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A Remarkably Delicious 2017

December 28, 2017

Burnt My Fingers seems to be yanking my chain, but actually, he provided me for a great segue into today’s post. Yesterday he asked a series of questions just after I had cleared the question queue. Specifically, he wanted to know:

Why do all the mystery links go to the same place? Wouldn’t it be better to answer the questions directly? Also, if I ask a question in 2017 are you still going to answer it in 2017?

Really, he’s been around long enough to know why all the mystery links go to the same spot. They perform two key functions. One is to visually break up the page. The other is to promote some other story that I think deserves attention.

I do a little dance of joy whenever a conversations about food happens in the comments section. I love how blogs can create dialogue. But my belief is that the comments section is primarily for readers. As the editor of this blog, I get to write my own headlines and elevate my responses to the level of dedicated posts. Only every now and again will I jump into the fray.

Often, a reader question will inspire a greater idea, and demand its own post. Like this one.

Because yesterday’s Mystery Link of the Day went to All Over Albany’s Favorite local foods 2017.
Burnt My Fingers was in the round up. So was the Profussor. And looking back at what was said, I wanted to provide a bit more context for my answer.

Specifically, I was asked for my favorite local food from the past year. Of course there were all the usual delicious things like the soup dumplings from Ala Shanghai, the carnitas torta at La Mexicana, and the wheat collar dipped in soy milk from Taiwan Noodle.

But what I was looking for was something I tried for the first time in the past twelve months.

I had the cricket tacos at Oaxaquena Triqui. While they were delicious, and I plan to go back for more, a return visit hasn’t transpired. I went with Burnt My Fingers to SHU and Northeast Chinese II for some legit Szechuan food, some of which was very good, but none of which rose up to the level of a new favorite. The Eastern European version of crème brûlée from My Dacha was totally enchanting, but it is so far from the classic French dish, my recommendation requires some significant caveats.

The smoked breakfast sausage at Chester’s Smokehouse were not only very easy to identify as a favorite, but they are also something others can seek out to try on their own. I know that these have risen up to the level of a favorite local food because they have became a staple of my Chester’s order, and throughout the year I have been compelled to share them with people I love, whenever the opportunity arrises.

That said, 2017 was a remarkable year for eating and drinking because there were many other notable bites and sips. And when I say notable, I mean wow inducing experiences that made me rethink the world I knew.

That’s not an exaggeration.

Three of these were drinks.
Two were from out of state.
And one was from a special pairing dinner.

The Drinks
1) Eamon Rockey’s watermelon milk punch with Upstate Distilling Company’s white whiskey at Putney Meadows Farm. It’s a bit different from this video, but the flavors worked so well together, it just blew me away. I made a clear milk liqueur in the past, but this was next level deliciousness.

2) The Stag Sour made from Jagermeister at Savoy Taproom. When George Fiorini said he was going to make a cocktail for an Official Yelp Event with Jagermeister, I might have blanched a bit. But he pulled off this audacious feat, treating this college drinking staple like a German Amaro, and producing a balanced and beguiling drink.

3) The s’mores vodka shooter by Old Daley Catering at the Girl Scouts Cookies and Cocktails benefit. I hate s’mores. I’m not a particular fan of vodka in cocktails. And shooters aren’t really my thing. But this was hands down the best drink of the cocktail competition. No joke. And it made me rethink everything.

The Vacation Destinations
1) The cheeseburger with onions and tomato at Louis Lunch in New Haven. This is so good that waiting so long to experience the 100 year old institution for the first time, may be one of my major life regrets. There is no ketchup in the building—the condiment is forbidden—and the burgers are served on dry white toast. But it works. Not only does it work, it works beautifully. This is as close to my ideal burger as I have found, even though the initial thought of giving up a bun for two slices of toast seemed horribly wrong.

2) The Rosa at Pizzeria Bianco. Eater did a write up of this pie. I only read it after the fact. But I did have a preview of this flavor combo when Jon in Albany made me one a year or so before. And as good as the toppings are, the crust at Bianco is simply magnificent.

The Brilliant Pairing from a Local One-Off
City Beer Hall hosted a Wild Game Night and dessert was a pavlova topped with yuzu curd on top of a triple cream custard. This was paired with Echelon by Finback Brewery, which is a double IPA brewed with spruce tips, and yuzu, dry hopped with mosaic and simcoe. The idea of a triple cream custard was mind blowing on its face, and totally delicious. But the big surprise was the pairing. I started out doubting the wisdom of serving a double IPA for dessert. However, once I experienced the perfect marriage of the beer and the food, I was a believer. More than that, I was changed. The sweetness of this style of beer was revealed, and now I saw it in a new light.

Of course, there were many more super delicious things I got to try over the course of the year. And I’m looking forward to many more delicious discoveries in the year to come.

Now please excuse me while I fry up some Pennsylvania scrapple.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. December 28, 2017 7:47 pm

    I propose you celebrate the new culinary diversity of the Cap District with a Fussy Szechuan tour. We’d go to Shu’s, Hu’s and Northeastern Chinese and try the same 2 or 3 dishes at each (eg Mapo Tofu, sorry about that). As a frisson we might add a diner favorite at each place which would allow you to understand why Mr. and Mrs. Smith at Shu’s deserve a place in your pantheon.

    • enough already! permalink
      December 29, 2017 12:01 am

      I thought Hu’s House has Shanghai cuisine.

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