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The Calendar That Ate Fussy

September 23, 2016

Every Friday, I feel like I’m saying, “Where did the time go.” And it’s true. At the beginning of the week it can be a struggle to find a topic worthy of a post. But by the end of the week there’s just a crapton to cram into a few hundred words.

Yesterday I mentioned how busy the schedule has been, and part of that has been in preparation for what’s to come. Soon I’ll be driving down to New Jersey for the weekend. There’s a bat mitzvah on Saturday. And on Sunday I’ll be in NYC briefly for a museum visit of all things.

Whenever I’m in the city and not on an eating excursion, I feel like it’s a minor tragedy. But I’ll be back in early November, at the latest for a business trip. And since my business trip involves Yelp, I’m assuming there will be some good eats involved.

Speaking of which, I have the inside line for some good eats today, for those lucky enough to be in Albany at lunchtime. And I’ve got a whole bunch of other delicious things that might be off your radar. Perhaps today’s post is just a wee bit self promotional. But it’s always great to meet new blog readers at events, and see old friends.

You’ve been warned.

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Core Samples

September 22, 2016

Do you know why I don’t buy any of those Living Social deals? Nothing against Living Social, that was just the first brand that came to mind. But things like Groupon fit in that category too. Occasionally, compelling offers come up. But I know myself too well. I would always wait until the last minute to use my deal, and then it would feel more like a burden than a pleasure.

So when SONIC approached me a few weeks ago and asked if I had time to sample their new SONIC Blast Flavor Funnels before September 23, I said sure. Then they sent me $25 in gift cards so I could try out a few different flavors. And those gift cards sat. And they sat. Until I got an email asking if I had tried these frozen treats.


Remember how I said that I would take someone out for ice cream at SONIC? Well, it looks like I owe Sue H. an ice cream, because I went without her. The good news is that I’m totally good for it. And the even better news is now that after Albany Jane helped me taste through five different SONIC Blasts, I have a pretty good idea of how to order something delicious.

It’s really an eye opening experience when you get to sample a wide variety of a particular food at an establishment. After trying so many house made pastas at IL FARO, now I know which one I enjoy the most. The same goes for the dim sum at Hong Kong Bakery, and the noodle soups at Taiwan Noodle.

This is how you find out, for example, that the best pizzas at The Fountain are the ones that contain either the eggplant and or the meatball toppings, even when many of the other pizzas may be fair to average for tavern pies. So what does this kind of experience illuminate about the SONIC Blast Flavor Funnels? Well, first we should probably start with a few definitions, because proprietary names for things can be confusing.

I know I was confused when trying to read the menu board at our local SONIC. Here’s the primer. Read more…

The Beacon On The Hill

September 21, 2016

There is always news. Sometimes it’s good. Sometimes it’s awful. Today is the International Day of Peace. More awful things will happen today. It’s a big world. It needs healing. And as far as we’ve come, we still have a long way to go.

You may notice that I’m not in the most optimistic mood today.

I don’t envy the PR professionals who need to help promote their clients’ messages on weeks like this. But I do love a good PR person. Years ago I met Duncan Crary. He’s one of Troy’s biggest advocates and a tireless promoter of the city. He sent me a reminder about The Hill at Muza’s Vineyard Grape Stomp tomorrow. I’ll just put the link to that event here, in part because it sounds like a good time. But there’s another reason too, and it has to do with the news.

The Times Union reported that Vic Christopher and Heather LaVine have agreed to buy Minissale’s and will be bringing Nick Ruscitto over to run the kitchen. This will leave Peck’s Arcade in the able hands of Matt Sciubba. But there was a section of the story that ties both of these events together:

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A Handful of Skittles

September 20, 2016

Not gonna get political. Not gonna do it. And if anyone tries to get all political down in the comments section, I’m going to delete it. Seriously, what the world needs now is a little bit of comfort and a whole lot of love.

And what could be happier than a colorful bag of Skittles. Taste the rainbow. Right?

Well, last night I checked out why Skittles were trending on Twitter, and it was something awful. There’s nothing like seeing pictures of refugee children when you have small children of your own. It’s gut wrenching.

But instead of talking about dehumanizing the refugee crisis by comparing suffering children to colorful pieces of candy, I’ve got another idea. Let’s take a moment and check out the existential questions surrounding Skittles.

First, can you even name the flavors that come in each bag?

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Kids and Bars

September 19, 2016

This weekend we left the kids at home to go to a bar. Kinda.

Many thanks to Albany Jane, who hasn’t disappeared off the face of the earth. I know her extended blogging sabbatical might lead you to believe otherwise. But she came over with Albany John to look after the fussy little children while Mrs. Fussy and I drank Asian beers and sang karaoke in a private room at Red & Blue in Troy.

While part of me wanted to channel my inner creepy old Bill Murray from Lost in Translation, the party had a much more festive vibe. That would have been out of place.

Still, I highly recommend the experience. Especially when paired with Red & Blue’s fiery Szechuan food, like the braised fish with roasted chili soup. One order is enough for a group of four or more. It’s huge. And it’s fiery. And it’s delicious.

Despite the presence of a sushi bar, this is quite clearly a Chinese restaurant. And even though they have a cocktail bar, I’d recommend to sticking with things that come in bottles.

Today, however, I actually want to talk about an entirely different kind of bar.

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Will Yoga For Food

September 16, 2016

Yesterday I had a salad for lunch. And it was dressed with nothing more than some estate bottled Tuscan olive oil and vinegar of Banyuls. Man, that was a good salad. Wednesday, I had a salad for lunch too. It was escalivada, and it was served with boquerones and a few pieces of grilled bread.

That’s a lot of salads. Even though I’m officially off my diet, I’m back on the wagon and trying to eat responsibly during those times I’m not eating as part of the job. The struggle is real.

I’m also excited to say that after months of talking about getting into shape, I’ve finally started an exercise program. I really had a mental block about it, but Mrs. Fussy helped a lot. She looked around at all the yoga programs in the area, and figured out which ones might be the best for someone with no base level of physical fitness, a shockingly low level of flexibility, and back muscles that are feeling better, but seem to be prone to injury.

She came back with a couple options. But just looking at the list, one stood out above all others.

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The Bayer That Ate Monsanto

September 15, 2016

There is a bear in the woods. It’s one of the best political ads ever created, and at one point I worked for the guy who made it. Man, that’s a powerful spot.

When I heard the news yesterday, I couldn’t help but chuckle. There have been so many people running around for years wishing Monsanto would go away. And now, most likely, the company is gone. Just like that. All it took was $57B.

My argument has always been that the actions of one company in the transgenic industry doesn’t amount to a hill of beans, because there are so many players in the field. And right now, they are consolidating.

You can read the full story in the WSJ, but DuPont and Dow Chemical could be merging soon, and Syngenta is being taken over by China National Chemical Corp. Yes, there will be antitrust investigations, and once upon a time these mega-alliances would have seemed far too big and detrimental to the public interest. But those days are long, long gone. The WSJ doesn’t cover that last part though.

The thing I find so funny is that for most Americans Bayer has an almost charming and benign brand. It’s reliable. It’s mostly harmless. It’s helpful. It’s aspirin. Of course, in reality, that’s only a small part of a much much larger enterprise. But I just can’t see as many armchair activists getting worked up over the evils of Bayer.

Maybe I’m wrong. Heck, I was just wrong yesterday. Gah! I hate it when that happens. But as long as we’re talking about business, consolidation, and speculation, how about a subject that’s a little closer to most of us at home.

Did you see what’s happening in Troy?

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