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Six Albany Gems

July 21, 2014

Don’t forget, tonight is the night. From eight o’clock to nine thirty, I’m hoping that you will join me at the 16 Handles in Glenmont. They have generously given the FLB their party room and extended a 15% discount to anyone who shows up for the affair.

There aren’t going to be any gifts or any grand festivities. Just a bunch of food lovers hanging out, talking about food, and eating some FroYo. Besides the Euro Tart (and their highly praised mochi) I’m also looking forward to figuring out what their “all-natural artisanal” flavors are about.

Anyhow, all the details and more can be found here.

A handful of folks have already gotten back to me and I’m quite excited to catch up with everyone in person. To that end, I’ve also been trying to get back out into the local food world and check in on some of my favorite places. Usually, where I go is dictated by some other errand that’s related to the relocation. It’s frustrating. I still have yet to make it over the river to Troy. And I had hoped to get up to Saratoga Springs before track season started. Oops.

In the past few days, here’s what I’ve found.

Asian Supermarket
Well, there is a new hot food vendor in the store. I didn’t get any of their buns, but I did appreciate how some trays were time-stamped. It’s a good data point to have when deciding between multiple sweet or savory options. It’s also interesting how the fish counter is now more segregated from the rest of the store. It didn’t do much for the smell, as fish odors do tend to carry. I don’t mind though, especially when I find things like 600 ml bottles of Lion and Globe peanut oil. Oh, the nuttiest of peanut oils, how I’ve missed you. I also never found a good cheap source of kimchi or tofu in Princeton. Now I”ve got enough kimchi to do serious damage to my insides. Don’t worry. I’m a professional, and I know my limits.

Hong Kong Bakery & Bistro
Young Master Fussy calls it the pork bun store. Little Miss Fussy knows it as the bean bun store. But it’s the same place. Is it possible that their baked bbq pork buns have gotten even better? It is hard to say with an n of two, but I’m looking forward to doing more research. Especially now that they are having a special, buy three buns and get a fourth one for free. Just be forewarned. I was in there for dinner with Mrs. Fussy and an overenthusiastic waiter put a crispy edged egg custard in a microwave to warm it up. It’s a dreadful mistake. I’d rather have a room temperature custard with its flaky crust preserved, than to have it barely warmed and rubbery. Perhaps there is some way to gently heat them up at home in the oven. But that’s an experiment for fall.

Dove and Hudson
It’s not a food destination, but I had never been. They do have food books though. What a charming little store. It turned out that we don’t read many of our books and wanted them to find a good home. I thought that this place might fill the bill. But in the end, the buyer didn’t want much of what we had. A few kids books made the cut and my copy of Coen Brothers screenplays. But no hard feelings. Goodwill now has a complete set of In Search of Lost Time. If you want to slowly read a lot about French cookies, they’ll have you covered.

Take my favorite local coffee shop and sell it to one of my favorite local coffee people and you’ve got Stacks. It’s the old Caffe Vero run by the young guy who built the coffee program at Tierra. Ron wasn’t there when I popped in, but Stacks is still doing things right on the best piece of espresso extracting technology that I know of in town. I had the cortado, and it really hit the spot. There is something on the menu called a “tear drop” that I’m going to have to try. It’s a novelty drink, but one that sounds up my alley. Something to do with layering a shot of espresso with cream and vanilla.

With coffee on the mind, and a need for a new filter pad for my Filtron cold brew bucket, I walked down the stairs into Brew. This is a cool little store. No, they didn’t have the esoteric piece of coffee gear I needed, but in addition to carrying hard to find beans from Stumptown and Intelligentsia, they also had Cafe Bustelo. It seemed like a strange product mix, but maybe not so strange since I myself love them all (in different preparations, naturally). As it turns out, the store believes in providing good products across all price points. Good for them. I was hoping for a bit more coffee gear though. Maybe it will come in time.

The Cheese Traveler
It’s pesto season and I wanted to find a Sardinian pecorino. Would they have one at this small but mighty cheese counter? Amazingly, yes! It was good to poke around the shelves at this gourmet market and see its ever growing selection of fine foods. I was reminded that not only is this shop supplying cheese and charcuterie to Rare Form brewing, but it is also getting Flying Pigs Farm liverwurst for The City Beer Hall. Sadly, they had none left in the store for me to buy. But I did walk out of there with some amazing Dancing Ewe Capocolla (among other things). The hardest part for me is to refrain from buying everything. However I’ve got a new strategy to try and prevent the hoarding of fine foodstuffs. It’s not rocket science. But I’ll tell you more about that later.

In the meantime it’s off to spend some quality time with my favorite mechanics at Larry’s Foreign Auto. Then the following few days it’s handymen coming over to shore up the house. And on Saturday, I’m off to Pennsylvania again. By the time I’m back it’s August.

School will start in September and the crazy summer travels will end. But tonight I’m here dammit. I have no idea what the party room looks like at 16 Handles, but I imagine it’s nice. So come and eat FroYo with us.

6 Comments leave one →
  1. July 21, 2014 9:24 am

    Ack! I’m the reason there was no Fiore Sardo left at the Cheese Traveler this weekend! I bought the last wedge on Friday night to share with my family in New Jersey.

    Hopefully we can make it to Glenmont tonight – sounds like it should be fun!

  2. July 21, 2014 9:37 am

    Sadly, I’m busy tonight. (Though this did drive me to Google to look up “Glenmont,” ’cause I have no idea where that is.)

    Also, while Hong Kong Bakery’s only decent thing is their pork buns, they do them better at Rain, along with lots of other yummy dim sum done right.

  3. July 21, 2014 10:31 am

    Thanks for the shout out, Daniel B. We’ll be getting more Fiore di Sardo and Flying Pig Liverwurst soon. I’ll let you know they arrive.

  4. July 21, 2014 12:53 pm

    I would have totally been first in line to get Frozen Yogurt tonight (then of course welcome you back . . but the froyo first). But, alas I am married to Saratoga Springs 24/7 until September frist. Welcome back to upstate New York.

  5. ericscheirerstott permalink
    July 21, 2014 5:19 pm

    I’ll be out for yogurt tonight – so be warned

  6. July 22, 2014 5:28 pm

    I am bummed I couldn’t make Froyo work last night.

    I still have to pop into Brew. They have the most adorable French Presses for sale, and I need a new one. (“Need”)

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