There Are No Best Bloggers
If you want to call me a self-serving egotist, that’s okay. Sometimes, I act that way. Other times, I offer to do good things for others. It’s true. I’m actually a pretty nice guy.
What I won’t do is help anyone move.
Once I helped my friend Bill move a sleeper sofa up three flights of stairs. The fact that it was a sleeper sofa was kept from me until I was at the bottom of the stairs, trying to push this giant heavy thing up vertically through the stairwell. And now, after his ex-girlfriend stabbed me with a fondue fork, we no longer talk.
Never again. Screw that. This is why God created movers.
Speaking of the past, does anyone remember the FUSSYlittleBALLOT? It had a few different iterations over the years, but the goal was to try and improve the results of the Times Union’s Best of the Capital Region. As it turns out, the thing that had the most impact was the open letter I wrote to the paper.
The bottom line is that for the last few years, the Times Union’s Best of the Capital Region hasn’t been a complete embarrassment. In fact, I’ve been tickled to have been voted as one of the area’s best bloggers. I cracked the top five for the past two years straight, which is pretty impressive for a guy with a complicated history with the paper.
As with many things, 2017 is bringing some major changes.
The Best Blog category is gone. Dagnabbit. I was really hoping that this year I would cross the threshold and finally beat one of the TU bloggers in their own poll. That #3 spot was calling my name.
Denied. So be it.
Part of me was thinking about not even mentioning the poll this year at all. I mean, what’s the point. It’s printed in the newspaper. On dead trees. Once a year. It hardly takes into consideration the changing nature of the restaurant landscape. One place can be great in January, and an also-ran come June.
Still, I have my hopes. Because there are some things that I think the poll got very wrong. And some newer businesses should really be getting more attention than they are. This poll has a way of favoring some of the long entrenched favorites.
So let me break it down.
Best Wine Shop: 22 Second Street (not Empire, it’s the best big wine shop)
Best Bakery: Crisan (not Bella Napoli, although the donuts are divine)
Best Ethnic Market: Parivar (Roma doesn’t count as ethnic in Albany)
Best Locally-Owned Restaurant: Peck’s Arcade (not New World Bistro Bar, I <3 U Ric)
Best Hamburger: Crave (not Jack’s Drive-In which I love for its sliders with onions)
Best Pizza: Marino’s in Schenectady (not Kay’s which is only open part time anyhow)
Best Chicken Wings: 20 North Broadway (not The Rusty Nail, come on)
Best Chinese Restaurant: Ala Shanghai (not Plum Blossom, it’s not even close)
Best Japanese Restaurant: Unagi (not Koto, maybe Yoshi’s, but Koto it is not)
Best Barbecue: Memphis King (not Dinosaur Bar-B-Que, despite its killer deck)
Best Cheap Eats: Taiwan Noodle (not Gus’s because cheap eats can cost more than $1)
Best Vegetarian: Berben & Wolff’s (not NWBB b/c B&W vegan wings reign supreme)
Best Bar for Beer: Albany Ale & Oyster (not Druther’s where it’s all from one brewery)
Best Coffee Shop: Kru (not Professor Java’s, not even if you want to work, Kru rocks)
Best Family Restaurant: Slidin’ Dirty (not Augies, mac ‘n cheese & mini burgers…’nuf sed)
Best Chain Restaurant: Dinosaur Bar-B-Que (not Olive Garden, this is where Dino goes)
Best Chef: Dimitrios Menagias (not Ric Orlando, who I also love, b/c D has fire in the belly)
Credit does need to be given to the TU for finally separating the Asian cuisines into their own separate categories, instead of lumping them together in strange and nonsensical ways. Cheers to that.
Maybe soon we’ll see a breakout of Mexican from Mexican/Central/South American now that we have so many bona fide Mexican places in the region. It’s almost as if Hillary Clinton won the election and we have taco trucks on every street corner.
Well, not quite yet. But I love seeing the category grow. Cricket tacos in Albany? Who would have ever thought that would happen. And they are delicious.
But I digress. There’s not spot in this year’s poll for the FUSSYlittleBLOG.
That is unless of course, you consider Daniel B. to be the “Best local singer-songwriter”. I’ve never tried putting a blog post to music before, although they might go well with a hip set of bongos.
I suppose you could write in for “Best outing with your kids” the “FUSSYlittleBLOG Tour de Cider Donut” which is totally family friendly.
Heck, the “Best reason for optimism in the Capital Region” could be “Its expanding food culture driven by passionate enthusiasts like Daniel B. of the FUSSYlittleBLOG.”
However, I think that’s asking too much.
Regardless, I couldn’t let the moment pass without a little bit of commentary. If you want to vote, the link to do so is here. Come up with your own selections. And maybe you can help fight against the deafening drumbeat of long revered establishments and help to shed some light on the excellent fresh, dynamic upstarts that are making waves in the Capital Region.