Category Archives: Albany

Date Night in Albany

A very sweet and generous friend of mine offered to babysit Future Foodie, so we took the opportunity to indulge in some culinary delights in Albany for our date night.  First, we headed to TJ’s Cafe, which has the best fried ravioli in town. Hands down. I don’t even know how the rest of the food tastes.  We went to TJ’s a few years ago, I got the ravioli and have never forgotten them.  We plunked ourselves down at the bar, I ordered a dirty vodka martini and promptly ordered my ravioli.  They came out perfectly fried, nice and golden brown.  They are filled with a blend of ricotta and mozzarella, with some chopped jalapenos.  They are served with a marinara sauce and a raspberry sauce, which I thought was totally weird but was absolutely delicious when I tried it.  Poor J got maybe three of the ravioli and I kind of inhaled the rest of them.  YUM.

We then headed over to Van’s Vietnamese to get our Pho fix.  The place was pretty packed, which we were glad to see.  We waited about 10 minutes for a table.  Once we were seated, we both ordered the Pho Chin (Noodles with well done beef brisket) and J ordered the shrimp summer rolls.  He absolutely loves them (I don’t eat shrimp).  According to J, the shrimp are fresh and perfectly cooked and the flavors in the roll itself are perfectly balanced, and then combined with the awesome peanut sauce, he was in summer roll heaven.

When you order the noodles, they always bring out a plate of accoutrements to go  with the dish.  We had a heaping dish of bean sprouts, a few sprigs of cilantro, sliced fresh jalapenos, lime wedges, and a little dish of plum/hoisin? sauce and Sriracha.

Our steaming bowls of noodle and broth came out.  We added in all of those delicious things and dug in.  The Pho was delicious, with a beautiful beef flavor with hints of sweetness, and the vermicelli noodles were just delicious.  The beef itself was really good, and wonderful when dipped in a combination of the plum/hoisin and Sriracha sauces.  We finished the noodles fairly quickly but ended up taking the broth home so we can cook some more noodles up and enjoy another helping of deliciousness.

 

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My love affair…

My love affair with Chipotle began about 6 years ago when J had an internship with a company out in San Diego.  I visited him quite a few times and and was introduced to Chipotle there.  I marveled at the fresh taste of all the food; the light, crisp taco shells.  The flavorful meats.  But I was sad too because I knew that we had nothing even close to Chipotle in the Capital Region.  J and I even wanted to start a franchise out here, we were that into it.  So over the past 6 years, until Chipotle arrived in Wilton, I tried to eat it whenever I was near one, in D.C., NYC, anywhere I could my hands on it. And then Hallelujah! Chipotle finally came to Wilton and I am proud to say as of tonight, that I have eaten at every Chipotle in the Capital Region.

Our friends invited us to the soft opening of the new Chipotle in Stuyvesant Plaza in Albany.  Of course, we headed right down there after work, Future Foodie in tow.

The decor is a bit more funky than other Chipotle I’ve been in and it was really cool.  The restaurant was getting busier and busier and there must have been at least 6 people behind the counter, smiling, and ready to take my order.

I got carnitas tacos (hard shell) for myself, with pinto beans, mild and hot salsa, cheese, and lettuce.  We got Future Foodie, the kid’s small cheese quesadilla with the cilantro rice and pinto beans. J got the biggest burrito I have ever laid eyes on and it was filled with carnitas, pinto beans, rice, mild and hot salsa, sour cream, cheese, and guacamole.

Everything was really good, like really tasty.  The tacos were really crisp and fresh and the meat was perfectly flavored. I always like to squeeze some fresh lime or lemon juice in to give it an extra tang. What I really like about their tacos or burritos is that all of the ingredients really hold their own, it doesn’t just taste like one big mushy mess like a lot of subpar Mexican food does.  The lettuce stays crisp, the tomatoes are firm, and the meat is tender.  Future Foodie gobbled her cheese quesadilla down. As always, by the time I was on to my second taco (you get three), J was already done with his 2,000 calorie burrito.

I just had to take a momentary pause because a freaky looking bug landed right next to me and J valiantly squooshed it after I screamed a few times.

I’ll always, always pick Chipotle over Moe’s (which is a teeny step above Taco Bell in my opinion).  I love Chipotle use of natural, free range meat and locally sourced food.  Okay, I’m done gushing with adoration.

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Dining at the Senior Hour

The Foodie family plus my sister descended on New World Bistro and Bar in Albany, NY tonight.  My sister had a hankering for their amazing adobe chicken wings and their even more amazing Bloody Mary.

We arrived promptly at 5 PM with the Senior crowd.  FF (my 18 month old daughter) has a 7:30 PM bedtime so we eat dinner as humanly as possible.

The hostesses were lovely and friendly.  Actually before I get into anything else, the service at this restaurant is fantastic, everyone was very attentive, helpful, followed through on our requests, and went the extra mile to find crayons for my daughter so that she could then fling them willy nilly around the restaurant.

Five minutes after we sat down, our table looked like this…

Here in descending order of tastiness is what we ordered (1 being the best, 10 being okay):

1.  Adobe Chicken – crispy, full of flavor, and just delicious.

2. Bloody Mary – perfect balanced blend of horseradish, spice, and a subtle flavor of vodka.

3. Tuna Tartare – we have had this dish each of the three times we have been to this restaurant.  It’s delicious with the light flavor, soft texture of the tuna, mixed with the crispness of the chip, mixed with the kimchi aioli was mouth-watering.  However, the portion was noticeably smaller this time.

4.  Watermelon Salad with house made queso fresco – This was so light and refreshing, and the watermelon was a surprising but interesting addition.  I couldn’t get enough of this but J and my sister were not as impressed.  I would order this dish over and over again.

5.  New World Burger (cheddar/jalapeno) – Unfortunately because I ordered this medium well, I kind of shot myself in the foot as I didn’t enjoy the burger as much as I did before.  But either way, the New World burger is a delicious burger, the bun is nice and soft and the fries are pretty good.

6.  Sweetbreads with baba ganouche – My sister and I did not try this as I don’t venture into organ meats.  According to my husband, the sweetbreads were not creamy and slightly overcooked.  The baba ganouche was good.  However, the caper berries were a nice touch and added a different flavor to the dish.

7.  Salmon ceviche – J did not like this at all.  It was swimming in sesame oil, and it killed the rest of the flavors in the dish.

8.  New World Pizza (Pizza was with tomato sauce, Romano, and mozzarella cheese) – This pizza was completely disappointing.  The sauce was missing and uninspiring with no taste because the Romano cheese overpowered everything.

Overall, after eating at New World three times now, the appetizers are the items that shine on the menu and I will keep on recommending their burgers.  Our bill for all of that food plus a beer for J was $93 plus tip.

The meal and the food was enjoyable, but our nearly 18 month old daughter cannot sit in the same spot for more than 2 minutes.  So when I say that we ate “together”, each of the three adults took turns entertaining and/or corralling her to keep the other diners safe from her destructive path.

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What did you do with the steak fries???

So I went to the Gingerman last week in Albany.  That is probably in our top ten favorite restaurants in the area.  I love the ambiance, the casual but delicious food, the great wine list.   I can just wax on and on about the place.  It’s also like a hidden gem buried deep inside the student ghetto on Western Ave.

I went with a good friend of mine and was raving about how delicious the steak fries are (side note: I am a french fry connoisseur.  I have even been to the place where french fries were born, Belgium.  I take my fries seriously.).  We order, she gets a panko encrusted chicken sandwich with brie and raspberry on foccacia.  I got their warm turkey sandwich with cranberry, dressing, and overall deliciousness.

I was really excited about the fries.

But then…the food comes, and WHAT? there are lame Sysco fries on my plate.  They’re not even cooked all that well, and are completely bland.  To say I was disappointed would be an understatement.  At least, both sandwiches were extremely delicious and consumed probably a little too quickly (at least mine was).

I asked the really friendly hostess, what happened to the awesome steak fries?  She said she didn’t know but would let the kitchen know that I missed them.  Bless her heart.

I will continue to go back and hold out hope that the kitchen will make the right choice and bring back those amazing steak fries.

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Hello world!

My name is Cindy.  The hubs is named J.  The tiny, crazy person living in our house is our daughter we will refer to as Future Foodie (FF).  She is almost 18 months old and will be accompanying us on our food adventures in the Capital Region, NY and beyond.

We live in Clifton Park but love to explore the surrounding cities for good food: Albany, Troy, Schenectady, Saratoga Springs, etc.

We love to eat.  That pretty much describes us as a family.  We talk, eat, and think about food alot.  At least my husband and I do.  FF goes crazy for certain things and then flings other food items across the room in disgust.

We love living in the Capital Region, but there’s alot of mediocre food out here. So, in the 6 years we have lived here together, we have been excited and disappointed by our food experiences.

Our goal (which never really changes) is to find some damn delicious food in this area.

We will chronicle, review, and provide general discourses on what we’re eating.  We may even venture into other arenas…

It’s just about our bedtime (yes, we’re lame) but gosh darn it, we have full time jobs and an energizer bunny for a toddler.

Good night until next time…

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