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Ellen Descisciolo

One for the Road
By B.A. Nilsson

There is probably more restaurant variety within the few square miles of greater downtown Saratoga than you’ll find in the rest of the Capital Region, ranging from the humblest pizza joints on up to the top out-of-sight-fancy establishments, and covering a wide ethnic variety. But sometimes you just want a sandwich.

Whether you’re looking for lunch at the track or an al fresco meal to enjoy in one of the city’s parks, access to portable food is important. Here’s a rundown of some of the more striking options, omitting the chains (Bruegger’s, Borders, et al.) and pizzerias. You may spend a dollar or two more in some of these places than at a convenience store, but you’re getting more toothsome fare. Because we’re nearing the end of racing season, business hours for many of these places may be changing. It’s always a good idea to phone ahead.

Peppers Market and Deli, 173 Lake Ave., 584-3430. Culinary Institute grad Demian Haas is the energetic chef-owner here, and he augments fresh-baked bread loaves with veggies and herbs from an adjacent garden. A roast beef sandwich features his own bread, with meat he cooked to exacting specs; salads this time of year are amazingly fresh. Look for a varied menu of sandwiches, subs, wraps and pasta dinners.

Giacone’s Market, 223 Lake Ave., 587-2545. The double-egg breakfast sandwich is a mainstay here; the roast beef, ham and turkey are cooked in-house. Try Roscoe’s chili or the soup of the day, and have a sub or wrap with your favorite sandwich innards, such as homemade tuna or chicken salad. Pizzas run the gamut in terms of variety: toppings of feta cheese and olives (the Greek pizza) or pineapple and ham (the Hawaiian) aren’t unusual.

Spring Street Pizza and Deli, 132 Spring St., 584-0994. Get your hot heroes, or New York-style cold ones in 8- or 12-inch lengths. Your favorite isn’t listed? They’ll make it for you. The Man-o-War is a hot roast beef sandwich, Citation is a grilled chicken breast. Lots of salads, appetizers, tacos and vegetarian dishes, and of course there’s all manner of pizza.

Good Food Co. at the Saratoga Library, 49 Henry St., 584-7860. Who would think such good stuff lurks in the library? The Pilgrim sandwich puts turkey and cranberry sauce on a panini, served grilled; the Caprese combines mozzarella, spinach and roasted peppers. Also look for a thick slice of spinach pie and a cold sandwich array, along with specialty coffee and tea and rich desserts.

Four Seasons Natural Foods Store and Café, 33 Phila St., 584-4670. It’s not designed as a take-out place at all, but it’s one of the healthiest. You can put together a selection from the vegetarian buffet, and eat on the premises or package it to travel.

Beverly’s Specialty Foods, 47 Phila St., 583-2755. Another sit-down restaurant that sells sandwiches, giving you the option of having it wrapped to go. Sandwiches tend toward the fanciful, like grilled eggplant on sourdough, and there’s a half-sandwich-and-soup special for $8.

Esperanto, 6 1/2 Caroline St., 587-4236. Doughboys are the signature to-go items in this tiny venue, sort of mini-calzones with a toothsome array of fillings. Also pizza slices, burritos, and an ever-changing menu of specials.

Pickle Barrel, 7 Caroline St., 581-3236. Here’s the late-night mainstay, where a youthful staff puts up with cranks like me. Cold sandwiches (the Santa Fe combines turkey, cheddar, jalapeńos and more), grilled sandwiches, and plenty of wraps are available. Breakfast items and lots of side salads as well.

D’Andrea’s Pizza, 33 Caroline St., 584-3632. It’s one of the best pizzerias in the area, with inventive gourmet toppings as well as the traditional pies, but for our purposes you’ll also want to try the foccacia, breads, salads and wings.

Moe’s Deli, 170 S. Broadway, 226-0816. It’s a Long Island-style deli, according to transplanted owners Maureen and Mike Warfield, who offer hot and cold sandwiches, heroes, salads, breakfast items and more, including bread shipped daily from downstate.

Uncommon Grounds Coffee & Bagels, 402 Broadway, 581-0656. You have your choice: stay or go. The aroma of coffee may make it tough to leave. Enjoy fresh- roasted coffee, espresso, fine tea, Italian sodas and fresh-squeezed orange juice. Add to that fresh-baked bagels and bagel sandwiches (peanut butter and jelly is an option, as are hummus and a variety of meats and salads), and a wide selection of gourmet desserts and the nosh-ability quotient runs high.

Putnam Market, 435 Broadway, 587-3663. Here’s the mother ship of gourmet sandwiches. And so much more. There’s a counter for cheese alone, and an amazing display of olives. At the deli counter, there are seven turkey or chicken sandwiches, seven types of roast beef and corned beef, and another column of ham and other cured meats. They’ll even put together a complete boxed lunch. Chips, salads, sauces—it’s upscale paradise, the Dean & Deluca of the area. And that doesn’t even take into account the desserts.

Mrs. London’s Bakery, 464 Broadway, 581-1652. They make a batch of sandwiches every day and sell them until they’re gone. A croque monsieur, is one example (a fancy grilled ham-and-cheese), or try the croissant sandwich with turkey and gručyre. Also look for savory tarts (zucchini and tomato, spinach and leek) and those world class, not-to-be-beaten desserts.

Roma Importing Co, 222 Washington St., 587-6004. Hundreds of subs to choose from, and you can’t get too innovative here. All your basics are covered, from standard cold cuts to plenty of Italian specialty meats. And it’s a full-fledged market, so stock up on your Italian cooking needs.

PJ’s Saratoga Style Bar-B-Q, 1 Kaydeross Ave., 583-7427. It’s tempting to eat it right here, what with the ’50s music and the aroma—and the occasional visits from vintage cars. However you wrap it, it’s all based on barbecued ribs and chicken, in varying sizes and combos with lots of side dishes and desserts.

Click here for a list of recently reviewed restaurants.


TABLE SCRAPS

Saturday (Aug. 30) is milking day at the Troy Waterfront Farmers Market, when Promised Land Farm brings their goats to the market—which runs from 9 AM until 1 PM on Troy’s River Street, just north of the Green Island Bridge. Women Against War will be under the kids’ tent from 10 until 1; Mama Rosa’s Pasta Café makes a sauce from market ingredients at 11. Green Mountain Energy will be under the community tent with information on their energy ideas, and the Tisch Family Trio will perform. Visit www.troymar ket.org for more information, or call 475-2909. . . . Remember to pass your scraps to Metroland (food@banilsson.com).

—B.A.N.

(Please fax info to 922-7090)

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