One thing I like about living in the Capital Region of NY is the diversity of businesses around. This gets honored in print in a bunch of ways, but one that stands out is Metroland’s Best of edition, where, every year, they showcase a business for a certain category. I’m going to thumb through the print magazine and pick out some highlights/lowlights (i.e. stuff I whole-heartedly agree with or disagree with).
- Best Comic Book Shop – Aquilonia Comics: I have read comics since I was a kid, and, when I wanted to get back into it in college, I made the mistake of going to a different shop; not a great experience. Back in 2004, while I was in graduate school, I stumbled upon Aquilonia, and I’ve been hooked. Like many comic shops around the world (but oddly enough not in this area), you can get a subscribers rate. Basically you enter a pact with the shop where you promise to pick up your subscription regularly and you get a sweet discount and guarantee that new books you subscribe to will be there waiting for you. If you’re not having fun reading a certain title, as long as you let the staff know, it isn’t a problem. The best part about Aquilonia is their ability to recommend titles based on what you like. All of the guys who work there read comics, so they are up-to-date on current stories as well as historical titles (should collecting back issues be your goal). Stop in and tell the guys that derryX sent you!
- Best Pizza – Smith’s Tavern and Red Front Restaurant: I’m not so sure I agree with Smith’s Tavern for best pizza, but I definitely agree with Red Front. Being an Italian Brooklyn transplant to the region, the quest for good pizza in the region has been futile, especially with it being dense with universities. When people ask me where to get good pizza around here, I say to find a bar and order the pizza there, because that’s where the best pizza seems to be. Red Front has a unique pizza with cheese on bottom and slightly spicy sauce that just puts it over the top. It’s must have. (Red Front also has normal pizza with cheese on top)
- Best Mexican – Salsa Latina: They feature the same menu as Pancho’s with a slightly more authentic feel to the food. I’d recommend to try it.
- Best Caribbean – First Choice Caribbean American Cuisine: I love the food here. The menu specializes in Jamaican foods, and they have a jerk chicken that is absolutely incredible.
- Best Indian – Karavalli: Absolutely! They are slightly on the expensive side, but the quality and portions do not disappoint.
- Best Mediterranean – Ali Baba: I used to frequent this place in my graduate school days at RPI. The food here is a unique Mediterranean that is neither over or under-spiced. It’s a different combination of spices than most are used to, but nothing that overwhelms. Definitely worth a visit.
- Best Japanese Steakhouse – Koto: Absolutely. They may be the most expensive in the area. And they may have that annoying local cable commercial that sticks with you. But you can’t argue with their quality.
- Best Pan Asian – Buffalo Wagon: I actually have eaten here many times, and once on my #missionsushi tour with Cute~Ella. While the sushi is mediocre and over-priced, the cooked dishes are incredible and rather affordable. I would urge anybody to check this place out if they like Asian food.
- Best Brew Pub – Browns: I disagree. Browns has some decent brews, but the food has been under par in the past year. I’d say Albany Pump Station is a much more well-rounded brew pub in the region.
- Best Wine Store (selection) – All Star Wine and Spirits: I agree. This place is awesome!
- Best Beer Store – Oliver’s Beverage Center: This place is flat out incredible. They have isles and isles of microbrews. The staff is knowledgeable and eager to help you find something you will enjoy. Also, you get discounts if you mix six packs. Definitely a great place.
- Best Bar (Albany) – Wolff’s Biergarten: Any fan of this blog knows how I feel about this place.
- Best Gentleman’s Club – DiCarlo’s: Yep!
There are quite a few categories that I didn’t even touch upon, so I’d urge everyone to check out Metroland’s list and try out some new places. The cool thing about this area is that you honestly never know where you’re going to find the next great thing!