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Smashing Prejudices

June 26, 2018

Biases. We all have them. Admit it or not, but they are there. Certainly, I have my share.

But here’s the thing. They can hold you back. And when you let them go, you open yourself up to a greater range of experiences. Chef Michael Lapi and I were talking about this a little bit on our recent trip to Central Bridge Farms.

The meat industry usually prides itself on meat from younger animals. Most consumers think the meat from older animals will be gamey or tough. But he thinks it’s fantastic. And honestly, I can’t tell you that my opinions are based on personal experience in this regard. I’ve simply accepted what I’ve heard on the matter and followed the lead.

However, trusting my chef friends has always led to delicious results in the past, and maybe one of these days I’ll get to try a piece of older meat selected and prepared by Lapi.

Trusting my Yelp friends has also had its benefits.

There are restaurants in the Capital Region I simply have had no interest in visiting. The full list would be exhausting, but these decisions were largely made along ideological lines.

At some point, one has to employ some criteria to make a selection from a large set of options. Price to value ratios come into play a lot. But every now and again I’ve got an ideological bone to pick with a restaurant.

Here’s one for you: Pan Asian Cuisine.

I love the food of Asia, but there are so many cuisines on the continent, each with its unique cooking styles and sets of ingredients, that the idea that one restaurant could do justice to them all seems to exist somewhere between foolhardy and laughable.

Which is why I never could get excited about the idea of going to TapAsia on Lark Street.

Until Steve N. decided to put a group together for one of our Third Thursday outings. He was actually raving about just how spicy their hot dishes were, and I was legitimately curious to try them. Because this was a man who shrugged of the 10 of 10 heat level at Taj of Glenmont.

Well, much to my surprise, our dinner at TapAsia was delicious. That said, the food we ordered stuck mostly to Thai dishes and took a couple turns into Japanese comfort food, with one Chinese-American dish ordered for the table.

I did not end up trying the crab rangoon, and that was fine by me. But both the gyoza and the takoyaki were the weak spots of the meal.

It was the Thai dishes that shone like a beacon, including the house-made green curry, and the spicy beef salad. Oh yeah, and then there were the Thai donuts that came to the table hot, and drizzled with sweetened condensed milk and chocolate syrup. Wow, those were good.

My eyes have been opened.

They’ve been opened before in the past too. I’ve transformed from a burger and pizza purist, to one who seeks out delicious combinations of toppings. During the search for New York’s Best Burger with the NY Beef Council, I was even shown how a well done burger could be absolutely delicious.

Despite all this, I still hold on to biases. But I’m trying to open myself up to have more direct experiences and make judgements based on those, instead of closely held beliefs.

Part of me feels like we could all use a bit more of this in our lives. Although it’s hard work. I say start with food, and then work up to the bigger stuff.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. RogerK permalink
    June 26, 2018 2:36 pm

    I thought TapAsia’s Spicy Squid Salad was among the better dishes that evening also.

  2. Caitlin W permalink
    June 27, 2018 1:09 pm

    I was suspicious of Tapasia because of that awful name too, but I honestly think it’s the best Thai I’ve had in the area so far, and the most legitimately SPICY Thai I’ve had outside of … Thailand, haha. I do wish there were some more SE Asian options around here, though! Where do I have to go to get laksa, or a really good banh mi?! When I found out that there was briefly a Burmese joint in Albany that closed down I almost cried!

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