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AskTP – My Last Quarter

December 28, 2015

Last night, my kids and their cousins got to open a flurry of presents at the farm. My present has been drinking through some of the beer stash I brought with me.

I figure it will be a meaningless list to most of you, but so far we’ve had Nancy by Allagash Brewing Company, Bomb! by Prairie Artisan Ales, Beer Geek Breakfast by Mikkeller, Epitome by Carton Brewing Company, Aún Más A Jesús by Evil Twin Brewing, Hammerstone Pale Ale by Crossroads Brewing Company, Mo’ Shuggie Soulbender IPA by SingleCut Beersmiths, and Equinox by Kent Falls Brewing Co.

If you’re really curious about my top line thoughts on specific beers, I’m putting them up on Untappd. But I can’t imagine that it would be all that interesting.

What I hope is much, much more interesting is my response to reader questions. “What! That still happens?” Well, not so much anymore. But I committed to answering all reader questions at the beginning of this whole FLB project. And even though there are questions dating all the way back to October, that doesn’t mean I’ve forgotten.

So, without any further ado, onto the questions.

Eric T. had a naming suggestion for the Tour de Italian Deli:
And what’s wrong with Tour della Deli?

Well, for starters, I didn’t think of it. But there’s nothing authentically Italian about our ginormous hoagies stuffed with meat and cheese. Also, the “Tour de [insert foodstuff”] has become a staple of the FLB. So, I’d hate to go off-message by changing the structure of the name. That said, it’s mighty clever.

Chantelle was curious about what I sampled in Saratoga:
I love Saratoga Tea and Honey! Did you happen to try the mango infused honey?? It’s lovely.

My sniffing was reserved solely for tea. Even that took me a ton of time. I did check out the honey room, but we already have too much honey at home. We’re trying to thin out the pantry staples, and if I showed up with yet another honey to add into the mix, Mrs. Fussy would be unthrilled.

LorreS speculated on why she gets so passionate about family farms:
Is it because they are often underdogs in the agribusiness monstrosity that America has created? Is it because my family were all farmers and now none of them are – not because they’re rubes, but because our laws make it almost impossible to be in the family farm business? Is it because we keep hearing that 500 family farms go under every month in America (or some other completely scary statistic)?

One has to be careful when talking about farms these days. Often, those large farms that are vilified by some, are still truly family farms. To keep their heads above water, many family farms have been compelled to grow bigger and bigger. And farm statistics are another troubling subject, as many farms are more hobbies than businesses. I’d say that it’s important to focus not on family farms, but on small farms. But that’s not true either. It’s important that all farms, regardless of their ownership structure or size, support biodiversity and environmental stewardship. Corn as far as the eye can see and large lakes of manure have got to go.

Debra wanted to know if I’ve been to a local burger spot:
Have you tried Juicy Burger yet Daniel? I’d like to know your opinion of their burgers and buns.

I have, but stopped going because it was just too much of a hassle. Part of me liked the ordering by interior color scheme. But a red center was too rare for the fat to render and make a juicy burger. The pink center was truly pink in the center, but was decidedly more medium than medium-rare. What I want in a Juicy Burger is a center that’s between their “red center” and their “pink center.”

Having that conversation every time you place an order is a bit onerous as it is. But the last time I went, the fellow behind the counter gave me guff about cooking it in between the two temperatures. Life is too short to eat overdone burgers or argue with clerks about how a place can or cannot make your burger.

When the burger was made correctly, it was great. And I really enjoy their buns too. However, getting a real medium rare burger, with a warm red center that’s pink all the way through, shouldn’t be a battle.

llcwine was clearly being sarcastic when she asked about the presence of seaweed in milk:
mmmm carageenan…aka seaweed ….who wouldn’t love it in milk????

Carrageenan used to be in just about everything, so I can’t imagine most people would mind.

christenrgowan of Christen in the Kitchen made a funny about Mrs. London’s:
Anything from Mrs. London’s is a sure bet (see my Saratoga pun there?)

Ooh. I want to play too. So, there are some things I like at Mrs. London’s more than others, but I wouldn’t look a gift horse in the mouth (you’re right, that is fun).

boya3706 shared a similar experience with candy corn:
Did you get the candy corn made with real honey? They’ve started removing the High Fructose corn syrup for honey, though leaving in regular corn syrup. I’ve convinced many a person to try candy corn again, and all responses have been, its not as terrible as I remember. Win.

I did get the candy corn made with “real” honey. I do question honey’s real-ness, though, since a lot of industrial honey can be stripped off all the stuff that makes honey honey in the first place. That said, I did enjoy it, and am back on team candy corn.

Laura aka The Sassy Dietitian was even more disgusted by my discovery in the dairy case:
And seriously Ultra Skim Milk? I’m appalled ha! If I found that in a store i’d want to throw things at it and perhaps dump the fake milk all over the less than real orange juice.

My new thing is that it’s all fake milk. Whole milk is far from whole. And skim milk is like sugar protein-water made from milk. I’m fine to have pasteurized fluid dairy. But when you start tinkering with the fat levels, even for the lofty goal of product standardization, it’s no longer a whole food by definition.

Elizabeth makes an appeal for a local business that fell out of my consideration set:
Have you ever gone back to try Jake Moon? I remember you had a not-so-positive yelp review years ago. But, it’s still my favorite place to get a laid-back ‘real food’ diner breakfast.

No, I haven’t. But if you want to invite me out to breakfast, maybe we can find a way to make that happen. For real. I’m not making this up. Part of me thinks that the best way to enjoy a place is to go with someone who really really loves it. Not only can that love be infectious, but it also helps to make sure you order the dishes worthy of adulation.

Jon in Albany never thought he would hear me utter these words:
“It was too much ground up fat for my taste.” First who, are you and what have you done to Daniel? And second, a cold cut sandwich can have too much fat but not a burger?

Still me. The answer to the first question is found in the answer to the second. There is a decided difference between hard cold fat and its more lovely warm, rendered cousin. Give me a chunk of braised pork belly any day, and I’ll gladly roll my eyes back into my head as the warm geyser of fat cascades over my mouth and triggers the pleasure centers in my brain. But pop an equivalent quantity of butter into my mouth and I suspect I would gag. And I love butter. I love butter more than I care to admit. A little salami goes a long way. A giant sandwich full of it just feels like biting into a pile of raw fat.

Burnt My Fingers is encouraged by my sandwich revelation, and clearly wants in:
It looks like you have not actually tried a sub from Roma in Saratoga. How are we going to make that happen? And is it worth getting a group of tasters together and meeting halfway to compare the same sub (knowing it actually isn’t from your ingredient discovery) from the two locations? That looks to be a bit south of Round Lake where my map shows there’s a state forest. Maybe there’s a picnic table?

Cars are great for driving up to Saratoga for sandwiches. Perhaps we need to arrange a posse to have a mini tour of the menu at Roma in Saratoga to try and find the best sandwich the shop can make. You know, eat four of their sandwiches side by side and come up with a personal favorite. I don’t think we have to rub in the fact that the Saratoga shop goes about things differently than its Latham outpost.

Dave asks an easy one, which I would hope would be obvious after a quick Google search:
Ever try a sub sandwich from Pelligrino’s on Central Ave. in Colonie?

Yes. Yes, I have. They are quite good indeed.

North Country Rambler noted a change to some of the underlying beliefs of this blog:
Very nice pics. (Do I remember someone stating that he really disliked the idea of putting photos on FLB?). Silly Fussy.

I still dislike the idea of putting photos on the FLB. But if I’m going to do it, I’m glad that someone enjoys the images.

mr. dave would seem to indicate that I’m stating the obvious:
Wait. Hold on… Are you trying to say that American restaurants have a problem with large portion sizes?

Nope. American restaurants have no problem with large portion sizes. None at all. Truly. I’m not even kidding. It’s our human bodies that have the problem with the portion sizes.

Ryan H. asks an interesting question that I’m sure echoed around the local blogosphere:
Oh my god. So when is the Tour De Jon’s House?

That’s not a bad idea. Well, okay, it’s a terrible idea. We can’t really have a tour of Jon’s house. However, as his dream of opening a pizza place starts taking shape, Jon may be interested in bringing in some independent tasters to help fine-tune his topping selections. And of course, I’m sure the readers of the FLB would make a fine tasting panel. But that’s up to him. And his dream is still years away.

MikeH recalled some strange potato treats that once were made at Bob & Ron’s:
Anyone remember the weird extruded fries that came out of something like a soft serve machine before going into the fryer? Those were great but were done away with several years ago.

Oh man. Where’s Mr. Dave when you need him?

mr. dave also recalls a bit of local history as we reflect on changes in Albany:
Who remembers when the Madison changed its sign to the “Norma Jean” Madison? Then lightning struck the sign like a week later?

If only the theater had a clock tower so we could remember the precise time that the lightning struck… Then we might have enough energy to go back into the past and stop Mr. Dave from deleting his blog.

Beck wanted to check how deep my list of regional donut joints goes:
Daniel, have you ever tried Mrs. Murphy’s Donuts in Manchester, VT? I was only there once, several years ago, but I still dream of their light, airy, crackly-glazed yeast doughnuts.

Nope. But donuts that are dream-worthy certainly pique my interest.

duck duck goose is looking for help on finding the right word:
I wish I knew then what I know now. What is the word for that feeling… is there a word? It feels like there should be.

Regret?

LorreS made an appeal to buy more food for local farms, and one farm in particular:
Nine Mile Farms has about a ton of food that it needs to sell. Why not consider being a little generous in the form of buying it? Their contact information is here: http://9milefarm.weebly.com/contact-us.html

Sounds like a good idea to me.

Burnt My Fingers had another great idea for how we can support the local Muslim community:
How about a few links to recommended establishments we can give money to that are serving or selling Halal food?

Actually, if enough people started going out to Halal restaurants and sharing their experiences on Yelp, it’s possible that someone could create an entire Local Yelp newsletter dedicated to the cuisine and culture. Here’s a good place to start.

Randal Putnam found himself equally amazed by Heidelberg bread:
I’ve been buying the Heidelberg Whole Wheat on and off for a couple of years now. I enjoy it for sandwiches because it is soft and square. Because it is so soft, and without reading the label, I assumed they used some white flour. Nope. Just whole wheat flour. How do they do that? My 100% whole wheat flour four ingredient loaves are good out of the oven but bricks as they cool. Almost all other makers add some white flour to soften the loaves and they are still much firmer than the Heidelberg loaves. Sometimes in the Heidelberg there are striations of lighter coloration. You ever notice that? I’m beginning to wonder if something is up here. Any insight you have would be welcomed. Factory tour offered and in order?

I don’t know how they do it. It’s amazing. My guess is that it has something to do with the amount of time they let the yeast work on the dough. But I’m no baker, so I have no idea. I’ve long fantasized about going on a factory tour, or hitting them up for “media” access if the factory isn’t open to the public.

LorreS must have gotten used to the sunnier side of fussy:
Did the pizza and wings give you indigestion? This reads like a serious case of the crabbyappletons.

Nope. The pizza and wings sat quite well with me. Keurig coffee machines on the other hand give me agita. As do nonstick pans. I don’t care which chefs endorse them. Don’t tell Mrs. Fussy, but I’m kind of in the market for a French steel omelet pan. My cast iron is in such good shape these days, I feel like I can bring another baby on board.

Dave has a simple question that I don’t think is so simple:
Have you tried the ham from Chester’s Smoke House?

I’m sure it’s dynamite ham. But I’m also pretty sure that Chester’s makes more than one kind of ham. So, if there’s a ham that you recommend, please be specific. My love for HoneyBaked has more to do with its impossibly crackly glaze and spiral slicing than anything else. Well, I’m sure it also has to do with positive memories from my youth. So hopefully, you won’t begrudge me this occasional nostalgic indulgence.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. ericscheirerstott permalink
    December 28, 2015 11:04 am

    What is you opinion on uncoated aluminum omelette pans?

  2. December 28, 2015 11:18 am

    Per the Jake Moon comment: I’ve found that they are hit or miss, I’ve had really great things (Red Flannel Hash) and pretty awful things (fresh cinnamon bun with a very burnt sugar topping), but overall I still like them a lot, I feel like they’re genuinely invested in their product.

    Also, I got really hooked on Heidelberg bread. I’ve even started eating it toasted, without any spread because its got such a great texture and flavor.

  3. December 28, 2015 7:19 pm

    Your Roma Saratoga idea doesn’t sound very scientific to me. Still prefer the meeting halfway idea. Though with the weather changing we’re going to need to find an indoor facility. Maybe go to Stewarts and pay for beverages

  4. -R. permalink
    January 4, 2016 2:18 pm

    While I don’t know how long it will last, Mr. Dave has opened his indispensably vast archives for perusal:

    http://ridiculousfoodsociety.blogspot.com/

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