This was an amazing weekend. Father’s Day was better than expected. The family let me sleep in late and catch up on some badly needed rest. Then I had a lovely lunch of cured meats, was showered with love, got to spend some time in the yard, and then showered with soap and water. We had burritos for dinner, and I even got some nibbles from Little Miss Fussy’s precious candy stash.
Saturday was Troy’s River Fest where I manned a Yelp tent for the first time. I got to meet some fascinating people and see some old friends. Thanks to everyone who stopped by. Looking back on it, I guess I probably over-engineered the mobile phone charging station, but that’s okay. After the festival we were off to a friend’s place for beers and burgers.
Like all weekends, it started on Friday with something that’s a weekly tradition. However, despite that fact, it was the first time in a month we sat down around our table for our Friday night ritual.
If you’ve been reading the blog for a while you likely already know what that is.
Did you hear what came out yesterday? The Times Union’s 2015 Best of the Capital Region. And this year the strangest thing happened.
For those who are relatively new to the FLB, you might have missed my earlier quixotic campaigns to try and influence the results of this poll. My intentions were good. The goal was to drive the chains from the list and replace those pillars of mediocrity with local businesses that more closely resembled the best of what Albany had to offer.
Don’t forget, Pizza Hut used to make the list for Best Pizza and Subway was a ubiquitous feature in the Best Sandwich category. Thankfully those days are over.
But for the last couple of years I’ve stepped away from the manipulations of the past, and largely decided to ignore the results of the poll. Except this year, something happened which really cannot be ignored.
Part of me suspects that this will be a divisive issue. And it’s not one that I hear very many people talking about. However, it is one that I think deserves some attention.
Eating at the bar feels like a more common activity in the Capital Region than in other places I’ve been. Now, this could be observation error, and I’m perfectly willing to admit that. But I have a sense that this comes out of the same cultural phenomena that we’ve seen echoed elsewhere.
Surely, the history of our local taverns which have long been split into a bar side and a restaurant side have normalized the idea of eating meals at the bar.
But it goes deeper than that. Because by and large, we have a tremendous respect for and awareness of service workers. And I suspect part of the decision for people to eat at the bar has to do with a self-conscious awareness of how a smaller check will negatively impact the take home pay of a waiter or waitress.
Let me share just one more theory, and then I’ll explain why this is important.
Holy cow. Whole Foods has been in Albany for an entire year. I can’t believe it. Actually, I can’t believe it on a lot of levels.
For starters, I was still in New Jersey on sabbatical when the Whole Foods opened in Albany so I missed the whole thing. Does that mean I haven’t even been back in the Capital Region for a full year? That seems impossible.
And even though the market has been here a year, I still can’t believe we have a Whole Foods in the Capital Region. Never in my wildest dreams did I entertain the notion that we would be able to attract such an upscale market to this old corner of upstate New York where change seems to come at a glacial pace. That said, Crossgates Mall is getting a lululemon. This is definitely not the Albany I moved to eight years ago. So maybe it’s not so glacial after all.
Anyway, in advance of the official one year anniversary, Whole Foods Albany invited a bunch of bloggers back into the market for a local vendor tasting on Tuesday. There I saw old friends and made some new ones, and even found one local producer who was completely off my radar.
Let’s take science and just put it on the sidelines for a moment. It’s not that I don’t like science (I effin’ love science). It’s just that I’d really like to live in my little bubble undisturbed by what may be the reality of the situation for a little while longer.
What’s interesting about science is that it always changes. That’s the point. Scientists continue to question what they know, to challenge assumptions, and that is how they move knowledge forward. The opposite of science is just accepting something as established fact and sticking by that position, not allowing yourself to be moved by any evidence to the contrary.
Occasionally, long held scientific principles get challenged. However it may take a long time for the scientific community to accept new findings. And how the general public feels on a matter may have more to do with base emotions than any kind of logical or rational thought process.
Luckily we’re not trying to tackle the issues of nuclear energy and its resulting waste, which can be toxic to human life longer than any civilization ever known to walk the earth.
Although the issues surrounding butter may be just as complicated.
Skipping meals is a tragedy. For those of us who are fortunate to have at least three square meals a day, each eating occasion is not just a chance to refuel the engine, but also a potential source of pleasure.
Life is hard. I say that we should take pleasure and joy wherever we can find it. And whether that comes from the smell of trees, the presence of loved ones, or the act of eating a perfectly ripe peach, is immaterial.
Every meal skipped is a lost opportunity. It’s an experience that’s been forsaken. And it’s something you’ll never get back. Which is why, even on an airplane when I’m absolutely sure the food will be horrendous, I will still not refuse the tray, or box, or what have you.
So what would make me choose a glass of water over an evening meal on Sunday?
There are too many posts on the FLB to count, so I have to trust the WordPress dashboard. It tells me today we’ve reached 1800. Yowzers. We’ll celebrate in six months or so when hopefully the blog will pass the 2ooo mark.
That will either feel like a tremendous accomplishment or a colossal waste of time.
Today, instead of sharing news from the community, I’m just going to put up some pictures. But before I do, I’ll tip my hat to a few community events.
Tonight The Cheese Traveler is having a cookout from 5-8p at his shop. I can never seem to make these, but they look fantastic. There’s a also tasting at fin – your fishmonger on Thursday, June 18 from 5-7p to help Dora and Pete find their new fish taco. That’s only $7 and I’d totally be there if I didn’t have a prior commitment.
But now onto the photos.