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Hide the Granola

March 13, 2019

We all have our secrets.

Personally, when I feel guilty about something, my instinct is to share it. Let’s get whatever secret shame is out there into the universe, so then there is nothing to fear. The blog is a great resource for such efforts, and I confess things on here all the time.

Which isn’t to say that I don’t keep things hidden. I totally hide things. Most recently I hid some luggage from Mrs. Fussy. Well, it’s not so much that I hid it as I put it away. Naturally, I put it away in the places where I thought it belonged. But she could not find it. And actually, that was a good thing.

At least for awhile.

When Mrs. Fussy opened the foyer closet door and finally located the luggage on its top shelf, I got an angry text. However, the suitcases are still there. It’s the best place for the bags. And all I had to do was relegate Little Miss Fussy’s baking kit to the cooking supplies overflow bin in the garage.

But sometimes I hide things from Mrs. Fussy for other reasons.

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Emily L and the Arabian Nights

March 12, 2019

Two weeks ago Emily L sent in a guest post about her tips and tricks for navigating the Asian Supermarket on Central Avenue in Albany. Even though it’s a place I personally shop with some regularity, she revealed secrets that I had not yet uncovered. Now I’m really looking forward to getting back in there and picking up a roast duck.

How does she do it? Well, one of the things I love about Emily is her ability to ask good questions. Being smart, curious, and outgoing are important qualities to have when trying to navigate new environments.

Today Emily is back with some insights on another international market on Central Avenue, a bit closer to Albany’s urban core. Not only that, but she beat the Yelpers. Amazingly there isn’t one Yelp review for Aladdin Halal Market. I haven’t been there either. They do have a Facebook page with some more pictures, and at least some of the meat prices. However, those are over a year old, so your mileage may vary.

The blog post below is super fresh, so let’s check out what Emily found on her recent outing.

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Not So Light Lunches

March 11, 2019

Restaurant portions can be preposterous. This isn’t just an Albany thing. This is an America thing. And it’s not an issue that has popped up overnight. This has been going on for a long long time. Heck, I remember going out for a French dinner in Miami two decades ago, and ordering the duck confit for diner. It’s a heavy dish on its own, with a duck leg and thigh slowly cooked in its own rendered fat, but it’s one of my favorite indulgences.

Well, this restaurant served a double portion for dinner. That’s two leg-thighs, and that’s simply too much of a good thing.

Thankfully, going out for lunch can be less of a ridiculous exercise in excess. Lunch portions are blessedly smaller than what restaurants will serve during the dinner service. One of my favorite dishes at one of my favorite fancy San Francisco restaurants came with two salmon fillets at dinner, but only one at lunch. As much as I enjoyed this restaurant, the dinner portion was just stupid.

Recently, I’ve been paying a lot of attention to serving sizes. It’s how I’ve been able to drop a lot of excess weight over the past few months. Not by starving myself, but rather only eating until I’m no longer hungry. It’s helped to eat a lot more lunches at home, and I’m lucky to have a flexible schedule which allows for such a luxury.

But for the past few days, I found myself at restaurants for the midday meal. Despite my best efforts, I totally failed at moderation. And at some point, I think restaurants bear at least some responsibility in the fattening of America.

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Two Notable Schenectady Cocktails

March 8, 2019

It’s Friday! You made it! We’re almost to the weekend. But hey, it’s five o’clock somewhere.

Sensible people might wait until work is done on Friday before they head out to a bar and order a cocktail or two. Say what you will, but they are a delicious way to unwind. Sure, you can meditate, exercise, or do breathing exercises. Those are great for relaxing too. Heck, they may even be better for reducing stress and easing tension.

Still, at the end of the week, I’m pouring a drink and leaving my yoga pants in the closet. Actually, for all of March, I’m also going to be drinking at the beginning of the week too. Because Albany Distilling Company is hosting its 3rd Annual Cocktail Contest, and it’s going down every Monday night in each of the four corners of the Capital Region.

Just this past week, it was held in Schenectady at Backstage Pub. Yours truly was there representing Yelp at the judges table. And now, I’m back to tell you about what you missed. Because there were some remarkable drinks served, from some unlikely places.

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Indian in the Rough

March 7, 2019

What does it say about me that I like things a little bit dirty?

One of my favorite Indian restaurants in San Francisco had pigeons wandering in through the kitchen door. My favorite dim sum place brought “clean” plates and chopsticks to the table, that benefitted from a second cleaning with some hot tea and napkins. Taco trucks. Dive bars. Food stalls in distant countries. Sign me up.

It’s not that I prefer dirty restaurants over some of the exquisite dining rooms I’ve been fortunate to enjoy over the years. But I do strongly believe that good food does not need to be expensive.

With that in mind, I’m very excited to have finally made it to a great little Indian place in Schenectady. While it may not be for everybody, after just one visit, it’s my new favorite Indian spot.

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Mazadar’s Smooth Move

March 6, 2019

Last night Mazadar Mediterranean Kitchen brought the fire.

They hosted the March Official Yelp Event, which was appropriately called, Find Your Delicious at Mazadar. It’s clever, because Mazadar actually means “delicious” and the event was designed to provide a broad tasting of the menu. The goal was for attendees—mostly members of the Yelp Elite Squad—to discover a dish that they loved.

Well, it worked. Perhaps even better than I expected. Because everyone I spoke with walked away with a new favorite item from the menu, based on their own personal tastes. And as it turns out, I was floored by something I never would have ordered if left to my own devices.

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A Dry Event on Fat Tuesday

March 5, 2019

This isn’t so much about today’s festivities as much as it is a revelation about March in general.

Today is Fat Tuesday! While I don’t observe Lent, I’m always down for a party. It’s true. Give me a reason to celebrate, anywhere around the world, and I’ll take it. I’m looking forward to the day when Diwali is celebrated more widely across America, because all those lights, colors, and sweets are just awesome.

As it just so happens, on this day when there are so many people trying to sneak in their last few vices before Ash Wednesday, I’ve organized a totally dry Official Yelp Event. That was entirely by accident, but we had no problem filling the guest list at Mazadar.

I suppose we might be able to still fulfill the spirit of Fat Tuesday by indulging in gluttony. And perhaps, once the event is over, I might head out for a post event drink. Ouzo is one of the secrets of my trade, because if you’ve overeaten, a glass of that stuff will ease the discomfort. Although really, it could be any anise based spirit. Absinthe is fantastic, if occasionally hard to find.

But I digress. We were talking about Fat Tuesday and what it has to do with Earth’s position relative to the Sun.

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