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Showing Off the Capital Region

June 30, 2015

It’s great to have guests. Sure, there are some segments of the Capital Region dining scene that can be really frustrating, but the things we do well are pretty darn impressive.

As I mentioned yesterday, Dr. B and his family are visiting from California. And while he may not live in SF proper, great food is just an arm’s length away at almost all times. I just think of all those beautiful tacos, tortas, and tamales, and I start to weep.

There are some challenges when another whole family comes out to visit. Now, instead of being a party of four, we’re a party of eight. And a bunch of us are very small humans. Some of us are so small that table manners are a concept as incomprehensible as the Fibonacci numbers.

But I can work with that. It just requires a slightly modified local tour.

So we started off on Sunday with Mozz & Melba at Ralph’s Tavern while we were there to pick up a takeout order of eggplant parmesan and double-pepperoni pizza. This was an excursion of just the dads. We did the fatherly thing of hunting and gathering.

Man, so much is closed on Monday, it’s infuriating. Rolf’s is closed on Monday. Harumpf. The Cheese Traveler is closed too. And there is no fruit picking at Indian Ladder Farms. That was a bummer, but we did get warm donuts from the farm at 9:15AM when we arrived just a few minutes after they opened for the day. Those are the best.

The kids loved seeing the animals, and the parents enjoyed getting out into nature so that the little ones could run around. No raspberries for us. But I hear the farm is moving into blueberry season soon.

After a quick stop to show off the Guilderland Public Library (and to pick up a few books on Minecraft) it was off to Ted’s Fish Fry for one of the other regional culinary treasures. That chili sauce is a tough sell for newbies, and my visitors agreed on the supremacy of the cocktail sauce. Although the gang was intrigued by my stories of the nontraditional versions of these sauces at Gene’s in East Greenbush.

Fish fry was officially a big hit. As were the onion rings. Some of us decided to head for Stewart’s in order to get a post-lunch ice cream. Because what could be more representative of life in upstate NY than a lunch of fish fry followed by Stewart’s.

You know what else is closed on Mondays? The NY State Museum! Man, what a bummer. But the kids were happy to explore the art in the concourse, and ride up in the Egg’s elevator. When they saw the reflecting pools, it blew their mind that we had been walking underneath the water since we left the museum.

Really I had wanted a dinner of Rolf’s wursts, but instead I found an Italian deli for their sausage and meatballs. Pellegrino’s Importing, to be precise. I can’t believe I have driven by it all these years without even knowing of its existence. It’s a good place. Why didn’t anyone tell me?

But before heading home, I had to swing Dr. B. though Oliver’s Brew Crew. It elicited plenty of oohs and ahs with the massive selections from amazing breweries. I picked up a bottle of Prairie Gold and Dr. B. couldn’t resist a four pack of Evil Twin’s Citra Sunshine Slacker. He’s a big Big Lebowski fan.

So dinner was a massive feast of meatballs, sausage, and gravy. There was a side of pasta, and a little arugula (mostly for color). Yes, I made a Sunday sauce on Monday. But that’s just how we roll.

Sadly, the trip is almost over. Today our guests are headed off to the green pastures of Vermont. But before we say goodbye, I’m going to try and get them to make a side trip to Famous Lunch. Even if it turns out to be Famous Brunch. That zippy sauce is something special too.

By making these stops with Dr. B. on his visit, I’m remembering something about demographics, and it makes me worried. More on that tomorrow.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. -R. permalink
    June 30, 2015 10:12 am

    Regarding Pellegrino’s (and all specialty Italian import shoppes in the area) – I tend to look at them as neighborhood specific: if you live within a stone’s throw of Delaware Ave, you use Cardona’s and Andy’s – if you’re on New Scotland, you go to Ragonese. In the Lathams – Roma, in Loudonville, Genoa Importing, etc, etc… There are so many, carrying so much of equivalent quality, that it rarely makes sense to drive out of the way to go to one of them (there are exceptions of course). I admit to needing to brush up on my Schenectady import stores – there must be some hidden gems I’m unaware of – I just don’t get out there as much as I should.

  2. June 30, 2015 11:31 am

    Pellagrino’s is one of my favorites. Their old location was like walking into another time. My favorite use of their meatballs is a bacon/meatball pizza.

  3. buffsoulja permalink
    June 30, 2015 3:54 pm

    Nice post. Sounds like you gave a good Capital Region food experience. Too bad the weather wasn’t cooperating.

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