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A Friday Find

July 4, 2019

If there wasn’t enough pressure to pack up all of our things and put our affairs in order before leaving Albany, yesterday a piece of a tree fell through a part of our roof. Luckily everyone is fine. And fortunately the newly ventilated part of the roof is over the garage.

Less fortunately, our garage has been a storage area for our boxes, so the Fussymobile was parked in the driveway. The tree limbs did a number on its windshield. Right now it’s unclear how much other damage the car may have endured. But at least it was an old car.

Still, I loved that car. And now we’ve got to find someone who can remove some big ass tree limbs and install a tarp on the roof before our insurance adjuster arrives. Know anybody up to the task?

In happier news, tomorrow is Friday. That means it’s my mother’s birthday. Happy birthday Mom! Friday is also Shabbat, so despite all the madness of the week, we’ll be feasting on roast chicken, with challah, and a delightful natural wine from 22 2nd Street in Troy. But last week, Little Miss Fussy and I diverged from tradition, and I’m pleased to share a Friday Find.

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On Straws and Tyranny

July 3, 2019

Why am I still writing? I should be packing. Or calling movers. Or selling Mrs. Fussy’s car. For years I have said this blog is more of an addiction than anything else, and I think that’s proving to be true. However, I can’t abandon the readers of the FLB yet. Especially since I’m hoping to do one last big thing before I leave.

But tomorrow is July 4, and I suspect everyone will be talking about the “top chefs” who are advising against grilling hamburgers. Not just for the holiday, but forever. There’s some tyranny for you.

As far as I’ve come to understand Independence Day, is that it’s a celebration of our deliverance from tyranny. And yet, if you look around, we are far from free. We’re enslaved by all kinds of things. Granted, many of them are of our own volition.

Little Miss Fussy challenged the family to see if we could stay off the internet for an entire week.
Seriously, I don’t think we could do it. Which effectively means, we’ve already become enslaved to our benevolent computer overlords. And then there’s the notion that none of us are truly free until the least one of us is free. But that gets awfully heavy, awfully quickly. Especially these days.

For the sake of finding some common ground, let’s talk about breaking free from the tyranny of straws.

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On Spicy Food

July 2, 2019

One thing I’ll be taking away from my time in the Capital Region is a love of spicy foods. I’m not terribly optimistic that the Midwest will be as friendly to fiery cuisines. But here in the land of hot wings, there have been a few places where even people with jaded, burned-out palates have been able to find stimulation.

Now, I’m not talking about the hottest wings ever. Those are just stupid. And there is a lot of macho bullshit that comes out when people try to test their mettle against the spiciest peppers they can find.

For the record, those aren’t the kind of experiences I’m chasing. Sure, I’ll take on the spicy ramen challenge for the good cause of drawing a little more attention to Downtown Troy. But I’m not going to a hot sauce convention to see how much pain I can take.

So what’s the draw of spicy food to me? Well, I’m glad you asked.

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Monday the Profussor Slept Late

July 1, 2019

It’s July, and I am a free man!

Not too long ago, I struggled with the question how much longer this blog would go on after I left my job with Yelp. After all, a lot of the content over the past few years turned a bit Yelp-centric. The FLB chronicles my adventures with food, and during my time as the Community Ambassador for Albany, I had access to many special events that were worthy of sharing.

Now that chapter is over, my first official act was to stay up late with Raf on Sunday, eating brisket, and drinking whiskey. Then I slept in this morning without a thought of posting fresh content.

However, I’m not quite ready to give up the blog, and here’s why.

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Growing a Wine Culture

June 28, 2019

The Capital Region isn’t quite the same heavy drinking place it may have been twenty years ago. I wasn’t here then, but I’ve heard stories. There’s a reason we have so many neighborhood taverns. And I’m not passing any judgement. I love these local places, where you can go to feed your soul, and warm your bones in the frigid depths of an Albany winter.

More than anything, we’ve got a beer culture. And it’s amazing. I have a hypothesis or two about how this relatively small part of upstate New York is able to get its hands on such amazing beers, but that’s a conversation for another time. Get yourself to one of our better breweries, beer stores, or beer bars, and prepare to be delighted.

However, after moving here from California, I was dismayed at the state of wine at our local wine bar, most of our better restaurants, and at our regional wineries themselves. We had no wine culture, and it showed. Okay, “no wine culture” may be a bit strong as dp’s was the notable exception. Plus the Fort Orange Wine Society was surely still carrying the flame.

Today, I’m thrilled to say we’re at a point of inflection.

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An Era Ends

June 27, 2019

Tomorrow is my last day with Yelp as Albany’s first Community Ambassador. It’s been one helluva ride, and to date, the most fun job I’ve ever had. There will be a new Community Ambassador coming soon, but before they can be announced, they have to be trained. And Yelp training includes being flown out to San Francisco to visit Yelp HQ and attend boot camp.

It’s a fantastic opportunity, and I remember my own boot camp experience fondly. There, I got to meet Community Ambassadors from smaller markets throughout the country, and learn more about the love they felt for their own hometowns, from El Paso to Kalamazoo. Over the years I’ve gotten to meet more of my colleagues from all around the country, and am delighted to consider many of them friends.

While I once was less enamored by small town America, through their eyes I’ve learned to see its charms.

As far as the work I did in the Capital Region, there were lots of ways that I was able to shine the white hot spotlight of Yelp on great local businesses. One of those ways was through Official Yelp Events. Some of you may have been able to attend these free outings, that focus on highlighting the specialties of each place.

But before I leave, I want to chronicle these on the blog for future reference. If you’re curious, the links go back to the Yelp pages for the event, so you can see pictures, and read some impressions of those who were lucky enough to make the guest list.

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Better Than Blaze

June 26, 2019

Last night we were evicted from our home. Maybe evicted is the wrong word. We’re selling the house, and we had to vacate the premisses for a showing around dinner time. Certainly, things could be worse than being forced to go out to eat on on Tuesday night.

And really, things are much much worse for so many people these days. But we’re going to focus on something positive on the blog today.

With my son away at camp, the door was open for us to take a trip to Blaze, which Mrs. Fussy enjoys. Even that might be the wrong word. It’s just that she can get a lot of vegetables and a little bit of cheese on a bespoke pizza, and that’s appealing. What’s less appealing to her is the interminable wait in the line. For me, it’s the noise, filth, and chaos of the place. Well, that and the underwhelming quality of the pizza.

However, I was willing to go for her sake, since our son always vetoes Blaze as an option. But even though we had some time to kill, Mrs. Fussy still wasn’t thrilled about facing the line, and opened up the door for us to grab a light meal from Marisa’s Place instead.

That was a great call.

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