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Suntory Time

February 23, 2018

Before this week, the only thing I knew about Suntory whisky I learned from Bill Murray. Or maybe I should say Sophia Coppola? Regardless, one could argue that the movie Lost in Translation had at its centerpiece a commercial shoot for Suntory whisky.

You could also argue that the movie was all about Bill Murray singing More Than This. Man. That scene still gives me chills.

Here’s a funny coincidence. In the end credits of the Bill Murray movie Stripes, there’s a thank you to Jim Beam. And now Jim Beam is owned by Suntory, which Murray made famous in this indie flick.

Small world.

Well, now I know Kyle. He’s the rep for the full line of Beam Suntory brands through much of New York, and not only did he give me an education on Japanese whisky, but he was also one of my co-judges in Monday’s Battle of the Bartenders at Savoy Taproom. Which just so happened to be George Fiorini’s last hoorah before leaving the region.

Yes. That’s sad. I was crying tears into my whisky all night long. But the good news is that he’s leaving behind a lot of talented bartenders to fill his shoes. And I know that too, because I got to try some of their drinks.

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The Growing Fame of Mozz and Melba

February 22, 2018

Maybe you saw the news earlier this week? Mozz and melba was featured on Atlas Obscura!

If you prefer reading about it on Facebook, and seeing the scores of shares and comments on this regionally specific food, that link is here. Just be warned, you may see more than a few comments from me, as I get very excited about these things.

One of the things I’m most excited about is that the photo used at the top of the story is from Vicky who used to be eatanddrinkalbany on Instagram, but now that she’s moved her handle is eatanddrinkhouston. Now her feed is all about Texas foods. But once upon a time it was all about the Capital Region.

She was also part of the Yelp Elite Squad out here, and I got to spend some time with her. Her background was fascinating. And I don’t want to reveal too many personal details, but let’s just say Vicky has a long history in Albany.

But that’s not all.

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The Difference Between Slices and Pies

February 21, 2018

The Tour de Slice is coming. We’ve got a date. The floor is open to nominations. People are sharing their thoughts.

Burnt My Fingers is one of those people, and he brought up an interesting point regarding slices, and his concerns about the entire venture:

It is as if, when we had the Italian sub tour last summer, you had restricted it to establishments that had pre-made sandwiches wrapped in the deli case.

Would you not agree that a slice is a convenience product, and likely inferior to a custom made pie? If so, why not just order and taste whole pies?

Steve N. came to the defense of the slice, and did a great job at succinctly getting to the heart of the matter. But I wanted to take a few more minutes to talk more about pies versus slices and the elevation of convenience foods in general.

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Schenectady Tour de Slice: Nominations

February 20, 2018

Would you believe it’s time for the winter tour? I wouldn’t believe it either. Except it’s true.

Look. Sometimes we run behind. But the last FUSSYlittleTour was all the way back in September when we ran through the gauntlet of the best apple cider donuts one can find at our regional farms.

The time for the winter tour is upon us. The fact that it may feel like spring is a fluke of nature. Dammit, this is still supposed to be winter.

Fluctuations of the seasons aside, the next FUSSYlittleTOUR is scheduled for Saturday, March 17 and it’s going to be an evaluation of the better New York style pizza slices one can find in Schenectady. Let me say this now, Schenectady is a strong pizza town. I don’t know what it is about the electric city. But the pizza is strong within its borders.

So it’s very possible that the best pizza of Schenectady is the best in the Capital Region. And it’s the goal of the FLB to put it to the test. However, before we put pizza place up against pizza place, it’s only fair to open the floor to nominations.

But before you do, here are a few thoughts on the matter.

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Don’t Drink Angry

February 19, 2018

Monday. It’s Monday. And I’m starting the week writing about drinking. Actually, it goes beyond that. I’m starting off the week actually drinking. And not just drinking. I’ll be drinking whiskey.

Believe it or not, but it has nothing to do with today being Presidents’ Day. Although perhaps there is some logic to drinking whiskey on the holiday that used to simply be the celebration of George Washington’s birthday. He was a distiller after all.

Nope. Monday’s are special because this is the day bartenders have off. Which means they can all come together for a night of camaraderie and competition. That’s right. Tonight is the Battle of the Bartenders at Savoy Taproom, and I’ll be one of the judges.

I fully expect the cocktails to be great. We’ve got some very talented bartenders in the Capital Region these days, and competition has a way of bringing out people’s best. That said, cocktails aren’t always great. So today I wanted to tell you about the time this weekend that cocktails made me irrationally angry.

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Funday: First of 2018

February 16, 2018

There are people out there who want you to know things. Why? Because you read this blog.

I know.
It’s shocking.
But it’s true.

Most of that information I keep from you. Man, you have no idea how many people there are out there who want you to see infographics. But between you and me, I’ve got no patience for the visual displays of information, and I assume you don’t either.

If you read posts on the FLB you are a reader. We don’t typically have pictures on these pages, although there have been more of those lately.

Well, there are a few press releases, emails, and notices that I’ve either been sent or come across that I’m going to share. In part because I still don’t really have it in me to write about food today. Nor do I think it would benefit anyone to add my thoughts to the raging online gun control debates. Debate seems like the wrong word, because that requires a certain level of discourse that’s missing in these online forums.

So without any further ado, I present the first Sell Out Funday of 2018.

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Bad Americans

February 15, 2018

It’s coming. Mark my words. It’s coming. Soon there will be a debate on what it even means for something to be a school shooting.

Senator Chris Murphy gave a short and harrowing speech on the floor of Congress yesterday after the school shooting in Florida. What some people are going to pick up on is not the meaning behind his words, but the fact that he said this was the nineteenth school shooting of the year.

I’m not here to pick nits. Murphy’s statement shook me. But he was a bit off. The most aggressive data set I’ve found defines a school shooting as “any time a firearm discharges a live round inside a school building or on a school campus or grounds.” And for that, there are 18. But only a relative few have resulted in fatalities.

If Wikipedia hasn’t steered me wrong, there have been 20 gun deaths in American schools in the first seven weeks of the year. That’s 20 too many. If it keeps up at this pace, there will be 150 kids killed in school by guns this year.

For sake of comparison, in 2016 there were 2,820 kids 13-19 killed in car crashes. Add that to the 723 kids under 13 who were killed as passengers vehicle occupants, and you’ve got a devastating 3,500 lives lost. (Source:

This is not meant to minimize yesterday’s tragedy. More than anything else, I’m sharing these numbers because I’ll need to explain this to my own kids before they get on the school bus. This is how they will not be afraid to continue on the business of everyday life. And this is how I’ll be able to go through my day knowing that most likely we’re only days away from the next “school shooting”.

At the very least, Americans are bad at calculating risk.

To lighten the load a little bit, and keep you from watching all those unsettling videos from yesterday, today I’m sharing some funny and instructive videos I stumbled into about more things Americans are bad at doing.

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