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#518 Recos

Updated: December 31, 2015

My old friend Raf told me that this page sucked. He said that when people click on something that says “Recommendations” they want to know where to eat. Honestly, if you want to know where to eat I really think you should check out Yelp. It’s a lot easier to fine tune your results based on your particular set of criteria.

But I have strong opinions, and I’ve never really put all of my top picks in any one place before. So for those of you who insist on relying on me for where to eat, drink and buy food, I’ve dawn up my own best of the Capital Region list of sorts. It’s pretty flushed out, but I still consider it to be an ongoing work in progress.

Now I’m in the process of updating this list with links. But if you want more details on any of the places listed, your best bet is Google. Or, you know, Yelp.

Regional Specialties
Fish Fry (Seasonal) – Gene’s, East Greenbush
Fish Fry (Year Round) – Off Shore Pier, East Greenbush
Mini Hot Dogs – Famous Lunch, Troy
Mozzarella & Melba – Ralph’s Tavern, Albany
Albany Railyard Style Pizza – The Orchard Tavern, Albany
Seasonal Soft Serve – On The Farm, Latham
Homemade Hard Ice Cream – The Ice Cream Man, Greenwich
Apple Cider Donuts – Indian Ladder Farm, Altamont
Farm Distilled Applejack – Harvest Spirits, Valatie
Quackenbush Still House Rum – Albany Distilling Co, Albany
Hard Cider – Nine Pin Cider, Albany
Cheesemakers – Old Chatham Sheepherding Company, Old Chatham
Baco Noir – Hudson-Chatham Winery, Ghent

Comfort Foods
My Favorite Pizza Place – Marino’s, Schenectady
Wood Fired Pizza – DeFazio’s, Troy
NY Style Pizza Slices – Nico’s, Schenectady
Diner – Dan’s Place Two, Albany
Carolina Style Pulled Pork – Capital Q, Albany
Barbecue Chicken – Dinosaur Bar-B-Que, Troy
Buffalo Style Wings – The Ruck, Troy
Burgers – The City Beer Hall, Albany
Bistro – Garden Bistro 24, Latham
Fried Chicken – The Flying Chicken, Troy
Tater Tots – Comfort Kitchen, Saratoga Springs
Steakhouse – The Bears, Duanesburg
Eggs in Purgatory – Perreca’s, Schenectady
Deep Fried Hamburger – Swifty’s, Delmar
Deep Fried Monte Cristo – Public House 42, Albany
Small Plates – Peck’s Arcade, Troy
Bacon, Egg & Cheese – Eggy’s Place, Albany
Grilled Cheese – The Cheese Traveler, Albany
Pop Up Brunch – The Low Beat, Albany
Avocado Fries – Slidin’ Dirty, Troy
FroYo – Ayelada, Latham

Drinking
Wine Bar – Lucas Confectionery & Wine Bar, Troy
Beer Bar – Bier Abbey, Schenectady
Cocktails – The Speakeasy (at The City Beer Hall), Albany
Espresso – Stacks Espresso, Albany
Seasonal Lattes – Superior Merchandise Co., Troy
Nitro Iced Coffee – Happy Cappuccino, Guilderland

Bakeries
French Croissants – Mrs. London’s, Saratoga Springs
French Macarons – TC Bakery Paris, Saratoga Springs
Fancy Cakes – Crisan, Albany
Cupcakes – Sweet Sue’s, Troy
Filled Donuts – Bella Napoli, Latham
Chocolate Iced Donuts – The Cookie Factory, Troy
Cake Donuts – Schuyler Bakery, Watervliet
Cider Donuts – Cider Belly, Albany
Baguette – The Placid Baker, Troy
Italian Bread – Perreca’s, Schenectady
Bagels – Kosher Chopper Route 155, Colonie
Bialys – Eastern Parkway Price Chopper, Schenectady
Challah – New Mt. Pleasant Bakery, Schenectady

Ethnic Restaurants
Indian Chaat – Parivar, Albany
Indian Buffet – Nirvana, Guilderland
Mexican – La Mexicana Grocery & Restaurant, Schenectady
Regional Chinese – Ala Shanghai, Latham
Chinese Noodle House – Taiwan Noodle, Albany
Chinese Bakery – Hong Kong Bakery, Albany
Boba Tea – Lucky Corner, Troy
Moroccan – Tara Kitchen, Schenectady
Pupusas – Flores Family Restaurant, Schenectady
Latin Chicken – Mr. Pio Pio, Albany
Irish – Finnbar’s Pub, Troy
Polish – Muza, Troy
Ramen – Tanpopo, Albany
Ethiopian (sometimes… call ahead) – Umana, Albany
Banh Mi – Saigon Pearl, Albany

Shops
Cheese & Charcuterie – The Cheese Traveler, Albany
Meat – Sentinel Butchery, Troy
Fish – Fin Your Fishmonger, Guilderland
Wholesale Gourmet Foods – Adventure in Food Trading, Menands
Bulk – Honest Weight Food Coop, Albany
German Smoked & Cured Meats – Rolf’s Pork Store, Albany
Eastern European Smoked & Cured Meats – Chester’s Smokehouse, Albany
Wine – 22 Second Street, Troy
Spirits – All Star, Latham
Beer – Hoosick Street Discount Beverage Center, Troy
Asian Foods – Asian Supermarket, Albany
Farmers Market – Schenectady Greenmarket, Schenectady

FUSSYlittleTOURresults
Some of the above finds were the results of a broad tasting of similar items. About once a quarter I lead a brave group of eaters into the wilderness, and we partake in several forms of one food for the course of several hours. For the most part, these foods have something to do with the Capital Region.

Read the summaries of the results below to learn more about these special dishes & where to eat them.

1. All Cider Donuts Are Not Created Equal
2. Small Hot Dogs, Big Differences
3. Saturday’s Soft Serve Standings
4. Best Fish Fry of Five
5. The Best Cider Donut East of the Hudson
6. Cracking the Egg and Cheese Sandwich
7. Homemade Hard Ice Cream Hotlist
8. There Can Only Be One Ice Cream Sandwich
9. The Best Cider Donut Further Upstate
10. Mozz & Melba Highs & Lows
11. Gonzo Gelato Grazing
12. Troy’s Wings on Parade
13. The Best Donuts Off the Beaten Path
14. Learn How to Disco Fry in Five Easy Steps
15. The FroYo Favorites 
16. The Best Cider Donut Late in the Season
17. Five Totally Different Tavern Pies
18. Saratoga Soft Serve Soiree
19. The Difference in Italian Delis
20. The Best of the West Cider Donuts

All Over Albany Eat This! posts
Every other week I write about one delicious thing to eat or drink in the Capital Region. This is actually a lot harder than it sounds, because my standards are really high. These reside on my favorite local website, and they actually pay me money to do this. Oh, and as opposed to my blog, all of my posts on AOA have pictures.

There are too many to list. You’ll have to read them all.

Top 13 posts on the FLB to date
This isn’t about where to eat per se, but rather about what you might want to read. Some posts go by unnoticed. Mostly those are the ones about wine. Others, like the Open Letters, the FUSSYlittleBALLOTS, and the results of the tours are tentpole affairs. But sometimes, and seemingly without reason a few posts have caught on with readers far beyond my customary sphere of influence. Below you can see some of the things that have captured the most people’s imaginations.

(NB: I’ve removed the FUSSYlittleBALLOT posts and the results from tours listed above)

1. The Secret to Oddly Tender Chinese Meat
2. Unexpected Dangers of Farming
3. 3 Reasons Not To Trust Dunkin’ Donuts
4. Would You Like any Cream or Sugar?
5. Post Screws Around With Grape-Nuts
6. Hard Truths About Hard Cider
7. Is All Natural Yogurt All Natural?
8. Lindt Truffles are Disgusting
9. Dunkin’ Drives me Nuts
10. An Open Letter to Capital District Chefs
11. The Good Way vs. The Subway
12. The Thing About Olive Garden
13. Long Island Potatoes

The Local Yelp Newsletter Archive
Every Wednesday, residents of the Capital Region with registered Yelp accounts get a special treat in their email boxes. It’s the Local Yelp newsletter, and it too is written by yours truly. Writing this weekly round-up of great local businesses is just one part of my job with Yelp as Albany’s very first Community Ambassador.

If you don’t get it, you can see it here (and even subscribe if you wish).

3 Comments leave one →
  1. Potato King permalink
    July 16, 2013 2:21 pm

    This list is a bit how do i say it? POTATO!

  2. December 31, 2014 1:48 pm

    Didn’t catch this one until just now Daniel, I will use this list too.

  3. December 31, 2014 8:52 pm

    This looks like a lost of what is going to make me fat. I’d love to get down and do some reviews for some of these places on our podcast.

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