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The Hollow Highlights

November 4, 2015

Occasionally, I get invited to do special things. Other times I work to make special things happen, and then invite myself.

The dinner at Heather Ridge Farm was the former. If the story about the fowl dinner sounded appealing, don’t forget the Eat Like a Pig menu is coming up on November 14. As a side note, if you are going to eat like a pig, the time leading up to Thanksgiving is a great time to do it.

Anyhow, last night at The Hollow was the latter.

The Hollow Bar + Kitchen has a new chef. Her name is Anna Louisa Weisheit. She is coming out with a new menu. It will be out next week. But last night, a small handful of the most active Yelp Elites in the Capital Region got to have a sneak peak. And it was delicious.

Next week there will be some gorgeous pictures of the food posted to the Yelp Albany Facebook page. The talented Andy Kainz joined us so that everyone who wasn’t able to come could at least live vicariously through his eyes. I’ve loved Andy’s work with AOA, and was thrilled that he could be a part of this special event.

You can also read some of the Yelp reviews of the event to get other people’s impressions of the evening. But there were two culinary highlights for me, one of which is almost embarrassing to admit.

Anna told us that she was “very very German” and thus was excited to have the chance to put a chicken schnitzel on the menu. The stories of how menus get built are fascinating. Apparently The Hollow has a very popular chicken marsala dish that Anna didn’t really want on her new menu. But she was able to incorporate some elements of that beloved sauce into her schnitzel and it’s a success on all levels.

The flavors are layered, it’s a very fall dish, and the plate is intensely comforting. One thing I noticed was that all of Anna’s food was well seasoned. This was no exception. Those mashed potatoes were delicious. Heck, everything on that plate was delicious, and it was delightful with a lighter Lagunitas pils to help wash it all down.

That’s not the embarrassing one.

Do you remember that once upon a time there was a food critic who always would order the calamari whenever she went out to eat? I like calamari just fine, but it’s rarely something that’s raveworthy, and generally I’ll just skip it despite the relatively high bar for the dish in the region.

But damn. I’ve never had calamari like this before. It’s covered with powdered peppadew peppers and crumbled blue cheese. There was no sauce required, other than a squeeze of fresh lemon. Plus, the whole thing served on a significant portion of arugula.

I think that means you can consider this a salad. And salads are healthy, right?

The culinary creativity in this dishe alone is enough for me to cast a vote in support of Weisheit’s candidacy as one of the Capital Region’s Rising Star Chefs. She’s a finalist, but to win the title she’ll need your votes. You can do that here, and you can vote daily.

There was one last surprise, and that was some dessert from the Fifth Tier Baking Studio around the corner. It’s not officially open yet, but man, was that pumpkin cheesecake delicious. It’s amazingly light with really good balance of flavors.

Seriously, I’m one lucky guy. And those Yelp Elites who made the guest list were pretty darn lucky too. Not everyone who wanted to attend was able to make the guest list, and only the most active members of the Elite Squad made the cut.

Here’s an early warning for you all. There will be more exciting Yelp events in the future, for both Elites and for the larger community, coming soon. So if you want in, the time to start writing is now. Making a calamari date at The Hollow next week is a good place to start.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Jack C. permalink
    November 4, 2015 2:38 pm

    They used to use day-old doughnuts from Cider Belly to make a cider doughnut bread pudding. Wow. Completely floored me. Being from New Orleans, I know good bread pudding. That stuff was epic. Hope she keeps it as a regular option (it wasn’t ever on the menu as far I know, but it was a fairly common special).

  2. buffsoulja permalink
    November 4, 2015 9:09 pm

    Great time had by all. Thanks for organizing the event. We were definitely very fortunate to have such a great meal and pairing.

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