Monday, March 14, 2011

Ah, Colonie Center Food Court. I Knew You When...

So I was strolling through the food court at good ol' Colonie Center the other day when I spied a couple things of note. Before all that, does anyone remember when Colonie Center was the "other" mall (this is, of course, as opposed to Northway Mall which was the other, other mall)? As a child I remember that going to Colonie Center was a vaguely drab and unpleasant experience (there were still ash trays inside the mall back then!). During my halcyon childhood (late 80s) Crossgates still had a slick and shiny newness (remember the Karner Blue!). Colonie center was where you went to Sears with your dad to look at washing machines or tools. As for Northway Mall, I don't really remember why you went there. They did have a weird store that sold garishly colored flavored popcorn which delighted me as a child.

Anyhow, Colonie Center seems to be the main mall these days. When Mrs. Dave gets the rare itch to go to the mall, this is generally where we head. I don't feel the need to arm myself before I go (as with Crossgates) and Colonie Center has more of a "family friendly" feeling to it these days (slick and corporate and fake as it may be). As the wive's belly is rapidly expanding with child, she has begun to require more fuel. This necessitated a swing through the "Food Court."

The first thing I noticed is that Bettie's Cakes has a little kiosk setup. I read about this somewhere, I think it is part of the new temporary or short-term restaurant thing, i.e. it will not be there forever. As with many others, I am tiring of the cupcake craze. I hope it has run its course, but I fear that it is attempting to morph into other gimmicks. I saw the below at Bettie's, they are some sort of "cake ball."

I have seen this type of thing cropping up at other places. Starbuck's is peddling weird cake balls on sticks. If there is such a demand for cake, can't we just take it in slice form and use a fork and knife like civilized persons? I kind of get cupcakes, but cake balls? What is next, cake in pill form that can be administered rectally for ease of consumption?

Of more interest to myself, I spied something different in the piles of sauce packets outside of the venerable Taco Bell. Two new colors did not escape my studied eye. Here we have two fairly recent Taco Bell sauce packet offerings, "Verde" and "Fire Roasted."

I had to give these sauces a whirl so I bought some chips. I started with the "Verde."

Not bad, not bad. A little salty, but there was a nice vinegar punch and you could catch a hint of sour tomatillo. I would have liked a bit more heat, but that is just me. Here we have the "Fire Roasted."

This just tasted like the fire or hot sauces with a hint of smoke, an interesting change but not mind blowing. I will probably use the "verde" should a Taco Bell jones hit me in the future. I do have some Taco Bell advice for you though, get the enchirito. They don't really promote it anymore, but it was one of the items that the House of Taco Bell was built upon. It is awful for you, but oddly satisfying in a weird way.

Anyhow, the wife had a Nathan's dog and I shared some fries with the little one. Soon our trio will be a quartet, so we enjoyed the relative ease of mall dining with just one small monster. That is not to say that we are not looking forward to welcoming a fresh howler into the household, we are delighted.


  1. Someone brought cake balls into work a few weeks ago so I finally got to try them. The only good thing about them: the name contains the word 'balls'. They're like cake, but more wrong. Mush cake and frosting together until it makes a paste similar to partially masticated cake, form into ball, dip. Tastes exactly like it sounds. If you like your food excessively manhandled before consumption cake balls may be for you!

  2. Everyone I've served them to seems to get a kick out of cakeballs. They are a tasty, bite size finger food, and easy to serve at a party and prep/store in advance. They can be super pretty--ie, chocolate covered red velvet cakeballs with white chocolate drizzle.

    I think they were popularized in ball and cake from by the blog Bakerella. She's coming out with a cookbook (essentially decorating instructions--it's all adorable, but way too time consuming and fussy for me).

  3. Oops, meant "ball and pop form." Bakerella is all about the cake pops.

  4. I've been eying Bettie's food court location for a little while. Late one night, nobody was there and the cupcakes were looking dry, cracked and old.

    It seems like from your picture they may have solved that problem with little individual plastic covers for each cupcake.

    I was thinking a classic 50's era glass cake dome would be more appropriate.

    Anyhow, on a busy mall Saturday the joint was mobbed. Who are all these people buying mediocre $3 cupcakes to satisfy a craze that started a decade ago? At least you can't criticize the citizens of our region for not being willing to part with their hard earned cash for things that are bit more upmarket.

    Someone should tell Whole Foods.


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