Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Staycationaurant V - The Tap House at Catamount Glass

It's been months since I wrote a Staycationaurant post on the blog. If you'll remember, staycationaurant is the corny term I created by mashing together the words staycation and restaurant. I've defined it as a vacation day (or days), in which I while away the hours eating at interesting or unique places. For today's post, I think I've found a business that qualifies as both the former and the latter.

This past Tuesday I had most of the day to myself, and it was beautiful; a drive was in order. I started thinking about which direction to head out of Albany. Vermont came to mind. Bennington is just one hour from Albany, and if you've been, you know what a lovely place it is. I decided to search for restaurants in the area. I discovered The Tap House at Catamount Glass.

I wouldn't call it a restaurant. And it's not a bar. I wouldn't call it a pub. I think it's aptly named, but it's not a house either, in spite of the paint job on the front of the building that evokes the shape of a classic A-frame. 

Catamount Glass initially specialized in laboratory glass and has since expanded into promotional glassware among other items, and I got the impression they're a small operation. The entrance leads you first into the glass shop. It's barely twenty-five feet long, and about 8 feet wide. There's a large selection of Catamount glassware for purchase as well as an eclectic mix of kitchen gadgets, a refrigerated case of beer and other drinks, and Vermont made foodstuffs among other items. The Tap House is to the right as you enter, and it is tiny. I think I saw seven tables. There is a door that leads out to the front patio, where I was seated, with another five tables. 

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Pizza Pilgrimage III - Volturno

Currently, I'm a fan of Neopolitan style pizza. I'm fascinated with it mainly because I love its bubbly charred crust. When done right the crust is light and airy, with a delightfully soft and tender chew, but it still has crispness due to the super hot wood fired oven in which it's cooked. Toppings are usually kept to a minimum and applied with a light hand because the crust is the star (though that's not always the case of course).

It's important that you call it Neopolitan style. Because to be a true Neopolitan pizza, the restaurant must be VPN certified by the Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana [link] which sets strict guidelines on ovens, ingredients, and techniques used for those claiming to serve true Neopolitan pies. Interestingly, there are surprisingly few VPN certified pizzerias in America, only about 75, and only two in NY State, both in NY City.

There's controversy surrounding the VPN certification because it doesn't necessarily ensure one makes great pizza, and it's viewed as a marketing gimmick by some because there are many pizzerias that are not certified but are making fantastic Neopolitan style pizza. Serious Eats has a good piece on the subject if you're interested in reading more about it.

Volturno is not VPN certified, but they are making top notch Neopolitan style pizza.