Saturday, September 29, 2012

Brunch in the Land of Jack Byrne

Want to know the thing I dislike most in the morning?  Roosters.  I know, we don’t exactly have a high population here in the Collar City.  But take a short drive outside of Downtown Troy, and you will find that the Capital Region has a fair share of farm life.  And as soon as that sound comes up…..COCKA DOODLE DO!

So if I’m going to deal with a rooster, it will not be any time near sunrise.  Which is why I recently headed up to Mechanicville for a late brunch at The Ugly Rooster.  Lets just say my opinion of roosters has done a completely 180.

Open for just over three years, The Ugly Rooster has quite a reputation, hence our 20 minute wait despite a late arrival.  But there is no complaining about that, because our meals were well worth it, especially when you consider that Mrs. Average Joe and I left more than stuffed, all for under $20. 

What’s great about going with Mrs. Average Joe, is that we order from both sides of the menu.  She prefers a healthy meal, while I tend to stick to order a meal that my Dr. probably doesn’t prefer.  The Mrs. Ordered Nick’s French Toast, stocked with a variety of fruit, creating a rather colorful plate.  I ordered a speciality that included eggs, bacon and gravy.  The name is escaping me because my entire body shut down with happiness, see the picture included and you’ll understand.

I can’t wait to go back to The Ugly Rooster and I have a special reason why.  Next time, I plan on trying the Colossal Pancake Challenge.  Two 12” pancakes, fruit filling, butter, whip cream and syrup……in 20 minutes.  The Ugly Rooster recently saw their first winner, and I look forward to joining him and getting my picture on the Wall of Fame.

Friday, September 21, 2012

M’m! M’m! Good!

Now that's some good soup, and I'm not talking about Campbell’s soup. I’m talking about a business that is located at, ironically enough, Campbell Avenue in Troy, named Centanni’s Market. Down the hill from HVCC, Centanni’s took over the space that formerly was occupied by Barna’s Superette-Delicatessen on Burden Pond.

They have been my go-to soup place ever since they opened a couple years ago. It’s homemade goodness in every spoonful. You are never left with a bowl of broth at the end because the portions of meats and vegetables are so ridiculously high that it’s a full spoon from first dip to last. Today's choice: chicken and rice!

Staff is always friendly and helpful. Daily specials often range from meatloaf to mac and cheese or baked ziti. And that’s on top of the awesome Italian deli that offers a plethora of meats and cheeses for the sandwich of your choice.

Friday, September 14, 2012

The Diner Test

I've been hitting up the diners in the Capital Region lately as you well know. It's just an adventure every time for me, I have to try them all.

I headed over to Manory's Restaurant this week. I wasn't looking for a crazy breakfast or anything, just keeping it simple with some eggs, bacon and toast, and of course the home fries. That's the test right there, this is how I test out a new diner each time. I just go with the basics.

 This includes the coffee, it must be the blackest coffee to get the true experience and understand the taste of the whole diner. The reason for this is to taste the diner's coffee in its purest form which encompasses the character of the whole establishment. Overall, the food was good and I have no complaints. The coffee was great though. I felt comfortable eating there by myself, so that's good news if you're a loner. I can also picture myself hanging out alone and drinking a pot or two.

So that's how the story goes, I'm a traveler, a wanderer, just a phantom from one diner to the next.

Traveling through time, space and Troy.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Welcome to Jack's!

I am excited about this week's post. How can I not be excited? I finally had the opportunity to go back to Jack's Drive-In. Jack's Drive-In has been a staple to Wynantskill for as long as I can remember. The classic burger joint is more than just your average fast food restaurant.

As I approached the line with my three buddies, I was thinking about what I wanted to order. Well, it was actually more to the fact of how much I wanted to order. Jack's Drive-In can be comparable to White Castle burgers because they are small sliders with all the goods on top. Once I got to the window it wasn't difficult, I got my usual. The four burgers with "everything", cheese fries and a Pepsi.

"Everything" in Jack's terminology is cheeseburger, ketchup and caramelized onions. By far, the best part of the burger were the onions. It is difficult to describe the flavor the onions added to the burger. If you haven't been to Jack's I would recommend that you get to Jack's Drive-In before the weather changes and you won't be able to enjoy the full Jack's atmosphere.

The Fries!
Before I left, I looked around the park benches, I noticed a table of businessmen, a table where a grandfather and granddaughter were experiencing Jack's for the first time and even a table full of federal agents packing heat. Jack's is definitely a place for for everyone to enjoy a good ol' fashioned burger (with everything). Until next week, let's see how many of my followers can go to Jack's.

Cheeseburgers with "Everything"

Jack's Drive-In
24 Main Avenue
Wynantskill, NY 12198

Monday, September 3, 2012

Brunch in the 'Spa

If there's any meal of the day that I truly enjoy the most, it'd have to be brunch. Brunch allows me to sleep in a little bit and still wake up on time for breakfast or lunch food- my choice! I find myself wandering near and far for a great brunch and wandered over to Ballston Spa this past Sunday to check out 51 Front Wine Bar & Bistro and their Brunch Buffet, which occurs the first Sunday of every month. My thoughts were that if a wine bar & bistro offers a brunch once a month, then it must be legit.

While I have yet to have dinner at the restaurant, I was really looking forward to the brunch based on their Mediterranean flair in their usual dinner fare. Though the word "buffet" scares and excites me, this buffet fully excited me. Upon arriving, I was greeted by the Elena Marosek, who co-owns and operates the restaurant with her husband Joseph. While the place isn't large, I felt that there was enough elbow room for my friends and I to dine. The buffet wasn't large at all and consisted of scrambled eggs, a quiche, hash browns, sausage, bacon, fruit salad, pancakes/french toast, eggs benedict, bagels and patries. I filled my plate up with almost one of each, eager to try everything and anything.

The highlight of the brunch would have to be the eggs benedict. I'm picky with my Hollandaise sauce and find that most make it flavorless and thick. The sauce on the eggs benedict were perfect- a little bit of sweet, a little bit tangy, with just the right texture. The egg was placed on a thick seasoned piece of turkey and an English muffin- simple, yet perfect. The french toast took the silver medal and was perfectly proportioned to fit on my plate along with the other abundant amount of food I chose. Though the servings were small, the french toast packed a punch of both flavor and texture- sweet and moist in the middle.
On the bottom of the winners circle was the potatoes. They didn't seem to fit in with the aristry of the rest of the dishes, but we all know a full brunch includes hash browns of some sort. I really would love to see some of their Mediterranean flair come out in those potatoes though!

Overall, I left full and satisfied with the Brunch Buffet at 51 Front Street and will aim to attend their monthly brunches in the 'Spa.

51 Front Wine Bar & Bistro is located at 51 Front Street in Ballston Spa and is open Tuesday through Saturday for dinner (5:00 PM-close).