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Events a Go Go

February 23, 2015

This was the first weekend I didn’t have to write a donut post for All Over Albany. The Best Dozen is now complete. The Ultimate Dozen has been published, and I handed over the data set to AOA Greg for his amusement. I have to tell you, it’s a tremendous relief.

So last weekend I was able to focus on something savory. On Sunday I made it to the Rock N Roll brunch and got a bowl of Josh Coletto’s pozole. Wow, that was good. Rich, warming, lustrous, and meaty, the bowl was brightened with radishes and cilantro. Plus the whole thing was topped by one of his glorious golden-yolked duck eggs. Could pozole be the next ramen? I’m going to call it right now.

Still, donuts are creeping back into my life. Later today, I’m going out to meet a local farmer over coffee and a donut. I’m probably more excited by the meeting than the donut.

Speaking of meetings, this week is full of them for my new Yelp job. My hope is that at least one or two may result in some fun and interesting events on the horizon. However, this week is also filled with Unofficial Yelp Events that I’m spearheading. But I want to be inclusive, especially since the events promise to be fantastic.

Event #1Chinese New Year at Ala Shanghai
Years ago, I worked with Lanny at Ala Shanghai to put together a special dinner for readers of the FLB. Actually, now that I think about it, we did that twice. Those meals were excellent, and they each had some very special dishes. But when I was reviewing the Chinese New Year menu recently, the dinner for eight people looked like a series of the restaurant’s greatest hits, with one dish I haven’t tried yet. That would be the sauteed shrimp with ginkgo nut. I’ve never had ginkgo nut, and I’m more than a little bit intrigued at the prospect.

The CNY menu is only available for the rest of this week. And my schedule is crazy this week. The only day to do it was Thursday. So, I booked a table figuring I could fill it with adventurous eaters from Yelp and the FLB. Except, like the ice cream social, I’m managing the RSVPs through Yelp.

That means you’ll have to go to the event page if you want to come. Naturally, it’s limited to eight people. And right now there are six signed up. But the Yelp page will make a wait list, just in case there is an emergency and someone has to back out.

Event #2Guided Wine & Cheese Tasting
At The Low Beat on Sunday I bumped into Eric Paul and Alifair Skebe of The Cheese Traveler. For the past ten years they have quietly been hosting an annual guided wine and cheese tasting at the First Unitarian Universalist Society. I’ve been to a couple of these, and they have been both very educational, and also a lot of fun.

The tastings are set up around tables of eight people. Each table has one cheese platter with five to six cheeses to share amongst it. So, not only do you learn about the cheeses, the wines, and the pairings, but you also learn about how to properly cut and serve cheeses of different shapes. It’s invaluable knowledge.

Again, I thought it would be fun to share this event with my food loving communities. The good news here is that even if we go over the eight people needed to fill a table, there will be plenty of room at other tables. I’ve sat with members of the FUUS in the past, and they’ve been a very friendly bunch. Granted, it could have been from the wine and great cheese.

The organizers of this cheese event are looking to get a headcount by Thursday. Tickets are $40 at the door. If you are interested in coming along next Saturday at 7 p.m., check out the details and how to RSVP on the Yelp event page.

Event #3Lots and Lots of Cider
Before the cheese and wine tasting next Saturday, I’ll have spent most of the day tasting ciders at Nine Pin Cider Works for their anniversary party and gathering of the farm cideries. The event is totally open to the public, although you will need to buy a ticket at the gate (or save a few bucks and pick one up early). But I’m not organizing anything for this. You should come. I heard a rumor that the Culinary Librarian will be there too.

Sunday is going to hurt.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. Jessica R W permalink
    February 23, 2015 3:21 pm

    Daniel, do you know the exact dates the Chinese New Year menu will be offered? Until Saturday or Sunday? (Please answer before AskTP!)

  2. Third Auntie permalink
    February 23, 2015 11:59 pm

    Menu looks interesting for the New Year dinner but alas, I am giving up on Ala Shanghai. Lately, something has always been off each time we have gone – soup dumplings that had leaked except for maybe 2, bland seasoning, overly salted food, greasy food – yet we would still give them another chance. The final straw was Thursday, New Year when we went for lunch. Upon entry, we were told there was no heat on that frigid day but we decided to stay. We kept our coats and hats on. After much decision, we were ready to order lunch and several entrees in addition. We were placing our order only to be then told – no lunch service today. Back to the menu to make decisions again. One of the dishes we ordered was on the New Year specials list – rice cake noodles w/scallops and jalapenos. Well, it should have been described as essence of scallops and rice cake noodles. My husband at first thought the noodles were the scallops but no, that was wishful thinking. We were lucky if there was barely even 2 scallops in the dish. The scallops were chopped into small bits and there was hardly any such that you would say, “Mmm, these are tasty scallops.” Why no scallops?!?!? This dish was a fail. The portions were also so much smaller than the last time we went. We ordered full price entrees but got lunch size servings. These portions were the size of a small rice bowl and each was presented on a large platter. It was New Year, so I did not want to make any complaints. This meal had too many strikes against it. We give up. No more chances.

    I am sure that your dinner experience will be better because this is a special banquet menu. Gingko nuts have a soft texture, are sweet and sometimes have a very slight bitter finish. Sea cucumber – that might be a tough one for many to try. It’s definitely a textural thing and maybe a visual thing for some people. Tiny rice balls in sweet soup – chewy mochi-like texture. Love this stuff. When we were kids, we used to try to blow bubbles with it like bubble gum.

    Have fun at the dinner and I look forward to reading everyone’s comments about it. Happy New Year!

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