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Bringing Miami To Saratoga Springs

December 22, 2017

Do you know how long it’s been since I’ve visited Miami? Far too long. And in many ways that’s inexcusable. It’s the city where I spend the vast majority of my childhood. Plus, my father still lives down there. I should really see him more often than I do.

Part of my excuse is that air travel has gone from being generally unpleasant to downright hostile to human dignity. So I do my best to minimize time spent on airplanes. Of course, when an opportunity comes to travel to San Francisco, Paris, or Beijing, I’ll make that happen. But for the most part, I’m content to explore all the great parts of the world within driving distance.

Thankfully, not all food bloggers are like me.

DocSconz who is an actual doctor, an anesthesiologist to be precise, is based up in Queensbury. He has been writing about his meals at the world’s best restaurants, and sharing pictures of his experiences, for years. Hopefully you’ve seen his blog. It is on the blogroll to your right. Really, it should be listed under the x-files since he hasn’t posted since April. But I just can’t bring myself to do it.

There is a very good reason that the blog has become inactive. John Sconzo has been busy with other food projects. Beyond his great work with the Pitney Meadows Community Farm, he just launched Rascal + Thorn, a company focused on creating worldwide gastronomic experiences.

Now John and his business partner Charles Grabitzky are bringing Miami to Saratoga.

For the sake of full disclosure, John invited me to be his guest for this dinner party, and I couldn’t be more excited. But even if I was not able to attend, I would still be singing the praises of what Rascal + Thorn are doing.

Because they are bringing nationally recognized culinary talent to the Capital Region. That’s huge.

This first dinner features chef Brad Kilgore from Miami. And he may not be a household name in these parts. We tend to think of celebrity chefs as anyone who has had a few minutes of time on television. But Kilgore was a named one of Food & Wine’s best new chefs in 2016. Eater named Kilgore’s Miami restaurant Alter as one of the 21 best new restaurants of 2016.

Just take a look at the menu from Alter for a moment.
Then take a look at some of the pictures people have taken of Alter’s food on Yelp.

Kilgore will be in Saratoga Springs for two nights only. He will be cooking at Old World Productions, which is a culinary studio space with an open kitchen. The meals are limited to thirty people each night. And those who go will not only get to see the chef do his thing, but will experience multiple paired courses of his signature dishes, plus cocktails, and hors d’oeuvres.

All of this will be presented in a casual, dinner party style setting. To me, that means going as a solo diner would not be weird or awkward at all. In a dinner party setting, people will be sat next to strangers, and those who attend these kinds of events just love talking about food and food related topics.

For a food lover, that’s a great experience in and of itself.

Tickets are on sale now for the January 18 and 19 seatings. And obviously, they are limited. Without a doubt, in this part of the world there aren’t a lot of dinners that charge $225 per person. But I would encourage you again to check out Alter’s menu above.

Those who travel to Miami can spend $250 per person at Alter for the full chef’s experience with matching wine pairings. They might be getting a few more courses of food as part of that menu. I’m not entirely sure what the full menu of the Rascal + Thorn experience will be. However, visitors to the restaurant don’t receive the same intimate experience of getting to meet the chef, see him work, and enjoy the fruits of his efforts.

Plus, this very special event saves you the indignity of having to get on an airplane and the headache of dealing with Miami drivers. It would also make an absolutely incredible last minute Christmas gift for the food lover on your list.

This is just the first of many great things John and Charles have on the books. Check out what they are doing, follow them on Facebook and Instagram, and if you can’t make this dinner, there will be others down the road.

I’ll be reporting back the details of the event, but it would be great to see some readers around the table as well. Hope you can score a seat. And maybe if your family decides to send money in lieu of gifts for Christmas, this promises to be one of those memorable experiences that in the end are so much better than material things.

As the snow falls, think warm thoughts of Miami. And for those who celebrate, best wishes for a merry Christmas.

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