Tickets for A Taste of Albany

state museum from plaza

"Watch the sunset from the New York State Museum Terrace Gallery and taste Albany!"

Update update: Congrats to Mike -- he's the winner!

Update: The drawing's closed! The winner's been notified!

A Taste of Albany is coming up May 12 at the State Museum. From the blurbage: "Guests enjoy tastes from 40 of the Capital Region's best restaurants and chefs, live entertainment, live and silent auctions and great conversation."

AOA has two tickets for A Taste of Albany -- and we'd like to give them away, maybe to you. To enter the drawing, answer this question in the comments:

What's your favorite taste memory from when you were a kid?

Yep, we went a little Proustian there. We'll draw one winner at random.

A Taste of Albany is a benefit for Interfaith Partnership for the Homeless. It's from 6-8 pm on May 12 (that's a Thursday). Tickets start at $60 ($50 if you're under 30).

Important: All comments must be submitted by noon on Tuesday (May 3, 2011) to be entered in the drawing. One entry per person, please. You must enter a valid email address (that you check regularly) with your comment. The winner will be notified via email by 5 pm on Tuesday and must respond by 5 pm on Wednesday (May 4, 2011).


My favorite taste memory from my childhood was at a Cajun restaurant in Massapequa Long Island called Big Daddy’s. I’ve always loved steak and my uncle let me try a dish they called “The Steak from Hell,” which was a spicy rib-eye. It blew my mind! I loved it!

Creamed tuna on toast points, sounds gross but so yummy!

Freihofer's Black Eyed Susan cookies - these cookies came 12 to a box and were about 4 inches across - they were packaged side by side in the blue and white boxes., They were essentially a sugar cookie with a dollop of "jam" in the center. The way to eat them was to eat the cookie part first and save the jam part for the end!

(too hard to pick just one - The black rasberry ice cream from the Glendale Dairy - on madison just east of lark; Schuler's Potato Chips; Grandma Browns baked beans; Ma Brown's (No Relation) Root Beer! A Joe's Delicatessan Sandwhich - from the Madison Avenue Joe's!

OH I'm so hungry!

Soft ice cream following a little league softball game!

favorite taste memory from childhood - right this second cherry italian ice is coming to mind. summers at the pool with my friends and italian ice that stained your lips and tongue and teeth. the concrete around the pool would burn my foot and the poolwater was always a little bit warm - but the italian ice was always right. even on a day of rain.

Gradma's lasagna. It stays with me to this day and no store bought or even restaurant made imposter will do.

cinnamon raisin toast at my grandparents house :-)

My mom used to pickle raw mangoes cut into cubes. Before they got truly pickled and soft, but after they absorbed some of the salt and spices - they'd taste perfect. And now my mouth is watering!

almond paste--straight up.

Hoffman hot dogs and salt potatoes!

I loved salt potatoes. I could eat them until I got sick. Nothing like a summer cookout with a hearty helping of salt potatoes.

The disgusting in hindsight shrimp taco salad at a local Mexican restaurant. It didn't have dressing. It had cheese sauce. It was delicious, and I always picked it when it was my turn to choose. When I had it as an adult a few years ago, it sadly did not live up to the memory.

My first fish fry from Gallagers.

we lived in Selkirk and would always pass Three Farms Dairy going to and fro Albany. We would occasionally stop during the summer and get ice cream. Now I come from a time when Ice cream was a treat, not one of your basic food it is today. Anyway i remember the first time i tried Black was the greatest flavor...i can still remember thinking how can you great berry flavor in ice cream

Green bean casserole: green beans, cream of mushroom soup, french fried onions on top. (I'm from the Midwest).

I will always remember what my grandfather's mac n' cheese tasted like. It was the best!

Mommy-made bologna sandwiches w/ mayo on white bread cut diagonally :-)

The chocolate peanut butter cake my mother would make us on our birthdays.

Easter sweet bread!

My grandmother used to make "kid coffee" for us, with heated postum and a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

I'll always long for Buitoni Toaster Pizza from the seventies they were they best!

Honestly it would have to be Thanksgiving at my Gram's because that was the only time we had an abundance of food to eat and it was okay to eat as much as we wanted.

oh man, my dad's french onion soup, it was amazing. funny thing was, even though it took a while to make everything, and as much as he loved making it for the family, he would only have a bite or two and say he had enough.

Oh yikes, how to choose?
The spaghetti and meatballs at the Charcoal Pit was a favorite, and the proprietor, Ron, would hide a "magic bay leaf" in my food somewhere. When I found it, he would give me a dime for the candy machine.

Another one would be having a grilled cheese sandwich and peppermint ice cream at Toll Gate, which hasn't changed one bit.

The Maple Sugar Candy from Indian Ladder Farms...I would let it slowly dissolve in my mouth.

Jiffy peanut butter, with a spoon out of the jar.

I believe it was called a Side Saddle or Tall in the Saddle at Jahn's in Richmond Hill. It was a huge ice cream sundae and we only went on extremely rare occasions as it was pricey even back then. Going to Jahn's was an incredible treat.

BBQ food!! We all used what is now called "traditional" charcoal instead of shiny gas grills! And we gave up flavor!

Most present in my mind, because we ate a very pale storebought imitation last grandmother's homemade strawberry shortcake. Made with homemade biscuits heavy on butter, the freshest, juiciest summer strawberries, sliced and sprinkled with sugar, left overnight so the juices flow, and homemade whipped cream. I can almost taste it as I write this.

Chicago style deep dish pizza

Open-faced tuna sandwiches topped with a tomato slice and america cheese, then broiled in the oven.

S'mores made while camping in Old Forge!

My grandfather's special camping concoction: Franco-American brand canned spaghetti in a cheesy tomato sauce, hot dogs, ground beef, baked beans, and sauteed onions, all cooked together in one pot and slopped in a bowl. Processed? Mostly. Disgusting sounding? Absolutely. Delicious? Most decidedly yes!

My favorite taste memory from childhood is easily my grandmother's cheesecake. Graham cracker crust and moist cheesecake filling... it was delightful. Now my brother makes it for family get togethers.

Orbitz the galactic soft drink! A taste of the 1990s, back when it it was socially acceptable to drink 150mg of sugar per bottle.

I grew up in southern California and I have to say I really do miss good dim sum.

Having my grandmother's lefse at Thanksgiving dinner!

The Good Humor Bars with the hard chocolate piece attached to the popscicle stick under the ice cream were pretty incredible.

Grandma's apple pie. Made on family special occasions. Martha Stewart would probably not say it was light, flaky enough or made with the 'correct' variety of apple, but there is nothing that conjures up the feeling of home like that did.

freshly baked bagel still hot from the oven, covered with cream cheese, a slice of tomato, a slice of red onion, and a piece of lox.

Snorkels Ice Cream! Awesome :)

My favorite taste memory from my childhood is when my grandmother would make me a grilled cheese sandwich with velveeta cheese and smooshing the sandwich before serving it to me.

When my father introduced me to the curious pleasure of combining the tastes of chocolate and potato chips.

twist soft-serve ice cream from the peanut principal dipped in both peanut butter and chocolate shell dip stuff.

or the kraft mac n cheese that my mom use to try and convince us was homemade...good either way.

White bread squished into a ball and then bitten into like an apple. Gross now but what the heck did I know?

Sadly, my favorite taste memory from childhood was a nice cold can of Pepsi. I would always have one after school, with toast and a string cheese. I loved it so much I would dunk my cheese in the soda. haha. Now that I am older, I will have a Pepsi on very rare occasion.

My mother's pickled carrots! The only way I liked carrots for the longest time...

My favorite food memory is my father's chicken paprikas and goulash. He would make the traditional egg noodles from scratch and would start the stews early on a Sunday morning, so that the flavors would develop all day and the smells would consume the house. Those tastes bring me right back to being a little girl again helping my dad out in the kitchen.

Fresh picked raspberries from my grandparents' backyard

When I was younger, I helped my great grandmother make homemade donuts. I got to taste them while they were still warm. Yum!

Hot Chinese Mustard. Every Sunday night my family would go to this little hole in the wall Chinese place in Schenectady. They would serve those crispy fried wonton strips with big bowls of sweet and sour sauce and that yummy yellow hot mustard. My dad and I would have contests to see who could eat the most without dying. :) Still love that stuff, although I think wasabi is a bit hotter!

Macaroni and cottage cheese. My mother and grandmother would make it for us quite often and we never thought it strange. My father never said a word about it, but it was never on his plate. I never knew until I went to collage that macaroni and cottage cheese looks and tastes absolutely disgusting to any one who isn't my family. I don't understand why. It's cottage cheese, butter, salt and starch.

I still make it for my comfort food.

I’m sure it sounds a bit sentimentally over-the-top, but I would have to go with my mom’s apple pie. I can still taste the cinnamon/apple. And, as a bonus, she would make us cinnamon pinwheels with the leftover pastry dough.

I remember a birthday when my mother made me a yellow cake with chocolate frosting and a thick chocolate pudding layer between the layers of cake. Damn. It was probably all from a box, but it hit the spot.

Watermelon on a sunny day :)

Black raspberries from the field by my house.

i remember going to L-Kens on Central ave to have a fish fry every Friday. it was a cool family outing and still to this day the best fish fry's i have ever had.

One of my favorite taste memories is of the chicken and rice made by our neighbor who was from the Dominican Republic. I'm not sure what combination of spices she used, but it always smelled and tasted delicious (and I've been unable to replcate it).

My Estonian great-grandmother used to sneak me into my grandparent's kitchen and plunk me down on this very high stool where my legs would dangle while she made me these crispy, fried pancakes that she'd sprinkle with sugar and then we'd eat them in silence grinning at each other like we'd shared the best secret ever...

My favorite taste memories...grilled steak and homemade french fries from my Nana...bulgogi, kimchi and rice with my mother washed down with grape soda.

my favorite memory from childhood was driving to visit family on long island, because we got to pass "the city" (we'd always screech "almost there mommy, see the Big Buildings") and we knew we were going to get to go to the beach and find sea shells.

Mine is simple. Orzo with milk and butter. My mom would always make it for us when it was a rainy day or if we weren't feeling well. It's what I make now when I want to feel closer to her. Warms my belly and my heart.

My absolute favorite 'taste memory' from when I was a kid would have to be my big brother R's homemade fudge. I know he used the recipe in my mom's Fannie Farmer Cookbook, which I have a newer edition of, but, I have never been able to replicate it, nor have I had it or anything like it since he married and moved to Florida more than thirty years ago. He made the very best fudge!

As a child I had a lot of delicious food made by mom, aunts and grandmother back where I'm from originally, Colombia, but one dish that's a little odd from the rest was this ham and cheese sandwich that I used to eat at this hotel we stayed at when we went on vacation with my parents and brother. This sandwich, I'll never forget, was just perfect. The bread was crunchy and the ham and cheese were so yummy! I would love to go back and have it again...and again :)

my favorite childhood taste: Pepperidge Farm Chocolate Cakes in the summertime. My mom LOVED those frozen box cakes!

When I was sick my mom used to make me eggnogs: milk, vanilla, cinnamon, sugar and a raw egg all whipped up in the blender. I don't think I knew it had egg in it or I probably wouldn't have enjoyed them so much. I can still taste that frosty cold deliciousness!
Probably couldn't get away with serving your sick kid a raw egg these days without hearing from CPS!

That's easy: My mom's Mac n Cheese!

my dad's pizza. yummmm.

My late grandfather used to make the BEST zucchini pancakes with fresh zucchini he grew in his backyard garden in the Bronx. He made them for my little brother and me whenever our parents would drive us down to New York for a visit.
I've tried and tried and have never been able to accurately duplicate that recipe.

Green mangoes with salt and lime

My favorite taste memory as a child? My Mother's soft boiled eggs on toast with butter and her freshly squeezed orange juice. Warms the cockles of my heart.

My Mom's French toast. Soaked over night, and baked in the oven the next morning. Cinnamony goodness.

Walking to the store on a warm summer night to buy Pop Rocks and Big League Chew.

Lunch at my grandparents' house: white bread topped with Velveeta cheese and raw honey from their own hives.

Mine was shepherds pie. (The hamburger, corn, mash potatoes with the cheese mixed together.) The I would load on ketchup. Yum. Have not had that in a long time. I'm sure this event will be much more fancy.

You will laugh or feel sorry for me or maybe both.
My mom raised me and three sisters all alone.
The staple in our house was elbow macaroni with tomato juice. That's right, I said "juice". Juice is much cheaper. I actually enjoyed it but haven't had that concoction for over 15 years now. Bless my mom for trying. I shall take my mom to this tasting party if I win the tickets. She may go into shock from all the flavor.

Pizza, Pizza, Pizza.

My grandmother's home-made ham salad sandwiches. She would grind the ham herself (using leftovers from a large roast). They were heavenly. Gosh, I wish she was still around to make them. :-(

I was about 6 or 7 years old. My mom made some breakfast sausage links for the construction crew repairing our house and I loved the smell. My mom let me have a few and I'm still a huge fan of sausage today.

Delivery pizza with wings and Pepsi-a treat when Mom was getting home late or friends were sleeping over.

My favorite taste memory from childhood was my mom's strawberry bread. Served for breakfast during the summer... occasionally with ice cream.

I like Cookie's Steak Pub on Long Island. They had an unlimited soup and salad bar with cocktail shrimp. They also had a very nice desert station complete with all the fixins for a very nice hot fudge sundae.

the first bite of a freshly baked loaf of my grandmother's italian bread (still piping hot from the oven.)

French fries and orange soda. This was my idea of a perfect meal when I was a kid. My mom still talks about how we went to Disney World (20 years ago) and all I ever wanted to eat or drink at each restaurant was french fries and orange soda.

Eating lemon ice from a place called Suzette's in the back seat of my mom's lincoln continental when I was about 7. It had real lemon zest in it. Slushy but stiff enough to use a spoon. Brain freeze!

My parents owned a bowling alley growing up, and I'll never forget the taste of the greasy French fries. It sounds gross, but god they were good.

My grandmother's taralli (Italian pretzel-cookies). You can get them from some places locally, and I've made them myself, but they'll never be as good.

Growing up in Philadelphia, my favorite taste memory was having a soft pretzel smothered in yellow mustard in the afternoons during the summer when we stayed with my grandparents. My grandfather brought bags of them home for all of us grandkids when he was done his shift at the Electric Plant. They would gran theirs and run and my grandfather, brother, and I would sit and eat ours quietly together looking out the kitchen window from the table. Man, I love that taste.

My birthday request, corned beef and cabbage

My mom didn't let us have much junk food growing up. Only on special occasions. I remember around 6 years-old waking up at our camp in Shushan, NY. We had relatives over that weekend and there were honey nut cheerios in the kitchen. The only thing about the trip I remembered.

When I was sick my dad would make me his 'special medicine' - cranberry juice and honey in a little glass. Always made me feel better :)

My favorite memory is poached salmon in a dill sauce my mom made.

I remember being disgusted by the look of avocados and then realizing after my first taste how amazing it is.

My mom would sometimes let me dip one skinny pinky finger into her small glass of peppermint schnapps. I knew that this was a forbidden substance, though I had no clue at the time what it was.

On another note, I was a sucker for sweets and love to lick the beaters and spoon when my mom made brownies or cookies. I also begged her to let me have cream cheese on graham crackers like all the cool kids in 3rd grade had in their lunches.

"The faintest waft is sometimes enough to induce feelings of hunger or anticipation, or to transport you back through time and space to a long-forgotten moment in your childhood. It can overwhelm you in an instant or simply tease you, creeping into your consciousness slowly and evaporating almost the moment it is detected." ~Stephen Lacey, Scent in Your Garden, 1991

I fondly remember the foods my family ate while traveling, especially hash browns at McDonald's. I also have a soft spot for Taco Bell.

Cake batter off of the mixing paddles, I would have traded my bike for more of that.

My favorite was my mother mustered breaded chicken. So good served cold on a picnic.

Cherry tomatoes from Grandpa Jimmy's garden.

The man could grow Anything. Capital A.

I used to sneak into the garden when I was a kid and eat as many warm, tart, sweet tomatoes as I could before he'd chase me out, laughing and yelling at me in Italian.

My most vivid childhood taste memory is my grandmother's beef stew. I still wish I knew how she made it!

Zack's Drive-Inn at Hudson Falls. Always knew summer was here when my parents took us there!

Ice cream from this little ice cream stand in the Adirondacks with 1 flavor a day (twisted with vanilla). It's at least a 1/2 hour drive from where we go camping but we make the drive almost daily for this stuff. So good and I'm so happy I can still enjoy it as an adult!

I was just thinking about this place the other day. Poopies restaurant in Glens Falls. I don't know what it is, but I remember loving their egg salad sandwich on toasted white bread with bacon. I accompanied this meal with a lovely Dr. Pepper on the rocks, and a side of ruffles potato chips. I got the same thing every single time. Anyhow, that is one of my favorite flavors as a kid. Its hard to pick just one! Sorry Grandma, your english muffin bread was a very very close second!!

Chicken fingers from the Ground Round, where you would "pay what you weigh," so I would get that gourmet meal for under a buck!

Peanut butter and mayonnaise sandwiches. "Protein sandwiches", as my dad, a bodybuilder, informed us. Looking up to him and wanting to be like him, of course we loved them!

Popcorn at the movies. Reminds me of going to the movies almost every day with my grandfather during the summer, back when it didn't bankrupt a family to go to the theater. I saw my first Rated R movie, "Half Baked," with my grandfather. Still traumatized.

Apples with vanilla and honey - I remember discovering this delicious treat after a day of apple picking

Making and eating apple juice pops

Every sunday my father would take a round crusty bread and cut into slices and top with pepperoni and provolone cheese and put in the microwave for 25 seconds. The cheese melt and the oil from the meat gets held in by the crusty bread. Very simple and yummy.

Spinach with bacon bits and a bacon grease vinaigrette. No joke. My grandma would make it for me all the time when I went to visit.

Mmmm, I remember my great aunts mustard balls. We've tried every version of the recipe we've found since, and nothing quite matches.

My favorite "taste memory" is my family's Christmas morning tradition of Swedish tea ring, a delicious sweet bread fanned out into a pinwheel shape. Mom made two: one with raisins and one without to appease our opposition. It was always washed down with white grape juice.

Kind of surprising, as now I'm a vegetarian of almost 14 years now, but when I was young I was living with my grandpa, and on some very special afternoons, after I'd come home from playing with my friend Nick from across the street, my grandpa would make me a hotdog sandwich. Literally a hotdog cut in half, then cut in half again the long way, laid onto a slice of white bread, and then covered with another slice that had ketchup spread on it. The most simple thing ever, but it has stuck with me.

My neighbor Dave and I were like brothers growing up. We were convinced we were the youngest chefs ever when we invented Crunchy Macaroni and Cheese: Kraft Mac and Cheese with a handful of pulverized Doritos stirred into the bowl... I still do it to this day sometimes...

My favorite memories of Albany area were Eastman's cheese house,Pete's Gondola Pizza, Dutcher's ice cream. and there used to be a childrens shoe store on central ave. Stride Rite. Bought all my kids shoes there fab. Service,knowledgable staff,expert fitters I remember Al

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