A Foodie’s Guide to the Best Places to Eat in New York’s Capital Region

The cat is finally out of the bag. When I went to school at Siena, I was the kid that always ventured out to find new places to eat. I was always up for an excuse to get away from crappy dining hall food. I ended up going to way more than just this list (sorry bank account). But these are the no-fail restaurants that your stomachs with thank me for and your bank accounts will hate me for.

Breakfast/Brunch

Iron Gate Café

Location: 182 Washington Ave, Albany, NY

You haven’t met brunch until you met Iron Gate Cafe. I’ve never posted so many Instagram pictures of the same exact sandwich. Although Iron Gate Café has many great options, I always get a Turkey B.L.A.T. (bacon, lettuce, avocado, tomato) with home fries. It’s a no-fail order but one day I hope to get risky enough to try their cinnamon roll pancakes… it just screams heavenly. If you go to any of the places on this list visit this one.

(Pictures from their Instagram)

Uncommon Grounds

Location: 402 Broadway, Saratoga Springs, NY

The bagel options are limited in upstate New York. That is coming from a girl who has been forced fed many New Jersey bagels in her lifetime. If you’re from New Jersey, Long Island, or New York City, I promise these bagels are more edible than Dunkin Donuts and Bruegger’s Bagels. You won’t be disappointed.

Other brunch options to try: B-Rads, The Shop, Iron Roost, and Madison Cafe.

Lunch/Dinner

Troy’s Kitchen

Location: 77 Congress St, Troy, NY

Troy’s Kitchen definitely is the most unique restaurant on this list because of the atmosphere. Troy’s Kitchen is set up like a food court with high-quality startup restaurants. Restaurants apply to be apart of Troy Kitchen and leave the food court once they have made enough money to start their own restaurant. This means new restaurants come and go very frequently. Troy’s Kitchen also organizes events like open karaoke, dress up nights, and live jazz shows. If you’re grabbing a bite to eat with people who like options, head over to Troy’s Kitchen.

Genoa

Location: 435 Loudon Rd, Albany, NY

I went here so many times that the employees knew my order. To some, that may be embarrassing or sad but man, am so I proud. Genoa is the best place to get sandwiches… dare I say ever? Every time I would go to their shop I would try and get something new but I would always end up with a toasted Mardi Gras. If you go to Siena or in the Latham area get your butt over to this sandwich shop right now! This is what I miss the most.

Sliding Dirty- Troy, NY

Slidin’ Dirty

Location: 9 1st St, Troy, NY

In the mood for tacos but also kind of want a burger? Well, at Sliding Dirty you can have it both! The restaurant is set up so that you can try a little of everything… a perfect restaurant for someone as indecisive as me. I’m a big fan of the simple sliders but they also have incredible mac and cheese bites. According to my brother, they also have a great selection of craft beer. A win-win.

Crave Burgers and Frozen Yogurt

Location: 217 Western Ave, Albany, NY

Hungover and want delicious, greasy food? Well, Crave Burger is here to serve your hungover dreams properly. This incredibly rich burger will have you full way past lunch and dinner. They have a variety of different burgers that will have you wanting it all. No worries, you can always come back for more. I highly recommend their fries as well as their burgers.

Garlic Lovers

Location: 235 N Greenbush Rd # 1, Troy, NY

This little hole in the wall will make you question everything. If you love Mediterranean food then this is the perfect spot for you. Everything they have is incredible but their calamari is one of my favorites. Try your hardest not to fill up on the pita bread before dinner because their main meals are something you’ll dream about.

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Crisp

Location: 594 New Loudon Rd, Latham, NY

I was a little hesitant about putting this on my list because most Siena college kids are sick of escaping to Crisp. However, their potato salad and complimentary mini red velvet cupcakes have earned a place in my heart. I would always get the Serra Nevada sandwich with potato salad.

Dinosaur Barbecue 

Location: 377 River St, Troy, NY

Whenever Rob and I went out to dinner, we would most likely end up at Dinosaur Barbecue. There is something about smoked food and barbecue sauce that can fix any bad grade or pesky assignment. They also do pick up for your convenience! Try the pulled pork and mash potatoes… you can thank me later!

Dessert

Cheesecake Machismo

Location: 293 Hamilton St, Albany, NY

All I wanted for my college graduation was a Green Tea slice from Cheesecake Machismo. I lucked out and received a monster cake (a cheesecake with 12-16 different cheesecake slices). After trying this cheesecake, you’ll never think Cheesecake Factory is good. Each slice is $6 and are all incredible. Plus, the little shop is adorable with little action figures decorating the walls.

(Pictures from their Instagram)

Cider Belly

Location: 25 N Pearl St, Albany, NY

I get my sweet-tooth from my mother. If you ever met my mother she is this tiny little woman who loves sweets. Her biggest weakness is ice cream and donuts. If you’re a big donut fan like her, I would rush over to Cider Belly and try their fresh donuts. They pride themselves on making wholesome donuts that are always fresh and not preserved. If you’re lucky, they’ll sneak in an extra donut later. Make sure you check their website though because they have the worst hours ever.

Emack and Bolio’s

Location: 366 Delaware Ave, Albany, NY

I know, I know, I know. This is a chain but hear me out. Coming from Connecticut, I had never been to an Emack and Bolio so I get to include it on my list. (I’m stubborn. I know). If you’re like me and have never heard of Emack and Bolio’s, this is the king of all ice cream cones. They have any cone you’ve ever dreamed of. Fruitloop, cocoa pebbles, s’mores… can you hear my stomach grumbling? If the cones aren’t enough to make you go then you need to try their incredible rich and cream ice cream.

(Pictures from their Instagram)

The Cookie Factory

Location: 520 Congress St, Troy, NY

Luckily for me, I realized a few months ago that I can actually purchase my favorite cookies right in Connecticut (thank God). These fudge fancies are some of the best cookies you’ll ever have and they’re filling enough for you to have one and be done. If you’re trying to celebrate something special the Cookie Factory also makes an extensive line of cakes and goodies for you to choose from. If you’re craving a good, Italian cookie the Cookie Factory is calling your name.

Grab a Good Drink

Nine Pin

Location: 929 Broadway, Albany, NY

Nine Pin is located in the heart of Albany and it tastes like the nectar from above. Two of my friends and I wandered to Nine Pin after we heard they were making a tequila cider. Two of my favorite things in one? Count me in. Be on the lookout for their unique ciders and grab a bite to eat.

Ama Cocina

Location: 4 Sheridan Ave, Albany, NY

I have this sick love for tequila. Ama Cocina offers every tequila your heart desires alongside incredible margaritas. If you’re obsessed with ice drink, check out this place and order a bunch of their appetizers. No worries, if tequila has done you dirty in the past there is always beer.

Brown Brewing Co and Druthers are also great options for drinking craft beer. Personally, I don’t drink beer but my brother is a brewer and loves both of these places. Plus, Druthers has mac and cheese that will warm your soul.

Have you been to any of these places or been to any other restaurants in the capital region? Let me know in the comments down below.

As always,

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A Real Thanksgiving

Hello darlings! A few days ago I celebrated Thanksgiving. This was actually one of the only authentic Thanksgivings I have celebrated. Normally, my mother flies to Florida or California to recruit for field hockey. That leaves my brothers, Dad, and me home to try and figure out what to eat. We have spent past years having steak instead of a big turkey. This year, my Dad and I traveled to Troy to spend it with my brother (Nathan), his girlfriend (Heather), her mother, and her uncle. It also helps that two adorable puppies were cheerfully playing around. We definitely missed having my other brother (Andrew) and my mother there, but we made the most of it.

We pretty much ate until we couldn’t anymore. There was a giant turkey stuffed, sweet potatoes, stuffing, brussels sprouts, carrots, mashed potatoes, turnips, green beans cheesecake, squash soup, and cheesecake. We were all stuffed afterward.

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Denver dreaming of table scraps.

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How did you spend your Thanksgiving? What do you normally eat during Thanksgiving? Let me know if you blogged about it because I’d love to see some food pictures!

As always,

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Slidin’ Dirty

Hello darlings! *Craving food warning*

You have been officially warned that these pictures may cause hunger, cravings, and food envy. Now that we got that out of the way, let me introduce you to Slidin’ Dirty. It is a restaurant located in downtown Troy, NY. Fun fact: Uncle Sam is from Troy! Since I traveled to Barcelona, I’ve been in love with the idea of tapas. You get to order three mini meals without looking like a pig. I mean if you really want to order three normal meals go right ahead, I won’t judge.

When you sit down at Slidin’ Dirty, you’re greeted with a three page beer menu. Goodness, I sadly do not drink beer, but I automatically thought of my brothers. Once you place you drink order (water for me), you can look at the long list of tapas. You’re welcome to check out their menu here. Their salads sounded great, but I was craving endless burgers and tacos. So my eyes darted past the crab cake salad and looked at the tapas section. You can pick from the dirty dozen (burgers), sliders of the sea, and tacos. It economically makes sense to get 2-3 of the same section, but I really wanted to try everything. So I ended up getting (from left to right) BBQ pig, Crab Cake, and the Dirty Hottie.

BBQ Pig: This one happened to be my least favorite. Although it was my least favorite, I would order it again. It was just a little too spicy for me (I’m a wimp). The BBQ pig description is, “nine pin braised pulled pork, coleslaw, pickled red onion cucumber and jalapeño relish, and bbq sauce.” I really liked the cucumbers in it because it toned down the spicy jalapeño.

 

Crab Cake: Ugh, I love crab cakes. I don’t know what it is, but I just think they’re everything and more. The description of the crab cake was, “panko crusted crab cake, arugula, tomato, red onion, avocado, and horseradish cream.” The crab cake itself was delicious. It was something so easily edible. I could probably eat 15 of them and not feel guilty.

Dirty Hottie: This one won me over with it’s creative name. This slider consists of paper jack, arugula, tomato, red onion, jalapeño, avocado, and chipotle cream. As soon as I saw chipotle cream I knew I needed to order it. This one was by far my favorite. The next time I go, I definitely need to try the dirty cowboy which is similar to the dirty hottie but with cheddar, bacon, and bbq sauce.

I first heard of this place through my college. During Siena fest (our spring concert), they have food trucks come. One of them was sliding dirty and they offered two different sliders. I’m glad they came because now I’m hooked.

Now that I’ve officially made you hungry, let me know what your favorite style restaurant is! 

As always,

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Restaurant Review: Crave Burgers and Frozen Yogurt

Hello darlings! If you know me by now you know I like exploring different places. I found this gem when I was looking for new restaurants to try out. There are so many different restaurants and fun things to do in Albany that aren’t known to the outsiders. I’m trying to become a local and unveil some of these hidden gems.

 
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The other week Rob and I went to Crave burgers and frozen yogurt. We were overwhelmed with the extensive burger list. It took us about ten minutes to figure out what we wanted.

Here is the extensive menu:

 

Rob ended up ordering a BBQ burger and fiesta fries and I ordered a truffle burger and fries. We then sat down and admired the quirky sayings on the wall. My favorite one is the one that says “I’m sorry for what I said when I was hungry” because I’m a very hangry person.
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I’m not going to lie when the waitress brought over our burgers and fries my heart skipped a beat. Look at these things… I’m surprised I didn’t start drooling. The fries came in this little basket like the fries I had in France and they tasted just as good.

Although I’m not a huge mushroom person (I did pick off most of the mushrooms), I really enjoyed this burger. It had so much flavor and was practically melting in my mouth. I snagged some of Rob’s fiesta fries and they were loaded with flavor was well.

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If you’re ever in Albany I would definitely try out Crave. They apparently have really good chicken wing selection that I have yet to try. I eventually want to try the veggie burger, southerner burger, and a SoCal turkey sandwich. A long list of things to try when I go again but it is well worth the little drive to Albany.

As always,

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5 Fantastic Places to Eat in Connecticut

I’m always talking about delicious food at places I visit, but why not rave about the delicious food I grew up with? Don’t worry, I’m about to change that. If you’re ever in Connecticut here are 5 places you must eat at.

Mondos. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Mondos has some of the best BBQ chicken pizza I’ve ever had… and I’ve been in Italy for the past 4 months (BBQ pizza isn’t a thing in Italy if you’re actually wondering). I don’t care if you get the panini or the pizza, but you can’t get a salad if you go to Mondos. It’s just unheard of. Pictured below is their chicken pesto panini and BBQ chicken pizza. I rave more about it here. I recommend maybe even getting both and bringing pizza home for tomorrow? Both valuable options. If you like thin crusted pizza and delicious BBQ chicken go here.

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Eli Cannons. This one is actually kind of new to me. My brother raves about their beers (if you’re unaware one of my brothers is a brewer). My brother, Rob, and I went to Eli Cannons for the first time this past summer. I got this delicious chicken sandwich with normal fries. Rob got the cajun fries and I ate most of his (nice boy for letting me). They’re a little hot, but beyond awesome. The place is really quirky because they have a bunch of these weird collectable signs. Warning: if you’re with an under age kid they won’t serve the table beer. If you really want to try their beer maybe split up tables. It’s some crazy rule we learned the hard way (my brother ended up not being able to get this beer he waited two years for… it was a tough day).

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Lyman Orchards. That picture really doesn’t do their donuts justice. No matter what season you come to Connecticut they have something for you. Personally, I think fall is the best time to go to Lymans. They have an annual corn maze that is always pictured different (by pictured I mean if you went in an airplane and looked down you would see the picture). The last year I did it was Red Soxs vs Yankees. It was really cool getting lost in that. After you’re a little chilly from getting lost in the corn maze, you can go inside and grab their mouthwatering Apple Glazed Donuts and some Apple Cider. If that doesn’t scream fall I don’t know what does. If you happen to come in the spring or summer they have all types of fruit you can pick. After you work up an appetite go get a donut you deserve it.

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Bill’s Seafood. Scroll down to that picture and then come back here. Did you see how much delicious lobster is in that roll? I wasn’t a huge lobster fan until the summer of 2013. I don’t know what changed but it turned me into this crazy monster who loves a good warm lobster roll. Looking at that picture makes me wish it was summer again just so I can eat that. They have this awesome outdoor sitting where you can see little boats in the water. If you have room left over for more food they also have an ice cream store.

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Froyoworld. I’m biased and I’m proud! Froyoworld was my first job and it was by far the best job I ever had. Every single person who came into the store was happy to be there. I can’t even think of one bad day I had at Froyoworld. We used to have this old man come in ever single day around one. He had a brand new suit every time and had a glass monocle. Plus the owners are awesome. Super friendly and actually love their job. Okay, so you’re probably wondering why it’s better than any other froyo place. It’s really a mix between how friendly everyone who works there is and how delicious the yogurt is. The owners and managers are always thinking of different toppings. Froyoworld tried nutella crunch for a long time and it was the best thing since ice cubes. They also have awesome flavors like Salted Carmel Pretzel (my Dad’s favorite), Toasted Marshmallow, Strawberry Shortcake, the list goes on and on. Their flavors are always listed on their Facebook page. If you end up going make sure you get the snow caps because they make any flavor taste better.

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I’m so curious to hear your favorite hometown recommendations! Maybe if I ever visit your part of the country/world I’ll try it out. Let me know in the comments your favorite(s).

As always,

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