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Party With the Profussor

February 12, 2016

When did I get to be so social? I blame the job. At one point, I could just hang out in my mother’s basement and spit vitriol and frustration all over the interwebs. Ok, fine. That never happened. Well, at least the part about my mother’s basement. All the vitriol and frustration I used to spout came from my very own house here in the suburbs of Albany.

But it is true that I didn’t used to go out nearly as much as I do now. But the kids are getting older and more independent. Plus part of my job is now throwing parties, and attending other great community events.

So with that in mind, there are a few things coming up that I think you should know about.

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October 2009: Deli Daze & Pizza Ways

February 11, 2016

Welcome to week number six of the FLB TBT project. Have I mentioned lately how stubborn I can be? I’m still kind of convinced this is a terrible idea. However, I really want to look back and review what I’ve written, and chart the arc of the blog to see which ideas have stood the test of time

But that takes a lot of time. So I figured as long as I was putting in the work, I might as well make it into a post.

We’ve learned a lot so far. The blog started with a bang taking shots at the paper and raking up muck. Then I took a vacation, and lost a bit of momentum. But I came back swinging getting back to tackling serious issues about restaurants and criticism.

What’s the big takeaway from October? This was after all the first fall I was writing the blog. And fall is usually a great time to be alive in upstate New York.

The blog was getting beginning to get some legitimacy. I had scored a coveted honor, of being named a judge for All Over Albany’s Tournament of Pizza. That meant I got to expand some of my thoughts on pizza on these pages. However, the plurality of this month was about Jewish Deli. It’s a long story, but suffice it to say, there will never again be ten days of posts on a single subject leading up to an interesting event.

So how did it break down day by day? I’m glad you asked. But before we jump into the daily summaries, you may want to refresh yourself with the color coded key.

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New Year, New Foods

February 10, 2016

How long after January 1st do you continue to wish people a Happy New Year? A few weeks at least. So even though Chinese New Year was officially on Monday, it’s still not too late to get out and enjoy a Chinese New Year’s feast.

I’ve done these before in the past at Ala Shanghai with groups of various size and composition. Last year I brought together a bunch of Yelpers. Before that we had a gathering of people from AOA.

But this year, Ala Shanghai did not put together a composed Chinese New Years menu. They offered special individual dishes. And those dishes look great. However, I do really enjoy the idea of having a traditional meal composed for me without having to make the impossible choices presented by the menu.

Don’t forget, the tragedy of my life is that I want to eat all the things, but I can’t eat all the things.

Fortunately, Hong Kong Bakery and Bistro stepped up, and had several menus from which to choose. Of all those menus, one especially caught my eye. The only catch was that the meal was only for six people, which opened up the window to an entirely new group of eaters.

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Let It Snow. Let It Grow. Get It Now.

February 9, 2016

The snow on the porch last night was beautiful. It sparkled. Once upon a time it used to snow like this throughout the winter.

I’ve got no idea what’s coming up next, weather wise. Food events I’ve got covered. But I don’t know if our infamous Albany winter is just going to kick us in the ass for the next couple of months, or if it’s just going to throw in the towel and try again next year.

While I’ve been enjoying the warmer weather, and the lack of shoveling, it also makes me deeply uneasy. I can only imagine how the farmers feel. Times like these make me glad to be part of a CSA. That’s Community Supported Agriculture, to those for whom it’s a new term.

It’s a great hedge against uncertainty, and coincidentally, the time to start signing up for one is now. So let me get some of those nagging concerns about the weather off my chest, and then maybe I can answer some about CSAs in general.

Okay, so here comes the crazy.

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Sucked Into The Hype Machine

February 8, 2016

Who lost least? On the field, it was the Broncos. You know because they had the highest score and took home the trophy. But it was an ugly game. The commercials were no great shakes either. Some of the filmmaking was top notch. Christopher Walken in the closet discussing beige socks was brilliant. But I suspect precious few will remember that those fantastically delivered lines of dialog were tied to a Kia spot.

And let’s not talk about all the ads about pooping. Either doing too much of it, or struggling to do enough of it.

My old career in advertising didn’t happen by accident. It was a purposeful path I took because I’m so easily influenced by marketing. I figured that if there are those who are doing the manipulating and those being manipulated, I wanted to be the one pulling the strings.

But that doesn’t mean that I’m still not sucked into a clever pitch or some intriguing packaging. In fact, I’m just as tempted by those things as ever. However, I’m starting to be concerned by the hype machine’s ill effects. And I’m wondering if I’m at least partially to blame.

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Beers Of The Bowl

February 5, 2016

What’s an unconscionable amount of beer to keep around your house, if you aren’t intending to age any of it?

That’s probably a good question for my new craft beer friends. The thing is that a lot of beers decline with age. So I thought this would be a good hobby for me, because it would encourage me to drink what I have on hand before I go out and buy more.

Surprisingly, it hasn’t quite worked out the way that I had imagined.

Last night I opened something called The LIzard King by Pipeworks Brewing Company out of Chicago. It was delicious and delivered some lovely pineapple notes. And then I sat down to a plate of Indian food which totally destroyed any chances of me tasting the rest of this beer. That was a dumb.

In just a couple of days the big game is coming up between the Denver Broncos and the Carolina Panthers. I’ve got a bunch of spicy, Frank’s Red Hot drenched food on the menu, so I felt compelled to run out and buy even more beer just for the occasion.

I’ve found it always helps to have a plan.

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September 2009: Restaurants & Criticism

February 4, 2016

Hi. My name is Daniel. And this is the fifth week I’ve written an FLB TBT. It’s a work in progress, to be sure. This week we’ll try making a few of the color coded sections a little more readable. My intentions here aren’t to torture my dear readers who have been supportive of this blog for years. Really, I just want to take a look back to see where it’s been, chart the arc it took, and see which ideas have stood the test of time. which ideas have stood the test of time.

We’ve learned a lot so far. The blog started with a bang, and then I took a vacation.

It was in this fifth month that I really started to dig into restaurants. I got to express my thoughts about the low bar for what it takes to have a good restaurant, the three common traits of great restaurants, and the one problem with most restaurants. The topic of criticism also played a large role. I wrote about how critics can be tastemakers, I celebrated the arrival of starred reviews for less expensive restaurants, and I revealed my ultimate goal for the blog. There were plenty of posts about hot sauce, and I flew off the handle on yogurt.

So how did it break down day by day? I’m glad you asked. But before we jump into the daily summaries, you may want to refresh yourself with the color coded key, which has changed just a little bit from FLB TBTs of the past.

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