Snapshots from the Empire State Plaza Food Festival

I had almost completely forgot about the Empire State Plaza Food Festival until I heard the thumping of the Alex Torres Trio just before lunchtime. A peek out the window to see rows of vendor tents quickly reminded me of the event taking place. Luckily I forgot lunch that day; I grabbed my camera and headed down.

Continue reading

Albany, NY: Fail Times Four at Johny’s Diner [Food Challenge]

Man did we have absolutely no idea what we were up against walking into Johny’s Diner for Johny’s Giant Burger. The description seems harmless:

Triple the meat burger 1.5 full pounds of meat eight cheese slices, 1/2 pound bacon and fries

One and half pounds of burger? Half pound of bacon? Few slices of cheese? I got this. Except you don’t. First, this is the largest pound and a half of hamburger you have ever seen. (No, really. It’s a *cough cough* very generous 1.5 lbs, the kind that’s closer to 3 pounds.) And probably closer to 16 slices of cheese. Even that’s not so bad. It’s what hits you when you see the “bun”.

This is no Freihofer’s bun. Hell, I would have settle for a Mastroianni Bros or Bella Naopli bun. NOPE. This was a full sized round loaf from Price Chopper, the thick, dense, heavy kind you cut the top off of and gut to use for bread dip. Had to weigh at least a pound. And the “side” of fries? Yeah a pound of those two. I’d say you were looking at close to 5 lbs of food total here. Yikes.

You sit there the entire time, waiting, watching this monster meal grow before your eyes, step by step. I already knew I wasn’t going to finish it; this just made me want it less and less. But then you cut into the burger (to make it more manageable to pick up, obviously) and take that first bite, and it’s actually delicious. You immediately think “Man, I want to come back here for a completely normal meal!”

But give if a few and your thoughts will turn to “Dear god what have I gotten myself into.” You have a full two hours to eat the burger, but you won’t need it. The first 15 minutes, after you’ve finished your first quarter, you know you’re not going to finish it but you’re going to keep on going anyways. After the 30 minute mark, you’ve still not finished half the burger yet, and even worse, this delicious juicy burger that sat in front of you 30 minutes ago is now cold and has a genuinely off putting texture that all cold hamburger has. It’s tough to choke down, so you move to the fries. But that doesn’t help, because you know you’re not going to finish the whole thing so what’s the point of keeping on going? By the 50 minute mark, we had all admitted defeat.

I’ll be back again (soon) to try some of the interesting menu items I would have rather have had last Thursday. Breakfast sandwiches, Cuban Burger, Fried Ice Cream and the like. But I never, ever want to see Johny’s Giant Burger again.