Fewer Words Friday

I mentioned it on Twitter and posted a picture on Facebook.  I really couldn't get over how fun it was to rent a big boat with 6 other people, eat sandwiches and chips, drink beer, jump off rocks (that's not us, but thank you YouTube for the reference), swim, and tube on Lake George.  I thought you needed a special license to drive a motorboat, but it turns out you just need to be awesome like my friend N and zoooooooooooooooom after listening to a dude tell you about the boat for 5 minutes.

The weather was ridiculous.  This activity should be scheduled into your near future.

No matter what you do, have a most excellent weekend.  I hope in the next few weeks I'll be able to tell you about some delightful meals in Bennington, Cape Cod, and dear old Albany.

 this looks remarkably like the fake stock photo when you're waiting for your photos to load in Windows Explorer


Picking at Samascott Orchards

Cherries.  Cherries!  CHERRIES!!!!!  That's how we started loving Samascott.

We brought our own containers, which is earth friendly on both of our parts. You can weigh them on your way on to make sure you're only paying for your fruit.  $2/lb.  The bomb.

Being supertall is helpful; you can get the high up ones that other people can't reach (unless they have a ladder, which one woman did).

The signage was a little rough - we looked for blueberries on our first trip but couldn't find them.  We were a little fried from the sun, so that may have been a factor.  Instead we bought some at their market.

My friend the Dirty Radish posted some cherry recipes, but let's face it - I ate all 4 lbs raw...with J's help.

We may go back for blueberries, it depends what's up with the weather and our J+J itinerary :)


Fewer Words Friday

If you want more words about my delicious seasonal dinner at Ala Shanghai, let me direct you toward the delightful FUSSYlittleORGANIZER and always-charming dining companion Albany Jane.   Aaaand Table Hopping.  (Our dinner was news.)  I hadn't seen Steph since the Tour de Soft Serve, and we had a lot of running talking to do with poor J in between us.

 Menu. Drool.

 Some explanations.

Smoked fish and astor salad were my favorite from this plate!

Soup dumplings.  XLB.  Obviously. 

beefy soup

Shrimp (not our favorite food) and luffa (very very fun and delicious)

Sliced chicken with snow fungus and celery

Crazy pork belly. I don't care for the glossy fat on top, but I'd make many guests happy if I fork-shredded what's underneath and slapped it on a roll.  Sammich heaven.  PS, bebeh bok choy.

Diced sea bass in a brown sauce. I loved this dish.  It was light, tasty, and the dish never seemed to empty despite the heapings I kept adding to my plate. Very similar in nature to Mary Poppins' bag.

Soft shell crab - not mine or J's favorite, we're just not huge crab/clam/oyster/shrimp/lobster people.  We prefer our crab to be in cake form, perhaps incorporated into a benedict

Chrysanthemum jelly with lychee.  Loved.  Both the jelly AND the lychee.  They look like pearl onions but they are sweet juicy crunchy 'splosions of happy.

Not as few words as I expected.  So many memories of deliciousness and good conversation coming back at me...


El Mariachi

Mmmm margaritas.  El Mariachi has come up several times when I've asked about fun drinks and patios, so when my parents were in town on a stunning 80ish degree day that turned into a high 60s/low 70s evening, we knew we had to sit outside.  I don't know about you, but I always find that with good service, adult beverages, and outdoor seating it's hard for me not to like something.

El Mariachi had pretty good guacamole, and the salsa that comes with the complimentary chips had a nice kick.  I enjoyed the chicken mole (good, but needed to be hotter temperature wise), mom had fajitas, J had steak with onions and garlic, and dad got something with chicken that I don't remember.  But he liked it, and that was all that mattered, because we were celebrating his BIRTHDAY!!! Yay! He really didn't want a big to do for his 60th, so he and mom decided to come up to our house for Friday-Sunday, then leave after breakfast to see my sister in Boston until Tuesday.  Child touring, they call it.

When we walked in there was a line 3 parties deep to even check in with the hostess.   She was running back and forth to seat people, and with existing reservations going on I figured we'd have a huge wait.  Nope, we were seated on the patio right away (after waiting 10 minutes while she sat other people and ran around).

Service was great--our saintly waitress was patient with my chatty dad who doesn't like peppers or onions, unless they are well done, in which case onions are okay but not peppers.  He doesn't really like picking off a menu, he'd prefer someone tell him what to get.  And she did.  Thanks!  Also, she brought him a very heavy authentic-looking festive sombrero and flan with a candle in it.

You can get margaritas by the pitcher AND by the half pitcher, so if that second pitcher is just a little beyond reach? No worries, you're covered.

El Mariachi
289 Hamilton Street
Albany, NY

El Mariachi Mexican Restaurant on Urbanspoon


Postcard from Portland, Version Brunch

I know my postcards are usually all in one, but we ate a particularly incredible amount of noteworthy food in the Rose City.  This was our first visit to the Pacific Northwest, and we thank our cousins A&S for being awesome, having a delish baby and cuddly dog, and moving to Portland, OR. 

Today I bring you Brunch.

First up: Simpatica.  The wise cousins wanted to go to Tasty n Sons, but the wait was forever.  Don't worry, we went later in the week.  Simpatica may have been a backup, but it was just what the doctor ordered after a long (but direct) flight.  Please see the exhibits:

The Logger: Chicken-fried bison with sausage gravy, eggs, and potatoes. J is so into the gravy lately.  See, e.g. Jake Moon Cafe and Rooster Cafe.

Short rib hash with ramps, radishes, beet greens, fingerling potatoes, spring onions, and eggies.  That's me, if you couldn't tell.

Smoked salmon strata with onions, kale, carrots, and the best Hollandaise any of us had ever tasted. 

Frittatta with asparagus, speck (smoked prosciutto), chiles, and pecorino romano.  We loved every bite of this brunch, and I would definitely recommend it.  Would I go back next time I'm in Portland? That's hard to say, because there's still so much we wanted to try but didn't get the chance.

Simpatica Dining Hall on Urbanspoon

We saw a clip on Unique Eats about the Waffle Window and knew it was a for sure stop for us.  They have endless combinations.  Dessert, breakfast, snack, whatever it is, you can find it at the Window.  We ordered, waited, and sat outside in a sort of parking lot picnic area.  The day was impossibly sunny, and we were psyched.

J went sweet---bananas, whipped cream, chocolate sauce.  I went savory--brie, bacon and basil.  WW is a great place for a snack - you could have a bowl of cereal at 9, go to WW at 10:30, and have lunch at 12 without a problem.  It's delicious, affordable, and the variety is super fun.

The Waffle Window on Urbanspoon

Pine State Biscuits was on DDD at some point, but we saw it on Unique Eats. Three southern dudes move to Portland and opened a place where you can get it all...on a biscuit.

Sweet tea in a mason jar.  Squeeze that lemon, J-love.

Fried chicken, cheese, egg, on a biscuit.

The Reggie: Fried chicken, cheese, bacon, gravy. (That's J.)

There is nothing not to like about Pine State Biscuits.  Go for a $4 egg and cheese up, or the $8 Wedgie: fried chicken, fried green tomato, iceberg lettuce, and blue cheese.  Get a southern side blackeyed peas, hushpuppies, or collard greens.  The service is friendly, the place is tiny (but adorable), and you should definitely stop there if you get the chance. 

Pine State Biscuits on Urbanspoon

Remember Tasty n Sons from our first day in Portland?  Really long wait (it was Sunday, after all), followed by Simpatica saving the day? Well we couldn't leave it at that.  We had to go.  The day was Thursday, the wait was none, but somehow there were still a lot of people in that restaurant for a weekday.

It's important to get to know your chocolate potato doughnut.  Cut it open.  Savor it.  Share it with your best friend, because there's a lot more to come.

For example, see the below:  Glazed yams, lil' chicken hash, biscuit and eggs...

We really liked everything we had at Tasty's.  We had a really hard time narrowing down the menu, so I suggest you go with a group of 3+ to try more stuff.  They have small plates and larger plates, and I pretty much wanted to try all of it.  We sat at a bar-like area and could see the kitchen prepping.  The ingredients were fresh and delicious, and that's what made the food so great.  Please don't leave here without eating the glazed yams.  They were the last thing we lobbed onto our order, and they were my faaaaavorite.

Tasty n Sons on Urbanspoon

That's it for brunch in Portland.  I hope my memory doesn't dissolve before I get to the other meals...

Have a great week!


Fewer Words Friday

Some people have an extra day off this weekend.  One of those people is J.  He sent me this lovely photo this morning; we rode to work together, as per usual, but this time I dropped him off at the start of the bike trail along the Hudson and Mohawk rivers so he could enjoy the sunny morning (which has given way to a mostly cloudy afternoon).

Have a lovely long weekend, and happy birthday USA!  Hopefully our electrical issues will eventually be solved, otherwise I'll be blogging on a desktop computer sitting on a coffee table.