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.

IMG_2974.jpg

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,

Screen Shot 2015-05-08 at 12.01.15 AM

Instagram | BlogLovin’Facebook | Twitter |Pinterest

Why You Need Pointed Flats in Your Life

Hello darling! What are you doing on this lovely Thursday? Since I missed out on posting last week thanks to my crazy interviews, I decided to make this week a double post.

Spring Pattern

Before finals, senior week, and (eek) graduation all occurred, my two closest friends and I  decided to venture out to our favorite brunch place in Albany. The tears were edging off the tips of our eye lashes as we ordered our (dun..dun..dunnnnn) last brunch of senior year. If you haven’t already heard my heartfelt messages about brunch at Iron Gate Cafe… you’re missing out on a whole bunch. This quirky little shop is located in Albany, New York and is jam packed with spunk. The restaurant consists of four dining rooms that look as if they used to belong to an old 19th century owner who was obsessed with Elvis. I tastefully always get the Turkey B.L.A.T. with home fries. There is this incredible pesto mayo that just makes your heart quicken when you finally see the waiter bring out your food. Check out that picture on my old post about Iron Gate Cafe.

This is actually the second time my best friends and I ventured out a week before the Tulip Festival in Albany. Albany plants over 100,000 tulips and around the end of May, usually Mother’s day, they have a festival showcasing them. Luckily for us, the tulips are in full bloom the week before and we get to gawk at the rich colors.

Spring Pattern

As for my outfit, I decided sport this adorable cut out shirt from Marshall’s. Some of may older followers might remember this shirt from a quick little haul I did last summer. It was a pretty chilly day so I threw on my “Olivia Pope” cardigan over it. If you watch Scandal hopefully caught my reference. This cardigan is one of my favorite cardigans to throw on because it adds to much to an outfit just by putting it on. I’ve practically been living in these Garage jeans because of how comfy they are. I’ve actually never owned a pair before, but Garage was having a massive sale where most jeans were $15 each (originally $50). So naturally I bought three pairs. If you’re a fan of American Eagle jeans you’ll be equally as in love with Garage jeans.

Now, to get to why you might have clicked on this post. Why do you need pointed flats in your life? The real question is why don’t you. It doesn’t matter if you’re tall, short, curvy, athletic, or skinny… pointed flats will do wonders for you. They instantly make your legs look fierce. When I put them on, I feel as if I can do no wrong. Trust me, I’ve been wearing pointed flats to all my interviews and they’ve been giving me a good confidence boost. Okay, I know that sounds like I’m stretching the truth… but I swear, it’s true. If that isn’t enough reasoning on why you need them in your life here is a list on why you need a pair:

  • They’re super versatile! You can wear them with dress pants, jeans, skirts, shorts… you name it you can wear them with it.
  • They make your legs look fiercely long and lean.
  • If they’re nude they make them look even longer!
  • They’re comfy! The point may be intimidating because it looks like your toes might be squished but most people who wear pointed shoes go up a size. Make sure you try them on before you purchase them.
  • If you’re attacked you can use them as a weapon… protection first!
  • They’re incredibly fashionable and unique.
  • The pair I’m wearing has studs!

I admit, I was shopping online earlier and saw even more pairs to my shoe collection. These ones are currently in my shopping cart:

Shoe 1 (100% need)| Shoe 2 | Shoe 3 (& this one is just too perfect for summer)

Spring Pattern

So have I sold you on pointy flats or do you already own a pair? Let me know in the comments down below.

As always,

Screen Shot 2015-05-08 at 12.01.15 AM

Instagram | Pinterest | Twitter | Facebook

 

Senior Cruise

Hello darling! I wanted to highlight all of the fun I participated in during my last week at Siena College (tears falling quickly down the side of my face). After a jam packed day of bar hopping in Saratoga, the senior class of 2017 hopped on 9 buses to go on a Captain JP Cruise Line boat. The three-hour experience let us sight see Troy to Albany and then back again. We ate, danced, and slightly froze our butts off. Regardless of how cold it was, it was probably one of the most rememberable trips I had during my senior week.

Troy-Albany Cruise

The cruise ship consisted of three different floors. The third and second floors served food and the top floor had an opening to see the dance floor and exit outside the boat. There were also bars on each floor, which made many seniors very happy. During the cruise, we were given a buffet styled dinner that consisted of salted potatoes, salad, eggplant parmesan, bread rolls, and fried chicken. After people finished eating dinner, everyone gained enough courage to take pictures in the cold outdoors. We tried our hardest not to look as if we were freezing out butts off.

Boat Cruise Dress

Everyone was dressed to the nines but not dressed for the weather. Oh, well! Despite being cold, I was super happy wearing this dress. I’m actually slightly obsessed… I cannot wait to wear it again. The little cutouts made this soft floral pattern so edgy and unique. Plus, the cap sleeves were another reason I was sold. My dress is currently on sale if you want to check that out! It also comes in black.

Boat Cruise Dress

Boat Cruise DressBoat Cruise DressBoat Cruise Dress

After the cruise, Siena hosted a “late night dinner” at the dining hall. We blasted music and danced on tables. If you remember High School Musical then you know exactly how the scene looked. One of my friends danced so hard he ripped his pants. If that isn’t rememberable, I don’t know what is.

Looking at these pictures and writing this post is making me sad beyond belief. But I’ll get to that in my upcoming graduation post. Keep your eyes and ears peeled because it may be a tear jerker… or nah.

As always,

Screen Shot 2015-05-08 at 12.01.15 AM

Instagram | Pinterest | Twitter | Facebook

An Outfit For the Chronically late

Hello darling! How is your day going? I hope it is a little bit more sunny than this cold, foggy day. We’re currently getting pounded by a foot (possibly more) of snow. The day we did this “photo shoot” the weather was actually 15°…. very different from the 85°  weather I experienced in Florida. However, despite how brutally cold it was this day, I’m kind of glad it was this funky, foggy weather because it made these pictures look super spooky.

Some people may pick on good ol’ Albany, but I definitely think it has it’s perks. I mean it doesn’t have as much of my love as Troy does…. but with events like Lark Fest and food like Iron Gate Cafe it is hard not to love Albany.

IMG_1995.JPGIMG_1994.JPGIMG_1996.JPG

Now, I’m not going to even try fooling you that I am a “late” person. I’m not. I’m actually that annoying person that shows up 10-15 minutes early to everything… even class. I literally get stressed out if I’m only 5 minutes early. So yes, this post is not geared toward people who are insane like me. But, I know many of the chronically late people are out there. My question to you is: how do you do it? You guys even have this mystical look to you when you come into a class 5 minutes late. I give you props because I would look like a hot mess if I ever did that.

Major key for the chronically late: Throw on a ‘polished’ cardigan on a basic outfit and you’re good to go.

For this “chronically late look” I decided to show off the power of a long cardigan. I feel like anyone can throw on this cozy cardigan and look instantly polished. I mean it certainly did that trick for me. You can even wear this camel cardigan with leggings. Currently, I’m obsessed with Aerie’s chill high-waisted leggings. For everything else, I kept it extremely basic. White tee and black high-waisted pants… could anyone go wrong? To spice up this incredibly basic outfit I decided to add a sparkly woven belt and woven Sperry’s.

IMG_0723.jpg

What do you normally throw on when you are late? A nice pair of leggings or a comfy cardigan? Let me know in the comments down below!

As always,

Screen Shot 2015-05-08 at 12.01.15 AM

Instagram | Pinterest | Twitter | Facebook

 

It’s Kind of a Sunny Story

Hello darlings! With the completion of finals week, I can finally post about this lovely day I had last week. I know it has been an extremely hectic blogging experience this semester, but I’m thrilled to start posting more content.

Around every May, Albany has an event called tulip fest. There are thousands of tulips scattered across Washington park. I was fortunate enough to take a break from my essays and go to the park a week early with my two friends. They might look familiar to you… They were my travel buds in Italy. Some things never change.

You could say that we were all wearing black because we were mourning the upcoming finals week. I had four essays and four finals… you can definitely say I’m glad it’s over.

I’m wearing a very inexpensive dress from Forever 21, lace-up flats from TopShop, stone necklace from TopShop, bag from Kate Spade, and the lovely tan jacket is borrowed from Courtney.

Before we went to the park, we had our last brunch of the semester. I’ve talked about Iron Gate Cafe before, but I’ll say it again. This is the best brunch place in Albany. You’re really missing out if you come to Albany and don’t try it out.

Pictured below is the same thing I always get, a turkey B.L.A.T. (bacon, lettuce, avocado and tomato). There is usually this bomb.com pesto mayo that actually might make my heart sing a little bit. Might just be the homefries clogging my arteries… at least I enjoy it.

If you’re ever in the area during tulip season I would definitely check out Washington park. There were dogs roaming around, children in their communion dresses, and even a bride and groom taking pictures. It seemed like the place to be. I can’t wait to come again next year and enjoy my (possible) last year in the Albany area.

What is your favorite activity to do in the spring? Do you explore parks, hike, or enjoy a cone of freshly scooped ice cream? Whatever you do let me know and hopefully give me some new ideas!

It’s good to be back.

As always,

Screen Shot 2015-05-08 at 12.01.15 AM

                     

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.

 
IMG_9190.jpg

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.
IMG_9191.jpgIMG_9192.jpg

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.

IMG_9196.jpg

IMG_9199.jpg

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,

Screen Shot 2015-05-08 at 12.01.15 AM

                     

 

Sunday Snapshot: St. Patrick’s Day Parade and more

Hello darlings! This weekend was jam-packed with adventures. Siena’s basketball season was amazing so we went to a game on Saturday and again on Sunday. On Saturday, we played Manhattan. We were all sitting on the edge of our seats because the game was so close. Sunday, however, was a tough loss. We were two games away from going to March madness so it was a sad to see them lose.

 

Here are some yummy foods I ate this week:

Rob turned 21 this Friday so we decided to go out on the town to celebrate. We went to Bombers Burrito BarThe Olde English Pub and Wolff’s Biergarten in order for him to do the trifecta. Here are some of the wonderful pictures

 

The next day we woke up early, got decked out in green, and went to the St. Patrick’s Day parade.

I hope you are ready for St. Patrick’s Day on Thursday! Make sure you wear some green so you don’t get pinched!

As always,

Screen Shot 2015-05-08 at 12.01.15 AM

                     

Sunday Snapshot: First Snowfall

Hello darlings! Did you finally get snow? If you live inland then you might have received your fist snow fall this week. We finally received our first snow fall in Albany and I couldn’t have been happier. I mean look how beautiful Siena looks in the snow:

The only downside is that the temperature dropped drastically. Right now it is 7° and there is a low of -4° …. oh and it feels like…..

img_8914

We were team Ireland for a party this weekend. I had to put the flag over my mouth because I couldn’t stop smiling.

I also am getting a lot better at cooking *slow clap*

This week I cooked chili for the Super Bowl. There are three types of meat (ground beef, ground turkey, and steak), red beans, peppers, onions, and a whole much of spice in it. I think I put a little too much spice in because it was a little too spicy. I’m not sure if my friends were just being nice, but they all said that there is no such thing as having too much spice.

img_8710

I also cooked Cheesy jalapeño popper baked stuffed chicken this week. You can get the recipe here. I was incredibly proud of it. I want to try it with red or green peppers next time. I loved the way it came out. I also made roasted squash and corn with it. For some reason it made me miss my host mom in Italy.

 

I also went shopping this week and scored a jacket and a dress. The dress is from American Eagle and I can’t wait to do an outfit post on it when it gets warmer. I also scored a sweet ‘suede’ jacket for $7 from Forever 21. They’re having an insane sale right now. Every clearance items is an additional 75% off. I would definitely go to your closest Forever 21 to see if you can snag a great item like I did.

Later today, for Valentine’s day, I’ll be going to Albany Pump Station with Robert, Alyssa, and Nicole. It’s my favorite restaurant so I’m quite excited! What are you doing for Valentine’s day? I hope it consists of eating copious amount of chocolate and laughing too much.

As always,

Screen Shot 2015-05-08 at 12.01.15 AM

                         

 

Sunday Snapshot: Exploring Albany

Hello darlings! I had wonderful week. Courtney and I are slowly figuring out how to cook things together. I’ll most more about that when we have perfected a few things. I know it’s quite the college accomplishment to be able to cook for one’s self. My Friday class was also cancelled so I can say I had a pretty good week.

My walk back to my house during the week. I love the Siena flags.

Thursday my friend, Courtney, turned 21 (not my roommate another Courtney). We went to Bombers Burrito Bar to celebrate.

  

Saturday, a bunch of my friends and I went to the Siena vs Marist basketball game. Siena won 77 to 66. Siena was up 20 points for most of the game. Monday Siena plays the #1 team… wish us luck!

This morning, I went to Iron Gate Cafe with Robert and Steven. It’s my favorite brunch place. I always get the same thing: Turkey B.L.A.T. with home fries. If you’re ever in Albany definitely go to Iron Gate Cafe.

Afterwords, we showed Steven a little bit of Albany. Some of the buildings are just so beautiful! Also, ice skating is only $3!

 


  

Now I’m just working on my application to Siena Teacher Preparation Program and some other homework. I have a speech on Tuesday for my rhetoric and oral communications class. Wish me luck on that!

I hope you had a wonderful week! Let me know about your week. Did you eat anything good? See anything interesting? Talk to someone cool? I’m very curious.

As always,

Screen Shot 2015-05-08 at 12.01.15 AM