Weekend in Albany, NY
This past weekend I spent my time enjoying a lot of what Albany has to offer. Ever since getting back from Austin, I’ve been craving getting out and about. While I love cooking and eating at home, I also love going out. What can I say, I’m incredibly extroverted and adventurous?! That being said, I made the most of last weekend and spent little time inside or at home. I figured I’d share what my weekend looked like whether you are in Albany, visiting Albany or just want to see what The Sassy RD herself eats when going out!
My Amazing Race
I grew up watching the TV Show The Amazing Race. I honestly had hoped one day I would go on the show, or at least travel the world and try all the food wherever I went. While I don’t really want to go on the show anymore, I still want to live my life like I’m on The Amazing Race. Why? Because I worry every day that I won’t get the chance to try new foods or new cultures. It’s easy to get stuck in the day to day and not get out there to try new things. Well for me, #thisis30 and I’m ready to do more adventuring.
Everywhere I go, I’m always looking at what the town has to offer. I’m usually most excited about the food and drink fare. When in Austin I almost got too overwhelmed because everything looked so good. However, I took a deep breath, found spots that worked for our group and promised myself I’d go back one day to try everything else. Not to mention, you don’t have to try it all to get the whole experience of a town.
Speaking of experiencing a town, sometimes you need to experience your own hometown. If we’re being honest, I never pictured myself living in Albany, NY. I moved here 6 years ago this July and was hesitant at first. I moved from Chicago and let me tell you, while it was still in the US, it was a bit of culture (and lifestyle) shock.
I was used to being able to find any type of cuisine any time of day and could get there via foot or public transit. It was never a matter of if we were going to eat something delicious it was when and with whom. When I moved to Albany, I pretty much had JJ and his engineering buds who are great, but didn’t have people to be like “hey I want to go here 5 minutes from now, will you go with me!?” I also didn’t know where to go or what to eat in the area.
A lot has changed in 6 years and by getting out on the town with friends who get me (and I would argue are more food-venturous than me) I’m starting to realize how much is in this town. This weekend I hit up a few great spots, let’s check them out!
Fort Orange Brewing
For all intents and purposes, my weekends start on Thursday evenings, especially in the summer. This past week we decided to meet some friends at Fort Orange Brewing in downtown Albany for Trivia Night.
Now, I never go anywhere for their trivia because frankly, I’m TERRIBLE at trivia. Out of the 30 questions, I’m pretty sure I contributed to 2.5 of the correct answers. I almost always go for the friends and the entertainment of it all. As a collective team named “The Jammy Packs” we didn’t do so well BUT we did crush the competition in laughs and most fun had.
One of our friend’s friend brought a cheese platter & some buffalo chicken dip which helped stave off any hunger pains that might have ensued. The good news is they have Nine Pin Cider there for those of us who don’t drink beer. Those who did have the beer thoroughly enjoyed their choices.
Pros: Great set up with a garage door that opens in the summer, FREE Trivia, plenty of beer on tap & cider for those who don’t drink beer, easy to find parking, & you can bring your own food or order it to the brewery.
Cons: No food served in-house and limited drink selection if you don’t like beer.
Since JJ was out of town this week I immediately enlisted friends to hang out with as I didn’t want to be too bored. My friend Kait said she was down to do ALL THE THINGS which turned out being dinner at The Shop and eating ice cream on her couch as dessert. I had heard of The Shop but had never made an effort to go. We found out they have some strong cocktails and amazing gluten-free poutine. Here’s what we ordered:
- Beverages: Staycation (smokey, spicy, tart, & sweet. mezcal. lime. agave. peppers.) & Audrey II (effervescent watermelon & herbs. tequila. lime. watermelon. bubbles.
- Appetizer: Buffalo Chicken Poutine
- Main Dish:
- Me: Kofte burger-lamb & pork burger, arugula, red onion, roasted carrot hummus, lemon aioli, no bun and asked for it on top of a salad instead of with fries
- Kait: “sloppy choppy”- chopped burger, burnt cheddar, jalapeno, caramelized onion, roasted garlic, barbecue, no bun with a side salad
Pros: drinks & apps were amazing & incredibly filling, the atmosphere was casual & laid back, we were seated immediately on a Friday evening, parking was easy, menu is labeled well & wait staff was incredibly friendly.
Cons: Burgers were good but no good substitute for bun (can a girl get a lettuce wrap?!) & lighting was very dim
After a morning filled with fitness and cleaning, I was starving. I begged my friend Laura (no, not myself) to grab food with me. We had been talking about the new Lark St. Poke Bar in downtown Albany and figured why not give it a go?! I love sushi and all things fish so we were excited to see what it was all about.
Think of it as a Chipotle-style sushi-esque salad bar experience. The servers were incredibly helpful and let you taste any of the sauces and walked us through the process of ordering, don’t be afraid to ask! You can pile your salad bowl with as much as possible, you pick a base (i.e. rice, zoodles, greens, wonton chips, tacos, etc.). Then you get to pick 2 or 3 scoops (think like ice cream only fish :-P) and then mixins like veggies, avocado, nuts/seeds, etc. and finally a sauce and/or some sesame seeds.
They do have beverages there both alcoholic and non-alcoholic, Laura opted for a Thai Tea and I a 9 pin Cider.
Pros: you can get 3 scoops instead of 2 scoops of protein for only a few dollars more, food was fresh and tasty, you get fed FAST & menu is labeled well.
Cons: Not great for those who don’t like raw fish or fish in general. Avocado is extra, I guess as it always is, but still not into that.
Indian Ladder Farms (Yellow Rock Cafe)
I couldn’t let a weekend home go by without trying brunch somewhere. I had seen on their Instagram that they had brunch specials this past weekend all of which sounded amazing. It wasn’t hard to convince my friend Austin to come with me. The good news is this kid can eat. The even better news is he didn’t turn down my request to order all 3 specials with an extra side of bacon for the 2 of us. Our waitress at one point even said: “how are you 3 doing”. Well the 2 of us ate more than 3 people might.
What did we order? Triple Berry Fruit Compote French Toast (with gf bread) & a side of bacon, Red Flannel Hash with 2 poached eggs, & the chorizo Breakfast Tacos. Can’t wait to go back immediately. They also have good coffee & kombucha, awwwww yeah.
Pros: fast service, gluten-free offerings, delicious local fare & fun atmosphere should you want to pick your own fruit, grab a cider/beer or have some apple cider donuts.
Cons: Out of the way for most of my friends & not a ton of seating.
It’s amazing how if you do a little searching, you can find a lot of good food and activities in your area. Now, I must say it’s better than it was when I moved here BUT it may also be that my perspective has changed a bit for the better as well.
Now on to this weekend, looking forward to a bit more exploring and relaxation. What is your favorite restaurant in your town?! Share below, love to know where my next trip will be to!