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Still Catching Up To Celina

November 1, 2016

Last Friday, I promised more teasing tales of lapsed bloggers. I can’t make a whole week of it, but I can come close.

When I moved to the Capital Region, there were a few active food blogs. AlbanyEats was one. CelinaBean was another. And these, along with countless more, were part of what gave me the idea of starting a food blog all my own.

What’s funny is that in many ways Celina and I were very similar. We had similar backgrounds. Similar stories. And on paper, one might think that we’d be the best of friends. But matters of taste can sometimes be capricious, and there were things she loved that failed to get my excited. And vice versa.

She and I just had very different styles.

I’m not entirely sure what happened. But something changed. Those gears that were somehow just slightly misaligned finally shifted, and we began to click. Anyhow, to make a short story long, I bumped into her not too long ago, and thought it would be fun to catch up. So we agreed to meet for coffee.

And now I owe her a debt of gratitude.

We all have that cool friend. You know the one. The person who knows all the interesting places before anyone else. And in some ways, I aspire to be that person. But you know what I am? I’m a fast follower.

Celina is the real deal.

Because you know that coffee we were supposed to have? Well, she decided to let me in on a little secret, and bring me to a breakfast spot that was entirely off the radar. I mean, seriously off the radar. She told me the name and it’s location, and I couldn’t find it on the Internet.

It used to be that many of the businesses in the Capital Region weren’t on the Internet. These days, that’s a rarity.

But when Celina told me the breakfast spot was across the street from Rocks on Central Avenue. I was sure I could find it. You know, because Rocks is in Google Maps, and any fool can cross the street.

It turns out the name of the place is The Breakfast Spot, and now I’ve put it on Yelp. Along with the business listing is my glowing review of the fried whiting, cheese grits, and eggs that I ordered after hearing Celina order them first.

I assume fried fish and grits is some kind of southern soul food thing. But what I know for sure is that they are a delicious thing. They are delicious on their own, and they are especially delicious with a touch of hot sauce.

Whiting is one of those underrated fish that are gaining popularity even in some of the best restaurants in the world. I probably mentioned after my last trip to Paris that the fish course at Septime was based around a filet of whiting.

The Breakfast Spot is a real find, and you can read my further thoughts and see a pic of the food on Yelp.

Here’s the deal. When you find a wonderful spot that’s off the radar, it’s natural to want to keep that news to yourself. I get that. I’ve been there before. Especially when it comes to delicious breakfast places. So many restaurants are so crowded during peak times.

I’m still grateful that we can get into Dan’s Place Two on Mother’s Day for breakfast without a crowd. Mrs. Fussy appreciates a great diner and doesn’t need brunch to be a fancy affair. What can I say, I married the right woman.

But back to my point.

Even though it’s natural to want to keep these under the radar finds to yourself, it’s important to share them with others. Running a restaurant is a brutal business. Most of them fail. And most of the time, they fail because they can’t bring enough people through the door.

If you love a local business, spread the word.

Yes. There are some restaurants that suffer a drop in quality because they get too popular. Some may grow too quickly. Or some may get greedy and cut corners as crowds continue to flood through the doors. But if a place fails for these reasons, then it at least get to fail for its own actions, and not the inaction of others.

Is there a risk in promoting some of your favorite hidden gems? Sure. But there is a risk about teaching your kids how to ride a bicycle, or letting your them leave the house on their own. Growth is important.

That wonderful stage where a restaurant is small, wonderful, and unknown is just that. It’s a stage. And it can’t stay that way forever. Enjoy it while it lasts, and then bring people under the tent.

Thank you, once again, to Celina for sharing this wonderful neighborhood gem. And thanks to NotoriousLAJ for sharing about an experience at Caribbean Taste in Schenectady on the FLB recently. I hope to make it out there and confirm those initial impressions, but looking at the two Yelp reviews for the business, I’m thinking the place is quite good indeed.

Finally, it would even seem like Celina is writing again. At least a little bit. There have been two posts in the last two months. Which is fantastic after a three year hiatus. Okay, one is an infographic, but it’s still interesting. I’m hoping there will be more to come.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. November 1, 2016 10:40 am

    This is GOOD TO KNOW. This place is right next to Ocean Palace, which is my go-to for greasy corner wok as it is just far superior to just about anywhere else (with the exception of Mings, which is all the way in Schenectady, and of course my beloved Ala Shanghai, which is in Latham and a cut above greasy corner wok … but I can walk to Ocean Palace!).

    The last time Chris and I were grabbing takeout, we both made mention and wondered how it was. Getting a glowing endorsement from you now means we’ll have to go check it out.

  2. -R. permalink
    November 1, 2016 12:39 pm

    My latest hot tip (haven’t tried it yet, but some people I trust raved a bit about it):

    Cheese Steak Heaven

    Yup, it’s in a gas station.

    • November 1, 2016 1:04 pm

      I remember stopping in a gas station in Hatch, NM once and having an insane green chile burrito. Also the Hot Dog Charlie’s Mobile in Latham. I never write off gas station cuisine.

  3. Erin T permalink
    November 1, 2016 2:48 pm

    I work just a few doors down from The Breakfast Spot and am so happy to read this! Although a little sad Celina hasn’t taken me there yet (ahem). That location has rotated restaurants a few times and I didn’t even think The Breakfast Spot was open and a bona fide restaurant, so THANK YOU!

    And a note to your readers, Ocean Palace is consistently far too empty, considering how good the food is and how much better it is eating there than take out. We don’t want to lose it!!!

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