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AskTP – Green Machine

April 17, 2013

Sunday at the Schenectady Greenmarket, Migliorelli Farm actually brought their newest crop of broccoli rabe and some baby arugula leaves. There are little flowers popping up from the grass. And dammit, there are buds on the ends of trees.

I’m calling it. Spring is here. Time to finally take off the snow tires.

Those greens from the market by the way, were delicious. So young. So tender. To steal a line from a friend of mine, they were the veal of the vegetable kingdom.

Still, the changing of the season is another sign that time marches on. So hopefully you aren’t too surprised that another Ask the Profussor is already upon us. This is when I take all of the unanswered questions from the last two weeks and give them all the sense of closure they so richly deserve. My pledge from the beginning has been that as long as a question is asked with proper punctuation in the comments of this blog, it will eventually be answered.

Now, without any further ado, onto the questions.

Jessica R is hungry for a tour:
It seems more and more like a “Tour de Troy Chicken Wing” is needed. That way, we can all have the chance to do the investigation you’re suggesting. Also, have you considered a “Tour de NEBA”?

You are right about the Tour de Troy Chicken Wing. However, based on the size of these venues, the magnitude of our group, and the disruption that we would cause, pulling this together is a logistical challenge. If you wanted to volunteer to assist, that would probably speed up the process. However, it would not advance your efforts toward a Tour de NEBA. Even if you bought the DeLorean time machine, you would need a lot of plutonium to shuttle even the smallest tour group back to the age of Mike’s.

Maria has some waffles she would like me to try:
Have you tried the Iron Roost in Ballston Spa? Bring the little fussys for waffles. You won’t be disappointed.

I haven’t. Actually I don’t know if I’ve ever taken route 50 all the way from Scotia to Saratoga Springs. And even if I have, it’s certainly possible I’ve never actually stopped in Ballston Spa.

Now if you really wanted me to put it through the paces, I wouldn’t bring the little ones along. I love the buggers, but they are a distraction from giving the food (or anything else for that matter) serious consideration. It’s a good thing I don’t mind eating alone. Or with other bloggers who understand that sometimes the required food photography takes time (and patience).

Mr. Dave is pushing a write in campaign for the TU’s Best of the Capital Region:
Everyone write in “Kurger Bing” for everything! Who/what is Kurger Bing? No knows

That’s what Google is for. He was actually the official mascot of Burger King before the “Magic King” took over in the late 1970’s. But the kids of today are taking it back as a way to talk about this really disgusting fast food restaurant when their inebriation brings on dyslexia. Or at least that’s what the urban dictionary told me.

Burnt My Fingers isn’t stalking me:
I was at Ala Shanghai at 4 pm Sunday. When were you there? (that is a question) If I’d seen you, I would have come over and pulled on your ear.

It was the day for FLBs at Ala Shanghai. I bumped into MindyKB there and was compelled to do the exact same thing. We arrived around 1:30 p.m. and I can’t imagine we stayed more than an hour.

Mr. Dave is also a stickler for tradition:
The part that bothered me most about that review was the “Rancher’s Pie” bit… Shepard’s pie with beef is cottage pie. Who doesn’t know that?

It’s funny, because I’m happy that they didn’t just call the beef version shepherd’s pie as well. At least they made up a name based on some kind of interior logic. But you are right. When one stops to think about it, it’s truly inexcusable both on the side of the restaurant owner and the reviewer.

The thing that bothered me the most in the review was the nonsense about craft beers. Marketing is madness. One has to keep on coming up with new terms as the old ones get coopted by greedy big businesses looking to cash in on a trend.

Burnt My Fingers wants to point out the TU doesn’t know bones about cheap eats:
But most people who go to the trouble to read a restaurant column are assuming something else: holes-in-the-wall, probably ethnic, probably family run, usually with minimal ambience but not always, with prices that are remarkably low for the quality of food. Maybe such places don’t exist in Albany?

Bite your tongue. Of course they exist. There’s the All Good Bakers grilled cheese sandwiches, the frikadellen at Rolf’s, and pretty much anything at Parivar. A Carolina BBQ pork slider with an order of cheddar jalapeno grits fries at Capital Q is criminally cheap. A carnitas taco at Bros Tacos is pricey for a taco but by no means expensive. Anton’s doesn’t get credit for making some of the best mini hot dog meat sauce in the region, but a pup with the works is super cheap. There are all of the buns at the Hong Kong Bakery which will soon be leaving the Asian Supermarket, but lately I’ve been chomping on the steamed chicken ones. Taiwan Noodle is a blessing for cheap tasty food lovers. And that’s just in the city of Albany–off the top of my head–not taking into consideration any diners, taverns, egg sandwiches, food trucks or pizza parlors.

docsconz almost answers his own question about why we eat at diners:
For many of the reasons you mention above, I rarely go out for breakfast. I know where to get good ingredients without the social detritus you so rightly point out and breakfast is one of the easiest meals to cook and I do it the way I like it, so why bother? Even buying top quality, locally farm-raised ingredients, it costs well below $5pp for a fully satisfying meal. Still, good sausage gravy may make me reconsider the point.

Very few people eat the way we do. And while I do value where my food comes from, sometimes I think it’s beneficial to just take a break for a meal or two and try to let it go. A sabbatical of sorts. The experience of eating at a diner is very similar to shopping at Walmart. This is where the mass market goes out for breakfast. And if you want to change people’s minds about food, or really anything, you have to understand where they are coming from. Cutting yourself off from shared experiences only sets you further apart from mainstream America. Our food culture isn’t going to change without the support of the middle. And the middle appreciates good food. If you aren’t convinced, I suggest taking a trip to a diner for breakfast.

Masticating Monkey recently moved to the area and there’s something he hasn’t realized:
With this discussion and the Sunday dining review of the Gateway Diner in the Times Union, is it diner week in the Capital Region? (Just to be clear: a blog post on a diner breakfast seems much more appropriate than a Sunday restaurant review of a diner in a metropolitan area’s major newspaper, but maybe I’m being unfair; I do like a good diner, after all.)

Every week is diner week in the Capital Region. It’s one of our crowning glories.


5 Comments leave one →
  1. April 17, 2013 10:43 am

    I keep thinking we need a Tour de Barbecue (pick one meat and try it at every place). It would be greatly useful information. But it would also be a stomach-space challenge for sure.

    BTW, Iron Roost is awesome — I second that recommendation.

  2. April 17, 2013 11:30 pm

    “Shepard’s pie with beef is cottage pie. Who doesn’t know that?” Nah mate not true at all. Both are called shepard’s pie in Ireland, and both are called cottage pie in England. True life.

    • April 19, 2013 12:57 pm

      Can’t speak for Ireland, but Shepherd’s Pie is lamb and Cottage Pie is beef in England.

    • maryonhudson permalink
      April 19, 2013 12:59 pm

      Can’t speak for Ireland, but in England Shepherd’s Pie is lamb and Cottage Pie is beef.

  3. Jessica R permalink
    April 19, 2013 3:40 pm

    As mentioned last night, I’m up for helping you with a Tour de Troy Chicken Wing! Someone else reminded me that Bombers will be opening soon, so that’s another possible stop. Villa Valenti and Park Pub might also be a contenders – they seem to always do well in the yearly “WIng Wars” in Troy.

    WING WAR 9 2013
    Blind Taste Test
    Winner – Park Pub
    1st runner up – Dinosaur Bar-B-Que
    2nd runner up – B-rads Bistro & Catering
    Popular Choice
    Winner – Towne Tavern
    1st runner up – Villa Valente Pub
    2nd runner up – Uncle Marty’s Adirondack Grill

    Wing War 8 2012
    Blind taste test:
    Winner: Villa Valenti
    1st runner up: Terry’s Kitchen Deli & Catering
    2nd runner up: Inferno
    People’s choice:
    Winner: The Towne Tavern
    1st Runner up: Park Pub
    2nd Runner up: Villa Valenti

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