Ride the Polar Express in your PJ's and score free cotton candy at Circus Cafe

SARATOGA SPRINGS — This holiday season, passengers on the Polar Express will have the opportunity to come in to the Circus Café dressed in their cozy pajamas to receive homemade cotton candy.
Children sip hot chocolate on the Polar Express  (Photo by Erica Miller)

For generations “The Polar Express” has been a beloved book and an iconic Christmas story retold year after year. Now children and families have the chance to board the Polar Express at the Saratoga Springs Train Station to take a trip to the North Pole and back.

After the hour-long journey where kids are encouraged to wear pajamas while they enjoy hot cocoa, Christmas caroling, presents and a visit from Santa, families can stop by the Circus Café for an extra treat.

“The Polar Express train ride that leaves from Saratoga has really taken off,” said Christel MacLean, owner of Circus Café.

During the holiday season the Saratoga & North Creek Railway operates two trips each day on the Polar Express — the first departing at 6 p.m. and the second at 8 p.m.

Since MacLean started seeing so many children clad in pajamas coming to the restaurant either before or after a trip, MacLean says she felt, “we had to join the festivities!”

The free cotton candy offer at Circus Café, located at 392 Broadway, runs now through Wednesday, Dec. 28, which is the last day for the Polar Express.

For more information call 583-1106 or visit www.circuscafe.com. To learn more about the Polar Express visit https.www.sncrr.com.


Historic Adelphi Hotel on Broadway up for sale

SARATOGA SPRINGS — The Albany Business Review and Fun in Saratoga blogger Dan De Federicis recently reported the historic Adelphi Hotel at 361/365 Broadway is up for sale for $4.5 million. Owner Sheila Parkert and her husband purchased the abandoned dilapidated hotel in the 70s for $100,000 with the long-term plan to renovate the building.

Five years ago, Parkert put the Adelphi up for sale at $10 million. Three years ago, the price dropped to $7.79 million. It might be worth more than the current asking price, but in the tough economic climate and real estate market it appears Parkert is willing to compromise. As of Saturday afternoon, she couldn’t be reach for further comment.

The Adelphi is one of Saratoga Springs’ oldest and most historic hotels, serving visitors since 1877. You can read the real estate listing here.


Siro's introduces tapas Thursdays and NFL Sunday's at the Lodge

SARATOGA SPRINGS — Siro's Trattoria at the Lodge announced today a new initiative to combine dining and entertainment on Thursday and Sunday evenings.

Sparked after what the restaurant called a "blockbuster" Breeders' Cup party, the new tapas Thursdays and NFL Sundays will keep the party going throughout the racing off-season.

But Siro's is never one to forget its horse racing roots and will be offering both NFL football and pari-mutuel wagering on thoroughbred races.

Beginning Thursday, Nov. 17, Siro's will offer its "Trattoria Tapas Thursdays," which includes a special menu of Mediterranean-style $6 small plates and $12 shared plates. Some of these tapas options include: Polpetto con Mozzarella (meatballs with mozarella), Calamari Fritti, Pastiso (spiced Greek lamb lasagna), Israeli Couscous with Curry and Eggplant, Orzo "Barcelona" with Clams and Chorizo (sausage), Moroccan Sizzling Skillet Shrimp and Caprese Invernale (roasted tomato and burrata salad).

Sip wine and enjoy an array of tapas to live piano tunes by Roger Morris each Thursday evening.
For the football fans, Siro's Trattoria will open each Sunday at noon to catch the week's big games on multiple flat screen TVs. Pari-mutuel wagering will be available with a live teller on thoroughbred racing from Aqueduct Racetrack, Churchill Downs, Santa Anita and more.

Sunday lunch will feature homemade meatball heroes for $8 and a new special on Siro's hot wings. Sunday dinner runs from 3 to 7 p.m. featuring one special Italian meal special for $24, which includes: a main course of pasta with Sunday gravy, red sauce, fennel sausage, meatballs and pork shoulder with choice of soup or salad and dessert to top it all off.

Siro's Trattoria at the Lodge opens at 5 p.m. Wednesday through Saturdays and noon on Sundays. For more info call 584-7988 or visit www.sirostrattoria.com.

at 1 Nelson Avenue,


Prime at Saratoga National introduces new Mugs & Martinis Society benefits

SARATOGA SPRINGS — Prime at Saratoga National recently launched its new Mugs & Martinis Society membership benefits, reported Steve Barnes, on his Table Hopping blog for the Times Union.

To join the Mugs & Martinis Society (annual fee of $75) you must be at least 21-years-old. Rules include no sharing mugs or shakers, breakage fee applies. 

Benefits include:

  • Saratoga National beer mug and Saratoga National cocktail shaker in personalized box with nameplate. 

  •  Email alerts about when new and limited craft beer will become available.

  • $1 off all regular martinis and $2 off specialty martinis.

  •  50 percent off all draft beer Wednesdays

  •  Preferential opportunities Prime events and specialty dinners.

  •  21-ounce mug fills at regular 16-ounce prices, including happy hour pricing (excludes any beer over 7 percent ABV).

Prime at Saratoga is located at Saratoga National Golf Course, a mile east of Northway Exit 14 on Route 9P in Saratoga Springs. Call 583-4653 for info or reservations.


Happy wedding day to CityDesk reporter Lucian McCarty

One of our own is finally getting hitched! The Saratogian news team is out early today, Friday, 11-11-11, to celebrate city reporter Lucian McCarty's big day. Hopefully no breaking news happens while we're out... All the Capital Region paparazzi are expected to be in Schuylerville for this big event.

Congratulations to Lucian and his wife-to-be Amanda Fiandaca (soon McCarty)! Check out Amanda's blog to stay up to date on the happenings at Schuylerville Public Library at http://schuylervillepubliclibrary.wordpress.com/.

And follow Lucian's (occasional) city blog posts at www.saratogacitydesk.blogspot.com.


News from Sperry's

SARATOGA SPRINGS -- Some juicy tidbits from Sperry's Restaurant on Caroline Street.
  • Sperry's Sous Chef Eric Tisaj won a gold medal with the highest point score at Sunday's 21st annual Culinary Cornucopia. He also won the Anton Flory Culinary Cornucopia Grand Award. His winning dish will soon appear on a special dinner menu. I don't know what half of these words mean, but it sounds scrumptious: Duet of Kurobuta pork tenderloin"Sous Vide." Calvados rosemary demi-glace, sweet potato, fennel and Pancetta hash, Haricot Vert and Autumn spiced pork belly, cranberry mustard sauce, braised brussel sprouts and melted celeriac

  • It's that time of year - Sperry's "Home for the Holidays" is back. Executive Chef Dale Miller will prepare and package a traditional Thanksgiving/Holiday meal for you to enjoy at home. The package serves 12-14 people and costs $199 ($16 per person). Sperry's will also offer some a la carte dishes for customers - to order call 584-9618 no later than SUNDAY, Nov. 20. Orders can be picked up between 11 a.m. and noon on Thanksgiving day, Thursday, Nov. 24.
For more details visit www.sperrysrestaurant.com

Hattie's now serving brunch! Yum.

SARATOGA SPRINGS — Starting tomorrow, Hattie's Restaurant will be dishing up a new Saturday and Sunday brunch menu each weekend between 9 a.m. and 2pm.
"We've had such a great response with our special brunches so we thought we would open it up on a regular basis," said co-owner Jasper Alexander. "I've enjoyed the process of creating a true Southern brunch and hope that the public embraces it."
The mouth-watering brunch menu features several $7 morning cocktail offerings including Hattie's signature Bloody Marys, mimosas, orange martinis, brandy milk punch and hurricanes.
Some of my favorites...
  • Cajun omelet: Three egg omelet with North Country Smoke House Andouille Sausage, caramelized onions and Cabot Extra Sharp cheddar cheese served with home fries and Texas toast ($9.95)
  • Crab Cakes Benedict: Two poached eggs of Hattie's crab cakes with fresh spinach and Hollandaise served with home fries ($13.95)
Pair one of those with a spicy Bloody Mary and you've got yourself a nice lil' Sunday... Ahh.
    Here's the full menu.
    Hattie's Brunch Menu


    Local jewelry designer Dennis deJonghe wins two international design awards

    SARATOGA SPRINGS — Dennis deJonghe, owner of DeJonghe Original Jewelry at 470 Broadway, racked up two awards at the 2012 American Gem trade Association (AGTA) Spectrum Awards held in late October in New York City.

    One of the most prestigious jewelry design events in the industry, the Spectrum Awards attracts hundreds of international entries with winners selected by a panel of judges, which changes each year. Judges primarily look for creativity and craftsmanship, but also judge each piece based on use of color, wearability and overall appeal.

    Two of deJonghe’s pieced earned recognition at this year’s 28th annual AGTA Spectrum Awards. The first award, “Best use of Palladium Color,” was for deJonghe’s Aquamarine Pendant, a Palladium pendant with a 16.39ct aquamarine gem as the centerpiece accented with moonstones, pearls and diamonds.

    “My inspiration was the main gem — a fine quality aquamarine by lapidary artist Michael Dyber,” said deJonghe in a statement. The angular pendant design was made to counterbalance the soft elements, he added.

    The local designer also won the “Classical — Palladium Prestige Award,” for his Palladium Pearl Ring, which holds a 16.5mm white South Sea Pearl accented with diamonds.

    Deceivingly simple, the ring was actually one of the more difficult pieces for deJonghe to craft with the large round pearl proving challenging to set. 

    The two pieces will be displayed at the end of January along with the other Spectrum Award winners at the 2012 Gem  Fair in Tucson, A.Z.
    deJonghe's award winning designs

    For more information visit deJonghe Original Jewelry at 470 Broadway or call 587-6422. E-mails can be addressed to info@djoriginals.com.

    Brindisi's Restaurant closes early for winter season, owner looking to sell

    SARATOGA SPRINGS — Last week, passersby noticed a dark and quiet window at Brindisi’s Restaurant at 390 Broadway.

    On Monday morning, owner Andrew Brindisi quelled speculation that the Italian-American bistro was closed permanently.

    It is, however, going on the market.

    “Usually we close down for January and February, but November is actually the slowest time of the year and it costs more to stay open than it does to close,” Brindisi said. “I am putting it up on the market and if it doesn’t sell — I’ll be back in the spring.”

    When Brindisi’s closed last week only a small number of employees found themselves — perhaps earlier than expected — out of a job.

    “We probably had only about three or four part-timers, it was a real skeleton crew,” Brindisi said.
    Although he is in the midst of interviewing realtors to put the restaurant on the market, Brindisi said he will also entertain anyone looking to buy the space without a real estate agent.

    “It’s something I’ve been considering for a while,” he said. “Taxes keep going up every year and you can’t keep blaming the landlords — they have to pay school taxes and property taxes — it’s just not conducive when all the prices are going up.”

    While Brindisi still has several years left on his lease and can’t technically sublet to another restaurant owner, he plans to sell the space including all its kitchen fixtures and other equipment for $250,000.
    The buyer would then negotiate a year-to-year contract with the building’s landlord. 

    Brindisi himself put about $1 million into the 390 Broadway space since opening in 2000 and after 12 years in the business the restaurateur is ready to move on.

    However, if the restaurant doesn’t sell this winter — he will re-open in March or April.

    Brindisi’s will remain open over the next four or five months for private parties, Christmas parties and on and off-site catering gigs.

    When the restaurant does change hands, Brindisi hopes to enter a new chapter of his life outside the restaurant businesses.

    “I was hoping to get a job in public relations or in government because I really like politics and if I get any proceeds from this place I’d use it to buy a Harley Davidson.”

    To contact Brindisi about private parties, catering or with buying inquiries call 587-6262 or e-mail brindisia@aol.com.


    Hattie's Restaurant named one of Food and Wine's best fried chicken establishments in the U.S.

    SARATOGA SPRINGS — Saratogians have known it for years, but thanks to a new online article at FoodandWine.com, the nation will now know that Hattie’s Restaurant in Saratoga Springs cooks up the best damn fried chicken this side of the Mississippi.

     The online version of Food and Wine magazine recently published an article covering the best fried chicken across the United States with Hattie’s Restaurant on Phila Street and Hattie’s Chicken Shack on Route 50 in Wilton placing among Food and Wine’s top 31 selections.

    “It’s a great honor to be chosen among the many fried chicken establishments across America,” said co-owner and chef Jasper Alexander in a statement.

    Hattie’s has been a Saratoga staple for the local dining scene and community since 1938 when it was founded by original owner Hattie Austin.

    Over the past 75 years, Hattie’s fried chicken has gained national recognition as a favorite of many summer track-goers and with publicity appearances such as in 2006, when Hattie’s Restaurant was featured on celebrity chef Bobby Flay’s Food Network TV show, “Throwdown! with Bobby Flay.” A panel of celebrity judges chose Hattie’s as that episode’s undisputed winner.

    To view the online article visit www.foodandwine.com/slideshows/best-fried-chicken-in-the-us.

    Lucia boutique to host grand opening event Friday in new & improved location

    SARATOGA SPRINGS — The grand re-opening of one of my favorite Broadway boutiques is finally here. 

    This Friday, Nov. 4 from 5 to 9 p.m. Lucy Moran, owner of Lucia boutique, will host an opening event in her new location in the Saratoga Marketplace at 454 Broadway. 
    Lucy & Rory Moran

    Since opening Lucia in a smaller space tucked inside the Marketplace over 5 years ago, Moran has dreamed of someday expanding the business in a more visible and spacious location.

    "I have always felt that my current space has been temporary and now, Lucia is moving home," Moran said. 

    Lucia's new home isn't far from the shop's original location — it is still located on the ground level of the Saratoga Marketplace, but now in the space formerly home to Saratoga Turkish Bazaar (now located at 506 Broadway).

    "I've wanted to expand for years because I felt like I haven't been able to have as big of a collection as I've wanted and definitely to have a street-front store with windows," Moran said. 

    This Friday, Moran will unveil her new space, completely redecorated to maintain Lucia's staple vintage bohemian vibe with extra space for new designers such as Cheap Monday and Dolce Vita Shoes as well as an expanded collection of the store's existing designers.

    Moran's husband Rory, who will be opening the Comfort Kitchen restaurant (click here to see the In the Biz story on this entrepreneurial couple) on the lower level of the Marketplace this spring, is catering the event with mouth-watering homemade hors d'oeurves.

    There will also be door prizes and discounts, as well as cocktails and comfort food... needless to say, this is a can't miss event for all fashionistas and perfect for holiday shopping. 

    See you all there!

    For more information visit. www.luciaboutique.com.