Although I generally avoid trends, thinking them to be too cliched for my attention, I have to confess to being susceptible to trends when it comes to food – specifically vegetables. Over the years, I’ve bought in to fiddlehead ferns and garlic scapes and jicama with varying degrees of commitment. This year, I jumped onto the ramps wagon, although I didn’t make it to Hudson’s Ramp Fest last week, and I’m suggesting that you do the same while you can. The season will be over really soon and you’ll be left wondering and waiting until 2014 for your own taste of these lovely spring onions. You can try your hand at foraging, but I was able to “source” the ones below the other night at Capital City Gastropub. Get ‘em while you can!
Tag Archives: Albany
Screw Hallmark – as far as I’m concerned, May 5th was my ideal Mother’s Day. No matter what happens next Sunday, I will cherish the day I had, from the scandalously late start to the fortified-with-an-afternoon-nap late ending – perfect! Let me be a little more specific…
Saturday night, I shot a SEEN gallery down at Prime 677. The occasion was a fundraiser for the Huntington’s Disease Society of America and it was a lovely event. The food was spectacular and the folks at Empire Wines rallied the troops to put on an extraordinary wine tasting. It’s been noted by some astute Times Union readers that whenever an event involves wine, I’m usually there. Guilty as charged.
I got home from the party working at about 10:30 only to find my little guy desperately upset that he had been denied a ‘s’more from the neighbor’s party, a situation I was able to correct with a soothing shower and some ice cream. Tucking him in at such a late hour gave me the first gift of Sunday – he slept until 10:00, which gave me an incredibly quiet morning. Soft music, strong coffee and the paper comprise my personal morning bliss trifecta. So far, so good.
After the boys departed at noon for their Dad’s, I got busy in the front yard with mulch and some annuals. The sun was glorious, birds were chirping and the simple joy of getting a little dirty made my heart sing. I had a mid afternoon visit from the person I most love spending time with and the day moved along at a pace that was completely enjoyable. I accomplished some other chores, including eating a fantastic lunch salad, and punctuated the afternoon with an indulgent nap on clean sheets. But, wait – there’s more.
As the day cooled down a bit, I tied on my running shoes and hit the streets for a 5-mile lap through the neighborhood. I had intended to go a bit further, but contented myself with not pushing myself too hard and tried to just enjoy myself. Done. A shower, a quick visit with the neighbors for a glass of wine and then home again for finale of the only reality show I would ever want to be on, The Amazing Race, and I was in bed by 10:15, thoroughly relaxed and satisfied with my day.
There weren’t any tulips or handmade crafts, but nonetheless it was a lovely day with a wonderful mix of boys, friends, productivity, relaxation and good food and wine. Mother’s Day 2013 is a done deal, as far as I am concerned. Any additional gifts are truly unnecessary, although I do have a fondness for the imperfectly made card along with a hankering for a French lilac bush. Just saying.
Regrettably, I did not take a turn riding the mechanical bull, but more than 50 people did last Saturday at a super fun event at the City Beer Hall. Check out the photos here. The team representing The Standard restaurant stood out in my mind as the ones to beat, if only for their matching t-shirts and lively personalities. What a terrific fundraiser for The Boys and Girls Clubs of Albany! Keep your eyes open for this event to be repeated next year and start practicing with that thigh master machine you keep stored under the bed. It’ll help.
This is bowling. There are rules.
Man, I wish I could have prepped our party guests of that fact ahead of time, but the Big Lebowski remains a tad shy of appropriate movie fare for 8 year-olds, no matter how awesome they think they might be. Quinn requested a bowling party this year and his Dad and I were happy to oblige. Since we’re Albany folk, the Playdium was really the only choice for venues. If you’re kicking it old school, may as well go all the way, right? It really was the perfect activity for a bunch (there were 10, it felt like 15) of kids on a snowy afternoon and it was declared by the guest of honor to have been the “best party ever!”
This type of party is not for the faint of heart – the kids get pretty excited by all the open space and voices echo, and seem to amplify, in an alarming manner. And don’t even get me started on the rental shoes!* Despite these physical challenges, there is no better way to entertain and amuse a gang of 2nd graders, particularly at $10.95 a child which includes 60 minutes of bowling, 2 slices of more-than-acceptable pizza, individual ice cream cups and a couple of pitchers of soda. Truly a bargain.
A couple of observations, including one that made me smile – one of the two girls invited to join the
insanity festivities noticed that the lane shared by 3 boys and two girls, finished their game 2 frames ahead of the 100% boy lane. A quick discussion with her about the efficiencies of females vs. males will hopefully stay with her for her entire life. Ten kids seemed to be the perfect number. Mathematically that came out to the age of the guest of honor (8) plus 2 parents. More than that would have been too much, I suspect. For all involved. This was a pretty relaxed party – it was simple enough to add the latecomers to the bowling computer system and the employees we dealt with were beyond easy-going. The Playdium may not be a fancy place, but it definitely beats driving around and the occasional acid flashback.
A couple of Sundays ago, I made it to the City Beer Hall for brunch. I had no expectations going in other than to use my Living Social voucher and catch up with some friends. I certainly did not expect the place to be so jammed with other wannabee brunch eaters and I most definitely did not expect to have a meal that was so completely satisfying. Let me tell you everything…
Our group arrived piecemeal. I was the first in and I got our name on the list for a table for 5 + a child. The wait was approximately 25 minutes, a length of time which did not feel overly long. Drinks were enjoyed by the bar and appetites were whetted by the passing plates of food. When we sat down at one of the picnic style tables we were ready to sample a variety of the menu’s offerings. Here’s what we ended up with:
I failed to get photos of the Sliced Cajun Seasoned Hangar Steak sandwich on grilled sourdough with stellar hand-cut fries and the adorably dubbed “Spit in the Eye,” but I assure you, they were pleasing to the eye and the belly. Good stuff all around! The only ever so slight misstep was the mac and cheese. When it was initially delivered to our party the temperature was a bit lacking. We brought the problem to a server’s attention (that’s what you do when there’s an issue with your food – you let them fix it) and it was returned to us a few minutes later piping hot and delicious.
At the risk of damning myself to an even longer wait next time I’m feeling brunch-ish, I’ll tell you this: from service to atmosphere to food and value, this place knocked it out of the park. I’ll be back there in a couple of weeks (2/16) to photograph the Albany Boys and Girls’ Club Ride to Raise: Mechanical Bull Riding Competition. Maybe I need to get there a little early to try the pulled pork sandwich. Or the kale salad…
Things have been a bit odd lately, to the point that I’ve been wondering about “being out there.” In recent weeks, I’ve been busy, almost exhaustingly so. On more than one occasion, I’ve fantasized about getting that stomach bug everyone had so I could drop 5lbs and stay in bed for a couple of days. Pretty sad, right? Or maybe you’ve been here, too?
There have been events in the past couple of weeks (in January, the “quiet” month we all need after the hecticness of the holiday season) that have made me concerned that my name and my face have been a little too present in the local news. And, no, disappointingly enough, I wasn’t arrested at some meaningful protest or anything. It started when I took some pictures at the Wine Fest and ended up, through no preference of my own, having a picture of me being featured on the TU website in that particular slide show of shots. Ok, great, how vain do I look? Whatever.
The following weekend’s tragic house fire kicked things up dramatically. First, there was the interview with the very nice, Lily Jaymil. It seemed rude to not answer a few questions, and her attempt to extract something meaningful from me about the residents of the seriously damaged home was more polite than pushy. It felt like only minutes after she left, when the doorbell rang again – this time it was Bryan Fitzgerald of the Times Union. We had a quick conversation and I shared a couple of photos with him, which he included in his story, in print and online.
These encounters were, I felt, in the realm of what one could expect when there is situation like the one which occurred across the street from me. The next couple of things, though, were beyond my comfort zone, both physically and mentally. The news truck parked in front of my house, with its constantly running engine, was beyond disruptive. The phone call I received at work 2 days after the fire, from someone seeking information about the identity of the person recovered from the scene, made me feel nervous. Apparently, after seeing my name on the news, this person unleashed the power of the Google and tracked me down at the school district where I work. His actions were born of innocent concern, but it still felt invasive and I was left feeling uncomfortable.
I accept complete responsibility for the extent that I share my “thoughts, experiences and adventures*” as a writer, but I do need to consider my comfort level, along with the perils of overexposure. Bear with me, ok?
*The DelSo blog motto in a nutshell.
When I was 18, our house burned down. It was at a point in my life when I didn’t have much, but everything I owned, other than 2 laundry baskets of dirty clothes which had been in my car, disappeared on a beautiful summer day. The memories of that day have faded, like the photos in the albums which were pulled from the ashes, but the lesson that will always remain me with is the knowledge that stuff is just stuff. Replaceable, forgettable, unimportant.
My brother was home sleeping when the fire started, but thankfully escaped without injury. I’ve always felt that he lost more than I did in the flames – he had an impressive collection of pewter figurines he had painstakingly painted which were turned into a puddle of metal from the heat that day. He had albums and books and other collections that were important to him. I had clothes, lots of clothes, outfits that I continued to miss for months, if not years. I can’t tell you how many times I was drawn up short as I planned my evening’s outfit only to remember that I no longer had that dress or skirt. I got used to it. I moved on with the sense that none of it mattered all that much, and the knowledge that what I truly considered necessary in my life had been forever redefined.
This morning, I awoke to the sound of engines running. I live on a small, narrow street and the noises weren’t going away. Reluctantly, I got out of bed and looked out my window to see a street filled with emergency vehicles, yet still surprisingly quiet beyond the hum of the diesel motors. I assumed it was a medical call until I picked my head up and looked directly across the street – to the house I will always call “George’s house,” and saw the flames licking the dark sky.
After putting on a robe, I went downstairs and outside where the temperature didn’t even register as cold, much less frigid. I think I became aware of the extreme cold and the fact that I was crying, simultaneously. Nearly three decades had disappeared in an instant – at a speed that surely rivaled the rate of that fire’s rampage through the second story of 12 Arcadia Avenue. As the owners of the immediate neighboring houses were evacuated, we made contact with each other. I invited them inside, offered coffee and a bathroom, a refuge with a bird’s-eye view of the devastating flames. Texts were sent between other neighbors. We connected and consoled each other with the fact that other than two dogs, the house was vacant at the time of the fire.
The firefighters were impressive – focused, thorough, professional and, despite the limitations placed upon them on such a narrow street, they battled the fire and contained it in a remarkably short period of time. The sun rose and it was over. But was it? More vehicles arrived, vans emblazoned with K-9 Ashes on their side. Police and more fire officials and some media. Word started to spread – the loss of life wasn’t limited to canines, horribly a young woman’s life had been extinguished by the smoke and the flames. Irreplaceable, unforgettable, important to those who knew and loved her, and always to be remembered, may she rest in peace.