A travel journal
to Albany by gexx
Quote: So, I used to live in Albany, NY... but I still visit often, and it keeps getting better. This journal is still under construction, but here are plenty of entries to get you going.
Restaurant | "Jack's Oyster House"
Jack's Oyster House, or "Jack's" as anyone who's been there will call it for there is nothing else like it, has been in Albany since before Prohibition. And it's been a favorite of politicos and locals since.
I went with my mother, and we started off the meal with a dozen oysters on the half shell. I mean, when something is an oyster house, you must have the oysters,no? So, it was one very fun first.
The menu was, well, I had to keep from drooling. We finally decided; my mother loosened up after a few gin and tonics, and I had the salmon with a basil-pine nut crust, and she the crab cakes (or maybe it was lobster). Well, the salmon was to die for, and her crab (lobster?) cakes were divine. We didn't stay for desert, I had another idea of where to go for that, but I'm sure it wouldn't have been bad.
Another novelty told to me by a friend who went a few weeks after me - the popcorn shrimp. It is actually brought out in a red-and-white theater popcorn box.
The atmosphere was very relaxed, and we spent about an hour and a half in there. When we arrived at 4:30pm on a Wednesday, we were the only ones in the restaurant. By the time we left, it started to bustle. So I would advise reservations if you want to eat at a high traffic time.
The servers were very courteous and professional, and I hope to go back again. This place has major romance possibilities, but as I went with my mother, it was more of a nice dining experience.
We ended up spending almost $100 for our meal, including drinks, tax, and tips.
Member Rating 5 out of 5 on December 20, 2004
42 State Street
Albany, New York 12207
I've gone with one person, and I've gone as a group of 10. We were all welcomed in this restaurant (which seats maybe 30 people total as long as they promise not to fart) by the servers.
They have a buffet at lunch, but I much prefer to order á la carte. And I get the whole shebang. You just have to.
A lassi (a yogurt drink, to cool the spiciness), naan (bread, for eating), a samosa (an appetizer of pastry-wrapped potatoes and peas), and an entrée (normally off of the vegetarian menu) costs about 15$ to 18$. Some entrées could run a little over $20. And if you go with a friend, you can split your naan.
I’m just warning you that the samosas are addictive. If you're sharing, you might want to order an extra portion, just in case.
I enjoy the curried cauliflower and potatoes, as well as the curried chick peas and spinach. I apologize for not knowing the proper names for them, but the menu explains it all very well. Except for one appetizer, under which is written, "Too difficult to explain in English." My best friend, born in Sri Lanka, laughed when I asked her to explain it. She said, "It's just that. Just try it." I regret not getting around to trying it now. So if you're adventurous, go for it. My friend said it was good (wink).
I always went home with lots of leftover food, which is very nice when you're a poor college student. And it's great cold. The vegetarian selection is very, very wonderful and big, but for you carnivores, there's plenty of lamb, beef, and shellfish.
A trip to Albany is not complete unless I have had dinner there once. On weekend evenings, it's busy, so you might want reservations then. Other than that, they just help. Plus, they deliver, even on the snowiest of days. Just be nice and tip the driver well, please.
1 Central Avenue
Albany, New York
Restaurant | "Hooters"
Well, Hooters is Hooters - scantily clad females and a J. Buffet-esque decor. I think they are the only ones ever able to get away with orange hot pants.
So, yes, I'm a female, and I like Hooters, mostly for two dishes - the gumbo and the fish sammich. Don't get me wrong, the wings are good, but you're in upstate New York. You can get good wings anywhere.
I normally ate here after I got out of my mall shift. And my boyfriend would join me. He could have a beer and a hamburger while stealing glances at the game between talking to me. (I never caught him looking at the waitresses.) And there were no worries about the grease running down his chin, as each table has a roll of paper towels.
The fish sammich, though, was the coup de grace - take a really big sandwich roll and lay the two halves next to each other, like you're making an open-faced sandwich. Now lay the fish on top of it. It's as big as the rolls, plus 3 inches on either side. It's just a dang big piece of fish. Add a huge side of fries to it, and you are set in carbohydrate/grease heaven.
The only other good fish place I've been able to find in the Albany area isn't that great.
The waitresses are nice, and it is actually a decent place to bring the family. There is quick food, happy people, and yummy fish (and gumbo, but I think they stopped making it). If you're looking for a place to eat in the mall and don't want to deal with the food court, here you go.
Member Rating 4 out of 5 on December 20, 2004
1 Crossgates Mall Road
Albany, New York 12203
Restaurant | "Bomber's Burritto Bar"
Bomber's is the perfect place to stop for lunch while exploring downtown Albany, Lark Street, or Center Square. For $7, you and a friend can split a burrito, get a soda, and still have food left over. The restaurant is below street level, so it has a great out-of-the-way feel to it. Vinyl booths line the walls, and an old Pac-man table sits in the middle, waiting for anyone with a quarter. My favorites from the menu are the BBQ tofu burrito and the vegetarian burrito. It's hard to go wrong with anything, though.
I've heard that since I left Albany, they turned the upstairs into a rather chic bar and that the stairs are inside Bombers. If I get a chance, I'll let you know what I think.
This restaurant is actually the first place I went with my significant other. It's just a fun place to grab a quick bite to eat. The food is ready right away, so if conversation isn't going well, you can stuff your face. And it’s right in the heart of Albany, so you can get to most any bar. Heck, its on Lark Street—the classy bar/nightlife street of Albany.
No reservations or tipping. Free refills on soda.
Member Rating 5 out of 5 on December 23, 2004
Bombers Burrito Bar
258 Lark Street
Albany, New York 12210
My next favorite night has got to be Saturday ‘80s night. Everyone is there for fun. Basically, you get the college students who are sick of the "meat market" bar scene and want to dance to some good music. The other group you find is young adults who are trying to relive their high school years with the help of the friendly bartenders. If you're shy about dancing, don't worry here. Those who can dance are too busy concentrating to notice those who can't dance, and those who can't dance are too busy having fun while dancing to notice that others can't dance. The style of dancing, though, is not your normal bump-and-grind. You might get a Michael Jackson wannabe on stage or people jumping to "Come on Eileen".
Friday night here caters to the Goth scene, with industrial and trance music. It used to be good, but the last time I went, it was filled with mostly poseurs. Apparently an even heavier place opened up downtown. Ah well, I guess it was hard to be depressed amongst red Naugahyde.
If you're looking to take someone home, you might have some luck, but don't count on it. The density of people and loud music don't lend themselves to subtle conversation and flirting.
This bar is very GLBT friendly, but if you're a breeder like me, there’s still no reason to be intimidated.
The Fuze Box Lounge
12 Central Avenue
Albany, New York 12210