Took a little 2-day Chow-tour up to Albany and the lower Adirondacks (we wanted to check out some of the amazing old Drive-In's and Ice Cream Stands throughout the area, but had also found a highly rated inn we wanted to try). Here are our highlights/best finds:
L-Ken's - a great drive-in in Albany (1565 Central Ave), cool old signs, building and menu. Locally made dogs, fast service, great fries. But my fave was the "clam roll" - about a 6 inch high pile of fried clam strips on top of a hotdog roll, served with choice of tartar or cocktail sauce on the side. The clam strips were golden, crispy, tasty and just the right chewy/tender texture - fried clam heaven!
Mr. B's Best - this is a great drive-in on RT 9 in Glens Falls with an awesome nostalgic feel, that specializes in roast beef and turkey sandwiches, and subs. They roast their own roast beef and turkey right there; then thinly slice it in a huge pile and serve it on a fresh homemade Kaiser roll with a big chuck of lettuce, thick slices of local tomato, raw onion, and your choice of sauce (special sauce, horseradish, bbq) wow! Kinda like Arby's, um except this is the way it should be done. about the best roast beef sandwich I have ever had! - would make the trip again just to hit this place.
Oscar's Hickory House - Oscar's is a renowned Adirondack smokehouse in Warrensburg, established in 1946. As you drive up the building is covered in funny old pig tchotchke's and signs, with a big sign on top of the building that says "HAMS - BACON". Inside it's a small storefront, basically a butcher counter (with a big oil portrait of Oscar) a few shelves and couple cold cases. They sell jams, mustards, sauces, many different meats and homemade sausages (smoked and un-smoked). The selection was a bit over whelming, but I stayed focused by remembering all the pigs. we picked up mustards, smoked bacon, bratwurst, cheeses, and a "petite smoked ham" - all were amazing! the ham was so tender, flavorful and moist. smoked cheddar with cracked black pepper was another favorite. from our sampling, I'd say everything is GREAT here.
Friends Lake Inn - found this place combing the Chowhound boards, a beautiful old restored inn with a highly acclaimed restaurant. We opted for the meal plan, which included full dinner and breakfast. This inn was wonderful, I highly recommend it! top notch service and accommodations. Our room was traditional Adirondack style with gorgeous wood beams and paneling, Adirondack furniture, field stone fireplace, 2 person Jacuzzi; and private balcony that led right out to the various inn amenities (heated swimming pool, forest trails, redwood sauna and deck next to pond and falls) all surrounded by their lush and beautiful grounds and gardens, and the thick Adirondack forest.
Our dinner was excellent: started with a selection of artisan breads and a bowl of herbed olive oil piled high with roasted garlic cloves and an excellent assortment of olives; next we selected the extra cheese sampling (they have a great selection), followed by a nice salad and very tasty red gazpacho; for entrees the Beef Tenderloin with oven roasted tomatoes and spinach was excellent! New England Lobster Pot in a vanilla truffle sauce was heavenly. So now we're stuffed, but desert comes with... "no prob" says our waitress and makes us up a tray of 2 scrumptious deserts, coffee, the works, and delivers to our room with no extra charge! (eaten later in the Jacuzzi after an evening swim ;-)
A particularly nice touch is that they have a FANTASTIC wine shop right there at the inn, with a friendly and knowledgeable sommelier (the Inn's wine list is a recipient of the "Grand Award" from the Wine Spectator Magazine.) They have some amazing selections at unbelievable prices - we bought a case after dinner! and the inn's manager gave us a cool private tour of their cellars.
As good as dinner was - breakfast was the even better! when we walked in we saw a buffet with homemade granola, fresh fruit, bagels & full lox spread, homemade blueberry muffins, yogurt, etc. and thought "yum", but then we saw the great hot dish selection, and were torn on what to choose, so how psyched were we when they told us the buffet was just the starter course!... started with fruit, yogurt and the best homemade granola I've ever had (dried cranberries, slivered almonds, toasted oats, soft, not hard, and wonderful with cut up melons and pineapple they had out). this was followed by our entrees of spinach, tomato, feta frittata with Oscars (!) bacon, and fried eggs with their fantastic homemade corned beef hash (oh yeah). we were taking one the canoes they have for guests out to explore the lake that afternoon - so the big breakfast was a perfect!
The rate for the night, including dinner, breakfast, deluxe room and all amenities (use of private trails, beach, canoes, kayaks, sauna, heated pool, etc.) was $350 for the night - we thought this was a STEAL for the luxury service, food and accommodations we experienced (Travel Lodge in Lake George was $120, no meals or amenities). The inn also has a great tavern room with lighter meals, snacks and lunches; and a terrific menu of different picnic basket lunches they will make up for guests to take on their Adirondack adventures. The service was impeccable. HIGHLY recommended, you'll have a wonderful stay here!
just want to add - the Adirondacks seems to have many hidden Chow-gems (both new and old/nostalgic) we felt like we only scraped the surface, didn't even get to hit all the places I found on Chowhound, we'll be back!