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A Semi-Private Tour de Tavern Pie

February 3, 2015

Before you know it spring will be here. Well, even if spring itself may be far away, I still have a hard time calling March winter. This is why I’ve recently embraced the idea espoused by Kurt Vonnegut in Cat’s Cradle about the two shoulder seasons to winter in this part of the world:

I had heard it suggested one time that the seasons in the temperate zone should be six rather than four in number: summer, autumn, locking, winter, unlocking, and spring. And I remembered that as I straightened up beside our manhole, and stared and listened and sniffed. There were no smells. There was no movement. Every step I took made a gravelly squeak in blue-white frost. And every squeak was echoed loudly. The season of locking was over. The earth was locked up tight.

It was winter, now and forever.

Anyhow, before March is upon us I wanted to get the next FUSSYlittleTOUR on the books. Last year we had the Tour de Buffalo Wings – Troy Edition. Two years ago was the Tour de Disco Fries. Before that was the Tour de Mozz & Melba. This year it’s going to be Tour de Tavern Pie. Today, I’m looking for input and for volunteers.

Thanks to everyone who chimed in on tavern pies last month. It was hugely helpful in coming up with a short list for the upcoming tour. Based on your input there are three places that I now consider must visits:

Ralph’s
New Madison Grille
Hill Street Cafe

These tours have five stops. So that leaves us with two vacancies to fill, and lots of worthy contenders, including:

Fountain
Smith’s Tavern
Deacon Blues
The Purple Pub
Valente’s
Notty Pine

We’re not going up to Glens Falls on this one. And the 70 year old Orchard Tavern pizza recipe is really its own thing. I’ve got a lot of love for it, but it’s sitting this one out.

So what say you? I will let you vote for two of the above in the comments section. And please feel free to weigh in on toppings too.

Thus far it has been proposed that the best toppings at the above taverns are:

Ralph’s: pepperoni & mushroom
New Madison Grille: half cheese half salami
Hill Street Cafe: margherita

Fountain: meatball & eggplant
Smith’s Tavern: none suggested
Deacon Blues: seafood scampi pie
The Purple Pub: none suggested
Valente’s: none suggested
Notty Pine: none suggested

Feel free to share your thoughts on the above list too.

So here is how this tour is going to work. Like a couple of prior winter tours, I’m capping attendance at six people. Just six. Six eaters. Six judges. No hangers on. No tourists. No kids. Six people who can squeeze around a small table, eat a pizza, pay for it, and move on to the next one.

Probably at the start of the tour, we will draw lots to determine which person will be picking up which check. One lucky person will eat for free. That’s fair, fun, and fool proof.

I wish I could take everyone along who would like to participate in this endeavor, but space is extremely limited. We’re heading out this Saturday, February 7. So if you are free all day, and want to join me in a marathon pizza eating session to try and get a better handle on our best and most beloved regional tavern pies, leave a comment below stating your interest, or if you prefer to do it more privately, send me an email.

Get your submissions in before 11:59 pm on Thursday night. Attendees will be notified on Friday morning. And for those who aren’t able to come on Saturday, I will make additional scoresheets available for those who are interested in taking the self-guided version of this tour.

8 Comments leave one →
  1. Kerosena permalink
    February 3, 2015 12:15 pm

    I like Smiths (Smitty’s), but I hate their sauce. I always felt that it’s overcooked and a little burnt or bitter tasting, so I only get a white pie there.

  2. -R. permalink
    February 3, 2015 12:52 pm

    I think for the sake of brevity and convenience, the establishments should be grouped as closely as possible, meaning I would axe Smith’s as being somewhat too distant. Do the aforementioned Albany circuit, then head to Watervliet to do any of the three. I’ve only been to the Purple Pub (sausage & mushroom was very good), so the other two would be interesting.

    I can attend this event as I am free all day Saturday. It would be a pleasure.

  3. February 3, 2015 5:38 pm

    I will vote for none of them since I haven’t been, but vote -1 on Notty Pine since they were closed when we showed up for the wing tour last year.

    I would love to nominate myself as a judge but can’t spare the whole day. If you would publish your schedule, and then confirm it with real time tweets on the day, it would help with kibitzing.

  4. Debra permalink
    February 4, 2015 10:43 am

    I have appts. that day, otherwise I would like to have joined the group. I would suggest adding the Fountain and Purple Pub – only for selfish reasons – I haven’t been to either in years, but used to frequent them a lot in the 80’s and 90’s and was always happy with their pizza.

  5. llcwine permalink
    February 4, 2015 10:47 am

    A definite yes for the Seafood scampi pie from Deacon Blues…it is garlicky delish!!!

  6. Brian permalink
    February 4, 2015 1:45 pm

    Id like to hear your take on Deacon Blues..but I would go with a sausage pie myself

  7. buffsoulja permalink
    February 5, 2015 1:35 am

    I totally want in on this Dan. Tavern Pizza = my specialty, and I think I got the ever expanding winter gut to handle this.

    It would be interesting to see which pie comes up the best when actually placed side my side.

    The Fountain is an absolute must (my bias for this pizza I cannot hide), and I think Smith’s “Metroland” deserves the other spot as love it or not, it really is an original and proud tavern of our area. Purple Pub is also a fan favorite – it would be hard leaving that place out of most beloved Capital Region tavern pizza.

    Good call with including Madison Grille, but I am not so sure about Hill Street…always wanted to try Notty Pine and Deacon Blues however.

  8. buffsoulja permalink
    February 5, 2015 1:54 pm

    Buffsoulja=josh k btw – have 2 word press accounts somehow

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