Chef Mark D. Graham crafts menus at taste that showcase culinary techniques honed over more than two decades in the kitchen, including several years working as the sous chef at the Palo Alto Spago under Wolfgang Puck and Michael French. It was time well-spent?his menu presents inventive New American cuisine that led the Times Union to declare the chef's vision as being "bright, creative and precisely tuned...Graham isn't shy about crafting a menu that tempts you to try favorites of his you may have forgotten about or never sampled to begin with." Carnivores can delight in the grilled lamb chops or feast on Heather Ridge Farm chicken wrapped in bacon and the envious stares of nearby diners. Vegetarians also have plenty to celebrate, whether its the polenta with braised fennel and olives praised by the Times Union for being "a truly Mediterranean melange" or roasted acorn squash enhanced by brussels sprouts and king oyster mushrooms.
Decades ago, large cruise ships called dayliners traveled the wide waters of the Hudson River, ushering passengers to ports from Albany to New York City. Although time has passed, Dutch Apple Cruises keeps this tradition alive with Dutch Apple II: a 65-foot, US Coast Guard-inspected cruise ship created in the classic dayliner style. Built from a blend of indigenous and traditional sea-worthy woods, including fragrant Douglas fir and Adirondack white cedar, the three-level ship carries passengers along Albany's major waterway on narrated sightseeing tours and charter cruises.
More than 100 passengers at a time roam the enclosed, temperature-controlled decks, which boast amenities such as a dance floor and cash bar. Travelers can also step out onto the open-air deck with a pair of binoculars to spot a passing eagle or watch a bass open the fruit basket they sent it. During charters, live entertainers such as DJs, dancers, singers, and comedians join passengers for a night of revelry.
Dutch Apple Cruises also offers land tours that include specialty tours such as hop and haunt which traverses the haunted history of historic buildings or brewery and distillery tours that divulge what goes into churning beer annually.
Lodged in a centuries-old Albany edifice abutting the Poestenkill Canal, The Irish Mist serves up hearty Celtic-inspired dishes in a restaurant stocked with bar and banquet facilities. House specialties such as duck, lamb, crab cakes, and sea scallops incorporate creamy sauces to showcase the kitchen’s range, and hefty of pub fare such as burgers, fish 'n' chips, thick irish stews, and meaty pies vanquish hunger with more finality than a meatball cannon. The Sunday sunrise brings with it the alluring aromas of made-to-order eggs and candied ham that waft from an all-you-can eat breakfast buffet.
The familiar names of dishes on Lily Jack's Sandwich Shack's menu might trigger some smiles: Here Comes the Sun, Love Me Do, Twist and Shout. But the convenience delivered by the mobile operation might make for a wider grin than some Fab Four?inspired sandwiches. The caterers alleviate some of the stress involved in planning events like baby showers, office functions, and birthdays by providing a rich spread of soups, salads, and sandwiches, all of which are served with local, fresh-baked bread. The large menu allows for a truly customizable buffet-style experience. For example, the tuscan chicken-sausage soup with white bean and kale can be paired with caesar salad and a tray of Come Together sandwiches?grilled chicken breast, mozzarella, tomatoes, prosciutto, and pesto aioli. With healthful-minded preparations and vegetarian options, Lily Jack's Sandwich Shack offers something for everyone, just like the Beatles themselves (unless you're a big fan of crewcuts, that is).
For more than 18 years, Classé Catering's chefs have prepared impressive spreads of hors d'oeuvres and multi-course meals for all sorts of events. Norwegian smoked salmon with rye chips or platters of prosciutto and cheese are just a few of their specialty finger foods, while entrees like herb-encrusted pork loin or shrimp and crab-stuffed sole conquer more substantial appetites. In addition to catering, the company's event specialists can help event hosts to decorate or even find a venue.
Tumbling Tykes began as a dream of owner and mother Denise Pardo, who always wanted to create a safe environment for kids to play and learn. Today, her facility buzzes with the voices of sock-clad children who clamber across its indoor and outdoor playgrounds stocked with colorful posters, interactive toys, and stimulating play structures. All of these are designed to foster creativity and self-confidence, as well as promoting physical fitness and improving motor skills. Besides birthday parties and parent-supervised open-play sessions, they offer a preschool program for children two?six years old. The center also hosts camps and attentive instructors lead kid-friendly classes in art, music, and cooking.