Say what you like about “big city dining,” a lot can be said about the feisty towns where regulars determine the quality and consistency of delicious food. We’re talking about access to farms along the Hudson and farms in Vermont, an interest in satisfying hunger made worse by long winters and boredom and low wages, and a history of Italian-American families who adapted and stayed and brought with them a memory of flavors and abilities to recreate versions of them.
On Central Avenue, once the city’s main drag where shoppers lit into posh stores day and night, you’ll find, past the Check Cashing storefronts, Jack’s Diner: Best Club sandwiches around, and a crowd of the high and low.
Nearby is the city’s food Coop: Go past the overpriced fruit and vegetables to the poultry display to buy wonderful Vermont chickens and then drive over to “Oriental Market” or Shop Rite for everything else on your list.
In Troy, which has fallen, there is Dinosaur BBQ: Light years better than anything in the NE Region: Ribs, pulled pork, brisket, and terrific sides.
Return then to Albany: Architecture that recalls big city years.