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February 15, 2017

Hope your Valentine’s Day was steamy. Mine was. Despite all the universal forces that conspired against me, somehow I was able to pull it off.

Surely you’ve had the experience where something was broken, but when the expert came to look at the problem, whatever had gone wrong was mysteriously fixed. Well, that is exactly what happened to my car yesterday when I brought it to Larry’s Foreign Auto. Have I mentioned lately how much I love and trust that crew?

Right now I’m sitting against a hot pad, which I hear when combined with yoga is a much more effective remedy for back pain than medicine. And I totally agree. Except of course for when the back pain is excruciating. That’s when you need drugs.

Seriously, don’t abuse painkillers. One day you may need them to work unabated. Fortunately, I’m not in that spot. Stretching, the occasional Advil, and a good hot compress are all that I need.

But I was talking about my steamy Valentine’s Day, so maybe I should get back to that.

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Fade To White

February 14, 2017

Happy Valentine’s Day. We need the warm embrace of love on these dreadfully cold days. Whether that be the love of a fellow human being, or even just taking a moment of self love, because dammit that’s important too.

We need more love. Less hate. And I could do with a bit less snow too.

I’m going to blame the snow for screwing up my Valentine’s Day plans. Or maybe I should blame God. At least today’s rant isn’t going to be political. I can’t even tie in the current weather to concerns about shifting climate norms.

Certainly, on one hand, it’s great to gaze out the window and have it finally look like February in the Capital Region. Well, maybe it looks more like late January. The snow isn’t quite dirty enough to look like February. But the mass of the piles is certainly there.

And at least Little Miss Fussy is happy. Young Master Fussy? Well, that’s another story.

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Tour de Buffalo Wing: Downtown Albany

February 13, 2017

For the first time in a long time I’m feeling like I’m ahead of the game. And that’s despite my cold coming back, and even despite the fact that some enthusiastic shoveling resulted in a tweaked back.

You see, last year the micro regional Tour de Buffalo Wing in Downtown Schenectady didn’t happen until March. And this year, we’re going to be touring the buffalo wings of Downtown Albany on February 18! That means I can start cleaning up my culinary act in March and hopefully be back in fighting shape by swimsuit season.

Yep. I said Downtown Albany. Team Pine Hills made some compelling arguments, and I have absolutely every intention of getting back to Pine Hills for a follow up Tour de Buffalo Wing, but this Saturday, we’re completing the three city downtown trifecta.

Some other decisions have been made too, so get ready to hear about which local places made the cut and learn the rest of the details for Saturday’s tour.

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Buffalo Chicken Soup: A Cry For Help

February 10, 2017

Comfort food is king right now. And thankfully it’s winter, so it’s easy to hide the extra pounds. My goal is to make it through the tater tots in the freezer, and then it will be time to reexamine my diet and start bringing back some more healthful habits.

I’ve already cut back on my weekly grilled cheese sandwiches at The Cheese Traveler. Largely because I’ve stopped going to my yoga studio as I attempt to see what it’s like to do yoga at home. So far, so good. But I do miss my favorite cheesemonger and the best grilled cheese sandwiches I’ve ever had.

What I haven’t stopped is the craving for all things buffalo-sauce related. Did I even tell you that I had another deep fried buffalo burger from Swifty’s last week? It was my very first deep fried burger from the Swifty’s on Everett Road in Albany, and it was great. Man, I love that thing. I ate it with the Yelp crew after an event at The Great Escape Room, which was a ton of fun.

The team I landed on almost beat the record escape time, but we were 30 seconds too slow. Harumpf. And there I was nervous that we wouldn’t escape at all. Seriously, I had my doubts about this place going in, but it was really well done.

But back to food. And more specifically, back to all things buffalo. Because, as it turns out, I may have a problem.

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How Do You Do Buffalo?

February 9, 2017

There is a tell tale sign every time I fall off the diet bandwagon. And it’s not that my suit feels tight, or that I have to pull extra hard to get my jeans to button.

Somehow I end up with a library of butters in the fridge.

Right now I have smoked butter from Chester’s, some salted organic butter, a bit of Pamplie, and some of Trader Joe’s cultured French butter. Four butters is clearly overkill. I know that. But dammit, each one serves a specific purpose.

Mrs. Fussy also reminds me that we just finished up a tub of grass fed buffalo milk butter, also from Trader Joe’s that I bought out of curiosity, but wouldn’t purchase again.

The Pamplie is reserved for challah on Friday nights. The Trader Joe’s butter is for anything that would benefit from a more assertive flavor. Of course you need a standard butter that is less assertive too. And the smoked butter is for finishing dishes, as I learned the hard way by cooking off all the smoke flavor as I fried pulled pork pierogies in my cast iron skillet.

When I had only cultured butter in the house, I made buffalo sauce out of the cultured butter. But usually, I want the hot sauce to do all the talking. Speaking of which, I was recently asked how I make my buffalo sauce, so today I’ll tell you. You know, since I’m not addicted to buffalo sauce at all.

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Albany Tour de Buffalo Wing Nominations

February 8, 2017

Did I mention something about being addicted to buffalo sauce and blue cheese dip recently? Because it’s totally true. It’s dangerous for me to have tater tots in the house. I’m totally serious about turning over a new leaf in March.

But it’s still February. So when it come to fat, it’s fair game. That means we better get this winter tour on the books, and do it fast.

Mark the date. Saturday, February 18. It’s the day after the General Strike on the 17th, so that will give you a chance to work up an appetite.

As is our custom, before going into one of these tours, I open up the floor to nominations. Because invariably, when the winner was announced, someone will say, “Why didn’t you go to this other awesome place?”

No, it’s not a democracy. The final slate is decided neither by popular vote nor an electoral college. To paraphrase a past president, I am the decider. So there’s no need to rally your friends to bolster your claims. But you should be prepared to explain with some detail, exactly why you think your favorite spot deserves a stop on the tour.

Before we get to that, let’s back up just a little bit, and then I’ll give you a lay of the land.

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Table For Ten

February 7, 2017

My name is Daniel, and I’m addicted to buffalo tater tots. Really, the problem is with “buffalo” anything. And it’s hard to call it a problem when buffalo wing sauce so delicious.

Usually, the day after the Super Bowl I want nothing more to do with buffalo sauce or blue cheese dip for a long long time. But this year I introduced something new into the mix, and unexpectedly pushed the buffalo tots right out into next week.

That was never the plan.

So last night after getting home from the Proctor’s Bash, I cooked up a sheet of tots and whisked up a batch of buffalo sauce. I don’t know why it never occurred to me in the past to use a pinch of dry mustard to help the emulsion, but I did, and the sauce came out beautifully. And that smoked blue cheese dressing I made yesterday is slamming.

Then I proceeded to eat them alone, like an addict.

While I have no problem eating alone, there are other times when it’s more fun to eat with others. And in all the excitement around Super Bowl weekend, I neglected to share the story about bringing a bunch of bloggers to a banquet.

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