Live from the floor at Albany Wine & Food Festival

Hilton Tuna Tartare

My personal favorite dish: From the kitchen of the Albany Hilton, which also hosted, tuna tartare with pink beets

Get a room. That’s my advice if you are fortunate enough to have a ticket to the Grand Tasting or other sessions still to come at this remarkable event. I have never seen so many artisanal whiskeys (including one made with spelt, which was amazing) and gins in one place, and the wine beer and liquor tables come close to outnumbering those serving food.

Prime Tuna Roll

Prime’s Jaime Ortiz described this as “a cheeseburger wrapped in sushi”

Remy XO

The entry fee includes seminars, such as one on cognac tasting from Remy Martin. That’s the $140 XO I’m tasting.

The food, though, is generous and excellent, just as I was told it would be. Local chefs really put themselves out to leave a memorable impression on visitors which means daring dishes (many not on the regular menus) which appeal to the eye as much as the palate.

I am going to do a much longer report in anticipation of the 2015 festival, since the remaining 2014 tickets are almost impossible to score at this point, but suffice to say this is one great event as well as a remarkable bargain for the $60 entry fee.

P.S. About that room you’ll need so you don’t have to even think about driving home: the Hampton Inn (a block away) has a $109 rate for festival-goers, and Hilton’s showing a not-too-shabby $139 for Saturday night.

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