Skip to content

Thankful for Old Friends

November 23, 2016

Do you know who is in town for this week of Thanksgiving? ADS! He’s here with his wife J9 and the twins. Today, Doc will come down from Vermont with his lovely family in tow. And tomorrow, all of us–in addition to LH–will descend upon Raf’s new New York home for a Thanksgiving feast with his brood.

Even Raf’s little sister will be there with her family.

If you took all the people who will be assembled around the Thanksgiving table, and added up the years in which I have know each of them, it would be well over 200 years of combined friendship. Maybe it’s even much higher. I’m tired. You can’t expect me to do math right now. Regardless, that’s a lot of years.

Somehow, we were all able to avoid our own family obligations on Thursday, and once again we’ll all be together, like we used to be back in the California days. Of course, there will be more kids this time. But hopefully the little ones will entertain each other.

I’m incredibly thankful to everyone for making this happen. It’s like a dream come true. Now before I get too sappy, maybe I can tell you just a wee little bit about how I’ve been pre-gaming Thanksgiving with ADS.

My goal, as always, is to try and give visitors a thorough understanding of the area. ADS has already been here a few times and has had mini dogs, fish fry, and mozzarella with melba. But this was J9’s first trip, and she was interested in visiting a local farm.

Our first stop was Indian Ladder Farms, and we had lunch in their cafe. It’s been a long long time since I had a meal there, and was surprised to see deep fried cheese curds on the menu. Heavens to Betsy, those are amazing. Especially when paired with the housemade hot pepper jam.

Maybe it’s just my fat tooth talking, but these little nuggets of joy have become my new favorite fried cheese dish in the region.


One reason ADS really enjoys this part of the world is because of the ubiquity of chicken parm. He loves it, and it’s hard to find in the more health conscious Northern California. Because of the size of the group, and the number of kids, we ordered in from U Mundu E Ca through GrubHub. That was my first time using that service, and I loved it.

The Chicken Parm was pretty tasty too. Especially considering the ordeal of transport. I was less thrilled about the shop’s meatballs. But the biggest downside about ordering the food to go, is that you miss the amazing smell of walking through the store’s door.

Tuesday, we went out for brunch. On a previous trip I took ADS to Dewey’s Diner. Sadly, that place is now closed. Instead, we went to Dan’s Place Two. My visitors got the sausage and breakfast potatoes on my recommendation. I took the opportunity to finally try the Emmy Bull Burger, which I had never eaten before.

That’s a half pound patty, topped with cheese, bacon, and a fried egg. When that dish first came on the scene, it was available when the bars closed, I can understand why it became legendary. And given the magic that happens on the diner’s flattop, I was excited to try this monster.

But it just really didn’t deliver the flavor punch it should, given how terrible it is for you. Still, I’m glad I tried it.

After a visit to the New York State Museum, we all went out for ice cream at Stewart’s. I had a double thick, coffee milkshake, with no syrup. While there, I took the opportunity to point out the hand drawn signs, and the selection of hard roll sandwiches to the out of town guests.

Dinner was a big two-family outing Ralph’s. Mrs. Fussy is still not a fan of the double pepperoni pizza at this tavern. That said, it remains the only pepperoni I’ve found that I enjoy in the area. Although I think little pecks may use the small pepperoni that I also love.

I was compelled to show my visitors the glory of Ralph’s mozzarella and melba. But it failed to seal the deal. Perhaps that was because of the fried cheese curds we had just the day before. Or maybe, it just takes a few exposures to mozzarella and melba before it starts becoming a craveable combination.

Regardless, it was a great night out, and I think everyone but Mrs. Fussy enjoyed the meal. And yes, there was more chicken parm at Ralph’s. However, it wasn’t quite as good as what we had ordered in the night before.

Man. These have been two days of cheesy, fried, fatty, meaty goodness. And that’s a good thing. Now when I sit down for a Thanksgiving meal on Thursday, it won’t be such a shock to the system. And then when I sit down to another Thanksgiving meal on Saturday, my body will be accustomed to the onslaught of carbs and fat.

I’m going to stay away from scales for the next few weeks. But at some point, I’m going to need to get back into a better eating routine. In the meantime, I’m going to enjoy the hell out of it.

My old friends are absolutely enablers. Old habits die hard. Now, if all goes according to plan, we’re off to Troy.

5 Comments leave one →
  1. November 23, 2016 9:27 pm

    Do you really still like Ralph’s? It is a pale shadow of what I remember and I get depressed going there…

    Also, if you really want to give some outlanders the Albany County Upstate Experience™ just take ’em to the Tollgate. Have the “egg burger.” It’s scrambled eggs on a burger. They will go home delighted by our strange quaint ways…

    • November 23, 2016 9:35 pm

      I do. Some things are certainly not as good. The wings are highly variable. Maybe I’ll share a basket with a few people. But I go there almost entirely for the mozzarella and melba. A couple slices of double pepperoni pizza and a pitcher of beer round out the experience.

      Ralph’s was my first Albany area tavern, and holds a special place in my heart.

    • November 23, 2016 9:36 pm

      And dammit, how long have you been sitting on that nugget of info about Tollgate.

      How do you find all these ridiculous foods? I’m so jealous.

  2. Pam permalink
    November 23, 2016 10:56 pm

    I used to work at the Colonie General Mail Facility on a shift that ended at 11:30 pm. Ralph’s was one of the few places you could still drink and order food at that hour. You are right, the pizza, wings and mozzarella sticks were perfection. We would order them with both marinara and Melba. If someone had a birthday or something, we could arrange ahead of time with the owner (Sean, I believe)
    to have bottomless pizza, wings and beer for $10 a head. Can you imagine how popular that deal was? The place would be packed to the seams with postal workers. Eventually they had to stop offering the beer, due to liquor laws. The last time I was back in the Capital region, 2 years ago, I made a point of going there and ordering wings and pizza. They still tasted mighty good to me! And they still draw the crowds.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: