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Walking Into Deliciousness

April 30, 2018

Winter is a good season for walking. Sure, it’s freezing cold, but that’s why god invented GORE-TEX®. Or, you know, goose feathers. Or wool. Whatever you use to keep yourself warm, you can always put on another layer to fend off the cold.

Cold weather is no reason to avoid walking.

That said, it’s so much easier to head out of doors when you can do it without putting on even so much as socks. Slip on some walking sandals, and you’re ready to conquer the world.

Well, Saturday’s outing had a bit more weather than I was expecting—remember, it’s still officially the unlocking, dammit—but that didn’t stop Little Miss Fussy and me from eating our way across downtown Schenectady. A feat which we did mostly on foot.

While I’m going to give you the play by play of every place we stopped and all the things we ate, that’s not the big story of today’s post. What I really want to try to convey is what happens when you get out of the car and begin to walk around the cities we routinely traverse.

First stop, Cappiello Foods. Our goal is to pick up a little prosciutto and a cannoli. Little Miss Fussy has a job to do on this adventure, and that’s to keep me from ordering everything that looks delicious.

We had a plan. And it was hard to stick to at Cappiello’s. Even though they had already sold out of cannoli, they made us one to order. We got our prosciutto too. But I could not resist a square of the room temperature pizza by the cash register topped with prosciutto, provolone, and roasted red peppers.

The cannoli was fantastic, and I have to return for the stuffed breads and ricotta cheesecake, among other things.

But here’s the thing.

As Little Miss Fussy and I were eating our cannoli in the ramshackle parking lot around the corner from the shop, we smelled something delicious. It wasn’t Italian deli delicious. It was the smell of roasting meat.

Looking around, we realized that Mike’s NEBA was just across the street!

Now I had read Deanna Fox’s story about Mike’s NEBA. I knew it was open in Schenectady. She even published the address. Heck, I think I even checked it out on a map. But for some reason, I never quite knew where it was until I stumbled upon it on Saturday.

What a fortuitous discovery! It’s closer to downtown than I thought. For some reason I thought it was closer to Mont Pleasant. Well, that’s added to the “to eat” list as well.

I would have popped in for a sandwich right on the spot, but Little Miss Fussy was cracking the whip, and keeping me to the game plan. I was already admonished for giving into the temptation of the pizza. A sandwich would throw the day into chaos for sure.

Second stop, Civitello’s. We had hoped to try the lemon ice. Our backup options were the cannoli and stracciatella gelato if they had it in the case. Apparently, it still wasn’t warm enough for lemon ice, but it will be here soon. And there was no stracciatella. Fortunately, the cannoli was excellent.

Okay. We couldn’t be across the street from Perreca’s without picking up

at least a small loaf of their long bread. But that doesn’t count, because I would save that for later, to eat with some of the leftover prosciutto.

On our way to the third stop, I decided to walk down a side road off Jay Street I had never taken before. What’s life without a little adventure.

And that’s when I found Garofalo’s!

I’ve heard about this place for years, and never really knew where it was either. It was hiding in plain sight. I’m kicking myself for every buying sausage at Perreca’s when this local institution was just literally around the corner. We could not go in, because our third stop was still ahead. But I’m coming back for you, sausage king of Schenectady. I’m coming back!

Third stop, Slidin’ Dirty. Parents and children cannot live on sweets alone.

Little Miss Fussy was worried that she would be too full for even one slider. I too was feeling a little heavy in the belly. Those cannoli are heavy. But when I recounted the limited quantity of food we actually consumed, my daughter was willing to give the slider a try.

Her favorite is The Hangover. And I can’t blame her. It’s the burger that comes with bacon and a fried egg. It’s fantastic. She gets it without the arugula and the chipotle cream sauce on the side. I opted for the Dirty Po Boy which I fell in love with after Jim Leff rolled through town and shared his affection for this little fried shrimp sandwich.

I also had hoped that Little Miss Fussy might love it too, especially given her newfound love for fried shrimp. But no such luck. Still, she had a healthy bite of mine and finished every last crumb of hers. So on that note, we got ready for our final stop.

Fourth stop, Villa Italia.

Little Miss Fussy wanted gelato. I was hoping they would have a lobster tail. It turns out they had both. So we got both. The gelato to share at the moment. The lobster tail to go.

We brought it to Indian Ladder Farms for baby animal days. We looked at all the delicious baby animals, but were too full to eat any of them. And i picked up some beer from the brewery. After a thorough hand washing, we ate that lobster tail on the farm, and I converted another generation to its awesome cream filled power.

It was an epic day. And it’s going to require an epic follow up, or maybe two. Because there are still so many delicious things in Downtown Schenectady that we didn’t eat. There’s the NEBA, the ricotta cheesecake, and whatever sausagey goodness they might have at Garofalo’s. But there’s also Pizza King, the new chocolate place, 20 North for wings, those deep fried dough balls filled with cheese and doused in buffalo sauce at Centre Street, and that’s still just the tip of the iceberg.

Here’s the bottom line. Walk. Eat. Discover. Enjoy.



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