Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Day 11: New York Pub Food

I pulled into Saratoga Springs, NY after two plane rides and a car rental. By the time I arrived to the front desk of my hotel, it was about 10:20 pm. I asked this rather large Hilton hotel desk clerk what my best food options were.

She looked at her watch and said, "Whoa. Room service stopped at 10:00 pm. I am not sure what to tell you..."

I looked at her flabbergasted. I should have heeded my own advice, and stopped on the car ride from the airport to the hotel.

"Surely there is a place in town still serving food?"

She shook her head. But out of the corner behind me, the bellman - or night clerk - or perhaps even the night manager piped up. "Send him to Dango's."

I looked at him suspiciously. "They are still serving food until they close."

"And what time is that?" I asked him.

"Until 4:00 am. It is where everyone goes at the end of the night."

The front desk clerk looked down, careful not to make eye contact. Should I be worried, or simply assume she was not really a person who went out to pubs late at night.

The male bellman-clerk-manager person told me it was "right food."

I was hungry. And what the heck, I was ready for a small adventure for the night.

I headed out the hotel, and walked five blocks in the below freezingnight. I walked along a street called Caroline - and was surprised at the number of pubs that were indeed still open. But it looked to be mostly pizza. At the end of the block, I found a place called Dango Fitzgerald's. It claimed to be an Italian New York Restaurant

The restaurants claim to fame were the large flat screen TV's - both at bar area, but also in every booth. I was able to tune in and watch the last moments as KU annihilated Texas Tech.

It was definately a local bar. Within 2 minutes, a chap came out of the kitchen - walked by my booth - and then turned around and sat down. "Are you playing poker on your computer," he asked? I had opened up my laptop to do a bit of work as I worked on beer and food. I sort of shook my head.

"I am so damn pissed that they shut down online poker. They took $700 of mine. But you are cool. I a not drinking. I don't drink."

And then he staggered away. He might not be drinking - but they had something magical in that kitchen.

And so, in choosing what I was ordering for the night, I took into account my angry gambler non-drinking, but heavily influenced cook.

My waiter said they were famous for their "twenty-five cent" items. On Tuesday - it was the wings. "Too bad for you" she said. It was Thursday. But she told me, "It is steamer night." And so - I ended up with a plate of New England clam steamers (a dozen at only 25 cents each) plus a half dozen of Buffalo wings - and a pastrami sandwich.

If you are in upsate New York - you have to try the Buffalo wings, right? I ordered the extra spicy BBQ wings. It is what the waitress recommended. They were good - but who am I to know what New Yorker's think are great chicken wings. I am pretty sure these were not the best. But they offered a nice tang to my lips!

The steamers were good - and fresh. Definately the best of the night - especially since the entire dozen only cost me $4.

It was a nice slice of local life and an interesting night.

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