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A New Look

April 24, 2017

When was the last time I changed anything having to do with the look and feel of this blog? I think the last cosmetic change was a small one, where someone had fixed the typography in the masthead. But most likely that change went unnoticed by almost everyone.

There comes a time when you just have to bite the bullet and realize that ten years have passed, and nobody knows the name of that big black device that you are holding up to your head in your profile picture.

It’s a phone, dammit. A phone.

People would talk on them, and have long conversations. Mostly because the voice quality was a thousand times better than our new digital devices. And the old fashioned phones didn’t heat up and make you feel like you’re cooking your brain cells more and more each minute you stay on the line.

So, we’ve established that I’m old. As fate would have it, this change was inspired by another old man in my life. For the sake of giving credit where credit is due, let’s call him Matt W. Not too long ago Matt had tried to lead a campaign, potentially backed by my mother, to have me change the old grumpy profile picture.

Why today? And why this picture? Well, I’ll tell you.

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Spring Broke

April 21, 2017

Have you noticed that all the posts this week have gone up a little bit late? Maybe it has seemed like I’m out of my usual rhythm. Well, that’s because I am. This past week has not just been the end of Passover and the beginning of Albany Craft Beer Week. It’s also been the kids’ spring break.

And that has been a mixed blessing.

On the plus side, without having to pack lunches, or getting the children out the door in time for the bus, I’ve been able to sleep a little bit later in the mornings. That’s been really nice, even though it has had an impact on my blog posting schedule. On the flip side it has meant that I’ve had to consider their needs when making important choices about where to eat.

Like yesterday, for example. Part of me wanted to abandon the kids so I could grab lunch at The City Beer Hall and eat the Scrapple Grilled Cheese sandwich Dimitrios and Ian made for Day of the Dank. That scrapple, by the way, was made in house and packed with Sichuan flavors to boot.

But instead, I had to do something a little more kid centric.

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April 20, 2017

Happy 420 day to all who celebrate it. I do still remember those days, decades ago, when I was young and free, and had entire days that I could waste away sitting on couches, listening to music, and letting the mind float freely through the ether.

Lately I can barely find a night off to unshackle myself from the electronic devices that tether me to the interwebs. But last night I was able to enjoy a rare evening of bar hopping. I couldn’t resist popping into The Hollow to see what cheese Eric from The Cheese Traveler would bring, and what dishes chef Anna would prepare to pair with some of the beers from Ommegang.

The notion of darts paired with Sam Smith Oatmeal Stout was too tempting to pass up as well. So I dusted off my set of tungsten-nickel alloy darts, with Union Jack flights and headed off to play at The Olde English Pub. What I learned is that there aren’t a lot of dart players in the Capital Region. But that’s okay. It was therapeutic to throw a few arrows.

Today, The City Beer Hall is doing something special for what they are calling Day of the Dank. I hope to find some time to squeeze in a quick trip and get a whiff of what the kitchen is cooking.

But since we’re on the topic, maybe we can talk about holiday appropriate munchies.

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Pasta, I Love You

April 19, 2017

Is it just me, or does it seem like more and more people are deciding to give up more and more things?

You’ve got the vegetarians who have given up meat.
The vegans who have given up all animal products.
You’ve got the paleo crowd, which I’ve never understood.
You have the carb avoiders.
The gluten-free.
Surely there are still people who are pursuing low fat diets.
And I’m just as sure that there are still calorie counters.
We can’t forget the teetotalers, they’ve been around for ages.
Going sugar free is having a moment.
And recently I heard some people talking about giving up caffeine.


That’s hardly an exhaustive list. And ultimately, you have to do you. But life is hard, ruthless, and short. I advocate for taking pleasure where you can find it. And one thing that is quite clear coming out of the Passover holiday is that noodles are one of the loves of my life.

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For Want of a Bone, a Day Was Lost

April 18, 2017

In theory, tonight after sundown I could enjoy some of the fun from Albany Craft Beer Week. But tonight, I’m going to celebrate the end of Passover with my family. I think it might be a big meal of pasta with bolognese. It may even be the last of the bolognese I made over the winter from Bella Terra ground beef.

More importantly though, it means that it will be another year before you have to hear me gripe any more about missing out on bread, beer, and whiskey.

But before we close the chapter on this year’s holiday season, I did want to share with you the story of the lamb shank. Mostly because at the end of it, you’ll likely have a new technique for cooking a leg of lamb.

That is, of course, unless you’re Greek. And you’ve already known this for years, but for some reason, have been holding off on sharing the secret with me and the gang.

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Dreams of Bread & Beer

April 17, 2017

Originally this post was called Chametz Dreams, but I figured that wouldn’t quite have the same popular appeal. We’re in the waning days of Passover. There has been no toast or beer for days. And no whiskey either.

Yesterday I was going to make a leg of lamb for Easter, but the idea of cooking a seven hour roast when the outside temperatures were hitting over 80 degrees was met with intense consternation by Mrs. Fussy. So instead I banged out a quick matzo brie dinner for the family.

Things could be worse.

Still, I’m longing for the day when I can join the rest of the world in its pursuit of grainy pleasures. On the plus side, in this time of want, I’ve been able to carefully construct my dream event that’s all about bread, beer, and bourbon. That said, I’m still stuck on the sidelines for the first couple of days of Albany Craft Beer Week.

But let’s start with the positive.

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Albany, Cocktails, and Culture

April 14, 2017

Egads, things are bleak. Missiles launching at Syria. Bombs dropping on Afghanistan. Warships heading to North Korea. Russia is in a tizzy. Putin may have thought the Donald might have been preferable to Hillary, but I bet he’s reconsidering that right about now. And I’m guessing he’s not the only one. Although for what it’s worth, she would have attacked Syria too.

Smoke ‘em if you got ‘em.

Last night I found myself eating little fried bits of rendered brisket fat. I also somehow started writing little peacenik diatribes on the Facebook pages of relative strangers. Over dinner, I explained some of the fundamentals of war to the children, and what differentiates a war from a military action or conflict.

It could drive a person to drink. Coincidentally, I had planned about talking about cocktails today anyhow. So yesterday’s show of American military spending and technology turns out to come at a convenient time for the FLB.

So if you feel like a drink and you are in the Capital Region, where do you go for a good cocktail?

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