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The Best Dozen of 2018

December 26, 2018

This is always the kind of post Mr. Dave would hate. But Christmas is over and New Year is looming around the corner. So this is the perfect time for a little bit of reflection over the past year.

2018 is the year when the FLB turned nine years old. Egads that’s a long time. All Over Albany hit ten years, and in less than a week it will be closing up shop. These things don’t last forever, and I’m thankful to be able to keep the hits coming.

I’m also thankful that you keep coming back day after day, week after week, to read these thoughts on food and the local Capital Region community. Over the past few years, the increasing demands of my job have cut into the amount of research I’ve been able to conduct for blog posts. However, the Yelp life has been a fairly rich source of interesting content for the FLB, so it’s hard to think of it as a burden. Quite the opposite, in fact.

One of the things I love about having a blog is being able to see which stories resonated with readers. The posts with the largest readership are entirely related to how widely they were shared by you and your friends. So thank you for doing that too. Hopefully, I’ll learn from this recap and make next year ever better.

But before we head into 2019, let’s see what readers reacted to over the past twelve months.

#12 Wrong About Ice Cream
How do you evaluate the best ice cream in the area? Well, I was relying on the Tour de Ice Cream. But I came to realize that perhaps the results of the tour offer a more limited picture of the ice cream landscape than I had previously thought. Man, I hate being wrong.

#11 The 10/10 Pizza
Do you know what else I hate? Elevated reviews of places based on their reputations. History is great. History is important. And for that matter, so are idiosyncratic regional styles of pizza, from old school, independent, family businesses. So while I salute Two Buttons Deep for going out to Utica, I wasn’t thrilled with the score Vic Christopher gave to O’Scugnizzo Pizzeria.

#10 Nothing Good Comes From Staying Silent
As long as we’re talking about people who I love, doing good work, but promoting ideas I disagree with, here’s a story inspired by Deanna Fox. She had a bad meal, but did not say anything to the waiter or manager at the time. Her position was that nothing good comes from sending food back. In this post, I respectfully took the other side.

#9 Is It Homemade or Is It Memorex
Pies. As Grandma’s looked like it was closing down forever, a scandal about their pies was brewing. But this post isn’t just about that. It also touches on great pies from Lansing Farm, Blue Ribbon, and the once great pies of little pecks.

#8 One Sandwich, Many Feels
Over the course of a year, I am lucky enough to experience many delicious things. Every now and again, there is something so delicious, it’s life changing. This post tells the tale of the porchetta sandwich I had from Lost & Found at the Albany Craft Beer Festival. From that moment on, chef Ian became one of my favorite people in the Capital Region.

#7 One Thing to Improve Downtown Albany
Get out there and enjoy it on foot. In the end, we have the city that we deserve. It’s ours. It’s a reflection of us. So let’s make it better.

#6 Media Blackout
It’s not very often that I’ll tell uncomfortable personal stories. However, based on the news of the day, this one seemed particularly cogent. Back in September, when parties, drunkenness, and encounters between men and women were making the news, I shared a story from back in my college days when I inadvertently got blackout drunk.

#5 Goodbye to Chester’s
There are human tragedies, and their are culinary tragedies. The culinary ones are far less important. Still, they represent a loss. While consumers may not have known the people behind the scenes who helped make Chester’s Smokehouse a viable operation, they knew how much Chester’s products meant to them and their own families.

#4 Desiccated Oats
People also don’t know how some of their food is processed. Personally, I think there needs to be more transparency in food production. Can you harvest grain without spraying it with powerful, synthetic herbicides? Sure. Although somehow I forgot that this was common practice with oats. Harumpf.

#3 The Secret Albany Med Turkey Sandwich
Emily L has saved my ass this year. She’s come on as a guest blogger, and I can’t even tell you how grateful I am to have a little support around here. Seriously, if you want to be featured on these pages, just drop me an email. I’d love to features some more local voices. Even better, one of Emily’s posts was the third most popular of the year!

#2 Best Restaurants in Troy
The Yelp Life isn’t all bad. I was able to curate a list of restaurants in Troy, that came highly recommended from members of the Yelp Elite Squad. This was the post that announced the effort.

#1 An Insider’s Guide to Troy Restaurants
And once that Yelp Collection of The Best Restaurants in Troy was completed? Well, I wrote this post which quickly became the most read post of the entire year! The one thing I’ve learned over time—and this will shock nobody—is the Trojans love to read and share news about Troy.

What a year. Hopefully, before it’s through we can even clear the slate of reader questions that have languished on the comments section over the past few months. Dare to dream.

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