Monday, February 25, 2008

Course on food writing

There is a new course at the Arts Center of the Capital Region just for us foodophiles:

Food Writing Basics

Stir the sauce of your experience into a good serving of words. We'll study the genre and how it's developed over the years, in order to create a recipe for writing about your life at the table and stove.
Prerequisite: None

7:00 - 9:30, Wednesday, March 12 - April 2
Amy Halloran

Tuition: $145.00 Non-Members
$125.00 Members

To register contact The Arts Center of the Capital Region, 273-0552.

Saturday, February 02, 2008

It's a Family Affair: Oliver's Naturals

Troy is lucky to be garnering quite a bit of buzz lately on the food front. We've got the Troy Food Co-op coming up, promising to be a wonderful destination. If you haven't joined yet, do so now!! From what I hear, they are close to reaching their initial membership goal-- and you know you want to be one of the pioneers. In years to come, it's going to be one of those things you can boast about to your kids and grandkids: "I was one of the first to join in the Troy Food Co-op." "Really, Grandma? You are *so* hip and cool." There's Tosca, and now Le Marche Vert, the little gourmet market right next to Tosca also owned by Chef Larry Shepici. Not to mention all the old standbys: DeFazio's, First Choice Caribbean, Francesca's, Shalimar, Shake Shake Mama's, Ilium Café, Brown's Brew Pub, José Malone's.

The latest addition is Oliver's Naturals, a cozy, inviting vegetarian café on Fulton Street (#459, same block as Shalimar) run by a family: Oliver is the 8-month-old adorable baby mascot. Adam and Lauren are his also-adorable parents, and Adam's mom is the divine Diane, who makes the fabulous biscotti. Even Adam's grandma is involved sometimes making biscotti as well.

You walk in and feel like you're in your best friend's living room. You know, the best friend whose mom was cooler than yours. And you always wanted to hang out there because they had the coolest food. There isn't much seating, but there's enough. They have funky decor, like crystals scattered on the tables. And you've got to see Oliver's stuffed Jerry Garcia doll.

Go to meet Oliver; go because this is community building at its best, with a lot of locally sourced food, all organics. But you'll want to go back again and again because the food is so AWESOME.

I've been there twice already, and everyone I've talked to who's been there gets this kind of converted dazed look in their eyes when they talk about it. The food is that good. I had a cream of tomato soup with a grilled cheese when I first went there, and I'm still thinking about that soup. The grilled cheese was made with a garlic mayonnaise, and came on Ezekiel bread. The next time I went, I got a spinach salad with gorgonzola, and roasted pine nuts. It was so delicious that I forgot I was eating just a salad! It made me feel full, satisfied. It came with home-toasted pita chips. They have fair trade coffees, Maté, and last but not least, home made biscotti. The biscotti I had were dipped in dark chocolate and, get this: made with olive oil. You'd never know it because they sure tasted sinful! They also had nut and cranberry biscotti.

They just opened in late December. As of the last time I was there, their hours were Sun 9-12 and Monday- Saturday 10 am- 4 pm. It's not many places in Troy that are open Sundays for breakfast. We need this. I'm going to be going there a lot; the food is fantastic, and they just make everyone feel welcome.