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AskTP – The Rest After Labor Day

September 4, 2018

Yesterday was Labor Day and I took the chance to catch up on months and months of reader questions that have been sitting in the comments section of the blog unanswered. But there were so many questions that have piled up over the past nine months that they had to be split up into two posts.

This is what happens when you make a commitment to answer all questions that are submitted to your blog, and then get distracted by other things.

As it turns out, I love answering reader questions, so please keep them coming. Just make sure to use proper punctuation if you want to receive an answer. Much like the questions below, the answer may not come quickly, but it will come.

And don’t forget to check out the mystery link of the day. All of the links that precede the questions below point back to the same spot. Why? Well, because I thought these posts worked better that way. For those who are truly eager to find the question on the FLB and see it in its original context, Google works really well.

Now, without further ado, onto the questions.

addiesdad was looking forward to a revival that’s probably not going to happen:
Could this be the rebirth of the Tournament of Pizza?

A long time ago, I pitched the Tournament of Chinese Takeout. It seemed like a worthy successor to the TOP, but AOA wasn’t interested at the time. Maybe they’ll reconsider. I’d love to be one of the judges for that one too.

I think RogerK was trying to see if we couldn’t all just get along:
What’s with all this constant comparison to “NY style” pizza? First of all, what is meant by “NY?” Are we talking about the State of New York? The city of New York (NYC)? If the City, only a part of NYC such as just one of the Boroughs? If a single borough, like Manhattan, is it a region of that borough, e.g., SOHO, Tribeca, Little Italy, Greenwich, etc.?

It’s New York City style, and it’s a thing. Sure, it extends into Jersey too. But Jon in Albany can provide you a good link with the basic details about what the style entails. Can other styles be found in the boroughs? You bet. But this one has become synonymous with downstate, despite its presence all around the country.

Burnt My Fingers got caught up in the details of my walking maps of Manhattan and SF:
You walk down 8th Ave instead of 9th Ave in Manhattan? Why, since the food places are mostly on 9th Ave? Similarly, why Howard instead of Mission in SF?

Thanks for paying such careful attention. Really, my goal here wasn’t to define specific food loving areas. Rather, I was trying to create boundaries of about the same size to demonstrate a point about walkability. Hopefully that wasn’t entirely lost in the original post.

Michelle Polacinski knows how old I am and has a rough idea of my physical shape, yet asks:
Have you tried electric longboarding around “downtown?”

No. I like all my bones just the way they are, thankyouverymuch.

Ewan had a great idea:
OK, so: we need the FussyWalkTour, no?

Maybe we do. And maybe we even need to do it in the fall? Or maybe next spring. I am kind of craving a cider donut tour. My hunch is that I’ll be craving it more and more once this heat breaks and the kids are back in school.

Doug looked at some of my food photos and had some constructive criticism:
The little peck’s biscuit looks seriously underbaked. Is it a conventional biscuit or puff pastry?

It may be. I’d want Greg K. to weigh in on the matter. I’m pretty sure it’s his recipe. So he should be the best evaluator of it. But I’d argue it’s neither a conventional biscuit, nor is it puff pastry. Again, maybe Greg could clarify. We’ll see if he weighs in.

C raised a question about walking in Albany that Mrs. Fussy also mentioned to me in passing:
I don’t even know if I want to broach this…on your walking travels did you ever encounter anyone or a group of people that would have made a solo female walker uncomfortable? I’m not sure your experience as a solo male could be comparable to a solo female.

The answer is no. There have not been very many people on the street at all. But there have always been plenty of cars passing by. So the walks feel both peaceful, but also not entirely isolated. Still, I am am a large man, and I’ve come to acknowledge that my experience and comfort level may be different from those of other backgrounds.

Brian S had a question of fast food semantics:
Does going through a drive [through] count as “entering” a Taco Bell? Asking for a friend?

To truly enter a Taco Bell, you have to step across the threshold. From the comfort of your own car, you are missing out on all the sights and smells that await inside. So the answer is a definitive no.

I think Dave was being snarky about the Juice Bomb on tap at Ralph’s:
Wouldn’t you be more excited if Bud was replaced by a local brewery who could churn out a crisp, clean lager or Pilsner made from quality locally sourced barley and hops? You know, to eat with a pizza or something…

Sure. But I’ll take what I can get. And for what it’s worth, a juicy IPA goes great with buffalo wings.

Roger K is getting philosophical about those who will only publicly share thoughts of love:
When a person only gives a top rating in every review, isn’t it fair to assume that all the other places that this person has patronized were therefore not worthy of such a rating by their standards?

I’m not sure I can make those assumptions, but it’s very generous of you to do so.

Dave was excited about the idea of guest posts, and then silence:
Guest posts? Oh boy, give me a topic. I’ll spice this place up…

I think I told Mr. Dave over Twitter than I don’t actively solicit stories from guest writers. That said, if there was something he wanted to write for the FLB, I would be honored to post it on these pages.

Burnt My Fingers continues to be confused on blue cheese dip for wings:
Instant fan of Kate Welshofer! Thanks. And didn’t you love how she said “blue cheese dressing belongs on salad”? By that she’s referring to the product made with buttermilk and sour cream. As opposed to blue cheese sauce, made with mayo, which goes on wings.

The defining character of creamy salad dressing is not its ingredients, but its laminar flow. You can have blue cheese mixed with buttermilk and sour cream that by being thicker than dressing is classified as a dip. It’s this dip that should be served with wings, instead of some kind of inferior mayonnaise based product.

Randy K was glad about the good press for Graney’s and wanted to how deep was my love:
Graney’s is consistently churning out the tastiest wings, at both locations! Have you been to their newest restaurant yet? Vintage – in the warehouse district. A little pricey but I love the ambiance and the food is really tasty, too.

Not yet. It’s a long story. But I have an even longer list of places where I want to eat.

Benjamin M. was enthusiastic about tours after the Tour de Wing:
Based on what looked to be amazing mozz. sticks at the next table over while we were at the Washington Tavern, could a “Tour de Bâton de Fromage Frit”?

Been there, done that, wrote up the findings. Actually, if anybody wants any of the blank scoresheets from any of the past tours, just let me know. I’d be more than happy to hook people up so they can do their own self guided tours.

Caitlin W. asked a great question for which I have no good answer:
Where do I have to go to get laksa, or a really good banh mi?!

Virginia? California? I have no idea. But please let me know when you find out.

Lauren Darman has an interesting idea about fizzy water:
Vichy water is seltzer?

Not quite. Vichy is a sparkling mineral water, but it’s close. Not all seltzers have the same mineral content.

Cara was hoping that I would remember to close the loop on my Instant Pot goals:
I look forward to the results of your summer instant pot testing! Can you share some updates/recipes?

Recipes, no. Updates, yes. This summer the mini Instant Pot did its job. It was a reasonably good rice cooker and bean pot. I was not able to figure out how to convert the Cuban black bean recipe yet. But I haven’t given up.

Burnt My Fingers seems to have forgotten he’s in New York and not California:
Are you telling us you crossed the border with all those beers? Tell us your secret if so. In return, I will share my source for Cott’s Black Cherry Soda at a bargain price.

Yes. Yes, I did. Thankfully, unlike the Golden State, the Empire State doesn’t employ any border guards preventing you from bringing in such contraband as produce, ferrets, or beer.

enough already! shared some pro tips for house rentals by cooks and food lovers:
Do you bring your own knives? I do since we started doing house rentals. Best idea I’ve had..most had just ok knives but one place had cutlery that was unusable.

Funny you mention it. One of my friends always makes sure to bring a proper chef’s knife. My knives are typically so poorly maintained that it would be embarrassing for me to bring them anywhere. That said, I just found a new knife guy. And that may just be a game changer.

Burnt My Fingers offers some critique of my hot dog built at Stewart’s:
That is a very strange execution of the glory that is the Deli Dog. Am I correct that the only items on there are a dollop of spicy mustard and a scoop of chili, which you should have paid extra for but probably didn’t?

Oh dear. I thought that was the hot dog sauce. Now you have me second guessing myself. In my defense, the strange build on the Deli Dog was the result of the sparsity of condiments available at the time. I desperately wanted onions, but there were no onions to be found.

Kat Wolfram was appreciative of the praise for Lansing Farm, and added one more thing:
Farm food and saving farmland should be a part of the Creative Economy, don’t you think?


llcwine looked in vain for a postscript on the BBQ judging I did for the Shalom Food Pantry:
Did you post your thoughts about the Battle of the BBQs from Sunday? Was wondering how that went and who won etc?

I did not. This was an event for amateurs for a good cause and in the spirit of good fun. There was one team that decided they were going to violate the rules, start the brisket the night before, and eliminate themselves from the judging. But since they weren’t being judged on their brisket, I never got a chance to try it. I suspect it was the best of the bunch. However, without that key piece of information, I couldn’t quite bring myself to write a follow up story.

Dave noticed one of my posts was missing a pertinent detail:
You don’t say where the Iron Gate is?

This is why God invented Google.

Burnt My Fingers wanted a few more thoughts on sandwich construction, which is fair:
As I recall, you like a double cheeseburger with cheese between the two meat patties. Why would not want the same for your pork sandwich?

Great question. This is because a burger has a top bun and a bottom bun. A pork sandwich has one opening at the top, and a seam at the bottom. A bottom bun provides substantially more structural support than the seam of sub roll. Cheese, when applied properly, can play a valuable role in helping the pork sandwich hold together.

Geoff Baker is an old friend and he is right to point out a failing in my sandwich round up:
Crazy there is no mention of the bread! Every one of the flavors in those sandwiches is easy to replicate in distant kitchens except for the flavors bound up in those Philly rolls. John’s uses Sarcone’s, the ne plus ultra. What does DiNic’s use? Try a cheesesteak from John’s, or my aforementioned scrapple, egg, and cheese next time, with a squirt of hot sauce.

I have no idea what roll DiNic’s uses. But I do know that it doesn’t have sesame seeds on it. Now, I’m not opposed to sesame seeds in theory. Sometimes, they can add a welcome burst of flavor and texture. But when it comes to Italian pork sandwiches, I find those sesame seeds to be a distraction at best. That said, I look forward to a return to John’s for the scrapple, egg, and cheese or one of the cheesesteaks.

Jen isn’t going to like this answer, but it’s true:
What farm were you at where you had frozen custard? Please share…

It’s my in-laws’ farm in rural Pennsylvania. Sorry. The frozen custard comes from The Meadows which started just outside of Altoona, but now they have locations throughout Pennsylvania and have expanded to New Jersey and Maryland. Thanks to Jen, I also just discovered one location as close as Cicero, New York. That’s just a two hour drive. Maybe with that information in hand, I can get the kids to agree to a day trip to Syracuse!

Holy cow! Did you make it all the way down to the bottom? Congrats! And thank you. Tomorrow there will be more fresh content. I promise.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. Steph permalink
    September 4, 2018 9:46 am

    If you’re going to go to Syracuse for frozen custard, then you HAVE to go to Abbott’s, without question. Get the chocolate almond. The Ice Cream Shop on Central Ave also claims they have it, but I’m not sure how authentic it is – perhaps worth an investigation before a 2 hour drive, though.

    • Jen permalink
      September 10, 2018 1:29 pm

      Hello! Original Jen with frozen custard Q here. I was at the State Farm last weekend and OF COURSE stopped at the (one) Syracuse Abbott’s. But I’m a vanilla with rainbow sprinkles person. Delicious! I have never heard of The Meadows, and I’m intrigued. Maybe next trip westward I’ll go north to check it out.

      And, with regards to the Ice Cream Shop… I will admit that I actually emailed FLB himself to ask if there was frozen custard around here, and he also mentioned that place. I believe his take was that although they allegedly have frozen custard, the machine always seems to be on the fritz or some other problem. So I’m not sure that he has tried it either. Perhaps I’ll attempt to.

  2. Otis Maxwell permalink
    September 4, 2018 9:45 pm

    “The defining character of creamy salad dressing is not its ingredients, but its laminar flow.” I trust you will not want that outrageous statement on your tombstone, sir.

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