Albany Wine & Dine for the Arts

Today I took a break from dogsitting and went to the Albany Wine & Dine for the Arts, at the Hotel Albany, (formerly the Crowne Plaza) where we had our wedding almost exactly six months ago. In fact, the Grand Tasting was in the very same room where we had our wedding reception. It really made me appreciate our wedding all over again. Sure, there were issues I had with weddings relating to materialism and gender, and it is silly the way people expect weddings to be this "one perfect day". But going back there and remembering everything - the Prime booth was where our wedding cake sat, the Taste booth was where Erin Harkes performed Adele's "Make You Feel My Love" for our first dance - I thought it actually was about the most perfect of a day as I could ever experience. Wedding planning can be so difficult and require so many different skills that not everybody has, but if you do it right and follow your vision and don't compromise too much, it can really feel like a total expression of who you are as a couple. Its really about the people in your life most of all. From my dad's awesome dance moves to Ne-Yo, to my friend's great speech about us laying around in NYC watching "Entourage" marathons, consuming large amounts of wine and cheese, to my husband's friend's speech about how he imagined my husband would end up with someone one day, and that I was about what he imagined - it all had to be about the most fun I'm ever going to have all at once. Going back there was so fun partially because it reminded me of our wedding. The last time I walked in that very room there were about 100 people watching me dance in front of them all, and I was just adjusting to the word "husband". At the end of the Grand Tasting today, I wished we could have stayed up in the bridal suite like we did six months ago.

Here's Scott in front of the computers where we updated our Facebook status to "married" (because we all know relationships aren't official unless they are "Facebook official").

Here we are standing in front of the room where our wedding ceremony actually took place. Today it held a seminar about vodka instead. The random people who took the picture were very congratulatory about us having made it through 6 whole months of marriage.

Anyways, here were some highlights of the Grand Tasting for me:

  • I really liked the food from The Hungry Fish Cafe and Country Store in Wynantskill. I liked their peppercorn pale ale beef jerky. I loved their chili - it was really hearty and had some garbanzo beans and black beans in it. They also had a great baked french toast. They were super nice too.
  • I enjoyed the Strawberry Field Confections. I wonder if there is a tiny part of every girl who likes to bake who wishes she could have a business like this. I tried a couple of their concoctions - my fav was the cheesecake stuffed strawberries with a champagne blueberry compote (oh yeah!).
  • So obviously, St. Germain is so delicious. Their representatives were making cocktails, one of while was St. Germain, tequila, lime juice, a lime garnish, and a salted rim with chili powder. It was totally delicious, and it made me feel that it was not my fault I had a little too much to drink on New Year's Eve because it was the St. Germain's fault for just being way too delicious.
  • I really liked the Blue Spice chicken salad - it had lime, cilantro, and little crunchy noodles on top. I'll be sure to check them out in the future.
  • I enjoyed a lot of the wines, especially the Washington State ones. I would love to make it back to the west coast and tour the Walla Walla area. 
  • I had some Lapsang Souchong from Divinitea. It was amazing and the woman had some really interesting things to say about tea. I am interested in trying their Earl Green with Lavender in the future (they didn't have any of it there, but I think that sounds delicious). 
  • So the grilled cheese from All Good Bakers may have been a top highlight for me. These people were incredibly nice, and the grilled cheese had some kind of delicious jam on it. I just kept telling them they were brilliant. They also had a raw beet salad with pecans, and cilantro that I loved. My husband decided to embarrass me by telling them I had a food blog, to which they said "oh you're outed now - we know different people have different monikers, but we can at least guess you aren't derryX!" (which was pretty funny).  
  • I particularly enjoyed the butternut squash from Shogun in Delmar. I know there was a lot of butternut squash at this event, but this booth had my favorite variation of it. I' ve never been there before, but I am likely to try it in the future.
  • Then we spent a while at the Remy Martin table trying different scotches. The man there also had some St. Germain and made me a cocktail with some of that, scotch, and bitters. Some blonde woman who looked like she belonged on the Real Housewives came and tried it too, and she liked it even though she said she usually only drank vodka. She was a good time, and towards the end it was funny how friendly everybody was. Speaking of friendly, as we were leaving I saw two middle aged women in the lobby pretty aggressively making out while what looked like their husbands looked on in amusement. I think a lot of people were really enjoying all the wine booths.

All in all, it was a great time. I was really disappointed not to be able to go last year because I was dogsitting in North Adams, MA and there was a blizzard that day. $50 sounds like a lot for the Grand Tasting, but you get to try so many foods from so many different restaurants and so many different kinds of drinks, I think it is totally worth the price. My only regret is that last year my husband got to meet Ric Orlando, and somehow I missed out on that this year. It is also for a great cause. I'm looking forward to visiting a lot of the participating restaurants, and I am looking forward to going next year!


  1. Looks like it was a great time. I'm sad I missed That's funny that the AGB people said that. I've been trying to check out their shop for about a month now, and haven't found a convenient time while they've been open. I'll check it out some day!


  2. ha, well apparently when you go there you should introduce yourself because it sounds like they are fans! They're really nice - also their food is amazing!


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