Tag Archives: Soulicious

Restaurant diversity, anyone?

This past weekend, I got to enjoy both the Greek and Italian festivals downtown. The music and dancing are always good, but the highlight is the good food. I had an excellent Moussaka at the Greek fest, and the lemon sorbet at the Italian Fest from Perreca’s was excellent.

Perreca's Lemon Ice
Perreca’s Lemon Ice

I was also impressed with the band, Crush, at the Italian Fest. They played a lot of great songs, brought good energy to the stage, and really made the festival come alive. They’re highschoolers, by the way.

Crush performs at Italian Fest
Crush performs at Italian Fest

I enjoyed the festival, despite the fact that when I first moved to Schenectady, one of the first things I noticed, and ultimately wound up complaining about, was the excessive number of Italian restaurants. Don’t get me wrong, I love the classic Italian eateries that have been in Schenectady for generations. Not only are they city landmarks, but they also make good food.

It bothers me when new Italian restaurants open for two reasons. First, I’m tired of eating Italian. I miss the culinary diversity of larger metropolitan areas, and my last minute walks to get Indian take out. We need more Indian restaurants in Schenectady! But second, I worry that the new restaurants, such as Johnny’s, will displace the classic Italian landmarks that make Schenectady special. Johnny’s may make good food, but it doesn’t replace the Italian bread from Perreca’s.

I don’t go out to eat much, but when I do I have several restaurants I enjoy: Cella’s Bistro, Jasmine Thai, Perreca’s, La Mexicana, and Soulicious @ the Bellevue Farmer’s Market. But I have one restaurant that I will frequent anytime. It’s Tara Kitchen. By far the best restaurant in Schenectady, I have a standing policy to accept any invitation for dinner there. I remember going when they first opened and were serving french bread with their tagines. They’ve improved so much since they started, and I can’t wait to see more exciting, unique restaurants enrich Schenectady in the future.

Prego, Prego, Prego...Too much Italian
Prego, Prego, Prego…Too much Italian
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Food for the soul at Juneteenth

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!