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Living in 2 Food Worlds (Capital Region & NYC)

Eating my way through the Capital Region (see below) and NYC (see the Manhattan Board). This is what I have learned so far:


+Roma Foods (they even have harissa!)
+Honest Weight Food Coop (have not been yet but hounds advise they have haleumi)
+Greenmarkets (Troy & Schdy), farm stands and a garden in summer
+Great Barrington, MA (1 hour drive)
+/- Price Chopper or Hannaford
-No Trader Joe's
-Think Stewart's (top rated non-organic milk in NY)


To Try:

Chinese - CCK
Thai - 2 places (Schdy +/- per hounds & Central Ave.)
Vietnamese - My Linh, Van's (strong hound feelings and opinions for both)
Greek - Taste of Greece (+/- per hounds), Athos
Grog Shoppe (it has been a really long time)
Cornell's (and other little Italian places I have not been to in years)
Mt. Pleasant Bakery
Ali Baba
Brown's Brewing
The Gingerman
Cafe Madison
Dale Miller
Saratoga National
Lake Ridge
Max London's
Pizza - ????????????????????? (I'll do a search of this Board - make my own or someplace in Troy?)

Have eaten at:

Chez Mike
The Jonesville Store
Panera Bread (really starting to like it . . .scary)
Good Times*
Sushi - Yoshi
Pastry/gelato - Villa Italia, Mrs. Londons
Bagels - The Jonesville Store has H&H bagels
Aperitivo Bistro
Glen Sanders Mansion - Tavolo
Cella Bistro
Pinhead Susan's
Ambition (breakfast only)*
5 Corners Diner*
Anchor's Fish Fry
Thai place on Lark
Mexican place (Loco?)*
Avenue A
Cafe Capriccio
New World Home Cooking Bistro
Holmes & Watson
The Wine Bar
Beekman Street Bistro
Lime (sadly now closed)
Vin Santo*
Filet 7
Italian place next to Filet 7
Buca Di Beppo*
Olive Garden*
The Inn at Erlowest* (and a few lunch places nearby)

What am I missing? Anything I should not bother trying? Thanks in advance.

PS I don't eat red meat so forget all those great hot dog with everything places . . .

*Not in a rush to return to

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  1. I am not a big fan of Athnos...did you enjoy your meal there? I felt the menu lacked originality and authenticity.

    Also, have you been to Swoon in Hudson? I am a transplant from Manhattan and their menu is comparable. Excellent, original, fresh!!!!

    Marissa's Place in Guilderland - Wow! Fantastic gourmet pizza w/ fresh milk mozzarella, sausage slices and they even have rapini on the menu!

    6 Replies
    1. re: LimonZang

      Thanks, LimonZang.

      Did not try Athnos yet. Maybe I should skip it.

      Have not been to Swoon yet. Got off in Hudson (last year?) to try the Carolina House. As nice weather approaches it may be time for a stop in hudson again . . . I'm a transplant from the Capital Region.

      Marisa's is a good tip. Love rapini. Check this out:



      1. re: financialdistrictresident

        Hey, FDR, this is a great list-some of the best in the Capital Region.
        In Schenectady, you might want to try Perreca's Bakery on Jay St, Civitello's across the street for lemon ice, spumoni, pastries, etc. Cappiello's Dairy on Broadway for fresh mozzarella, ricotta, etc. Capri Imports up B'Way. Andy & Sons on Delaware Ave. in Albany-another good Italian market. Ferrari's in Schenectady-classic red sauce place. Will keep thinking what's missing. There's a few good Asian markets in the Albany area on/just off Central Avenue-Asian Food Market on Colvin, Kim's, Lee's on Central. Check out Two Cousins Fish Market in Albany.

        1. re: markabauman

          Thanks, markabauman. Can't believe I forgot to add Capri and Cappiello's to food shop list. Been to both. Long time fan of Perreca's bread. Aware of the Asian markets. Never heard of Andy & Sons . . .

          1. re: financialdistrictresident

            Andy & Sons is on Delaware Ave. not far from the Spectrum/New World Bistro/My Linh area. Good subs, take out. Good cheese selection-they'll cut to order from a large wheel of Parmigiano-Reggiano, etc. Pretty decent frozen ravioli, other pasta selection. Worth the trip just to see the two brothers in action-couple of characters.

            1. re: markabauman

              If your in this neighborhood, don't miss Cardona's.

    2. Hi fdr. Have enjoyed reading your posts, and noticed that you have gelato on your list. Check out Crisan on Lark St. in Albany. A very pleasant and inexpensive bakery with excellent and cheap gelato. I believe the owners are Roumanian. It's a nice spot--haven't been there in about 6 months so hope it's still there!

      1 Reply
      1. re: mjoyous

        Thanks for your kind words, mjoyous. Will check it out (eventually) . . . two new gelato places on the list. . .

      2. fdr -- I appreciate your compendium.

        Honest Weight is terrific for more than cheese. The cheese department is also "specialty foods" including excellent olives, fresh mozzarella, olive oils, smoked paprika, chocolate (for eating and baking) and more.
        In addition, Honest Weight has the best local seasonal produce -- ramps, fiddleheads, favas, etc. And their bulk section is chock full o' beans, grains, flours, dried fruit & nuts -- everything one could need. Best local and organic eggs, and free range chicken.

        I have to say though that the capital region is a big disappointment fish wise. I either go to Berry Farm on Rt 203 between Chatham and Valatie -- they stock excellent organic Scottish? salmon and other fish, as well as local grass-fed meat. And berries of all stripes in season. They've done special orders for me of super-fresh fish from The Other Brother Darryl's in Otis, Mass, including whole large fish (ask them to scale and gut since the whole fish they get is not cleaned)

        When I really need superb fish (and don't need a whole fish to special order from Berry Farm), I head to Guido's in Lenox or Gt Barrington. Now that's a store! Great selection, fresh as can be, and they carry Murray's chicken, all kinds of poultry (ducks, game hens, etc), heritage pork as well as Niman Ranch. Their produce section is a work of art. They also have fresh pasta. Everything they stock is top notch.

        6 Replies
        1. re: NYchowcook

          Thanks, NYchowcook. Guido's is the shop we didn't find when we went to Great Barrington last time. We went to the wine shop with all sorts of grocery items including tortas. I've also been to Oscar's Smokehouse in Lake George (another oversight in my OP).


          1. re: financialdistrictresident

            Guido's is south of town on Route 7(? -- the main drag) past Ward's nursery on the right, as you're heading south from town. The Great Barrington store is fine; Lenox is larger. But since you have the website, you should find it okay next time.
            There's a great wine store just south of Guido's in Lenox called Nejaime (and a fab shoe store attached to the wine store!) There's also a Different Drummer's Kitchen store in Lenox, again south of Guido's which is up near the Lenox/Pittsfield line.

            BTW, Berry Farm stocks Oscar's products!
            Tortas . . . do you mean those lovely Spanish olive oil semi-crackers? If so, Honest Weight has 'em (in specialty foods).

            1. re: NYchowcook

              Hi FDR: Thanks for the links! I just was on both sites and left the last review about Marissa's Place being a great establishment for the Capital Region! Seriously, give it a try. It is by far the best pizza I have had in Upstate past the Bronx line! Fresh, authentic and gourmet!

          2. re: NYchowcook

            NYchowcook, the fresh, whole fish at the Asian Supermarket on Central Ave. looked good today. Nice, clear eyes. Have you tried it?

              1. re: jaylhorner

                jaylhorner, please report back when you try it.

          3. Went to CCK Wednesday night. Very good. Had a fish special, seafood soup and chicken salt fried rice (could have been a bit saltier), otherwise just like I have at Big Wong's in ChinaTown. There was a huge pile of fresh pea pods on the table across from us being preped.

            Noticed Caffe Italia is across the street. I keep hearing good things about it. Anyone been? Your thoughts?

            May also need to check out Barcelona:


            2 Replies
            1. re: financialdistrictresident

              I used to go to Caffe Italia years ago, and that it's managed to stay afloat is probably due to a loyal following -- alot of folks appeared to be known as regulars.

              It's kinda heavy and expensive for the quality, IMO. When I have a hankering for Italian, Milano's in Latham is a better choice, and more innovative.

              1. re: NYchowcook

                Thanks, NYchowcook. We like Cafe Capriccio alot. These days even more cautious about wasting time and money. . .

            2. Have you tried 51 Front in Balston Spa? We had a great meal there. I had the sea bass special and it was cooked perfectly with lobster and whole cloves of roasted garlic. Might give it a try if it is not too far for you.

              1 Reply
              1. re: skipjack01

                Thanks, skipjack01. We tried it. Forgot to put it on the list. Here's a link to my experience: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/612691

              2. Need to add The Standard and Karavelli.

                1. You need to Add Kabul Night and the The Afghan Grill.

                  1. Try Testo's in Troy for pizza. I didn't see Gingerman on your list of places to eat but we were very happy with our last meal there. You liked Filet 7, I was unimpressed. I like Milano in Latham, sister to Provence, same owner and we eat at Carmines a lot lately....

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: jspear

                      Thanks, jspear. We lucked out at Fiet 7. Funny because we ordered almost all seafood in the steakhouse and the place was pretty empty. Gingerman is on the list (probably because I read it in one of your posts). I'm trying to narrow my pizza tasting adventure down to 3 to try:


                      1. re: financialdistrictresident

                        Maybe I misread but if you are looking for Troy for pizza, I think the pickings are somewhat limited...Testo's is family owned and inexpensive, the sauce is the key for me and theirs is great. Wish I could remember the little Italian place we went to in troy, Forno's maybe, that we had a great meal. D'Raymonds has the best veal in the capital district, I always get the crab wrapped in veal, I think with a vodka sauce, out of this world.....

                    2. glad to hear about your experience at Vin Santo, we had the WORSE chicken thing there, grizzle or something inside, I thought my friend would lose her cookies,,,,,too bad because I was hoping it would be good....

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: jspear

                        We have had inconsistent experiences at Vin Santo. I'd rather go to Cella Bistro.

                      2. Last thing, snow man in Lansingburg for a great sundae or ice cream on a hot day....

                        15 Replies
                        1. re: jspear

                          Went to Honest Weight Food Coop today (even better then Roma). I am in love. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

                          1. re: financialdistrictresident

                            What did you love about Honest Weight! Would love to hear what a newbie discovered. (the cheese, naturally; can you say fresh feta and mozzarella?; olives)

                            I've been a member for 15 years and generally buy the same things -- sometime I'd like to shop with someone else so I see the store in a new way.

                            1. re: NYchowcook

                              NYchowcook, I was somewhat awestruck. Wandered around. . .the variety and choice . . . spent alot of time at the cheese counter because I was shopping for someone's event tomorrow night. Didn't even look for haleumi :) Everyone is so nice there. It's similar to the good energy/vibe at the Union Square Greenmarket in the city. I bought some grilled olives, dried fruits and nuts. It's heaven for anyone gluten free. Learned how their PLU system works. Next time I'll check out the produce. Didn't spend much time there. Similar to when I discovered Roma carried harissa.

                              1. re: financialdistrictresident

                                I'm so glad you liked it. BTW, I believe the cheese dept carries harissa. And smoked Spanishy paprika, sea salt, and chocolate galore for eating and cooking.
                                The eggs simply can't be beat, nor the free range chicken!
                                Those cheese workers are a model of friendly, knowledgeable customer service! Go any day except Tues & Wed and meet the wonderful Gustav, the cheese manager.
                                Wait until you explore the produce. . . Kumquats, fiddlehead ferns, blood oranges, fresh local produce in season (Sunday & Monday is not their best day because of no deliveries)
                                I'm looking forward to another report once you return and dig deeper!

                                1. re: NYchowcook

                                  NYchowcook, went to Honest Weight Food Coop twice this week. Also discovered a more direct driving route (so I can go even more often :) Explored the produce section which I missed the first time. Checked out their prepared foods. Bought some amazing bleu cheese, harissa. And of course those hard to find Spanish tortas. . .Learned they will be in a NEW location 2010/2011.

                                  1. re: financialdistrictresident

                                    Edit: the bleu cheese was actually a bleu-goat cheese that we tasted and purchased. Creamy and delicious. Not to be missed!

                                2. re: financialdistrictresident

                                  fdr: just a thought, as you mentioned the Union Sq. Greenmarket. Was down there this Sat, and left with the thought that I really like the Troy Farmers Market even more (it could be the Mrs. London's pastries, and Buddahpesto.) Have you been? Sat mornings 9-?

                                  1. re: mjoyous

                                    Thanks, mjoyous. Not yet. I need to get to both the Troy and Procter's (Schenectady) greenmarkets. Thanks for providing the hours.

                                    1. re: financialdistrictresident

                                      Haven't tried the S'nctdy one yet--I live in eastern pt. of NY. The Troy market has a decent website--and if you like sweets, try a tart from Dutch Desserts when you get there.

                                          1. re: mjoyous

                                            Thanks, mjoyous. I'm in the city this weekend. Hope to check it out later this month.

                                            1. re: financialdistrictresident

                                              Troy is convienent for me but I really like the one in Saratoga as well.

                                      1. re: financialdistrictresident

                                        The Troy farmers market -- particularly in summer -- is fantastic. In addition to great produce, eggs, entertainment, there is a woman (Rose?) who cooks fantastic Jamaican food.
                                        BTW, Dutch Desserts fabulous berry tarts are on sale at both Troy farmer's market and . . . Honest Weight!

                                        I have no info on Schdy/Proctor's farmers market.

                                        1. re: NYchowcook

                                          In addition to their berry tarts, there's a truly great chocolate fudge tart, my fave.

                            2. Your list doesn't include two of my favorite restaurants in Saratoga Springs: Chianti and Forno Toscano. Same owner for both. Have never had a bad meal in either one of them.

                              Check out their web sites


                              Worth a stop

                              4 Replies
                              1. re: trakman

                                Thanks, trakman. Your post is timely since we were discussing Chianti last night (the two locations, better food in new location, no reservation policy). Had dinner at The Wine Bar (one of my favorites) last night.

                                1. re: financialdistrictresident

                                  LOVE LOVE LOVE Chianti and like forno, I do the honest weight co op for gluten free basics in bulk for my friend with celiac's disease. I think that they are moving to a different location. There is also a gf bakery off of wolf road, behind the mac grille I think if that at all is of interest, they used to be in Brunswick, expensive but good quality. We did get a bad lemon cake there once though. Great rolls and breads.....

                                  1. re: financialdistrictresident

                                    How was the wine bar??? used to know the chef, dave, but I think he has left.

                                    1. re: jspear

                                      jspear, The Wine Bar was great. We had our favorite server. Food was amazing. This is what I remember (details/description doesn't do the food justice):

                                      *asparagus soup with a mini grilled cheese/mushroom/truffle oil brioche sandwich
                                      *Salad with an apricot scone and sugared walnuts. Goat cheese, candied walnuts/apricots in a small mason jar (like coddled cream)
                                      *Black cod (cucumber on top)
                                      *Duck with carrot gnocchi and roasted carrots
                                      *Chicken canelloni with morels

                                      Everything we ordered was a small plate or 1/2 portion. We still ordered too much. All was delicious. I probably wouldn't get the canelloni again.

                                2. Does anyone know the name of the barbecue place started by 2 teachers? I think it's on Route 9 heading to Saratoga Springs. Chicken. Not inexpensive, $20 or so. Heard it is great. What do you think?

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. Jake Moon in Clarksville. Former chef of Nicole's Bistro in Albany. An out of the way gem!!

                                    2 Replies
                                    1. re: hockeynewf

                                      Thanks, hockeynewf. SO is a big fan of Nicole's. I have not been yet. Where is Clarksville (Jake Moon)? I guess I can google it.

                                      1. re: financialdistrictresident

                                        Clarksville is about 7 miles southwest of Delmar.
                                        We like to hike Thatcher Park, then hit the restaurant after. Here's the link to the website:


                                    2. Lots of good stuff here.

                                      For Troy pizza try DaVinci. It just opened up on Route 7 by 15th street. Really really good and a great selection.

                                      In Albany, I"m still a die hard Paesan's fan

                                      You should also really check out Blue Spice on Central Ave, it is near Colonie just over the 87 interchange. Really fab Thai food. The fruit tastes fresh and the menu is quite extensive.

                                      Crisan has the best gelato out of anywhere I've been yet.

                                      Ali Babas is so worth going to.

                                      2 Replies
                                      1. re: adventuresinbaking

                                        Crisan has the least expensive gelato out of anywhere I've been yet.

                                        I've had better, not in Albany mind you, but for a buck I'm not going to complain.
                                        It is priced to please.

                                      2. Bloomer's is still closed for renovations. Went to Tiznow for the first time. Gelato and espresso at Eugene's. I'll post a separate report.

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: financialdistrictresident


                                          You may want to try Pellegrino's 1197 Central Ave in Colonie, NY. Imported and domestic Italian products predominate here. I don't know if the no red meat proviso applies to all meat, but they do a good job making their own Italian sausage which is a local favorite.

                                          Pellegrino's is also a deli shop with the focus on Boars Head brand products. They also make deli sandwiches from their products and the luncheon crowd is always there to devour them. Local bakery bread is usually available until it sells out.

                                          Although they are in a modern mini strip mall, I like their old fashioned ways and wares echoing their long history in the area.

                                          I always drop in for their mac salad as it is done with minimal mayo instead of swimming in the stuff, veggies are minimal as well and finely diced. I always praise them on it for fear they will change this simple delight, but they never have and I doubt that they will.

                                        2. Went to Chianti and Tropic Hut for the first time. Talk about "apples and oranges. . ."


                                          We went to Chianti on a week night. Nice ambience, though I imagine on weekends it could get lively and noisy. The patio is now open, we opted for inside. Server was very good. Now on to the food:


                                          *Calamari fritti - good, calamari was not overcooked. Traditional spicy red sauce. Eating the calamari had me craving Bloomer's calamari with pepperocini. I can't wait until they re-open.

                                          *Salmon scaloppini with home seasoned bread crumbs over sauteed escarole - this sounded different so of course we had to try it. Salmon was a little overcooked and escarole was a little tough.


                                          *Zuppa di pesce - as zuppa di pesce should be. Delicious.

                                          *Pork shank - SO had this. He seemed happy and it looked great.

                                          Definitely want to go back and try the pasta dishes. Would welcome your thoughts on what to order and suggestions for best dishes.

                                          TROPIC HUT

                                          Fine dining it's not, but it's hard to beat the Saratoga Lake view and the live music was very good. Service was friendly and good. We started off with steamers and beer. SO had a burger with jalapeno and jack cheese. I had the teriyaki chicken sandwich (a bit dry and not much flavor). Highlight were the steamers and homemade Saratoga potato chips (I could have just had these for dinner and been happy).

                                          2 Replies
                                          1. re: financialdistrictresident

                                            Have now tried:

                                            *Panza's (Round Lake) - several tables had pizza. We had apps, a duck entree, etc. I'll post a separate report.
                                            *Christina's on Central Ave. (Phoenician's is closed Mondays) - pub fare, outdoor seating, chicken sandwich was good, fries were homemade.
                                            PS Has anyone been to Blue Spice across the street? I'll also do a search of this Board re: Blue Spice.
                                            *The Grog (floating snackbar) at sandbar on Saratoga Lake - the best chicken sandwich I have had in years (everything is made to order).
                                            *Lake Ridge (Round Lake) - We had several apps. I had the duck. Very good. Definitely one of my new favorites. I'll post a separate report.

                                            Also discovered Lakeside Farm for food shopping . . .

                                            1. re: financialdistrictresident

                                              If you're in Hudson, try DaBa. Haven't had a bad meal there yet. Attractive setting, friendly people, including the chef.

                                          2. I grew up in the lovely capital district and now split my time between Manhattan and the Albany area. FDR you should for sure try Pelligrino on Central, they have great sausage, olives, good mozzeralla (fresh and aged), hit Cardona's as well on Delaware for Italian specialties. Another good place for sausage is Falvos in voorheesville/new scotland.

                                            If you get a chance to venture outside a bit try Church and Main in Canajoharie, I think they're only open on Friday/Sat, but if you can go to the Arkell Museum then eat there not a bad afternoon. There's also Local 111 in Philmont, which is okay, I've only been once, so I'm chalking it up to them having a bad night.

                                            How about Lanie's? They used to have wonderful Greens and Beans and coming from an italian family that's top notch comfort food. I'm going to have to give some thought to a few more lesser know spots that have been good and see if you share my thinkin gon them.

                                            I don't moderate my expecations when I'm in Albany, and I think there are some really good spots, however, I do wish we had more of a variety of tight local spots, that could deliver on service, food using local ingredients and good physical spaces. ....or at least have a market in the vein of Citarella that is owned and run locally.

                                            3 Replies
                                            1. re: 512elm

                                              512elm, you really need to try Ric Orlando's New World Bistro Bar on Delaware Ave. It is definitely a tight local spot that delivers on service, has a great physical space, and uses as many fresh local ingredients as available. We had a fabulous dinner there last night. I'd been wanting to try it and it was everything that I had hoped for. We had the blackened string beans and the fried tofu with sweet chili sauce for apps. We were originally planning to get big plates for dinner, but the apps were huge so we opted for smaller entrees. I had the Toscana flatbread pizza with fig jam, arugula and gorgonzola, my DH had the ropa viejo and swiss sandwich, and DD had a half size bowl of the summer vegetable pasta. We split an ice cream sandwich of the day three ways for dessert. Everything was delicious. I highly recommend it.

                                              1. re: AmyH

                                                AmyH, agree with NWBB rec. I need a brunch place on Sunday in Albany and almost forgot NWBB may now serve brunch.

                                                512elm, thanks for the recs. I enjoy regional food. Just like I wouldn't seek out Greek or bialies/bagels in Capital Region I wouldn't look for Mexican or barbecue in NYC either. Wherever the best food is :)

                                                1. re: financialdistrictresident

                                                  They do serve brunch on Sundays from 10 to 12. Really interesting menu. There's a link to it on their website, which is in my previous post.

                                            2. NWBB is on my list for sure, I've heard good things. Speaking of BBQ and I've lived two of the so called BBQ capitals,...try Capital Q on Ontario St. The pulled pork is good and I'm incredibly hard on BBQ places. I'm not down with their ribs though, with that said BBQ is such a individual taste you really have to try it yourself.

                                              I see Stewart's milk on your list, find a place line Honest Weight or Stanton's or Our Family Harvest and do yourself a favor and get some Meadowbrook Dairy Farms milk. It single heard milk, not a mix from a variety of heards. The farm is in Clarksville they still do home delivery, glass bottles and I'm not sure if they have cream top any longer, regardless the stuff is amazing. Chocolate milk, egg nog during the holidays (that has actually slipped a wee bit over time), heavy cream....hard to beat.

                                              For sure seek out Gustav at Honest Weight for great cheese and wonderful small bites like grilled olives.

                                              When someone says "let's go to Indian Ladder for breakfast and doughnuts"......don't do it, just don't do it. Service is non-existent and the food is worse than the service. It's a legacy place nothing more....that's my opinion.

                                              Try Ralph's on Central Ave for soup, the place is not much to look at (it's a typical upstate bar/rest.), but they can make a mean soup that fits the bill on a winter's day. i've heard the pizza is good, although I've never had it.

                                              2 Replies
                                              1. re: 512elm

                                                Thanks for the recs 512elm. I'm drinking organic milk these days and tried some milk in glass bottles from Lakeside Farms. Not sure if it was Meadowbrook but it was really good. Lakeside advised it was organic though label didn't indicate.

                                                We need to get back to NWBB. Ate at The Jonesville Store twice this weekend. Addicted to their curry chicken salad . . .

                                                1. re: financialdistrictresident

                                                  Their lemon garlic chicken salad is quite good as well.

                                              2. Explored Schenectady's Little Italy today.


                                                PS Thanks, markabauman.