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. 

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Revisiting The Springs

Last night we were celebrating a friend's birthday and we thought that The Springs would be the perfect place to go after have such a great experience last time. Since this is a Revisiting review I won't go into full details, but you'll be able to tell what an amazing meal we had there just looking at the pictures!

We started off with The Loaded Saratoga Chips that were fully seasoned saratoga chips with melted cheese and bacon and came with sriracha mayo, olive tapenade, sour cream and salsa to dip.

Let's get a close up on those chips, they were so amazing. I kept thinking that they were such an ultimate gourmet version of the Irish nachos we had gotten the week before...and how I now want to put sriracha mayo on everything...

The Birthday Boy got the set price menu that came with bread, salad and steak. The steak came with fries, incredibly fresh broccoli, and a savory red wine sauce that I can't get enough of.

Uh oh, camera got blurry on that one when I was obnoxiously reaching across the table to get a picture, but I promise he was more than satisfied with his meal.

My date started off with a sweet potato bisque and the Crispy Half Duck for his entree. The soup was the perfect balance of sweet and savory, a great tribute to autumn.

The duck had an Asian twist and was incredibly rich, placed over vegetable fried rice. How beautiful is that presentation! I love that The Springs has such a diverse menu with Asian inspired dishes such as the duck and then mediterranean dishes like the one I got...

That right there is shrimp over vegetable cous cous with sun dried tomatoes, artichoke hearts, and kalamata olives. This dish was amazing, absolutely packed with flavor. When it was first placed in front of me I didn't think it would be enough, but it was surprisingly filling. Delicious.

Last but not least, the Mustard Glazed Salmon with vegetables and potatoes. My friend who got this was very happy with her meal, said it was "exactly what she wanted"'s really such a classic dish, you can never go wrong with it.

Alright now I feel like I've been rushing through the entrees because I am SO excited to tell you about what comes next. Now remember how I said we were going out for my friend's birthday? Well our waiter must have overheard us talking about it because he said "I heard it's someone's birthday, make sure you save room for dessert!"

....just wait...

LOOK AT ALL THAT DESSERT!!! Let's examine this beautiful platter: a slice of chocolate cheesecake, slice of raspberry cheesecake, coconut ice cream and raspberry sorbet. Wow. And it gets even better. When our waiter set this on our table, much to our extreme excitement, I asked if the coconut ice cream had chocolate in it (if it did I would have just tried to avoid it as I attacked the sorbet). But when our waiter found out that I was allergic to chocolate, he took the "better safe than sorry" approach and brought me this...

And it wasn't even my birthday! This was such an nice gesture I'm sure those of you with food allergies know, when restaurants take extra precautions to make sure you don't get sick it makes a huge difference. The Springs goes above and beyond for their guests, something that never goes unnoticed. When you go there, don't forget to use your Savoring Saratoga discount and let me know what you think! 

Monday, October 1, 2012

The Parting Glass

When I think of Irish pubs in Saratoga, I think of The Parting Glass. Some friends and I went there the other night and were greeted at the door by an Irish band playing some traditional tunes and a long list of beers on tap. Irish music, great beer, and pub food...what more could you want.

We sat ourselves at a long table with laminated menus as our place's that kind of casual place where you see friends meeting for drinks along with families with little kids and the "regulars" coming in for a beer after work. Everything about the place is welcoming, from the atmosphere to the staff. They've also got these great paintings on the wall that my friend and I were admiring, portraits of old Irish men that had such character to them. After settling in we ordered our drinks and an appetizer of Irish Nachos which consists of waffle fries, melted cheese, bacon and sour cream. I was able to avoid the bacon and enjoy some waffle fries with cheese and sour cream, yum.

When it comes down to it, I think I like regular nachos better with jalepenos and salsa and such, but if you're in the mood for cheesy fries then this is the appetizer for you. And if you're in the mood for "fried" in general, then you're in luck because pretty much every appetizer on the menu is something fried...jalepeno poppers, calamari, mozzarella sticks, everything is fried.

And so speaking of fried, I got fish and chips for dinner! The fish was very heavily fried, a little too much for my taste, but the tartar sauce was chunky and flavorful which made up for it. And then of course the beer battered fries that came with it were amazing but I could only make a small dent in my meal, it was all a bit too much for me after having those nachos. There's only so much fried I can take!

So I probably would have gotten the fish and chips anyways, but it's worth mentioning that there are very few vegetarian options on the menu. And if you're a true vegetarian (and don't eat fish) there are only a couple salads, a veggie wrap, and a veggie burger. Granted, it is an Irish pub and it's not like they're known for their vegetarian food, but it's good to know ahead of time if you don't eat meat. 

One of my friends ended up getting an order of calamari and a caesar salad for dinner. The calamari was way too heavily breaded and you practically forgot what you were eating! And I think I could have gone for a spicier sauce. 

Kudos to my friend though for ordering a salad, I think it was the only not-fried thing on the table. Hmm...I'm looking at all the pictures I took for this post and realizing that they are all coming out super grainy and dull, what's up with that? Maybe it's a combination of my poor camera skills and how dark it was, but still...normally things look a little more appetizing than that...sorry! 

The two other entrees ordered were the O'Reilly sandwich and the Rasher sandwich. The O'Reilly was filled with corned beef, swiss and mustard while the Rasher was filled with imported bacon, ham, cheddar and mustard. Both came on egg battered bread (so basically on french toast) and a side of whatever kind of fries you like (sweet potato, onion rings, beer battered, etc).

My goodness those pictures are horrible. I don't know what happened. These sandwiches were intense, I honestly don't know how both of them finished their meals. There was so much meat, and so much bread, had I gotten one I would have done the eat half, save half for lunch move. I say that now though, but we all know that once you get started in on a great meal, it's hard to stop! All of the food at The Parting Glass is good old fashioned heavy comfort food, good to add a bit to your waistline for the winter. When our waitress came to ask us if we wanted dessert or more beer, I think we all looked at her with glassed over eyes looking like "seriously? do we look like we can eat more?"...we practically had to roll our way out the restaurant. All in all, The Parting Glass is a place that I love to go to every once in a while for a fried-tastic, weigh you down kind of meal. There's a great atmosphere there, and always something going on from live music to trivia to Irish step dancing, that makes The Parting Glass a great addition to the community.