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Help, I Need Somebody

September 4, 2014

Readership has its privileges.

The sheer quantity of food related activities happening in and around the Capital Region these days is staggering. Tonight there is the barista throwdown at Stacks Espresso, Chef Ellie’s free class on healthy school lunches at Honest Weight, and all of the events surrounding Troy Craft Beer Week. And I can’t go to any of them, because I’ll be hanging out with some of my favorite food people and being super judgmental. But more on that later.

Friday is another Cheese Traveler cookout I can’t make. Saturday is the Saratoga Wine and Food Fest. Sunday the Lucas Confectionery is having their Sunday Supper. Monday is the Soul Cafe in Troy. Tuesday is the first official Yelp Albany event. Wednesday Mop & Bucket is putting on a free show at the Lucas Confectionery. Thursday I’m being all judgy again. Friday I have a potluck in Schenectady. Saturday is the Chefs’ Consortium Bannerman’s Island dinner.

Regrettably, I’m probably going to miss most of these. Fortunately, a few of them come around once or twice a month, so I’ll get other chances to try them out. The Saratoga Wine and Food Festival, however, is once a year. Last year I had to ask someone to cover the event while I was on sabbatical. This year, I’m doing it again. Except this time, I’m asking you.

Would you like to be my correspondent and get a press pass to the event?

Let’s be clear about something. This isn’t a free ticket giveaway. This is serious work. Whoever gets chosen will represent the FLB at this event and will have to write up a few hundred words on the best and worst parts of the event.

The event itself has three different components. Ideally, one person can cover them all. One person might cover just the main one. Or it’s even possible I suppose that I could end up with three correspondents each taking a different part of the piece.

Friday’s “Live on Stage” Gala has been replaced by a less formal “BBQ, Blues & Brews” event hosted by Marc Murphy of the Food Network’s hit series Chopped. This event, under tents on SPAC’s lawn, will feature a grill-off between four top chefs from the Capital Region and four from Manhattan. There will be “People’s Choice” and “Judge’s Choice” winners.

Saturday’s “Grand Tasting,” will be similar in format to past years. Culinary demonstration (shrimp & grits) will be led by Ric Orlando. The day will also include a concourse of luxury autos.

In the Groove Jazz Brunch features chefs and dishes from six Mazzone restaurants:
o 677 Prime: Chef Ken Kehn
o Prime at SNGC: Chef Jason Saunders
o Tala Bistro: Chef Eric Tisaj
o Aperitivo Bistro: Courtney Wither
o Prime Bar + Grill: Chef Michael Hinrichs
o Mazzone Bake Shop: Exec Pastry Chef Vivian Brammer & Exec Pastry Chef Christina Aabo

So here’s what you need to do. In the comments below write me no more than five sentences about something you recently ate and enjoyed. Then tell me which of the events you are available to cover. If you are feeling a bit shy, you can send this in an email to but you’ll need to get over this shyness quickly if you’re going to be asking the tough questions this weekend.

Special consideration will be paid to those who are frequent commenters and/or have shown up on previous tours. Don’t think of it as favoritism. Think of it as giving extra weight to those people who have put some skin in the game.

As always, no whining. My decision is final. The deadline for submissions is 10 PM today (Thursday, September 4). Please provide a working email address, as the chosen correspondent(s) will be given their assignments on Friday morning.

It’s a pretty sweet gig and your words will have a chance to be seen by the thousands of people who regularly read the FLB. Maybe one of these days I’ll take on advertisers and be able to pay future correspondents (or at least cover their travel expenses). But for now, there is no compensation beyond the sheer joy of helping out the Profussor.

Thank you and good luck.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. Hollie Miller permalink
    September 4, 2014 10:15 am

    Recently I ate at Louie’s in Troy, I had heard good things and figured I’d give it a shot. I had their chicken cheesesteak sandwich. Usually there is always one failure point of a sandwich. However,the chicken was chunked up in bite sized pieces, onions weren’t overpowering, and the cheese was the satisfying part for me. It found its way through the sandwich to cover all the chicken, without ending up all over me. The fries that accompanied looked fresh cut with the skin still on and the pickle wasn’t a flimsy spear. Overall it was a satisfying quick but not rushed meal.

    My availablity would allow me to go to Friday & Saturday’s events.

  2. Don permalink
    September 4, 2014 12:09 pm

    The sausage and pepper calzone began with 100 plum tomatoes freshly picked from my inner-city garden. With our vegan-only (i.e. pareve) food processor temporarily out of commission, I simply trimmed the tips (omit moyl imagery) and chopped each in half; six quarts cooked down to three. Taking half of the mixture and four glatt kosher beef and veal Italian sausages (but never the Meal Mart brand), I added sliced banana peppers from the yard, along with a fiery red Thai pepper of 100,000 Scoville units. Freshly harvested basil, oregano, thyme, chives and parsley joined a red onion in the mix, while the Chometzmaster (TM) Bread Machine made the dough. Wrapping the sausage and tomato mixture in the dough like a mezuzah parchment, I baked it at 400 for 17 minutes, and enjoyed it in the peace and quiet of my home.

    Sorry, Daniel, unavailable to cover for you. BTW, there are leftovers!

  3. September 4, 2014 1:08 pm

    What a great opportunity! I’m going down to Rhinebeck for the Hudson Valley Wine and Food Festival, otherwise I’d be writing some sentences about the turkey burgers I made over the weekend. Plus I’ll be having fun there instead of potentially sweating over asking hard questions in Saratoga 8-)

    I mean, who wants to be working around all that good food? (Sorry – I’m sure you’ll find plenty of people who will correspond beautifully.)

    It is hard to believe how many great foodie events have clustered around the harvest season this year. It’s fantastic! I just hope they keep on coming through the fall til the winter holidays.

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