I’ve heard rave reviews of Sutters. It’s a pub type thing right across the entrance to SUNY Albany on Western Ave. It’s a place that everyone says you can hang out with your friends, grab a bite, and enjoy yourselves. I’ve also heard they have some of the best burgers in the area.

I went to check this out. I ordered the special of the week – American cheese and mushrooms on a burger. Sounds good to me! All for $6.25. They also had some beer battered French fries, and for $1.99 I couldn’t pass that up either. I waited around for seemingly ever – it sure was a popular place and there were a lot of people there. And the wait for food was about 15 minutes. It was pretty hunger-inducing to see my little plate at the end of a huge line of other plates.

The fries were amazing though! Superb. When I first saw the kid putting burgers on the grill though, I was reminded of Topps burgers. Yes, those pre-fab burgers that are 90% gristle and have paper that separates them. These were just like that, only football shaped, and not round. And the grill cook was pressing them down to cook them faster… uh, well, how can all these people be wrong?

It was a disappointing burger. I ordered my burger medium rare. It’s impossible to really cook these kinds of burgers to anything but med-well to well. It’s just the nature of the burger. Well, it was pretty red in the center, which is kind of good, but, it’s a crappy pre-fab burger, so it’s not really good that it was cooked to order. It was so dry looking, and not the least bit juicy. I honestly think the Topps brand burgers have more flavor. The mushrooms weren’t grilled, but were just under the counter and topped on. Aw, bummer. The American Cheese was of the melted Cheez-Whiz variety. Which isn’t to say it’s bad. It was pretty good Cheez-Whiz, but I was expecting a slice of something. But it turned out to kind of rescue the burger and add a LITTLE bit of moisture and flavor.

I’d say more, but there’s not much else to say about it. I was hoping for a great burger, but instead I wasted my money on a filler-burger. I may return again, but after touting how great they were, I’m just really uncertain of it. I just feel like I wasted $6.25

Holiday Cookies

It’s that time of year again.

It’s cookie season!

I love baking cookies and giving them out/thrusting them down peoples’ throats this time of year. I like to ship them off to people who don’t live all that close to me, and I, well, give them to everyone around me for the holidays, too. I haven’t gotten any complaints, so I doubt I’m stopping any time soon.

I spent the better part of an evening (okay, the ENTIRE part of an evening and well into the night) baking cookies for everyone since I had waited until the last minute to do it all instead of mixing and freezing before hand. I only managed to crank out 3 different types of cookies, but, hey, that’s not too bad when we’re talking about a huge amount of production, either!

I ended up baking raspberry-walnut rugelach pinwheels, brown sugar shortbread, and apricot & walnut biscotti. I also meant to make some Reeses Pieces drop cookies, but I completely forgot about them around 12 am.

I make my rugelach dough with cream cheese, which doesn’t give it the flakiest dough, but it still gives it a lot of little layers of creamy and rich dough, which I think pairs wonderfully with raspberry jam and walnuts. Also, refridgerating the dough the night before helps when you roll it out.

Brown sugar shortbread is a favorite of Albany John’s – it’s a very crisp cookie with great molasses flavoring. I also think that shortbread is the most time consuming, at least my method of making it – I put down little dough balls and flatten them until they’re paper thin before baking them.

This was my first time attempting biscotti, but I shouldn’t have been worried about it at all. I think that biscotti would have to be one of the hardest desserts in the world to screw up since the dough is really forgiving, and you can really experiment with flavors. A lot of recipes call for almonds and almond extract, but toasted walnuts and vanilla extract worked out just fine as well. I also had some dried apricots, so I diced them and in they went.

Buffalo Turkey Pizza

Just a friendly little tip:

Leftover turkey that’s kind of dried out tastes GREAT when you coat it in buffalo wing sauce (I like Red Hot) and slap it on top of a pizza.

While this may be a ‘no duh’ kind of moment for you, realize Albany John is the chef in our house, and anything I think up on my own is kind of a ‘miracle’.

I really tried to snap a picture, but we all ate it a little quickly…

Buffalo Turkey Pizza

Pizza Dough
Frank’s Red Hot Sauce
2 T Butter
olive oil

Sprinkle some corn meal on the pizza stone, then put the dough on top and roll it out on the stone.
Melt about 2 tablespoons of butter, then add in about 1/4 cup of hot sauce. These are iffy measurements – just eyeball it.
Mix the turkey pieces in with the hot sauce.
Top pizza with cheese and buffalo turkey.
Bake in oven @ 550 degrees, or as high as you can get it, for about 10 minutes.

Using the highest temperature on your oven will result in the best homemade pizza you’ve ever made. And it comes out in no time, too!