Blue Spice


I don’t know what took me so long to get to Blue Spice (Central Ave, Colonie, NY). It’s an easy location to get to (just off of 87), and the decor inside is bright, warm, and very inviting. There are even tables you can sit at all Asian-style and eat with your shoes off. Looked like it was mostly for large groups, though.
I got 2 soft shell crabs as a meal. I think it was something like $18. Tasty! It came with a salty and peppery sauce and sprinkled with some cilantro. I could probably eat 9 of these, but 2 was a good portion size and price.
Albany John got Drunken Noodles with duck. It was also under $20, and not an overwhelming amount. The restaurant was busy on a weekend night, but our dishes came out soon enough, and I liked the presentation. I think this might be why I hadn’t been earlier – I’m usually not a fan of Thai dishes, but this had a nice balance of spicy/sweet/salty and didn’t lean too much in one direction. Albany John really liked the flavors in this dish.
I liked that the portions weren’t too large, because then I had room for dessert! This was a mango (maybe pineapple? sorry, it’s been a bit since I was there) layer cake dessert. It was so good! $7, and easy to split, or eat by yourself after your better half has seen the look of cake-ly desires in your eyes.

It was around $50 with tax for dinner for two. Not a bad night out, and the location is good for a date night.

NYC Christmas

I went down to Queens the weekend before Christmas to see my family. Stayed with my bro & sis in laws, Maka & CVS. CVS is too good of a chef and insisted on cooking for us while we were there. He made smoked chicken wings, and this mezcal-brushed smoky pork chop with a side of spicy BBQ sauce. Dude, so good. I think I like mezcal now.

The stuff on top is a jerusalem artichoke puree. SO GOOD. He uses cream in his dish, but I’d just sub in chicken broth. Because I am so making Albany John make this at home – I wanted to eat a bucket of it. I think it was in a recent edition of Gourmet magazine? Or some kinda food magazine.

I stopped by to see YehYeh, my uncle, and my dad and his lovely lady on my way out through Flushing. I lucked out and found street parking – wahoo! It’s becoming so hard to find in Flushing now, and the public lot is always full on the weekends.

We grabbed some yum cha at Grand Restaurant. Taro cake.
Har cheung! We got about 3-4 of these. My YehYeh knows how much I love this dish. My fave dish at yumcha – supple rice noodles, and briny shrimp in a sweet soy sauce.
Some steamed spare ribs & siu mai.
Fried taro with meaty stuffing. Ok, but kind of cold.
And a plate of chow fun (cow). More fresh rice noodles! So good!

Then I wandered around for a while (but it was SO cold). I recognized the characters for Xiao Long Bao at a stall in the Flushing mall (the one that’s pretty much all food stalls), but I was too full to order them. 8 for $3, too! Sadness.


I wanted to try White Bear. I’d heard great reviews on other blogs, and all signs on Yelp seemed to indicate that these were some of the best dumplings hands down in Flushing. It’s a hole-in-the-wall type restaurant. But slightly larger. There are 3-4 small tables, but it’s hard to fit a group of 4 in here. Better for groups of 2-3.

One of their popular dishes is #6 – wontons in chili oil, $4.50. It’s not actually spicy, despite all of the chili oil, but my main point issue were the gummy & overcooked skins. I think these had been sitting around too long, because a dude behind the counter was just like “Number 6?” and I was like “yeah” and he was like “here” about 30 seconds later.

I decided I liked my wontons I make at home better. So, at least on the bright side, I won’t be lusting over dumplings 200 miles away.

The Feast of the Seven Fishes. Maybe.

Jim! Buddy! (Crap, or was it Jeff? I’m terrible with names. I’m going with Jim). I hear you are familiar with my father-in-law Papa Amherst and get some sort of kick out of reading this blog, and wanted proof of the Feast of the Fishes that we had for Christmas. Consider this your delicious proof.
Antipasto platter! Bunch o’cheeses fresh & aged asiago. Anchovies wrapped around olives. Toasty bread. Moar cheeeeese!

This was quite the fun Christmas eve – I got to sous for Papa Amherst for a while in the kitchen. “Yo Papa, tell me what to do.” “Okay. Do this.”

We realized about 4 dishes in that maybe we should hold off on more than four dishes for four people. It was a good call. So much food. So much.
So much tastiness. Top to bottom: Broccoli, mussels in white wine sauce, salt cod stew, and housewife’s shrimp. That shrimp. Oh. That shrimp. So good.
I love any Christmas that involves dishes comprised solely of seafood.
So, funny story. I decided to pick up some cannoli for dessert from the Cap Region. I stopped off at Bella Napoli in Troy. HOLY LINE WAITING! I waited about 45 minutes to be able to order (they had a numbering system in place), but I actually enjoyed the wait. It seemed like an action one goes through when when one is part of a community. Everyone crowds in the bakeries leading up to Christmas.

I also picked up that penguin-covered red velvet cake for a mere $5.50. Because how can you resist a cake with a giant penguin made of icing plopped on top? I don’t have that kind of willpower. It was a small cake (I’d liken it to a smash cake, which is more prevalent in the south) – maybe ~4″ in diameter. Wasn’t too dry or anything.

My mom also willed us some leftover baklava from Christmas at her place on the 23rd. Thanks, Ma!
We think we covered more fish dishes on Christmas dinner. Squid stuffed with scallops, prosciutto (and a teeny bit of carrots and other filler). SO GOOD. Unfortunately, I want to eat this Every. Single. Night. The recipe called for shrimp, but we used that all up the night before (and hadn’t touched the scallops). Trust me, this substitute WORKS. Nom. Merry Fishmas to us one and all.

Gingerbread Tardis

Gingerbread Tardis!

Holy moly, were these ever a time-consuming effort.
Had to make the dough the night before and chill it in the fridge (I just found a recipe online for gingerbread house making – a stiffer dough). I was making a mess with my sis-in-law Maka in Queens a little bit before Christmas.
Ta Da! The icing was kind of hard, mainly because it had to be pipe-able, but stiff and quick to dry because it’s a cement for the boxes. Clearly I need to work on my cookie architecture, because these look like The Stuff is oozing out of each tardis.

Sushi X Night

Went to Sushi X with a bunch of my incredibly good looking and funny friends. Namely JoJo, Ray, and their new bundle of cute; Sebastien; Daniel B.; and a bunch of other enjoyable people of all walks of life.

Dinner is $19.99 per person M-Th (before tax and tip), and for a group of 6 or more, they tack on 18% for you. It was just a hair over $25 per person for the buffet itself. Thursdays are also ladies nights, where they have $2 girlie drinks.

I really enjoy this place for groups. They only take reservations within a few days of your date/time (max 1 week) and don’t really seem to care about taking them to begin with (not the “You MUST have a reservation or we won’t seat you” BS). And they also will split checks individually in large groups no problem. Wow! Some restaurants in the area refuse to split checks, or add a fee to do so. There’s plenty of seating at tables throughout the restaurant.

Apps and sushi for $25 per person? If you eat sushi like I do, this is a steal.
ROCK SHRIMP! Our table got three of these, and I’m pretty sure I ate 95% of each order. So crisp on the outside and perfectly cooked on the inside.
Round two of sushi! I was so excited about the first round that I must have forgotten to take a picture. Sashimi is even included! How awesome is that? Now, it’s not Nobu freshness or quality, but it’s good for what it is.

Thanks all for coming out! We will have to do Sushi X 2: Electric Boogaloo very soon.

TCBY Guilderland

TCBY. Finally. Albany/Guilderland gets a self-serve frozen yogurt shop. (Wow, was that yuppie-ish, or what?)

$0.49/oz for your fro yo and toppings.
8 Different flavors of frozen yogurt to try. You can get a sample cup from the folks who work there.

This place was quite brightly lit and felt “clubby”. Deffo trying to pull in the tweens and teens of the area. And those of us who are teens at heart.
I liked one of their sorbets and the original tangy frozen yogurt. Good combo together with some berries. Albany John and I split this. It was the smaller sized bowl with a few berries on top. It was around $4.50.

So I’ve heard complaints before about how these places are expensive. They can be, if you fill up your bowl so it’s overflowing. But that is what companies like this want you to do. They only make big cups available for you to choose from (Big or Gigantic). They want to you fill up with 2+ cups of frozen yogurt and toppings. But you can avoid all of that by just taking the “smaller” cup and only filling it up half way or less.

When I was at Red Mango in Queens, this one woman had a large bowl that was chock full of frozen yogurt and drenched in toppings. She paid over $11 for it, and was complaining about how expensive it was, while proceeding to eat all of it! Dude, that’s over a pint of frozen yogurt and toppings! Keep your portion sizes in mind, and you’ll be just dandy for how much it costs. Bring a cute guy to share it with, and you’ll be even better.

Mystic Seaport

Went on a couples trip to Mystic Seaport in CT with my girlfriend and her guy. It was okay. Maybe it’s better if you’re a kid. It was pretty kid-oriented. I’m not very kid-oriented.

It was about $26 to enter. Kind of a steep entrance fee, but it supports ship rebuilding and historical preservation. Still, kind of a bit much for a place that’s open year round. I probably just don’t appreciate historical education. Any way. There are food-related things.
Here is a ship that’s being rebuilt. It gets repaired a lot. Or something like that. There are such things as gribbles that eat wood. Or maybe they were called something else. But it sounded funny.
Food. There was only one place open when we went. Prices were decent – not jacked up museum prices or anything. Order here.
Pick up nyah.
Albany John got a fish sandwich and some onion rings. Good fry job on the onion rings.
I got a salad. Some greenery, goat cheese, and soggy flavored walnuts. Nice to get some vegetation, though.
My girl and her guy got the “nachos” because it was like a $3 side to accompany their sandwiches. holy moly. If you want bang for your buck, this is where it’s at.

The nachos were fried triangles of wheat dough, so it was more like fried dough. That was kinda soggy and crispy at the same time. It came with two mega huge cups of Hormel’s best chili (har har) and some velveeta cheesey dip. Oddly addictive.
Hey, here’s what a kitchen looks like on a fish catching ship.
Map! Of fishing areas! In Canadia! I’m part Newfie, so I liked this bit of my background.
Old school dining room. Man, houses used to be dark. But oh-so-proper.
Anyone else ever want a canopy bed as a kid? I think it must be a girl thing. But I guess it was probably more necessary than cute way back when to keep heat in.
There were mussels growing on these docks. Mmm. I resisted eating them, though.
Nother boat. This one was in the water.
Mmm, seaweed!
Now we’re talking my style! Oyster info!
Different ways to harvest oysters. Man, I wish I could get in on that.
What’s the larges oyster you’ve ever had?
Oh, then Albany John bought penuche fudge. The gift shop was way overpriced otherwise. Overall, it was a nice day to hang out with friends, but I’d probably rather not go again. Or maybe just go to a nice park and roam around instead.

Pizza!

I love making pizza dough at home. The Daring Bakers dough never steers me wrong. Let it wait a day. It’s okay to eat the same day, but more flavor develops the next day.
White pizza! Albany John hates it, but I love, love, love it! I didn’t feel like dealing with the hassle of throwing a pie on the pizza stone, so I just baked this on a cookie sheet (flipped upside down) with some parchment paper. Easy peasy.
Brush the edges with oil (or just paint it on with your fingers) and you’ll be a happy person.