Archive for September, 2008

Mmm-mix tape II

Monday, September 15th, 2008

Like a lovelorn teenager who won’t leave you alone, I’ve made another mix-tape.  Yep, this one is another dining-out in Albany version

Track 1- Justin’s “Breakfast”
We stopped in for breakfast on a Sunday morning after strolling through Washington Park.  We were surprised at how good it was.  I guess we never thought of Justin’s as a breakfast place, but the breakfast we had was really quite good.  Plus, they were super nice to Nacho (our dog) and gave him a water bowl as we dined outside. 

Track 2- Justin’s “Corned beef hash”
This was excellent; I was shocked; let me explain.  I NEVER order corned beef hash. Cati orders the stuff often as she has fond memories of eating canned corned beef hash while boating with her family as a child.  I think canned corned beef hash tastes like dog food smells (most restaurants serve the canned stuff), but this was not canned stuff.  It was perfectly salty, greasy, and delicious.  It was served on a skillet and mixed with the eggs beautifully.  I really enjoyed it.  It also seemed like the perfect meal for a hangover. 

Track 3- Salsa Latina “Bandeja Tipica”
Salsa Latina is a new restaurant on Central Ave that specializes in Mexican and Latin American food.  The bandeja tipica is quite possibly the best $10.75 dinner I’ve ever had.  This dish comprised an entrecote steak, fried plantains (yum), refried beans, white rice, a fried pork-skin rind, a piece of sausage, white rice, an avocado, a little rice cake (I think), and a fried egg.  I liked every single thing on my plate, and that’a a lot to like. 

Track 4- New World Home Cooking “Pork Chops”
Meh; big portions; the pork was dry.  The greens were really good though.   

Track 5- New World Home Cooking.  “Steak and fried plantain ‘french fries'”
The steak was fantastic, the fried plantains were not sweet enough and were a bit dry (nowhere near as good as the ones at Salsa Latina), but a good steak covers a multitude of sins [I oughtta write that down, eh?].  We weren’t really impressed with the food on our visit.  Especially in light of the amazing champagne dinner we attended last year.  Maybe we’ll stick to special events. 

Track 6- Emack and Bolio’s. “Coffee and a kid size ice cream.” 
Cute place that we can walk to.  Plus Nacho is free to run around in their fenced in yard.  The ice cream is good, but I’m not nearly the connoisseur as some other bloggers/webmasters out there.     

Track 7- El Mariachi (on Washington Ave)  “Taquitos” 
These little beauties are not on the menu at the Hamilton Ave El Mariachi II.  At the Washington Ave location, you can order individual tacos (including exotic ones like beef tongue and goat).  Although the restaurants are owned by the same family, they are quite different (note: the margaritas are great at both locations). 

Track 8- Hana “Sushi”
After reading Steve Barnes’s stellar review, we had to check it out.  They had live sea urchin in the sushi case, and although it was pricey, we couldn’t pass it up.  As you can see in the photo, it afforded five pieces of nigiri sushi.  The sushi chef used the empty urchin shell as a holder for our pickled ginger.  It was excellent and had a sweetness to it.  We also ordered a fatty tuna roll that was succulent.  The freshness of the fish was outstanding.  I can’t say the nigiri was Saso’s level good, but it was darn close (we like the rice at Saso’s better).  We’d definitely go back if Saso’s were closed for vacation or if Saso got a restraining order against us because we go too often, for example. 

Track 9- Avenue A “Caldo Verde.”

Track 10- Avenue A “Miso Soup Special”
Cati and I hadn’t been to Avenue A since they moved from Avenue A to Delaware Ave (but they kept the name Avenue A).  Cati went with some friends prior to the two of us going and she raved about the tomato soup special.  They didn’t have it when we went together so I ordered a soup from the menu– the Caldo Verde, and Cati ordered the miso soup special.  They were both delicious.  I ordered a jerk chicken panini, and was dissapointed with how little jerk flavor it had.  Cati ordered a smoked salmon sandwich and really enjoyed it.  It came with a wasabi cole slaw that I thought was quite interesting (in a good way).  Well, we both agree that their soups are a sure fine way to enjoy your lunch. 

Track 11- Miss Albany Diner “Simply the Best”
We really like this place.  Anyone else see the WNYT news ad on Channel 13 with Phil Bayly and Paul Caiano having breakfast together at MAD?  Those two actually make me giggle in the mornings when I catch the local news before 7AM.  They gab so much and crack so many little jokes you can tell they’re buddies off camera.  Well, it turns out they know good breakfast joints too. 

Track 12- Saso’s “Every Breath You Take”
Ok, we are kinda stalkers for this place– a little like Mel from Flight of The Conchords.

Here’s a song that was nothing short of melodramatic-teenage-mix-tape gold back in the day.  GOLD, I SAY!

Baby Recipe

Friday, September 5th, 2008

Making a baby is a lot like making hummus or meatloaf.  Although there are a few requisite ingredients (only two really), there is no set recipe, and everyone has a slightly different way of going about it.  Here are some general guidelines to help you along:

Preparation time: 2-20 min

Cook time: ~40 weeks @ 98.6F

Difficulty level (scale of 1-10): His = 1,  Hers = 10000

Preparation:  Selecting a partner is a critical step.  Quality is paramount; never settle for good-enough and shop around if you must.  Once a suitable mate is selected, and you’ve decided to make the baby, setting the mood is important.  Again, this step will vary from cook to cook, but I recommend a suave love-song to create an amorous ambience– I always use this one (works every time):

I’ll assume most people who are attempting this recipe have some familiarity with baby-making basics, but if not, this educational Monty Python sketch should bring you up to speed. 

Frequent repeated attempts are recommended.  Results may vary and there is no formula, technique, or setting that guarantees pregnancy.  If all else fails, try sneaking out of the house through a window late at night for a rendezvous in the car; I remember that being pretty effective for people during highschool.   

Guys, during the 40-week cook-time, check on your wife often.  If the pregnancy took, she should be plumping up nicely– like a Ball Park Frank.  WARNING: Do not ever, EVER, comment on the level of plumpness or the plumping rate.  This will likely trigger a moodswing (note: they will also occur without provocation). During the moodswing, just drop to the ground into a ball; protect your head, neck, and vital organs and wait it out.  It should dissipate into heavy rain bands, intermittent wind gusts, and thunderstorms with greatly diminished force within a few hours.  Get up, check yourself for wounds, and immediately apologize. 

Season the baby liberally with Omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins, and whatever the hell mom-to-be wants. 

40 weeks of cooking, and presto– a baby:

We waited until we saw her to decide on her name; it’s Nina.  Going solely on looks, I wanted to name her Magoo, but my vote was resolutley vetoed [shrug].  Now that she’s here, all the work is behind us and we can just relax, right?  Right?  Hello?

Cati’s thoughts: Here’s a very important video that all couples who are considering having children need to see.  It’s funny and true: