We're spoiled here in Saranac Lake. We have so many cool dining spots a visitor can feel a bit overwhelmed about choosing. Each locally-owned eatery offers a unique take on their speciality, complete with a chef in the back, crafting each dish from scratch.
Since we have three new dining spots people might not know about, I recruited friends and my husband to explore these latest offerings.
Origin Coffee is not yet a year old, yet they have already established themselves as a lovely place to chat with friends, enjoy a great cup of tea or coffee, and sample the delectable baked goods and light breakfast and lunch items.
The clear case, below, often snags my husband. I am made of stronger stuff, unless they have made those gluten free cookies with the dark and white chocolate chips. In which case it is a much needed energy boost, don't you know.
The baristas have one of those mad-scientist machines which makes extraordinary coffee, fresh-ground and in wonderful combinations. I am in love with the cayenne mocha, while a friend is amazed at the teas with steamed milk. Another friend keeps it simple with drip coffee... and a bit of lavender.
They have unique menu offerings like avocado toast, a house granola with yogurt and fruit, and a quinoa salad, along with homemade soups and chili. Such well-known local food producers as Asgaard Farm, Fledging Crow Farm, and Rulfs Orchard (along with many more) contribute fresh ingredients.
My favorites are the open-faced grilled cheese (they have gluten-free bread) and one of their frittatas (a kind of crustless quiche.) These items pair perfectly with one of the coffees or teas from the blackboard behind the register.
The downstairs room has counters which overlook the big window onto Main Street, as well as a big table for a large group and a few small tables. Upstairs, in the loft, there are many small tables with beautiful views of the big hill across the river.
There's an amazing variety of coffee, tea, and soda choices so that any random group is sure to find the right beverage. They are open Monday through Friday from 7:00 am - 4:00 pm, and on Saturdays from 7:30 am - 4:00 pm.
airport food? Yes, please!
The ADK CAVU Cafe opened last fall, with proprietors Josh and Clair Bovee ready for their first business venture. They are both graduates of Paul Smith's College, where they met and fell in love. Both have honed their skills at local restaurants of some popularity, and plan to make their airport cafe yet another favorite.
The CAVU in their name is an aeronautical meteorology term meaning, "Ceiling And Visibility Unlimited."
"People love to come here, watch the planes, and enjoy some classic homestyle food," Clair says. They offer a daily quiche and soup, hand-cut french fries with a variety of burgers and sandwiches, and a couple of homemade baked treats each day.
The eating area is simply furnished, with charming touches on the walls, and two walls are all big windows. This lets everyone enjoy the plane traffic and the distant mountains. Even on a semi-sunny day, like the one we chose for a visit, the space is cheerful and bright.
I am tempted by many things on the menu. There is the pulled pork sandwich, topped with coleslaw. There is sausage chili with vegetables and a homemade black bean burger. There is even a grilled peanut butter and jelly that a friend had described as, "You wouldn't believe something so simple could be so good, but it is."
But my husband and I decide on the bacon cheeseburger. It's easy for me to tell them to skip the bun and then it's gluten-free, for my needs. And my husband needs no encouragement to try the burger, anywhere.
I have eaten many burgers in my time, even gourmet ones. But these particular burgers, we agreed, were possibly:
The best burgers we have ever had.
The handcut french fries were just right, the pickle crisp, and the coffee very good. And they serve breakfast all day, a great thing, because sometimes, breakfast makes a great lunch.
We have a new food destination.
ADK CAVU Cafe is open Tuesday to Sunday, 7:00 am - 2:00 pm.
blue line brews
Small craft brewing in the Adirondacks is becoming more and more popular. Blue Line Brewery is not exactly new to the tradition, having been founded during the summer of 2012. But their food offerings started small. They recently expanded to offer some exceptional pub food along with their unique craft brews.
The building is a converted car wash, and the big garage door is still one wall of the dining area. As seen in the blog header picture (at the top of the page), the owners are trying to sell as many brews and pizzas in the space as the previous owners did with car washes.
While my husband and I are not beer drinkers, and cannot contribute to the running count, but our friends ordered a Split Rock Ale and an Old Mountain Milk Stout (all named after local landmarks). I got ginger lemonade soda (all sodas are homemade) and a Pinot Grigio (they also offer wine). My husband got a cherry almond soda.
Everyone was delighted with their choices. Our friends agreed that for those who like it "malty," the Old Mountain Milk Stout was wonderful, and the Split Rock Ale hit the spot. My husband's cherry almond soda got table-sampled so much we offered to buy him a second one.
Our friend really enjoyed her Battered Brie Bites (we all challenged each other to say it fast), with Lime Cilantro sauce. We actually asked for a second serving of this sauce, so I could put some on my wings. The steak fries I ordered as an appetizer turned out to be overkill, since the battered sausage roll and the Back Deck burger (beautifully smashed, the way my husband likes it) also came with fries.
My wings were tender and delicious, showing the results of brining, a step they are proud to take. I can order the number I wish and take advantage of their many sauces, like homemade blue cheese, speciality mustard with honey or horseradish, and spicy mayo, which turned out to be a lovely accompaniment for the steak fries.
The pizza was thin crust and also excellent, our friend reported. Some of their toppings include linguica - a spicy Portugese sausage, scallops, and feta cheese. There's also the option of getting pizza Rocky Marciano Style: folded over and with another layer of sauce and cheese. As the menu says, this is why there are paper towels at each table.
We decided we must sample desserts because there were so many delicious choices. I got a cherry almond float, and my husband's cupcake a la mode was like a chocolate lava cake, as he'd hoped.
Our friends ordered the Puppy Bowl, a homemade brownie sundae that turned out to be so named because it was served in... a puppy bowl. It came with four spoons, and that's a serious hint; it could easily be shared that way. Future visits will have to include dessert, and we could plan accordingly. These were all so enjoyable.
We all agreed — this summer, we will have to try this deck!
Blue Line Brewery is open Tuesday through Thursday 11:30 am - 9:00 pm, Friday 11:30 am - 10:00 am, Saturday 12:00 pm - 10:00 pm, and Sunday 12:00 pm - 7:00 pm.