Tag Archives: events

Yoga and the best shift ever

Have you seen this heartwarming video?  I myself tried to resist the repeated postings and “likes” on Facebook, but finally caved a few days ago and watched it.  I cried.  There was something so touching about Chelsea’s story – her own recovery from an eating disorder, the support she provides to her younger sibling, her daily efforts to work as a restaurant server as well as devote time to her passion and healer, yoga.  She is truly inspirational and I was thrilled to “witness” her hard work be rewarded as she was presented with a fat cash tip, a trip to Hawaii, her dream job and a new car.  Wonderful!

Chelsea Roff struck me as a survivor, a young woman who has worked to improve a life which came with an almost unfair share of challenges.  One of the ways she has changed her life has been by devoting herself to the practice of yoga.  Not content to reap the benefits of yoga without giving back, Chelsea has created a foundation to share yoga with others struggling with food issues.

Yoga as a therapeutic activity seems like a no-brainer, doesn’t it?  Lest you think it is an opportunity not available in our area, allow me to direct your attention to some exciting local opportunities designed to provide yoga to those who may need it most – those who struggle with addiction and recovery and military veterans and their families.  These free classes are designed to bring the benefits of yoga to people who may not otherwise be exposed or involved with yoga and the rewards practice can be bring to anyone.

Check out the offerings below, share the information with anyone you know who may be interested and contact The Hot Yoga Spot with any questions.  Namaste.

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Filed under Albany, Events, Exercise, Local, News, Recommendations, yoga

Schooled in cheese.

DSC_0006Over the years, I’ve learned a lot about cheese.  My earliest cheese memories center around my regular lunch order – Muenster on white with mayo.  Simple, a bit tangy and the perfect balance to my other standard sandwich option, liverwurst.  What can I say?  I was raised by a German mother.

As I aged, I expanded my cheese horizons…there was cheddar and provolone, an array of blue-veined beauties, soft delights like Brie, preferably served warm and oozing.  Cheese would most certainly prevent me from being a vegan.  Ever.

While most of my cheesy memories are positive ones, there is one incident which will forever stand out in my memory for both the icky taste and the laughter it ultimately inspired. Many years ago, while visiting Alsace, we lost track of time and missed our opportunity to catch lunch service in the small French town we found ourselves in.  Using my best parlez vous Francais, I asked if perhaps we might have some fruit, cheese and bread to tide us over until dinner could be had.

We were graciously indulged with a lovely plate of local specialties, including a couple of new to us cheeses.  As we dug in, we shared our impressions of the fromage.  One sample stumped my husband and as he struggled to find the words to describe it, I impatiently grabbed a (blessedly) small piece and shoved it into my mouth.  What followed next was a comical series of sputtering, spitting and cursing as I exclaimed “You couldn’t simply say it tastes the way I imagine dog shit might taste?!?”  Bad cheese, but great story.
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Locally, the cheese universe has evolved tremendously over the years.  From Cowen and Lobel to Old Chatham to the Honest Weight, cheese has grown into a specialized niche with plenty of devotees.  When The Cheese Traveler moved into the DelSo bringing his enthusiasm and knowledge with him, I knew I would never again inadvertently place a crappy tasting cheese in my mouth again.

I have to confess, that I find myself gravitating to creamiest of Gorgonzola more often than not, but it is so good to know that I can surrender myself to Eric’s wisdom and explore other cheesy delights.  Last week’s Soup and Grilled Cheese Tasting party was a fun way to sample some flavors which were new to me, including the killer combination of Flying Pigs ham, Fourme d’Ambert and Mingle’s kimchi – an explosion of tastes that I’m still thinking about days later.  Here are a couple of terrific write ups from the event (or shop, in general) which go into far more detail about the grilled cheese offerings.  There are a few upcoming Cheese Traveler events which look both delicious and educational, including Cheese School which begins in April and the fundraiser advertised below which is tonight.  Follow him on Twitter to keep up with how to be your cheesiest best.

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TONIGHT!!!

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Filed under Albany, Delaware Avenue, DelSo, Eating, Events, favorites, Food, Local, soup

Reflections after 2 days of being Wined and Dined

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Me and “my” Sis

I was lucky enough to shoot photos at two related events this past weekend in downtown Albany.  In case you are one of the few residents of the Capital District who I didn’t run into (and have been living under a rock), this weekend was the 5th annual Albany Wine and Dine for the Arts, an outstanding culinary event which is rapidly growing into the highlight of what can often be a grey month in upstate New York.

I began the weekend with Friday evening’s Grand Tasting.  This event is truly a terrific way to start a three-day weekend and people really seemed to be enjoying themselves.  The sizable crowd was wonderfully diverse with couples, both young and old, as well as groups of friends, meandering around the ballroom carefully balancing tasting plates of food and adult beverages.  If you’re someone who is intimidated by “haute cuisine,” this would be a perfect opportunity to expand your culinary horizons in a completely low-key fashion.

As I roamed, snapping photos for a Seen gallery, I was able to make connections with old friends and new faces.  In all honesty, I didn’t eat or drink because I was working planning to take an evening run and didn’t want the excess ballast.  If I had been indulging, the offerings from Cafe Capriccio, Bake for You and Javier’s all would have attracted my fork and, while I didn’t transition to the Slider Slam, held at 90 State, it looked like quite a party!  Next year, for sure.

Saturday, though, was my night to indulge and I do believe I did justice to the fabulous offerings.  I had originally planned to attend an old friend’s party in Troy, but the sloppy weather prevented me from making the trek.  I like to ski on snow, not drive.  I consoled myself by finagling a spot at one of the Gala’s tables and tucked into pretty much every course which came my way.  Oh, and there was wine, too!  Lots of tastes of lots of wines, including an ’81 Chateau Margaux and a ’66 Talbot.  What an evening…

Vintage '66 for both me and the wine!

Vintage ’66 for both me and the wine!

I wish I had been more disciplined about taking notes about the individual courses along with the wine pairings, but Friday had been the time for discipline.  Saturday was all about dining with friends and filling my mouth with tastiness.  And taking pictures, of course.

There was one aspect of the event which left me a bit disgruntled… This event would be impossible to pull off without the tireless efforts of the committee, the chefs and all of the professional hospitality industry employees.  Prior to the start of meal service, there were a number of honors, awards and recognitions which needed to be presented.  Unfortunately, there were quite a few tables which lacked appropriate decorum during this time and it was often difficult to hear the individual presenters and recipients.  There was no lack of food or beverage served during the one-hour cocktail reception prior to the commencement of the sit down portion of the meal and it would have been nice if the attendees could have closed their mouths for just a short while.

Mark your calendars for mid-January 2015  – this event is going to continue to be the premier food and wine event in the Capital Region and you’ll want to be there.

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Filed under Albany, Dinner, drinking, Eating, Events, favorites, Food, Local, Recommendations, Restaurants, SEEN, upstate New York, Wine, winter

Last Run and a good run

This past weekend may have been close to perfect.  One of my favorite girls arrived prior to the snow and we settled in to an afternoon of satisfying household tasks.  There was cooking, roasting and baking.  A tree was agreed upon and chopped down, by me. Later, it was beautifully decorated, not by me.  I call that a win-win situation.

With our bellies full of delicious chili and layers of spandex and Lycra firmly in place, we ventured downtown to the starting line for Albany’s 2013 Last Run. Being smart and all, we stashed some clothes at the Wine Bar for a post-race nosh.  We are not amateurs, my friend.
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I’ve done this race three years in a row and I have to tell you – it is the most fun race I do each year.  The fireworks, the costumes, the crowd, the lights – it is consistently a blast.  This year, despite the weather conditions (pretty damn cold with face freezing precipitation) I had the most fun ever, probably a combination of the perfect running friends and an entire day devoted to holiday tasks and festivities. Joy to the world, for sure!
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We followed our exertions with a fantastic dinner at the Wine Bar.  You might think that I praise the food at the Wine Bar with such frequency because I work there, but you’d be wrong.  The reality, though, is I work there because the food is so damn good. Truth.  My meal, from the grilled Caesar salad to the phenomenal pork shoulder to the epic wedge of cheesecake from Cheesecake Machismo was flawless.  Perfect.
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There was another Lilly enjoying her weekend’s activities and menu, Cassidy Bono.  She feasted on sirloin steak, ground beef, sardines and chicken breast, punctuated with plenty of biscuits.  There were lots of cuddles, along with belly rubs, and what turned out to be our last weekend together will always be a time which I will treasure.
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We both had a good run.

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Filed under aging, Albany, Christmas, Cooking, Dinner, Events, favorites, Food, friends, Lark Street, Local, running, snow, winter

Saturday – a celebration and a speakeasy

DSC_0005Saturday was one of those days when I wished I could get ahold of that special timepiece that Hermione used in the Prisoner of Azkaban – even if it came with a Dementor or two.  There were just too damn many fun things to do!  Had I been able to master the skill of being in two places simultaneously, I would have managed to attend both Winter WonderLARK and the wonderful celebration for newlyweds Amy & Gretchen held in the oh-so-cool space known as Time & Space Limited in Hudson.  After those events wound down, I would have loved to have remained in Hudson for their holiday walk while also attending Albany Center Gallery’s Speakeasy Gala held at 90 State Street.  I did the best I could, believe me.

What I managed to accomplish was a drive to Hudson to toast the brides, a quick run and then a delightful couple of hours at the speakeasy-themed Gala.  The gala was held at Angelo Mazzone”s newest event space on lower State Street in downtown Albany.  Parking was a bit of an issue, but, in all honesty, I found the challenge of parking to be a wonderful indicator of downtown’s appeal on a Saturday night – go, Albany!  The venue, formerly a bank, was magnificent with gorgeous details and elaborate ceilings.  They don’t build ‘em like that anymore. There definitely are some finishing touches which will complete the space, particularly some attention to the acoustics from the lowers level, but it is a incredible option for any of you planning an event.photo

The party was fantastic – a  great crowd of artfully attired guests seemed to thoroughly enjoy the music, food and entertainment.  As always, there were many familiar faces, as well as new folks I hadn’t met previously. There were performers who provided a wonderful theatrical interlude and, as a woman, I was thrilled and appreciative of the beautiful female burlesque dancer whose body was womanly and sexy.  So nice to see in a world filled with lollipop performers!  Here are some pictures to show you what a lovely event Tony Iadicicco and his entire crew put on.  Hope to see you there next time!

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Filed under Albany, art, Events, SEEN

The end of innocence: The assassination of JFK

image: popmatters.com

I wasn’t alive when JFK was assassinated, but that fact didn’t prevent me from feeling the void he created in the world’s conscience. As the child of immigrants, the knowledge I have of my country, and it’s history, have come to me from school and the media, rather than directly from my parents.  The Kennedy family, however, is the exception to this rule. 

The glamorous magic that was the Camelot of the Kennedys, transcended my Mother’s lack of interest in politics.  I think that, to her as a newly arrived immigrant, they represented the boundless opportunities of her chosen country.  During a time of uncertainty, with the threat of nuclear war a constant shadow, it seemed that the first family, with their youthful beauty, provided hope for what was to come.

On that day in Dallas, our country lost that hope.  The promise of his administration was extinguished and a dark cloud seemed to take permanent residence over all of his surviving family members, both immediate and extended.  I was born nearly three years after his death and I’ve always perceived the Kennedys to be our own American version of a Greek tragedy.

I haven’t spent much time researching the assassination and the conspiracy theories which have tenaciously survived (and grown) for these past fifty years.  I wonder if we collectively want to subscribe to the belief that Oswald couldn’t possibly have been working alone because we don’t want to believe that any single person could change the course of history singlehandedly, at least not in such a devastatingly dark way.

The woods are lovely, dark and deep.

But I have promises to keep,

And miles to go before I sleep,

And miles to go before I sleep.
Robert Frost

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Filed under Events, News, politics

Remember that day I wore leather?

Mine didn’t look quite like these.

To the VegFest? Yes, that was me. In case you missed the APB from the nice vegan folks, let me tell you about it. It was a busy day, filled with errands and chores. I had committed to shooting the 2013 Albany VegFest which was being held at the Polish-American Community Center out on Washington Avenue Extension. I had been warned that it would be crowded with an estimated 2500-4500 expected to be in attendance.

I came close to regretting my professional obligation to take photos when I saw the weather forecast. I would have much preferred taking a long run, on such a spectacular fall day, but I postponed that activity until evening and instead started snapping photos.

I’ve never attended this event before, and was awestruck by much of it – the size of the crowd, the bumper stickers on the cars, the variety of vendors, and the delectable aromas which filled the hall. There were impressive displays of baked goods, condiments, cleaning products and toiletries. Information about animal sanctuaries, green energy and related reading materials, were also present.

I was happy to meet Susan Poisson-Dollar from Field Goods, a produce delivery service which I’ve been using since September. This terrific local business works with independent farmers to gather the freshest produce (organic, low-spray and conventionally raised) and package and deliver it to business locations around the Capital District. I’ve been thrilled with the quality and value of what I’ve received and encourage you to look into it as an excellent resource for vegetables.

I was initially excited to see a couple of current students in the sizable crowd. After pausing to talk with them, I was slightly less elated. You see, they noticed my leather Doc Marten’s. Talk about being embarrassed! Of course, I spent the remainder of my time at the event hoping no one else would notice my faux pas – as well as pulling my sweater down to cover my leather belt. Vegan FAIL!

Here are my photos from the event. Despite my epic lack of vegan cred, I would consider attending this event again. The crowd was smart, the food looked great and everyone I encountered was friendly. I plan to wear my Brooks running shoes.

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Filed under Albany, Eating, Events, Food, Local, SEEN