus, etc). This was best of both worlds, without the english muffin that fills me up too fast. I'm also a huge fan of capers and really enjoyed the pickled taste combined with the sweet hollandaise sauce. And what's better than dipping perfectly crisp potatoes into poached eggs with hollandaise? Like I said, this was pretty much the ultimate breakfast for me. 

The third meal was a pick your own kind of meal. My friend ended up getting hash browns, scrambled eggs, bacon and toast. 

That's is another sign of a true diner - order however many eggs you want whatever style you like, with your choice of breakfast meat and some kind of starch. Beautiful.  Most breakfast joints offer that, but this plate looks particularly tasty, don't you think? 

I loved my experience at the Triangle Diner. Not only was the food amazing, but the atmosphere was friendly and welcoming. It was like everyone knew each other, or at least that's what it seemed like with families greeting waitresses and people yelling hello from the kitchen. Maybe this is the place where I'll fulfill my long time dream of being able to walk into a place and have someone from the kitchen  say "oh hey Aliza, the usual?" and then slide me a cup of coffee down the counter. Not that I've thought about this or anything. 

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Revisiting Comfort Kitchen

So last time I talked about Comfort Kitchen  I was pretty much in love, and they've only gotten better. Not only that, but since the last time I wrote about them they have gotten real silverware and dishes, started delivering locally, and obtained their liquor license...not too shabby. Since this is a revisiting review I won't go too in-depth, but I want to remind you guys of the many reasons why you should try it out. As the Idiots so eloquently said "Comfort Kitchen continues to be the shit".

When my date and I walked in we were greeted by the owner and chef, Rory, as well as the girl behind the counter (whose name is also Eliza, though with a different spelling). Eliza said something along the lines recognizing me from eating there before...I think it makes a huge difference when restaurants try to connect with their customers...there's definitely a strong connection between Comfort Kitchen and the community. Not to mention it works...I've gone back multiple times and have even ordered for delivery once or twice. 

I ordered the Beet Salad that came with roasted beets, oranges, bleu cheese and sunflower seeds, all over arugula. 

This was a delicious fall salad with distinct earthy flavors with pops of citrus and that unmistakable bleu cheese undertone. I wasn't sure how all of those flavors were going to come together, but they did so beautifully. It was a very filling salad too, though that in no way stopped me from ordering a side of tater tots. I don't think anything could keep me away from those.

My date ordered one of the specials, a beef patty melt with swiss cheese and grilled onions on rye.

He as still hungry after the melt (even though they came on his tray, those tots were all mine...well I shared one or two...) so he also ordered a bowl of their tomato soup with pesto.

The tomato soup was fresh and as my date found out, perfect for dipping tater tots and his melt in. I love the pesto too, a nice presentation and who doesn't love some basil and garlic in your tomato soup? All of the food we ordered was seasonal, local and creative...and you know how important local food is after that great post from Kelly, right? Everything about the place screams "comfort", and I don't think I ever get tired of going there. What have your experiences been like?

Sunday, October 21, 2012


The other day I saw this article in the Saratogian about the new sushi restaurant in town, it looked like it definitely had some potential and I couldn't wait to check it out. I also had a friend who had never really had sushi before and I was really excited to introduce her to one of my favorite meals. So that's how we ended up at Izumi. (I just found out that Izumi is Japanese for fountain or spring, how fitting!)

The three owners of Izumi took over the place where Pacific Grill used to be and made it their own. Atmosphere-wise it's pretty much the same, same circle booths and deep reds and black everywhere. The one big difference that stood out was the fancy sushi bar they added. I always think it's a nice touch, you get to see the fish you're eating and see it being prepared, a skill that I've never been able to quite master. When we walked in I instantly noticed that it didn't look like much had changed, so I was curious what the food was going to be like.

After sitting down we looked at our menus and tried to find a drink list. Our waiter saw us looking confused and came over and said "listen guys, I'd like to offer you something to drink but we don't have our liquor license...want tea or water?". I was pretty disappointed, I was looking forward to a fancy drink, but I was assured by the owner after our meal that they were just a week away from acquiring their license. So next time I go I'll have to report back on how their drinks are looking.

For appetizers a couple people got the house salad, a spicy vegetable miso soup, and I wanted to check out their vegetable tempura.

Already their presentation looks pretty great, and I love that the house salad was so big when other Asian restaurants normally give you two bites of a salad. The tempura was good but didn't knock my socks off, I thought it was a little soggy by the time it got to me. Next time I definitely want to try their shrimp tempura and some of their other appetizers like the gyoza or shumai.

Alright on to the sushi. Now there were seven of us, and I didn't get to try everything, but I'll show you some pictures and tell you a bit about my favorites, how's that sound?

I got two of my personal favorites, a Spider roll that comes with softshell crab and spicy mayo, and a Spicy Tuna roll.

Both of these rolls were perfect, there was a minimal amount of rice so you could really appreciate the quality of the fish. The only thing I was bummed about was that I had asked for a "crunchy" roll (tempura flakes), but it seemed they forgot or hadn't heard me. It was still pretty tasty though.

So remember I told you that some of my friends were trying sushi for the first time? They said I could order for them and so I ordered a Spicy Tuna to stay on the safe side, and then a Dynamite roll for something exciting...

The Dynamite roll was a combination of tuna, yellowtail, salmon, and crabmeat. Add in a bit of masago, wrap it up with soy paper, and you've got one of the best sushi rolls I've ever had. It was absolutely amazing, you got a bit of every flavor in each bite and it was so fresh...incredible. I found out later that Izumi gets shipments of fish from NYC at least three times a week to ensure that the quality and freshness of the fish is at its best. Oh and my friend liked the Dynamite roll as well, so if you're trying sushi for the first time jump in with two feet and try this roll, I bet you'll like it!

Two other friends who had never really experienced sushi got the Kill Bill roll and the Tropical roll.

I didn't get around to trying these two (there's only so much sushi I can eat) but they looked pretty tasty and my friends who got them were more than satisfied. I'm so proud of my friends, I feel like a lot of people who try sushi for the first time play it safe with something cooked and simple, but they certainly brought the "go big or go home" attitude with them. Way to go guys.

Another friend ended up going with a Dinosaur roll, which she admits she got purely for the name, but she ended up being very happy with it.

This roll had spicy salmon tempura and crab meat on top. I liked the sweet sauce that it came with, and this would also be a good choice for someone who is not crazy about the idea of eating raw fish. Speaking of which, I liked that on the menu they put little fish pictures next to the rolls that have raw fish, always good to know.

And if you're really not into sushi at all, there are other options as well - one of my friends ended up getting an order of Sesame Chicken that looked pretty delicious and came with rice and a small house salad as well.

There are a couple Thai and Chinese options on the menu, yet it's not as overwhelming of a menu as some of the other fusion restaurants are when there are pages and pages of each kind of cuisine.

My date ended up ordering a Ninja roll and an order of the Izumi fried rice.

The fried rice came with chicken, shrimp AND beef. He said, and I quote, that it was "the best fried rice" he'd ever had! Strong words there. And it was pretty amazing fried rice, it had an almost smoky taste to it and didn't leave you feeling greasy like some fried rice's tend to do.

All in all, the food at Izumi was amazing. The look of the place may not have changed with new ownership, but the quality of the food has certainly gone up. And when we were done with our meal one of the owners came up to make sure that we were leaving as happy and satisfied customers. I always love it when the owners take the time to meet their guests. I can't wait to go back when they get their liquor license and I definitely want to try more of their exciting sushi combinations. Maybe I'll even go wild and get a boat. 

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Moby Rick's

The other night my date and I went to a movie and wanted to get a quick dinner beforehand. Since we live right around the corner from Moby Rick's we thought we would try their dinners for two. I had gotten seafood to cook at home before, but I hadn't gotten any of their meals yet so I was really excited!

We got there and checked out the three options for dinner that night, all of them looking pretty amazing. The guy behind the counter gave us detailed descriptions of all three, and I just couldn't make up my mind. The meals were in the $20-$30 range, were for two people, and all came with sides and such...what more could you want. I was eyeing the swordfish steak option and then he told us the game changer, we could order from the lunch menu too, adding at least fifteen more choices!

The lunches were very inexpensive and came with your choice of potato salad, cole slaw, or potato wedges. I ended up getting the steamed mussels in a ginger coconut sauce with the asian cole slaw and my date got the crab cakes with potato salad. We waited for about ten minutes for them to whip up our meals and then ate at the picnic tables out front.

I got two dozen mussels that they steam right then and there. The coconut ginger broth had big chunks of ginger and some sriracha sauce to add some spice. I absolutely loved it, my only wish was that it came with a big chunk of bread so I could have soaked up some of that sauce instead of having to throw it away.

My date's crabcakes were pretty great too, and he loved that both our meals came with pickles (quality pickles mind you, not those generic slices you see everywhere).

The crab cakes had some corn in them, but other than those little bites of sweetness it seemed like it was almost all crab meat! I know this sounds like it shouldn't been a big deal, but there are so many crab cakes out there that are mostly bread crumbs or some sort of other filler. So I was impressed, and the potato salad wasn't half bad either.

And you know what was also really exciting about all this? Our total, with two bottles of water, came out to $24! Not too bad for a quality seafood dinner on the go if you ask me. I love everything about Moby Rick's, the fact that they offer such a variety of meals, the fact that the employees really take the time to answer your questions, the fact that they have oars and life jackets hanging around like they just came back from sea...everything. What have your experiences been so far? Have you tried other meals there that you recommend? And if you haven't been there yet, make sure you check out the neighborhood's new fish market, you'll love it.