Free Rides Home Tonight – Safe Ride


For anyone drinking tonight, there will be free rides home by the Stop DWI Program.
The rides will be between 10 pm and 4 am and are FREE.
These rides are only good within the county, so cab it back to Albany if you’re partying in Rensselaer, or vice versa.

Below are the phone numbers and locations of some of the Safe Rides from Fox 23’s website:

The number for the Albany County Safe Ride program is 720-8100.

Here is the schedule at the designated pickup spots at certain hotels and bars.
Albany:
Crowne Plaza Hotel 12:30AM, 2AM, 3:30AM
Franklin’s Tower 1:15AM, 2:30AM
Jillian’s 1AM, 2:05AM, 3AM, 3:30AM, 4:05AM
Washington Tavern 1AM, 2:30AM
AOH Hall 1:45AM
North Albany American Legion 1:30AM


Colonie:
Desmond 12:45AM, 2AM, 3AM
Marriott 11:30PM, 12:45AM, 2:10AM
Holiday Inn Turf 11PM, 12:30AM, 1:30AM

Schenectady County is offering its own safe ride program, running from 9PM New Year’s Eve night to 6AM on New Year’s Day.
That number is 374-4101.

In Rensselaer County, the Netter’s Fund program will be operating out of participating bars and restaurants as it normally does.

Can I tempt you wif pierogies?

The CDFI (Capital District Federation of Ideas) is having The Last Supper tonight. It’s potluck/donation if you don’t bring a dish. It will be at 383.5 Madison Ave, Albany, NY at 7 pm.

I’ve made some pierogies with potato, onion and shallot filling for it. And they should actually taste like pierogies, since I didn’t mess with the recipe and make a bastardized version of pierogies out of buckwheat flour and sweet potato-pumpkin filling.
Not that I did that before. Cause I totally didn’t make a huge batch of buckwheat flour pierogie dough and use pureed sweet potatoes and pumpkin for the filling. And it didn’t taste like the mutated love-child of ravioli and pie or anything. If you DID make something like that, though… you should probably just throw them out.

There’s also a benefit at Valentine’s after the pot luck, but the music is usually too loud (I know, I sound more sixty-something than twenty-something) at concerts, so Albany John and I will probably be ringing in the new year at Tess’ Lark Tavern.
Also, how have I not reviewed Lark Tavern yet? It is the best bar in the area. I am getting on this next month.

DP Brasserie

Albany John was going to meet some of his friends around Pearl St. I’m not really a fan of the downtown bar scene. I am a lover of Lark Tavern. And Susie’s. And Hollywood. Also Chang’s on Delaware (best Tiki drinks ever).
But, I’ve never even so much as stepped foot into DP Brasserie, let alone the eponymous Yono’s; both housed inside a Comfort Inn and Suites just a block north of Pearl St.

We had our coats checked. It was a nice touch, but a little unnecessary. I think it’s great for Yono’s, but DP Brasserie is basically a large foyer/bar space in front of Yono’s, so a coat check feels a little excessive.

We were going to just get a drink, but… you know me! I saw a menu and had to nibble.

The bar was packed, but the tables were pretty open. Our waitress was efficient. Not bad, not great, just okay. She had a hard time hearing us over the roaring room and mentioned it to us a few times. She did a satisfactory job, but she really didn’t like the loudness. She checked on us once after our food came, and was quick with checking us out.

The soft shell crab($9) was a nice blend of flavors and textures. The batter was light and crunchy, while the soft shell crab was tender and moist. There was also a lemony, capered sauce that went wonderfully with it. And I normally haaaate the combination of citrus with any non-citrus foods (don’t even get me started on apple sauce with pork chops – yecchh!). Also, at $9 – it was a steal.

I also had an insanely tasty cocktail from their nicely varied list of drinks. It was $10 and was all top shelf liquor and really well mixed. As much as I enjoy getting a bang for my buck, I really dislike mixed drinks that taste like rubbing alcohol. However, I’ve been told I pour a gin and tonic like a drunk sailor (that is to say – very heavily), so who knows.
Afterwards we went over to Savannah’s and I ordered a wet martini. I should have changed my order when the bartender asked me what ‘wet’ meant. *shudder* $8 and an undrinkable vodka martini (made with well liquor) later… ew. At that price, the cocktail at DP’s was a steal. Albany John couldn’t even finish it. And he’ll drink anything. He’s like a booze disposal.

So, that’s DP Brasserie. It’s a nice place to start off your night, or just go out and have a well made drink and a small plate of delicious food.

Mmmmmerry Christmas

Finnish pancakes
Cookies
Swedish Meatballs
Egg Noodles
Beet salad
Cappuccino Fudge
Caramel Fudge
Sam Adam’s Winter mix beer pack (Mmmm Cranberry Lambic)
Trader Jo-Jo’s peppermint sandwich cookies

Kinder Egg
Mini-English Muffins
Half of Albany John’s kinder egg
Ham Sandwich
Pickles
Trader Jo-Jo’s peppermint sandwich cookies
Thumbprint jam cookies

Guacamole
Apple
Prime rib
Green beans
Mushrooms
Potatoes
Squash
Onions
Walnut fudge
Blueberry pie with crumble topping
Whiskey sour
Walnut fudge

Bill’s

I had a really surprising breakfast this weekend.

Albany John and I went to Bill’s Restaurant on 155 Ontario St. in Cohoes, NY. It’s open primarily for breakfast and lunch, and it’s got an olde timey feel to it.

There was one waitress with the prettiest longest hair I have ever seen – and she had great character to her attitude as well.

Bill’s has – get this – a wrap around counter in the front! It is SO cool looking. I’m not sure if wrap around is the right term for it… but it looks awesome.

Now, let’s get to prices.
CHEAP. Cheap, cheap, cheap, cheap, cheap!
We got a steak, egg, and cheese on a toasted hard roll; and an egg and cheese on a toasted hard roll.
Total: $6.50.

Yup! $4 for the steak and $2.50 for the egg and cheese. Tax included.

And these aren’t trifling little rolls with a bit of filling either – I’d say they had 3 eggs in them, plus a generous slice of cheese. They were really a stick-to-yer-ribs kind of breakfast.

The foods overall look like some place Albany John and I could take either of our parents, which is saying a lot, as our parents have quite a wide range of food tastes.

I will take a picture next time, I promise, but it was so huge and tasty, and you know I cannot resist the siren call of a hard roll.

P.S. Coffee was 75 cents a cup!

B.E.F.F.’s

I love a well-cooked burger. Rare to medium kthksbye!

I tend to go for rare when I really, truly feel like I have descended from cheetahs and must satisfy my bloodlust. I usually order rare as a default, since most places cook their burgers past rare, and it comes out medium/medium-rare. And if I get it rare, cool.
Lame – totally, totally lame. I was really against the whole ‘We won’t cook burgers below medium’ policy a lot of places instated a few years ago. But now, after the years, I have become complacent and will only send back a burger if it’s past medium.

Albany John and I went to B.E.F.F.’s in Delmar a while ago. B.E.F.F.’s stand for Big Ed Fat Fields. Christ, doesn’t that sound like a good name for a place to get a burger?
BEFF’s is located at the 4 corners in Delmar, NY and has parking in the back. It’s pretty easy to figure out, but kind of tricky if you’re not familiar with the lay out.

Half of the restaurant is a bar (on your right when you walk in). On your left is more of a family restaurant, with booths and tables. These are both basically separate rooms from when you walk in the foyer, I’m guessing so that rowdy bar goers don’t disrupt the restaurant patrons. It was pretty quiet when we went, and we were in the bar. There were even some men with their adolescent sons (they weren’t drinking – they looked really bored).

The bar isn’t terribly large, but it has all you need. Bar and stools, and a row of tables and chairs. There was also a really adorable diorama of BEFF’s in the window. We waited for a bit until one of the bartenders came round from the bar and took our order. I got a woodchuck cider – they are insanely tasty. We both ordered rare burgers.

The burgers are $7.75 for a 10 ounce burger and come with a pickle, fries, lettuce, tomato and onion. Albany John added 25 cents to his meal and got crazy fries. I was scared of the ‘crazy fries’ term and got the regular ones. Albany John thought this was a tad high for a pub burger. I have to agree, but we were in Delmar after all.

My burger was darn near raw in the middle if it wasn’t actually raw. Awesome. Albany John’s burger came out pinker, but not really red in the center. And we ordered both of them raw. Eh. It’s not that hard to gauge a burger’s doneness, and you’d think that two burgers ordered at the same doneness would be easy to cook… but I guess not. Maybe one was left on for a few seconds more than the other, or something like that. They were insanely fat, though and oozing burger juices. They were ok, but I feel like they could have tasted beefier. Need more flavor.

Oh, the ‘crazy’ fries – are freaking waffle fries!!!! Had I known that, I would have ordered a double batch of them! I love, love, love waffle fries intensely, and these had a great seasoning on them as well. My regular fries were also really, really good. As a bonus, BEFF’s also has Malt Vinegar! This scores about eight million points with me. God, I love malt vinegar on fries.

Overall, we each had about two drinks and two burgers. The cost was a little over $30 before tip. Service isn’t quick, so don’t eat there in a hurry. But it is friendly and efficient. The food is good, hearty pub fare.

Don’t skip the waffle fries!

Quickly – Pork me!

I love a well made pork dish. Ever since the whole Smithfield thing unfolded, I’ve been buying much less pork (hey, they were really cheap even if they were injected with 80% broth).
Whenever there’s a sale on the Nature’s Place pork products at Hannaford, I’ll buy some. When I called up Hannaford, they told me that Nature’s Place was not supplied by Smithfield. Phew. With my luck, it’s probably got 10% more cruelty, just to make me look like some preachy foodie with egg on my face.

Anywho, in one of my near daily trips to a grocery store, I found some ribs that had the sticker off the produce thing (look, it’s still fine, as long as you cook it pretty soon). It also didn’t look like it was grey or anything, so it was a go in my book. I’m not that picky. Ok, maybe I am, but I do lurve me some pork.

After searching around, I found a super easy crock pot recipe that involves sauerkraut:

Put pork in bottom of crock pot.
Cover with sauerkraut.
Cook.

It was that easy! And really good. The fat melted wonderfully, and it wasn’t swimming in juices.

We did it again with a pork roast, and Albany John added a little cider vinegar for some punch. It was good, but obviously leaner than the previous rendition with ribs. I felt like it could have used some bbq sauce, which probably would have angered bbq and sauerkraut lovers everywhere. I put chipotle hot sauce on it instead, and it worked out ok.
This was great for a simple, tasty meal that is easily put together.

The Tradition Lives On

I bitch a lot about how my maternal side can’t cook. On here, in real life – basically to anyone who will listen.

Albany John and I went to his parents’ place for Thanksgiving, where I was told we’d be having paella. It rocked, because, surprise – there was also a gigantic turkey breast for us as well. And there were only 4 people there!

His Dad also baked the coolest pie ever – a turkey getting his head chopped off by a nice lady with an axe.

However, I felt like I didn’t have nearly enough turkey skin. I also wanted to prove that I could, indeed, cook turkey better than all the other women in my family had. I didn’t think this would be that hard of a task, seeing as their technique was ‘cook it til it’s about ten degrees past recommended’.

My Nana also like to cook her turkey the night before, leave it out on the counter overnight, and warm it back up on Thanksgiving.

I rinsed that big turkey in the sink, and shook out the neck and some other white thing. It looked like a glob of fat. *shrugs*
I cooked it low and slow after seasoning it with salt and pepper. For a good 7 hours. It looked brown, and there was a ton of gravy we made from it. As in, a small bucket o’gravy.

It was really good the first day, but on day two – dry as a bone.

Also, in my washing, I evidently did not shake out the giblets like I thought I did. Whoops. Thank god they were wrapped in paper and not plastic.

Touché heredity. Touché.