Tag Archives: Delaware Avenue

Sunday dinner out in the DelSo

One of the first images to enter my brain last Sunday morning came to me courtesy of an email from Living Social.  They were offering a deal for Yanni’s Too, a place known for its fried calamari, and the picture accompanying the sales pitch became my obsession and inspiration for the day.  Crispy looking golden brown rings and tentacles… I needed some, but had no desire to drive south and dine riverside.  I explored my options, beginning, and happily ending, in my own neighborhood – Nicole’s Restaurant.  All I had was a 5 mile run to get through first.

Run finished, I quickly called Nicole’s to make sure they still had tables seated at 8:00 on a Sunday.  I never want to be that person who comes in on a quiet night and keeps staff hanging around.  I was assured that they still were doing business and invited to please stop by.  On my arrival I was offered a nice deuce in the front and settled in with the menu and a basket of warm bread accompanied with good quality olive oil and an olive tapenade.
oliveoil
I was hungry and went a little crazy ordering the fried calamari, the eggplant rollatini and an intriguing sounding Brussels sprouts Caesar salad.  After considering a bottle of wine, with the option to bring home what I didn’t finish, I talked myself down and went with a glass of chianti which satisfied me perfectly.

squid

The calamari was terrific. It was piping hot, crispy and not oily in the slightest.  The accompanying sauce was different and enjoyable, but I’m pretty simple and would have been equally pleased with a marinara sauce on the side.

eggplantThe eggplant was tender, completely devoid of bitterness and wonderfully smoky from the oozing cheese.  Again, the presentation is a little different with only some roasted red peppers topping the eggplant, rather than the more typical bath of red sauce.  Tasty.

ceasarThe salad was a unique spin on Caesar – a feat that is not easily accomplished, but I didn’t really taste the classic Caesar notes of garlic, cheese and anchovy as I had expected.  The anchovies were white which, in my opinion, gives a sharper, more vinegary taste.  I liked the salad more when I finished it up the next day as part of my lunch.  It seemed to have mellowed out a bit.

cheesecakeI wrapped things up with an indulgent slice of chocolate cheesecake – 5 miles, people.  I had just run 5 miles.  Belly full, $50 + tip lighter, I slept like a well fed baby.  Although I don’t get to Nicole’s often enough, it’s nice to know they continue to offer a consistently creative menu that never fails to provide comfort and quality.

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Filed under Albany, Delaware Avenue, DelSo, Dinner, Eating, Food, Local, Recommendations, Restaurants, running, sunday

A pass and a fail

I had my car inspected this week.  It passed without any issues.  I was a couple of weeks late on taking care of things, but my reasons were understandable.  At least that’s what I hoped the police officer would think should I have been pulled over.

I initially delayed the process because I wanted to wait until the calendar turned to March. That way I would have gotten 13 months from my previous year’s inspection, a real “stick it to the man” move, right?  Of course, I screwed myself because days before the end of February (such a short little month!), a bulb went in my headlight necessitating a trip to the auto parts store and the efforts of three well-intentioned adults to successfully remove and replace the little halogen beauty.

A few days later, I left my car at the place around the block, Delaware Tire and Service,  for them to take care of the annual requirement.  I was a bit surprised to learn when I returned 90 minutes later that my car had a “few bulbs out” and also needed a new rear windshield wiper blade.  “Bulbs?” I asked, thinking how odd that I should have nonfunctioning bulbs, yet not have received a dashboard message light informing me of this deficit.   I mean, the reason I knew my headlight was out a couple of weeks ago was because my dashboard told me.  Were we now in a fight, my dashboard and I, and no longer talking?  I didn’t think so.  I thanked him for his time and drove home still without a valid inspection.

I next scheduled an appointment with my regular mechanic, the folks I’ve bought 4 cars from and relied upon for more than 15 years to maintain my vehicles.  Naturally, the day before my scheduled appointment, my Check Engine light randomly appeared.  I canceled the appointment and waited for the light to go off, as it reliably does.

I noticed Tuesday that the light was off and yesterday took advantage of an early dismissal to stop at Hoffman’s on my way home for an inspection.  Obviously, I didn’t mention or suggest any issues with my bulbs until after the new inspection sticker had been affixed to my windshield.  At that point, I questioned the technician to see if he had seen anything wrong with bulbs or wiper.  Not surprisingly, all was fine – nothing needed to be addressed or replaced.

So – my while my well maintained vehicle passed inspection with flying colors, Delaware Tire and Service gets a huge fail.  Wonder how many other innocent drivers have been victimized by this unscrupulous business?  You’ll want to give that garage a big pass.

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Filed under Albany, Delaware Avenue, DelSo, Local, Observations, Recommendations

14 for 2014

It’s a new year and we in Albany have a new mayor. I’ve been thinking about some changes which I would welcome in 2014 and here’s what I’ve come up with…

1. It would be awesome if Albany drivers would recognize that a yellow light means slow down, not speed up. Maybe we could collectively work on this, fellow Albanians?

2. Running around the neighborhood in the throes of winter is an exercise in navigation as I contend with unshoveled sidewalks. Could we maybe pair high school students in need of  community service credit with seniors who might welcome a hand with this chore?

3. Imagine if Washington Park had a gas line to power up all those vendor trucks during festivals? Would you miss the drone and exhaust of those diesel generators they currently use?

4. Albany has lots of cool historic sites and museums. I would love to see some sort of discount card for residents to encourage their attendance at some of these places. Maybe even  a reward (a cup of coffee or discounted baked good from a local business?) if individuals visited a certain number of sites would be possible.

5. The Lakehouse in Washington Park is underused. Let’s get a café in there or a series of open mics/poetry readings to get people inside that beautiful building.

6. Albany seems to be the double parking capital of the northeast. How about channeling Guiliani and his quality of life campaign? Ticket them! Post a police officer by a frequently run red lights and attempt to correct the behavior of those who fail to acknowledge that red means STOP.

7. When I take my regular 5 mile run I often think how cool it would be if Albany had a dirt track or path between the sidewalk and the curb for runners. Is that possible?

8. Speaking of outdoor exercise, in the warmer months the Corning Preserve of Washington Park parade grounds would lend themselves to al fresco yoga classes, don’t you think?

9. As long as I’m indulging my own personal pipe dreams, wouldn’t it be amazing if residents could earn credit on their property tax bill by “adopting” a beautification project in the city? You know, maintain a public garden or median green patch or be responsible to dig out all the fire hydrants in an area of town.

10. On a related note, for those of us who like to pay their property tax bill in person, on the 31st of January, of course, would it be possible to have some recycling bins available in City Hall for residents who may need another one? I’d rather not have to go to DGS to replace one of mine which recently went missing.

11. I’d love to see a winter carnival in this fine city. Capital Hills or Lincoln Park would be perfect locations – sledding, cross-country skiing, snowman building and snowshoeing activities would be a blast. Maybe some local sports stores could bring rental equipment and run clinics and we could get a couple of food trucks for warm up refreshments. Sounds
fun, yes?

12. The former Friendly’s on Delaware Avenue has been vacant for years. Can we either renovate and lease it or tear it down? It’s an ugly eyesore in my neighborhood!

13. Can we agree to retire the phrase Smalbany? Perhaps banish it to an island along with the Kardashians and Miley Cyrus?

14. We’ve got some exciting political energy going on locally. Let’s work with our elected leaders to encourage smart growth and positive attitudes in this New Year. I know we can make it a good one, friends.

How about you?  What can you add to this list?

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Filed under Albany, Delaware Avenue, DelSo, ideas, Local, Recommendations, winter

So-so to DelSo

DSC_0043My day started unbalanced.  There was a fantastic series of wind storms that interrupted my sleep with clanking blinds and papers flying.  I had a dream I would have preferred to forget and a slippery bottle of milk left my sneakers in a puddle of white.  The clean up of that dairy disaster, stole my YMCA mojo and left me feeling slightly…sour.

But, then… a coffee moment with someone special, a thorough bathroom scrubbing, and a somewhat cooler afternoon, started to swing the pendulum in the opposite  direction.  I watched a little Wimbledon, read a couple of chapters and had a five-minute power nap.  Yes, there is such a thing.

Slightly after 5 pm, I made my way, accompanied by my favorite globe-trotting 30-something, to the Albany Barn fundraising event, Build Up.  I wasn’t familiar with the location, but it was easy enough to find and we found convenient parking before the skies opened up for real.  There was a meaty smokiness to the air which did nothing to diminish the bright airy quality of the well-lit room.

The attendees were upbeat and overwhelmingly familiar.  There were more burger toppings than you could dream of, including locally sourced chanterelles, cheeses from R&G in Cohoes, sesame seed sprinkled buns from All Good Bakers and an overwhelming array of pickled, chopped and shredded veggies.  Libations, exclusively from the Empire State were served.

I met the couple who own the house I most admire in the DelSo and had a Carrie Bradshaw moment despite my flat sandals.  I shot photos and made introductions and assembled my own slider with chipotle chèvre, chimichurri, bacon and purple leaf lettuce.  I drove home, noticing that Delaware Avenue was parked nearly full on both sides.  My neighborhood was busy.  It was a good day.

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Filed under Albany, art, DelSo, Events, Local, SEEN, Summer

St. Patrick’s Day ~ 2013

On the weeks when I work two double shifts, I struggle to get my miles in.  In addition to being somewhat obsessive about exercise, I am also mistress of the rationalization so, I console myself on these alternating weeks with the fact that I get some physical activity running up and down the stairs at the Wine Bar.  Guilt assuaged.

I had planned to take a run yesterday, but between a super late Friday night, an array of errands and a soccer game (we won), I just knew I didn’t have it in me.  Sunday was essentially looking wide-open and I decided I’d experience that long run which had become almost mythical in my mind – my house to Delaware to Whitehall to New Scotland to Slingerlands and the bypass, to Kenwood and back to Delaware and then home.  I finally had the time and today seemed the ideal day to give it a go.

After a relaxing morning, I put myself in the mindset that my run was a St. Patrick’s Day treat akin to soda bread and a pot of tea from Bewley’s.  I particularly appreciated that any residual March 18 discomfort would be the result of muscle exertion rather than beer over indulgence.  My weather app kept promising clouds, but luckily they never materialized.  I think the somewhat aggressive wind may have kept those moving right along in the blue sky.

John McMenamin

John McMenamin

What kept me moving over the 9.5+ miles?  Good music, thoughts of my late Uncle John McMenamin, a man who loved a good brisk walk along the Irish Sea, and my sense that the sun was in complete approval of my efforts.  I allowed myself to move at a pace that I could keep moving at and I am absolutely content with my outing.  If Uncle John and I were able to sit down together with a couple of bowls of his wife Bridie’s creamy vegetable soup, I’d say today was just about an ideal St. Patrick’s Day.  I hope yours was equally enjoyable.

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Filed under Exercise, family, holidays, Irish, running, sunday

12 Days of Christmas – Dining Delso

DSC_0001The 9th day of Christmas would be the ideal time to visit the big sister on the block – Nicole’s Restaurant.  This family run spot is most definitely an established business in the DelSo, really, it’s practically an institution.  Established in 1986 (!), Nicole’s has long been a consistently great spot for a romantic dinner for two, a family meal or festive group dinner.  The political types that litter Albany during session even make the trip down Delaware to enjoy items such as Eggplant Roulade and Hazelnut Chicken – you’ll recognize them when you them, trust me.  I really appreciate that meals are available in full and small portions and they also do a terrific “to-go” meal deal during the week that I plan to check out after the holidays.  And don’t forget them when you’re looking for a caterer for your next event – there were rave reviews for the food they provided in November for the Historic Albany Foundation’s BUILT show.  Check back in January for a post about their to-go meal specials – something for us both to look forward to in the New Year!

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Filed under Albany, Christmas, Delaware Avenue, DelSo, Dinner, favorites, Food, Recommendations, Restaurants

12 Days of Christmas – Dining DelSo

DSC_0026On the 8th day it was time to check out the bar(tenders) at a favorite neighborhood joint – New World Bistro Bar.  This place has been such a huge asset to the DelSo area.  Seriously, it probably single-handedly started the resurgence of Delaware Avenue when it opened a few years back.  I think the appeal of NWBB is its ability to be everything to everyone.  Need a quick bite pre or post movie?  Check! Looking for a place for a meal to impress a date or group of friends?  Yep, they do that.  How about a spot for a well mixed drink and a nosh at the bar?  Yeah, they’ve got that covered, too.  The space is funky, the servers familiar veterans and the food creative and consistently well-timed to the season.  And speaking of Christmas – this place is in fact open and ready to give you the gift of a stellar meal. Here’s their new winter menu. – a present to each and every one of us.

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Filed under Albany, Brunch, Christmas, Delaware Avenue, DelSo, Dinner, drinking, Eating, favorites, Local, Recommendations, Restaurants