Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Prinzo's Bakery on Delaware Ave.

I admire specialization. I wish there was one thing that I could do better than anyone else around. Prinzo's Bakery on Delaware Ave. in Albany seems to share this philosophy. They pretty much just make hard rolls and Italian bread, but damn it all, they do it good.

Prinzo's is located at the corner of Delaware and Bertha in the above pictured storefront (right down from Hurlbut which is up there with McNutt Ave. as one of my favorite local street names). Needless to say, they are a no frills operation. Don't let the looks deceive you, they do good product. You can stop by the actual location to pick up your rolls and loaves fresh, or you can find them packaged or loose at several local markets. I get the 6 packs over at the Delmar Market on occasion. Fresh is better, but sometimes convenience is king.

I will limit my discussion to the hard rolls here. The Italian bread is really very good but not remarkably so. I believe, however, that the rolls are pretty much the Platonic ideal of what a hard roll of this style should be. Pick one up, they are almost shockingly weightless. That is the magic, they have a seriously chewy crust which is paper thin surrounding a pillow light center. The roll manages to be chewy without possessing a thick and annoying crispy natured crust. I love them. But I do have some rules for their use.

There exist two purposes at which the Prinzo's hard roll excels. The first is as a delivery vehicle for a fried egg and cheese (perhaps with bacon). The second is for cured meats such as salami, sopresatta, capicola, etc... My rule is that no combination of sandwich filling should exceed about a 1/4 of an inch. This roll is not built for your Carnegie Deli style, 3 inches of meat monstrosity. A bare two or three rounds of hot sopressata (maybe a slice of provolone and some vinegar peppers, purely optional) will result in the perfect bread to meat ratio. Anything more and the toothsome quality of the rolls will have sandwich filling squishing out the sides and into your lap.

Anyhow, even if you are not willing to venture out to the wilds of Delaware Ave., pick them up if you see them at the market. They are good and cheap to boot.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Ben and Bill's Deli at the Slingerlands Chops

So me and the family were down by the Slingerlands-Chops today. That location has a Ben and Bill's Deli (deli case pictured above). We ambled by the counter to get a little salami and cheesecake and the deli gentlemen spied young Lady Giblet (the darling daughter). The friendly gents inquired as to whether the young lady might like a snack and graciously offered her a slice of seedless rye. She accepted with a huzzah!

Giblet happily munched away for the rest of the shopping excursion. Now that is customer service. By the by, Ben and Bill's has some very good Kosher Deli type products, knishes, kugels, fresh pickles, white fish, sandwiches, etc... Don't be afraid to check it out, it is way beyond your standard grocery store sandwich counter.

Cheap Snacks: Rolf's Frikadellen and Leberkäse

I did a couple posts about locally available snacks that cost less than a dollar. But perhaps this is a bit low of a price range, I have been having a little difficulty finding items that fit this category. So I decided to broaden the scope of my search a little to include what I would deem "cheap" snacks. I almost immediately stumbled on a couple good candidates at Albany's own beloved pork store, Rolf's (read my homage here).

I have been noticing, whilst on my regular jaunt to Ralph's for some of their excellent bacon, the little hot-box above the cold case right when you walk in. A couple aromatic meaty delights are encased within and today I decided to sample them. First we have the above pictured frikadellen for 1.50$ each. Frikadellen are a sort of flat, German/Scandanavian meatball made of pork, beef, maybe some onions, and other seasonings. Upon getting my prize home, I took a hearty bite.

These were tender with a good meaty/onion-y flavor and a crispy browned crust. I decided to eat the little guy on one of the pretzel rolls that Rolph's also sells (2 for 3.00$).

I made a sort of frikadellen-wich with a little good mustard and that was that.

Next to the frikadellen loomed some glistening and ominous pink loaves of meat. I was a little ashamed of my lack of meat knowledge and had to ask what they were. Leberkäse was the answer from the always helpful counter person. She told me that it was like a loaf of warm bologna. As you remember, I became a bologna-phage for the first time the other day (Mr. Dave is No Longer a Bologna Virgin). I wasn't too impressed by Oscar Meyer bologna, I figured Rolph's would be exponentially better. Not wanting to over order in case I didn't like the stuff, I asked for a 1 inch slice. It cost slightly over 2 dollars.

I consumed this in the same manner as the frikadellen, i.e. on one of the pretzel rolls with a little mustard. I get the stuff in the toothpaste tube (Thomy brand), it is pretty good. The scharfer senf has a little more bite, but sometimes you want a mellow mustard that won't overpower your meat.

I enjoyed the leberkase, it had the same hot dog-esque flavor as the last bologna I tried, but with a much more pleasant texture and a more savory (less sweet) taste. The lady at Rolf's mentioned that the stuff is often fried like pork roll and eaten on a fried egg sandwich, this sounds very tasty to me.

I have yet to be disappointed by something purchased from Rolph's, and this occasion was no exception. I will probably buy both of these products again. I recommend that you give both meaty treats a whirl.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Mr. Dave is No Longer a Bologna Virgin

Recently I did a post about consuming my first Big Mac. This made me think that there are many shockingly common foods that I have managed to avoid consuming for nigh 30 years, one of them being bologna. My parents really never bought it. I decided to take the plunge by whipping up an Oscar Meyer beef bologna sandwich. Frankly, the stuff skeeves me and I don't think that I could stomach it cold, so I am going with a fried bologna sarnie.

Upon opening the package I smelled a definitive hot dog-esque stench. This made sense as the pinkish slices kind of look like they were carved off of a giant hot dog.

I threw the slices in a pan and began to fry.

Notice how the slices domed up a little, they looked kind of like little bologna boobs. I attribute this to the high water content of the bologna creating a large amount of steam. Adding water is a good way to up the weight without actually using meat. Eventually the slices deflated and began to fry a little.

I was a little unsettled by the appearance of the cooking bologna, it somehow sort of looked like cooking pieces of human flesh. Shudder. But I persevered. Onto a hard roll went the slices.

Here is the proof that I actually consumed the sarnie. Notice the bologna grease on the plate.

Lets just say this was probably my first, and final bologna sandwich. It tastes like cheap hot dog, and if I want cheap hot dog I will eat a cheap hot dog. Something about the mushy texture grossed me out a little too. Also, it was over sweet. Corn syrup is the second or third ingredient and there was a lot of blackened sugar left in the pan after frying. I can't imagine eating these daily for lunch as many of my compatriots seem to have done. I will take peanut butter any day.

Well that was that. Next I am contemplating eating a banana. That's right folks, I have never eaten a banana. The smell grosses me out. My sister used to chase me around with a banana peel because she knew I hated them so much.
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