This weekend we left the kids at home to go to a bar. Kinda.
Many thanks to Albany Jane, who hasn’t disappeared off the face of the earth. I know her extended blogging sabbatical might lead you to believe otherwise. But she came over with Albany John to look after the fussy little children while Mrs. Fussy and I drank Asian beers and sang karaoke in a private room at Red & Blue in Troy.
While part of me wanted to channel my inner creepy old Bill Murray from Lost in Translation, the party had a much more festive vibe. That would have been out of place.
Still, I highly recommend the experience. Especially when paired with Red & Blue’s fiery Szechuan food, like the braised fish with roasted chili soup. One order is enough for a group of four or more. It’s huge. And it’s fiery. And it’s delicious.
Despite the presence of a sushi bar, this is quite clearly a Chinese restaurant. And even though they have a cocktail bar, I’d recommend to sticking with things that come in bottles.
Today, however, I actually want to talk about an entirely different kind of bar.
Yesterday I had a salad for lunch. And it was dressed with nothing more than some estate bottled Tuscan olive oil and vinegar of Banyuls. Man, that was a good salad. Wednesday, I had a salad for lunch too. It was escalivada, and it was served with boquerones and a few pieces of grilled bread.
That’s a lot of salads. Even though I’m officially off my diet, I’m back on the wagon and trying to eat responsibly during those times I’m not eating as part of the job. The struggle is real.
I’m also excited to say that after months of talking about getting into shape, I’ve finally started an exercise program. I really had a mental block about it, but Mrs. Fussy helped a lot. She looked around at all the yoga programs in the area, and figured out which ones might be the best for someone with no base level of physical fitness, a shockingly low level of flexibility, and back muscles that are feeling better, but seem to be prone to injury.
She came back with a couple options. But just looking at the list, one stood out above all others.
When I heard the news yesterday, I couldn’t help but chuckle. There have been so many people running around for years wishing Monsanto would go away. And now, most likely, the company is gone. Just like that. All it took was $57B.
My argument has always been that the actions of one company in the transgenic industry doesn’t amount to a hill of beans, because there are so many players in the field. And right now, they are consolidating.
You can read the full story in the WSJ, but DuPont and Dow Chemical could be merging soon, and Syngenta is being taken over by China National Chemical Corp. Yes, there will be antitrust investigations, and once upon a time these mega-alliances would have seemed far too big and detrimental to the public interest. But those days are long, long gone. The WSJ doesn’t cover that last part though.
The thing I find so funny is that for most Americans Bayer has an almost charming and benign brand. It’s reliable. It’s mostly harmless. It’s helpful. It’s aspirin. Of course, in reality, that’s only a small part of a much much larger enterprise. But I just can’t see as many armchair activists getting worked up over the evils of Bayer.
Maybe I’m wrong. Heck, I was just wrong yesterday. Gah! I hate it when that happens. But as long as we’re talking about business, consolidation, and speculation, how about a subject that’s a little closer to most of us at home.
Did you see what’s happening in Troy?
When eating Ortolan, the custom is to do so with a napkin draped over your head. There are all kinds of reasons for this. One, it’s practical, since you’re eating a whole bird, bones and all. I can’t imagine it would be very pleasant to watch someone working it through in the final phases. Two, it enhances the sensory perception of the eater, trapping the aromas under the napkin, and eliminating all external distractions beyond what’s happening in your mouth.
But it’s the third, apocryphal, reason I enjoy the most. You cover your head to hide your shame from God.
However, this post isn’t about Ortolan. It’s about food festivals. Specifically, the one I attended last weekend in Saratoga Springs. Just yesterday I told you all about the Friday night avalanche of beef. Today, we’ll talk about Saturday’s Grand Tasting. It was under a tent, and there was a ridiculous amount of food.
The tent provided protection from the sun and the rain, which never materialized. However, it could not hide the shame of my gluttony. Nobody wants to read a list of everything I ate and drank over the course of the day. Instead, I’ll give you my thoughts on the three local restaurants that came out on top.
Sometimes you fall off the wagon. Other times you douse the wagon with gasoline, and then torch it as you jump to avoid a fiery death.
For the time being, the diet is done. I’ll have a follow up appointment at the end of the month. But all of those months of restraint seem to have had an unintended consequence. I’m eating like more of an asshole than ever.
Today I can’t even tell you about the debauchery of last night at the City Beer Hall. Because there was so much gluttony from last Friday, that Saturday’s unseemly eating escapade might require a separate post of its own. Or maybe some of these stories will just never be told. We’ll have to wait and see.
So last Friday night, some of Saratoga’s best restaurants came out to play with their meat.
This is clearly the busy season for fooding. Too much is going on for any one person to cover it all. And I can’t even give you a reasonable summary of my own personal experiences in just one blog post.
As much fun stuff as I was able at attend, the list of events that I missed out on is even longer.
The pictures of food from the Chefs’ Consortium Bannerman Island benefit looked amazing as usual. I couldn’t make the Washington County Cheese Tour. I only found out about The Carrot Festival an hour before it began, and wasn’t able to change my schedule to attend. And naturally, I couldn’t be at the Hudson Valley Wine & Food festival while I was in Saratoga.
Amazingly I was able to squeeze in a few more things besides simply the two days of the food festival. For example, I found a way to visit kru Coffee. And I popped into the Superior Merchandise & Co anniversary party. That was a hard call, because it meant missing competing event at The Hill at Muza. But I really wanted more coffee.
So given everything that has transpired, how can I give today’s post even a modicum of focus? Well, how does anything come into focus? The answer is coffee. So let’s talk coffee.