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The Madness of Summer

June 29, 2015

Man, it would be nice to have a summer break. I say that, but in actuality, my whole life is like a break. Really, I’m a very lucky fellow.

Summer in the Capital Region is just chock-a-block filled with things to do. And it’s impossible to do all the things, regardless of how much you want to do all the things. I’m just going to run you through my weekend real quick, just to give you a taste of what went down.

I wish I could spend the time going through each item, but then this post would be silly long. Perhaps if anyone actually wants to hear more on one of the topics mentioned, I can try to find a way to expand upon it later this week. But it all started innocently enough on Friday doing what I always do, hunting for my weekly challah and roast chicken.

After a successful trip to Whole Foods, I wanted to see if we could make it two for two.

First, the good news. Huzzah! Yet another week when they had both the challah and chicken in stock! There was much rejoicing in the Fussy household as we brought our favorite rotisserie chicken and ceremonial loaf of bread back home for our traditional Friday night meal.

Second, the better news. Not only are they baking challah, but they also have the Zomick’s. These choices are hard. Super hard. This week we went Whole Foods. Next week we’ll go Zomick’s.

But it wasn’t all good news. The deli counter was a disaster on this trip. My fancy salami was butchered. Instead of thin rounds, I got semi-circles that were thick on one edge and sliced just half way through. And instead of being carefully tiled on sheets, these slices were unceremoniously piled up on top of each other like common lunchmeat, and not the fine charcuterie they were.

Then they couldn’t get the price right. Despite the sign on the case clearly declaring it $14.99 per pound, the scale insisted on charging $19.99 a pound. It took three people about five minutes to fix the problem.

And then it was off to the cheese counter, where the cheesemonger was MIA. I was glad to have a piece cut freshly from the wheel, but I kind of hoped that since it was going straight into my hand and out of the store, that they might have had something better than plastic with which to wrap my purchase.

Still, it’s important to remember, overall this is still improvement. And I’m only mentioning these things because I want to see this store do better.

Saturday was amazing, if bittersweet.

This was the very last day for retail operations at TC Bakery Paris in Saratoga Springs. And while it’s sad for us, it’s great for Chef Paul and his business. The business, which was built on the back of a killer French macaron, is refocusing on the thing that put it on the map, and will be doing so in an even bigger way. They are going wholesale, and should soon be baking these delicate little morsels almost around the clock. Paul is going to need every bit of space to make this possible, and so made the tough decision to shutter the retail side of things.

The good news is that if you ever need macarons, and the lights are on, they will have plenty. So just ring the bell and you can get your fix. Man, those things are good. Salted caramel? Oh dear lordy.

Anyhow, I picked up a lemon tart, a fruit tart, two Paris-Brest, and a selection of macarons to bring over to Albany Jane’s dessert party. Hopefully, she’ll write something on that, because it was fantastic.

But I had to leave early to help Shmaltz celebrate its second birthday in Clifton Park. Besides seeing Chad, Deanna and Bill, I also had a great conversation with Dave from The Ruck and Shelby from the brewery. I also got chatty with the Esperanto team and learned more about the story of the doughboy. And I introduced myself to chef Rachel, and learned more about the genesis of her vegan wings. Betcha didn’t know vegans even had wings, did you?

After the beer festival it was off to say hi to my old pal Matthew Jager at Yankee Distillers, and learn a little bit more about his new operation up there. Actually, it’s just right across the parking lot from Shmaltz. It’s like Exit 10 has its own mini beverage trail.

Then it was back down to Albany Jane’s. Someone had been drinking, and I arrived just moments before the guy from Pizza Hut delivered that hot-dog-in-the-crust pizza. Oh dear.

And on Sunday, my old friend Dr. B. arrived from California with his beautiful family for a visit with the Fussies. First thing we did? I took him to Ralph’s Tavern. He tried the mozz and melba, and we picked up a double pepperoni pizza and a half tray of eggplant parm to feed the families.

It was a good first taste of Albany, and I’m hoping to get him as much local color as possible in the next 36 hours. Fortunately, I’ve got a few ideas. We’ll see if the kids and families go along with the plan. Wish me luck.

I’ll get some sleep when winter rolls around.

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