Friday, April 3, 2015
What do you do when you have 10 days vacation and no plans?
For the next 10 days, I'm pulling out all the stops and going on a restaurant binge. Normally I wouldn't subject my wallet (and my waistline) to such insanity, but I have a rare opportunity to do something I've always wanted to do and I'm taking advantage of it. I'm going to eat at as many restaurants as I can during my time off.
I'm calling it a staycationaurant. It's an amalgamation of the words stay-cation and restaurant. I actually think it has a nice ring to it! I'll tweet it and maybe it will go viral. People all over the country will say to each other, "Where did you eat on your staycationaurant?" There'll be debates on reddit over who invented the word. Eventually they'll trace it back to me and I'll become famous!
Yeah, probably not.
Today, mostly by chance, I visited three different places. They're all unique, all small, all locally owned, and all special.
I decided to become more active on Twitter, and part of that was to follow as many local eateries and businesses as I could find. In doing that I discovered @bakeforu, which I had not heard of. It's the Twitter handle of Bake For You. A small bakery that is in the space on Delaware Ave that used to be occupied by All Good Bakers. I stopped in to check them out, and had a nice conversation with Linda Kindlon, the owner. One of the things she mentioned was she doesn't do a lot of advertising and relies on word of mouth, and social media, (like twitter) to get the word out about her bakery—what a coinkydink. We tried a scone and a croissant and they were excellent. The front of the shop is tiny with a few small tables, but it's nicely decorated and my wife and I very much enjoyed hanging out there while eating our treats, sipping coffee, and chatting with Linda.
After leaving Bake For You, and because of prodding from our daughter, we headed downtown to Cider Belly Doughnuts. Like Bake For You, Cider Belly is locally owned and passionate about what they do. And also like Bake For You it shows in the product. Our daughter is fanatical about Cider Belly. She loves their doughnuts, and for good reason, they are addictingly delicious. I've known about Cider Belly since they opened in August of last year, and we've been regular customers ever since. About once a month we get a dozen, bring them home and have a ball. And it seems every time we go in, they have new and unique doughnut varieties for us to try.
Later, after we got home from Cider Belly, my neighbor texted me and asked if we wanted to go to Four Corners Luncheonette for dinner with them. Since I'm on staycationaurant, of course I said yes! The Luncheonette has been in Delmar for many years, and it's a favorite of my neighbors. They know the owner, and the times we've had dinner there, they always stick their head in the kitchen to say Hi, and he's always in there cooking. The building is older and the space could use a freshening, but I don't care about that. It's special because it's down to earth, the food is good, and it's as close to homemade as you're going to get. It's uncanny really. The food is nearly identical to what most people make in their kitchens at home, and that includes the kind of flaws and inconsistencies that home cooking has.
Day one of staycationaurant was a resounding success. Not only did I get to eat good food, but I was reminded of just how many excellent, small, locally owned eateries Albany has.