Tag Archives: drinking

No safe harbor – Mariner’s Harbor, Kingston

imageYou’ve probably considered at least once what defines a restaurant experience as a positive one. Was it the menu? The presentation of the plates? The value? Maybe location or ambience? Or was it the service and attention to detail? While we all may have personal opinions about which components of dining out are most significance, I’m here to provide you with an example of the incredible importance of having an educated, competent and polite front of the house staff.

Last night I met my girlfriends for a dinner in Kingston’s Rondout district. Post-dinner we decided to find a place for an after dinner drink and found ourselves at a well established place none of us had ever ventured in before – Mariner’s Harbor. It was about 8:15 when we arrived and, after consulting with the accommodating hostess, we elected to take a high-top table at the bar where we would be able to enjoy our drinks after ordering and purchasing them at the bar. This is where things got bizarre…

I asked the young bartender if she had port. She looked puzzled. I asked again this time adding the word “tawny” as if that was going to get me somewhere. She shook her head with confusion. I spelled P-O-R-T and explained what it was to no avail. Realizing the futility of my quest, I asked for a wine/drink list. That, at least, she was able to provide.

My friends ordered a couple of cappuccinos and a Sambuca while I came to terms with the limitations of the list I had been handed. I asked if maybe they might have specialty coffees or cordials. Her eyes lit up with a glimmer of life and she dashed away to retrieve a different version of the wine list. Or so it seemed. In actuality, it was the very same offerings I had previously perused, only this time they were in a more elegantly bound list. Sigh.

I stepped away from the bar and asked my friend to order a sombrero for me, explaining that it was Kahlua and milk. The bartender apparently went right to work searching for guidance as to how to make a sombrero. When my friend, Lisa, interrupted her research and described the drink’s ingredients, she was rewarded with a muttered “Why didn’t you just say ‘Kahlua and milk?'” Um, I don’t know. I wouldn’t order a vodka and o.j., I’d order a screwdriver, right? Was it really unreasonable for me to order a drink by its proper name?

My friends and I moved on from our head shaking about the attitude and incompetence at the bar and spent some time visiting. At about 9:00, Virginia and I decided to hit the bathroom before hitting the road. When we approached the bathroom (which was directly across from the kitchen doorway) there seemed to be a crisis of sorts. It appeared that a number of servers had been congregating and then subsequently disbursed at our approach. Kind of like cockroaches when a light goes on.

We entered the bathroom where we were immediately confronted by the sight of a woman vomiting in the sink. She was being consoled by a friend and reassured that she was just fine. I beg to differ. It is not “just fine” to vomit in the (only!) sink of a public bathroom. If you’re sick (or have been over served) and vomiting is unavoidable, the spacious stall would be the more appropriate venue for your regurgitations.

During the few minutes we were in the bathroom, taking turns with one of the two stalls since the other stall was occupied by a server, as evidenced by her black apron on the stall floor, no employees addressed the situation. For all we know, that woman is still prone in the sink, thong exposed and mumbling. We won’t be back to check. Ever.

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Filed under Dinner, drinking, friends, Rant, road trips, Uncategorized, upstate New York


ūüé∂ I love Paris, that’s the song (Ella Fitzgerald version) that has been playingimage incessantly in my head for nearly the last week. Such a clich√©, right? Limiting my love to merely Paris, though, would be unfair to the rest of the country. There’s so much to love!

In previous visits, I’ve been smitten by Alsace where the blend of French and German cultures has created a region of friendly residents who enjoy terrific wines and a hearty cuisine, all in setting of rolling hills fragrant with lavender.

This trip to Normandy, my first, has been a wonderful experience. I don’t know if I’ve ever been so proud to be an American while traveling abroad as I’ve been these past few days. The appreciation for the accomplishments of previous generations of our armed forces remains tangible in this region. Our flag is flown alongside those of France and Normandy and honored. God bless, America, incarnate.

imageMy favorite moments have been small, tiny little jewels which will continue to sparkle when I take them out to remember. Savoring the local cuisine – the cheese, pate foie gras, apple tart, kir Normand and oysters. Laughing with my son when I couldn’t recall the phrase to request our check (l’addition, s’il vous plait) in the bistro after indulging in my first ever calvados. A late afternoon soaking in the sun on our little patio, accompanied by a book and a bottle of cider. ¬†All gems of France to be treasured.

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Filed under Boys, drinking, Eating, Europe, Food, France, travel, vacation

No sleep till Brooklyn*


My picture does NOT do the work justice. Apologies!

On Friday, despite Mother Nature’s attempt to disrupt my plans, I ventured down to Williamsburg, Brooklyn to attend my uber talented neighbor, Ken Ragsdale’s art show opening at the Front Room Gallery. As someone who doesn’t often attend gallery openings (read: hardly ever), I was a bit out of my element, and, as a person who doesn’t stray from Manhattan usually, I was definitely outside of my borough of reference. After consulting my Facebook friends regarding attire and Google maps for directions, we hit the road in the late afternoon. Next stop: The Hundred-Acre Wood!

View from the Roebling Tea Room on the first evening of spring.

View from the Roebling Tea Room on the first evening of spring.

The drive was uneventful, other than my imagination working overtime creating vivid scenarios about how the piece of Ken’s which ended up in the back of my wagon could be damaged during the trip to Brooklyn. Rear-end collision, encounter with a remarkable pothole resulting in the shattering of glass…

imageSafely parked around the corner from the gallery, wearing the suggested attire of skinny jeans, ankle boots and a cool hat, we met up with some of the Albany contingent and enjoyed a lite bite and a round of drinks at the Roebling Tea Room. My cocktail, an excellent old-fashioned with a clean, citrus element was wonderful, the small plates equally perfect.

The show was an absolute triumph. The work vividly expressed a time in the artist’s life and is truly stunning. ¬†The presence of so many familiar faces must have made the opening a dreamy blend of memories and modern day moments. ¬†So friggin cool.¬† Can’t get to Brooklyn?¬† Check out the group show opening Friday, 3/27/15 at the Albany International Whatever Airport right in the 518.

*This post has nothing to do with sleeping in Brooklyn or the Beastie Boys. Nothing.  I just love the sentiment.  Here Рwatch the video anyway.

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Filed under Albany, art, DelSo, drinking, Events, friends, Local, NYC, Recommendations, road trips, Spring

Seven-year (p)itch

So…this Wednesday, 12/17, is the 7th anniversary of the Wine Bar & Bistro on Lark. Yes, that did go fast! I’ve been onboard for the last 4 years and consider myself fortunate to be able to continue having a presence in the local food scene in such a special spot, especially since my availability is generally limited to a single night of the week.

Lucky me, though, – I work Wednesday nights and will be on hand to celebrate our milestone. And you know what? You should be, too! We’ll be featuring a few items from the original menu, at the original prices, and selected bottles of 2007 vintage wines will be available at a 50% discount. See? You’re lucky, too!

That’s a date then, right?

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Filed under Albany, Dinner, Eating, Events, Food, Lark Street, Local, Recommendations, Restaurants, Wine

Don’t cook tonight!

How about eating for a good cause instead? New World Bistro & Bar is generously donating 15% of tonight’s sales to the DelSo’s very own Normanskill Farm. Why not save that bunch of kale and box of Annie’s for another night and instead head to NWBB for something a bit more interesting? The Normanskill Farm is a magical place right here in our own neighborhood and any improvements made to their property will benefit the entire city. This event will help to provide funds for bringing animals back to the farm.

Not just Jeter either.

Not just Jeter either.

Like these!

So, what do you say?  Meet you there!


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Filed under Albany, Delaware Avenue, DelSo, Dinner, drinking, Eating, Events, Food, Local, Normanskill, Recommendations, Restaurants, Uncategorized

Sipping from Siro’s Cup

With Dominick and Carolyn Purnomo.                            Photo by Joe Putrock, Special to the times Union.

Last night I attended my first Saratoga “event,” the 21st Annual Newton Plaza Siro‚Äôs Cup. ¬†I was thoughtfully included in a friend’s group and during a very busy week, it was the thing for which I was most excited. ¬†What to wear? Could I forsake peer comfort with foot comfort and wear flats? Accessories were key and I wanted to feel put together from head (day 2 hair, flat ironed and sprayed) to toes (freshly pedicured in a gorgeous shade of pastel sea foam). ¬†I knew I needed to feel confident in my appearance and went with a whole Goddess of Reading look. ¬†I think it worked.

The showers through which I had driven in Albany had completely disappeared and the air in Saratoga was fresh and comfortable. ¬†The fancy cars, Maserartis, Rolls Royces and my dream car, a 2 door Porsche, were parked on display and the whole thing felt about as swanky as you can get when you’re essentially walking barefoot from your own wagon parked in a grassy field.

Inside the party there was an almost overwhelming sense of stimulation. ¬†People were ON. ¬†The multiple bars set up attracted what seemed to be the most outgoing cliques of friend – there was a definite (and deserved) sense of holding court.¬† The clothes, the makeup, the hair…there was so much to absorb. ¬†Fashion-wise, it seemed that anything went. ¬†Naturally, there were Nantucket Reds, seersucker and linen adorning the guys and dresses in every length and color on the women. ¬†There was a lot of jewelry, along with a fair amount of serious suntan.

A constantly flowing river of attendees were carried on a current of cocktails. People seemed happy and there were many outbursts of laughter to be heard.¬† The “first party of the season” feel to it made for an excellent vibe. ¬†It was fun. ¬†I loved seeing my favorite Pirate Girl and am so psyched the she has taken up residence for the season, like the ballet or the writers of Yaddo. ¬†There were other hospitality folks there – the generation II Purnomos, Matt Baumgartner, Michael Cocca. ¬†It was nice to see them being on the receiving end of hospitality for a change.

Many familiar faces were in the crowd. ¬†I mean, I’ve worked in local restaurants for long time and have probably served thousands of people. I had a couple of moments, though, of feeling mildly out of place amongst a crowd who have far more lucrative investments than merely budgeting carefully and buying consigned clothes. ¬†A couple of times I greeted attendees I knew from one restaurant or another and I wasn’t recognized without giving my name or context. ¬†Do I look that different? ¬†Am I invisible as a server? ¬†Have I gained weight?*¬† Am I aging poorly? It was a little awkward to navigate.

Gnocchi and shaved truffles

Gnocchi and shaved truffles

The scene, though, was captivating. ¬†I could have walked, marveling under the star-filled sky, for even longer, but my belly demanded food and I don’t like eating standing up. ¬†I headed to 15 Church and got exactly what I was looking for – something delicious and indulgent to eat and sip and the welcome of friends I’ve worked with over the years. ¬†I wish Saratoga was closer.

Burrata, tomatoes, basil

Burrata, tomatoes, basil

*no charge for that peek inside my head.

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Filed under drinking, Eating, Events, Food, friends, Local, Restaurants, Saratoga, Summer, Wine

World Cup mayhem!

photo(171)How was your Sunday?¬† Mine was wonderfully insane, thank you very much.¬† Why, you ask? Well, I spent my day selling mugs and beer tokens down at Wolff’s Biergarten, which may not sound very fun to those of you who aren’t into crowds or soccer, but it was right up my alley.¬† There were hundreds (thousand+?) of folks sporting red, white and blue looking to have a great time on a gorgeous day.¬† What could be bad about that?

While the match may not have ended soon enough for team USA to walk away with a win rather than a tie, it was still a fantastic day.¬† I’ll be working a number of additional shifts in the next few weeks and hope you all make it down to take in a match and indulge in some tasty beer and a scene unlike you’ll find anywhere for this event.

photo(172)For the uninitiated, here’s how it works:¬† for $20 bucks you get a 1 liter plastic stein and 2 beer tokens.¬† The tokens are good for .5 liters of beer so you can fill your mug fully once or halfway twice, your call.¬† Personally, I’d go with the halfway twice because I like my beer cold and I like to wander between the Biergarten and the Bier Tent.¬† Since taking beer from one location to the other isn’t permitted, you’d probably want to enjoy a beer in both places to catch the full scope of fandom.¬† Need more beer?¬† Additional tokens are $7 each or 3 for $20 and the tokens don’t expire.¬† Speaking of not expiring – your stein will get you entry into any and all subsequent games so make sure you hold on to it.¬† Bring it with you for any matches during the World Cup and you get in without any additional charge.

So, there you have it.  Soccer, bier, peanuts.  Come get some.

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Filed under Albany, beer, Events, Local, Recommendations, soccer, Summer, sunday