Tonight: Grand Opening of Henry Loves Betty Pet Boutique

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In the past couple of months, it practically feels like I’ve run out of fingers to count the brand new and recently revamped businesses blossoming in Albany. It’s an awesome and exciting time for things locally, to say the least. Tonight marks the grand opening of the Fort Orange General Store on Delaware Ave in Albany and the grand opening of Henry Loves Betty on River Street in Troy. Check out photos from Andrew’s first visit at Fort Orange General Store and be sure to swing by their opening.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the river, pet enthusiast and vet technician Paula Matt will be hosting the grand opening of Henry Loves Betty, a pet boutique offering a consciously curated collection of pet necessities and accessories.

Paula named the store after two of her many pets, Henry and Betty, and began her business by offering custom hand knit sweaters for both dogs, cats and chickens alike on Etsy. Over months of developing a business plan and putting in countless hours of hard work and planning, the opportunity for Henry Loves Betty to expand its offerings grew into moving to a physical location.

It’s been really enjoyable tracking Paula and her boutique’s progress over the past several months and I’m excited to see it all come together. The boutique is well put together, with quaint detailing, such as a beautiful vintage couch for visitors and furniture from estate sales to give the boutique a chic atmosphere, and really reflects the caring personality of the owner.

From removable bow ties to creative cat nip toys to aromatherapy soy candles for dogs to all natural dog treats, and even ice cream for dogs, Henry Loves Betty is going to be a great neighborhood asset for the pet-lovers of the River Street community. Be sure to stop by with or without your pet!

Hudson Valley Hops 2014: Photos & Recap

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Last Saturday, the Albany Institute of History and Art played host to the annual Hudson Valley Hops festival which showcases our excellent local breweries. Having all these breweries come to you to distribute samples is an approachable way to see what’s out there and what plays into your tastes.

The breweries in attendance were Adirondack Brewery, Brown’s Brewing Company, Chatham Brewing LLC, C.H. Evans Brewing, Crossroads Brewing Company, Druthers, Old Saratoga Brewing Company, and Ommegang Brewery. I tried something from everyone who was there and it was awesome to see the amount of variety across the different beers. I also got excited about some of the new things these breweries are up to, such at as the 8 Barrel Reserve form Crossroads which gets aged in bourbon barrels for four months.

Hudson Valley Hops is an awesome event in a really cool venue. If you have any interest in beer whatsoever, check out the next one and learn what beers get brewed right in your backyard.

Thanks to everyone at the Albany Institute for putting on a great event and for allowing us to give away a few tickets as well.

First Look at the Albany Barn

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On Friday, the Albany Barn held a sneak peek event to showcase what they’ve been up to for the past few years. They have completely renovated St. Josephs Academy, which was a long vacant school located at North Swan and Second Street. The barn has apartments for artists to live in as well as studios for non-residents to use. If you are unfamiliar, I strongly recommend reading their about page to get a better feel for the whole project.

The preview of the space was incredible. The gym was turned into a performance area with a stage, a balcony, and studios throughout. They had residents (and non-residents) performing on stage while people perused the barn and checked out the artwork of the residents. The show was laid out very well and it was really special to be able to check out the whole space, while checking out art (and the artist’s bios) the whole time.

I’m incredibly excited to have a place like this exist here, and I am even more excited to see what they have planned for the future. Thanks to everyone involved for making this event as good as it was.

Stopping into Bread and Honey

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Earlier this week I heard some great things about a new bakery that opened up along Madison Ave between Quail and Ontario. And since I’m a sucker for an everything bagel and an even bigger sucker for Gimme! Coffee, I stopped into Bread and Honey.

The real draw for me was the fact they serve Gimme! Coffee. I always will grab a bag of their coffee whenever I’m near Ithaca, but for me to be able to grab a bag locally is huge. Their coffee selection shows that they are putting a very strong emphasis on quality. Any place that opens with Gimme! as their coffee option is likely to apply that same high-level of quality throughout the rest of their establishment.

I grabbed an everything bagel and pretzel, and both were incredible. The bagel had the right crispiness and chewiness to the outside and the inside was soft and pillowy. The size of the bagel was perfect as well. They offer a few excellent sounding cream cheese options, but for those of you like me who don’t do dairy, I’ve been assured that a non-dairy option is on the way.

I unfortunately didn’t get a chance to test out their other offerings, but they’ve since been adding sandwiches and other baked goods to the menu. Also of note, they sell their breads, pretzels and other items at Honest Weight. I spoke briefly with the owner Naomi Davies, and she told me they’re working on soups as well. I like how much it seems they are experimenting with the menu and can’t wait to stop by again soon.

I strongly recommend stopping in and grabbing a bite to eat along with a cup of coffee. They’re located at 809 Madison Avenue, right next to Duke’s Barbershop (which I would also recommend). The bagels come out of the oven around 7am and they’re open until they sell out, which has been around 2pm so far. Check ’em out and let me know what you think!

Juicy J at the Upstate Concert Hall: Recap & Photos

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Last night, Juicy J’s ‘Never Sober’ tour made a stop at the Upstate Concert Hall. Juicy wasted no time and asked the sold-out crowd where he could find the closest and “most ratchet” strip club. As the audience started chanting “Nite Moves,” Mr. J took a second out from his set to bring up ladies from the audience to take selfies with him, while managing to criticize every Android user attempting to snap an Instagram-worthy photo.

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