1. WINE AND CHARCUTERIE AT CHARLES F. LUCAS CONFECTIONERY

    From the April 1, 2013 podcast by Duncan Crary on his blog, A Small American City, Heather LaVine (co-owner) puts it best: “The diversity…that’s the most beautiful thing.”

    After acquiring a new part time job, I felt the need to celebrate last night.  With this new venture I wanted to experience something new.  I have recently become a “frequent-flyer” of venues in the City of Troy, and can safely say I am thoroughly enjoying it!  The atmosphere is so apart from the one in Albany.   Maybe I’m getting old, or maybe it’s Albany that’s getting old.  At any rate, I’ve found a great scene in Troy, and have loved exploring it. Although I’ve been to many restaurants and bars in this city, I still have places yet to visit.

    Choosing the Charles F. Lucas Confectionery seemed fitting for the night of celebration.  I have been wanting to go there since they opened in November 2012.  I had heard rumors of their wine list, charcuterie, and sweets for months.  They had me at charcuterie.  So why wasn’t I running there to see for myself?

    Call me old fashioned but I believe that your first time should be special!  And indeed it was.  The celebration of a new job made it that much sweeter. 

    As anyone would do trying a new place, I walked in wide eyed and a bit nervous.  I felt like a foreigner.  My first observation, there was so much seating yet no one was sitting.  The bar was teaming with groups of people laughing and sipping their wine, and off in the distance I saw a dense crowd in the back patio.  Of course!  It was a beautiful sunny evening, that’s where everyone wants to be. 

    First thing was to stake out a menu, which are assembled on clipboards scattered around the confectionery.  There you can find the daily specials, lists of wine by the bottle and glass, and the menu of cheese, charcuterie, and confections!  I knew exactly what I wanted.  Deciding my first glass of wine took no time at all, sticking with my standard, a Sauvignon Blanc from Napa Valley.  My date ordered Doc’s Cider, which is not a shock in the least bit, but I am glad they have craft beers and ciders as alternatives.  I did rush my wine order but I was honestly more interested in choosing my 5 items for the charcuterie board.

    Thankfully they categorized the cheese.  The menu was fool-proof, including very specific descriptions of each cheese and meat.  It was easy to decipher which items I would not prefer; however, if I frequent this place as much as I plan on doing, I’ll end up trying them all! 

    I settled on two firm cheeses, the Teahive, a “Cheddar style” from Utah, and Tarentaise, from Reading VT.  As a compromise to my companion, the last three were meats:  The Speck, thinly sliced, salty, and fatty, which was a “crowd pleaser”.  Also had a smoked prosciutto and the Breada, which for the life of me can’t remember the animal (I’ll get back to you on that) but it was tougher and a thicker cut, and I enjoyed it with the Tarentaise and the plum preserve.

    The entire board was delectable and satisfying!  After eating we ventured around the restaurant, ran into a few friends, explored the outdoor patio, which I have learned they recently just finished renovations.  We joined a friends party in the back and enjoyed a glass or two, talking about the new business and relaxing after a long day. 

    The evening felt like a trip down the proverbial “rabbit hole”.  This rabbit hole was wonderful, with delicious things to eat and drink, and fantastic friendly people, in a place that was from the past but felt like the present.  I wouldn’t mind going through that rabbit hole again, even if only just once in a while.

    Stay tuned:  A post about the “reclamation restoration”, or urban industrial, which was used to decorate and create the ambiance of THE CHARLES F. LUCAS CONFECTIONERY. 

    "They feel like they are a part of it, and they are.  That’s why this space is a true community space, because it does literally belong to them."

    - Vic Christopher, co-owner of The Charles F. Lucas Confectionery, talking to Duncan Crary on his podcast (see link above).

     
  2. Finally Im ready to get this blog off the ground!  

    This blog is titled Nothing but the Kitchen Sink because that is all that is in my mother’s kitchen.  After living my last year of graduate school in an apartment with three other girls, I decided that I should probably stop squandering my money, move home and save til I find a job (because who knows how long that’s going to take).  This is how I arrived at the culinary situation I am in right now.  Predicament might be a better word…

    Growing up my mother had a weekly schedule of meals:

    Monday: Tuna noodle casserole.

    Tuesday:  Hotdogs and beans.

    Wednesday:  A kind of pasta salad…with tuna in it most weeks.

    Thursday:  The pasta salad again.

    Friday:  Baked Chicken Dish.

    Saturday and Sunday:  Over the summer my dad would grill up salmon or tuna (again)…this was my favorite season!  If too cold for the grill, chicken or pasta.

    NOTE:  All accompanied with a salad and/or microwaved frozen vegetable.  Sometimes with garlic bread!

    And this would rotate occasionally.  I think you get the picture though.

    Needless to say, my mother never had a tremendous collection of cooking ware.  The picture above shows my mothers knife that she uses for EVERYTHING (the thin blade with the green handle).  This kind of knife, I’ve determined based on my minimal knowledge-base and Google, is used for only vegetables.  It is so old I don’t thing SHE even remembers where she got it.  The second knife to the left represents all other knifes in the kitchen, all serrated with a wooden handle, given to my parents as a wedding present.  They are 31 years old, as is everything else in the kitchen besides the decor and counter-tops (thank G-d).  This also include some spices and cans of…stuff…in our pantry.

    My mother relied on those recipes listed above.  Everything was one-ish pot, canned, frozen, boxed, simple.  There is nothing to be said against semi-homemade!  This is not a blog to knock my mothers cooking when I was a child.  As a woman who worked full time, with a husband who worked full time, and twin daughters, the easier the better.  This blog is about how my mothers lack of diversity and risk in her culinary exploits inspired me to think out side your typical box of noodles.  

    This is about my adventures…and some misadventures, in my mother’s kitchen.