pesto taste-off

Celinabean's first taste-off: Pesto, part 1

OK, I admit it. The pesto was just an excuse. Bait, really.

I wanted to see the faces behind Albany Eats, Almost Foodies and the other Albany area food blogs that are now on my reading list. So how to get these mysterious people to crawl out from behind their computers? I figured concoctions of garlic, basil, and olive oil would be a good bet with this crowd.

pesto in cups

Come taste and talk, ye fellow food folks. Let's do this the old fashion way -- in person, in a lovely setting, with wine, of course.

Well, it worked. Seven of us gathered in the kitchen-side dining room upstairs at The Wine Bar and Bistro on Lark Street. And really, I'm not sure there is a better meeting spot for a bunch of people who love to cook and eat. (Call 518-463-2881 to reserve a kitchen-side table.)

After winding through the maze-like downstairs rooms, you climb a narrow set of stairs and enter a high-ceiling room with the restaurant's kitchen tucked into one corner.

The Wine Bar and Bistro's kitchen -- off hours

The other half of the room has enough room for a party of 10 or so depending on how you arrange the tables. There are tall windows, wood and brick, and when I walked in a simple and elegant wood table set with flickering candles, deep wine glasses and cloth napkins.

I'd been nervous all day. I'm not the smoothest host in the world. (Insert image of frizzy-haired frantic woman scouring area stores for obscure brands of pesto leaving very little time to shower or find earrings.) And now I was going to meet a bunch of people whom I admired and who have strong opinions about just about everything. But as soon as I stepped into the dining room, I relaxed.

There is no more comfortable place in the world to have a conversation than a kitchen.

All Over Albany's Mary Darcy

All Over Albany's Mary Darcy, my good friend and co-conspirator in all things bloggy, classed up the evening with this.

A wonderful bottle of wine courtesy of All Over Albany

And much to my relief, the evening was full of laughter and stories instead of the I'm-more-truffle-infused-than-thou flavor that can sometimes seep into food-related gatherings.

Almost Foodies' Renee.

Almost Foodies' Renee

Table Hopping's Steve Barnes.
Table Hopping's Steve Barnes

Here is everyone except Albany Jane from Albany Eats. She took the picture and preferred to keep her identity quiet. No prob. But I will tell you this. She is as charming and funny as she is on her blog.
Albany area food bloggers gather at The Wine Bar on Lark Street

On the left, that's me in front. Then Alex and Cati of The Continuing Adventures of Alex and Cati. On the right, All Over Albany's Mary Darcy, Renee from Almost Foodies and Steve Barnes from Table Hopping.

Oh, yeah, umm, this was supposed to be about pesto tasting. I'm getting thereā€¦ in a moment.


So so SO fun to meet everyone!
I was also ridiculously nervous. It was like a group first date!

hey celina, that was an interesting and fun night! i really love being a guest at times! it was so weird watching everyone take pictures of their food while carrying on a conversation. i've never hung out with a room full of bloggers before. neat!

thank you for organizing this and including me.

Indeed it was great fun meeting you all. We look forward to doing more, collaborating with you all in the future.

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