Thursday, July 26, 2007

This is sad: Vanilla Bean closing

After many years being an important business for Troy, the Vanilla Bean has announced it's closing.

The story is here.

What I don't understand is why. I mean I know there are financial difficulties. But given how much people around here love it and how successful they've been, surely someone can come along and salvage it.

I prefer European style baking (read= less sugar, more chocolate) but I do have a soft spot for the Vanilla Bean's peanut butter fancies, and they've often saved me a lot of hassle when I have to bring something to someone's open house/pot luck/birthday and don't have time to bake myself. The donuts are good, the bread is good (although several years ago I stopped being able to find the sandwich loaf I used to like there). And the Cookie Factory is no match.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Ethnic food festivals

This is a brief post to say that I'd like to get out to more of the wonderful ethnic food festivals in the Capital Region.

I've read signs that advertise for an Armenian food festival on Sunday, August 5, from 11-4 on Spring Ave. in Troy.

I think it's here.

If I do go I'll post with pics. Also there are Italian and Greek festivals, not to mention Lebanese, Ukrainian... if anyone has tips on other good festivals to go to, please post and let me know.

National Ice Cream Month

Hi, my name is Nosher, and today I'm confessing that I'm addicted to ice cream. Not just any ice cream: it has to be Moxie's. Moxie's has five-- count 'em, five!!!-- different kinds of vanilla, based on where the vanilla bean came from: Tahitian, Mexican, Indonesian, Venetian, and Haitian. They have a Cajun chocolate peanut butter that is out of this world, not to mention the coconut with chocolate almonds, Horchata, an intense rum raisin, and many other unusual home made creations (orange-pineapple, red wine sorbet).

There are two kinds of people in the Capital District: those who like ice cream, and those who like Moxie's.

The servings are rational (not the ginormous pig-o-rama portions we Americans have gotten so used to). The ice cream is not too sweet. Way way too many people put too much sugar in their desserts, until you can't taste the real flavor anymore. Not Moxie's. The business has been around since the 1930s and runs out of an old dairy building, complete with the screen windows where you place your order. Moxie's will even sell you 1/2 gallons -- larger for parties if you call ahead. You can read more about ice cream stands in this great article by the Business Review.

July is National Ice Cream Month, and tomorrow (Sunday the 15th) is National Ice Cream Day, so I'm going to go do my patriotic duty and head to Moxie's again. Moxie's celebrates by having the most flavors of the season on National Ice Cream day. Tomorrow, they will add 17 more flavors to their already impressive list. There will also be face painting, free pens, and lots of people.

The only thing I have to object to at Moxie's is that some of the flavors are just... odd. For example, I tried banana walnut today, and it was pink, and didn't taste much like bananas. Or walnuts. Other flavors have just been strange. But there are so many great flavors here, and you can always taste test before you make a commitment. AND you can get a special vanilla-around-the-world sample dish; some day I will do that.

Diehard Moxie fans often buy gallons of ice cream to last through the winter, because the stand closes at the end of August. As I support seasonal eating, I think it's great that Moxie's is seasonal. But I'm certainly not above stocking my freezer with stores for the winter.