Wednesday, April 27, 2011
The Stewart's over on 9W in Bethlehem had some samples out when I stopped by for a sod-y today. I didn't have my camera in the store, so I missed out on photographing the samples in their natural environments. I did, however, manage to get ahold of one of the "Stewart's Bread" samples (pictured above).
I don't know why this made me laugh, but it did. There were like 10 or 15 individually bagged and date stamped slices of white sandwich bread hanging on one of those little poles with the clips near the checkout counter. It is as if Stewart's Shops can do nothing without seeming "kitschy" and anachronistic. The funny thing is, I don't think they calculate any of it. I honestly think that Stewart's sees absolutely nothing amusing about putting slices of bread in little baggies and hanging them on a pole as samples. Well, maybe it is just me who notices these sorts of things.
Aside from the bread there were wee ice cream cones sitting in a little cone holder right on top of the gallons in the freezer. Just go ahead and help yourself! All this business made me chortle after my busy day and reminded me why I go to Stewart's at least once a week (i.e. for the weirdness... and hot dogs).
Anyhow, I am sorted in case I need to make half a sandwich. Perhaps I will use my bread sample for a cheese toasty, but I don't know. That might be too crazy. I don't think I can live at that speed....
Thursday, April 21, 2011
Every time I see this particular vendor at the Knick (I refuse these new fangled terms. "Pepsi," or "Times Union," Bah!) my mind reads "Pizza Sapiens." I am then carried away with visions of some intermediary species between Neanderthal and Homo Sapiens and their unusual feeding/mating habits... I am prone to bizarre mental tangents. Anyhow, I think they should embrace the "Pizza Sapiens" title and dress like cavemen and grunt, carry clubs, and dress in skins. Then I wouldn't feel so bad about paying them 10 bucks for a slice of crappy pizza and a diet Coke.
Anyways, I was there for a hockey game (go Devils). So of course, hot dogs happend.
The hot dog chili was pretty weak (i.e. it had tomatoes in it), but as I am hardcore, I still put some spicy brown on those bad boys.
Monday, April 18, 2011
Look at that beautiful runny egg (on some Gob Dol Bi Bim Bop). Look at it! The white ain't even set, muhahahaha! I have a thing for barely cooked eggs, don't ask me why. In any event, the red hot stone bowl cooks the egg through when you stir up the dish. But I admire the balls the restaurant (Kinnaree, Lark St.) shows by presenting this dish this way given our society, which is so filled with squeamish, simpering ninnies. Although I will say that the sauce they served with this dish was a little tame as far as the heat level goes. Simply remedied, I will request something spicy next time.
Here is a picture of the Mee Krob that I ordered because the name sounded like Klingon food (it was actually fried noodles and shrimp, not that a Klingon wouldn't like noodles and shrimp...).
Based on my first experience, I think I really like Kinnaree. I will have to confirm with subsequent visits.
Suddenly, Crab Salad!
I didn't put up a picture of the Crab Salad because I didn't eat any. But some friends did and they drooled and raved about it. So hear is a picture, it does look good doesn't it?
After having a little Gob Dol Bi Bim Bap at Kinnaree on Lark St. (Albany, do I need to specify? I never now if any outlanders are reading...) I decided to swing by Crisan Bakery for some pastry with my fair little 'un. Mademoiselle Dave had an engagement so Giblet and I had a daddy/daughter luncheon with friends.
At Crisan, I hurriedly pointed at a few things sort of haphazardly (young Giblet was at the end of her behavior rope) and ended up with the above assortment. Everything was good, but I have to single out those too little chocolaty looking bastards on the left of the picture. Here is a close up.
These were called "Little Richards" I believe, and were layers of walnut merengue with chocolate and vanilla butter cream. These were hands down the finest sweet morsels that have found their way into my gullet in quite some time. I ate both of them standing in my kitchen in about 4 minutes. I loved the texture as the "walnut merengue" almost reminded me of torrone (one of my favorite things in the world).
Anyhow, if you haven't been to Crisan you are missing out, I ain't blowing smoke, they put out some good stuff.
Saturday, April 16, 2011
Part 1: Genesee Lager
Part 2: Utica Club
Before we go into Part 3 of my ongoing series on the various brews native to our homeland, I need to clarify something (again). The "piss" part of the title is purely tongue-in-cheek as I really am a fan of these beers. I am not impugning their quality in any manner. I have to say this before the torrent of rabid Upstaters (my people) start sending me hate mail.
Anyhow, here we have Genessee Bock Beer. Just look at that lovely green box with the wee goat a-prancin'. Like the Utica Club box, it is a veritable work of art. Here is the Bock's description from Genesee-
A "specialty" seasonal brew produced only once a year, Genesee Bock Ber is brewed in the old German tradition with only the purest ingredients. Introduced in January of each year, Genesee Bock is only available as limited supplies last. This rich and hearty beverage is brewed in celebration of centuries old tradition and the arrival of spring. Genesee Bock Beer was first introduced in 1878.
Here is the explanation for the jaunty goat from the wiki-
The Bavarians of Munich pronounced "Einbeck" as "ein Bock" ("a billy goat"), and thus the beer became known as "bock". To this day, as a visual pun, a goat often appears on bock labels.
From a design/advertising standpoint, I love everything about this product's packaging. From the shade of green, to the text's font, to the whimsical minimalism. I almost feel bad throwing out the box and empty cans, that is how much I like them.
Moving on, here is what the stuff looks like out of the can.
Genessee's take on bock is fairly dark (for Genesee) with a nice amount of head. The odor is caramel/malty and the body is thin. Hold the glass up to the light and you will see, that though dark, this bock is still a little thin in comparison to more traditional German versions. The flavor is sweet with a hint of hops and very drinkable.
This stuff drinks just like the rest of Genesee's products. It is another definitive lawn mowing, soft ball game, picnic at the park in 90 degree heat beer. Pour a twelver of cans into a cooler full of watery ice and you are good to go. With the price hovering around 8 bucks for a twelve pack of cans, how can you go wrong? As I have said in the past two installments, these are inexpensive beers, not low quality beers. Utica Club, Genesee Lager, and this Bock are all in the lower price range of canned domestics but greatly excede the quality of a Busch/Natty Ice/Old Milwakky or others of that crew.
If I am having my beer cold, cheap, and in cans it is going to be an Upstate New York beer every time. I would encourage others to give these venerable products a try too (in large quantities, with hot dogs, invite me).
Thursday, April 14, 2011
Has anyone else seen this Tilt stuff around? I spied the garish red can (the design reminds me of an Ed Hardy T-shirt, I hate this trend) at the Hess station in Slingerlands. If you have been keeping up with my posts, then you will know that I have something of a morbid fascination with the ever growing pantheon of brightly colored family of "alcopop" type malt beverages. You can read all about my Four Loko Pickle experiment should you feel like gagging a little.
Anyhow, the issue of "alcopop" is fairly topical right now as the NY legislator is currently attempting to ban the sale of high alcohol malt beverages in gas stations/beer distributors and confine their sale to liquor stores. The high alcohol content is actually what grabbed my attention when I spied the can of Tilt. Look at this folks, this bad boy has a shockingly high alcohol content of 12%!
Given that a normal American style lager (Bud, Miller, etc...) is usually somewhere in the 3-6% neighborhood, Tilt packs a serious wallop of alcohol. All served up in a 24 ounce oversized can, and for cheap! I think the thing was about 2 bucks. Now look folks, I am certainly not a proponent of legislating peoples personal lives, but something about this product struck me as a little sinister. I will explain in a moment. I also found it interesting that the actual maker of this stuff, Anheuser Busch, seems a little embarrassed to produce this swill. The only place you can find their name is in very small print on the side of the can.
I felt compelled to purchase one of these and imbibe as a sort of public service. I am genuinely concerned about the effects that a can of this stuff might have on an individual of less hearty stock than ol' Mr. Dave. Just 1 can of Tilt is the equivalent of drinking about 6 cans of lager! I will start this off by stating that I am a strapping male, over 6 feet tall and no wilting lily by anyone's estimation. I am a moderate drinker and usually favor good beer with perhaps a drop or two of the good stuff on occasion.
Hesitantly, I cracked open the can of Tilt and poured it into a pint glass.
The liquid was a bright red, with a boozy and sweet aroma. I found the bright pink, 2 inch head of foam to be a little off putting but I persevered. There was a sweet, boozy, vaguely funky aroma to the Tilt, sort of like that skunky tang you get off of really cheap bear like Natty Ice or something of that ilk. Girding my loins, I went in for a sip. The flavor is shockingly Hawaiian Punch-esque, only with an assertive alcohol burn on the way down. Thoroughly disgusting, and I almost called the project quits right there. However, my scientific curiosity spurred me on and I continued.
After struggling through the first pint of tilt over the course of perhaps 15 minutes, I was already feeling the effects of alcohol. I was honestly surprised at how quickly the 12% alcohol brew had started to affect me. Downing the remaining balance over the course of a further 10 minutes, I stopped to ruminate on my state of intoxication. I would feel comfortable saying that after imbibing this one beverage unit, I was intoxicated. I.e., there is no way that I would operate a motor vehicle, and frankly, were I to have another can of this stuff I would have been three sheets to the wind.
So let us summarize; tall and strapping Mr. Dave is laid low by one can of fruity malt beverage. I would say that the "6 pack in a can" analogy concerning the Tilt is very apt. After 1 beverage unit, I was approaching hammered. Now let us ask the question of what happens to a 16 year old female, maybe 5'2" and a 115 pounds for instance who gets ahold of this product? She is probably approaching blackout drunk after consuming 1 freaking can. I think a lot of people try to self estimate their level of drunkenness by keeping count of how many "units" (cans/bottles/glasses/shots) of alcoholic beverage they have consumed. Throw that logic out the window with Tilt, should you drink your usual "2 or 3" units of this stuff, you are going to be in for a very big surprise...
Maybe putting this stuff in the liquor store is not such a bad idea. What say you?
P.S. I am getting in to the Twitter, so follow me at RidiculousFood or I will be sad and lonely. You don't want that, do you?
Wednesday, April 13, 2011
I have finally caved to curiosity and joined Twitter. I still don't really get why Twitter is useful, but I will give it a shot. I feel a little dirty saying this but "follow me," my Twitter name is RidiculousFood (here is the old timey link - http://twitter.com/RidiculousFood). Currently I am only following Daniel B., as clicking his twitter link led me down this dark path.
Anyhow, placate my narcissism. I expect about a million followers by sunset.
Tuesday, April 12, 2011
This will be my last Utica/Rome centric post, I promise. You can't blame me though, so much to cover out of a 3 week stay (and I didn't even take pictures of half the food I shoved down my gullet). Have you ever heard of a Pustie? A pustie is a small, custard filled pie that is one of the ubiquitous confections available out in the greater Utica/Rome area. The moniker "pustie," I have been led to believe, is a corruption of the Italian "pasticiotti," which is pretty much the same thing.
Since I was in the neighborhood, I decided to test out a few pusties from the venerable establishment that is the Franklin Hotel in Rome. On a side note, go there if you are ever in the area. Get an order of the greens Vescio, an order of the hot peppers, and the beans and greens. These items along with the complimentary bread make quite the nice lunch.
The pusties that look like boobs are straight vanilla custard and the ones with the stripe are a vanilla custard/lemon hybrid. Aren't they pretty?
Anyhow, I broke one of the vanilla ones in two to examine the innards.
In the middle of the flaky pie crust we have a fairly stiff, pale yellow custard. The flavor is not too eggy, with an assertive sweetness, and a faint vanilla/citrus flavor. Thoroughly enjoyable. This is a simple dessert with a no frills appeal. Good pie crust encasing delicious custard, how can you go wrong there? The lemon ones were good, but why mess with success? Go for the vanilla.
I hear that various pusties are available locally at Bella Napoli (to include chocolate ones). I think I recall seeing these, and they are somewhat of a smaller creature than the real deal. Anyhow, yet another regional delicacy to be celebrated.
Monday, April 11, 2011
Pictured above are some Hinderwadel Salt Potatoes. I have spoken about salt tatties before, and they are interesting in their own right, but why was I interested in this particular group of spuds? Because I found these in a gas station in Verona, NY (just outside of Rome, NY). This is what I like about the greater Utica/Rome area (from where I have recently returned from a 3 week stay), they have some really good food and they are damn proud of it.
Need some escarole for to make some Utica Greens (my recipe is unforgivably inauthentic) ? Any good deli worth its salt will have a big ol' box of escarole in the cold case (this is Mazzaferro's in Rome).
You have pusties (more on these later), Utica Club, greens, salt tatties, and any number of other local delicacies shoved (with charm) in your face at every opportunity. This is aside from the unusually good American style Italian food to be had around every corner. Strangely enough, the lust for Italian food seems to even have seeped into some unexpected places.
This place had Kung Pao pizza, no joke. Regretfully, I didn't have a chance to try it.
Anyhow, I consider Utica/Rome to be one of my ever growing number of homes away from home. I find the area to be a shining oasis in the somewhat bleak expanses of the formerly thriving and bustling canal zone.
Saturday, April 9, 2011
I was over at Bob and Ron's on Central Ave. the other day. As I have stated, the Wife is currently incubating my next minion (i.e. she is preggers), so there been having wicked jones' for certain food items. Fried shrimp and scallops seem to be high on the list, and for a quick take out version Bob and Ron's is the place to go around here.
Anyhow, I have been in there a million times and always forget to grab a couple pictures of the "decor." I finally snapped a picture of one of my favorite items.
This terrifying sea-beast stares at you with disapproval from the wall near the counter while you eat his brethren. He is labeled "Cusk (Brosme Brosme). Fish Used in Bob & Ron's Fish Fry." I like to order the fish fry and while eating it say with relish, "Mmmm... The Cusk is good today. Nothing like some tender Cusk." Anyhow, nothing like a horrifying, mounted, sea-snake beast thing to whet your appetite for seafood.
Suddenly..., A SCALLOP!!!!
That is all for now.
I have few rules in life, but one of them is that should I walk into a new food establishment and there is a sign heralding some strange and wonderful specialty, I am honor bound to try it. I was confronted by the above pictured scene upon entering the Nicky Doodles in Verona, NY. Nicky Doodles is a small chain of drive up eateries in the Utica/Rome area, think Jumpin' Jack's for a local analogue.
I walked up to the fresh faced lad at the counter and cheerfully inquired as to what a "Doodle Dumpster" was (I did not, however, make any inquiries about the chair for sale). He smiled and pointed at a picture above the register.
Obviously not immediately recognizing that I am a veritable professor of Upstate New York culinary traditions the friendly gent asked me, "have you ever heard of a Garbage Plate?" Chuckling a bit, I said yes, yes I have, and he continued on to explain that the "Dumpster Doodle" was similar, down to the hot dog sauce for which they use a "special Rochester recipe."
If you don't know, Rochester, NY is home to the originator of the Garbage Plate, Nick Tahou's. Nick Tahou's Hots is a veritable shrine to the hot dog gods as anyone who has visited will attest. So I took from the young man that the Doodle Dumpster is something of a homage to the Rochester style garbage plate. He further explained that Nicky Doodle's is hoping that the Dumpster, along with a monstrous banana split that they offer, might entice the "Man Vs. Food" guy to make a visit to Verona.
Anyhow, to the issue of the Doodle Dumpster I said, "Yes please, one of those" and immediately slammed 3 bucks into the tip cup. Smiling, my new friend turned to the griddle staff and informed them that they had been well tipped. I hoped to ensure the highest level of artistry and attention be given to my prize.
As I was by myself (in CNY for work, not just food), I decided to get my order to go. I thought sitting among the happy children and families whilst gorging myself might appear a little lonely and sad. Back at the hotel, I sat down and cracked her open.
There we have it. Fresh cut French fries, cheese sauce, hot dog chili, 1 grilled hot dog, 1 hamburger patty, topped with macaroni salad and with 2 grilled hotdog buns on the side. I could detect the fragrant Greek influenced spice mix (also typical of our Capital Region style hot dog chili) of the hot dog sauce along with a vinegar punch from the macaroni salad. Here is a closeup of the chili.
This hot dog chili is the same beanless/tomatoless concoction that is familiar to me, but a little tighter and less liquid which is good for topping fries without making them over soggy. The homemade macaroni salad was full of tart pickle/mustard flavors and had nice big flecks of hard boiled egg, much better than what you usually see on a Garbage plate. Here is the hot dog, most likely a Hoffman's in this neck of the woods.
I washed my meal down with the only beverage that one could truly pair with a Dumpster Doodle.
Utica Club! By my incessant Utica Club name drops, you will notice that I am something of an entusiast of the golden canned brew. On a side note, you can see my tube of Harissa in the background. I call this my "travel ketchup" and have taken to lugging it around as an essential additive to bland road food.
Anyhow, I found the Doodle Dumpster to be thoroughly enjoyable. Every element was well done, fresh cut fries, good chili, good macaroni salad (and I am not the hugest fan), all prepared by friendly staff in a good setting. I have an instant soft spot in my heart for Nicky Doodle's now and wished that the wife and kid were there to enjoy it with me as the place really shines as a family destination. Next time I am out there I look forward to trying their frozen custard, and there was an interesting sounding "Hot Ham BBQ" sandwich on the menu as well.
Tuesday, April 5, 2011
As I stated in my last post, I am still rambling around in the wilds of Central New York (Utica/Rome area), so I am waiting until I get home to compile my experiences. I stumbled across the above picture whilst fiddling with my phone and thought I would share.
Anyone ever go to Smokey Bones (beware, the website autoplays some awful tune) over on Central Ave.? I went there a couple of times shortly after it opened, and you know what? It wasn't horrible. It had all of the myriad problems of any other national chain restaurant, but it was decent "fast food" type BBQ fair. I vaguely remembered it being sort of kid friendly, so the Wife, Giblet, and I went over there a few weeks ago after an errands run.
The establishment seems to have undergone a sea change of sorts. The joint has morphed from cheesy/family oriented/corporate BBQ, to some sort of bizzaro, "TGIFriday" inspired, Frat Boy house of booze. Consult the above photo from the drink menu. "Jager Bombs" on the menu? Stay classy Smokey bones. Taking my 2 year old treasure of a daughter to an eatery with 5 dollar Jager Bombs is not high on my list...
The text in this photo is illegible, but the poster had something to do with pounding shots.
Also, the walls are plastered with these droll "Boneism" quips.
Everything is emblazoned with that stupid flame emblem which some little marketing hack has convinced the chain to adopt as an emblem.
I just don't get it. I don't get the business plan. Smokey Bones is no longer a cheesy BBQ place that I might take the kid to on the very rare occasions that I am in the mood to dine at a "family" type corporate/chain restaurant. It is now some sort of poorly conceived, ugly-modern, booze oriented monstrosity. They also changed up the menu making it hard to figure out how to order the mediocre BBQ platters that were the original appeal of the place. Anyone else have thoughts?
Friday, April 1, 2011
I have not up and head for the hills, forever forsaking (again) blogging (yet). I have actually been out among the wilds of Central New York for a few weeks (don't ask...). So I thought I would check in and show you part of the culinary spoils that I have been enjoying whilst in the Utica/Rome area. Above is a lovely ring of Croghan Bologna. You would have to be real lucky to find this North Country pearl as far south as the Capital, but it is easily available in these here parts.
I also indulged in a little gas station tomato pie.
There have been cheese curds, Utica Club, Utica Greens, fried peppers, and innumerable other local favorites sampled at venerable establishments such as the Franklin Hotel and Mazzaferro's Meats and Deli.
Mayhaps I shall return to the shores of the mighty Hudson laden with exotic delicacies from my travels. We shall see.