Move to Wordpress, New Site Design

I’ve moved the blog to WordPress. The move to WordPress will allow me much more control of the blog, as well as access to advanced statistics and other features Blogger does not provide.

With the move, I’ve updated the site design to a cleaner more modern look, that I think is easier to read.

Death by Cheeseburger VII – Best Burger in NY State

Daniel B., Albany’s Yelp Ambassador, was gracious enough to invite me to participate in a burger tasting. He knows I’m a big fan of the form, and I’d enjoy judging a few burgers. Initially, I was a bit hesitant, but ultimately decided I’d do it, and I’m glad I did. It was a blast. There were four judges in total, and besides Daniel and me, Josh D. the Syracuse Yelp Ambassador, and Yelp Elite Thomas C. also took part in the fun.

But this was no ordinary burger tasting; we’d be judging the “Best Burger in New York” contest, run by the NY Beef Council. It’s a contest they do every year, and the goal is to highlight local beef producers and the businesses that sell their product. That’s great, and a noble cause in my opinion.

The restaurants all happened to be in Central NY, between Utica, and Syracuse, which meant a long day, with lots of driving. Daniel picked me up at 9:30 am, and we didn’t get home until 11 that night (after a little side trip to Utica for pizza). It was indeed a lot of driving and of course, a lot of eating.

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Pizza Pilgrimage V – Six Days in the Fridge

Have you seen the video series Upstate Old School Vic Christopher is doing for Two Buttons Deep? In the first episode, he visits O’Scugnizzo’s Pizzeria in Utica. O’Scug’s makes a form of Utica tomato pie, and the place is the second oldest continually operating pizzeria in the US. The video is less than four minutes long. It’s worth a watch.

Barely one week after Vic’s video was posted, Daniel B. and I had some business together in Central NY (more about that at a later date), and after seeing the video, both of us were curious to visit O’Scug’s and experience the pizza.

I was not impressed, and frankly, perplexed as to why O’Scug’s is popular.

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My Favorite Pizza in the 518

Notice the title of this post is not “The Best Pizza in the 518.” “Best” is subjective, and when it comes to pizza, everyone has their favorite style or favorite pizza joint. I’m willing to accept that my favorites are not necessarily the best, but instead, merely those I like most. I’m sure it won’t be hard for anyone to take issue with my favorites, and that’s fine. You are welcome to disagree with me.

With one exception, my favorite pizzas are all cooked in a wood oven. To produce the light, tender, and chared crusts I prefer, requires temps of 800 degrees or higher, temperatures a wood oven has no problem reaching. Wood also imparts some flavor into the crust. Wood oven = more flavor.

So, without further ado, my favorite pizza in the Greater Capital Region:

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Schenectady Slices

NY style pizza. It’s a thing. It’s also a particular thing. I think the average pizza eater is confused as to what it is. NY Style pizza is not just round thinner pizza, and I’m probably guilty of making that incorrect assumption in the past as well.

NY slices are another thing altogether. The pizza is cooked ahead of time, then when ordered the triangle is thrown back into the oven to be reheated. The bottom of the pizza crisps up, making for a crunchy crust. Eating a reheated slice is not quite the same as eating one fresh out of the oven.

Having participated in FUSSYlittleBLOG’s Tour de Slice Schenectady, I’ve come to realize that NY style slices don’t get me excited. Not that they aren’t tasty, they are, and their popularity is a testament to that, but given my druthers, they wouldn’t be my first choice.

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Nashville Not Chicken

I adore spicy food. Spicy heat improves so many dishes that it’d take a book the size of the Bible to list them all. Even when used in small amounts to add a little background heat that most palates won’t detect as spicy, it’s an important element in cooking. Then there’s the nasal and sinus-clearing heat of super spicy dishes. I crave that tongue burning pain. It hurts so good! I love spicy food so much that I keep a small vial of cayenne seasoning in the lunch box I take to work at all times. One can never know when something will need a little hit of heat.

You can imagine my excitement when I discovered that Hattie’s in Saratoga had put Nashville Hot Chicken on their menu. Nashville Hot Chicken is the stuff chili-heads like me dream of, and fried chicken is a great vehicle to deliver high amounts of heat that you’ll later regret eating.

I was disappointed with Hattie’s version of the Southern classic, I was expecting better.

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Bad Chain Restauants XII – In Recovery

Today, I’m giving the dubious honor of bad chain to Recovery Sports Grill. The concept started in Albany with a single location across the street from Albany Med as The Recovery Room. It has since expanded to eight locations in the immediate area, and is expanding west—there’s one in Amsterdam and one near Turning Stone Casino in Verona—and south with locations in New Jersey, Virginia, West Virginia, and Florida.

Congratulations Albany! You are the progenitor of your very own bad chain. We have supported and enabled an expanding empire of uninspired pub fare and its ubiquitous “throw a bunch of crap on the wall along with lots of giant TVs” ambiance. Yes, folks, our beloved Captial Region has unleashed a bad chain on an unsuspecting world. May God have mercy on us.

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Waste Not Want Not

There’s an ad that’s been running on TV recently claiming 40% of all food in the United States is wasted. That’s significant. Then I was reading a food blog the other day, and the author quotes that number on her blog, as though it’s a fact. I decided to investigate a little.
As the saying goes: There are lies, damn lies, and statistics.
According to the Save The Food campaign, a household of four ‘wastes’ half that number (20%) or a whopping 20 lbs of food a month. [EDIT: This is wrong. See my comment below.] That sounds like a lot. But if we break it down, it’s not all that much. Each of those members is throwing away 5 lbs (or 80 ounces) of food a month. Doing quick, third-grade level math, each person is supposedly ‘wasting’ 2.6 ounces of food a day.

I drop more than three ounces of food on my lap while eating some days.

Of course, we’re assuming these numbers are not inflated. And if you think do-gooders don’t exaggerate to help their cause du jour, I’ve got a bridge I want to sell you. And I also have some great ocean front property in Arizona I need to unload.

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You’re Doing it Wrong II – You’re Ruining it for the Rest of Us

This past Sunday I had the pleasure to stop into Taqueria GDL in Glens Falls. I’ve already blogged about their excellent tacos. GDL is special, and they’re doing good stuff. I love the place. But they’re not perfect, and that point was driven home to me Sunday when I placed my order. The gentleman that waited on me, who I’m pretty sure is the owner, asked me if I wanted cilantro on my tacos.

Wait! What?

Why would a transplanted Mexican making authentic Mexican food ask if I want cilantro on my tacos? Cilantro is de rigueur on tacos. It’s equivalent to asking if I want salt on my fries. That is unless you’ve eaten at too many Tex-Mex, or what are really Ameri-Mex, pseudo-Mexican restaurants. It’s likely too many customers complained after being served tacos adorned with the yummy green herb, and he’s acquiescing to their misguided request.

Shame on you cilantro haters. You’re ruining it for the rest of us.
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