Wine in kegs, however, are way ahead of the game. Often, restaurants must eat the cost of wine that oxidizes in the bottle, such as a slightly unusual varietal opened for a glass pour and never ordered again. This is partly why many wine-by-the-glass lists tend to resemble each other. (K-J Chardonnay, anyone?)
Enter kegged wine. Even if the clunkiness of a beer keg seems at odds with the elegance of wine, tapping vino in an airtight container keeps ruinous oxygen at bay and a batch of wine fresher, longer. It's also eminently "green," cutting down on glass waste.
The first time I saw a specialty olive-oil store — on Long Island — I thought it was kind of gimmicky. I'm not much for infused oils (unless I do it myself), and the concept seemed to take "artisanal" to a nutty level. Yet I formed this judgment without ever stepping through the door, and held fast to it even after I was given an olive-oil-store gift basket for Christmas and became hooked on chocolate balsamic vinegar. It was tasty, but would I ever buy some for myself? Nah.
So when I walked out of the Saratoga Olive Oil Co. store this week with three bottles under my arm, including an olive oil pressed with blood-orange peel, I had to admit I'd been turned. Seduced? I'm not sure. It probably doesn't matter, but like a favorite shoe store, I need to pace my visits.
The shop opened about a month ago at 86 Church Street, the second branch in what might be a slowly growing empire owned and run by the Braidwood family of Saratoga. The interior is spare, and both sides lined by stainless-steel urns filled with single-varietal and infused olive oils and balsamic vinegars. In their midst is a table filled with jars of specialty salts in tricked-out flavors such as Hawaiian Black Lava and French Garden.
It doesn't look like much, but these were the remnants of an ecstatic eating experience (the sweet kind).
I found it impossible to take a decent photo of the salted-caramel ice cream sandwich that had our office buzzing this week. The same fleeting quality that made it so yummy — its sumptuous, salty-sweet insides — puddled into a gooey mess almost from the moment it emerged from the freezer. It is Mirabelles that had the genius to sandwich salted-caramel ice cream between two rich, slightly gooey chocolate crinkle cookies, and it oozes from the sides with every bite.
The dessert's flavor is so crazy making that I twirled and dodged while trying to catch every last bit before it dripped away. I ended up with some leftover cookie and a big pool of melted caramel and cream (see picture) that I dragged my fingers through like a child.
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