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October 3, 2011

The Second Annual Tour de Donut was a great success. I expect to have the official results published tomorrow. Thanks again to everyone who came out early on a cold and wet Saturday morning to join me on this quixotic adventure.

Yet again, we proved that not only are all cider donuts not created equal, but there are significant and very noticeable differences among them.

Now the only question is, what next?

Well, I have some ideas, but I’m also open to suggestions. In just a moment I’ll share with you what I’m thinking and what kinds of foodstuffs qualify for the full tour treatment. And maybe you can convince me to take up your cause.

But first, before you even ask, there will be no Tour de Cupcake. There will still be some kind of cupcake challenge, and I thank you all for your patience with this one. But I’ve still got some logistical issues to work through.


So the tours are quarterly. Last year we did donuts in the fall, mini hot dogs in the winter, soft serve in the spring, and fish fry in the summer. What I liked about that schedule was that the foods lined up well with their seasons, and that it alternated sweet and savory.

As far as I can tell, it doesn’t make much sense to have another mini hot dog tour. We already hit the big places. Although perhaps I’m wrong. Maybe now that we have a better sense of the form it makes a ton of sense to hit up a lot of smaller shops to see how they stack up to the big three: Famous Lunch, Gus’s and Hot Dog Charlie’s. After all, the chili sauce at Anton’s last year was pretty spectacular.

On another savory note we could have Tour de Clam Strip. This would take us back to a few of the top Tour de Fish Fry joints to try their clams. This could work out really well, but perhaps that’s reserved for next summer when we lap the fish fry.

But really what probably makes the most sense is to finally commit to either a Tour de Pizza or a Tour de Wings. Before you get too excited, here’s the problem with those. Each tour has to be limited to five stops. And since there would be no good way to choose only five locations in the region, the geographical footprint would need to be very small.

So imagine a Tour de Wings of the Troy Riverfront or a Tour de Pizza of Downtown Schenectady. This would be the beginning of a multi-year project. However it would be a lot of fun.

I’m also not opposed to going sweet, especially because nothing quite warms the soul in winter as much as a good hot cocoa. I suppose you could make an argument for coffee, but the caffeine thing gets in the way of a full tour. Don’t worry, I have a mini-coffee tour idea already percolating.

Now please feel free to weigh in on any of the above, and if you want to suggest something else, go right ahead. There is just one thing to keep in mind: Tours are reserved for food that cannot be brought to a central location without significant deterioration.

Cupcakes travel well, and can be brought to a neutral location to be tasted blindly next to an ostensibly similar product. So can Fudge Fancies. Tours exist for ice cream that will melt, cider donuts that start deteriorating the moment they come out of the oil, hot dogs that will get cold and lose their juiciness and snap, and fish fry that will congeal into something entirely different.

So what grabs your fancy?

9 Comments leave one →
  1. October 3, 2011 9:52 am

    What about a Tour de Burrito, has that been suggested yet? Hit up Bomber’s, Bro’s Tacos, Chipotle, Hot Harry’s and Moe’s. I know that’s a lot of chain’s but those are our options in the Capital Region and some people go on and on about how awesome Chipotle is. I would add Burrito Joe’s to that list if their uptown store is open (not sure if their downtown store is open on Saturday?) and cut out Hot Harry’s or Moe’s.

  2. Jessica R permalink
    October 3, 2011 10:55 am

    I fully support a Tour de Wings in Troy!! This is my suggestion for contendors: The Ale House, Brown’s, Dino BBQ, The Ruck and Holmes and Watson.

    I like the Tour de Burrito idea.

    One item that is a local speciality is Spedies! I’ve had ’em at Brown’s, and I’m sure others could suggest places.

  3. Jessica R permalink
    October 3, 2011 10:57 am

    Oh, also: Hard ice cream next summer!

  4. October 3, 2011 12:15 pm

    I kinda liked the Tour de Burrito idea, too, though you looked at me like I had four heads (and you’d totally have to bring at least one friend to help you eat, two or three if you’re really determined about not throwing any out or if you don’t have a bottomless stomach). We have a good number of burrito places around here now, some chain, some smaller, and a comparison would be useful.

    Wings certainly sounds good, if we can decide on which places are really the major ones, who’s most known for good wings.

    Pizza sounds awesome, ’cause I’d love to find the best pizza, but the geography could be a problem — it’d be most useful for me, for instance, if we tried all places in Saratoga County or along the Northway, places I’m most likely to go. But I know that will differ for everyone else, and geography does play a big role in choosing where one buys their pizza, I think.

    Plus, how do you pick only four or five places to get pizza, out of all of the good or potentially good places in the Capital Region? There are tons. Pizza might become a monthlong undertaking, at least, to do it properly. (Though I might be up for that anyway, just to see, or at least to participate in whichever rounds cover places I might reasonably be expected to go.)

    Also, @Jessica R — We have spiedies around here? Those are a Southern Tier regional food. Not sure how many places you’ll find them here (not to mention that it sorta seems like we’d be poaching on another region’s culinary territory).

  5. Amy permalink
    October 3, 2011 12:53 pm

    You could do a Tour de Ribs and hit up Dino, Capitol Q, the Pig Pit and…

  6. October 3, 2011 2:28 pm

    I’m interested in the Schenectady pizza tour. Wings are too much work for not enough substance, plus I don’t like getting my fingers so messy.

  7. October 3, 2011 3:36 pm

    Tour de Beer? Are there enough local places brewing their own? I don’t know, would have to think of it…

  8. Dana permalink
    October 4, 2011 9:27 am

    Gelato, burger or french fries from a seasonal location (country drive-in, jump n jacks – although I don’t know if they’ll be open next year), sweet & sour chicken (I always find it hard to find just the right sauce), sushi, and I like the burrito idea too. Although, I would be your best friend if you could find the best loaded baked potato! MMMmmm.

  9. October 14, 2011 7:03 pm

    Ok, I have two tours that need to happen, are inexpensive, and are an easy drive:

    Tour de Egg Sandwich.

    Jack’s Diner
    Dan’s Two Place
    Iron Gate
    Hamilton St. Cafe
    Miss Albany Diner

    *The Buttery Restaurant (could be subbed in and is still in the neighborhood)

    These all have egg sandwiches, they are savory (since Donuts were last up), and we can simplify to Egg & Cheese.


    Tour de Pad Thai:

    (starting up on Central and making our way downtown)

    Blue Spice (Central/Colonie)
    Bangkok Bistro (Central – literally across the street)
    Capital Thai (Central, heading down)
    Suko Thai (Central)
    Kinnarree (Lark)

    We order 3 orders (or whatever suits the group size) of Pad Thai at each (even take-out if that’s easier), grab our free chopsticks and score!

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