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.
Continue reading “Nashville Not Chicken”
This past Saturday was the second annual Schenectady Soup Stroll. Twenty Five restaurants and bars sold 3 oz samples of soup from noon to five, for one dollar each. My wife and I partook in the soup festivities last year, and it was a lot of fun. It’s a blast walking around downtown sipping and slurping soup and imbibing in a drink or two. We got full and ran out of gas after only six samples, (though I probably could’ve eaten one or two more).
Yelp was a sponsor of the event, and Daniel B., Albany’s local Yelp representative, was tasked to field a judging team of himself and two others, and when he sent out an announcement requesting volunteers, I jumped at the chance to be a judge. This is going to be a hoot, I thought.
Then after I committed to doing it, I had a change of mind. Why would I want to force myself to eat 25 portions of soup? That’s a lot of soup to eat in the span of a few hours. I got sick just thinking about it. But I didn’t back out, and I’m still beside myself that I was able to eat all twenty five soups, chowders, and bisques. The walking helped. We hoofed it from restaurant to restaurant, and it took nearly four and a half hours to complete the task.
Here’s another problem. Food tastes better when you’re hungry. We all know this, and my fear was that as the afternoon wore on, I’d get fatigued and not be able to accurately judge the food. Thankfully that didn’t happen, and as the end of the tasting drew near, I was very full, but I still enjoyed the soup. I enjoyed the good ones anyway.
And there were indeed some good ones and surprisingly, some awful ones. But instead of getting into the individual soups, I’m going to give you a high-level view of my thoughts on the commonalities I noticed. When you eat 25 soups back to back, some trends and themes emerge.
Continue reading “Slurping and Scoring 25 Soups in Schenectady”
We recently spent 12 days in Sarasota Florida. We had planned on spending 14 or 15 days there, but we decided to cut our vacation short due to Hurricane Hermine. Though it wasn’t forecasted to hit the Sarasota area, we thought it best that we head home (we drove) before the storm hit the Florida coast. So on a Thursday morning, we hastily stuffed our bags into the car and headed north. In the photo below you can see the storm on our heels. We’re the blue dot in the middle of the photo, in Gainsville, about three hours north of Sarasota. We left just in time.
The good news is Hurricanes move very slowly (Hermine was moving northeast at just 14 MPH) and for the most part, we stayed ahead of the storm. It was fun running from it, and we were far enough ahead that we were never in any real danger.
But this isn’t a weather or travel blog, this is a food blog, and I want to share a couple of interesting eats I had on our trip. I didn’t get to visit nearly as many places on my bucket list as I’d hoped, especially considering how much time we spent there, but I did get to a few, and here are three that stood out to me as memorable.
Continue reading “Running from Hermine”
What do you get when you mix a Hooters ripoff with Applebees?
You get the Tilted Kilt. Just opened in Niskayuna, it’s a half-baked attempt to capitalize on Hooters’ unabashed glorification and playful mockery of Men’s primal desire to mingle with attractive women half their age, drink too much beer and eat fried foods.
I want to be clear, I am not disparaging Hooters, or the average Joe’s need to spend time with his buddies whilst ogling a cute waitress in a male-focused establishment. Rather, I am saddened that Tilted Kilt manages to water down the experience to the point of it being nothing more than bad chain food served by scantily clad women and men in skirts.
Hooters has been famously sued on more than one occasion because they refuse to hire men as waitstaff. Hooters argues that hiring only (young and attractive) women is a ‘bona fide occupational qualification’. In short, young, cute, female waitresses are essential to their business. (Hooters does hire men, but not as waitstaff or bartenders). And I agree with Hooters. It’s what makes them special. Trust me, no one is going to Hooters for the food (with the exception of the wings, which are quite good).
Continue reading “Bad Chain Restaurants VII – Slouching Skirt”
I’m slowly becoming more and more enamored with simple foods. And I’ve discovered simple foods generally are created on a triune foundation. Three components that come together to make delicious magic. I want to elaborate on this more at some point and hope to write a full post about it in the future.
I found myself with the opportunity to spend a full day in Manhattan, and I decided while I was there I would eat a couple of copycat items that are attempting to elevate themselves above their inspiration. I found a restaurant that’s making copycat Five Guys burgers, and one that’s making a copycat Chik-Fil-A sandwich.
Continue reading “Manhattan Copycats”
When you think about fried chicken locally, what restaurants come to mind?
Most would say Hattie’s. And that’s for good reason. Hattie’s fried chicken is renowned in the area, and it’s not only locally famous, it’s also nationally famous. And just as a side note, if you’ve never been, do put a visit to Hattie’s on your bucket list.
Any other local restaurants that are known for their fried chicken that you can name?
The only others I can think of off the top of my head are The Flying Chicken in Troy, and Cupz on Arch St., in Albany’s south end neighborhood, neither of which unfortunately, I’ve yet to get to. (But if there are others, please feel free to enlighten me in the comments).
Continue reading “The Best Fried Chicken You’ve Not Eaten”
We are all influenced by those around us. Our personal circle of friends, family, and acquaintances affect how we view the world. In our jobs, professionally, we are constantly being pulled this way or that by our colleagues, superiors, and vendors. The media we consume—TV shows, movies, music, art, the national news, (food blogs!)—they all challenge or reinforce our views.
These forces are all, whether we realize it or not, constantly having an effect on what we like or don’t like, what we believe to be true or false, and what we deem valuable or insignificant.
Continue reading “Under the Infuence”
Chicken sandwiches usually are my go to when I’m out, need to grab a quick lunch and I’m not in the mood for a burger or pizza. I’ve eaten a lot of them. And I especially love fried chicken sandwiches.
I’ve made no secret of my love of Chik-Fil-A
, and their tender, juicy, delicious fried chicken. They make a good one. But it’s fast food, and while it’s tasty as hell, it’s processed.
Speaking of processed, Wendy’s also comes to mind. They make a decent fried chicken sandwich too. I like their Spicy Chicken
sandwich, though it’s just good, and not great.
A lot of restaurants cheat, and put chicken fingers on a roll and call it a sandwich. Those tend to suck. Chicken fingers have too much breading to meat ratio. A good chicken sandwich has crunchy, well seasoned breading, but it’s also got to have plenty of actual chicken meat.
Continue reading “The Fried Chicken Sandwich from God”
We eat out a lot. I love eating out. I like to try different places and different foods, plus there’s no mess to cleanup at home. But I also cook a lot. And certainly we eat at home far more than we eat out.
I’m the designated cook in the house. I do 95% of the cooking. When I first got into cooking about a decade ago, I was into making complicated, fancy dishes. Dishes that require prep time and lots of ingredients. “I’m a good cook and I’m going to show off dammit!”
That didn’t last.
I still enjoy making fancy dishes, but doing that everyday just doesn’t fly. Who has the time? Or who has the cash to invest in all kinds of ingredients that may get used only once and then sit around? I’ve learned that day in and day out, simple, but tasty, and wholsome dishes are the way to go. See my quick sauce recipe for a good example of that.
Today I want to share my roast chicken method. I guess you could call it a recipe, but it’s more a method than a recipe. It’s super simple, and oven time aside, it’s quick.
Continue reading “Easy Roast Chicken”