Thursday, June 21, 2012


So as you may know, I reviewed Sperry's on Caroline Street for brunch a while back, but I hadn't been there for dinner yet. I thought it was about time to change that and one beautiful Sunday night my date and I headed on over. We walked in through the front door and it was so empty I actually asked the hostess if they were open that night. She said yes and asked if we wanted to eat outside...boy was I wrong about it being empty, turns out the party was in back.

Sperry's has the most amazing patio, it's not only huge it's got this exotic feel for it with lush colored fabric and chandeliers hanging from the tent. The chairs are gold (love it) and the stone work is just beautiful. In fact, here's a picture of the view from our table, not the greatest quality but it gives a general idea.

With plants and trees surrounding you, you felt like you were in this little tropical escape in the middle of downtown Saratoga. I loved the atmosphere as much as I loved the meal. Speaking of which, let's get to the food.

My date and I were looking at the menu, trying to figure out an appetizer to choose and they all looked so amazing that we couldn't pick. So to fix that, we decided to order four and call it a meal. How's that for best of both worlds.

Before our meal we got two steaming hot cheesy popovers. I can't get enough of these guys - which is why it's good they only serve one per person or else I wouldn't have any room for dinner! Smart move Sperry's.

So all of our appetizers came at once, which was a little overwhelming considering the amount of table space we had, but I was still really excited about the feast we had before us. One of the appetizers that we got was the Seared Tuna Tartare.

Underneath you can start to see the asian guacamole and tropical salsa. The two were so delicious with the tuna that I kept trying to get everything on one bite...not always possible but still worth the effort. The tuna was so delicate and delicious, light and savory enough to be exactly what I wanted on an early summer evening.

Now let's move on to the Artichoke Fritters. When I saw these on the menu I imagined a sort of fried artichoke-potato-latke sorta thing. Not the case...what we got was so much better.

These were lightly fried artichoke hearts with balsamic greens, sundried tomatoes, and meyer lemon aioli. The fritters were fried lightly enough that you could still taste the subtle flavor of the artichoke hearts and appreciate how well they paired with the tangy tomato and lemon. Yum.

Next: an order of Crispy Calamari with a Thai chili lime sauce.

Though this dish came with that cute little ladle of sauce, there's actually a lot of sauce on the plate underneath the calamari (it's there I promise). Don't get me wrong, the sauce was amazing, but putting it on the plate before the calamari made everything lean towards the soggy side of the "crispy" scale. It also meant you didn't have much control over your sauce to calamari ratio. 

Last but not least, we snuck in a side dish of Sugar Snap Peas with shallots and mint to get some green in our meal.

I love sugar snap peas, and Sperry's cooked these perfectly so that they weren't overcooked and still had some snap to them. The mint was an interesting touch (and there was only a touch of it, I think maybe I would have wanted a little more?) that took the flavor from average to slightly exotic and I loved using what little popover I had left to soak up the broth at the bottom of the bowl. 

By the end of our absolutely amazing meal we certainly did not have enough room for dessert, but we were not uncomfortably full by any means. I would say that four appetizers (or three appetizers and one side if you're being particular) is the perfect amount for two people, and very reasonably priced as well. Our extremely friendly waitress humored us though and let us peek at the dessert time Sperry's...who knows maybe we'll get four desserts for dinner, just for kicks. 

Thursday, June 14, 2012

The Springs

Who here has heard of The Springs? I know I hadn't until recently, and I practically live across the street! The Springs is located on the first floor of the Hilton on Broadway, there's a good chance you walk or drive by it all the time and never knew it was there, it's certainly a hidden gem. But The Springs is more than just your average "hotel restaurant", it's got an adorable little outdoor seating area, a swanky bar, and an overall classy feel. The atmosphere at The Springs is perfect for a family dinner, special occasion, or happy hour...oh and room service if you're actually staying in the hotel.

As soon as we walked into the restaurant we were greeted by an extremely friendly staff. We had our choice of tables since on a Sunday night we were one of the only parties there (hey isn't Father's Day coming up? Bet you could get a table there, no problem!). We settled down near the window and began to look over the menu after ordering two Killer Bees - my new favorite summer drink with Jack Daniels Honey Whiskey and lemonade.

To start we ordered the Spicy Calamari off of the special's menu that came with marinara sauce and mae ploy sauce, a sweet and spicy chili sauce.

This was hands down one of the best calamari dishes I have ever had. It was spicy and flavorful with an Asian twist, perfect with the mae ploy sauce. It was the kind of spicy where you don't quite realize how much of a punch it packs (in the best way possible) until you stop eating and realize you desperately need a drink of water  or a piece of bread. The only downside was the calamari got a little soggy by the bottom, but that didn't stop me from practically licking the bowl clean. I hope this dish makes it onto their daily menu, it was way too good to just be a one time deal!

Next we got some bread and butter and a salad as part of the set price steak dinner my date ordered. This came with the bread and salad and then steak in a red wine sauce and parmesan fries...all for $19.50 which is a pretty amazing deal. 

The two butters that came with the bread were home made olive tapenade and a garlic and scallion butter. I think I liked the garlic and scallion butter the best, but it was close. It was little details like the butter that made our whole meal at The Springs so special, you can tell they really take pride in what they do. 

For my entree I wasn't sure what I wanted to order, everything looked so good. So I did what I always do in that situation: ask our waitress what her favorite is! She immediately said the mustard salmon, and I am always down for salmon. The mustard sauce was a little on the sweeter side and more like a glaze. Even though I normally prefer mustard sauces that are thick and grainy, it was still pretty great. 

Everything was cooked to perfection, the baby carrots and beans were so tender and delicious with the mustard sauce! The potatoes were crisp and well seasoned, incredibly satisfying. Another thing I noticed when I was choosing my meal - the menu has almost no vegetarian options except for a couple salads and a grilled vegetable sandwich. So fair warning to all you vegetarians out there - though I guess the fact that on it's logo The Springs says "steak * seafood * chicken" is warning enough...

When my date got his main dish, he was so excited. Look at that - how could you not be.

I would like to say for the record that he said that this was "one of the best steaks he's ever had"...strong words there! The red wine sauce was amazing, I stole more than a couple parmesan fries when he wasn't looking just to get at some of that sauce. And the best part of it all, there was still some leftover for lunch the next day. 

After finishing our meals we thought there was no way we had enough room for dessert. But that was before we heard what our options were! We ended up picking the warm apple crumble with toasted coconut ice cream and caramel sauce. It was as amazing as it sounds.

And it was as amazing as it looks. The toasted coconut ice cream was out of this world. It was a fairly rich dessert so it was perfect for sharing, a great way to end dinner on a sweet note. 

I would love to try The Springs for happy hour, or maybe bring my family there next time they're up to visit. If you're looking for a new restaurant to try, check it out and let me know what you think...though I'm pretty positive you'll have as great a meal as I did! 

PS - The Springs was nice enough to offer a 20% discount to Savoring Saratoga fans. Like me on Facebook to get your coupon!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Sushi Thai Garden

Sushi Thai is one of those college classics for me, one of those Asian-fusion restaurants where it was always safe to go because everyone could find something they liked. It made sense then, when a few of my college friends were in town they said that they wanted to go there for dinner. Sushi Thai has a casual atmosphere that seems to invite young folk (aka broke college kids or recent college grads), young families, and the occasional date here and there. It's interesting: I wonder what the opening of Phila Fusion did for Sushi Thai's business, it being right next door and a fancier version of Asian fusion and all...

We walked in and were immediately greeted and seated. The staff there are all extremely nice and accommodating. They were very patient with us, there was so much catching up to do that it took us a while to figure out what we wanted to order. I know I can speak for everyone when I say that we were all unbelievably hungry and had one thing on our mind: sushi. And lots of it. I started off with a bowl of miso soup since there was a definite chill in the air that night.

Their miso soup hits the spot. It's not too salty and has plenty of tofu and seaweed, my two main qualifiers for good miso soup. 

For my sushi I ordered a Spicy Tuna with tempura flakes and a Dragon Roll. 

To be honest, I order tempura flakes for spicy tuna rolls for two reasons: first, I like the crunchiness and second, it makes it slightly more interesting if I know the roll might not be the best. If you like the texture of tempura you should try it next time you order sushi and see if you like it! The Dragon Roll was pretty exciting - shrimp tempura, asparagus, avocado, scallions, and masago. The crunch of the shrimp tempura and asparagus paired with the smoothness of the The Dragon Roll definitely one of my favorites, hands down. 

My friend ordered an interesting roll called the Salmon Tempura Roll, where the entire roll was fried.

The roll tasted great, but the fact that it was warm took some getting used to. Maybe because it was warm it didn't have that classic freshness that sushi normally has. Especially since the cooked salmon taste was the main focus. Don't get me wrong, it was good, but I don't think I would order it if I was specifically craving sushi. 

My other friend got a BOAT...something I've always wanted.

How could you not want your meal in one of those? Talk about presentation! This particular boatload of sushi was the Vegetable Sushi Combo. This comes with four pieces of vegetable sushi, a cucumber handroll, and a vegetable roll. This would be a good option for those who are not so into raw fish but want to try sushi. That and what better way to turn you on to sushi then to have it served on a boat. Can you tell I really want a boat?

Last but not least, the Chicken Himmapan.

This dish was chicken with pineapple, mushrooms, bell peppers, onions, carrots, cashews, and Pik Pow sauce. I love having cashews and pineapple in dishes, it always seems to kick it up a notch. The presentation with the pineapple is pretty cool, though I bet those huge chunks made it slightly difficult to incorporate with the rest of the have to cut everything up into little pieces just to get a proper bite sized portion! 

Though I almost always end up getting sushi, there are a million different ways to go at Sushi Thai. Since there are so many different cuisines offered, everyone in your party is bound to find something on the menu. I think what I said in the beginning perfectly sums up Sushi Thai: it's safe. Not particularly amazing, yet not horrible, just safe.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Revisiting Hattie's

Last night a few of us went out to celebrate a very special birthday. And where did the birthday girl want to go? Hattie's! No complaints from me! You can read my original experience with Hattie's and the guest post from Mamatoga on their brunch...all in all pretty great food and last night was no exception.

Since this is a revisiting post, it will be mostly pictures and some we go!

Looking at that you really can't tell what it is BUT it's the fish special of pecan crusted haddock over a spicy slaw and greens. I have to say, it was nice that there was a non-fried option. And it was delicious.

Chicken and andouille sausage gumbo...spicy and sassy. 

Gazpacho - a good amount of kick but not quite as chunky as I would have liked. I guess I'm fairly picky when it comes to gazpacho, I like big chunks of vegetables, the perfect amount of spice and the taste of summer. Hattie's was close, but not quite there.

Good 'n Evil Wings. Wow. I just want to put this sauce on everything, it's that amazing. And the fact that they put pecans in the blue cheese...way to go Hattie's! 

Catfish Fingers with saffron aioli. The catfish fingers themselves are incredibly buttery so paired with the thick aioli it's a pretty decadent dish. I think I would prefer it with a different dipping sauce, maybe something with horseradish? I love that sauce that comes with their other catfish dish. It's still pretty tasty though as is, who doesn't love saffron.  


We ordered a slice of banana cream and pecan pie for dessert. They were huge, the four of us couldn't finish them so I can't imagine ordering one for myself! The banana cream was perfect, the combination banana and coconut is always a winner. The pecan pie was a little dry for my taste but I think it just didn't quite meet the standards that the banana cream pie had set. They had other southern style desserts that night such as sweet potato pie and a fruit crumble that I can't wait to go back and try! 

That night we had a living social coupon for a pretty great discount. Every other time I've used those kind of coupons I've either printed them out or just shown them on my phone. It got a little complicated at Hattie's though where they wanted us to download it, then mark it as used, then forward it to them so they could print it...extra confusing too because it wasn't a coupon that my friend had purchased herself, it was a birthday gift, so she couldn't access the original living social account. All in all, what should have been very simple was not. I'm pretty sure all they needed was the coupon number, but oh well. We still love Hattie's despite technical difficulties. 

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Four Seasons

Four Seasons is one of my favorite places to go for a quick meal. I actually mentioned it a while ago in a guest post for Mamatoga where I talked about some take out ideas. Whether it's eating there, taking food home, or a spontaneous picnic in the park, the Four Seasons buffet has amazingly healthy and fresh vegetarian options. There are always a variety of daily specials, but I have to say, I pretty much get the same thing every time! But we'll get to that in a little bit. Here's a glimpse of the buffet...

That right there is my all time favorite combination: cold noodles, sauteed kale, tofu and the BEST peanut sauce EVER! You really can't beat it. I also always get the beets and their black seaweed  salad. Wowza. 

Here are some things I love about Four Seasons. All of the food is fresh, natural, and good for you. And it tastes good too! I've seen many a picky eater (some children, some fully grown) find a favorite dish. It's hard not to try a little bit of everything which can be dangerous when all of a sudden your eyes are way bigger than your stomach and you're paying more than your originally planned on (they're charging 7.99 per lbs, well worth it though I promise). 

For example, here's what our take away boxes looked like. And while I could have sworn I needed every dish that I scooped up, I only ate about half of it!

And did I mention the staff? Everyone who works there is so friendly and willing to explain any ingredient or address any allergy concern you may have. What more could you want? I also love how fun and festive the dining room is, the bright colors and casual atmosphere can cheer up any rainy day. 

Last but not least, once you get to the end of the buffet, Four Seasons leaves you with some wise parting words:

I think I will. 

PS - I forgot to add that there are also almost always Four Season coupons lying around somewhere. There are a couple in the Spa City Food Pack and they're in those coupon pamphlets you get in the mail, you just gotta search for them. Always nice to take a little edge off your bill. 

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Hooray for Facebook!

So in trying to keep up with social media in all it's glory, I've set up a Facebook page for Savoring Saratoga. Like me on Facebook for updates on reviews and such, or follow me on the blog itself through google - either/or!


Monday, June 4, 2012

Irish Times

This review has been on the back burner for far too long, I went to Irish Times TWO WEEKS ago and I haven't been able to get my act together to write this post! What's up with that! But never fear, I took good notes and I have a particularly good memory when it comes to food, so regardless of the long wait I promise I'll give you my honest opinion of the lunch I had there the other day.

I love walking into Irish Times. When I was in college I studied abroad in Galway, Ireland for a semester and Irish Times reminds me of one of my favorite pubs there. I get particularly sentimental when we go there for drinks and there's an Irish trad band playing. During the day though, there's no music and it's drastically less crowded so my friend and I had no trouble getting a booth for lunch. We sat down and our waitress came over to get our orders and we showed her our Spa City Coupon, $8 off $25 or more. We weren't sure if we were going to hit $25 or not, but we figured we could always order a dessert or something.

After our waitress took our order we waited...and waited....and waited for our food. A whopping forty minutes later our waitress came to apologize and said that the kitchen had sent our food upstairs where it had just been waiting at the bar. Forty minutes is a long time to wait when you just have an hour lunch break, and it made me wonder how much of that forty minutes our food was sitting there. Just to be safe, we asked for take away boxes and the check with our food so if we cut it really close we could throw everything in and head out.

I ended up getting the Crab Cake Sandwich with Claddagh rings on the side instead of french fries for $2 extra (in an attempt to hit $25, plus I was curious how their Claddagh rings were different from plain old onion rings).

The crab cake itself was good, but other than that I was pretty disappointed. The roll was stale, the red pepper aioli was watery, and the Claddagh rings were in fact just plain old onion rings. Maybe it was the forty minutes of hungry waiting, but I was definitely expecting something more exciting. 

My friend got the R-L-T (Irish Rasher, lettuce and tomato) with a side of potato leek soup and sweet potato fries. 

The thick pieces of rasher certainly made this sandwich, and the soup met all expectations. I actually met the friend that I was having lunch with while studying abroad, and we talked about how soup was one of our staples while in Galway, definitely a comfort food. We were pretty impressed at the menu - a lot of what they had to offer was what we would have seen on menus in Ireland. The only thing I would have wanted that wasn't on the menu was a good old seafood chowder, a dish that I really miss from Ireland that was offered at almost any pub you walked in to.

Then we got the check. This is where we got slightly confused. There was something on the check that we didn't order (I can't remember exactly what it was) for $3. Our guess was that our waitress had put that on for us so that we hit the $25 minimum and could get the $8 off. So basically we spent three dollars to save eight...does that make sense? While it was nice of her to make sure that we could use our coupon, we didn't like the idea of just having three dollars on there instead of us actually ordering a dessert or something to make the minimum. Not to mention the fact that in my opinion, we should have gotten something by way of apology (like the $8 off without meeting the $25) for having to wait so long for our food. And then to top it off - because we waited so long for our food we didn't have time to talk to our waitress about the check - we had to eat as much as we could as fast as we could, throw the rest in our take away boxes, and then head out. Oh well.

Overall I had a pretty mixed experience at Irish Times. I feel like there was the potential to have a great meal there, and I want to give them a second chance and maybe order something different. Maybe it was an off day for them, maybe they're more on their game during dinner, who knows. But I want to give them the benefit of the doubt and revisit them soon.