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.

After the pizza a beer or two was in order. Rare Form Brewing came to mind. It’s another Troy business I had not been to, and I arrived just as they were opening for the day. They don’t have a kitchen (they do have a small meat and cheese plate you can order) but they encourage you to ‘order in’ and even have take out menus you can peruse. Dang. Had I known that I would’ve run right over with my pizza and ate it at Rare Form.

Rare Form is yet another small Troy business that is genuine and down to earth. The brewer was there while I was sipping my beer, and I loved—just loved—that he was sipping a beer too while going about his business. The ambiance I would describe as “brew tank chic”. The tanks are front and center behind the bar, and there’s quite a few of them, and I have to say, it’s neat.

Next I was in the mood for a latte, so I headed over to Spilln’ the Beans. I wasn’t terribly impressed with it. My latte was good, but the space looks a bit run down, and where I sat near the window, there were newspapers scattered all over a couple of tables, and empty coffee cups that were not picked up. I enjoyed my time there though and before I knew it, they announced they were closing for the day—it was 4:00. That was perfect, because Peck’s Arcade opens at 4.

The hype around Peck’s Arcade has reached a fevered pitch recently, with more than a few on yelp raving about it. And I’d by lying if I said I wasn’t looking forward to having dinner there.

I arrived a few minutes after 4 and took a seat at the downstairs bar. To say Peck’s Arcade is cool, is an understatement, the place oozes coolness. The space is fantastic, it’s modern, yet it still retains much of the character of the decades old original building. The bartender (I think his name was Bruce, but don’t hold me to that) was great, and the entire time I was there he kept me company, and we chatted about many different subjects.

The food. Oh the food! It’s good. No, it’s really good. I swooned over the grilled mortadella, with red onion and pistachio. The grilled asparagus with fried egg, aioli, and citrus was divine. The 23 layer potato, heaven. Another dish, the chef’s take on caesar salad was delicious and creative.

DeFazio’s, Rare Form Brewing, Spillin’ the Beans, and finally Peck’s Arcade. Wow. What a day. And to think it almost didn’t happen. But fate shined down on me that day, and it’s a day I’ll not soon forget.

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