Since 1903, The Orchard Tavern has been hindering hunger pains with a menu of classic sandwiches, salads, burgers, hearty dinners, and more. Protein gobblers or confused vegetarians can order up the meat-lovers pizza, a fresh dough sphere topped with cheese and a conglomerate of sausage, pepperoni, bacon, meatballs, and ham ($12.29). Those ordering for their brontosaurus sidekicks can sample the caesar salad filled with crisp romaine lettuce, onions, croutons, and parmesan cheese ($7.29). With its family-oriented atmosphere, warming fireplace, and historical Albany tradition, The Orchard Tavern is perfect for a hearty dinner with friends or as a warming refuge from an unexpected June blizzard.
The sauce-slingers at I Love NY Pizza spin dough for pies heaped with classic toppings, such as olives, garlic, and eggplant. Sausage- and pepperoni-studded pizzas decorate mouths with more panache than a diamond-encrusted tongue ring and vegetables such as spinach and broccoli add verdancy to sprawling pie fields. A large tossed salad crunches between teeth, and soda quenches thirst as dining companions pull apart cheesy slices. Meanwhile, a quartet of patrons settles down to two eight-cut pies after munching on an appetizer of mozzarella sticks. Free WiFi lets laptop-toting groups type to each other when their mouths are full, preserving table manners the way mothers always intended.
Best-friend bakers Abby Ruscitto and Shawnie Masilotti craft Melt Creations' kaleidoscope of custom cake pops in an array of sweet flavor combinations. Fourteen cake varieties including chocolate, cheesecake, and sugar-free selections bake into bite-sized orbs before 25 coatings wrap each morsel in a caramel, pomegranate, or chocolate-mint-flavored shell. Confections don crowns of frosting and toppings of colorful sprinkles or crushed pretzels, then perch atop a paper stick for silverware-free savoring. Meanwhile, designer cake pops take on preplanned combinations such as the Breakfast, which merges the salty sweetness of maple-apple-bacon cake with maple frosting and tomorrow's news.
Honest Weight Food Co-op's community-minded group of members fills carts with a focus on whole grains, bulk staples, and other natural edibles. The store's competing specialty departments clamor for attention with locally raised meat to sate carnivorous tummies, international cheeses to pair with wine, and bulk whole foods such as organic Turkish figs ($6.99) and organic French lentils ($3.25) to taunt squirrels with. Some shoppers swear by the 100 Mile Diet built around hyper-local items designated throughout the store, while others indulge cravings for foreign flavor with hard-to-find imports such as San-J’s Thai peanut sauce ($3.89 for a 10-oz. bottle). Deli offerings which may include ratatouille and curried root vegetables with tofu, rotate alongside a selection of meat-free sandwiches and fresh-baked bread, creating a delicious dual carousel to confuse children.
At The Chocolate Gecko, award-winning chocolatiers swirl together fresh fruit, spicy cayenne pepper, and a splash of rich liqueurs to form decadent treats comprising all-natural ingredients. The shop’s multi-tiered shelves sprout batches of chocolate-dipped fruit and classic sweets, such as peanut-butter cups, turtles, and rich, butter toffee komodo crunches. Molded truffles burst with creamy liqueur-infused fillings and take on a variety of shapes, including Aztec pyramids, tiny Buddhas, and the heads of former Supreme Court justices.
The Chocolate Gecko’s sweet-tooth-appeasing staff shares its confectionary wisdom during one-hour chocolate-making classes, which have covered such sweet-concocting skills as tempering basics, concocting both molded and hand-rolled truffles, and reverse engineering the Cadbury Bunny. The Chocolate Gecko encourages guests to bring along alcoholic or nonalcoholic beverages to complement the velvety morsels of each class.