Food trends in the Capital Region – January 2013

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I’ve called the Capital Region my home for well over 30 years, which means I have had the opportunity to see certain food trends come and go. I’ve also had the good fortune of having traveled and dined in more than a few major cities and I like to think that I pay attention to what culinary treasures are present or more importantly, not present, in our area. 

One thing I have noticed about Capital Region residents – many prefer to go out to eat rather than cook at home. Remember the ‘make and take’ places that popped up a few years ago? You would arrive, quite possibly with a bunch of friends, and for a small fee assemble meals to bring home and place in the freezer for later. The only problem? The “later” portion still meant turning on the oven and cooking at home, so it’s no surprise they are now all closed.

What is really exciting to see is our area starting to keep pace with some delicious national food and beverage trends. In fact, The Capital Region is already ahead of the curve with some of the trends being forecast for 2013.

Some of the top trends listed by the National Restaurant Association’s “What’s Hot 2013 Chef Survey” are well-sourced and available in our area include:

  • Gluten-free cuisine
  • Locally grown produce
  • Locally sourced meat
  • Environmental sustainability

There is a heightened awareness happening with those suffering from celiac disease and the growing intolerance to gluten. Bakeries devoted solely to gluten-free offerings are opening up and restaurants are offering gluten-free options. Farmer’s markets are available in almost every community providing rows full of local produce and farm-raised meat and poultry. Supermarket chains are also tapping into the hyper-local trend by stocking products from local farms, artisan cheese makers and bread and baked goods. We the consumer are demanding to know where our food is coming  from and want to make sure we do our part in sustainable living.

So what do I see as upcoming dining trends?

More offerings of small portion plates, craft brewed beers and wine pairings. Diners are watching their waistlines and so are the chefs. Look for more calorie counts to accompany menu choices, whether it is a popular chain or your local Irish pub. New places to relax and enjoy a spot of tea and a light breakfast or lunch are also on the rise with tea houses opening and thriving in Latham and Ballston Spa.
One thing is clear: the Capital Region loves food and if dining out can be done without turning on the oven, all will push back from the table, full and happy.

Kelly Pugliano is freelance writer, photographer and lifelong foodie who shares her love of cooking and baking through photographs good enough to eat on her site www.eatpicks.com. You may also read about life stories, recipes and love of sports on her personal blog www.momgotblog.com. She can be reached at eatpicks@gmail.com

You don’t have to travel far to enjoy great cuisine in the Capital Region.
Below is a list of some of 2012’s Dining Debuts!

All Good Bakers
Albany. 463.1349 (relocated)

The Backstage Pub & Grill
Schenectady. 344.5120 (new owners)

Betty Boop Diner
Albany. 545.5396

Bier Abbey
Schenectady. 388.8597

Boca Bistro
Saratoga Springs. 682.2800

B-rads Bistro & Catering
Troy. 326.4041

Broadway Brew Biergarten
Troy. 279.7550 (new name)

Broadway Diner
Menands. 729.2878

Buddha Tea House
Albany

Cafe Calabria Restaurant And Catering
Guilderland. 456.5665

Carmine’s Brazilian Grill
Albany. 729.4477

Charles F. Lucas Confectionery & Wine Bar
Troy. 326.3450

Ciao Italia
Guilderland. 357.2222

Comfort Kitchen
Saratoga Springs. 587.1234

The Crimson Sparrow
Hudson. 671.6565

Dallas Hot Wieners
Albany. 426.8400

Dante’s Frozen Yogurt
Troy. 326.0306

Dave’s Pizza & Burgers
Colonie. 453.3695

Dickey’s Barbecue Pit
Clifton Park. 396.5844

Dolce Vita Ristorante
Schenectady. 357.3324 (relocated)

Druthers Brewing Co.
Saratoga Springs. 306.5275

The Dutch Pot
Albany. 465.3483

Excelsior Pub at Café 217
Albany

Finnbar’s Pub
Troy. 326.3994

The Flying Chicken
Troy. 326.3546

Henry Street Taproom
Saratoga Springs. 886.8938

Hibachi X
Colonie. 869.9888

Hokkaido Sushi House & Asian Cuisine
Albany. 482.9888

The Hungry Fish Café and Country Store
Troy. 874.4573 (relocated)

The Iron Roost
Ballston Spa. 309.3535

Joe’s Crab Shack
Latham. 785.0472

Klamsteam Tavern
Halfmoon. 357.3818 (new owners)

Madame Chef’s Restaurant,
Catering and Cooking School
Albany. 621.7091

Madison Station
Albany. 631.4444

Manama Grille
Delmar. 478.0800

Marmora Café
Troy. 266.9300 (relocated)

Marotta’s Bar-Risto
Schenectady. 377.5100

Mio Posto
Saratoga Springs. 423.7022

Montreal Poutine
Saratoga Springs (track season only) Guilderland, Queensbury

Muddaddy Flats
Troy. 326.0630

Nosh NY Delicatessen
Guilderland. 464.6674

Orchid’s Jamaican-American Restaurant
Schenectady. 952.7182 (relocated)

Otis and Oliver’s
Latham. 785.9291 (relocated)

Phil’s Kitchen
Albany. 729.5881

Pig ‘N Whistle At The Grove
Burnt Hills. 280.5439

Portofino’s Italian Ristorante
(at the Travelodge Inn & Suites)
Latham. 608.4675 (new owners)

Professor M. Barley’s
Albany. 436.7740 (new owners)

Red & Blue Asian Grill
Troy. 763.9570

Red Poppies: A Polish Pantry
Albany. 487.4077

Sciortino’s Pizzeria
Albany. 465.9148

Scotia Diner
Scotia. 372.9776  (relocated)

Shirley’s Café
Clifton Park

Shogun Sushi & Sake Bar
Albany

Simply Grille
Colonie. 608.6604

The Stand-Up Sit Down Eat & Drinkery
Albany. 877.565.3849

Sweet Basil Thai Restaurant
Albany. 545.5403

Sweet Sue’s,
Troy. 892.2933

Taco Del Mar
Albany. 788.9457

The Tailored Tea
Latham. 608.5137

Taiwan Noodle
Albany. 436.1328

Tandoori Cuisine
Colonie. 482.1500

Tara Kitchen
Schenectady. 708.3485

Tea House Asian Bistro
Delmar. 729.5283

Union Café
Schenectady. 280.1600

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