San & Bada Sushi

Yes, this is the same crappy salad you get at every japanese place

So, I was over near Crossgates Mall and in the Guilderland area last week, and I heard they had a decent happy hour special – Three rolls, soup and salad for $14.95. And, well, as everyone knows, I CANNOT resist sushi. Stick me in a place that says ‘Sushi Available’ and I’ll order atleast 3 rolls. Atleast. Even though I can’t eat more than 2 rolls and even that’s stretching my stomach limits. Hell, the sign can even say ‘… we wouldn’t really recommend the sushi, but hey, it’s your choice’ I would still get it. Yes, I have a problem.
So from what you can see above, I opted for the Philadelphia roll, Crazy roll, and Salmon Skin roll. When I walked in, I was the only one, but the people there were really nice. Not talkative, but I hate small talk anyway. I got to look at the decor, and I thought it all looked really nice. They had really cute lamps and hanging lights, it was all very simple, but still had a cozy vibe. Food wise, they kept the fish wrapped in separate saran wrap, but they weren’t wrapped really tight. The chef was also nice when I asked where they sourced their fish from (some from Boston, some from NYC).

The converse view

So from this view you can see there was a little more than skin on the roll. I actually forgot I was eating salmon skin when I ate it at home, since it was no longer crispy (not my main complaint, since I did get take out) and also because there’s still a bit of salmon left on that skin. It just tasted like a cooked salmon roll. Not a bad thing, but I really like that charred taste from salmon skin rolls. The chef also put the sauce that usually goes with eel on top of this. I think that was a main contributor to the sogginess.

The one in the center is the crazy roll. I really liked this one. It was eel, cream cheese, tobiko and avocado all in one roll. And it was crazy good! It was a nice combination and when I saw there was a roll with avocado and cream cheese, I was all for it. I didn’t think the eel would be that good, but was pleasantly surprised.
The Philly roll was okay. It had avocado in that too so it’s better than most that only include cream cheese. Otherwise, meh.
Overall the rolls weren’t much for presentation. The sides weren’t perfectly closed and had missing edges of rice/seaweed showing. This took away a lot for me, since the texture was a little off with ‘open’ edges. I think if you serve sushi you should be able to have all of the edges meet, either that or you’re new at the sushi roll thing.

I don’t think I’ll be making trips out to Guilderland for San & Bada Sushi. It’s not that it was awful, it just wasn’t all that great either. And I want my sushi to be great. It was just good. And for that I’ll say if you’re in the area at happy hour, swing on by. But it’s not going to be mind blowing by any means.

Oh, Chef Saso, how you’ve forever ruined me from enjoying eating at any place but yours. And god, how I love ya for it.

You missed free ice cream day

Sorry guys, I… forgot… to post that yesterday was free ice cream day at Ben & Jerry’s.

I went after 5, and the line wasn’t bad at all. That and it was really cold. Really cold.

But the free ice cream was good (why was is free? because it’s B&J’s anniversary of sorts). Nothing really noteworthy of picutures, but it was good. Albany John got Cherry Garcia. I snagged a bite and was glad I didn’t try this mainstay. I’m not a fan of the cherry. I, however, am not a fan of banana either. And I still got Bananas on the Rum. It’s banana ice cream with a ripple of rum/caramel throughout. And it was GOOD! When I say something with bananas in it is good, trust me – it is. I acually hate the thought of banana in most foods, but I did it for you guys! FOR YOU! (okay, and I’ve already tried a bunch of their other flavors and this was a new one) It was kind of like bananas foster. Only not on fire and in ice cold form.

Skyline and more to come

Woah! Sorry to all ya’ll few that read this. My power cord died and I had to order a new one online. Turns out I’d missed the delivery 3X (albany john found the final notice in the bushes somewhere) so I had to go to Latham today to pick it up! Craziness, but atleast I can blog.

Now on with the good stuff. I went with my mom, sis and bro to Skyline during restaurant week. The meals came in 4 courses – appetizer, soup/salad, entree and dessert.

We got to try all 3 of the apps they were serving. Bruschetta, meat skewers and nacho chips.
The bruschetta was meh. It was fresh, but not enough basil and the bread was waaaay too thick. And I love carbs too. But this just wasn’t good bruschetta. Just slabs of bread with tomatoes and basil on them.
The meat skewers (chicken and cow meat) looked okay, but hey, what isn’t tasty when placed on a stick and served with a dipping sauce? I never really find these all that impressive and they’re usually pretty bland. These could have used a nice spice rub on them to make them, uh, good.
My brother got the nacho chips (I think they called them bistro nachos). GROSS! Dude, they aren’t even nachos. They’re POTATO chips with cheese and salsa on them. Maybe they could have deep fried it to make it a little more greasy. Ew.
Mom got the prime rib – looked uber tasty, and I’m not the biggest fan of red meat.
Sis got the chicken fajitas and it turned out to be like a TACO BOWL. That lucky devil! I was so jealous.
We got both soups and salads. I got the clam chowder. It was really thick. I liked it, but it was closer to bacon chowder, although they did have the biggest chunks of clam I’ve ever had in a soup. I just couldn’t tell half the time since it all tasted like cream of bacon soup. I didn’t even finish it. And I LOVE cream soups and bacon. Something is wrong here people. I guess they just don’t go as well together as we all thought. Between the soup and bruschetta, I was pretty full at this point. A good thing, since my meal sucked big time.
The salads were generic iceberg lettuce garden salads. Unimpressive, but not offensive. They’re the kind you make at home, but probably 10 times better.

My brother and I made the mistake of ordering maple glazed salmon. guh Totally gross. The salmon wasn’t overcooked, but lord it was like they watered down Log Cabin “maple” syrup and added molasses to it. It was really nasty. And the veggies were all overcooked and flavorless. I really hate it when restaurants chop up all their veggies and cook them all together. THEY TASTE LIKE CRAP THAT WAY! They just get that gross veggie taste. The best veggies you’ll ever eat at a restaurant are by Chef @ Nicole’s Bistro. For real.
Albany John got ribs. They were pretty good, but I contend that the best ribs you can get up here are from Mo BBQ in Troy. But that’s another post.

For dessert it was hot chocolate lava cake (the SOLE reason I wanted to go – I really love lava cake, even though I hate chocolate) and flourless dark chocolate cake. The lava cake was so friggin tiny! And one of them didn’t even have any lava in it. Okay, it’s got lava in it because they’re that ganache or whatever in it, not because you took the cake out of the oven a few minutes early!!!! Totally lame. LAME! The dark chocolate cake was pretty good, but I make something similar, so it wasn’t that new and amazing to me.

Oh, timewise we were there about 2.5 hours. JEEZUS! Waaay too long. I know it fills up quick, but it’s not like we had special requests either. Just basic stuff off of the Prixe Fixe. Then again goodness knows how many tables they were giving servers. But still. That was waaayyy too long to wait. Especially since the apps and soup and salads came out within 10 minutes. Meaning We were done with them both in 10-15 mins. It was waiting for entrees, desserts and then oh god the check (that took about 20 minutes! wtf that’s way too long, I should know) that took forever. Besides, wouldn’t they want a higher turnover of tables. That wait made me kind of hope for a rush, since, it was restaurant week, and they wouldn’t be making as much (maybe?) as they usually would, so they’d be rushing tables. But no, they went the opposite way with that one.

But really, that fajita thing is something I hope they serve on a regular basis. It’s been since high school that I’ve had a really good taco salad (*rimshot*, yuk it up) and that’s definately something I would go there for, even though my experience during restaurant week was kinda suck. Well, something I would get takeout for, since I don’t have all that time on my hands to wait for the bill.

pics to come, sorry guys!

Golden Choice

“So, do you want to get some take out?”
“Sure, where do you want to go?”
“I don’t know” cough cough cough, sniffle
“Um, how about TJs?”
“Uh, I actually don’t want to eat there.”
“Ooookay, so where do you want to eat?”
“I don’t know…”
“Well, I picked already, so you have to pick now.”
“Damnit, I don’t know where I want to eat. I want something spicy with a lot of flavor, since I can’t eat anything with this stupid cold.”
“So how about that new Caribbean place on Washington?”
“Ooo! Yea, let’s go there!”

It’s never easy when I say I want to go out to eat, since I never know where exactly I want to eat. Albany John is a dear for putting up with me and my indecisivness. But this weekend, I had a vague idea that I wanted something either Indian or Caribbean, since I had the worst cold in the world and couldn’t taste ANYTHING. It was hell. Why eat if you can’t taste the delishiousness?

So, we made our way down to Golden Choice. It’s right off of Lark Street next to that parking lot and on the same block as Clayton’s Caribbean Restaurant. This is the best Caribbean place in Albany. Albany John got the Curry Goat ($6.25), pictured above. They must have sauteed the hell out of it, and stewed it for a while. It was really good.

This baby, the Curry Shrimp ($6.75) was great and tasty. We had to wait while they made it fresh. They explained that they make all the shrimp orders as they come in, because the shrimp don’t taste right when they’re pre-made. Something about the seasoning making them mushy and dry if you let it sit. It’s nice to see their attention to detail, and that even though it’d be easier to just toss the ingredients all together and scoop it out when someone wanted it, they don’t because it would be crappy. Really crappy. And there’s nothing sadder than crappy shrimp.

I really enjoyed the curry shrimp, except I didn’t know that there would be quite so many (okay, any) bell peppers in it. I picked all of those out. Thankfully, none of the bell pepper taste merged with the rest of the curry. And even if it did, I couldn’t tell. All of the flavors of the curry were separate, but blended together perfectly. Translation: The shrimp didn’t give the carrots and shrimpy taste, the carrots didn’t give the spinach(or other green) a carroty taste, but when I ate them all together, I could distinguish each flavor as their own and it wasn’t just a generic ‘curry’ flavor. Definately a surprise I wasn’t expecting, and enhanced the tastiness. Another thing I liked was that all the veggies (there were a bunch too) weren’t cooked down to a mush like veggies in Indian curries will. It wasn’t refreshing(they were coated in curry sauce afterall), but I liked the crisp texture they had. When you’re sick you really don’t want mush, no matter how tasty it is.

These meals were the small orders. I’m scared of how big the large orders are, since I could barely eat half of my curry shrimp (and I’ve eaten pounds of shrimp at a time, so I was shocked too). They also came with sides of white rice or peas & rice, and plantains or cabbage. Albany John and I both got peas & rice and plantains. The plantains were HEAVENLY. They were soft all over, nicely browned on the outside, and had that starchy, flavorful inside. I salted mine heavily, but I heavily salt everything I eat, so it would have been shocking if I didn’t salt it. The curry needed only minimal salting though. But you won’t need salt. I promise. And I was sick when I ate it, so chances are I might not even need salt if I ate it today, but that’s only a theory. I would still probably salt it.

Dd you know that peas and rice means beans and rice in Caribbean cooking? I didn’t and was pleasantly surprised by the rice and kidney beans I found in the container. I love beans, and the rice had the perfect amount Caribbean seasoning in it to keep it from being bland, but not over powering. (I’m Chinese, I’ve eaten so much white rice it flows through my veins, so given a choice of something other than plain ol white rice, I’ll choose the other thing). The rice and beans also were great to mix with the curry. The rice absorbed all the liquid curry, and it was uber delishious to eat with the rest of the curry. I like to mix my foods with rice. Albany John thinks it wierd, but I think it’s tasty. It’s also a vessel for flavors, so that curry it absorbed and eating with with actual curry… this probably doesn’t make sense. I apologize. But just trust me mixing the curry and the rice is a good thing. A really good and tasty thing.

Just a random note, I got one of Saso’s lunch boxes on the fly the other day, and WOW! They’re worth it. $14.95 for the Sushi Lunch Combo (I think that’s what its called). It’s the biggest lunch combo they have, and came with more food than Albany John and I could stomach. 2 pieces each of salmon and tuna sashimi, 1 piece each of squid, tuna, shrimp, salmon sushi (probably more, see their website) and a california roll. Oh, and some cold noodles. Woah, tasty goodness. Everyone go eat there. I also mistakenly got a philly roll. It was just… more sushi than I could eat, I’m ashamed to say. *hangs head* Also, this was the best california roll I’ve ever eaten. I usually loathe the suckers, but this was GOOD. Not that I’d order it again, as there are many better rolls, but this wasn’t one where you go ‘eh, it came with the meal, so I may as well eat it’ you go ‘mmm roll from Saso’s. gaahhhhhh’

Saso’s is having a make your own sushi lunch from 11am-1pm on April 30th. It’s $50 for the class, but I might go. If you haven’t been able to tell, I have a real Achilles Heel for Saso’s. That and I’ve never made sushi, so this could be a fun experience. Hopefully I won’t come off too creepy/astounded when I go.