I’m very much a supporter of many things local, including the local blogs. The Albany Times Union has a great community of bloggers, and I don’t need to tell you that On the Edge, the lifestyle blog run by Kristi Gustafson Barlette, is one of the more popular. Of course you guys know I’m plugged into Table Hopping pretty integrally as well.
Kristi is one of the first people from the area I started following on twitter when I jumped on, and I can recall that our interactions there have mainly been positive. She’s even asked me to participate in some of her print articles, which was actually really fun and cool. Of course, there are times where our opinions diverge, but that’s going to happen in any healthy relationship.
For the past couple of years, I’ve followed her blog, and, even though my ability to comment regularly has diminished, I try to keep up. Through her OTE awards, I’ve actually been selected by her readers two years in a row, last year as “Best New Commenter” and this year as “Best Capital Region Booster.” The second award is actually something that’s an important milestone for me, as it illustrates that her readers recognize some of the work that goes into my blog, which is completely independent from the Times Union. Kristi falls into the group of people who help me promote what I love to do and help to spread it to a wider audience. For this, I am grateful.
When I saw the opportunity to get tickets to a party that was being put together to celebrate 5 years of OTE, I contemplated not going, but then when I got some messages from people asking if I would be there, I realized that visiting a website and clicking some buttons when I was already at a computer at 6:30am wasn’t that big a deal, so I got my ticket. (Of course, it wasn’t that easy and I had to bother Kristi to fix the eventbrite page while she was in an airport or something, but I digress)
I arrived at Angelos Prime in Clifton Park for the party around 6:15PM. The party started at 6, and there was a line forming to check in. I saw Kristi as soon as I arrived; she was doing her rounds. The menu looked decent. The first food station I hit was the cheese.
I tried the blue cheese and pepper jack cheese that were on the board. Both were good. They had my favorite crackers in the universe, these flat crisps with sesame and poppy seeds on top, so I munched on those while I made my way through the crowd.
I noticed a table with presents, and my joke was that the presents were from readers to Kristi. In actuality, those were the door prizes. A bunch of lucky people who had their ticket numbers called got to pick from the table. Fun.
I found a station with some buffalo dip, which went well with my crackers, and 7 hour cherry pepper pork, which was succulent, and I ate while I got to speak with some OTE readers. I started to get thirsty. I noticed the line for the bar shrink a little, so I took the opportunity to try the signature cocktail, The Flirtini.
Clearly a play on a bellini, this drink was fun. It was light and fizzy, sort of like soda for grownups.
As I made my way around the room, I noticed a mini cupcake station that people had already destroyed.
I got to try all of the cupcakes (what?). The cafe mocha cupcake was cute with its little chocolate dipped espresso bean on top. The S’mores cupcake was actually pretty good, and it was garnished with (not stale) graham crackers and marshmallows. The chocolate raspberry cupcake was my least favorite; the icing had a gelatinous feel which wasn’t a great texture for me.
Nobody loaded the cupcakes into dentists’ bags.
The passed hors d’oeuvres were fun, especially the bacon wrapped dates with peanut butter.
It sounds like a totally horrible combination, but then you eat it, you get the peanut butter taste, then as you eat the date, you get reminded of jelly (PB+J FTW!), and then bacon rounds it all out, and it all makes sense. These are a play on the classic “Devils on Horseback,” which are almond stuffed dates wrapped in bacon and sauteed and basted in brown butter and bacon fat. This was my favorite thing to eat at the party. The bacon they used was meaty and delicious, and they were served warm. This made the sumptuous peanut butter flow as you bite into them. Since these didn’t make Kristi’s list, I wasn’t expecting them, but they were a great highlight to the party.
Kristi got on the mic and made a speech and then called out the numbers for the door prizes.
Her speech was very concise. She made it clear how appreciative she was for the people who make OTE what it is and for all of the people who have helped to have it evolve into what it is.
I didn’t stay long after the speech. After some more bacon wrapped dates and chatting with some old and new friends, I decided to hit the road. I thought the party was lots of fun.
There was a photobooth set up, and I got home to find a number of fun pictures of Kristi and friends having fun in the photobooth on facebook and twitter.
I was so tempted to have some fun in that photobooth but the guy didn’t have red and black boas in his bag of tricks. It’s alright. I didn’t bring the belt anyway.