Scubber’s

Scubber’s!! I bought a Seize The Deal Coupon from them for basically $5 off – it cost $5, and was good for $10 or schtuff. Called up the Profussor to help me sort through the menu.

Blah to this icy, rainy, mucky weather we’ve been having lately!

We went in and ordered. Pizza, waffle fries, chicken wings. Service was friendly and accomodating, but jeebus, there are 3 tall tables to sit at (4 people) and one lower table with one bench. It’s pretty unfriendly to dining in. It’s mostly take out since it’s on Wolf Rd (186 Wolf Rd, Albany, NY), but man… pizza and wings are two things that do not taste good as take out.

I’ve heard good things on teh intarwebz about Scubber’s. When they were in Loudonville I always thought their prices were a little expensive, so I never tried them before they closed. It was always one of those “one day” kind of things. But the reopening on Wolf Road gave me a chance to try them eventually. Yelp has positive reviews, DerryX was happy the new incarnation lived up to the nostalgia of their awesomeness, and many of Steve’s Tablehopping commenters were excited.

The wood fired ‘zza! I liked the crust and the cheese, but the sauce was kinda tinny and metallic once it cooled off. There were chunks of garlic, and a healthy dose of salt. Like all wood fired pizzas, I think it’s best eaten as soon as it’s possible without burning your mouth, and loses awesomeness exponentially thereafter (short half-life).

Thick layer of cheese, too. Some parts were fully melted, other parts were on their way to being pools of cheesey, heavenly goo. It was 6 slices, and easy to split between 2 people.

Wings! WINGS WINGS WINGS WINGS WINGS! Ok, so I was like “FUUUUCCCKKK yeah, wings! Let’s get these bad boys in my mouth!”. Super excited to try them. And very excited for the waffle fries too, because, dudes, waffle fries are awesome.

The waffle fries might have been one of the best things out of the entire meal. Not like they were backflip worthy (but definitely cartwheel worthy), but they weren’t greasy, stayed crisp throughout the whole meal, and hello – waffle fries.

The chicken wings were disappointing. They were gross and soggy in some parts, and kinda crispy in other parts. They were lightly sauced (no pools of sauce on the bottom of the container), and yet I still somehow managed to get some wing sauce on a boob. I am, like, the clumsiest eater ever.

Daniel B. mentioned he saw a big ole pile of fried wings sitting by the fryer when we ordered. Could these wings have been pre-cooked and then reheated again in the oil before serving them to us? I don’t know. I’m inclined to think we got freshly made wings since it took a decent amount of time for them to come out with the pizza (an amount of time that would make you think “mmm, they must be making my wings now.”)

All of the wings were also on the small side. At $7.99 for 10 wings, I was kind of hoping for something really good. As-is, they were just kind of meh and overpriced. I understand one small wing or two here and there, but all of the wings were small.

Here is a slightly larger wing. I wish more care were put into the wings and they all looked like this. Well, and also that the skins would be uniformly crispy and not at all soggy. But more of the wings looked like the first one – with tears in the skin, and swollen/poofy bits of soft skin.
It was like getting delivery wings, except we were about 5 feet away from the kitchen. I mean, when you order delivery wings, you know the container the wings are in is going to make them get steamy and lose their crispness (which is why I don’t order delivery wings) during the drive from the store to your house. This was just puzzling for me and my pea-sized brain.

I must have gone on an off-time. Daniel B told me that the wings were much better when he went. Maybe we just aren’t supposed to get wings together. When I took him to my beloved Ruck, they weren’t as awesome as they could have been and our order got kind of confused so they sat cooling off for a few minutes too long.

I’d order the pizza again, but I’m a little hesitant on the wings. Oh heck, I would order them for SCIENCE. And I’d order up some waffle fries again in a heart beat. I’m such a waffle fry slut.

Junior’s

I miss the Lark Tavern.

Cheap drinks, stellar bar food, and service was always quick and friendly no matter how crowded it was. Once you’ve got Your Place it’s hard to find another one. I know Tess & crew have moved downtown to Pearl Street, but it’s such a different location, and still not quite the Lark Tavern I knew and loved.

Met up with my college pal and his fiance. We figured we’d do drinks, but also some food. Somewhere in Albany. Not Pearl Street. Not Mahar’s. Not in a wine mood, or a beer mood. Cheap would be nice, too. That’s a pretty difficult list to fulfill, as it would turn out. We wound up at Junior’s (1094 Madison Ave, Albany, NY 12208). Same strip as Mahar’s.

Drinks came out in tall glasses or cocktail glasses. $7 for call, $6 for well drinks. Not too shabby, but I would have preferred a smaller drink (bravely, I soldiered on with my bigger drink, though).

Service was great – our waitress was really friendly and nice. More like someone taking care of guests in her home than a waitress at a bar/restaurant in Albany.

I flipped my shit when I saw ‘waffle fries’ on the menu. I got the House Burger ($9.99) which had pickles, onions, swiss, bacon, mushrooms… a bunch of stuff on it that I can’t really remember now, but it was pretty decent and crazy and subbed the waffle fries for the regular fries.

Albany John got a cuban sandwich, I think? $7.99 or $8.99 for a gigantic loaf of a sandwich. Fine, but nothing mindblowing. Pulled pork, some pickles, maybe some bacon. The regular fries were good, too. Crunchy.

Most of the food, from appetizers to entrees, ranges from $8-12. It’s kind of like “Why bother with mozzarella sticks for $7, when a sandwich costs about as much?”


Close up of my house burger. 8 oz (half pound) of ground beef for $10 isn’t too bad. But they only cook them medium-rare. No rare. My burger came out a hodgepodge of doneness, though. Medium well in the center, with patches of rare and medium rare on the edges. I have no idea how they pulled that one off. I was at the very least pleased that it wasn’t a patty. It was actual ground beef and not some pre-formed frozen patty. Decent grind on it, but it sure needed some salt, even with cubed up bits of bacon on there. It was fine, but nothing to pull me back.


Once we got the bill, I was kind of like “Hunh. Oh, well, I guess we did spend that much.” Not like it was crazy-expensive or anything, but just that it was a little more than it was worth, to me at least.

So here’s my deal with Junior’s. It’s not bad. Not great. Somewhere in the middle. It was a good place for four folks to go out and grab some food and drinks and catch up. The food and drinks were fine. It served our needs. I liked the service, but overall I think I need a place that’s more than just “fine”, you know? Like, nothing on Junior’s, but I bet they could change a few things up and be really good. Right now, it’s just a place that I automatically go “Eh, it’s okay. Yeah, sure, I guess.” when one of my friends suggests it because his 21 year old girlfriend likes the cocktails they make there.

Tacos and Exploding Ketchup

My trip to Western Mass isn’t completely done. I still have to tell you guys about the great tacos I had, plus the case of the exploding ketchup. But first, tacos.

I was reading this book on Latin American food while Albany John drove over, and by the end of it, I was really jonesing for some tacos. He suggested we take the longer way home to stop at Mi Tierra for a few snacks. Mi Tierra is located on what I consider Hadley’s main strip – 206 Russell St, Hadley MA 01035. It’s in a strip mall across from a motel.

The inside is bright and shiny. It looks really warm. It used to be a grocery store, but they’ve really made the interior nice.I remember the last time we were in here a few years ago this side of the restaurant was partly a store. Now it’s a cute bar, with additional seating.

Hey, Mi Tierra guys, can you come to Albany? Because we would really appreciate you and treat you right. These tacos were exactly what I was craving – pliable, soft corn tortillas encasing chopped bits of well seasoned meat and some accents. The tacos above are beef. It may have been brisket. Stewed well, seasoned, and wonderfully moist.

However, I would have gotten two orders of pork if I knew how good the pork was. Get the pork tacos. Oh my gosh – is this al pastor? I have no idea, but it was a little spicy, and dripping with juice and fat. They were just perfect.
The tacos at Mi Tierra are just what tacos should be – all about the meat (and wonderfully flavored meat, at that) with just a garnishing of misc veggies. In this case it was raw onion and cilantro. None of this lettuce, tomato, onion, cabbage, corn, etc., business that basically turns your taco into a mini burrito. Just pure, simple tacos.
Both came with fresh wedges of lime, and a tomatillo salsa that I was practically drinking.
Prices were insanely fair – 3 tacos for $5. So we spent $10 on taco snacks that really hit the spot.

For dinner Papa Amherst took us to The Harp (163 Sunderland Rd, Amherst, MA) for seafood. At an Irish pub. The staff were really friendly, and we found a booth inside to sit at (they had just done some charity event outside, so outdoor seating was a no-go that night).
It looks kind of dive-y from the interior, but in a good way. Worn with age, and various local jerzees pinned to the ceiling.

I ordered one of the specials of the night – fried clam bellies. All meals come with fries normally, but they were all out, so we got WAFFLE FRIES!!!!! I squeed when I heard our waitress say “waffle fries”.
The bellies were tasty – fried lightly with a soft exterior. Helped showcase the sweet briny flavor in whole clams. I got one funky clam, but I ate through it (hello, it’s fried seafood) and other than that, no problems. It came with tartar sauce and coleslaw. I thought my coleslaw tasted like soap, but Albany John’s was fine. THE WAFFLE FRIES WERE AWESOME. Seasoned with salt and paprika, they were crunchy on the outside, and softly potato-y on the inside, and not greasy. A great example of waffle fries. They stayed crisp throughout the meal.
Papa Amherst got fish & chips. This was also a good one. The fish’s exterior was crunchy on the outside, with a moist fish interior.

Mama Amherst ordered the kielbasa and kraut sandwich, but didn’t taste much kraut. She said the kielbasa was good, though.

Albany John got the broiled scallops. They were larger than bay scallops, and had a nice buttery sauce to accompany them. No complaints there, a solid dish.

And as soon as I took this picture, Papa Amherst opened up the ketchup to squirt on his waffle fries when
PPPHHFFFFFFFOOOOOOOSSSSSHHHHHHHHHPPLLLLPPPPPPPLLLLLPPP

The ketchup exploded EVERYWHERE. Papa Amherst was covered in ketchup, and Mama Amherst and I had gotten a decent amount of spray as well. Albany John was untouched since I was taking the picture of his food and covered him from any ketchup rain.

The staff were super apologetic about it, and we couldn’t stop laughing. A bottle of ketchup just exploded on us. When does that ever happen? And it went EV.ER.Y.WHERE.
I went to rinse ketchup off of my arms and shirt in the bathroom, and when I came back out they were wiping down the booth, apologizing like crazy, while Papa Amherst was lamenting wearing an orange shirt and not a white one (because then the ketchup *really* would have shown).
Our waitress told us that it had happened a few weeks ago (I guess heat, plus those plastic ketchup bottles that are oriented so the squeezy part is on the bottom = occasional ketchup explosion) and that we took it really well. The last guy was beyond pissed, but dude, how could you be pissed – WHEN DOES THAT HAPPEN? Now you can say you had a bottle of ketchup EXPLODE ON YOU. I don’t even like ketchup, but I still think that’s awesome.
Our meal was entirely comped, too. What?! The bartender told us that while he was wiping the booth. Later on our waitress was like “I just want to let you guys know your meal is free. On us. We’re really sorry. Do you want any more to drink?” (Man, you’ve got to love her, hunh?)
In NY we’d probably get an apology, and maybe Papa Amherst’s dish would be comped or discounted. Or a waitress in NY would have left a receipt of how much your meal would have been, with the not-so-subtle subtext of “I hate comps, you guys better tip me over 20% of this imaginary bill”. But wow, for the entire meal to get comped, and for everyone working to genuinely apologize repeatedly… man, I already had a great time at The Harp and can’t wait to go back again.
I hope I get another exploding ketchup bottle.

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!