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Two Rivers

May 17, 2017

Today’s post is more of a thought starter than a fully developed idea, but hopefully you can go with me on this one.

Albany. We’re on the map because this region is at the intersection of the Hudson and Mohawk rivers. I have the Hudson on my mind this week, because next Wednesday, Yelp is having a party aboard the Dutch Apple. If you are interested, there are still a couple spots available. But I digress.

Once upon a time, when the river was the highway, that was a big deal. And when it came time to build the railroad, they were largely constructed along the river. The idea was that at the crossroads, people could come from all around to trade their wares, and build their fortunes.

So what does this have to do with food? I’m glad you asked.

Albany has some regional foods in its own right. We’ve talked about them extensively on the FLB. But to recap they are Mozzarella & Melba, the foot long fish fry, and the mini hot dog with meat sauce. Historically there was “Albany Beef” which went away as the Hudson River fishery, home to the sturgeon, became too polluted for human consumption. Mike’s made the NEBA, but now that’s gone.

Perhaps I’m missing something. Shad roe seems to have been a thing. But I’m not sure.

Lately, I’ve been spending more time at The Excelsior Pub, thanks to the Sunday pinball league the bar hosts. And that has given me some time to peruse its menu of New York State regional foods.

It was when munching down on a side of some truly excellent Saratoga Chips, that I started thinking.

These chips would make a great foundation for a New York State culinary mash-up. I’m thinking something like the Rochester Garbage Plate, but perhaps a soupçon more refined. Naturally, a dish like this should come out of a place like Albany, being at the crossroads of New York State and all.

My first instinct was to toss the Saratoga chips with Buffalo sauce and Troy/Watervliet/Cohoes hot dog sauce. But I feel like there’s still room to add more. Part of me likes the idea of “cold cheese” like they throw on top of the pizza in Oneonta. Then with the fried potato slices, and the hot meat sauce, this could almost be like a New York version of poutine.

But I’m hungry for more input. What kind of New York foods would you put on top of Saratoga Chips with the aim of creating a dish that is widely representative of the Empire State?

7 Comments leave one →
  1. llcwine permalink
    May 17, 2017 10:03 am

    Looks like you have Western NY, Central NY, and Capital District covered…but we can’t forget about Downstate…Long Island was originally known for potatoes, then duck (as seen by the Big Duck) out in Suffolk County…which now is host to numerous wineries…also the Finger Lakes for their killer Rieslings…so perhaps we need to consider beverages? and Long Island is also known for clams…so can we fit in some steamed little necks somewhere?

  2. May 17, 2017 10:16 am

    If you read the history of Saratoga Chips the essential characteristic is their crispiness: George Crumb was challenged by a fussy diner to slice a potato ever thinner and he reduced it to the thickness of a hair and tossed those slices in hot oil and said, so there. And of course the result was delicious and so the potato chip was born. So you are now going to douse that heroic tuber in liquids and destroy its essence? That is a garbage plate indeed, as in toss it into the garbage stat.

    A better idea would be to put potato chips on top of a pizza, like this: http://wp.me/p1S3Ig-3u . Or simply add these gossamer goodies to the top, not bottom, of your concoction.

  3. Cris permalink
    May 17, 2017 10:22 am

    Foods I MISS so much from home- Macintosh Apples. No. You cannot get them outside NY! Hellova Good Triple X Sharp White Cheddar. White hots. Sweet Walter Red wine. Or White. French Fries with gravy. Again, NOT a thing outside NY. When I do make the trip home, we prefer to drive, so I can stock up the trunk with lots of yummies.

  4. KingOfBeacon permalink
    May 17, 2017 11:43 am

    In my just under 3 years(!) of living around here I usually describe the regional food scene with 5 examples. You nailed it with the mozz & melba, fish fry, and mini dogs. But you forgot the weird pan pizza and blue moon ice cream.

  5. Jean Patiky permalink
    May 17, 2017 12:02 pm

    This sounds DISGUSTING!!?

  6. Jake Bryan permalink
    May 17, 2017 4:20 pm

    You should try the “Angry Nachos” at the Angry Penguin Tavern in Waterford. It’s a huge (impossible for one person to eat) platter of fresh made Saratoga chips heaped high with the usual vegetarian/dairy toppings and generous quantities of Chef Brian Wagner’s special black bean concoction. Very tasty, but bring help to eat it.

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