Ode to the BLT – Beautiful Luscious Tasty

The BLT. Bacon Lettuce and Tomato with mayo on toast. Simple, but complex. Five ordinary ingredients that come together to create something extraordinary. A sandwich of pure genius.

There are few foods which have so much going on, with so few ingredients. The BLT is a study in contrasting flavors, textures and temperature. A culinary juxtaposition if you will. What’s more, each of the five ingredients of the classic BLT have multiple components of texture and flavor which together create a symphony of deliciousness. A sandwich so perfect it’s awe inspiring.

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Soft Serve Sucks

I joined Daniel B. of FUSSYlittleBLOG and several other intrepid ice cream eaters for the Tour de Soft Serve 2.0. We toured five soft serve ice cream stands in Clifton Park, Ballston Spa, and Saratoga, getting a cup or cone at each location. With careful consideration, we recorded our thoughts about each one. Dipping spoons in cups and licking cones, we tasted and we tested. It was a lot of fun. It was a great group of people and I had a blast.

I’ve never been a big fan of soft serve ice cream. I eat it, but when I crave ice cream, I go for hard ice cream. Soft serve just doesn’t compare to real ice cream. Yes, I said real ice cream. Soft ice cream, in my opinion, is just not that great.

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Bad Chain Restaurants III – Heartbroken

At the ripe old age of 15, I wanted a job. I needed more than the few dollars a week my parents gave me as an allowance. I wanted spending money. Ambition welled up in me, I needed to do something. My mother had previously worked at Dunkin’ Donuts and she was friends with the owner. She got me a job there.

It was June 1982, I’ll never forget it. I got hired as a porter. A porter was a part-time job, about 3 hours a day, in the afternoon. Porters did odd jobs around the shop. We cleaned the kitchen. We mopped floors. We helped bring in stock when the truck would arrive. We filtered the fryers. I didn’t love it, but I loved having a paycheck, and I loved being around all of the cute girls who worked the counter.
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Hot Tooth

I had the pleasure of joining nine other yelpers recently for an excursion to Troy to enjoy pizza, beer and wings at the Notty Pine Tavern. It was a great time. Ten food lovers sitting around a table talking about—and eating—food. There’s nothing quite like spending time with like minded souls. Those who ‘get’ what you ‘get’. Those who enjoy what you enjoy.

Daniel B. of FUSSYlittleBLOG fame and Otis M. of Burnt My Fingers were discussing (I think) foods they like. Daniel made the observation that he had a ‘fat tooth’ and Otis an ‘acid tooth’. Just as it’s said that someone who loves sweets has a sweet tooth, Otis is fond of foods that have an acidic component, and Daniel those that contain fat.

That got me thinking.

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Staycationaurant II – Man Plans and God Laughs

In episode one of Staycationaurant, I vowed that while on vacation I would try as many restaurants as I could. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to go to nearly as many as I’d like. Things came up. I got busy. My wife had other plans. Life has a way of throwing curveballs, as we all know.

That’s not always bad though, because at the last minute, a Saturday afternoon freed up for me and I didn’t hesitate to take advantage. Pondering my options, and since the weather wasn’t too bad, I decided to head to downtown Troy and wander around the “New Brooklyn” as it’s been called.

I’m ashamed to admit I had never been to DeFazio’s Pizzeria. It’s generally considered one of the best, if not the best pizzeria in the Capital Region. It’s been on my list for a while though, and I decided it would be my first stop. The pizza of course was fantastic. I knew I’d be stopping at a couple of other places afterward, so I didn’t want to eat too much pizza. That was tough. The few slices I didn’t eat were staring at me, taunting me with their cheesy goodness, daring me to eat them. But I withstood the test, and only ate half the pizza. (DeFazio’s does not sell slices).

In addition to making a great pizza, DeFazio’s is so genuine and down to earth. If you’ve read any of my other posts you know I enjoy that. I also found it interesting that the red pepper they set on the table they get locally and it’s ground fresh there. The “shaky cheese” as I call it, is shredded next door at their grocery store and is far better than the green can stuff most places have.

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Sometimes you order a dish and it surprises you, it’s not what you thought it would be. You read the menu description and a picture of the dish forms in your mind, then it arrives at the table and it looks nothing like what you imagined. Worse, it doesn’t taste like you imagined, and you’re forced to slog through something you don’t care for. Disappointment ensues. This has happened to me more times than I can recall.

But sometimes—and it doesn’t happen often—sometimes, the dish is not what you envisioned in a good way. It’s better than you imagined, and on rare occasions, much better. These pleasant surprises are what food lovers live for. And I’ve found they are often the most memorable. It’s usually the surprises I remember more than the great dishes I’ve had, that I expected to be great.

Today, my wife and I ordered a dish to share, and it far exceeded my expectations.

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Bad Chain Restaurants Part II – The Best Buffet in the USA

I used to live on Union St. in Schenectady. I worked on Central Ave. in Colonie. I was single then. I was foot-loose and fancy free, as they say, with no family to care for. I ate whatever, and wherever I wanted, whenever I wanted, but I had yet to discover there’s a whole world of great food out there. I was also broke. I ate at a lot of fast food joints. I actually preferred them, and except for the occasional foray to Applebee’s, that’s where my restaurant dollars were spent.

Those were dark days.
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What do you do when you have 10 days vacation and no plans?

You eat!

For the next 10 days, I’m pulling out all the stops and going on a restaurant binge. Normally I wouldn’t subject my wallet (and my waistline) to such insanity, but I have a rare opportunity to do something I’ve always wanted to do and I’m taking advantage of it. I’m going to eat at as many restaurants as I can during my time off.

I’m calling it a staycationaurant. It’s an amalgamation of the words stay-cation and restaurant. I actually think it has a nice ring to it! I’ll tweet it and maybe it will go viral. People all over the country will say to each other, “Where did you eat on your staycationaurant?” There’ll be debates on reddit over who invented the word. Eventually they’ll trace it back to me and I’ll become famous!

Yeah, probably not.

Today, mostly by chance, I visited three different places. They’re all unique, all small, all locally owned, and all special.

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