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We're on our way to Albany

my wife got a promotion and we'll be moving although not for a while.she will need to find a small place to live while i continue to pack and get the house in selling order.i'm know this has been mentioned before but we'll be looking for good restaurants ( ya think?) ,markets and such.i'm still hoping trader joes will open somewhere in the area someday.any suggestions are welcome.neither of us are meat eaters although my wife is ok with poultry.

also,any good places to look for apartments,maybe in a house? coming from long island i think we should do ok considering the difference in housing prices.
thanks in advance,

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  1. Lots of recommendations on food in the Albany area in prior posts. My only comment is on the Trader Joes issue. Folks in Saratoga seem to be enamored with the idea of Trader Joes coming to the area, but Trader Joes official response is that the demographics do not make us a market that they are interested in.

    11 Replies
    1. re: trakman

      I really like the Albany Pump Station brewpub over near the hospital. Their Thai peanut wings are great.

      I forget the name but there's a great Vietnamese place that's been posted about here.

      1. re: MisterBill2

        probably not spelling correctly, but it is My Lihn

        1. re: jspear

          really close, jspear....My Linh. And it's a great restaurant.

          1. re: mjoyous

            thanks.if it's half as good as the place we go in chinatown,i'd be happy.thanks for the tips.is there ever a meet of local hounds? my wife knows some folks there through work but we'll need to get into the social world.we're not much for bar hopping but we love a good restaurant and love to entertain.she could open a bakery in my opinion and our friend's down here.we both cook so we are only looking at houses with great kitchens.you can sleep anywhere. ;-)

            1. re: davmar77

              davmar77, not sure where on this Board but there is a separate location to discuss meeting up with hounds. Housing market is so much better Upstate, which leaves even more disposable income for dining out.

            2. re: mjoyous

              My Linh is a good restaurant, though for Vietnamese I prefer Vans, on Central Avenue.

              If I want Italian, nothing beats Cafe Capriccio (in Albany) for me (it is not your typical upstate NY Italian food menu - and I am not dissing upstate NY Italian food; I'm an upstate NYer of Italian descent and heavy red sauce courses through my veins). But Cafe Capriccio is really a rare dining experience for that region.

              For casual, I agree that the Albany Pump Station is always good.

              There are at least two very good Chinese food markets in Albany, which also have great produce and fish (the one I frequent is on Colvin, off of Central Avenue in Albany).

              Finally, if a tamal is what you want, go to the tiny town of Valatie, about 1/2 south of Albany. In the center of town there is a tiny Mexican food market that serves tamales on Sundays. They also serve other specialties on other days of the week. You can call ahead to find out what they are cooking that day.

              1. re: Cachetes

                I 100% agree with Cachetes. I also prefer Vans for Vietnamese food. Last time I was there they had an amazing Tuna Steak. Also, their vegetarian food is great. My Linh spent a lot of money promoting itself over the last three years as the go to place. When I went I literally felt myself paying more for the advertising than for the the food. If you end up going to the Indi movie theater next door, My Linh isn't bad pre-movie dining. It's good food overall, just not as good in comparison to Van's.

                1. re: Cachetes

                  I'll have to try Van's next time I'm in town, Now am curious about the market in Valatie. Can you give directions or more info on how to find. Real tamales would make my month!

                  1. re: mjoyous

                    I haven't been in about two years. It is actually a market called Picante Uno. It's at 3020 Main Street in Valatie. It's quite small, and in the back there's a single stove on which they make the day's one or two dishes. I think it largely serves the Mexican population that works at the local orchards. It's not spectacular, but I can't think of anywhere else in the Albany area that makes real Mexican food. If I remember correctly, they do sell out of tamales by mid-late morning on Sundays.

                    A lot of people rave about Mexican Radio in Hudson, NY, though I've never been. I've seen the menu, and it looks a bit more like Mexican fusion (whatever that is!).


                    1. re: Cachetes

                      Thanks, Cachetes. Ate at Mexican Radio once, food was good but definitely fusion, and although we enjoyed our lunches, I felt paying NYC prices for Mexican food in Hudson NY was a little over the top. Plus I'm always looking for "real", as in street, Mexican food.
                      Closest I've come to what felt like the real thing (can't find any decent tamales though) came from a recommend off this list for Bros Tacos in Albany--California style but homemade and really good--and cheap!

            3. re: MisterBill2

              We like their food and the atmostphire is unique. Lots of brick. Good beer.

          2. I few good restaurants in the area are McGuires on Lark St. Although the Barnsider is known for steaks in Colonie their poultry dishes are good also; Lombardo's in Albany for Italian; D'Raymonds in Loudonville for Italian and a lot of chain restaurants are on Wolf Road in Colonie such as PF Changs, Cheesecake Factory; Friendly's etc., Also in Troy is the Plum Blossom Restaurant for great Chinese.
            As far as apartments go Colonie is a nice place to look Shaker Run Apts.; and also Delmar is a nice location to live but I don't know how many apartments are available. You might try the Guilderland area and also East Greenbush.

            4 Replies
            1. re: Diane

              Definitely look at the Dutch Village Apartments in (Loudonville ?) Eat at Beff's on Everett Rd for pub food and D'Raymonds is consistent and Great!, have the Veal rolled crab. Take a trip to Saratoga for small restaurants all within walking distance of Broadway, many to choose from and even though financial district would disagree, try Putnam St Market for some prepared take out and specialty foods, there is also a Roma's in Saratoga as well as the arts district restaurants on Beekman st. The Restaurants lited above are all great but I haven't heard of the Barnsider in years!

              1. re: jspear

                I'm lucky to go back and forth between Upstate and NYC so I don't need to depend on Putnam :)
                jspear, didn't know there is a Roma's besides the one in Loudonville. If I had to pick a location to live based on food Clifton Park/Ballston Lake is close to Saratoga Springs (the best dining options) and not too far from Albany, Troy (pizza and Tosca) and Schenectady (Glen Sanders Mansion, Aperitivo, wine bar near Ellis Hospital, plus a few casual places). Price Chopper, Hannaford, Roma's, a few specialty stores are pretty much it for food shopping. No Trader Joe's or Whole Foods.

                1. re: financialdistrictresident

                  Agreed on all but the CP location, too much sprawl, not enough community. The Roma's is in a small strip mall at the south end of Broadway in Saratoga. Try Just Meats in Malta for a butcher as well...

                  1. re: jspear

                    Roma moved a while back to Washington Street ... west of Broadway.

            2. Specialty food shops go to Roma in Latham. Great pancetta, imported olive oils, cheese, pasta etc. Next door is a great butcher. A bit expensive but the sales are good and they also carry smoked bacon etc from Oscar's Smokehouse. Outstanding.

              1. Check out TOP NY Capital Region-Albany, Schenectady, Saratoga, Troy. Here's the link: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/34960...

                1. I lived in the Albany area for ten years, most of it in Troy. Here are my suggestions both for Living and Eating.
                  1. Check out this website: http://dishanddirt.blogspot.com/ It's a friend of mine, she's vegetarian, her husband is not. If you look in the comment section of many of her posts, there are a couple of other foodies in the area who post there and they have good blogs as well.
                  2. Don't, by any means, bother to read the reviews from the Times Union or from Albany-to-go. The food critic is an idiot. I've met him several times and have read many of his articles and in general, he has nothing to say.
                  3. The Troy Farmers market. Just go. Every saturday morning, mostly local farmers. Between Rensselaer and Saratoga county, there's a lot of local produce and organic food to be purchased. http://www.troymarket.org/
                  4. Cheese, chocolate, and the closest thing you'll find to a Trader Joes: The Honest Weight Food Co-op, hidden on Central Avenue, you basically have to go there. www.hwfc.com
                  5. There's a new co-op opening in Troy sometime in the next six months or so. A good friend of mine is managing it. There is good reason to be optimistic.
                  6. Best Pizza: there's a huge Italian population in the Capital Region and there are a lot of places to get pizza. Instead of people being committed to sports teams in Albany, they're committed to their pizza joint. For strait ahead stuff, go to either the original I love New York Pizza in Troy on 4th ave or Pizza King on State Street in Schenectady, or if you like the upper crust end of pizza (wood fired gourmet toppings) go to Defazios. Next to the Defazio's pizzeria, stop by the shop where Ms. Defazio (in her 80's or something) makes some of the best sauces and sausages (sweet or hot) that you can find. Her Lemon cookies are great too. Don't go to the Red Front. It's family style and it is bad.
                  7. For Christmas you have to go to the Glen Sanders Mansion. It's an awesome experience.
                  8. For strait ahead great food go to Jack's down on State Street in Albany. It's the best service you'll find anywhere. Nothing exotic, but everything is good.
                  9. By far the best French Desserts are served up in Saratoga at Mrs. London's. They bring some of their desserts down to the Troy Market and I've fallen in love with their Chocolate Custard Brioche. http://www.mrslondons.com/

                  A couple of places like McGuires in Albany (Lark Street) and Pesca in Troy have great reputations. I haven't been there, but my friends highly approve of them. Whatever you do, avoid the Wolf Road area. It's all pretty crap. For BarHopping, go to either Lark Street, or Pearl street in Albany. Probably the best restaurant culture in the capital region is in Saratoga. I don't get up there enough, but the couple of times I ate there I was happy. The best up and coming is in Troy. Really the whole region is doing well. While the suburbs like Colony and Latham will give you access to these centers, the best place to be is in some of the urban areas. Troy has a bad reputation amongst those who haven't been there in 10 years but it's a thriving community of artists and phd empty nesters. Schenectady (you will eventually learn how to spell this) is doing better, but in my opinion still has a ways to go. Saratoga has overinflated prices as does Clifton Park. Latham has some beautiful areas and is nicely placed in the center of things.

                  Explore the whole place. The arts scene is thriving, the food scene has finally picked up, the music scene is taking off. Enjoy.

                  5 Replies
                  1. re: GreenCheese

                    I meant Tosca when I said Pesca. Got it confused with another resto here in Montreal.

                    1. re: GreenCheese

                      i was up over the weekend bringing some things to my wife's temp apartment.we went to provence for dinner saturday night and tosca for brunch on sunday.they were both quite good.the dinner prices at tosca surprised me for that area.i wasn't expecting to see items like sole for $42.that's even high for down state.

                      thanks for all of the tips!

                    2. re: GreenCheese

                      lots of good info there.thanks a lot!

                      1. re: GreenCheese

                        Interesting to see Pizza King as my son made a comment about that place. I moved from the Capital District about 11 years ago and have never been to Pizza King (awful name but maybe so bad that it works !). I was always a Marino's Flying Pizza Fan (State St. in Schenectady).

                        My Albany choices are;

                        Bob and Ron's : If you have never had and Albany area Fish Fry, get ready to live!
                        Cornell's: OK, the whole "Little Italy" thing is pretty pathetic as it is more "little" than "Italy", but the food was always great there.

                        Gershon's: As close to NYC as you will get in Schenectady. Everything is fresh and if you don't have time to make salads, these are nice (especially like the shells with shrimp).

                        Bella Napoli: The donuts are so good that Krispy Kreme closed !

                        Cappiello's: Broadway in Schenectady. Great import store with cheeses, sausage, breads, counter pizza, etc. The world needs more places like this.

                        Great seasonal produce (apples, corn, etc.)

                        1. re: GreenCheese

                          GreenCheese, Jack's got a new chef in January and there have been a few recent posts that quality has changed.

                        2. We've removed some posts about building kitchens and the housing market. Please keep your answers focused on helping the poster find great chow in the Albany area.