Panel: Saratoga Foodies Dish on Their COVID Eating Habits

Dan Graham, Jen Van Strander and Jacqualin Ross fill us—and their bellies—in.

Dan Graham, founder and CEO of SM2 Dev.

We polled three local foodies—SM2 Dev Founder and CEO Dan Graham, graduate student Jen Van Strander and NYS Department of Health Quality Improvement Coordinator Jacqualin Ross—on their most memorable COVID meals. Here’s what they told us.

Dan Graham

Founder and CEO, SM2 Dev

Most memorable COVID takeout experience? Doing virtual whiskey tastings with Saratoga Whiskey Club has been amazing. Recently, we had a takeout whiskey pairing with Hamlet & Ghost.

Preferred method of acquiring food? (cooking, takeout, dine-in) I did a little bit of everything. I felt safe in the majority of the restaurants I went to.

Best takeout cocktails you’ve had? Early on in COVID, I was always stopping at Henry Street Taproom for a beer and then swinging next door to Flatbread Social for cocktails and pizza.

Best thing you’ve cooked? Every year, my butcher friend at Primal in Wilton asks me what meat he should corn [to sell] for St. Patrick’s Day. Last year, it was corned short ribs. I ended up smoking them for seven hours, and it was the most amazing thing I’ve ever made.

Restaurant you can’t wait to go back to post COVID? Right now, it’s less about the restaurant and more about seeing all my friends and family in one place.


Jen Van Strander

Jen Van Strander 

Graduate Student

Most memorable COVID takeout experience? I waited almost four hours for Mexican food on Cinco de Mayo. Luckily, the weather was nice!

Preferred method of acquiring food? (cooking, takeout, dine-in) Takeout. I’ve found more restaurants are adding online ordering, which makes for an even smoother experience.

Best takeout cocktails you’ve had? Make-your-own margaritas from Cantina, hands down.

Best thing you’ve cooked? Pumpkin snickerdoodles with white chocolate chips.

Restaurant you can’t wait to go back to post COVID? Cantina. My friends and I love its happy hour!


Jacqualin Ross

Jacqualin Ross

Quality Improvement Coordinator, NYS Department of Health

Most memorable COVID takeout experience?  Definitely the Taquero Taco Box! It’s impressive, and all the ingredients are so beautiful and fresh.

Preferred method of acquiring food? (cooking, takeout, dine-in) I chose to dine out throughout the pandemic. I felt like most of the local restaurants did an excellent job making patrons feel safe and protected.

Best takeout cocktails you’ve had? I pride myself on making excellent cocktails, so I took care of that part myself!

Best thing you’ve cooked? I cooked a lot of fresh seafood and made my first lobster rolls.

Restaurant you can’t wait to go back to post COVID?  I’ll be very excited when 550 Waterfront opens back up. I love sitting at its outdoor bar—it has some amazing craft cocktails that I’ve been missing.  


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