Wednesday, September 26, 2012

What are your thoughts on local food?

Hey guys, so one day I was browsing the internet and I found myself checking out Farmie Market's Facebook page. Farmie Market is an online farmers market that delivers food right to your door (pretty awesome, right?) and it got me thinking. So many restaurants in Saratoga highlight local farms on their menu...but why don't ALL restaurants use local ingredients? I thought I'd ask Kelly, coordinator of Farmie Market, what her opinion on the matter is and here's what she had to say... 

Support restaurants that support local farms. You’ll thank me.

Earlier this month I attended the Feast of the Fields, a fundraiser for Saratoga County land trust, Saratoga PLAN. The Feast brings together a host of local chefs to prepare delicious tapas-style meals featuring ingredients from local farms. With menu items including pork with cider bourbon reduction, sweet potato frites with roasted beet ketchup, and apple spice cupcakes filled with vanilla bean custard, this event really is a celebration of the bounty of our local farms.

So, why is it important for Saratoga PLAN to highlight the connection between local farms and local restaurants? Because that beautiful combination is so good in so many ways.

For starters, local food is more fresh and more flavorful. When food comes from across the county instead of across the country, that distance matters. Less travel time means foods are harvested at the peak of freshness, not weeks in advance in preparation for a trip across the country. If you’ve ever had those tasteless cherry tomatoes in your salad, you know what I’m talking about.

Additionally, supporting local farms is good for the environment. Not only does supporting local farms reduce impacts from long-haul trucking, but locally it preserves the open spaces we love. Our local farms are the small farms those corporate mega-farms pretend to be on their packaging. If we want Saratoga Springs to continue to be the “City in the Country”, we need to support our local farms so that they can stay in business and not be chopped up into subdivisions.

Lastly, supporting the local economy should not only go for personal spending, but business spending as well. When local businesses support other local businesses we all win. And that’s especially true of local farms. Cornell University estimates that every dollar you spend with a small farmer multiplies 3-4 times in your local economy. How can that be, you ask? Small farmers aren’t large, distant corporations. When local farmers get paid they don’t pay their shareholders, they pay for feed, equipment, farm workers, and coffee on Broadway.

The Feast of the Fields comes around only once a year. But thankfully, many of our local restaurants allow you to support our local farms year round. Some of my favorite downtown farm to table restaurants include One Caroline Street Bistro, Elizabeth’s Table, Mouzon House, and Comfort Kitchen.

But these are by no means the only restaurants in the Saratoga area where you can enjoy great local farm foods prepared by skilled chefs. Be on the lookout for farm to table restaurants and let them know you appreciate that they support local farms. You’ll be doing your taste buds and our local community a favor.

Kelly Holzworth is the Saratoga County coordinator for FarmieMarket, an online farmer’s market. FarmieMarket coordinators work with local farmers to offer their products to local residents via Shoppers can securely browse and purchase products on-line, without a subscription or commitment, and have the items delivered directly to their home or business. For more information, please contact

Monday, September 24, 2012

Henry St. Harvest Festival and my new found love for The Chocolate Spoon

Yesterday a friend and I went to check out the harvest festival over on Henry St. and it was so adorable! This is one of those Saratoga traditions that make this town such a special place to live.  I loved all of the local business booths there and most of all the FOOD stands! There were chips and dip, pickles, cookies and the Eat Good Food truck was even there. What a perfect way to spend a beautiful autumn afternoon.

One of my favorite discoveries at the harvest festival was The Chocolate Spoon. Now you may be thinking, what's a girl who's allergic to chocolate going over to a booth called The Chocolate Spoon? Look at how incredible the display was and you'll understand why I was so drawn...

These pictures really don't do Marcie's table justice, I loved the glass containers and everything was just so perfectly placed and I wanted to try it all...or at least the chocolate free ones. We ended up trying a rosemary butter cookie that melts in your mouth with a little bit of a savory twist. The Chocolate Spoon has some of the more classic options like snickerdoodles and linzer cookies, but she also has some creative combinations like vanilla lavender shortbread and chocolate and black pepper discs. Everything was also very reasonably priced, a bag of 5 small cookies was $2 and her card states that a batch of cookies are $17 (a batch is 12-15 oversized, 40-60 minis, or 24 medium sized). Marcie is at the Wednesday Farmer's Market so hurry up and get some delicious treats! Does anyone have a favorite cookie yet?

Thursday, September 13, 2012


One Friday night I was walking home and noticed something new outside of Scallions...there was a declaration over the door that they were "open for breakfast on weekends". What! A new breakfast place in Saratoga! Needless to say we were there the very next morning, partly because I was so excited to try out a new breakfast spot and partly because so soon after the move we still had a very empty fridge. 

I'm assuming not that many people know that Scallions is open for breakfast, because when we walked in it was almost empty and we got to sit in one of the huge circle booths even though there were just three of us. This was so perfect, normally there's a decent wait no matter where you go for brunch, and I was just way too hungry for that. Our very friendly waiter was over right away with menus and to take our drink orders (coffee coffee coffee!) and he informed us that they had started serving breakfast at the beginning of track season but were planning on keeping it throughout the year. 

While we were waiting for our food I checked out the art on our particular table. One thing that's really interesting about Scallions is the art, but not just art on the walls...your tables are art, the bar chairs are art, the mirrors are art....there's art everywhere. I wish I knew what that particular style is called - but I promise that when you see it you'll recognize it. Here's a link to some of their pictures from the restaurant since I forgot to snap one of our table...anyone know what that kind of art is called? It can get a little overwhelming the first time you go there, but once you've been there a few times you get used to it. They used to have a gallery next door selling pieces with the same design but now that space is a gallery lounge, maybe a nice place to have a glass of wine before dinner?

The first dish to come to the table was a fruit and yogurt plate that our waiter enthusiastically stated was SO good! 

That's beautiful. And it was SO good! I have to admit, I wasn't the one who ordered it, but that didn't stop me from stealing a spoonful or two (or three) and snagging one of the mint leaves. 

After the fruit and yogurt, the two men at the table got their breakfast wraps. They both got different wraps but they looks awfully similar don't they?

With both wraps the egg to "stuff" ratio was off, there was so much egg that it was hard to taste whatever else there was!  Both guys said that they mostly just had bites of egg with occasional hints of bacon or avocado or salsa. This might be one of those "less is more" scenarios, where less egg would have made this a much better wrap, something more exciting and flavorful.

I was missing my bagels and lox from home, specifically from this bagel place near my parents in Brooklyn (toasted everything bagel, lox, cream cheese, red onion, capers and tomatoes). So I ended up getting the smoked salmon panini that came with cream cheese, tomatoes, and cucumbers on a marbled rye bread. 

Maybe it was because the tomatoes and cucumbers were cut thick, but this panini got pretty messy pretty fast. Suddenly there was tomato juice and cream cheese everywhere and I just had to give in to the fact that I was going to have to wash my hands, and probably my face, by the end of breakfast. Despite how messy it was, this was a great breakfast. To me it tasted like home and that was exactly what I wanted at the time. 

Overall we had a great breakfast at Scallions - the staff was cheerful, the food tasted fresh, and the atmosphere was casual and quiet. Oh and did I mention that the price was right? We ended up using one of our coupons from the Spa City Pack and saved $8, but even without that it would have been very reasonably priced. I would like to see Scallions get a little more adventurous with their breakfast menu, but maybe since they're just starting out they're playing it safe. But I feel like breakfast is really one of those meals where restaurants can set themselves apart...go crazy, get creative! How has your experience been at Scallions? Anyone been there for breakfast yet?

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Revisiting Jacob & Anthony

Oh man, I feel like it's been a while since I've posted a's amazing how you don't realize how much you rely on the internet until you don't have it for a couple now that things are up and running, here's my (revisiting) review of the first place we went out to dinner after the big move.

Even though I had a mediocre experience at Jacob & Anthony last time I was there, I'm all for second chances so we went again for dinner the other night. We were seated almost immediately, a nice change from the last time, and got settled in to our booth after I ordered a much needed drink after a long day at work: a very dirty martini. 

Now I have a friend who is convinced that Jacob & Anthony has the best dirty martini in town. I'm not sure if I would give them that coveted title (I'm a loyal 9 Maple fan), but it was still a darn good martini and I loved the blue cheese stuffed olives.

We got our appetizer shortly after our drinks, the Yellow Fin Tuna that came on top of crispy wontons with an asian slaw. A little sloppy to eat, but still delicious.

I ended up getting the Mesa Shrimp Salad, though I had to say my order about three times before our waiter could understand me. Apparently I talk softly? Our waiter, without trying to move closer or anything, just bluntly said "I can't hear anything you're saying". Throughout the whole dinner it was quite apparent that our waiter would have rather been anywhere but there. I don't think he cracked a smile once, even when we were trying to be extra friendly. It really puts a damper on dinner, don't you think? Back to the salad though, it was incredibly filling and more or less what I wanted at the time though I don't think I had ever had goat cheese on a tex-mex-ish salad before...I think I would have preferred a feta or cheddar even.

My date ended up getting the baby back ribs, which were pretty disappointing. I even tried them, just to see what he was talking about, and even though I don't know much about meat I could tell that the BBQ sauce was the only thing holding this meal together. Too bad, this was the first time for baby back ribs for both of us, and we were both unimpressed. 

Last but not least my friend got the J&A burger and the famous quote of the night was when he was halfway through with his burger, looked up, and said "I am bathed in grease right now and I can't tell if I like it or not". And it's true, he had grease running all down his hands. Lovely.

Sorry that's not the best picture, but in case you can't see this burger's got cheddar cheese and bacon on top which is always a good thing. When I asked him how he liked his burger though, my friend said that it was decent but nothing exciting.

In the end, I was the only one that was happy with my meal and none of us were happy with the service or the atmosphere (did I mention we were right next to a large party that kept clinking their glasses and cheering loudly?). Sorry Jacob & Anthony, I wanted to give you a second chance but you didn't quite cut it...maybe third time's the charm?