Thursday, September 21, 2006

A simple request

As you may know, I'm running for Congress in NY's 21st district. The media will not cover the campaign. There appears to be a deliberate policy of not covering challengers except in rare circumstances. What kind of a democracy do we have if the voters don't know who the choices are?

If you think newspapers and other media should cover challengers, please contact the appropriate people at the media outlet of your choice.

For the Albany Times Union:

For the Daily Gazette (Schenectady):
c/o The Daily Gazette
P.O. Box 1090
Schenectady, N.Y. 12301-1090

For the Troy Record:

For the Leader Herald (Fulton County):

For the Recorder (Amsterdam):


Monday, September 11, 2006

The Chariot in Guilderland

One of my old favorites is the Chariot Restaurant in Guilderland. It's been there since 1974. The Shinas family owns and runs it. Their son Andy was graduated with me and I think we even went to the same elementary school.

We had dinner there Sunday for my mom's birthday. The food was excellent. I haven't always liked everything at the Chariot, but I usually like most of what we get. Last night I got the Tuscany Toss (penne with white beans and spinach in olive oil). That was excellent. I also got a dolmadakia appetizer which was good. The main course also came with a salad which was fine - nothing to write home about (or blog about), but it was still a solid salad. Hmm. Solid Salad - might be a good name for a restaurant.

My wife got a beef dish (maybe tenderloin tips?) that came with sliced potatoes. Her dish was also quite good. My mother-in-law said something about the potatoes being like her mother used to make. I told her my friend Andy's mother still makes them like that. :-)

One particularly nice thing was the atmosphere. Our younger daughter (19 months) had not napped much and was cranky. I was able to take her outside repeatedly. They had a nice patio and we could actually see horses on the neighboring property - Hannah kept saying "neigh".

We brought home baklava and ate that at home. Not the best baklava ever, but they were good. Large pieces with a cream on the side that seemed heavier (and tastier) than whipped cream.

If you've never been to the Chariot, you should give it a try. If you've been, but it's been a while, you probably forgot that you miss it. Try it again.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Koto - Near Albany Airport

I'm a member of the Japanese Cultural Association of the Capital District. We meet at various restaurants. We used to go to Miyako in Guilderland, but the service was generally slow, and we had a really bad day when we had 30-40 people and it took over 3 hours, so the group stopped meeting there. I still go to Miyako a lot, probably more than twice a month.

Anyway, JCACD meets at Ichiban usually (it's cheap, but I'm not fond of it), but they've started going to other places. Tonight we went to Koto, which is on Old Wolf Road in Latham, not far from the airport.

The interior was very nice, though it seemed a little noisy. I'd like to give a full description of the food, but due to the circumstances of our dinner I didn't try as many things as I might usually. I decided to go for sushi. I had the "Sex on the Beach" roll along with the Chirashi.

As you might guess, the "Sex on the Beach" roll is not traditional Japanese cuisine. It had three different kinds of fish along with avocado and something else, maybe something with a little crunch to it (I'm guessing shrimp tempura, but that's a guess only). The roll was fine, but at $14 for that one roll, it didn't live up to my expectation.

Chirashi is a fairly common sushi dish in Japan. In my experience it's normally a bowl of rice with various pieces of fish on top. I ordered it because that gives you a chance to try a few different kinds of fish and you get to taste the fish itself, rather than the stuff loaded into a funky roll. It was not what I expected, but not terrible. It came out on a large plate with a larger than usual amount of rice. There was less fish than I would have thought (again, since it was a bit pricey), and it included crabsticks and tamago (like scrambled egg). I didn't think the fish was first-class. Don't get me wrong - it wasn't bad. But it didn't taste quite as fresh as what you'll get at Yoshi's or Miyako. Before I forget, Koto did a good job of presentation - the food was presented on nice plates in manner that's somewhat attractive, though not on the traditional types of dishes and bowls one might see in Japan.

I don't feel my experience was enough to give a thorough review. I will probably go again with my wife and/or others and order a few appetizers and a couple main courses so we can get a better sense of the place.

I should also mention that while dinner is a bit expensive, they appear to have a reasonable lunch menu that might make sense for those on a budget. It will probably never be a regular place for me due to location and my preference for other places, but I'll give it another shot.

Friday, September 01, 2006


I eat at Panera so often I forget to write about it. Our office is near Crossgates. Technically we're in the City of Albany, but we're really between Guilderland and Colonie. Anyway, there's a Panera in Crossgates Commons. Very easy for us to run over there and grab a quick bite, so we go there a lot.

For a chain, I have to say this is really quite good food. First of all, there are a lot of healthy choices, and they taste good. All their soups are healthy, but they always have two that are extra sanctified. My favorite is the vegetarian black bean soup, which they have available most of the time. Sometimes I get the asparagus-pea soup, and that's pretty good too.

There's a wide variety of sandwiches, including at least a couple vegetarian choices. Even though those are good, I usually get a sandwich that's not quite as healthy. You can also get fresh fruit as a side for 79 cents extra, and I always get that. It's usually melon, grapes and pineapple and it's always fresh and tasty.

They have a deal where you get soup and half a sandwich, called "You Pick Two". I don't actually know what it costs, but we usually seem to spend about $10 per person, including the extra for fruit and a coke or something like that.

They also have a pastry and bread section. There's a cheese danish that's so sweet it oughtta be illegal.

I'm not saying Panera is haute cuisine. But it's a darn good lunch. And while it's not cheap, I spend a lot less there than I do when I go to Miyako's for sushi.