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AskTP – Jump Over June

July 9, 2015

Anyone out there still remember Ask the Profussor? It’s been so long since I’ve fulfilled my commitment to answer reader questions asked within the comments section of this blog that I can’t blame anyone for forgetting.

Fortunately, the flow of questions has been modest, so I should be able to tackle them all here. For the record, if you want an answer from me, you don’t have to say (parenthetically or otherwise) “This is a question.”

Periodically, I scan all the comments on the blog for question marks. When I see one, I’ll check if the question has been answered. Nobody likes unresolved issues. So here is my attempt at providing a little bit of closure. And as usual, I’ll try to make it as fun as I can, including a special mystery link of the day.

Burnt My Fingers is gearing up for the FLB’s summer tour:
Soggy crumb in a sub is good, not bad. And Saratoga Roma beats the pantaloni off Latham Roma for the Italian mix. Pre tour showdown? Bring it on.

I’m starting to wonder about BMF with this love for soggy crumb in a sub. In my opinion that’s why you lay down cheese first, to give the bread a protective barrier from moisture. We may have to settle this one face to face on the pre-tour showdown of Roma vs. Roma.

Jessica R W has identified yet another blind spot:
Have you tried Jack’s Drive In in Wynatskill?

No. It’s been on my list for years. I do know enough to realize it’s all about the onions.

Bob W. may be the one person who noticed this blip on the FLB:
I emerge from winter hibernation to comment on the “M m” post and * POOF! *, it disappears as if it was never there. What sort of revisionist history are you peddling, Profussor? Hmmmmm?

Would you believe I pocket-posted from the WordPress app on my iPhone? It’s true. And it’s equally true that as soon as I realized this fact, I deleted the error. Oddly, I’ve come awfully close to pocket-posting on a few subsequent occasions. Be on the lookout, and you may join the ranks of Bob W. wondering if you imagined the whole thing.

Dave S. was curious about the bottle cap tool one of the cideries visiting Nine Pin used:
“…had a nifty handheld device that could put bottle caps back on bottles…”
Was it this?:


Bill Bright had a comment on my coverage of the West Wind Acres thing:
It’s been interesting to see the progression of this story. The original story in the Times Union painted an entirely different picture. There’s a whole lot of anti-government sentiment across the country, driven, I think, by paranoia hounds like FOX News. Don’t you think that sometimes lax media in search of viewers and un-vetted internet sources like this one driven by fear-mongering headlines take advantage of this fever and create false heroes — ala Cliven Bundy?

What about the lax media who just take the police blotter and report on arrests without contacting any of the parties involved? Somehow we’ve moved from innocent until proven guilty, to guilty unless able to pay expensive lawyers (and then maybe still guilty). After all, why would anyone be arrested if they weren’t doing anything wrong? (That last sentence was sarcasm).

Melissa is excited about our region’s expanding community dinner scene:
Wondering if you’ve heard of Soul Café, in Albany (community group dinner)? And if you’d be open to trying out one day.

Oh yes, I’ve heard of it. I was even able to make it out to the Troy community dinner at the Oakwood Soul Cafe once. The Albany one has continued to elude me, but that’s been more about scheduling than interest. I’d love to go one of these days.

Burnt My Fingers must not think I suffered enough from my Chinese take out experience:
You don’t tell us what you did with the oil-filled egg roll. Did you drain the oil out, or fry it in more oil? (That was a question.)

I drained it, the best I could, and ate it. As much as I abhor crappy food, I hate waste even more.

mr.dave must be in a mood:
Who is “Mr. Dave?”

A regional hero to many, who doesn’t blog nearly as much as he should. My hope is that he doesn’t move to Utica in an attempt to escape the roving mobs of Yelpers who are visiting the Capital Region’s beloved taverns. But it does seem like Utica may be the best place to escape the modernizing forces at work in Albany and its surrounding suburbs and cities.

Burnt My Fingers wrote in response to my observations on garnish at The Wine Bar:
Who says you can’t eat lemon slices, skin and all? (That was a question).

Nobody. In fact, they make a fantastically tart and refreshing lemonade when blended with sugar and ice in a super-powered blender. But they are far too indelicate for the type of dining being practiced at The Wine Bar.

Steve N. somehow thinks I’m the kind of guy who might want dirt under my nails:
Mr. Dave brings up an interesting question. Why don’t you have a garden Daniel?

Keeping things alive isn’t my strong suit. The kids have been the one exception in my lifetime of living things that have thrived under my care. For the record, we don’t have houseplants either. Our lawn is a tangle of weeds and our shrubs are naturally wild. The neighbors would hate us, but thankfully there are other people in the neighborhood that are even worse.

mes_aloha wanted me to take a look at taco garnish:
Can I get a ruling on my garnishing here : Acceptable yeh or neigh? I don’t just use the radish and lime as just a garnish however, I pickle the radish in citrus and then add or just snack on them with my meal.

This may be a fine line, but I see radishes and pickled carrots more of a complement to a dish than a garnish. They are there as options to add (or not) to your experience. Would you call blue cheese and celery a garnish to a plate of wings? They aren’t ornamental. It’s a critical piece of the dish, but one that’s served on the side.

Roger K sensed something peculiar about my Mom’s visit:
Schenectady airport? Does she pilot her own plane? Or is she in the Air National Guard?

It’s a nice little airport for private planes. My mom isn’t a pilot, but her husband is. They used to fly into Million Air, which is nice because they have free popcorn, soda and cookies. But the Schenectady airport is closer to Jumpin’ Jacks and The Memphis King.

Laura aka The Sassy Dietitian also chose wrong at the Whole Foods anniversary party:
It’s funny, I ended up going home with the sweetened Nani’s Tea….hmmm maybe we should swap?!

That would have been a good idea, but I drank my tea pretty quickly. Now I have to make a batch of my own. Home brewed iced tea is so delicious and easy. I’d put mine up against Nani’s any day. But mine isn’t shelf stable.

mr.dave goes to explain part of the culture that shuns single diners at dining room tables:
Ever notice the hostility many locals have for LI folk? A lot of that is based in them not understanding/following the (often ridiculous) set of rules we have decided are in place.

Is that why they are hostile? I assumed it’s because the LI folk have had a long history of coming here, trashing the place, and then leaving. Fortunately, I think that’s a trend on the decline. As our area is improving, there’s increased respect for the good things the Capital Region has to offer. At least that’s what I’ve been seeing.

David Nardolillo sees taking parties of one in the dining room as good business sense:
How many restaurants here are fully committed on regular basis?

I suppose that depends on what you mean by fully committed. I don’t think anyplace makes it through two seatings at dinner. Everyone here seems to want to eat all at the same time. But it’s usually not the managers or owners who are the gatekeepers to the dining room.

albanylandlord should realize that it’s never rude to sit alone at a table for two:
A place would have to be really busy before I might consider it rude to sit alone at a table for two. Would a party of 3 feel uncomfortable at a table for four? One empty chair either way.

It’s not about how the party feels, but rather about how the server can make them feel. From my time in the front of the house, I remember how competitive servers were with tips for the night. Getting a prized section in the restaurant could make a meaningful difference in the night’s take home pay. Each table represents potential revenue for the server. A single diner at a deuce, reduces that table’s value by 50%. A party of three at a four-top reduces that by 25%. Considering the host can sometimes seat a party of two at a four-top, a party of three is actually not a terrible outcome.

kathy wanted some more details on the piece I wrote on sour cream:
the cabot sour cream ingredient list is this the regular? i thought i saw corn starch on the container…but one of the farms is saying no….i do not believe them …i can taste the corn starch

Yes. The ingredient list I included for the Cabot sour cream is for the regular full-fat version. It does indeed contain modified corn starch. The farms can say whatever they like. But ingredient statements are product packaging are both highly regulated by the government. So if Cabot is saying it puts modified food starch in the sour cream, you can bet there is modified food starch in the sour cream.

Jean Patiky is always looking out for the fussy little children:
Still wondering if the new favorite dish has Sufficient calories for growing kids????

Well, it’s good that I have some new dietitian friends. The dish is a pound of organic whole wheat pasta, one can of cannellini beans, one pound of frozen peas, and some other vegetable (either grilled or sauteed in olive oil). The whole thing is topped with freshly grated Parm-Reg. The kids will eat multiple servings of this, and ideally have a small dessert of either fruit or plain yogurt with maple syrup (but sometimes we let them have one small piece of candy).

Burnt My Fingers wasn’t thrilled with the Times Union’s Best New Restaurant selections:
Nice to see Slidin’ Dirty up there but where’s 15 Church? Where’s Peck’s Arcade? I think Mr. Churchill has a point.

I can never remember what the timeline is for these polls. But you’re right. 15 Church and Peck’s Arcade sure seem like they should make the list. That said, Saratoga Springs is really the northernmost outpost of the Capital Region and the paper’s readership doesn’t tend to focus much on things north of the twin bridges. I see Mr. Churchill’s point. My argument has always been to try and understand why people behave like they do. Then, and only then, can you work on altering their behavior. Calling consumers names and dismissing their opinions isn’t going to bring the change he seeks.

LorreS may have noticed an imprecise use of my language, I think:
[loud needle scratching a vinyl record sound]
“Back when I was still engaged in the ad world, I did my penance by buying a crazy Canadian magazine called Adbusters.”

This should have read, “I did my penance by buying the latest issue of a crazy Canadian magazine called Adbusters, whenever I found it on the newsstand.” Buying the magazine would have been badass, but I don’t think the anti-capitalists at the magazine’s helm would ever have actually considering selling the publication. Or maybe I’m misreading the question.

10 Comments leave one →
  1. July 9, 2015 10:05 am

    I had to go back and re-read the previous ATP to calibrate your comment about subs. So let’s do this. Order one Italian mix as-is and one with dressing on the side at Roma in Latham and I’ll do the same at Roma in Saratoga. The tasters will then meet halfway (a picnic area in Clifton Park) and we will have a double comparison of the subs themselves and also the benefits or deficits of soggy crumb.

    As a bonus, I will bring a jar of Pastene crushed peppers to be spread on the subs as desired. They charge a buck extra for this at the store so I just put on my own at home.

    • dje1123 permalink
      July 12, 2015 6:11 pm

      I will happily moderate. (Mediate?) As I’m gluten free, I cannot be biased There’s a park in halfmoon on rt 236 and a lovely one on the hudson river on rt 32. Name the date and time gentlemen and rev your tastebuds.

  2. Gabby permalink
    July 9, 2015 1:19 pm

    Giving my vote for soggy crumb (just on the inside–you can’t let it sit too long or the whole thing goes limp and wet). The crust on the outside stays firm, but the inside gets soaked with flavor and it all melds together deliciously. My (Italian-American) mother would always build and time the making of sandwiches to maximize this, and I don’t like my sandwiches any other way. YMMV, of course!

  3. Mmm permalink
    July 9, 2015 2:52 pm

    I’m a restaurant server and I’ve never discouraged or been unhappy about serving a single diner. In my opinion, single diners are low maintenance, less demanding, don’t linger after their meal and generally tip better then larger groups. Obviously I’m generalizing but I’ve been burned so many times in situations where my section was not sat in order to be able to push multiple tables together to accommodate a large group and in turn the group orders water all around and shares just a few items between the entire table and lingers for hours after they’ve finished. I’ll take a single diner over that any day.

  4. July 9, 2015 9:50 pm

    Slidin’ Dirty is a lot cheaper than 15 Church and Peck’s Arcade. People may not have had a chance to visit those higher-end places when there are $4 sliders available. Plus, you know, it’s the vote of the masses. If some people did vote for those two restaurants it was outnumbered in the end. I should know, I tallied the results :P

  5. July 10, 2015 1:11 pm

    Hi – Wendy from Cabot Cheese here. I just wanted to clarify the ingredients in Cabot Sour Cream. The full fat Sour Cream has no corn starch, while our Light Sour Cream does. Our label & nutrition facts can be found here:
    Have a great weekend!

    • July 10, 2015 9:52 pm

      Hi Wendy,

      I think it’s great that Cabot full fat sour cream has changed its formulation to live up to the brand’s higher values. But the product I was describing from the original post in 2012 was indeed the full fat version. In fact, I wasn’t the only one to write about the ingredients. Dave’s Cupboard had a post, and included a picture of the ingredients. You can see it at the link below.

      What’s also intresting is that the nutritionals of your new full fat sour cream has only 75% of its calories from fat. The older version had 90% of its calories from fat. So while I’m glad that the gums and thickeners have been removed, at least on paper Cabot’s new sour cream isn’t going to make my cut.

      • Mmm permalink
        July 12, 2015 4:14 am

        I’m rarely a name-brand snob other then a few exceptions. Daisy brand sour cream is one of them . I don’t know if it’s organic but the only ingredient listed is cultured cream. It’s very fresh tasting with a nice tang. I’ve noticed most sour creams have many unnecessary ingredients and fall flat on the “sour” note. I use to think Cabot produced quality products. Perhaps they do but not based on the taste of and the extended ingredient list of their sour cream.

      • July 12, 2015 2:32 pm

        Daniel: Thanks for clarifying re: history & info – really appreciate it. Seems I got some incomplete info.. Happy to chat via email at (per your tweet!)

  6. July 10, 2015 5:01 pm

    Yes, you got the question right. Thanks for the clarification.

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