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The Best of 100 Issues

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Wow. Time really does fly by! When Angela asked me to reflect and talk about some of my favorite restaurants from the last 100 issues, I also reflected on the changes for me personally in the last eight and a half years. I have a new job, a new home, a new man in my life, my oldest child got married and I became a grandmother (twice)!

My first review, Taste Bistro at the Mirror Lake Inn, still stands out as one of the most memorable restaurants. Maybe it’s the elevated pub fare (I still salivate at the thought of those Brussels sprouts), maybe it’s the setting, perched on a hill overlooking Mirror Lake, or maybe it’s the Single Malt Wall with an incredible selection of single malt Scotch whiskey, but Taste Bistro will always have a special place in my heart! Luckily for me, this fall, the company I work for will hold their annual management retreat at the Mirror Lake Inn!

Another stand out for me is Downtown City Tavern in Glens Falls. It was the first review I wrote after I moved into my new home. I can see DTCT, as we call it, from my balcony. I still dine there an average of twice a week. I never tire of the wood-fired pizza combinations or the bone-in, boneless and grilled boneless wings with sauces other restaurants only wish they had! They still have the best burgers around and the beer and wine selections are thoughtfully chosen and ever-changing. The same restaurant group has since opened Downtown Social, an industrial-feel, open space with big and small plates. My special guy and I rang in the New Year there this year with some great friends!  

There is a tie for my two favorite fast-casual restaurants. Oh Corn! Arepas and More in Clifton Park is one I can never forget. I truly developed a love for the traditional Peruvian favorite that I continue to enjoy every chance I get. The versatility of the arepa in the preparation and the variety of fillings means I will never tire of the different ways to enjoy this delight.  

The other standout in the fast-casual category is Farmers Hardware in Saratoga Springs. I love the way the menu features familiar dishes prepared in such a unique fashion. The Eggs Shorty, a unique twist on eggs Benedict, featured fork-tender short ribs substituted for the traditional Canadian bacon. The sweet potato tots with spicy honey dipping sauce make my mouth water, just thinking about them!

Topping the list of restaurants I would drive over an hour to try again is Bar Vino in North Creek. I dined there with a large group and we ordered one of everything on the menu and shared everything. Some items were so popular with the table we had to place a second order. It’s a true tapas restaurant.

I will never forget John Riccitello’s Restaurant in Schenectady. It was like dining at a combination of my Grandmother’s house and the world-famous Rao’s Restaurant in Harlem. If you don’t know it’s there, you will never find it. It’s in the bottom floor of a duplex on a residential street. The menu features favorites and suggestions, but they will make you any combination of pasta, sauce and add-ins and, of course, all the sauces are made from scratch. The owner greets you as you walk in from behind the bar wearing a different colorful vest each night, lovingly made by his wife! 

There is a tie for my two favorite restaurants overall, for what I call the restaurant trifecta. These two restaurants stand out for that combination of food, ambiance and service. The first is Rocco’s on Main in Jonesville. The location, the old Jonesville Country Store, was a favorite for me growing up in the neighboring town of Clifton Park. The thoughtful preparation of each dish, each element seasoned to perfection, made each bite a feast.  

The second restaurant that made my list for best overall is Morgan and Co in Glens Falls. The menu there changes seasonally, but in my experience, every dish I have ever eaten there is flawlessly executed. The restaurant is located in an impeccably restored Victorian mansion, with charming areas to dine that feel intimate and cozy.   

I have to end the article with my favorite meal-ending dessert and that is, hands down, the marjolaine I enjoyed at Sperry’s in Saratoga Springs. A marjolaine is so intricate and time-consuming, it’s difficult to produce and even more difficult to execute properly. A marjolaine is multiple layers of meringue and butter cream peppered with chopped nuts, the perfect combination of crunchy, creamy, sweet and salty. It’s one of those desserts that is so memorable, even eight years later I can still recall the taste of it!  

Our editorial team added another favorite memory, Cucina in Woodstock, New York. The atmosphere is charming, brunch on the porch is a must and then walking around the iconic town of Woodstock is the icing on the cake.

That’s some of our favorites.  We would love to hear yours!

Written by: Joanne DiMarco

Joanne DiMarco has a degree in restaurant and hospitality management from Paul Smiths College. She fully enjoys life in Upstate New York. When not writing the Cravings column, Joanne is director of sales and leasing for the United Group of Companies