Chefs’ Challenge 2014

If you happen to be in or around the Saratoga Springs, NY area this Thursday evening and are looking for some good culinary based fun that benefits a great cause, look no further than The 3rd Annual Chefs’ Challenge to benefit Big Brothers/Big Sisters of The Capital Region (NY) to be held at The Excelsior Springs at the Marriot in Saratoga Springs. See here for more information and to buy tickets. I am once again honored to be judging he competition along with Steve Barnes, the noted culinary writer and critic from the Albany Times-Union and Patricia Pendergast Novo, the owner of Crush and Cask Wine and Spirits in Saratoga and a fourth judge to come from the audience via an auction! The competitors include 2 time defending champion, Chef John Ireland of Saratoga Golf and Polo Club facing off against last year’s winner of the “People’s Choice Awards” from the food served at the event, Chef Joe Mazza of Prime at Saratoga National. For a sense of what previous competitions have been like, please click here.


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The French Revolution Returns at Rotisserie Georgette

BU4A5878Georgette Farkas, the lovely and gracious owner of the eponymous French rotisserie restaurant that bears her name, said it best, when she told my friend, Eliot, my son, L.J. and myself, “This kind of food had become so uncool, that it may be cool again.” The truth is, when prepared with the quality and skill that Chef Chad Brauze and his team provide at Rotisserie Georgette, a restaurant with food as delicious as this has, should never, ever be “uncool” even if there may be times during which it may not seem like the shiniest new toy. Rotisseries certainly aren’t new, but they are effective at cooking delicious food, especially when the rotisseries used are the same French models used by Joel Robuchon and they roast with a searing 750ºF heat. They are also quick. It takes only about a half an hour to roast a whole chicken as it revolves in one of these beauties. Continue reading


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Dining at The Dairy – Dancing Ewe Farm

Dancing Ewe Farm www.dancingewe.com  181 County Route 12 Granville, NY 12832I don’t know too many people who work harder than Jody and Luisa Somers, the farmers and artisans of the delightful Dancing Ewe Farm in Granville, NY.  Already busy raising their family, tending to their sheep, making outstanding cheeses and salumi at the farm and olive oil and other delights at Luisa’s family’s property in Tuscany, and selling their products at farmers’ markets from NYC to Saratoga, they have also begun importing and selling wines from small scale Italian producers and preparing bi-weekly Italian dinners and lunches for the public in their barn. I recently had the opportunity to visit the farm twice and both visits were quite magical in their own ways. Continue reading


Posted in Bistronomic, Cheese, Culinary Personalities, Food and Drink, On the Farm, Pastry, Slow Food, Traditional Ethnic, Travel, Upstate NY, Wine | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Imbibe and Inspire – An Interview With Stephen Torres

Stephen Torres - Photo by Evan Sung

Stephen Torres – Photo by Evan Sung

“What inspires the people who inspire” is the theme behind the website Imbibe and Inspire, the brainchild of culinarian Stephen Torres. In the fall of 2013, Torres and a few of his friends took a major step and put on his first ever one-day culinary conference in Chicago on the Roots of American Foodways with the likes of Will Guidara, Paul Liebrandt, Alex Stupak and a host of others engaging in TED-like talks on the origins of American Foodways. Continue reading


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Many Happy Returns in Mexico City

When writing a restaurant and dining oriented food blog, the priority is to check out and write about new places. That is a mixed blessing. While it is a lot of fun to explore and experience new things, it means that I don’t get back to the places I love nearly as often as I would otherwise like. This is especially true when returning to places with frequency such as New York City, where there is always a hot new restaurant (or several) to try. However, when I go back to a place only once in a while, I like to mix it up and revisit some old favorites as well as spots that are new to me. This was the case on my recent return to Mexico City for Mesamérica 2014. I did get to a number of places that I had not yet experienced, but I also returned to a few old favorites, both to relive past glories and to experience some new ones. Continue reading


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Daikaya – DC’s Delectable Duo

Chef Katsuya Fukushima at the preparing ramen at Daikaya

Chef Katsuya Fukushima at the preparing ramen at Daikaya

Katsuya Fukushima is used to running two essentially different restaurants within the same building. He did it for years at José Andres’ Cafe Atlantico/minibar duo. For that set of restaurants, minibar was set within Cafe Atlantico, occupying not more than a small bar area, large enough for only 6 patrons. At Daikaya, now open for a little more than a year, the two restaurants share the same custom built building, but different spaces. On the ground floor lies the Ramen shop, a walk-in restaurant specializing in the Japanese soup/noodle/meat combo and a few other items. Upstairs is the Izakaya, a Japanese-oriented grilling restaurant that is a bit more formal and a lot more romantic. Both shine. Continue reading


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Mesamérica 2014 – More Perspectives on Food in Mexico – Day Two

BU4A3426It is difficult in any field to be the first presenter of the day, but when the presentation takes place at a major international culinary congress it is even more so. Chefs, culinary media and aficionados who attend also like to experience what the local region has to offer and even for those from the area, it is not everyday that they get to have fun with a wide array of international peers. In short, it is party time. Credit must be given, though, to the organizers of Mesamérica, who programmed the start of the day at a relatively reasonable 10:30Am. Even with that, though, people straggled in and the coffee machines were in high demand. Continue reading


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The Big Apple Barbecue Block Party 2014 – Some Personal Highlights

Big Apple BBQ Block Party 2014I look forward to attending the Big Apple Barbecue Block Party in NYC’s Madison Square Park on Madison Avenue every year and have attended all but one (missed it because of a conflict with my son’s college graduation) over the past 9 years. While all have been special in their own ways, none have provided better weather than the one this weekend. Saturday was simply spectacular and was the perfect frame for some wonderfully smokey and delicious pork, beef and more. Continue reading


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Mesamérica 2014 – More Perspectives on Food in Mexico – Day One

BU4A4027Mexico City is many things. It is one of the largest cities in the world. It is sprawling, shaky from earthquakes, smoggy, grimy, crowded, intimidating, full of energy, vibrant, friendly, delicious and one of my favorite cities in the world. It, for the past three years, has also been the home of Mesamérica, the culinary gathering bringing chefs and others from within and without the country to explore the past, present and future of food in Mexico as well as other elements that go hand in hand with the culinary universe. Continue reading


Posted in Andrew Sconzo, Bistronomic, Cooking, Culinary Personalities, Fine Dining, Food and Drink, Mesamerica, Mexico, Regional, Restaurants, Slow Food, Traditional Ethnic, Travel | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Salads, Shanks (and More) at The Shack

Table for two at The Shack

Table for two at The Shack

It’s called “The Shack” for a reason.  It’s a small restaurant, simple in décor and casual in attitude, but the food in Chef/owner Ian Boden’s cozy restaurant both embraces the name and belies it. We braved a torrential downpour across the foggy Blue Ridge Mountains to come from Charlottesville, a half hour drive away to dine  on a Thursday evening after just having driven from upstate New York. Continue reading


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