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The Big D

October 18, 2018

First, get your mind out of the gutter.

There are lots of things that could be “The Big D” including some notable faces on the local culinary scene. Chef Dimitrios or Dominick Purnomo are big men whose names start with D. They are big men, with big personalities. It could be about diabetes, which is a big problem, especially for those of us who love carbs covered with carbs. You know, like the Dutch Udder’s warm Schuyler donut ice cream sandwich for example.

Deforestation is a pretty Big D. Recently there have been some comments on the FLB about meat consumption and concerns about its environmental impact. I know that in parts of South America forests were being cleared to make way for the beef production. We’ll talk more about meat and the environment down the road, because it seems like a hefty concern for people, and as a result it’s something I’m mulling over a lot these days.

If you are concerned about the environment, and taking corrective actions to try to improve our lot, thank you. Small changes add up. Everyone can do their part. But everyone can also contribute in different ways. Some people may think giving up meat is the answer. Others might consider moving back into urban centers and abandoning their cars to have a larger impact. Energy lovers might convert to solar electric and geothermal heat. A few hearty souls may keep their homes frosty during the winter and consider central air to be a luxury they can do without. What was it that Azrael said… “No pleasure, no rapture, no exquisite sin greater than central air.”

One of the many things that we try to do in the Fussy household is minimize food waste. Composting is key. But we don’t do that. I will sometimes throw food scraps into the woods. Thankfully we have no bears. If we had bears, no food scraps in the woods.

What we do have is a chest freezer. Which, I suppose, requires energy. But it also helps to minimize food waste. However, it does need to be maintained, and that’s where “The Big D” comes into play.

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A Hot Tip for the Cold Months Ahead

October 17, 2018

Last night was incredible. The Adelphi Hotel invited forty of us—members of the Yelp Elite Squad and their guests—on “A Culinary Tour” of its three restaurants. Those would be Salt & Char, The Blue Hen, and Morrissey’s.

Morrissey’s has always seemed a bit off the radar, but it has significant talent behind the bar, and is one of the gems in the region’s growing craft cocktail scene. Seriously. They are doing delicious and innovative things there.

The other restaurants are a bit more high profile. That said, both Salt & Char and The Blue Hen have changed significantly since opening their doors. Last night I got to spend a little bit of time with chef Chris Bonnivier to learn about the direction he has taken the restaurants. And more importantly, something exciting he’s just rolled out.

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Meat Me in the Middle

October 16, 2018

So Mrs. Fussy and I have been having an ongoing, but mostly minor disagreement on meat.

Let’s just say that she would like us to eat less meat. My position isn’t contrarian. I don’t think we should eat more meat. But I’m comfortable with the amount of meat that we’re eating. Which is the subject of another minor disagreement.

Because I say we’re really not eating much meat at all. To which, Mrs. Fussy will gladly list all the meals in which meat has played a role. However, I will counter with the fact that it played only a minor role as a flavoring agent, and not as the protein at the center of the plate.

All of this makes me insatiably curious… and hungry… but mostly curious. My hope is that you will be able to help us make some sense of all this. I know that this isn’t a statistically sound sample, nor is it particularly representative of anything beyond readers of this blog. However it will be a start.

If you’ll indulge me, I have a couple of questions, that I hope some people will answer.

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The Best Tuesday Ever

October 15, 2018

Monday is always a melancholy day. Today is especially so. This weekend I found out that the excellent local blog Chefsday is ceasing operations after a great four year run. Dominic’s voice will be missed, but at least his cooking can still be enjoyed at The Wine Bar in Saratoga Springs.

He’s got some deep fried chicken livers that I need to get in my mouth. I just hope I can get up there before the fall menu transitions into the winter one. I had hoped that Tuesday would be the magic day. The optimist in me was willing to try and squeeze in a second dinner if the kitchen stayed open late enough. But it looks like we’ll have to find another day.

In all seriousness, this departure is another blow to the local food blog community. With Mr. Dave removing his blog from the interwebs yet again, it’s been a rough few weeks.

Given how this month started off, it’s unsettling for me to have a weekend go by and find myself not judging any culinary competitions. That said it’s also good to have a few days to recover. After all, this upcoming Saturday is the Tour de Donut. If you haven’t put it on your calendar yet, now’s the time. It may be the very last official one organized by the FLB.

Which isn’t to say this weekend was entirely food-event free. Saturday was the Family Fire Feast at Pitney Meadows Community Farm. That’s a mouthful. But I went with Little Miss Fussy and the entire afternoon was delightful. The farm is really a magical place.

 

Saturday, however, was just the warm up The big day is on Tuesday. But Tuesday is a big day for a lot of people, for a lot of reasons.

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The Chowder Challenge

October 12, 2018

Really, it’s amazing I’m not 300 pounds. Because the day after taking down twenty-three wings, I judged twenty-three different chowders. There’s nothing quite like a few pints of cream and butter to kick your heart into gear.

At least this year I had the presence of mind to pick up a six pack of beer for the judges to sip on in between the samples. I mean, everyone else who was participating in Troy’s ChowderFest was drinking. Why should the judges be any different?

Thankfully, the Shmaltz bottle shop is right on the square so I was able to get some Slingshot lager. I’m not quite sure why this Jewish beer pairs so well with traif. But that’s the way it goes.

Did you happen to see the results of the judging? They may seem strange. But even though I was just one judge on a panel of five, I think I should be able to help make sense of it all. And maybe provide a bit more context too. Because sometimes there are stories that get lost in all the numbers.

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YESpresso

October 11, 2018

Quick story. Years ago, I wrote about how sometimes people mistake me for a non-native speaker of English. That’s a longer story, and you’re welcome to read that here.

Well, on Sunday I found myself walking around Troy with a belly full of chowder, and desperately in need of something to help me power through. And there, like a beacon in the chowder fog, was Superior Merchandise Co.

It had been a tragically long time since I had stopped in to check out the coffee situation there. I missed the three year anniversary, and I missed the opening of their new coffee roastery. Apparently, I also was absent for most of their summer drinks menu, which was still active as of Sunday.

One of my great frustrations, but also one of the great joys of Superior Merch, is that they change the drink menu every few months to pair with the season. Given that I had a belly full of cream and butter, I had no interest in a yogurt drink. But SMCo is slinging a Corn Silk Lassi which they say has cereal milk inspired flavors, and that sounds really good.

But all I wanted was an espresso. Until, that is, the woman behind the counter wasn’t quite sure what I said.

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The Tour de Donut: Wild Card

October 10, 2018

It’s fall dammit. I don’t care if it’s going to hit eighty degrees today. We’re already over a week into October. The leaves are starting to change color a bit. I’m thinking about raking. And that means it’s time to head out to our local orchards and go donut picking. Or apple picking, if that’s more your scene. But who can say no to apple cider donuts in October?

Once again, I’ve got your chance to eat an immoderate quantity of cider donuts in one day. And you can tell your friends and loved ones that it isn’t gluttony when you are doing it for science.

That’s right. It’s another Tour de Donut. Except this one is a little different.

For those of you who have no idea what I’m talking about, let me give you the short version. Periodically, I lead a group of intrepid eaters around the region to eat and evaluate some of the most beloved foodstuffs of the area. These things both have an inextricable sense of place and would also diminish in transit. So we cannot bring these delicacies to us. We must go to them.

At the end of the day, not only do all the participants have a better understanding of the item in question and the nuances of its component pieces, but they have also decided upon their favorite version. Whereas most people’s favorites stem from childhood memories or geographic proximity, those on the tour form their opinion based on empirical data.

If you haven’t been on a FLB tour before, you should come. Seriously, this is open to anyone. Don’t be shy. For those brave souls who venture forth, this is what awaits.

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