Manic Monday: A busy week in and around Albany

May 12, 2014 | Food, Travel

Hey, gang. What a beautiful week to be from New York’s Capital Region. No, seriously, I’m not kidding about that. For once. These days I am loving my adopted hometown more and more. Maybe because Dennis and I are regularly abandoning our children to hang out in pubs and parks, and did I mention pubs?

And this week we had the added bonus of tulips, tulips and more tulips in Washington Park, which happens to be right across the street from the offices of the New York State Catholic Conference, where Dennis spends his days. We skipped the overcrowded Tulip Fest yesterday and instead opted for a trip to Cardona’s Italian Market for Mother’s Day lunch fixings, but Dennis and I celebrated our own small-scale version of Tulip Fest at lunch time today. Lots of photos this week, lots of photos…

On the menu: This past week has been chock full of good food. Mamouns veggieEarlier last week, Dennis and I hit up Mamoun’s Falafel on Washington Avenue just around the corner from Lark Street in Albany. Just a few blocks from Dennis’ office, this is a favorite lunch spot for us. Usually we’re the only ones in the place, although this week it was packed with three other customers.

The food here is absolutely fantastic, and you really can’t help tapping your feet to the Middle Eastern beat of the music. I only order one thing at Mamoun’s: Vegetarian Combo Platter. So, so, SO delicious. Falafel, stuffed grape leaves, hummus and warm pita bread, baba ganoush, olives. You can get a look at it over there on the right. Dennis opted for the lamb kabob and was equally satisfied. 

We decided not to stop at lunch out, and continued our new Wednesday night pub/restaurant crawl with a visit to Capital American Eatery and Lounge for a belated celebration of our 19th anniversary. Although we had planned to do the flight of beers, which received good reviews in the Times Union, we opted for wine instead that night. Great spot, really cool interior, although it was a little too quiet for us. I’m sure that’s not the case when shows are happening at nearby venues.

I opted for the fillet of sole stuffed with lump crab capital tunameat, and Dennis went for the sesame crusted tuna (over there on the right). Both were delicious. For appetizers we did steamers and pork dumplings. Also good, although the dumplings were a little too salty for my taste. I’ll try a different appetizer next time. This is a great family place. We plan to take the kids there some time soon because the prices are incredibly reasonable, and there are plenty of options for both meat eaters and vegetarians — and nitpickers.

Best part of our anniversary night was our post-dinner walk a few blocks and over the highway to the Hudson River. We sat on a rock and listened to a train whistle in the distance with a bright moon overhead and the city skyline behind us. Moonlight and romance can even make Albany look pretty good, as you can see in that very top photo.

Mother’s Day not only included the aforementioned fabulous lunch put together from Italian goodies purchased at Cardona’s, but also a delicious home-cooked meal prepared with love by Dennis. I sat out on my deck in the sunshine while he made a big pot of tomato sauce and a ridiculous amount of meatballs. Then he grilled sausage to throw in the sauce for good measure. And bread. And salad. And wine, of course. We ended the night with s’mores over the fire pit in the backyard with the kids, and, after they went to bed, a glass of Jack on the rocks. For a really special touch, we prayed Night Prayer around the fire pit before bed. Perfect day.

Okay, enough of the menu for the week. Phew. Moving on…

Bookshelf: Just about finished with Halfway to Each Other. What can I say? I’m out too often to read books. And that’s a good thing these days.

Viewfinder: As I said, Dennis and I took advantage of the beautiful weather and the tulip blooms and strolled through Washington Park today. Just beautiful. Here are a few of my favorite shots from our lunchtime outing. (As always, you can click on all photos except for the very top one to enlarge them and get a closer look.)

tulip orange and purple

tulip orange row

tulip pink and yellow


And my handsome lunch date down by the lake…

Dennis washington park

Then we crossed over the bridge below and went off in search of a pub for an afternoon treat. Not so easy on a Monday at lunch. We finally ended up at Shogun, where we grabbed a cold beverage, and then popped into Little Moon, the very cool Tibetan gift shop right down the street. I will be heading back there for some trinkets, for sure.

washington park bridge

shogun beer

Little Moon shop

Okay, enough already! Yeah, it’s been a GREAT week here in Albany. Plenty more where that came from.



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