Yes, I Really Liked the Old Google Reader That Much

So we have to start with the arrogant presupposition that anyone is missing new posts here.  Now that we have that covered, whether it's true or not, I can get into why.  I'm going to focus on technology and not on the whole "when I started I was a student and now I have a demanding full time job" thing.  (Also, Pinterest exists.  Rabbit hole, you guys, amirite...)

Let's talk about the death of Google Reader.  Google Reader was the way that at one point I kept up with over 80 blogs I wanted to read: what was going on in DC, new restaurants, some people I knew doing awesome stuff, recipes, etc.  I organized favorite posts with recipes and ideas with labels like "jewish holidays," "vegetarian," "entertaining," and many many more.  But more than just a feed aggregator, Google Reader was a place to share to a very tightly controlled group.  I maybe had 20 people (and I knew them all IRL, or In Real Life) that were part of my "Google Reader Sharing" group, and when I read a post I wanted them to see, I shared it.  Not to all 400 or so Facebook friends who I mostly never talk to or see, not to hundreds of accounts (active and non) of people and companies on Twitter, just a handful of people who appreciate reading blogs the way that I do, and could pick a few good posts to share with me daily, and who could read the ones I shared and make a few comments.  The loss of Google Reader was truly devastating to me.  I know that sounds dramatic, but it was how I organized my internet for quite a while.

Obviously technology has changed a lot (for the better).  When I started this blog, I didn't have an iPhone (actually I didn't have a smart phone until 2010 because student loans aren't for paying big cell bills, right, college aged people??).  It used to make sense to take pictures with my point and shoot camera, plug that in to my laptop, upload them, save them in a place where I could find them from dumb Blogger platform, and upload them into a post.  Now that entire endeavor seems antiquated.

I'm not a huge fan of redundancy. Of course I would watch Pretty Woman on a weekly basis, but what I mean is that if I Like you on Facebook (or we're Friends), and I have your blog in my Google Reader, and I follow you on Twitter and you tweet your posts, and I follow you on Instagram and you post fun pictures (otherwise why would I follow you!), and then you Pin the thing you saw that you want, I'm getting a lot of repetition. 

So for me it started looking like:

DC2ALB on Twitter: Off to City Beer Hall for brunch, man I love that place.
DC2ALB on Instagram: Pic of awesome beet/arugula/gorgonzola salad with over-easy eggs on top + an oatmeal stout
DC2ALB on Pinterest: Pic of City Beer Hall on a board named something like "eats."*
DC2ALB on Ravelry: I'm totes going to knit a blanket that looks like City Beer Hall.*

[*Full disclosure, these last two never happened.]

Me, at home: Should I blog City Beer Hall brunch?  I mean...why? 

If I'm bored by the same, and have been gradually unsubscribing from blogs for that reason, I assume you have been too.  Even without assuming our similarity in that respect, I am too bored of myself to even write the offending redundant post. And I have some etiquette questions, like if you share your Instagram to Facebook, should I Like or Heart them on the other platform? Comment on both?  What's the deal with that?

I have some friends and family whose posts I so look forward to (and will probably start just getting emailed to me), recipes I always read, and local happenings to find out about.  But as more and more blogs switched to the whole "click here to read on" and "after the jump" situations, the convenience of Google Reader started to fade. If I can read maybe 2 or 3 lines, not enough to get the pertinent information to see if I even WANT to click into a whole.new.window(or.tab), then I'm just annoyed. 

So I'll see you on Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Ravelry, and whatever I'm forgetting.  At least for now.


What We've Been Drinkin'

This is what we've been drinking at home lately:

Blue Point Pumpkin
Ithaca Pumpkin
Abita Turbodog
Sixpoint Apollo
River Horse Special
Southern Tier Harvest
Not pictured but in my fridge are also Shipyard Pumpkin, Sixpoint Sweet Action*, and Unibroue Blanche de Chambly.

Why do we have so many different beers in our fridge?  Well, we took home leftovers from a family party.  Also, we like beer.  In particular, it's nice when you are home alone and don't feel like making a real dinner, so instead you make half a real dinner and have a beer.  Or have a bowl of cereal and a beer for a filling dessert. 

I love trying new ones, and getting flights at Dinosaur, CBH, and Gastropub then following up with a visit to the beer store.   Also, I want to have every pumpkin beer so I can figure out which one reigns supreme for me.  I definitely liked Shipyard and Ithaca more than the Blue Point.  Not that the BP was bad, but it wasn't very pumpkin-y. 

I should take notes about beers on my iPhone (in the Notes app) because sometimes I forget what I've tried, what I preferred, etc.  Even when it's a sip of my friend's drink (yes, they share). 

What are you all drinking this fall? 

*I haven't tasted this one yet.  The four pack of tall cans is full!  For now...



I like going places when they are new.  We pulled this move with Capital City Gastropub most recently.  Sciortino's opened in the Miss Albany Diner space this past Wednesday. 

Off the bat, I'll mention that I'm a fan of most things Baumgartner.  Yes, he's easy on the eyes, but the food at his restaurants is actually good.  Some of my favorite meals in Albany involve the fish and chips at Olde English (and the beer), the fish tacos at Bombers (made better by being post-Boilermaker 15k), and although I'm not a huge fan of the food at Wolff's, I love love love the space it's in (and the beer).  I like when his blog has pictures of dogs, which is most of the time.

Anyway, tonight was the perfect night to head to Sciortino's.  Because I'm approximately 75 years old (see, hobbies: knitting, baking, being obsessed with my pet), we went for the early bird.

You can read all about it here. And here, here, here.

We had a Peroni and a Brooklyn Brown Ale, then ordered entirely too much food.  It was on purpose, but it was still alarming.  One thing to note is that when on display, the square pieces of pizza are on an angle, and it makes them look shorter than they are.  Don't be fooled.  One slice is enough. 

BBQ Chicken pizza (one slice, cut up)

Sausage, peppers, and mushrooms (it's UNDERNEATH

White pizza with vegetables.

Chicken riggies

At one point this was a brownie sundae.  Totally unnecessary.  Really gooey and delicious.  
I really liked the pizza and I'd have all of them again.  The BBQ chicken might be my favorite. Service was really friendly, and Matt was hanging out at and behind the counter. It wasn't crowded, but if it had been, we'd just have a drink at Wolff's while waiting.  I had never tried chicken riggies but heard good things, and while it was good, it's not for me.  I'm a spice wimp and it was a little hot (which I expected).  I also thought it might be more baked like a ziti, but it wasn't.  Cash only, as per yuzh.

Sciortino's (pronounced like shore-tinos)
893 Broadway
Albany, NY


City Beer Hall

Dinner at City Beer Hall with our out of town friends was great, even though my dinner personally wasn't what I'd asked for.  We had the wild boar schnitzel, short rib shepherds pie, and two burgers (one stuffed with foie gras).  The only issue we had was that our burgers didn't come out right. Both were ordered medium (specified as pink center) but one was med-rare and one was on well-done side (totally cooked through).  Still tasted great, just not what we asked for or ideally wanted.   We had a side of Brussels and the charcuterie; I preferred the sprouts.  Obviously the stars were the beer (I split a flight with F and had a big girl beer of my own) and the patio (which is where we sat for a long while).

Brunch was a shining star all around.  The fried chicken was really moist on the inside, crispy on the outside, and the portion was great with the waffle.  I had eggs on the kale/farro/gorgonzola salad, and it was perrrrrfect.  No, it doesn't come like that, but I got a side of eggs and popped them atop.  The servings are really generous - I recently had the beet salad (with fennel, pistachios, and gorgonzola) and it was HUGE.  It made an awesome lunch, especially because....ALL BRUNCH ENTREES COME WITH A BEER (or mimosa or other brunch-y drink).  So for $9.99 before tax I got a beer with my salad, and that's ANY beer they have. 


Ice Cream Sandwich.  That's apple cider doughnut ice cream from Bowman Orchards.  With oatmeal raisin cookies from All Good Bakers.  That's an easy to bite into, cinnamon-y, perfect ice cream sandwich if I ever knew one.  Not sure what J would think about the lack of chocolate.
Here is a list of the things I love about City Beer Hall:
- The beer list is superb.  Lots of local, seasonal, delicious things that I love, including Unibroue Blanche de Chambly and Joe Mama's Milk Stout. And there's always an Ommegang.
- The patio is off the hook.  It's bigger than the inside.  On a nice day, why be anywhere else?
- It's never ridiculously crowded.  I don't have people breathing down my neck at brunch to take our table.  You CAN linger, and it's not the worst thing ever.
- I want to eat everything on the menu
- BEER COMES WITH YOUR BRUNCH.  Or another drink, if you're one of those.
- Don't stress about parking - they have a free lot.  It's further up Howard Street--pass the entrance to City Beer Hall if you are going away from the Hudson River (Northwest) you'll see an easel-like sign for it, turn left at the sign and it'll lead you to their little lot.
- They use at least some local ingredients.  Kilcoyne beef for one. 
- Interesting events! Including the Wild Game dinners this past summer. We were lucky enough to win tickets from All Over Albany for that dinner, and even though I was completely delinquent about blogging it, we had a great time and learned that we like Sixpoint Brewery.  

And yes, if you only go for drinks and not food, you'll get food anyway, because every beer gets you a ticket for a free little "pizza."  It's as thin as a tortilla, with melted cheese and a little sauce.  It is totally edible, and if you go with friends and end up eating 3 or 4, it's totally fine.   Although my boss said eating the pizzas made her more hungry for dinner when she got home. 

City Beer Hall
42 Howard Street


One at Revel in Atlantic City

Regardless of my thoughts on Revel (extensive metal staircase to climb to the one-level-misrepresented-as-4-level club in a brandynew resort which btw $30 cover even for a bachelorette party staying there? Letting someone put their pool bar tab on our room???), our dinner was actually pretty good.  Interestingly, because most AC restaurants don't require a credit card to make a reservation, it seems like people just make a handful and choose last minute where to go.  How else to explain how our TOTALLY BOOKED, WE DO NOT TAKE WALK INS restaurant had plenty of room and ended up able to seat 8 of us 30 minutes early?   And yes, we had made a second rez.

My first choice in the hotel would have been Central, because helloooo Michel Richard.  Or the tapas place.

So, I'm not entirely sure that it must be the place.  But it's a place. A place with very loud music (since when am I 80? Oh wait, since about 2003).  But we screamed into our neighbor's ears and decided we'd talk more later in the comfort of our rooms, over the ringing of course.

These little baby breads (each roll was about half a thumb tall) were delicious and so cute, sprinkled with rocky salt.  But being there with all girls, we sort of left 1.5 hanging in each dish.  Things That Don't Happen With Guys Present for 1000, Alex?

YUM, tuna tartare with stacked taro chips with an avocado base.   Sorry about the iPhone pics--it was dark in there.  I'd definitely get the tuna again.

Mini Kobe sliders - DELICIOUS.  Pickles, the key to happiness.

The menu for One is nearly impossible to find. Unlike other restaurants in Revel, the menu isn't on the web site (note, it wasn't two weeks ago!  It is now. Damnit).  Instead it's on the Facebook page. But it's not immediately visible, you need to look at their list of crap (About, Photos, etc) and press "5 More" to see an icon for Menu.  When I called to ask about an online menu, whoever picked up then put me on hold said it was on Facebook.  When I told her I still didn't see it, she said she didn't know.  Then she said I could email a manager for it.  I did email, because I figured they might send me one with prices (good to know when you're with a group), but never got a response.

When I don't see prices on a menu, I worry a little.  I worry that it's VERY expensive.  This was not the case; it wasn't any more expensive than the other restaurants in Revel or other big hotels in AC, so why not cut a girl (or 8) a break and stop the worries?   Transparency is good--tell people what to expect.

The food was pretty good, it came out pretty quickly, the drinks were way expensive of course, but there were beers for $7, so I went that route.  It seems like they brought us a round of free shots, but then we were charged for them.  A few girls got the lobster roll appetizer and they were the tiniest little guys I ever saw, picture mini hot dogs but lobster in them instead.  And $19.  Just know what you're in for!  


Eating at the Track

It happened.  The track opened!  We went opening weekend with our friends from out of town (first-timers to the CapReg, and one of them had never been to a racetrack before).  You know you're in Smallbany (or the Smallbany area, at least) when you basically know a handful of people outside of work and manage to see 3 people you know at the Track opening weekend.  There were tons of people there, but almost immediately we saw a dude from work and two folks from the dog park.  Obviously we don't know their names--they are [dog's] mom and dad.

So, eating at the track has a lot of choices, but I'm still getting started.  See above - HATTIE'S!  While brunch there recently was a bit of a miss (chicken was a little off, eggs weren't cooked right the first time), you really can't go wrong with fried chicken.  They had some initial drama on the Facebook page and beyond about their new location, made a few threats not to be at the Track, but alas are still there.  And BTW it was very easy to find. 

The line for Hattie's was long and we'd been there before, of course, so we had some smoked meat poutine (with gravy and curds of course) from this joint. When Shirley's was sold to a Montrealian (Montrealite?), poutine hit the menu faster than you can say s'il vous plait.

Shake Shack.  Whether you're a burger and fries person or a straight up milkshake person (raises hand), you are covered.  The line moves fairly quickly.  The straws aren't extra big, which is a little sad for someone who likes to drink milkshakes as fast as possible.  The Sloppy Track shake sounds up my alley but really the black & white is my favorite.  I'm a fan of salted caramel (including the Starbucks salted caramel hot chocolate...swoon) but it was too salty, and mine was on the meltier side.  I like my shakes frrrreezing and hard to drink, preferably out of an extra wide straw.  Thanks.

For now, these are my only eating experiences at the track after exactly 2 visits and 2 summers as a local.  I have a feeling we'll be back a few more times this season and maybe I'll branch out.  To homemade picnic sandwiches that I brought with me...(PS that's a thing, you can do that.  We brought a small soft cooler with beer in it. CHEAP! YUM! CLASSY!)

Go, have fun, eat food (bought or brought), and don't lose all your money.  I ended up $2 up after 5 races, but with admission at $3 and my shake at $6, I guess I was really down $7.  Pretty reasonable for 3 hours of entertainment and the chance of the thrill of winning.



When you live in the Capital Region and run the Boilermaker, you have two options: Stay over in the Utica area (and book well in advance--at least 6 months), or get up at an ungodly hour and head west for the 8am start.  In both 2011 and 2012 I chose to stay the night nearby. 

In a two sentence race review/recap, I can tell you that I love the Boilermaker 15k, the people of Utica are gracious with their colanders of ice, icicles, orange slices, and garden hose showers, and my only criticism/suggestion is that they do a pace-related wave start.  Because Super Elite followed by Everyone Else does not make for a comfortable first few miles.

ANYWAY, we had dinner at Symeon's, recommended by a friend who goes to Utica for work often.  It wasn't super crazy, despite the thousands of people in town for the run.  They also have a lot of tables.  The souvlaki was so flavorful and piping hot, and those pieces of well-seasoned meat contrasted beautifully with my antipasto plate (basically Greek salad with dolmades--grape leaves--on top).  My only criticism is that the bread to wrap the souvlaki in wasn't warm, which made it unappetizing.  I ignored it.  My mom (who ran the BM15k in 1:34!) really enjoyed her salmon with grilled vegetables and rice pilaf.  Light and healthy, getting ready to run.

We were pretty full, but baklava ice cream sounded very interesting.  We heard it was especially made just for them by Roc Star Ice Cream.  We decided to get one to share, and our waitress put it in three mini dishes (unnecessary but SO SWEET), and it was delicious.  Baklava or ice cream, WHY CHOOSE when you can have baklava IN your ice cream?  Really. 

3 mini sundaes for the price of one.  Thank you!