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Soup, Rooster & Pigskin

January 25, 2017

The winter really isn’t so bad. The part I really hate is the end of winter. Those doldrums when it’s still cold, the winter storage vegetables are running thin at the farmer’s market, and it’s still months before life will spring from the earth.

If you’re cold these days, all you have to do is hop on Twitter or watch the news. That’s likely to get your blood boiling, regardless of what side of the political aisle you sit on.

Yesterday, I got to warm up a bit by doing some shoveling. I didn’t die. I didn’t throw out my back. So as far as I see it, that’s a win. But I still have the sniffles that will not quit. I can’t even tell you how annoying that is. Especially because with a stuffy nose, I can’t taste anything.

Have I mentioned that cold medicine makes me crazy? However, I’ll have to take it on Saturday if this doesn’t clear up by then. Because Saturday is just one of the big food events that’s helping me maintain my cheery disposition.

Saturday, for those who are unaware, is the Schenectady Soup Stroll. I’ve got to go, because I’m the head judge. But you should go because it’s winter, and there are 25 restaurants serving samples of hot soup for $1 per three ounce cup.

Are there lines? There can be lines. But not like Saratoga Chowderfest lines. And if you haven’t been to downtown Schenectady in a while, the place is hopping. I’m particularly excited that the new wine bar, Capoccia Wine Lounge, has a soup in the line-up. I’ve been meaning to get in there.

Right, so all that starts at noon on Saturday. I hope to see you there. I wish I actually had a literal Yelp hat, but I don’t. Instead, I’ll be wearing my figurative Yelp hat, and will be bringing at least fifty pairs of “Yelp Life” fingerless gloves with me. They are pretty sweet. So find me and score yourself a pair.

In theory, I could head over to Latham after the Soup Stroll and avail myself of Ala Shanghai’s Chinese New Year menu. Hot damn, that looks great. This year it’s once again divided up into banquets for different party sizes. I think I want to put together a group of ten. But it’s best not to sit down for a giant feast just hours after eating over a half gallon of soup.

The big challenge will be figuring out if I can come up with an evening before February 5 when I can justify celebrating the year of the rooster with a massive assortment of Shanghaiese specialties.

February 4 is this year’s Saratoga Chowderfest. This year it’s not a work event for me, so it’s unlikely that I will go. However, I got a pro tip from the organizers last year. If your main interests are sampling a bunch of delicious chowders, and you hate the lines and crowds of downtown, then simply explore the outer edges of the festival.

Seriously, check out the map. You could hit ten chowder places from The Mill on Round Lake to Longfellows without having to try and park your car in downtown Saratoga Springs. I think that’s the smartest play. And I’m even tempted to give it a go. Unless of course, February 4 is the only night I’ll be able to make it to Ala Shanghai for the CNY menu. Because even just 30 ounces of chowder before a CNY banquet sounds like a terrible idea.

And then February 5 is like a national day of patriotic devotion, even if you are not a pats fan.

That’s right, it’s the Super Bowl. And whoa nelly, have I got an especially extra disgusting bacchanal planned for this year’s eat-crap-in-front-of-the-TV-for-hours extravaganza. It’s so top secret, I can’t even tell you today. But I can tell you tomorrow.

While I’ve been sworn to secrecy, I can tell you this. It’s a departure from past Super Bowl food plans, and it’s a little bit inspired by Chef Dominic. Although, when he finds out what it is, I think he’s going to be even more disgusted.

But it’s going to be a celebration of America. Especially our ag policy. I’m already a little ashamed of myself for what’s in store. That said, I think it’s also going to be delicious.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. January 25, 2017 12:24 pm

    “CNY” menu means one thing to me – “Central New York Menu.” Someone needs to do that…

  2. January 25, 2017 12:54 pm

    Good luck finding parking for Saratoga Chowderfest at any of the locations on the map. A much better solution, according to this page is to part at the Saratoga Casino or Dick’s in Wilton Mall and take the shuttle. As a bonus, if you take Exit 15 to Wilton Mall you can avoid the traffic on Route 9 which is likely to be bumper to bumper all the way to the Northway.

    P.S. Does the SSPD enforce day-of-the-week parking and make a fortune in tickets that day? Yes they do.

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