I was raised in a town where going out to eat meant choosing one of the many Italian restaurants in town. Ironically enough, they were all owned by one of two Italian families so the menus were quite similar no matter which place you decided to eat. There is nothing bad about Italian food- it’s quite delicious- but there really wasn't much else to choose from, and my family wasn't accustomed to trying something new. So when I moved to Albany, I was ready to expand my palette! I was shocked at how many food choices there were, and grateful that I could choose something from a menu that didn't include red sauce.
Now that I've lived here for a number of years, I have picked some of my favorite restaurants, but I also love to try a new place with friends. One friend even started a blog on eating local this year, using the City Dining Cards as his road map if you will. I’ll warn you, though: If you eat out with him, be prepared to hear him describe the food like one of the chefs on Food Network. Oh, and he likes to impersonate Julia Child. (Who doesn't, though, right??)
I digress. (It’s Friday afternoon.)
To assist a hungry person with deciding on the perfect dining location, the Central Avenue Business Improvement District recently released its Central Avenue Dining Guide. This 23-page magazine contains listings of all restaurants within its boundaries by either nationality, type of cuisine, or alphabetically. It also includes special feature articles that describe some of the 74 restaurants that represent 19 different countries along Central Ave. You can pick up your guide at many locations throughout Albany, including the Albany Heritage Area Visitors Center.
I think it’s safe to say that it’s unrealistic to try each of the 74 restaurants along Central. Go ahead and try if you’d like, but there is a much more efficient way to do so! Many of the restaurants along Central will be participating in two great community events centered around food:
- On April 25th, you can take part in the AIDS Council of Northeastern New York’s Dining Out for Life event throughout the city;
- And on May 2nd, you can sample the food from over 30 Capital Region restaurants and chefs at the Interfaith Partnership’s A Taste of Albany at the New York State Museum.
If you can’t wait to start your new culinary adventure, you can also take part in Angelo’s Restaurant Week from April 15 – 19, or the Downtown Albany Restaurant Week from April 20 – 26!
So instead of going out to your standby restaurant, give yourself the opportunity to try something new. Who knows, it may just have you impersonating Julia Child!