Eat Your Heart Out

Restaurant: January 2012 Archives

Roma's has been a favorite of mine since I was old enough to appreciate a good Italian mix sub. Once I stepped into that store for the first time, I never looked back. The aroma that quickly seeps into your nostrils is a tantalizing scent that you wish you could take with you and smell all the time. Now I'm going to be honest right from the beginning, I have yet to even try one of their specialty homemade dishes like lasagna or eggplant parm, simply because every time I go in there I CRAVE the Italian mix sub.

Last night I took a trip out to Panza's on Saratoga Lake for dinner. Panza's is another one of those Saratoga gems that is tucked away outside of town but SO worth the short drive. With that being said, the all around experience was outstanding.

The restaurant itself has a ton of history, dating back to the 1800's when Ma Panza traveled over from Italy and without even being able to speak English, made a name for herself with her cooking. Since then, her great grandsons have taken over the family business, and I'm sure are making their great grandma proud.

With 2011 in the rear view mirror, I want to do a little round-up of all my favorite restaurants and food experiences this past year had to offer, and a little glimpse into what 2012 has in store.

The highlights of 2011:
Wheatfields - As most of you know by now, Wheatfields is one of my favorites in Saratoga. My very first blog post was dedicated to Wheatfields, and every experience I have there is a great one. When people ask my suggestions for where to eat in Saratoga, it's always at the top of my list.

Cafe Capriccio - This restaurant has been around the block a few times, but it's one of the newest in Saratoga. I tried them out back in October and was impressed on so many levels. The food was spectacular, the service was superb, and a note I didn't get to mention in the original review was that the chef actually came out to talk to us on what was a very busy Thursday evening. Hands down a fabulous experience.

Leon's - Per Rachel Ray's suggestion on "$40 Dollars a Day", I went to Leon's this summer and tried The Burro Ranchero. Let me tell you something, there's nothing like an authentic Mexican meal in the dead of Summer with a strong margarita in hand. This is exactly what I got when I went there. While I have yet to experience some of the other popular Mexican restaurants in Saratoga, I really loved Leon's.

Now with those reviews behind me, I look into the new year with a few resolutions. First, I'd like to be more loyal to all of my readers. That means greater and better reviews, including the return of pictures! Second, I want everyone to know that I recognize the value of honesty, and I vouch to be honest and critical in order to give my readers the best reviews I can possibly give. Finally, I understand there's always room for improvement. With that being said, if you have any suggestions for me, I will gladly accept them. Please, don't be shy.

I hope everyone had a great 2011, but I have a feeling 2012 will be eeeeeven better. Happy New Year!!

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Ashley Dingeman

My name is Ashley Dingeman and I am in love with food. A recent SUNY Geneseo graduate and Saratoga Springs native, it has always been a dream of mine to have the opportunity to do the two things I do best: eat & write. Just like in a Disney movie, I guess dreams really do come true.

First off, can I just say that my passion for food goes way beyond simply loving to eat. For some, eating is eating and food is food, but to me, it’s so much more. Every element of the food experience, I love.

Perhaps the profound effects of growing up in an Italian family have rubbed off on me. If there was one thing I learned in the process, it was that food brings people together, and where there’s food, there’s family. No, I didn’t grow up in The Olive Garden, but I did grow up privileged to have an incredible Grandmother, and the best cook I’ve ever known. To this day no one will ever be able to replicate her Sunday “gravy”, even though all grandchildren have come close (and some closer than others [me]). It was she who inspired me to begin cooking in the first place, and it is in her honor that I continue on in hopes of inspiring others the same way.

So I invite you now to revel in my words, devour my descriptions, fantasize over my photographs, and maybe just maybe, you’ll be move enough to go out and try something for yourself. Project “Eat Your Heart Out” starts now.