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Go With the Flow

April 13, 2015

Now that Passover is completed, I’ve already had bread, pasta, cookies, pizza, cereal, beer and whiskey. Amazingly, I think it may have been the beer I missed most. Sometimes I don’t even know who I am anymore.

For Friday night’s potluck, I brought a full batch of chana masala, which seemed to have been the surprise hit. It always kills me how popular this dish is, since beyond chopping an onion, it’s mostly just about bringing the pot to a boil and reducing it to a simmer.

Actually, this was the first batch I made in the pressure cooker, but I was overcautious and as a result it took me just as much time to make it with my new device as it would have to make it the conventional way. Part of that may have been the pressure of the potluck. It’s a long story that I don’t want to bore you with today.

What I do want to bore you with today is a recent observation that may go a long way to explain why Capital Region restaurants are the way they are.

Feel free to file this under “Obviously…duh” but I’ve somehow failed to notice something important in my ongoing examination of the Capital Region dining scene.

Everyone here eats at the same time.

That’s a gross generalization, to be sure. There are some early bird specials. And I have no doubt there are some places that serve the student population which are busy late into the night. However, looking at a couple different restaurants that serve different audiences across different segments of the dining spectrum I’ve recently noticed this phenomenon in action.

Creo was a ghost town on a recent weekday evening after the dinner crowd left. Mrs. Fussy and I went for a drink and dessert at the bar, and at 9pm I didn’t see a single soul in the dining room.

Like a noob I tried to take the family out for Ralph’s pepperoni pizza on a Saturday night at six o’clock. We ended up waiting for 45 minutes. But as soon as the crush of humanity passed through, that was it. The rush ended as quickly as it began.

Is it the homogeneity of the culture? Are there just too many restuarants in the region for any of them to be crowded all night long? Is it that there just aren’t enough people working really late to drive those eight o’clock seatings?

Or have I completely missed the boat?

It does seem like there is something to this. But I think it will require more study, and perhaps some more input from people who have been here for a longer than my almost [gasp] eight years.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. EPT permalink
    April 13, 2015 11:13 am

    Daniel,
    I don’t think it’s the restaurants as much as it’s a “cultural” shift/change. Years ago I wouldn’t think twice requesting an 8:30 reservation, now it’s an hour or so earlier. I think there is a hesitancy to go out late, have some dinner AND drinks and then DRIVE home. So this is a drinking and driving reason. In line with this, the capital district area is not, for the most part, an area where you can walk to a restaurant/bar and walk home.

    In addition, many of us from yesteryear had kids and they impose a different schedule. Many folks get up early for work and don’t want to just eat, sleep and work. We like city vacations for the most part where you don’t have to drive. Yeah, then I’ll take an 8:30 reservation, no problem. Then there’s the folks that work regular hours and if you want to eat out late, you have time to kill, usually just waiting till it’s time to leave for the restaurant. I think 6-6:30 is the new 8 o’clock for many. It’s not the restaurants, it’s us who have changed.

    Plus there is a resurgence of sorts with respect to interest in cooking, people are getting a little more adventurous with there home cooked meals. The same folks that would probably eat out. Sure there are plenty of folks left that will go fast food but we’re not including them here. Just some thoughts.

    Born in the capital district 44 years, grew up in Queens.

    • EPT permalink
      April 13, 2015 11:14 am

      Sorry, that would be “been” not “Born”

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