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All Over All Over Albany

October 7, 2010

Moving to Albany from San Francisco was a difficult transition.  I wasn’t crazy about the local newspaper or even the local alternative news weekly.  Early on in my Albany adventure, I took some of the restaurant recommendations from Metroland’s Best of Albany section.  The experience was underwhelming.  The Times Union’s food coverage left me wanting and by now you hopefully know how I feel about their Best of the Capital Region poll.

There was one bright spot in the local media landscape.  It was All Over Albany.

This local website was run by people who actually seemed to know what was good in the region.  And instead of doing a poll to determine the best pizza in the area, AOA took on a bracket-style competition dubbed the Tournament of Pizza.

When I first met Greg and Mary, the duo behind the site, it was at Nipper’s Hot Dogs for an AOA lunch with its readers.  It turned out that they had been reading all the Yelp reviews I had been writing, and liked my stuff.  We talked food.  We talked pizza.  Maybe it was something I said at lunch that day, or maybe it was the begging, but somehow I got asked to be the fourth judge for the second annual Tournament of Pizza.

“This is all fine and good” you may say, “but why are you boring me with this history lesson?”

Well, it seems like my relationship with All Over Albany is blossoming.  And I couldn’t be happier.  This week has been especially AOAtastic.

The third annual AOA Tournament of Pizza has officially begun.  I’m really looking forward to writing more about it here, but I want to wait until it is past the second round before I start adding my color commentary about the judging process and what went down behind the scenes.

As a side note, it is great to sit down and eat with my fellow judges again.  Albany Jane never fails to be delightfully entertaining.  Joe from Jersey has some strong feelings about pizza and he and I often have similar views on what makes a great slice.  Renée seems to be able to remember every slice of pizza she’s ever had, and she’s had a lot of pizza.

One of the reasons I’ve been so full lately and needed to turn to my miracle cure has to do with my judging responsibilities.  I’ve been eating a lot of pizza for AOA lately.  Anything for the sake of science.

But beyond judging, I’ve also been doing some writing for Greg and Mary too.  What’s even more remarkable is they pay me to do it.  And you know what that means.  It means I’m a professional writer, or at least semi-professional.

Anyhow, just this week I covered the opening of the new Troy Co-op for AOA.  It is a nice change of pace to work with an editor who actually has a journalism background.  Not only did Greg help me tighten up the piece, but he also made my photographs look good.  It’s one helluva trick.

That story is my fourth on the site.  My first was a review of the phantasmagorical $25 hamburger available on the lunch menu of a local restaurant.  That was followed by a look at The Fresh Market’s opening day.  Soon after I was writing about assembling a local ham and cheese sandwich.

I even have one more story in the pipeline that I’m hoping to deliver before the end of the month.  If I can get the right people to talk to me, it could be really interesting.  Otherwise, there is no story.  So we’ll just have to wait and see.

For me this is all very exciting.  I am thrilled to have an increasing presence on All Over Albany.  Greg and Mary do really great work, and I am convinced that what they are doing is the future of local media.  But I was also convinced that DVRs like TiVo would have decimated network television by now.

I can’t see into the future, but I do know what is good.

5 Comments leave one →
  1. whitney rayles permalink
    October 7, 2010 10:37 am

    Ah, I love the line, “I can’t see into the future, but I do know what is good.” It made me smile.

  2. derryX permalink
    October 7, 2010 11:44 am

    All Over Albany (Mary and Greg) do an amazing job at rounding up important things in the area. They are an invaluable resource for anyone getting acclaimated to the area.

    [I offered to help judge the pizza tournament as a dude from the old neighborhood, but they didn’t want me this year…there’s always next year!]

  3. October 7, 2010 12:43 pm

    Moving to Albany from anywhere is a difficult transition.

  4. Phairhead permalink
    October 7, 2010 1:02 pm

    I took a peek at the AOA website. I’m very excited about the results from Schenectady :D

  5. October 10, 2010 4:07 pm

    I can’t imagine moving from San Francisco to Albany but as someone who went to college in Albany and later lived in the area, I can tell you there are some hidden gems. Be sure to head to Bennington, VT. On the way, stop for a sandwich at the Epicurean Cafe. For a fantastic dinner (no, I’m serious!) make a reservation at Pangaea in North Bennington, VT (don’t eat at the lounge, it’s good, but not the same experience). Good luck and happy eating from a former Albany-area foodie.

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