Monday was The City Beer Hall’s sold out Wild Game Night with Finback and Rushing Duck breweries. Usually, I buy my tickets to these before the menu is released, because I have a great deal of trust in this culinary team. And also these dinners can sell out so fast that by the time the menu is written, all the spots are gone.
Despite all the beers that come through these doors on a regular basis, I still find it challenging to make the trip downtown to grab a drink. The beer culture in this area has grown tremendously, and we’re lucky to have so many great options scattered throughout the region.
Over time I’ve fallen more and more in love with Westmere Beverage Center, and now, more than not if I’m drinking something special it has come from their tap lines on Western Avenue.
But I digress, because this post isn’t about beer, it’s about food. But instead of giving you the play-by-play of the whole night, I thought I would just skip to a few of the highlights.
Last Saturday, seven people gathered together at Stacks Espresso’s new Broadway shop to fuel up before embarking on the Tour de Wing: Downtown Albany Edition.
We had a plan of attack. The group would divide into two. One group (Team Enchanted City) would start at the north end of the route at Graney’s Stout, and the other group (Team Yelp Elite) would start at the tour’s southernmost spot, Hill Street Cafe. At each stop we would ask for an order of medium wings, crispy. A lot of thought went into the order. But I’ll spare you the analysis of that for right now.
The wings were evaluated based on their skin, meat, and sauce. Those factors were considered in coming up with an overall wing score. Then we looked at criteria like the side vegetables and the dip. And those factors were included in a final overall score that took into consideration the totality of the experience.
In the end everyone survived the tour, and I collected six fully completed scoresheets. The missing sheet was from Doctor Irritation, who was on Team Enchanted City, but he did send me some detailed notes. Ultimately, the individual scores mattered little, because this was the rare case in which the winning wings were a unanimous favorite.
Facts? Who needs facts. Facts would tell you that it’s still winter. But it doesn’t take a genius to know that spring has arrived. Just look out your window. Walk outdoors. You don’t need a jacket. You may not even need a sweater.
Saturday, I walked around Albany with a bunch of fellow eaters in an attempt to find the best wings in the downtown corridor, and I broke out in a sweat. No, I don’t think they were the meat sweats. Actually, all the hot sauce could have been a contributing factor. So could my lack of exercise. But it was a glorious day. The sky was blue. The sun was shining. And the snow was melting.
I know some of you are anxious to hear the Tour de Wing results. And those will be here tomorrow. However, in good conscience, I couldn’t post another FUSSYlittleTOUR result without taking care of a little housekeeping.
There’s a part of the blog which has been long neglected, and maybe you can even help.
Did anyone have a good week this week? Mine was filled with sickness, pain, and disgust. Okay, fine. I did get to go out to Tavern Time with some of the Yelp Crew last night at 20 North Broadway, and that was a lot of fun.
But next week? Next week is going to be nuts. Here are the highlights, starting with Saturday.
Two weeks ago we went to Persian Bite for some Iranian food. Man, that was delicious. I still can’t even imagine how upsetting it must be to be an Iranian living in America and not being able to visit your family back home.
More than anything else, our current immigration policies reek of fear. And I think that’s what I find so unsettling.
Maybe I’m too much of a sucker for some of our more patriotic tropes. You know, things like “The land of the free and the home of the brave.” I’m also partial to “Liberty and justice for all.” And of course there’s “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.”
Do you know what’s brave? Being afraid of something and doing it anyway. Like storming the beaches at Normandy. Or admitting Syrian refugees even if there is a minuscule chance that some bad actors might use the opportunity to cause harm.
Why do we have to be brave? Because there are some American ideals that are important to protect.
I’m not going to debate our broken immigration system. Because it’s broken. There’s no doubt. And I don’t know how to fix it. But as a nation we’ve decided to rely on undocumented workers for so long that they’ve put down roots. They have provided us with food. They have cleaned our homes. They have watched over our children. They have built our infrastructure.
Now the new regime wants them gone. And that means breaking up families. This story is tragic. And immigrant communities are terrified. So here is the foodie response.
Hope your Valentine’s Day was steamy. Mine was. Despite all the universal forces that conspired against me, somehow I was able to pull it off.
Surely you’ve had the experience where something was broken, but when the expert came to look at the problem, whatever had gone wrong was mysteriously fixed. Well, that is exactly what happened to my car yesterday when I brought it to Larry’s Foreign Auto. Have I mentioned lately how much I love and trust that crew?
Right now I’m sitting against a hot pad, which I hear when combined with yoga is a much more effective remedy for back pain than medicine. And I totally agree. Except of course for when the back pain is excruciating. That’s when you need drugs.
Seriously, don’t abuse painkillers. One day you may need them to work unabated. Fortunately, I’m not in that spot. Stretching, the occasional Advil, and a good hot compress are all that I need.
But I was talking about my steamy Valentine’s Day, so maybe I should get back to that.
Happy Valentine’s Day. We need the warm embrace of love on these dreadfully cold days. Whether that be the love of a fellow human being, or even just taking a moment of self love, because dammit that’s important too.
We need more love. Less hate. And I could do with a bit less snow too.
I’m going to blame the snow for screwing up my Valentine’s Day plans. Or maybe I should blame God. At least today’s rant isn’t going to be political. I can’t even tie in the current weather to concerns about shifting climate norms.
Certainly, on one hand, it’s great to gaze out the window and have it finally look like February in the Capital Region. Well, maybe it looks more like late January. The snow isn’t quite dirty enough to look like February. But the mass of the piles is certainly there.
And at least Little Miss Fussy is happy. Young Master Fussy? Well, that’s another story.