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Ask the Profussor – Saratoga Expansion

August 15, 2012

Saratoga is a place I need to visit more often. Addie’s Dad has been nudging me to visit the cheese cave up there for months, and I know there is a lot of other great food up north (besides Mrs. London’s) waiting for me to eat.

This ice cream sandwich thing with the Saratoga Idiots will bring me back up to Spa City on August 25 and I’ll get to try a few of them. But more than that, by partnering with these beloved troublemakers, I’ve been seeing some new readers coming over from Saratoga County. That’s kind of exciting.

Hi! I’m glad to have you here. One thing we do on a regular basis at the FLB is answer every single reader question. That is, so long as it was asked with proper punctuation. Usually it’s not right away. Usually all questions get wrapped up and tied in a bow every two weeks in something we call Ask the Profussor. And now it’s time to get to it.

Bill also has a bone to pick with Dunkin Donuts:
Remember when they’d crack open an actual egg for your breakfast sandwich?

Heck, I used to help make them. The egg went in a paper bowl. There was a splatter cover that went over the egg. And then it went into the oven that looked like a microwave for a few seconds. I made myself more egg and cheese sandwiches on croissants back in those days than I care to admit. Why I never considered putting one on a donut, I can only attribute to the folly of youth.

Capitol to Capital was taken aback by how I characterized her in a post:
I’m a lady?!

You seem a little too clean shaven to be a gentleman. But I’ve been wrong before.

Stevo expects to be hungry when he visits my old stomping grounds:
Daniel, for the next ask the profussor would you mind giving me some restaurant recommendations? I will be…attending a conference at the Moscone Center. I am open to any kind of place, hole in the wall or sophisticated, doesn’t matter…Keep in mind I will be on foot, so they need to be within walking distance of the Moscone Center or be easy to get to via public transportation. I’ll be eating lunch at the conference so dinner recommendations only please. Also, as my employer is paying, I can’t spend too much. Entrées priced in the low to mid 20s is about the limit.

Take the BART into the Mission. It’s easy to do. And eat your way through the best of because you need to have a Mission burrito while you are out there. It’s sketchy at night. Be brave.

There’s a Blue Bottle Coffee about a block and a half from Moscone at 66 Mint St. The line will be long, and slow. But every coffee you drink elsewhere is one less espresso based drink you could have had a BB. It’s not on the menu but order the Gibraltar.

Old San Francisco is much a thing of the past, but Tadich Grill remains. You go there and you get a bowl of their famous cioppino. On one hand it’s too expensive for what it is. On the other hand it’s priceless.

I’ve never been here, but it looks really promising too.  My favorite little Italian place is calle L’Osteria del Forno and it’s on Columbus. But it’s been a while since I’ve eaten there. Things change. So I’m hesitant to make too many specific recommendations. These should point you in the right direction. And grab a cocktail or two at Rickhouse.

the_exile clicked on the link of the day in the last installment of AskTP:
Can you believe I not only clicked on the link and watched the very funny video, but then went to find the original review to confirm it wasn’t one of yours?!

Subsequently there have been a couple more Yelp reviews read by professional actors. Still, I think the first one was the best. I hope they can get back on track.

Savoring Saratoga must have been predicting the future:
I had a really interesting conversation the other day with another foodie about which was more important to search for when shopping – local or organic. Obviously both would be preferable but that’s not always the case in grocery stores or even farmers markets sometimes. What do you think? Want to give your two cents on the next Ask the Professor?

Let me answer those in reverse order.
2) Sure.
1) It’s complicated.

But I think I covered this topic a bit in yesterday’s post about the evolution of organic into local. It’s not an either/or proposition. The local foods that you should be eating are the ones that are raised sustainably. Local farmers also grow GMO crops, engage in routine applications of synthetic pesticides, and provide their animals with subtherapeutic doses of antibiotics in their feed. Big Organic isn’t great, but at least it provides a better alternative to conventionally grown Big Ag. So there you have it.

Mr. Dave is still trying to figure out the impact of Trader Joe’s:
People have limited funds/time to obtain their “luxury/novelty” food items. Why go to Cheese Traveller to buy your splurged upon cheese if you already got it (along with your whacky, frozen, thai sauced, peanut noodles or whatever) at Trader Joe’s?

That’s true. But they don’t sell luxury cheese at Trader Joe’s. They sell better cheese than most supermarkets at supermarket prices. It’s about eating better every day. And those TJs cheeses can be a gateway to the even better handcrafted items at The Cheese Traveler. Once you realize that cheese can be more than cubes of pepper jack, your culinary world expands. And we need more of that around these parts.

Mr. Dave also heard an ancient mating call:
Baconfest? In my home hamlet?

You better believe it. And I just cleared my schedule so that I can serve as a judge at the event. Hopefully you can make it and gather up the gumption to come up to judges table so I can shake your hand.

Pensive Engineer may have been reading some other blog:
And we as a collective nation wonder why our corporations can’t compete in a global economy?

I thought we as a nation collectively wonder who will appear on the next season of Dancing with the Stars.

the_exile and I apparently share a similar style of grocery shopping in crowded quarters:
Who’d have thought that supermarket shopping would be the scene of such cultural pitfalls? The question is, where does Daniel get his strange European shopping stylings from?

Yes, I have to say that this caught me entirely off guard. Paris is San Francisco’s sister city. Maybe that has something to do with it. But I really don’t think it’s a European versus American thing. I think it has to do with being accustomed to life in crowded areas. In the wide open spaces of American suburbs, people have not had to deal with the personal space of others. This Albany Trader Joe’s is a fascinating place. I’m wondering how long it will take before it demographically looks like every other TJs I’ve visited.

KB @ Home Baked Happiness thought my mom was on to something:
What’s wrong with taking a moment to take in and appreciate what’s before you?

Nothing, so long as it doesn’t involve flashbulbs.

Kelly looks like she missed the point of my Marketing Coordinator post, but asked:
You opted to read into the advert the latter, where I see the former; who’s right?

That one’s easy. I’m right. Because you may be employed out of the home. But I actually spent over a decade working in that field, and know a thing or two about how these jobs are structured locally. Trust me. And for the record, I wasn’t complaining. I was shocked and amused.

KB @ Home-Baked Happiness is considering the boundaries of our region:
Maybe they really mean regional, Northeastern?

So the Giants are in Albany which is part of the Capital Region. There are some who would lump us along with the Southern Tier and the North Country as Upstate. And that’s fine too. Or you could even claim that our region transcends state lines and call it something like the Hudson-Berkshire region.

We’re certainly too far west to qualify as New England. So it would seem that according to Giants’ training camp, our local farms exist in the Northeastern region of the country. Which is patently ridiculous.

Josh K feels like he’s ready to give up:
If the Adelphi Hotel in Saratoga isn’t able to make a proper drink, I raise this question: Is the art of mixology in the Capital Region becoming a thing of the past?

I’m happy with a few capable bartenders. And we’ve certainly got those. I question if the art of mixology every really made it up this way in the first place. Bacon infusions and whatever they do at 677 Prime don’t count.

A lot of people want details about the Ice Cream Sandwich Throwdown.
KB @ Home Baked Happiness is concerned with scheduling:
What time will the tasting be? I’m intrigued. (Also, I can’t vote, apparently… I’ll be rooting for Team Saratoga.)
Jen has a thing with geography:
Where is this showdown happening?
Jennifer Savino is trying to figure out how to give me money:
Where can you purchase tickets?

Fair enough, but details will not be fully available until the voting in each city closes at the end of this week. Then you’ll need to give The Idiots and me a few days to pull it all together. In broad strokes, somewhere between the hours of 11a and 5p we’ll go on tour. We’ll stop at each restaurant, scoring as we go. But you’ll need a ticket to participate. The number of tickets available is TBD, but they will be limited and available for purchase online. The tickets are solely to cover the costs of the food and a few meager administration fees, and so we can tell each restaurant exactly how many ice cream sandwiches we’ll need when we show up. You should expect to see ticket sales go live early next week. There will be no refunds. Or whining.

Burnt My Fingers has keenly observed a philosophical difference between cities:
A lot of you Albanians are implying you are going to vote a certain way because you like the sound of it, vs actually having tasted it. Isn’t consumption part of the voting criteria down your way?

No. It’s not. Here’s why. Personally, I don’t care much about ice cream sandwiches. The Idiots do. And they want you to eat ice cream sandwiches. All the time. They’d like to create a market for this frozen treat up in their fair city.

That’s different from my goal. I want Albany to step up and create something spectacular for the contest. I want to bite into something and say, “Oh my God, that’s good.” So the NWBB sandwich that’s headed for competition isn’t the one on the menu now. Theirs change up all the time. Creo is in a similar situation. Therefore I can’t encourage people down here to try them all.

KB @ Home-Baked Happiness has a very specific Ice Cream Sandwich in mind:
Where’s the simple, sweet cookies with ice cream in the middle for a couple of bucks? Where’s the thing we know and love as an ice cream sandwich, done with care?

It’s at Comfort Kitchen. But whether it can beat the blue cheese and fig ice cream remains an open question. We’ll find out soon enough.

6 Comments leave one →
  1. August 15, 2012 10:11 am

    I will be in San Francisco on 8/25 so will miss your invasion of Saratoga but I advise you not to come packin’. By that time hopefully I will have picked my jaw off the floor after reading your answer to my question.

    BTW, your SF Moscone visitor would do well to look into Le Charm and Fringale, both within a few minutes brisk walk from the convention center, and also the food court (for a less haute meal, and people watching) in the basement of the Westfield Centre at 5th and Market. Also there’s an alley of new restaurants (including an outpost of Amber India) next to the Jewish Museum.

    • August 15, 2012 11:05 am

      I also want to add the SF Farmer’s Market if he will be there on a Saturday. It is the most amazing market I have ever been to. :) (You can get a Gibraltar there as well!)

      • Stevo permalink
        August 15, 2012 2:04 pm

        Thanks Daniel and BMF. I appreciate the suggestions and will be sure to try as many of them as I can.

        irisira, unfortunately I won’t be there on a Saturday.

  2. August 15, 2012 11:00 am

    I really want to try the NWBB’s entry. I’ve been thinking of little else since reading about it. If he adds it to the menu, even if for a couple of days, I hope he announces it so I know when to stop in for drinks and dessert!

  3. August 15, 2012 11:08 am

    OK, then, a follow up to the when/where details –

    Since it is a tour and not a sit-down like with the cupcakes, can I buy 1 ticket for my husband and I to SHARE sandwiches? I know this wasn’t allowed for the cupcake tasting (with good reason), but hoping this will be allowed for this. Because I most definitely cannot eat that much ice cream in one day without getting sick. :)

  4. August 15, 2012 2:24 pm

    I will be in Saratoga then for the Travers. Would love a chance to meet up with the Profusser and company perhaps for a stop or two. Will the tickets be strictly all inclusive or available for individual restaurant stops?

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