Monday, January 7, 2019

Black & Blue Steakhouse

Black and Blue is still one of the "newer" upscale steak houses in Albany. It's modern, sleek, and on the formal side, but without airs. 

And they have pretzel bread. HELLO.

Service was attentive, polite, and efficient - my ideal for an upscale steakhouse. 

 Steak Tartare ($18.00): diced tenderloin with onion, garlic, capers, horseradish aioli, truffle oil, and a panko-crusted ‘5 minute’ egg. 

Steak tartare is one of those dishes I *have* to get when I see it on a menu. I prefer my tartare as more of a rough mince than a thicker dice, and the generous amount of cheese made absolutely no sense to me (do people like tartare with cheese?). I'd probably also dial back on some of the aioli, as I want more of the raw meat flavors to come though. If the meat's good, you don't need to dress it up with so many accessories. All of these opinions make me sound like I didn't like it, but it was quite good. Just some minor tweaks, or personal preferences.
That said, the truffle oil and 5 minute poached egg were phenomenal additions. Holy smokes - great combination.

Pair this with some fries and you've got yourself a great bar dinner. And let's be honest, I probably could have just stopped right here and had a perfectly content night out, except...

Oh right they have steak. Ridiculously well cooked steak.

The 14 oz Ribeye ($48) was cooked exactly to temp as requested (medium rare, thanks!). I find it so hard for most restaurants to nail medium rare through and through that I usually order rare and wind up getting something a little over medium rare. But not at Black & Blue. Medium rare is medium rare. 

Black & Blue's house rub is mainly salt, pepper, and some rosemary notes, which go very well with the steak. I gilded the fatty lily with some truffle butter, because we all know ribeye steaks don't have nearly enough fat on their own. Amirite?

Filet Mignon ($44) au poivre ($12), which adds a black peppercorn and brandy sauce, haricots verts, and hash brown rosti cake.

The pepper sauce was a bit of overkill, as Black & Blue does a beautiful job with the meats on their own. 

A side of wild mushrooms ($8) with tarragon, onion, and shallot because I simply cannot resist any dish that includes tarragon or shallots. Combine the two? I'm in.

Great firm texture on the mushrooms. A solid side.

Truffle butter shot!

I'll likely give their crab a try next time, though it'll be hard to stray away from the excellently prepared steaks. 

Black & Blue Steak & Crab
1740 Western Ave
Albany, NY 12203
(518) 313-7388

Monday, December 24, 2018

Mom Thought Mondays

Random thoughts from a single mom:
  • Why is Daniel Tiger the pied piper of toddlers? 
  • Wow, tantums are no joke
    • I can see how people cave in to get kids to stop crying, but much like my pregnancy, I try to keep an observational mindset with this to figure out why she's really crying and pick and choose my battles. No cookies or other rewards for a fit, but I don't really care if she thinks she "won" something by asking to eat the vegetables off of my plate instead of her own.
  • It is really cool to see her make developmental leaps and learn communication
    • Sidenote: This means she understands EVERYTHING I say
  • Why does my child think the expensive packets of apple sauce so much better than my homemade apple sauce packets?
  • It's hard to tell which one of us likes coloring more
  • I don't think I had any preference about what I wore until I was almost done with middle school (trust me, if you see a picture of me from about 7-13, this will be painfully obvious), but there is one pair of pants she is really fond of wearing.
  • I really like being single. I get to focus on me and my little Boop, and I've been working for a career that allows me to spend more time with her while still advancing. 
  • Sometimes I just think of myself as this nervous 20-something who doesn't really know anything, and then I hear stuff come out of my mouth that surprises even me with how much grown up adult stuff I know, and how I can communicate it. 
  • Little things make me feel rich:
    • I can keep the heat on high for my little Boop so she can sleep comfortably
    • I can buy some convenience foods (like those dadgum fruit and veggie packets) that she loves so very much
    • Sushi once every couple of months
    • Other than that, I pretty much only buy my underoos new and everything else comes from the thrift store because holy cow things are expensive.
    • Last year I was too broke to buy Christmas presents for anyone, and divorce is expensive, but this year I could afford to buy people presents so yay.
  • Kiddo went from loving baths to HATING THEM BECAUSE THIS IS SOME KIND OF SATAN WATER GET IT OFF ME AND STOP TRYING TO DROWN ME YOU AWFUL WOMAN. Turns out, all she needed were some bubbles in the water, and bingo bango - the word "bath" has taken on the gravity of "Daniel Tiger" or "Ice Cream" because as soon as I say it, it must be done.

Thursday, December 20, 2018

Bacon Wrapped Jalapenos

Y'know, these were not as hard as I thought they would be. And they come out beautifully.

 Halve some 'penos, slather them with cream cheese, and wrap them with bacon (use a toothpick to keep them in place).

Surprisingly not spicy. Like at all. Maybe I should try serranos or something a little spicier next time?

Monday, December 17, 2018

Pad Thai Noodle

Went to Pad Thai Noodle on Everett Road with my best buddy, Fussy Little Blog proprietor Daniel B. to grab some face melting spicy hot Thai food for lunch. Pad Thai has a teeny tiny shared parking lot in the front, and a slightly larger place to park in the back. There are a few tables inside to seat about 15 or so people.

We started off with Papaya Salad ($9) because I freaking love papaya salad and will order it any time I see it on the menu. This was a little on the small side - the plate was small, and almost half of it was iceberg lettuce. We ordered this at the hottest level, and it did not disappoint.

Next up was an order of Soft Shell Crab ($10.00), which was fried to perfection and a great foil to the heat from the papaya salad. I could eat a basket of these.

The Boat Noodle Soup caught Dan's eye, and I'd been getting over the Cold from Heck and had been jonesing for a bowl of comfort, and this provided just that. Well, until we got about 2/3rds of the way through and the hottest spice level became too much for me and all I could feel was burning and pain. But before that I tasted a wonderfully rich broth, and some of the most tender slices of pork I'd ever had before. I'd order this again a touch less spicy to enjoy it more. Oh, and rice noodles (aka the best kind of noodles)!

Pad Thai Noodle
113 Everett Rd
Albany, NY 12205

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Innovo Kitchen - Brunch

If you've ever gone out to brunch, you know the sky's the limit and you can really set yourself back a pretty penny.

I've been trying to get out more and socialize when I don't have the kiddo. That might sound kind of lame to some people, but I've been trying to socialize since I first moved to Albany 356 years ago, so now that I've got some solid friends and continue to add more to the pile, it's less "Find cool people to hang out with, oh god why don't I have any friends???" and more "Man, I know so many cool people. I gotta try and hang out with them."

Where were we? Right. Brunch. Some of my friends like going out for brunch on the weekends. It's nice. I can't do it all of the time because single mom budget, but still.

I've also been kind of meh about my random weekly meals. Brunch and lunch out is a nice way to try something a little different, and maybe use it for inspiration for the week. Nine times out of ten I wind up thinking of how many steps and dishes it would take, but sometimes I get a inspiration on how to incorporate something into every day life.

I recently went out to Innovo Kitchen in Latham and got the Power 4 salad ($8), which is red kale, watercress, arugala, spinach, golden raisins, roasted grapes, and toasty pistachios tossed in caesar vinaigrette. 

I wasn't sure what roasted grapes meant, but they were lightly roasted and then chilled before being tossed with the salad, so they still had a bunch of texture and weren't just big squishy gobs of sad grapes (which was what I was mentally preparing myself for). They added a nice contrast to all of the greenery. Also adding textural contrast were the crunchy pistachios - nicely minced and easy to get a tiny bit of pistachio in every bite. 
Great conservative amount of dressing to keep it all together and add flavor but not overwhelm. 

My coffee consumption is now at comical records, so of course I had to get a cup of coffee ($3.75), which comes in a French press. I'm not a huge French press fan, but everyone else is a fan of me drinking coffee before noon and becoming less of an exhausted gremlin.

Service is polite and friendly. Open kitchen in the back you can see. Gets busy around noon for brunch, but they're open at 10 am, so if you go before there's no wait.

Innovo Kitchen
1214 Troy Schenectady Road
Latham, NY 12110