Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Trying the new Sadudee Thai Restaurant in Watervliet

I understand the feelings of many area residents that we don't exactly need more Thai restaurants here in the Capital Region, but the fact that a new one just opened up in my neck of the woods is pretty exciting.  I've only been to Sadudee Thai Restaurant in Watervliet once so far, and would prefer to check out more of the menu before writing about it, but judging from the emptiness of the space on a recent Saturday night, I figure it's flying under the radar and could use some good word of mouth.

Because this one experience showed that Sadudee might be right near the top of the list of area Thai restaurants.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Thoughts on food criticism in Albany--a response to a Jonathan Gold interview

I like Jonathan Gold.  Of course, right?  He's a Pulitzer Prize winner, one of the best food critics (or food writers in general) in America.  I've been familiar with his work for some time because I went to college in Los Angeles at a time when he was writing for the L.A. Weekly paper; even though I was far from a "foodie" back then, I do remember reading many of his pieces with interest and hitting up a couple of his finds, like some dive taco joint in Santa Monica that was, unsurprisingly, fantastic.

More than anything, I regret spending four years in that city and not following his leads on a weekly basis, particularly because I can't foresee myself living there again.

But I mention him here because I just came across an interview he did with Eater, and some of his comments got me thinking about the role of food criticism in a city like Albany and my (albeit small) role in that.  Compared to other cities I've lived in or near, Albany is a place in which tough criticism doesn't flourish.  There are reasons for that, though; Gold hit on some of them, and after I parse his comments, I want to elaborate a bit since I've been pondering this issue lately while mostly taking a little break from my own food writing.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Burnt Ends and More at Bar-b-qsa in Saratoga

When I stepped down from doing the Eat This articles for All Over Albany in March, necessitated by the busyness of teaching full time and preparing for a wedding (not to mention trying to slim down for it), I still had a couple restaurants on my list of hopefuls that I hadn't yet gotten to try.

Fortunately, I still have this blog (even if it has been in hibernation lately), so I can still talk about PJ's Bar-b-qsa in Saratoga, which might now be my favorite barbecue joint in the area, thanks especially to an old favorite of mine, burnt ends.

You don't see burnt ends on the menu at every barbecue restaurant, and to many the name wouldn't exactly be enticing.  They're a regional specialty, a staple of Kansas City barbecue, and after spending two years in that area, I was thrilled to see them on the menu at Bar-b-qsa.  Tasting them--and a number of other items at this casual hangout on Rt. 9 just north of Exit 13N on the Northway--was even more exciting.

Monday, March 17, 2014

St. Paddy's Day IPA Roundup: Bell's Hopslam, Brooklyn Blast!, Smuttynose Noonan Black IPA, and Victory DirtWolf

None of these beers are green.  Some of them have some green on the labels.  Is that enough to make this post acceptable for St. Patrick's Day?

It's not like I've ever really subscribed to the notion that one should drink green beer on St. Patrick's Day--I can't recall ever having a green beer, though that might speak more to my social life than anything else.

So for anyone not doing the bar scene today, but still looking to enjoy a nice beer at home, here are a few options, all types of IPAs, all at least good and worthy of trying.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Offensively Bad "New Orleans" Cuisine at Nanola Restaurant in Malta

A few weeks ago I thought I had a brilliant idea for an Eat This article: feature a classic New Orleans dish from the new Nanola restaurant and bar in Malta on Fat Tuesday.  My upcoming piece was to be posted on March 4, the start of Mardi Gras, the perfect day to publish such an article.  I'd been wanting to get out to try out Nanola and figured this was as good an excuse as any.

There were several options that appealed to us, any of which would have been fine to focus on for an Eat This piece.  We ordered the alligator bites as an appetizer, I had the jambalaya for my entree, while K got an oyster po' boy.  And there was the promise of beignets for dessert.

But just as I wrote about a couple weeks ago with my visit to The Capital, my hopes of eating something worth writing about were dashed.  While the failure at The Capital was rooted in brutally bad execution, the issues at Nanola run even deeper.  Not only were the dishes we ordered at Nanola executed poorly, but they were also failures conceptually.  Just wait until you see the picture of my "jambalaya" for proof.

It was so bad, I have to say, that when it came time to think about dessert, we passed on those beignets.  Here--with another first-hand report from K--are the reasons why we came to that decision.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

A Disappointing Meal at The Capital American Eatery and Lounge

The process of discovery has been one of the most enjoyable aspects of writing my Eat This! articles for All Over Albany.  Being fairly new to the area, it's given extra incentive to searching the region for good dishes--sometimes at new restaurants, sometimes at restaurants that are just new to me.

But the flip side of this is that there are a lot of restaurants I've checked out that turn out to be mediocre or worse.  Often, these experiences don't warrant mentioning (well, maybe if I had more free time to work on my blog they would)--but when an experience is particularly notable for all the wrong reasons, I think it's worth discussing here.

And that's the case with our recent visit to The Capital American Eatery & Lounge in downtown Albany.  Sure, there was some good to be had--I certainly liked the pint of the Ithaca Flower Power IPA I had--but K and I found such frustration with our food that in a first, she's going to be contributing her own extensive account of what was wrong with her dish.