Frenchie & A’Roo’s

Okay, so I’m sure everyone has been bombarded with ads on the radio for Frenchie & A’Roo’s on 31 Central Ave lately. I’d been meaning to check it out when they first opened earlier this year, since I thought it was French and African fusion. I don’t know where I got that idea, but I was completely wrong. There was neither crepe nor goat stew to be found on their menu. Nor goat crepe stew.

Frenchie & A’Roo’s is a pretty simple place, a few tables and some palm trees in the front, a counter in the back to order from and one really cool lamp fixture hanging in the front window. They also served Perry’s Ice Cream, which impressed Albany John.
We got there for a late lunch. Their menu is pretty much southern fare. They also have hamburgers, light fare like salads (I don’t really think chicken or tuna salad are light salads though), and pizza.

Albany John got the North Carolina Pulled Sandwich. It’s NC style pulled pork on a bun($6). It also came with 2 sides, but they don’t remind you of that when you’re ordering. Resulting in Albany John getting just coleslaw. He wasn’t too crazy about the coleslaw. It was missing that je ne sais quois that all coleslaws have. Or something like that… North Carolina pulled pork has a tang of vinegar in it’s sauce. It was a really good sandwich, with a healthy heaping of pulled pork on the bun. The pork was stringy, but still remained moist – a big deal in pulled pork.

I actually knew what I wanted as soon as I saw the menu: seafood jambalaya for $8. It had crab meat, jumbo shrimp, scallops and fish in it, all over a bed of rice. The plate also had some shredded lettuce on the outter edge. Kind of wierd, but it was nice to bite into it to break up the jambalaya. The rice was soft and bland, but made for a good jambalaya mixer. I was really impressed by the amount of seafood in it, though. There were about 6 pieces of jumbo shrimp, about 7 large scallops (not those little bay scallops) and tons of crabmeat throughout the jambalaya stew juice. There was also a piece of fish in there too. Oh Wow! I almost couldn’t finish it, but with all that seafood, how could I not? I ate every single morsel of seafood in there. I just couldn’t believe I got all that seafood for eight bucks. It might have cost that much just to get the amount of scallops that was in the jambalaya from the supermarket. And let me tell you, those scallops were succulent – not rubbery and overcooked. It was amazingly seasoned (I did salt it though, but then again, what don’t I salt?) and in no way tomato-ey like some stews can be.

I look forward to going back and ordering more jambalaya. Seriously, that was an insane amount of seafood.

Muddy Cup, Part II

The last time I went to the Muddy Cup, their stuff wasn’t so good… to put it nicely. Well, today I had some time to kill on Madison, and it was freezing cold after all that rain, and I didn’t feel like going to the Dunkin Donuts on the corner, since that would be cold too. And I kind of had to pee.

So I figured the Muddy Cup would fit all my criteria. And it did. Their bathroom was nice and clean (it’s unisex too), so it’s a good place to run into, even if you weren’t going to buy coffee. Anywhomzle, I was rather chilled from the wind and freakishly cold weather. Seriously people, it’s the end of May. I shouldn’t have to turn the heat on in my car. WHERE IS MY SWEALTERING ALBANY HEAT???? Hell, I had heat stroke this time last year.

Okay, sorry… So I ended up waiting in line (which is good, since I have never known what I wanted and need atleast 5 minutes to decide on anything). However, Muddy Cup has a lot of flavor shots to choose from. And I mean a LOT. And then I saw it… that magical flavor that just doesn’t get screwed up – PRALINE. At that instant I had to have a Praline White Hot Chocolate. Hey, I never said my drinks were anything but frou frou. In fact, I won’t drink it unless it IS frou frou.

The girl didn’t hear me when I said the white part of my hot chocolate, but it was no biggie, she just made me another one right quick. And man, this white hot chocolate with a shot of praline was amazing, it wasn’t the cup of fat like the last time I was there. It was simply white hot chocolate and praline flavor. OMG, what a heavenly taste. I’m sure regular hot chocolate would have been fine, but I’m not really a chocolate fan. Never really have been. I wasn’t raised eating gourmet chocolates, or anything like that really. So if I taste something that’s supposed to be really high quality, I’ll admit it tastes good, but really I’m not going to go all ga ga for it like I do for sushi. It’s actually probably better I don’t really care for chocolate, since my sushi habit costs me enough a week. (Ahem, SASO’s is THE BEST) In summation, just don’t give me good chocolate. I don’t like Hershey’s, but I don’t really love Guittard or the like either, so it’s just kind of a waste. I kind of don’t mind milk chocolate, but that’s about it. It has to taste really creamy for me to somwhat enjoy it. What can I say, I’ll pretty much eat anything, but it doesn’t mean I’ll really love it. Heck, I even ate uni once, and man, I’m never going to do that one again. And then I found out it was sea urchin GONADS, not just sea urchin. I’m sorry I just don’t want to eat gonads, especially without knowing it.

Umm… but anyway, aside from that chocolate/sushi tangent, I’ve actually gone to a bunch of places I just have yet to post. The pictures are on Albany John’s computer, which isn’t connected to the internet right now, so I don’t have access to the pictures.

But coming up:

Andy’s Deli
Cake from Hong Kong Bakery
Sushi Lunch from Latham
Bangkok Thai Restaurant on Wolf Rd

Pineapple Up-Side-Down Cake

I am, on occasion known to bake. What with these rainy days we’ve been having lately, and all… Also, I have only one lone maraschino cherry in the center pineapple. As soon as I took the cake out of the oven, I found another jar of them.

This was my first attempt at making this type of cake. I’m not usually a cake baking fan, and especially a cake that calls for being cooked in a skillet. Also, I hate most citrus flavors added to anything. Don’t ask me why. For some reason the only ways I like my citrus are in either in their pure forms or in the forms of juice, sorbet and floating as a garnish in my drink. Don’t even think about citrus and dairy. Why someone would want lemon yogurt is beyond me. Same thing goes for peach ice cream.

However, this came out very pleasantly. Actually, the caramel reduction you make in the skillet prior to adding the pineapples and batter gave the top of the cake a sweet crunch. It was a really nice surprise. Maybe I’ll change my mind about citrus combinations… more than likely not, though.

I think I got the recipe off of epicurious or something like that. I wouldn’t go so far as to say this it the pineapple up-side-down cake recipe. But it was enough to change my mind about them.

*note – the maraschino cherries were amazing for some reason. It made me really wish I’d found that extra jar earlier. Next time I’m going to cover the remaining surface area with maraschino cherries.

Look, it’s not sushi, okay? Dim Sum @ Emperor’s again

Mmmm okay, so I should be venturing outside of chinese food here, but … I was in the area. And I happened to corral not only Albany John and my brother, but also a friend of Albany John’s as well. oh yea! FOUR people for dim sum. Which means dim sum orgy!

Stuffed Eggplant and Lotus Leaf Rice
Tasty. Like I said before, these are 2 of my favorite dishes here. The eggplant skin is always perfectly crisp, while the inner eggplant is tender and moist. And how tasty is the kinda crispy, tender, juicy shrimp that’s stuffed in betwix? The lotus leaf rice is really sticky and sweet – a very important factor. The bits of mushroom and lop chong are just icing on the cake. The proverbial rice ball cake, that is.

Sauteed Spinach
Oh Look! It’s my third favorite dish! Perfectly sauteed spinach. The spinach is cooked until it’s just a little soft and wilt-y, so it brings out a nice sweet flavor and BANISHES and bitter flavor. Oh, it’s so good and vegetable-y. And I usually hate veggies.

Salt and Pepper Shrimp
It was nice to see authentic salt and pepper shrimp. You just have to try these. The outer coating is nice and crisp, and the shrimp are so succulent. The hot sauce isn’t too bad either. Just don’t let the shrimp soak up the hot sauce or you’ll be chugging water just like Albany John.

Baked Pork Bun
Generic. Kind of a waste of money. I don’t know that they made this in house. It’s probably just cheaper to get it from the Asian Food Market and reheat it here. Cause that’s what it tasted like.

The Lone Shrimp Ball
Woah, surprisingly good! Albany John couldn’t snap a photo quick enough before my brother and I ate the other 2. It’s really, really good. I think it’s shrimp chopped up into a ball and then covered in stuff and fried. Either way, you can’t go wrong with it in my book.

Har Kow
Dude, these shrimpy dumplings still taste eggy to me. I don’t get it.

Stuffed Mushrooms
These were okay, but I think that the rehydrated shiitakes are a little overpowering for the shrimp stuffing.

We also got shumai and beef ribs. Too bad they didn’t serve tendons. I’d go crazy for some beef tendon. The ribs were tasty and had a sweet sauce. I didn’t try the shumai since all shumai pretty much tastes the same to me. Sorry, those all got eaten up rather quickly too.

All in all, another satisfying meal at Emperor’s and it came out to be about $11 a person before tip. Oh, tastiness.

And afterwards to prove I’m not on some asian food kick I split a cappucino soft serve cone at Kurver Kreme. I wasn’t really hungry but I was in the area, and it was SO nice out. The cone was really good and buttery/cappucino-y flavored.

Also – trying to put together an albany fooding club (we’ll have a super cool handshakes and everything). If anyone’s interested, please leave a comment about … something.