I’m not big on downtown Albany, but a somewhat hidden gem that makes the hassle of downtown Albany worth it has been revealed to me. That hidden gem is Cheesecake Machismo. Located at 293 Hamilton Street in Albany, this place is nicely tucked away for safe keeping. You really need to be looking for it to find the place.
It is a very simple business. At the heart of it, they will sell you a slice of cheesecake along with your choice of beverage for $5. As far as beverages, they offer coffee, iced coffee, a variety of teas, and some sodas. Nothing fancy. The choice of cheesecake is the more important choice, anyway.
If you get there early enough, you’ll have a choice of at least 10 different flavors of cheesecake. Some examples of the flavors that may be featured when you go can be found here. I’ll spell out what I’m saying. There are a finite number of cheesecake slices in the store on a given day, and the flavors that are available are seemingly random. Once one cake finishes, they erase it from the board as an option, and you have to pick something else. When they run out of cheesecake, they put the key in the door and go home.
The store is very small. There are only two tables with two chairs each. The staff seems to have a good sense of humor, as the store is filled with great toys, jokes, and homages to different eras.
I went with Cassie this past Saturday, but she had taken me once before. This time, we wanted to get there early just to see how many different varieties are available at the beginning of the day. According to The Board, there were 14 flavors available; we were the first customers. Our plan was to take our stuff to go, since we had just finished brunch.
After speaking with the very personable proprietor, Cassie settled on the Chocolate Chai Latte cheesecake with flavored seltzer, and I ordered the chocolate chipotle cheesecake (I’m a sucker for consonance) with iced coffee. And the slices of cheesecake did make it back to my apartment in Latham in tact, but that’s about it.
The coffee there is pretty awesome. it’s a fairly middle of the line roast, just the right bitterness with a great depth of flavor. That barely made the ride home. The chocolate chipotle cheesecake was interesting. I ordered it knowing I was entering experimental territory. The owner was very convincing especially since she told me she mooches the chipotles off of El Mariachi.
So I cracked open my container and gave it the smell test. All I could smell was chocolate. I’m fine with this. I took my first bite from the outer (dryer) edge. I tasted chipotle, but the heat didn’t really come out. The second bite was from the center. There was a good amount of heat and flavor from the chipotle but also the taste of chocolate was obvious. I devoured the rest of it enjoying the counterpoint of heat and sweet. Cassie also enjoyed her slice. She gave me a taste, and my only comment is that it tasted like a chai latte with chocolate. Very good.
You can certainly order in advance, and even get a “Frankenstein” cheesecake, where they put together different variety slices to make a full cheesecake.
I fully endorse Cheesecake Machismo as one of the best snack places in Albany. Click the image below to find some more information about them on facebook and to become a fan. (How could you not with an Aqua Teen Hunger Force reference like that?)