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A Bone to Pick

August 4, 2015

Bug bites make me grumpy. Let’s just say I’ve got a couple. Or at least I hope they are bug bites. If I remember correctly from my last brush with poison oak, I suspected at first that the itchy welts were bug bites, but then they continued to spread.

This body wasn’t meant to be out in the woods.

For what it’s worth, the waterfalls were beautiful. And I suppose it was a good idea to get a little exercise beyond the strenuous matches of foosball being waged in the rumpus room of this rental house.

To fortify myself for the hike ahead, I made sure to make a stop into a local BBQ place that looked like it may have had promise. And truth be told, it was fine. Better than some. Not quite as good as others. But the whole thing really left me in foul mood.

Here’s the question. What do you expect when you get a “full order” of ribs at a BBQ restaurant?

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Somewhere Out By West Virginia

August 3, 2015

Technically, it’s Maryland. But out here the political boundaries seem all gerrymandered anyhow. We’re close to the intersection of Pennsylvania, Maryland and West Virginia. I was just looking at a map today and realized we have West Virginia to our east (in addition to our west).

This is vacation. We’re renting a house with some old friends. And there will be lots of adventures. Although, I may not want to leave the house. We’ve got Settlers of Catan, a foosball table, a hot tub, plenty of fretted instruments, Dungeons & Dragons, and a pool table.

Even though part of me wants to just stay in the house and hang out, there’s another side of me that wants to explore this new corner of the country. Heck, maybe some of you have even been here before.

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Tour de Sandwich Nominations

July 31, 2015

This could get ugly. July is almost done, and before you know it, summer will be over. Personally, I’m looking forward to fall. It’s my favorite time of the year for a host of reasons. But the time for the FLB summer tour is nigh.

In the beginning these fussy little tours were a way to sample some kind of foodstuff that was a regional specialty. So we started with apple cider donuts. Naturally there was a mini hot dog tour, a fish fry tour, and a mozzarella and melba tour. But we’ve also branched out a bit over the years to include things that are common in the region, even though they may not come from these parts. Those have included egg and cheese on a hard roll, soft serve ice cream, and disco fries, among others.

What we have never done is a tour of our Italian delis. One reason is because it’s just such a daunting task. But hey, we began to take on wings with a micro-regional tour of Troy’s offerings. So how hard could this be? Well, let’s find out.

Today, I announce the date of the next tour, and open up the floor for nominations.

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Bon Appetit Loves Bad Ice Cream

July 30, 2015

Once upon a time, Bon Appetit had some kind of credibility. Thanks to the magic of Twitter, yesterday I was informed that Breyers vanilla ice cream made it on to the cover of the magazine’s July issue. But it gets worse. Let me show you the tweet.

How could this possibly be? Breyers isn’t the brand it used to be. After a long, deliberate, and deceptive packaging change, what was once the maker of simple, all-natural ice cream now is largely an industrial producer of frozen dairy dessert. A product so different and inferior to ice cream that it can’t be called ice cream on the package or in any marketing communications.

It would be a riot to read the Breyers Facebook page and see how the brand dances around trying to avoid the words “ice cream” if it weren’t so sad to see this once great brand in decline.

So. What gives with the Bon App cover? After a bit of sleuthing, I figured it out.

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Know Your Farmer: Cilantro Edition

July 29, 2015

First the good news. Dali Mamma is opening back up in Albany? I had no idea until I learned that my chef buddy Ellie Markovitch took a job with the “farm-to-fork cafe”. Ellie is also a member of the Chefs’ Consortium and this past winter I got to join her on a visit to 9 Miles East Farm to learn how Farmer Gordon was using pizza to get people to eat their veggies.

Anyway, you should check out the website and facebook page. Monday, August 3 is the reboot. And I wish I could be there, but I’ll be out of town. More on that later.

But a place that focuses on local seasonal food is important. Especially given the news of the day. If you ever needed a reminder about why you should care about where your food comes from, this is it. Let’s just hope you aren’t eating cilantro of unknown origin if you are reading this.

Actually, let me put that a bit more firmly. If you are eating anything right now, I’d advise that you don’t click through. Wait until later. Unless you are eating imported cilantro. If that’s the case, put it down immediately, and brace yourself.

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The Things We Do For Love

July 28, 2015

What do you get the woman who has everything? Okay, fine. Mrs. Fussy doesn’t have everything. We can barely keep her in running shoes. But that doesn’t mean it’s easy to buy her gifts.

Actually, I take that back. It would be very easy to buy her a gift. All it would take would be a gift certificate for a massage, and she’d be thrilled.

But I didn’t want to get her a massage this year. I know how massages work. They are wonderfully relaxing experiences. Great ones can be transformative. I’ve watched my shoulders drop inches after getting off the massage table. The tragedy of massages is that they don’t last. And the stress of life quickly undoes the benefits of the experience.

No, this year, I wanted to get something that would last and wouldn’t be a burden. Any guesses? Now’s the time. Jot it down. The answer will be revealed in just a moment.

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Growing Old With The Fussies

July 27, 2015

What do you get the woman who has everything? It’s a good question, but that’s not terribly relevant today. Today is Mrs. Fussy’s birthday! Somehow, over the years, my child-bride has turned into an old lady. But she’s my old lady, and I love her to pieces.

There’s something odd about the perception of time. It seems to stand still. None of my childhood friends seem old to me. They pretty much look like the way they’ve always looked. Sure, thanks to the magic of Facebook, I can see some of my more distant acquaintances. And man, some of them have surely aged. But my friends? They are young forever.

Mrs. Fussy is the same way. So I joke about her being old. Actually, we both joke about being old. This weekend we were talking about something “all the kids are doing these days” and then realized by “kids” we were thinking of people in their late 20s and early 30s. I think that’s the definition of old.

But you probably don’t want to hear a mushy love note to my wife. You’re more likely interested in hearing about what I’m getting her for a present, and what I put together for her impromptu birthday party. At least some of it was delicious.

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