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Miles To Go Before I Sleep

April 29, 2016

Friday! At last. What a crazy week this has been.

I’m not sure who is going to be more relieved when Passover is finished at sundown tomorrow. It’s been a struggle for me to stay away from my favorite foods. But it can’t have been easy for anyone reading this blog to deal with all the complaining. Anyhow, on Sunday I think I’ll have spaghetti and meatballs (from the Gramma Jeanie’s special Venda Ravioli stash).

Sunday is already May 1? Egads! That’s the blogiversary. April totally got away from me. So much for the hot egg custard and bubble tea party plan. Don’t worry. The plan isn’t being entirely scrapped. We’ll just have to push it further out. Just like we’ve been pushing back the Tour de Soft Serve. I’m still not sure what to do about that since one of the beloved Schenectady businesses has burned down (and is rebuilding).

It’s also supposed to be raining on Sunday, so an afternoon of day drinking at the Madison Pour House seems like a bad idea. Should I get inspired to do something to celebrate the occasion, I’ll post it on Twitter and Facebook. But I wouldn’t hold your breath. A rainy Sunday sounds like a brilliant time to enjoy a nap. Although it is also the opening day of Indian Ladder Farmstead Brewery.

On the eve of this blog milestone, there is one thing that’s clearly evident.

You would think that after studying the food culture of the Capital Region since May 1 of 2009 I would have a good handle on the area’s food scene. And for the most part, I think I do. Then something like this happens.

Because of the job, I spend a lot of time on Yelp. And I read a lot of reviews. But recently I came across something surprising.

PJ’s Pizza.

I can’t even tell you how much pizza I judged over the years as part of All Over Albany’s Tournament of Pizza. But it’s a lot. And then there has been my great love of our region’s taverns, including a relatively new appreciation for tavern-style pies.

I sat down with the Orchard Tavern’s owners years ago, and got some historical perspective on our oldest tavern and the region’s tavern culture. I’ve had one or two classic gin martinis at Albany’s oldest restaurant, Jack’s Oyster House. Somehow I snagged a lunch invite into the Fort Orange Club and got a glimpse at some of the old Albany power players.

But it never even occurred to me to check out Albany’s oldest pizza parlor.

As it turns out, PJs Pizza is beloved by lots of locals (including at least one talented chef) who appreciate good pizza. And yet, it’s remained completely off my radar for the past several years. I have to go. Diet be damned, but I do have to wait until after Passover.

Finding out about hidden gems is fantastic. However, it’s always a good reminder for me to not get complacent or too surefooted in my thinking that I know all there is about food in the Capital Region. There are still a lot of places I haven’t tried. And more to be discovered that are hiding in plain sight.

So, the blog goes on. Maybe a bit more tired and less angry than it was several years ago. But hey, I can finally get great coffee, world class cheeses, and grass-fed meats in the Capital Region. And tonight is the soft opening of a legit Korean restaurant in Troy using hard to find ingredients grown on the family’s own local farm. Things are looking up. But the fight for better food continues.

I’ll sleep on Sunday. When it rains. And the bed is looking extra cozy.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. -R. permalink
    April 29, 2016 11:19 am

    PJ’s is indeed a mighty fine pie, and when we lived in the Melrose neighborhood I would often trek over to pick one up (sausage and mushrooms, well-done). The only downside is its location – far away from everything else, and in a sketchy AF neighborhood. I’d go during daylight hours if I were you.

  2. RogerK permalink
    April 29, 2016 3:39 pm

    A friend of mine who grew up in the 50s around the corner from PJ’s current location has no recollection of it’s existence there. He doesn’t recall what business may have been there then. His younger sister thinks she recalls going to a place called PJ’s but at the time it was located on Central Avenue close to the corner of Ontario St.

    A review of comments about their business on Facebook from 1/31/2010 to 2/13/2012 (the last entry) would indicate that someone by the name of Ronald Mutch was the person who made the pizza and possibly ran the business, and who retired at that time and moved out of town.

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