One of my favorite things to do when I travel is to visit a food market. Sure, it’s great to see the famous touristy things, but to really know a place, you need to know its food. It’s why I insisted I eat Surstromming when I was in Sweden, despite the objections by my traveling companions. After all, it’s one of the foulest smelling foods on the planet, so who can blame them?
I thought moving to Schenectady from CA, I had seen just about every type of produce available in the US. Not only does California benefit from a long growing season, but it also has a large influx of immigrants who are willing to buy exotic fruits and veggies not found in most places.
So, it was surprising when I came across a new fruit right here in the Capital Region. It’s the ground cherry, or Physalis. You don’t find this in the supermarket, but it is available at farmers markets in the area. I picked up mine at the Saturday market on Union Street.
This particular fruit is slightly sweet, and each one is individually wrapped! In case you were curious, it’s related to the tomatillo, that fruit used to make delicious green salsa.
Is the ground cherry my new favorite fruit? No, but it is something that is fun to snack on and is only available in the late summer. It’s also a fruit that I haven’t seen anywhere else, and because of that, it’s a fruit I’ll always associate with the Capital Region. They won’t be available for much longer this year, so find them while you can!
Just in case you were wondering, the title refers to this scene from Napoleon Dynamite.
Call it persistence, or maybe even hard headed; but I was determined to try some Soulicious food after I was unable to buy any last Thursday at the Bellevue Farmer’s Market. They had sold out their food just before I arrived. I was ready to bike home…devastated…until I discovered they they would be selling their food at Juneteenth in Central Park on Saturday.
And so I went. After spending all morning weeding, I was really looking forward to some greens and mac-n-cheese. The meat in this situation was really secondary to me. Upon my arrival, I was once again disappointed as I had arrived before the food! After being assured the food would arrive in 30 minutes, I explored the festivities, and watched some rhythmic dancing while listening to some drum music. I also sampled the food from another vendor, but it paled in comparison to Soulicious…eventually.
Most of the food didn’t show up for an hour, not the original 30 minutes, but still the Mac-n-cheese was missing. Dutifully I waited another 20 minutes for the final dish to arrive, and I don’t know if it was my longing to eat some macaroni (things are better when you wait?), but it was delicious. That’s $10 well spent for chicken, collards, mac, and yams.
After washing it down with a piece of watermelon from a nearby stand, I was ready for my next adventure…St. Anthony’s Festa!
I was dismayed to read the article in Tuesday’s Gazette about Mexican Radio opening in Schenectady. Don’t get me wrong, I’m excited to see the restaurant open, and based on the buzz, it sounds like a great addition to the restaurants downtown.
What bothered me were the quotes from area residents.One Scotia resident said she currently goes to La Fiesta in Clifton Park or Chili’s for Mexican. It’s a shame because Schenectady already has an excellent Mexican restaurant right on State Street. That restaurant is La Mexicana. The tacos remind me of the ones I would have in California. I’m particularly a sucker for the carnitas. Just a simple soft tortilla with meat, onions, cilantro, and radishes with a lime on the side. These tacos are fantastic!
Not to mention the connected grocery has anything you need to make delicious Mexican food at home.
I will definitely eat at Mexican Radio…probably sooner rather than later, and I think it will be a great addition to downtown, but I’ll be back at La Mexicana soon, too, because I can’t get enough of those tacos.