Mezza Note – Guilderland Restaurant Week

Daniel B., Crunchy Chelle, and I went out to Mezza Note for their restaurant week menu. Yes, I’m again way late to the party since Guilderland Restaurant Week is so long gone. First off, Crunchy Chelle is so fun to meet in person! And her and Daniel B. are so nice to put up with my late-arriving self.

Bread + olive oil & vinegar. Nom. Really good. And olive tapenade! I want a bucket of it. So good.
I went with the Chestnut & Winter Squash Gnocchi with buttery sage sauce for my primi dish. It was ok, but a poor selection on my part. It was well executed, but I am just not a sweet appetizer kind of gal. The Profussor ordered the exact same dishes that I did. I’m assuming this was so one of my errant forks didn’t find its way onto his plate like it usually does (which, as you can imagine, he loves).

Our waiter, who really reminded me of a young Christopher Walken, noted my lightly-nibbled plate and apologized for me not liking it. It was nice, I suppose.

Albany John got the meatball soup. The meatballs were a little tough, but they were small, so it’s not too surprising. The flavors were great, though. Hearty and well-rounded.
And now my pictures sux0rz. Sorry. Chelle got the Saratoga chips with cheese crumbles.
For his salad course, Albany John got the mixed green salad. S’okay.
I got the Caesar salad, which was really well-dressed (light), and came with anchovies! Yum! So good!
Albany John’s main was the Siciliana. Rigatoni with spicy sausage and eggplant in pomodoro sauce. I thought this would be boring, but the flavors were fun and played off of each other well. Warm & hearty without being greasy & heavy.
Chelle got a rabbit pasta, although she thought it didn’t taste discernibly rabbity.
Profuss & I got the Trota Picatta atop lemon risotto. While I’m not a risotto fan, I do love trout. I actually enjoyed some of this risotto, and ate a good 1/3 of it! The trout was perfectly cooked.
Although, just being a teensy bit picky, the skin wasn’t crispy, and a textural difference would have been quite enjoyable. However, fish skin in any form is enjoyable by yours truly, so even soggy fish skin is quite welcome in my book.
Our waiter told us that the tiramisu was made in-house by the owner and was really worth trying. The creamy parts were light & tasty, but this was more of a tiramisu cake than a true tiramisu. The layers were fluffy cake-like layers (if they weren’t cake) and only lightly sprinkled with liqueur. It was kind of like angel food cake with tiramisu cream. Not something I’d get again if I were hankering for tiramisu.

The service was enjoyable, but I’m not sure if the food was enough to draw me back at non-restaurant week prices.

Daniel B. and I were still a bit hungry after we left, so we went to TCBY for fro-yo. I picked white chocolate, which was really chemically-tasting and artificial. My topping choices weren’t much better. Def stick with the original/unflavored yogurt flavor, or a sorbet.

Paid Review – “Buy Absinthe Alcohol” Website

So I signed up for this little site called ‘Review Me’, a while ago. It links up bloggers with people who want some published reviews on their products. For money! I signed up right away, but I’ve always wanted to keep it related to food in some way. I’ve passed on the ‘review a new chase credit card’ and stuff like that, cause it wouldn’t make any sense in a food blog.

Finally, someone wanted little ole me to review their website – they are Buy Absinthe Alcohol.
Very briefly – Absinthe is a liquor that has been outlawed since before the prohibition, and it’s also had the allure of being mind altering(thanks to the ingredient ‘thujone’) and sensual. Rumor has it Van Gogh cut his ear off while drinking absinthe and that some writers used to drink it for inspiration. But I really think that it’s got a really alcohol content, and if you drink enough of it, you’re going to get loopy as all hell, and drunken people do really stupid things some times. Ah, the mystery. So there’s my totally quick and probably confusing intro to absinthe.
Now, when I first logged on to their site, I really saw mainly the French paragraph. And I though, ‘Oh, Crap, I have gotten soooo bad en Francais, I can’t even remember half of those words’. But thankfully, the site’s all in English. Phew. So don’t be worried by that blurb of French in the beginning if you are a non-speaker.
You really get the impression they’re promoting the “Best” absinthes in the world from the homepage and some details on how they pick it. It’s informative enough to draw you in to wonder what their products are, at least if you’re a skeptic like me.
I really liked the linked bottles on the side of the homepage, though. They were big, colorful and really drew me into clicking on them. They had a little bit of information on each link about the absinthe and you could click to buy each one. However, when I tested it out and clicked ‘Add to Basket’ I got an error message saying:

“Store Closed

This supplier’s CCNow store is currently unavailable
To our client: please log into your account and read an important message from CCNow ”

NO BOOZE FOR YOU!(ok, I added this part)

The links on the left side of the homepage also have a bit of history, tips on how to enjoy your absinthe, a newsletter to join, and some absinthe recipes. Cool! Those old labels looked so cute!

Their FAQs page was easy enough to read and had the same FAQs about absinthe as any other online seller. However, I always wondered about shipping to the US, since I’d heard it was illegal to have in the US. Their FAQs page says it is illegal to sell within the US, but it is authentic absinthe with thujone and they mark it as ‘Not Fit for Human Consumption” to get it into the US. It turns out you can also own it, drink it, just not purchase or sell absinthe within the US. So I guess if they ask – you’re just buying a pretty bottle to look at.

They had a testimonial page from other people who had purchased from there before. I think those are great for sellers to have, but these are just copied paragraphs. It would have been nice to have a name or email so you could directly ask another person, or at least know it was another person.
I am also glad their payment page listed the prices for shipping. I really hate trying to figure out how much shipping is going to cost, and then having to go through the entire check out process just to be able to see it when you shop online at some places. It also says they accept Visa and MasterCard, but a banner at the bottom of every page lists PayPal and American Express icons as well. I would have checked it out, but I still kept getting the error message when I tried to add anything to the basket.
Overall, not too bad of a website – moderately informative, good variety of absinthe, product testimonials, and some extra reading on absinthe’s history. The only down side is that you couldn’t actually buy any of it.