It’s Saturday: Eat at Zest

20 Dec

Saturdays are generally reserved as a day for leisure and relaxation, but not this Saturday.

Being that it’s the Saturday before Christmas, today will be one of the biggest and most hectic shopping days of the year, and while I’d love to get elbowed and walk 1.5 mph in Target, I’d much rather go out for brunch and nosh on some great food.

With that said, today I’m all about eating at Zest Catering in Ballston Spa.

Many of you probably know of Zest Catering from local events, but they are also open for breakfast and lunch on Saturday’s in their bistro.

Located at 3 Science Street in Ballston Spa, their tiny little cafe consists of one big farmhouse style table with approximately 14-16 seats around it. Of course, first come first serve.

I actually really loved the homey feel of everyone sitting around the table, even if it was 4 or 5 different groups all sitting next to one another.

Their extensive tea menu is totally worth mentioning, as they have really unique offerings like mexican chocolate among others that you really don’t see anywhere else.

On the menu you’ll find some of the traditional dishes such as eggs benedict and omelets, but there are also twists on these items, like their “fun-guy bennie” with toasted rounds, sauteed mushrooms, 2 eggs over easy, hollandaise and Saratoga Olive Oil truffle oil, which is what I ordered.

eggs benedict

20141122_115817_resized

Upon first bite, it’s like HOLY TRUFFLE. Your tastebuds are overwhelmed, and you’re like wait, can one really enjoy this much truffle?

I went for the potatoes and many gulps of coffee to first cleanse my palate and try again. After the initial truffle shock is over, you really can enjoy and appreciate the delicateness of the truffle oil overtop these two perfectly cooked eggs and meaty mushrooms, which complement everything so nicely.

Thankful for the toasted rounds, I was able to soak up a lot of different elements and get a few bites with crunch to them, adding a good textural element that the dish needed in my case.

This is definitely not for someone who is on the fence about truffles, but absolutely something worth trying for someone who is head over heels for the stuff.

The big celebrity of the meal wasn’t the fun-guy bennie though. The true star is what came after: the bacon brew salt muffin topped with maple bacon salt from Brew Salt.

muffin

Yes, yes and yes. I want more of this all day, every day.

There was bacon cooked into the batter of the muffin. It was moist. It was light. It was fluffy. And it was the best balance between salty and sweet, which is my favorite type of sweet.

This muffin alone is worth the drive to Ballston Spa to visit Zest today!

So get in there, get a muffin, grab some fresh breakfast, and seize the day.

Zest is open for brunch between 9 and 1 every Saturday.

The Bachelorette Party of the Year

16 Dec

If you’re the maid of honor in an upcoming wedding, you might want to start taking notes, because I just threw a bangin’ bachelorette party for my sister and I’m about to share it with all of you.

Ha, just kidding, I don’t think I’m that cool. But I did plan a pretty sweet party.

As I get closer and closer my sister and her fiancee’s big day in January, I had to make sure I got all of my sisters’ closest friends together for one last hoorah before her and her soon-to-be husband tied the knot.

After just a couple short months of planning and a little help from Erica’s friends, I had the date, the locations, and the food booked like a champ.

First off, we started our day in Bolton Landing at The Sagamore Resort, which was just named by Buzzfeed as one of the creepiest hotels in the US to visit. Who knew?!

Anyway, since The Sagamore is just a 40 minute drive from Saratoga, I figured it was the perfect distance for a weekend getaway without being TOO far from home and too long of a drive for all of the girls attending.

The Sagamore

After a luxurious spa day, we traveled just a few miles to a lake house right on Lake George, courtesy of one of Erica’s awesome friends who offered it up to us for the weekend.

As we all settled in by the fireplace at the house, I told Erica to go upstairs and get ready for dinner.

Little did she know, a private chef was on his way up from Saratoga, along with a wine connoisseur who together would later blow her mind with incredible food and wine.

So let’s back up a bit.

The chef I chose, Mr. Brian Bowden, is the executive chef at Mingle on the Avenue, and his team assembled a bomb ass menu for us that truly couldn’t have been better. Working with Brian was easy breezy, and since I know he’s one of the best in the area, I didn’t once question the menu ideas he threw my way.

On the other end of things, Joe Armstrong from Winebow Distributors is basically the best and most knowledgeable wine expert I’ve ever come into contact with. Not only does he teach the majority of the wine classes that are offered in this area (The Wishing Well, The Wine Bar), but he’s also an incredibly nice and giving person.

Of course, since my sister and I both share a deep love for wine, Joe had to be part of the celebration, especially because he’s taught us both pretty much every thing we know about wine AND introduced us to our favorites, Troublemaker and The F Bomb.

With Brian and Joe on my team, I knew that everything would be perfect day of.

We’d start with a champagne tasting from Joe, then jump into dinner, which would be four courses with each course paired with the perfect wine.

Finally, after dinner, we’d finish off our drinking with a tasting of luscious reds.

Perfect plan, right?

What I love the most about this plan is that after I had booked Brian for Saturday night, last week Erica told me her “after-party” after the wedding would be at Mingle, and that she really wanted to meet with the chef so she could talk about little bites for after the wedding. It tied in so well, especially after the Bridal Shower I planned for her that was at The Brook Tavern, which had been booked shortly before Erica and Matt had decided they’d have their rehearsal dinner at The Wishing Well, sister restaurant of The Brook Tavern.

I’m all about those connections.

Anyway, back to what happened.

Brian arrived with menus for the table, and food in tow.

Menu from bachelorette dinner

Before we sat down to eat, Joe brought in 6 different bottles of pink champagne, 4 wines to pair with each dinner course, and then 5 bottles from Gorman winery for our luscious red tasting at the end of the evening.

wine bottles

That shot isn’t even the full view of all the bottles, but you get the picture.

So now onto the first course, a toasted herb gnocchi with oyster mushrooms, butternut squash, watercress, and a maple walnut brown butter paired with Domaine Jean Chartron Puligny Montrachet 2012.

gnocchi

Second course was a heirloom baby beet salad with cauliflower-parsnip puree, avocado, marcona almonds, wildflower honey, breakfast radishes and pickled onions paired with Domaine Reverdy Ducroux Sancerre “Beauroy” 2013.

Beet salad

The third course was maine lobster, yellow tomato, avocado, mango and basil paired with Chateau Montfaucon “Comtesse Madeleine” Cotes Du Rhone Blanc 2012.

lobster

lobster mingle

lobster mingle

The fourth course was a beef short rib with creamy polenta topped with a sunny side up quail egg, greens and crispy shallots paired with Tenuta Di Fessina “Erse” Etna Rosso 2012.

beef short rib

beef short rib

My only complaint? I can’t have this experience seven days a week. Yupp, it’s true.

Everything about this party was fantastic, and while I’m not necessarily patting myself on the back, I can easily say that if someone were to throw me a party, this is exactly how I’d like it to be.

Hiring a private chef to come to your house is so easy, and for a small group (we had 12 people), it really makes sense.

Have you planned a private dinner at home? If so, who was the chef? Comment below and share!

The Flu Hits the Food Fanatic

11 Dec

Ahhh yes, that pesky flu. The kind that hits you like a ton of bricks and you never even saw coming.

That’s what took over my body Tuesday afternoon, and until just now, I barely had the energy or wit to come up with content to write about.

But here I am, ready to chat.

You know how I know something’s really wrong with me? It’s when I can’t eat. Not just can’t eat, but the idea of food is repulsive.

The past few days though? That’s exactly what they’ve been. And it’s been awful.

If you have wondered where I’ve been since my last post on Saturday – there you have it. Aside from that, I haven’t been able to post anything fun on Instagram or Facebook because I haven’t been eating anything real, besides the world’s best chicken soup that my momma made for me!

Also, that lovely lady deserves a shout out for listening to me whine on Tuesday as the flu got the best of me. Love you mom :)

The good news?

Today I started to gain back my appetite. Not completely, but I’m getting there. Today I ate an english muffin (YAY) and some pastina for dinner. Carbs are once again my friends.

Hoping tomorrow holds even more improvements, maybe even full meals!

Just an update from me, sorry for keeping you all in the dark for what feels like SO long. Hope everyone is well, and of course, I’ll be back in the swing of things as soon as I can!

It’s Saturday: Eat at 15 Church

6 Dec

When the weather is cold, comfort food is all that satisfies my hunger.

You can imagine then how overjoyed I was when I discovered the dish I’m about to talk about at 15 Church.

Well for starters, I was out on what I’d like to consider a “date night”, which really just consists of me going out to dinner with my boyfriend and it not being just for the sake of going out to write reviews.

This night we had plans to grab a good dinner and then follow it up with a movie.

Adorable, right?

At 15 Church, I ordered the Red Wine Braised Short Ribs with Soft polenta, roasted local carrots, horseradish gremolata for $29.

15 church short ribs

15 church short ribs

Okay come on… how could I have not had this until now? The short ribs were so tender and flavorful, the polenta was creamy and just firm enough to make a well-composed bite with the short ribs, and I was just in heaven bite after bite.

I ate it all, and then had dessert because, well… why not?

After all of this, it’s important to note that we did NOT end up going to the movies. Instead I fell asleep on the couch at 9:15 in a very happy and peaceful food coma.

Whether it’s freezing today or it’s just cold and rainy, go to 15 Church and get the braised short ribs. This is what Saturday’s are all about!