Saturday, July 21, 2012

Francesca is my new best friend

Troy has some really neat little eateries that can be easily overlooked, especially when you are trying to navigate through Troy's complicated grid of one-way streets by car. I happened to stumble upon Francesca's while running some errands to the post office on Broadway during my lunch break and decided to pop in for a quick bite to eat. For such a small eatery, the place was hoppin' and the tables were all full, leaving me no choice but to take my food to-go.

The menu offered an abundant amount of choices, from salads, sandwiches, drinks and soups. There was also a wrap and soup special offered and it is changed up on a daily basis.

From what I've been told, Francesca is the wife of Harry Tutunjian, the former mayor for the City of Troy. She makes each and every one of the sandwiches herself, with her staff making drinks, manning the register and assisting her. While making sandwiches, Francesca was greeting familiar faces in line, which happened to be everyone next to me. It's refreshing to find a home-style sandwich shop where even the owners themselves remember names and faces and in Francesca's case, their "usual" fare.

I ordered a tuna melt with smoked Mozzarella, lettuce and tomato on wheat- you really can't go wrong with a tuna melt. My buddy ordered "The Collar City"- a gourmet sandwich served with turkey, ham, field greens, onions, roasted red pepers served on a toasted basil focaccia with the choice of cheese and dressing. The sandwiches were served with pickles and chips.

Back at the office, we eagerly unwrapped our sandwiches and dove in. Is it possible to taste the difference between a sandwich and a "hand crafted"sandwich? Yes, I truly believe so, and that is what I tasted from the tuna melt. The tuna is obviously made fresh, with just the right hints of pepper.

My buddy's "Collar City" looked delectable and was gone in 5 minutes- luckily I snapped a photo before he attacked the second half.

According to the restaurant's menu, they are open for breakfast and lunch (7:30 AM- 4:30 PM) but only Monday through Friday. With so many businesses moving into the downtown area (i.e. RPI), I'm almost sure that they don't need to be open on the weekends, but it would be nice if they were for my early mornings at the Troy Farmer's Market

So yes, Francesca is my new best friend and I'll be visiting her on a weekly basis. I hope Average Jane won't mind!

Sunday, July 15, 2012

"Went down to the Crossroads..."

I took to the streets again this week looking for something new and exciting. I traveled near and far from the outskirts of Albany. I found my way to Athens, New York. Athens is an old historic village in Greene County, near the Catskills. The old Athens photo reminds me of when Marty McFly and Doc Brown traveled back to 1885.

What brings someone to Athens? Crossroads Brewery. I took the 30 minute trip to Athens and I found my way to the brewery.

The Athens brewery has 10 of their own craft beers on tap. I have to give a recommendation for you all to try their Cream Ale. The Brady’s Bay Cream Ale is a German Pilsner Malt at 5.0% abv.

I initially went to Crossroads for the beer. What I soon found out about the Crossroads Brewery was they opened their kitchen to the public for the first time. I had to check out the menu. All of my readers know I am a huge fan of pulled pork. When I see it on the menu, I have to try it because I have a secret ambition to write a book surrounding the best pulled pork in the United States.

The food was delicious. The pulled pork was succulent and full of flavor. The Crossroads Brewery pulled pork can hold its own. In the last few weeks, I have had pulled pork from Dinosaur BBQ (Troy, NY) and the Pig Pit (Albany Food trucks). Now, I can add Crossroads Brewery (Athens, NY) to the expanding list.

Crossroads Brewery is located 21 Second Street, Athens, NY.


Mon - Thurs:
4:00 pm-9:00 pm
4:00 pm-12:00 am
12:00 pm-12:00am
1:00 pm-9:00

Friday, July 6, 2012

Now That's A Big Sandwich

The menu clearly states: “All sandwiches eaten on premise are served with chips and a choice of macaroni salad, potato salad or pickles.” I like simple and there are simply five sandwich choices on the menu. Did I mention that is the total menu minus beverage choices and soup of the day (only during the winter)? That’s all good because all you have to do is look at my ham sandwich and agree that Mama Cass would be proud.

Roast beef, turkey, corned beef, ham and cheese or tuna fish is what Slick’s Restaurant and Tavern, at 127 South Ferry Street in the Stockade area of Schenectady, specializes in and they do it in grand fashion. This is the real deal in size. I didn’t weigh it, but we are talking at least one pound of meat. The meat is cut fresh from a deli slicer that resides at its home behind the bar. Breads of choice are white, wheat or rye.

The proper etiquette for consuming of said sandwiches is the one-handed messy taco approach. Make the commitment and stick with it. Never put it down. Pick up your drink with the other hand. Use your napkin with the other hand. Putting this beast of a sandwich down could cause some complicated structural defects that may not be fixable. The trick is to use your palm as the stop zone from the meat exiting the opposite side by way of the slippery dressing.

The second you walk into Slick’s you get that cozy neighborhood bar feel. It has a nice long bar and a handful of tables towards the back of the room. I’m privy to take-out because I’m often on the go when I’m near here. The one drawback to take-out here is that the chips are not included (only “on premise” are chips allowed). If you are looking for a huge sub then go to The Deli and Brew, in Troy. If you are looking for a huge sandwich, Slick’s in Schenectady is the place.