A Fat Guy in Saratoga

Yesterday morning I Weighed in at 227 lbs

When I was a competitive long distance runner I stayed between 139-142 lbs.

I would be comfortable at 185 lbs

Between not working and starting a drug that may cause weight gain I’ve become a fat guy.

This is starting to read like Daniel Berman’s post on FLB today which is funny because I wrote the bulk of it last night.  The love of good food is just one of those things that can allow your weight to get away from you.

Last Thursday I went to Planet Fitness to sign up for a membership.  After the obligatory spiel about how great they are and a brief tour (I cut it short when we got to the tanning rooms and decompression kind of bullshit chamber). I was prepared to pay for a membership which is only $10 per month.  I was asked for a check so they could get the routing and account numbers for automatic monthly payment.  Since I typically do not carry my checkbook I offered to pay for the entire year’s membership all at once.  Interestingly enough, they told me they can’t do that.  I never did get a clear answer why they can’t do it. I went back today with a check.

1 hour bike ride yesterday, I’ll start at the gym on Thursday.

Yesterday I went to lunch with two very dear friends.  I ordered a black bean burger and a side salad.  I like black bean burgers, but I love real hamburgers and fries.  I’m really going to try to have some control.  I ate the burger because I was hungry but it was mushy and tasteless, and the salad that came with citrus vinaigrette was inedible.  It desperately needed salt, and the over-used dressing was far too acidic.  Please invest in some tasting spoons for your new restaurant.

The food service labor pool in Saratoga is already shallow.  Two more places will open in a week or two at The Adelphi.  Something’s got to give.

The time spent with these friends was wonderful and needed, I was hoping the date wouldn’t end when it did. These are two special friends. Besides, they paid for lunch.

If you have a closed mind, please allow your mouth to follow.

I hate that Guy Fieri is famous and makes a lot of money.

Being a good restaurant does not make you an essential restaurant.

Too bad restaurants need a “hook” of some kind to get you in.  How about you make your hook great food at a decent value with good service?

Other people’s problems often become your problems, so if you’re selfish, help others with their problems.

I hate selfish.

I love shellfish.

Vegans will beat a dead horse, they just won’t eat it.

I’m doing some research for a project I’m working on and part of that includes reading through lots of menus from Saratoga restaurants.  It occurred to me that if I wanted to open a restaurant in town that captured what might be the average diner I would compose a menu consisting of those items that are on more than enough menus.

Tuna nachos/tacos

Salmon, Salmon, Salmon

Crab Cakes

“Upscale” Burger with Cheddar, Caramelized Onion, Bacon, on Brioche Roll

Taco Tuesday

$1 oysters

Out of season Brussels Sprouts

Wedge Salad

Please, more Burrata, it’s not on every single menu.

Mmmmmm, Balsamic Drizzle.

The other part of my research led me to ask a question on Facebook.  What kind of restaurant/food is missing in Saratoga?  So far there are 269 comments.  My question had nothing to do with wanting to know what kind of restaurant/food was missing in Saratoga as I already know that.  I wanted to know if anybody actually cared that there are things missing in Saratoga.  Once I take a closer look at the thread I’ll publish my thoughts.

If I put all the micro greens I’ve ordered in the last 10 years on one Sid Wainer order I don’t think I’d reach my minimum. Please stop over using them, please.

I looked at a retail space yesterday. Just looking.




Whose Dish is This?

I’m feeling in a pretty tough spot right now. It’s difficult for me to keep this blog focused on the daily adventures of a chef because I’m not sure I am a chef right now and I worry that my writing will reflect the fact that I’m not doing too much cheffy stuff.   I hesitated to post this and I hope I don’t bore you.

I have an admission to make.  I’m hooked on phonics.  I’m getting help.

Back in July Steve Barnes on Table Hopping asked if a restaurant or its chef owns a specific dish.  I had thought about commenting on that topic but could not really come to a conclusion in my feeble mind.  If a restaurant has a signature dish, and the new chef continues it, it belongs to the restaurant.  If a chef arrives at the restaurant with his/her signature dish then it leaves with the chef.  For me the gray area is when a chef develops a dish while at a restaurant.  Since the chef is being paid to develop menus and specific plates then I lean only slightly towards the restaurant owning the dish exclusively.   Can the chef use the same dish at another restaurant?  The topic came up in my head because there’s a picture of a dish on Sperry’s website described in this week’s Times Union review of R & R Kitchen and Bar.  Same chef, same dish, two locations in Saratoga.  I don’t know when Chef Bowden developed the dish, but my conclusion is that there’s co-ownership. As much as the restaurant invested in the chef to develop menus, the same chef has invested time and effort, often away from the kitchen on his or her own time, even prior to actually developing the physical dish in a specific restaurant.  I’ve done that before, had an idea for a dish but never made it until I was in the right kitchen.  One pet peeve I do have is when restaurants continue to show photos of a chef’s work that is no longer available.

While I was chef at a Saratoga restaurant I was asked to develop a version of tuna nachos. Never again.

On days I go to see my therapist I’m generally quite stressed.  I like going, and I look forward to my appointments.  The stress isn’t due to anxiety leading up to a visit, it comes afterwards, following some tough stories told, and the feelings that go along with telling those stories.  I swore off alcohol on Sunday, at least for a month or so, and by Wednesday (therapy day) evening I had a real hankering for a few fingers of whiskey. I didn’t have any, and I’m glad for that small victory.

I take the sandwich density laws very seriously.  Hence, I find almost anything on a proper bagel is silly.

I just read through a recent batch of recent Saratoga County restaurant inspections.  There’s no excuse for the number of violations some places have. No excuse.

Posting and sharing on Facebook does not make you an activist.  Going out and actually doing something related to a cause makes you an activist.  The key word there is active.

The restaurant business has too many users and not enough mentors. too many bosses and not enough leaders.

If you’re over 40 and still wearing knee-length cargo shorts, stop.

I often observe in public men’s rooms that an alarming number of men leave without washing their hands.

When I was at The Wine Bar and we would have a pizza with sausage on the menu we would make our own fresh sausage with ground pork, fennel seed, coarse black pepper, and salt as a base recipe. It was cheap and easy to make. Why then in the name of Charles Darwin would pizza joints use that creepy rabbit poop looking pellet sausage or the pre-cooked sliced sausage that ends up looking like pepperoni jerky?  Use fresh sausage and put it on raw so the fat melts and flavors the pie.

Calling it authentic doesn’t necessarily result in good food.

If someone has a physical injury or illness it’s understandable why they cannot work. If someone has a mental illness people can’t understand why they’re unable work.  It’s easy to say “I’m having bunion surgery, I’ll be out of work for 10 weeks.”  However, “I’m really depressed and have no interest in my work, my family or my friends and getting off the couch is a real struggle” is generally replaced with a more plausible reason.

Just because it’s produced locally does not mean it’s better.  Yes, I’m saying that local can often be overrated and over appreciated.  Also, using local ingredients does not make you a better cook, being a good cook makes you a better cook. Good cooks use the best available ingredients., local or not.

I’ve started composing dishes. No particular reason, just practice.  The significant part of that is I want to do it, and seem to enjoy doing it again.  I’m even developing and testing recipes.

Judge me as the man you know me to be, not the man you think I am.

I’ll be back.