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How We Can Have Nice Things

September 15, 2014

Today I have something to ask of you. And it’s something important.

Presumably, if you are reading the FLB, there is at least a small part of you that cares about good food. And most likely, you happen to live within spitting distance of the Capital Region. Without a doubt, the food in this corner of the world has been slowly but steadily improving. And that’s thanks to people like you. People who support some incredible ethnic restaurants like Tara Kitchen, Ala Shanghai, La Mexicana and Parivar.

These places are well beyond the comfort zone of many diners. They offer bold, authentic flavors of cuisines that may seem familiar on their face, but in practice present plates that defy expectations. Yet, by all outward appearances, the restaurants above seem to be surprisingly successful.

There is one other restaurant that is a relative newcomer to the area, and it needs your help. Despite its favorable write-up in the Albany Times Union, and several glowing posts from the region’s culinary cognescenti, this delicious destination hasn’t been getting the traffic it deserves. Albany Jane noticed this fact recently.

Part of the problem could be the restaurant’s name.

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Funday: Cooking and Snacking

September 12, 2014

Believe it or not, but it’s been three weeks since the last Sell Out Funday. What’s Sell Out Funday you ask? Fair question. Well, it’s when I post the collected press releases of the week and share them on the blog. It used to be Sell Out Saturday, then it migrated to Sell Out Sunday. But when I stopped posting anything over the weekends, I renamed the feature Sell Out Funday.

Some weeks there are a ton. But there has been a dry spell lately.

These days I’ve been getting more sleazy solicitations for sponsored content. Everyone wants to write stories with embedded links to their clients, it would seem.

Actually, the two releases the follow have been sitting in my inbox for a while. But the first one is for an event scheduled for next week. The second one is for a series of cooking classes that run through the month of September, including a modestly compelling one scheduled for later today.

Hope you are sitting down, because we’re starting out in the Mediterranean.

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Unburdening: The Tyranny of Lean Meat

September 11, 2014

Cooking healthful, affordable meals for a family doesn’t have to be a burden. I’ve been there. I’ve lived through the challenges. And for the most part, I’ve found ways to overcome them. Occasionally, one still raises its ugly head.

Thanks to a recent study from North Carolina State University, and the media attention it has received, the barriers to cooking meals at home have been painstakingly documented. My goal is to offer solutions to as many of these problems as I can.

Yesterday, I smashed the idol of the ideal family meal. Today, let’s tackle the tyranny of lean meat.

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Unburdening: Ditch the Ideal Meal

September 10, 2014

Did you read that study which found that home-cooking disproportionately burdens mothers?

On my social media feeds, it has been the PBS story on the study and not the study itself that have been making the rounds. Given that this is an issue that’s close to my heart, I felt compelled to read the full study.

Granted, I’m the outlier here. I’m the father, yet these days I do the overwhelming majority of the cooking, dishes, and grocery shopping. I can’t say that I’m surprised these household functions are disproportionately fulfilled by women. I’m not sure what I can do to compel men to take on a larger role in the kitchen.

What I can do is try to lessen the burden for whoever is doing the cooking for a family.

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The Changing Definition of Steak

September 9, 2014

Think you know what it takes for meat to be a steak?

I thought I did too. But we live in interesting times when food isn’t always as it seems. A steak is historically a solid piece of meat cut from an animal. For today, let’s not fiddle around with the fine differences between steaks and chops. Many chops are more commonly referred to as steaks these days anyhow. I can live with that.

Each cow has one tenderloin. If you order a tenderloin steak, you have every reason to believe that you are getting a nice slice of that one lean muscle.

However, definitions change. These days it seems to be the meat industry that is changing the definitions to increase its profits, with some hapless underfunded US regulatory body largely populated by industry insiders rubber stamping the change.

Once upon a time I thought ground beef actually had to start as solid meat that was mechanically ground. How young and naive I was. Well, I’ve got some bad news about what is now being passed off as steak.

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Guest Post: Saratoga Wine & Food Fest

September 8, 2014

Tonight, I’m missing the Soul Cafe in Troy. Man, that’s a city that could use some healing. Getting people from different backgrounds around a table to share a meal might not solve the problem, but at least it’s a good start. One of these days I hope to make it out and break bread with that community.

This weekend I missed a bunch of other good stuff. Thankfully Hollie Miller volunteered to step up and attend the Saratoga Wine and Food Festival in my absence. What follows is her report.

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Friday Fits – Zagat, Fresh Ham & Bosco

September 5, 2014

Let’s try something new.

Did you know I keep a running list of topics I want to write about for the FLB? Some of these tackle larger issues and need to be addressed with a structured series of posts over time. Others are so trivial, that they can’t possibly justify a post of their own.

So instead of just letting those minor complaints sit around and fester, I thought it might be a bit more constructive to periodically share a few of them. I think it’s going to feel good to get these off my chest.

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