Thursday, July 26, 2012

I gotta have...

Almost all of us have had the opportunity to live somewhere outside of the Capital Region or wherever it is we call home even if only for a short period of time. I, for one, have lived in a number of different towns or cities over the years. When I go back to visit those places I call home or former homes, there are always certain places I want to make sure I grab a meal or a snack at if for no other reason than nostalgia. Having recently had a friend visit from out of town who used to live here but headed south a couple of years ago we spent most of his short visit grabbing meals and snacks at all those places he misses since moving to North Carolina.

The first place we hit up for lunch was Jumpin' Jacks in Scotia. Jumpin' Jacks has been serving up Jack burgers, fries, ice cream and much more for sixty years! In 2012 they were voted #1 Kid Friendly Restaurant, #2 Best Burgers in the Area (tied), #2 Best Fries in the Area, and #3 Best Outdoor Dining in the Area. They are truly a local legend. They were devastated by Hurricane Irene but came back this Spring stronger than ever. Click on the link above for more information, menu and photos of this awesome spot for outdoor eating.


Jack Burger-basically a double cheeseburger with coleslaw!

Next up, an ice cream cone at Jim's Tastee Freez in Delmar! I know Guptill's is all the rave for so many of you around here, but Jim's got what I want in ice cream! It's soft serve with the option for dips, sprinkles, sundaes, blizzards, etc. It is some creamy and delicious stuff. Tastee Freez was born in 1950! Talk about nostalgia. You know businesses that survive that long are doing something, probably multiple things, right! Like Jumpin' Jacks you can also grab lunch at this outdoor eatery! They have everything from corn dogs to chicken or fish sandwiches. My personal fave is vanilla with a cherry dip!

As far as dinner-I have already blogged about it and neither I nor you need to go there again, i.e. Orchids Jamaican American Restaurant!

Moving on to breakfast the next day at Union Cafe. Again I already blogged about this great place earlier in the month! Check my past blog entries for more details on this sweet spot for breakfast! By the way, I tried the pancakes for the first time and they were fluffy and buttery perfection!

We spent most of our day driving up Route 7 into Bennington, Vermont. This is always a fun, no stress day trip! There are tons of cute shops along the way where you can pick up gifts for others or something for yourself.

No lunch today, but we did have a delicious snack! If you have never had a fresh mozzarella cheese ball, you have not fully lived life. Those cheese balls at the grocery store, delicious as they may be, are not fresh mozzarella cheese balls. To get the truly fresh stuff, head to Loudonville's Genoa Importing sub shop. If I am in the area of Genoa's you can be sure they are going to make a few dollars off me just in mozzarella cheese ball purchases. Genoa Importing is a great destination for all sorts of fresh and homemade Italian specialities. This is one of my favorite Italian Deli's in the Capital Region. (I'm also a fan of Perecca's in Schenectady.) At Genoa Importing you can get homemade breads, sauces, pastas, salads, subs, and of course Italian desserts. Don't forget to pick up a couple pieces of Italian Baci (mean's "kisses" in Italian) candy at the checkout counter. Each piece of Baci candy comes with a romantic love note! They truly are sweet!

Last, but certainly not least, was dinner at Ichiban Japanese & Chines Restaurant on Central Avenue in Albany.  There is also a location on Western Avenue. Another Best of the Capital Region winner for several years! No questions asked this is my favorite place for Chinese food. I have three favorites at Ichiban-Kung Pao Lo Mein, General Tso's Chicken, and Crispy Shredded Beef in Spicy Sauce. Most people have sampled Lo Mein and General Tso's Chicken so I am going to give you all the details on my other favorite. Crispy Shredded Beef in Spicy Sauce is shredded pieces of flank steak coated in carrots, scallions, bean sprouts and celery batter fried to crispy and tossed in a spicy sauce. There is a sweet side that balances the spicy to avoid overpowering you and despite being tossed in a sauce it retains its crispiness. Love is not a strong enough word for how I feel about this meal!

Crispy Shredded Beef in Spicy Sauce
If you were to move out of the Capital Region, what restaurant and/or foods would you have to have when you came back to visit? There may be a gift in store for someone who leaves me a comment about a restaurant or a food I have never tried in the Capital Region! For friends from the North Country, what is it that you have to when you go back home and Jreck Subs doesn't count in this comment request! For my fellow Le Moyne Alumnae, and friends and family out in the Syracuse area, what is your restaurant or food of choice in Central New York? I'll be there this weekend so maybe I can give it a shot!


  1. I miss the Jreck Sub! Thanks for the review on Crispy Beef - will have to order that next time we order at work. I want to try the grandma pizza from Perecca's sometime soon too!

    Anyway, if I were to leave and come back for a visit I would have to hit up Bosco's Italian and Crystal Bar in Amsterdam. Bosco's Chicken Parm is legendary and the pizza at Crystal Bar has been a staple growing up. We should go to either sometime!

  2. You know about Jreck Subs? The grandma pizza is good, assuming by grandma pizza you mean tomato pie.

    We definitely have to try one or both of those restaurants. Maybe we can go kayaking somewhere out there and stop for pizza before or afterwards.