Wednesday, November 28, 2012

The Hop-Pickle: A Delicious Collaboration Between Brooklyn Brine and Dogfish Head

If I'm not mistaken, federal law requires that every article about a successful collaboration must begin with a list of legendary duets/duos from music or sports.  You know: Sonny and Cher, Simon and Garfunkel, Stockton and Malone, Gretzky and Kurri.  You get the idea.

In that vein, when I think of the great Hop-Pickle collaboration between the Brooklyn Brine Co. and Dogfish Head Brewery, I think of some of the great side projects from already-established musicians.  Temple of the Dog automatically comes to mind, though Pearl Jam hadn't even released their first record before that collaboration with the guys from Soundgarden.  There are also several comparable examples from fairly recent vintage.

The Hop-Pickle collaboration reminds me most of successful teamings of some unique musicians, like David Bowie joining Queen for "Under Pressure" or (on a lesser scale, of course) M. Ward and Zooey Deschanel combining for their She & Him albums.  Each had blazed a distinct trail on their own before these collaborations, yet after hearing the results of such teamwork you'd have thought they were born to play together--a phrase you could easily apply to Brooklyn Brine and Dogfish Head.

Enough music for now.  We need to talk pickles.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Weekend Drink Pick: Crabbie's Ginger Beer

I can safely say that none of my favorite beers have television commercials.  I don't recall seeing any, at least.  And in terms of other forms of advertisements, they're generally quite low-key (and don't make it beyond the doors of a beer store).

So it's kind of fun to promote a "beer" (more on the quotation marks later) that airs commercials like this:

And has its own double-decker tour bus:

Crabbie's Ginger Beer is Scottish and more than two hundred years old, so even though I'm often turned off by advertising, they get a free pass (plus the commercial is pretty good and don't even try to tell me you wouldn't love to get on that bus).  Though it's obviously big in the UK, Crabbie's is something of a novelty drink here in the States--a pretty good and interesting one, at that.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Home and Away: Beef Rendang at Flavors of Malaysia in Pittsfield and from a Prima Taste Box

Last week in my "white whales" post, I mentioned my love of Malaysian food and beef rendang, specifically.  As I said then, Malaysian cuisine is a brilliant fusion of native Malay, Indian, Chinese, and Thai culinary inspirations (among others!).  If you know the dishes of those countries, then you can only imagine how strong the flavors are when merged in one cuisine.  No, this is not food for the meek, for those who don't want things vibrantly spiced up.

It is the location of Malaysia--its proximity to those countries listed above and its usefulness as a trading hub--that enabled the spices and culinary influences of so many places to end up concentrated in this one location.  Just watch the Singapore episode of No Reservations and tell me there's any other place on earth that could compete as a culinary destination.

Okay, I'm hungry now.  Always does the trick.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

The Good, the Bad, and the White Whales

We're all cursed with our obsessions.
It's been just over three months now since I moved to the Capital Region, though in so many ways it feels longer (you get past the first month in a place, the seasons change, and everything becomes normal).  So it feels like a good time to take a step back and consider the food experiences I've had here.

I'll begin by mentioning that there have been a lot of great little discoveries, some of which I've written about--fried chicken and pizza, for instance--and some of which I've neglected to mention.  I've become totally accustomed to having some really solid Asian markets right in town.  I live in a place where I can get pretty good xiao long bao (at Ala Shanghai).  There's no shortage of quality Indian restaurants in the area which serve up some satisfying buffet lunches.

I don't doubt that if I keep searching, keep digging, keep eating in and around Albany, I'll have a lot more positive posts to throw out there.  But...