Thursday, May 26, 2011

9th Annual Polish Fest

As much as I love bouncing around from restaurant to restaurant, some of my favorite places to grab a bite are the many local festivals and bazaars that celebrate a particular ethnic heritage. And, if you're anything like me, you've been counting down the days until the summer when the festivals kick off.

I just wanted to give you an early notice about the 9th Annual PolishFest. It promises to be a great time for the whole family with plenty of food and beer to go around, not to mention the crafts, music and celebration of the Polish-American culture.

PolishFest will be held at the Blessed Virgin Mary of Czestochawa National Catholic Church, 250 Old Maxwell Road in Colonie on June 10th and 11th.

June 10th - $3 admission, event lasts from 5 - 9 p.m.
June 11th - $5 admission, event lasts from noon - 8 p.m.

For more information, call 453-2253 or visit their website.

All you need to know now is where do you sign up for the pierogi eating contest.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Up & Coming: Hill Street Cafe

Many of you have probably been wondering why I was so quiet this week and the truth is I've been living off of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches...just like mom used to make. And then I just got the most sudden craving for nachos. I can't keep them out of my mind.

Many longtime readers remember my review of The Fountain. Their Dorito nachos are great, but there's another hidden gem of a place that has some of the best nachos around. You've probably driven past it a dozen times already without thinking - it's hiding in plain sight. Located at 180 Madison Avenue, Hill Street Cafe is just a stone's throw from the State Museum.

I'll try to stop by during an upcoming lunch hour and provide a full report. In the mean time, I still have some PB&J to keep me going.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

The Man Meal Show - Let's Get It!

I think the Youtube gods have finally answered my prayers with The Man Meal Show. Finally, an online cooking show for men, by men.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Juicy Burgers & More - Who Knew May Was Burger Month?

Nobody can ever say Average Joe doesn’t check out a hot tip from one of his readers. A few comments on my Five Guys review got me thinking about Juicy Burgers & More. Could they really be the best around? I was definitely curious but it wasn’t until I found out about their “Burger Month” promotion that I had to go. Juicy Burgers is offering a $9.99 special for a burger, fries and a drink all month long to honor May as Burger Month.

Juicy Burgers is bold about how good they are. They know it and they don’t try to be coy about it. Even the cashier insisted I take a loyalty card telling me that I would be 100% be back for more. To their credit, the burger was really good and now that I think about it, I want another one. The fries were pretty average, definitely nothing mind blowing. Considering the price, $9.99, it was definitely worth it.

Not that I’m looking to start a burger war or anything, but if I had to choose between Five Guys and Juicy Burgers right now, I'd stick with Five Guys. The burgers a bit juicier and their fries are so addictive.

Juicy Burgers has two locations in the Capital Region: 5 New Karner Road in Guilderland and 15 Trieble Avenue in Ballston Spa.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Bombers - A Model of Consistency

I think it's become fairly clear over the past couple of months that two of my favorite foods are nachos and jerked chicken. I can't help it, I want them whenever I see them on a menu. A recent visit to Bombers' original location on Lark Street gave me the chance to have both in one. So, of course, I had to get them.

Bombers is a solid meal every time. It's always steady and reliable. No matter what I get or when I get it, it's always good. It's rare to find an establishment like that and ultimately I think it's what sets them apart. You know your burrito, quesadilla or whatever you order is going to hit the spot. And the best thing is, no matter what you try off of their huge menu, it will be just as good the next time you order it.

Monday, May 16, 2011

A Taste of Troy

Looking for something to do tomorrow night? The Franklin Terrace Ballroom on 126 Campbell Ave in Troy is holding a benefit tomorrow from 6:00 pm to 8:30 pm. Troy restaurants will be on hand, offering select items from their menus for attendees to sample. Tickets are $20 for pre-sale and $25 at the door. Proceeds benefit Hope 7 Community Center Food Pantry and Youth Programs.

Click here for more information.

Average Joe - Featured in the Troy Record

A few weeks ago I became the Troy Record’s number one “Life” blog. Now they’re spreading the word about me in the paper. Don’t worry folks, I won’t let this newfound stardom go to my head…I’ll always be an average joe.

Now it’s time for me to return the favor: if you live in Troy or the communities that surround it, pick up a copy of The Troy Record to read with your morning cup of joe.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Pig Pit

Spud Buds
A few years ago, before BBQ joints were a dime a dozen in the Capital Region, Ontario Street in Cohoes was home to a small pink restaurant named the Pig Pit. Their current location on 26 Washington Avenue in Cohoes, nixed the pink paint, but their food is just as good as it always was. If you haven’t stopped in yet I’m not really sure what you’re waiting for. I don’t think they’re in the business of handing out engraved invitations. 

I’m no stranger to the place, so take it from me: start off with the Spud Buds -- their potato skins. Those things are some of the best I’ve ever had. They fill up 4 potato halves with their pulled pork, BBQ sauce and cover it with cheese. One word comes to mind: outstanding.
Pulled pork & Cole Slaw

Now that I let the cat out of the bag, let’s move on to their pulled pork. The Pig Pit has a lot of food on their menu – you could visit a dozen times without trying everything, but from my experience the best thing they have to offer is their pulled pork. I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that their pulled pork is better than Dinosaur’s. Pictures are worth a thousand words so take a look at these and at least consider putting cole slaw on top of your sandwich next time you stop in.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Burger Bombs are coming to Lake George

Thinking of taking a day trip to Lake George this summer? Well, it looks like you’re going to have yet another restaurant to choose from if you do. From Bagels to Burgers will open its doors at 217 Canada St. on Saturday, May 14.

What makes these burgers worth an average joe’s time? Burger Bombs. These burgers come packed with goodies like mozzarella cheese and roasted peppers, Canadian bacon and Gouda cheese and pretty much anything else you can imagine. That’s like putting pizza toppings underneath the cheese. They just reinvented the wheel. I know I’ll be checking them out this summer, I want to see if Five Guys finally has a worthy challenger. 

For those of you not looking for an explosion of flavor in your mouth, the menu also has some more standard fare including bagels, sandwiches, hot dogs, vegetarian items and a variety of kid’s meals. They plan on focusing on take-out so don’t expect any valley parking.

Look, I typed up all that without saying “these burgers are the bomb” once. Give me some credit.

Click here to read The Business Review's original article.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Park Pub: Thanksgiving in chowder form? Yes please.

I don’t stroll into a pub expecting monogrammed plates, I just want good food that hits the spot. The menu might not be the biggest in town and the fare might be pretty standard, but sometimes I’m just in the mood for some pub food and a few beers to wash it down with. For days like that, check out Park Pub, in Frear Park in Troy.  We stopped by this weekend and got Thanksgiving Chowder. No photo this time, Average Joe tries to be sly on taking pictures in restaurant because of the "vast right-wing conspiracy" to uncover his true identity.  Now that Bin Laden is fish food, it's freeing up special-ops which gets me nervous.  So, anywho the photo I took of the Thanksgiving Chowder didn't come out because my fat finger was in the way.  Let me say this, Thanksgiving in chowder form, why did we think of this before?  I blame the education system.  You have to try this, it's Thanksgiving dinner = chowder.  How many times can I say Thanksgiving and chowder?  Looks like four, do me a favor go to the Park Pub and try the Thanksgiving Chowder (5), it's thanksgiving meets chowder without the annoying in-laws.  (Six now).

The great thing about pub food is, it's quick, easy, tasty, and goes good with booze.  Check out the one good photo I was able to take of the nachos and, have I mentioned Thanksgiving Chowder in the last 37 words?  Yup.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Looking for something to do with mom this weekend?

Everybody wants to do something special for their mom on Mother's Day. That being said, sometimes it's tough to think of how you can make it a special day for her. I like to take her out to eat because she cooked for me every day when I was growing up. Chances are you're in the same boat and you're wondering where you can take her. Lucky for you, I stumbled on this list of restaurants offering brunches and daily specials on Mother's Day. 

You can find the list, compiled by below.

Blu Stone Bistro
Mother's Day Brunch
Seatings at 11 am, 1 pm, And 2:30 pm
Buffet includes stuffed tuscan turkey ballantine, chicken montery, assorted pastas, a breakfast station with scrambled egss, stuffed french toast bacon and more, salad and hors d'oeuvres station and a selection of desserts.
Adults ages 10 & up: $35
Children ages under 10: $12
Details on Blu Stone Bistro »

The Desmond Hotel
Mother's Day Brunch Buffet
Seatings at 10am, 11am and 2pm
Buffest including eggs, quiche, pastries, french toast, a selection of soups and salads, aged prime rib, honey glazed ham, short ribs, chicken francaise and more.
View the menu>
Reservation suggested.
Adults: $39.95
Children ages 4-12: $19.95
Children under age 3: Free
Scrimshaw Restaurant:
Mother's Day Prix Fixe menu

1:00 pm to 7 p.m
Five courses with choices (Regular menu will also be served)
View the menu>
Simpson’s Grille:
Mother's Day Prix Fixe menu 
1:00 pm to 9 p.m
Three courses with choices (Regular menu will also be served)
View the menu>
Details on Desmond Hotel »
The Holiday Inn
Mother's Day Brunch Buffet
11am - 3pm
Buffest including eggs, lox and bagels, pastries, belgian waffles, grilled salmon with tropical salsa, sliced pork loin with calvados demi, carved turkey breast and more. A special children's buffet will also be served.
Reservation suggested.
Adults: $28.95
Children ages 4-12: $14.95
Children under age 4: Free
Details on Holiday Inn»
Paolo Lombardis Ristorante
Mother's Day Brunch Buffet
Seatings at 10 am, 10:30am, 11:30am, 12:15 pm And 1pm
Buffet includes eggs, french toast, pancakes, bacon, homefries, omlete station, salad bar, pasta station, carving station, assortment of cakes, pies, and more.
Reservations Required.
Adults ages 13 & up: $23
Children ages 6 to 12: $12
Children ages 5 & under: Free
Mother's Day Dinner
A full holiday menu made up of fine italian cuisine.
Details on Paolo Lombardis Ristorante»
Polish Community Center
Mothers Day Brunch
10 am - 3 pm
Pierogi, Stuffed Cabbage, Kielbasa & Kraut, Fresh Fruit, Cottage Cheese, Scrambled Eggs, Link Sausage, Danish, Deli Platter with Ham & Cheese, Hot Sliced Turkey & Gravey, Viennese Dessert Table, Coffee & Tea
Adults: $25
Seniors: $20
Children under 12: $12
Reservations suggested.
Details on the Polish Community Center of Albany»
Mother's Day Brunch
11 am- 4pm
Breakfast fare including, pastries, muffins, bacon, french toast, pancakes and more. Linch fare including suchi, trout, artisan cheese, a carving station with turkey, pork loin and strip loin. There will also be a kid friendly selection menu and a dacadent dessert display.
Reservations required.
Adults: $39
Children ages 6 to 12: $20
Children ages 5 & under: Free
Details on Taste»
The Waters Edge Lighthouse Restaurant
Mother's Day Brunch
10 am to 2 pm
Cut to order prime rib, roast turkey, baked ham, omlete station, chicken francaise, salmon, pasta and a selection of desserts, all served in our beautiful waterfront banquet facility.
Adults: $38
Children ages 6 to 12: $19
Children ages 5 & under: Free
Details on The Waters Edge Lighthouse Restaurant »

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Looks can be deceiving

Average Joe was traveling this weekend and I thought this presentation was interesting and wanted to share. This is crab stuffed jumbo shrimp with plantain chips at London Lennie's in Queens. The presentation was much better that the food, but I don't get paid for reviews outside of the Capital Region, in fact I don't get paid at all.