Guest Wish List: Daniel Berman from Fussy Little Blog

You know what I really want from Saratoga for the holidays? I want our chefs back. Chef Paul moved his TC Paris from Albany to Spa City and Brian Bowden has been up there for a while now too. It’s just not fair. Mark Graham left for a spell, but at least he finally came to his senses and returned to Albany. So I suppose there’s at least a glimmer of hope.

I’m adding hope to my list.

But how about something tangible. The Vanilla Tarte at TC Paris is like the Yeti of pastry. It’s said to exist. Some people claim to have seen it. But those who try to look for it find that it’s just beyond their reach. Some might even go mad in the process. Here’s photographic proof it exists, but it’s almost impossible to get one. Whoever can land me this white whale will surely be treated to a bite.

Coffee is one of my true loves. I’ve got more was to brew the stuff at home than I care to count. That means that I’m always on the look out for good beans. The climate is going to have to change a lot before coffee is ever a local product, but Uncommon Grounds has dramatically improved its roasting recently. Plus they are bringing in some pretty interesting stuff, like El Salvador Las Mercedes. The only problem with freshly roasted coffee is using it up before it’s not so fresh. Going through a pound of the stuff 28 grams at a time takes longer than you would imagine. Ideally, I want a weekly delivery of something special, but only in quarter pound increments. I’d take a half pound every two weeks. A guy can dream can’t he?

So, I guess I’m adding dreams to my list too.

Last one. And this one is tough, because it doesn’t exist yet. But I’m told it’s coming, so I’ll take an IOU. The DZ Farm is setting up a kitchen where they will be teaching hands on cooking classes. I’m kind of smitten by two of their chefs. So a rustic country Italian class with Fabrizio Bazzani or a Spanish tapas class with Roslyn Zecchini would be fantastic. Of course, I’d want to do it in the late spring as the first tender vegetables are ready to eat from their garden.

That’s the wish list. It’s pretty simple really. A tarte, some coffee, and a cooking class. But I don’t need any of it. The joy of the season is being around family, and I’ll be perfectly happy with the sweaters, gift cards, and fruit baskets. Well, maybe not the fruit baskets.

Many thanks to Daniel for sharing his holiday Wish List with us. You know you want more from him, find him here, and on Twitter here (he's one of our favorite local twitterers).

Posted on December 19, 2014 .