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AskTP – Spring Slam

May 15, 2013

Spring is hitting me like a ton of bricks. People are coming out of the woodwork, writing projects for other platforms are piling up, more events are on the books than I could possibly attend, and then there is the travel. Nothing exotic, mind you, but I’m looking forward to my day trip to Long Island this weekend. I may even bring back some bagels from my favorite shop as a gift to the people behind Albany Bagel (which launches on Saturday).

If you’ve sent me an email and are waiting for a reply, I’m sorry. I’m a bit behind. It’s a sad state of affairs when the best way to get an answer from me is to leave a public question on the FLB. Because that is guaranteed to get an answer just so long as you use proper punctuation. And that’s what I’ve got for you today. The roundup of all the unanswered questions from the past two weeks. That, and of course the link of the day.

So, without any further ado, onto the questions:

-R wanted to know my thoughts on the beer at the City Beer Hall beer and game dinner:
So, aside from the food pairings, what did you think of the barrel-aged Firestone Walker beer?

Wow. Those are some deeply complex beers that really push boundaries. What was really notable was going back to the Wookey Jack after three much heavier beers and appreciating its relative lightness. Amusingly, going back the following week and trying the same beer again, it tasted a lot heavier in comparison to other black IPAs.

Part of me wished that the game dinner would have been served in private stalls with each course lasting for an hour, so I could really spend more time with each beer undistracted by good company and the rest of the world around me. That, and I wish the beers could have been served in a glass that I could really stick my nose into. I find those so much better for capturing and savoring the aromas of beverages. But once I got a few sips into each of the beers I was able to use the given glassware to do the same.

Eric Scheirer Stott seems to want what we all want:
Will you be able to fit the Wings de Troy Tour in before you depart?

Man, I really hope to. The departure is a little bit of a moving target. But there will definitely be a tour before I go. Maybe two. And I haven’t given up on the idea of tours being held in my absence either.

lakesider crept out of the shadows when I announced the upcoming sabbatical:
(I only commented once before so guess I’m a lurker?)

I wouldn’t say that. Don’t be so hard on yourself. You made a comment once. In my eyes that makes you a commenter. Those who have never commented, they are the lurkers. And maybe your shining example will help pull a few more of them out of the shadows. See? It’s not so scary.

addiesdad asked a ton of questions, so I’ll answer them one at a time:
1) Will you still be here for the SPAC Wine & Food Fest in early September?

Sadly, no. I’m hoping the organizers still invite me though. Just in case they do, I already have a guest correspondent lined up to cover the event for the FLB. It would be great to have more guest writers cover Capital Region food events while I’m away. And I’d happily open up the FLB to those who want to contribute in my absence.

2) Are there regional foods from Southern Jersey/East Pennsylvania/Philly that you are looking forward to trying?

I went to college in Philly and periodically visit Jersey. Certainly there are some regional specialties that aren’t yet on my radar. However, my plan is to figure it out when I get there. Taylor ham/pork roll aren’t new to me. But I’m looking forward to getting much more familiar with the form.

3) It seems the growing season is significantly longer in South Jersey, do you think this will provide an opportunity to try new foods?

Regardless the length of the growing season there are always opportunities to try new foods. There will be small cheese makers who produce specialized forms. There will be old diners that have stood the test of time with anachronistic specialties. Perhaps there will even be an enclave of some ethnic minority whose food I have yet to sample.

4) Will you join a CSA?

No. And it will be a mixed blessing. I will miss the CSA terribly. But the dates don’t line up well with growing seasons. Anyway, the CSA is more like being in a committed relationship. I won’t be in town long enough for that. The farmers markets are more like dating. And once you are in a committed relationship, dating can be a bit more complicated. However, you can bet I’ll be poking around my local farmers markets trying to find the good food and to meet some other like-minded people in the area.

5) Most importantly: will “Ask the Profussor” continue?

Most definitely. But if the velocity of questions decreases the feature may slow down to once every three or four weeks.

chad9976 is asking about something I’m pretty sure I covered in the original post:
Would the special of the day and the soup du jour count as changing the menu daily?

No. It wouldn’t. You know how some menus say “seasonal vegetable” or “from local farms when available”? Well at the very least a daily menu would take care of removing the ambiguity of items like these. And it would allow for every dish to be tinkered with to adjust for changing availability of quality ingredients. Seriously, in some ways a daily updated menu is actually easier for restaurants, and not harder.

Sarah M. got all hot and bothered by the reluctance of 518 places to change daily:
The excuses that Cap Region diners will make for area restaurants never fail to amaze me. Really? You need to be in New York or Paris to have daily access to fresh food? It must be all the small, locally owned farms within their city limits, right? Nothing like that around Albany…

Sarcasm doesn’t always come through in comments. Yours rang out clear and true. But what I’m coming to realize is that while we’ve got the access to plenty of great local and seasonal ingredients, we don’t quite have the access to enough serious food lovers. Locals still go to restaurants to be fed and not delighted. Albanians know what they want and they like what they like. How to break that cycle is a mystery, but perhaps that will be the next one for me to try and solve. You know, now that we have identified it as a class issue.

Susan L. is casting her eyes towards the setting sun:
What kind of questions did you get from the Schenectady County Chamber folks?

The attendees didn’t identify themselves by their respective chamber when they asked questions. But we were asked a lot about CSAs, some about how to get children to eat their vegetables, and a bit about food education. Of course there was the question about farmers markets versus grocery stores. But I also missed weighing in on what in the region we were most excited about right now. And we ended on where we would take people from out of town.

There was a guy who said he was from Price Chopper who wanted to weigh in on their commitment to local and organic ingredients. This impressed chef Ric as it was a major change from the grocer’s previous position several years ago.

Jessica R is the best, volunteering for some things, and reminding me of commitments:
Daniel is apparently hoarding/developing a list of restaurants sourcing from fin now. Aren’t you Daniel?

Yeah. But I’m not hoarding it. In theory, I’m developing it. In practice I asked Pete for a list. But really I should follow up with an email. Can I do that tomorrow? Maybe Dora or Pete will read this and take mercy on me and just email me the list. I may have mentioned that I’m a little behind.

5 Comments leave one →
  1. Susan permalink
    May 15, 2013 11:02 am

    I would gladly be a guest writer for upcoming events. I am a foodie who follows your blog as well as many others – trying to stay current with what is happening in the Capital Region. I also have foodie friends who could help contribute. If you need more info – on writing capability, I can email – don’t want to write too much in comment section.

  2. -R. permalink
    May 15, 2013 11:18 am

    If one signs up for Fin’s weekly mailing (which I recommend, as you can see what they have in stock, and what’s expected that week) you would now know a few of the restaurants that are serving their wares, such as the calamari at the City Beer Hall.

    I too would enjoy a wings-de-Troy tour. I had an order at The Ruck last Thursday, and while their wings are indeed very good, your infatuation with their abysmal “blue-cheese” (which absolutely must be cut with some type of nasty-ass ranch dressing) is utterly puzzling to me. Really? You like that shit? Blech. Good wings, bad dippin’ – we’ll have to agree to disagree.

  3. Susan L. permalink
    May 15, 2013 12:26 pm

    Thanks for the response. I just went back and read your “Supermarket vs. Farmers Market” entry. I suspect the local Golub/Mazzone/Malozzi contingent present may have curtailed any prolonged discussion of culinary change in Schenectady.

  4. Marilyn B permalink
    May 15, 2013 9:40 pm

    Do tell, what is your favorite bagel place along the LIE?

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