Updated: November 18, 2013
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.
If you want details on any of the places listed, your best bet is Google. Or, you know, Yelp.
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
Old Forge 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
Farm Distilled Applejack – Harvest Spirits, Valatie
Quackenbush Still House Rum – Albany Distilling Co, Albany
Hard Cider – Slyboro Ciderhouse, Granville
Cheesemakers – Old Chatham Sheepherding Company, Old Chatham
Baco Noir – Hudson-Chatham Winery, Ghent
Wood Fired Pizza – DeFazio’s, Troy
NY Style Pizza Slices – Nico’s, Schenectady
Diner – Dan’s Place Two, Albany
Vegetarian/Sandwiches – All Good Bakers, Albany [closed]
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, Colonie
Fried Chicken – The Flying Chicken, Troy
Tater Tots – Comfort Kitchen, Saratoga Springs
Eggplant Sandwich – Peter Pause, Schenectady
Steakhouse – The Bears, Duanesburg
Wine Bar – Charles F. Lucas Confectionery & Wine Bar, Troy
Beer Bar – Bier Abbey, Schenectady
Cocktails – The Speakeasy (at The City Beer Hall), Albany
Espresso – Caffe Vero, Albany
Brewed Chemex Coffee – Tierra Coffee Roasters, Albany
French Patisserie – Mrs. London’s, Saratoga Springs
French Macarons – TC Bakery Paris, Saratoga Springs
Fancy Cakes – Crisan, Albany
Cupcakes – Sweet Sue’s, Troy
Filled & Cake Donuts – Bella Napoli, Troy
Glazed Donuts – The Cookie Factory, Troy
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
Indian Chaat – Parivar, Albany
Mexican – La Mexicana Grocery & Restaurant, Schenectady
Regional Chinese – Ala Shanghai, Latham
Chinese Noodle House – Taiwan Noodle, Albany
Chinese Bakery – Hong Kong Bakery, Albany
Moroccan – Tara Kitchen, Schenectady
Pupusas – Flores Family Restaurant, Schenectady
Korean – Mingle, Albany
Latin Chicken – Mr. Pio Pio, Albany
Irish – Finnbar’s Pub, Troy
Polish – Muza, Troy
Cheese & Charcuterie – The Cheese Traveler, Albany
Fish – Fin Your Fishmonger, Guilderland
Wholesale Gourmet Foods – Adventure in Food Trading, Menands
German Smoked & Cured Meats – Rolf’s Pork Store, Albany
Wine & Spirits – All Star, Latham
Beer – Hoosick Street Discount Beverage Center, Troy
Asian Foods – Asian Supermarket, Albany
Farmers Market – Troy Riverfront Farmers Market, Troy
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
Chefs Consortium food reviews
Chef Noah Sheetz supplies me with some goodies from regional farms and food producers. The ones that I like the most get written up on his website, the Chefs Consortium. It’s a bunch of local food advocates, and I am incredibly proud of my association with the group.
The consortium site has been redesigned, so if you are looking for my contributions please click here.
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.
Top 11 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. Would You Like any Cream or Sugar?
3. An Open Letter to Capital District Chefs
4. Is All Natural Yogurt All Natural?
5. The Good Way vs. The Subway
6. There Will Be Brisket
7. Long Island Potatoes
8. Hard Truths About Hard Cider
9. Cheap Gruel. Expensive Tool.
10. Dunkin’ Drives me Nuts
11. Stupid Easy Chocolate Syrup