Thank you, Open Table restaurant reservation system, for reminding me that I don’t dine out like I used to.
This photo in an email was an amusing reminder of my changing geography, tastes and preferences (and yes, finances). Australian lamb chops, foie gras terrines and $200 checks are out. We’re not in Jersey anymore. We don’t have the cash, and I don’t have the desire.
Give me a choice between dropping $200 at Yono’s in Albany or a good chicken sandwich at Hattie’s in Saratoga Springs and I’ll take the chicken sandwich — maybe even to go. Put me in Wine & Roses in Broadalbin — the best restaurant in Fulton County — and I’m more apt to select the smoked chicken enchiladas while Julie opts for the New York strip.
These days, this is what constitutes a great night out:
This is Ali Baba Express in Lake George Village, a little storefront on Canada Street that’s only open weekends in the offseason. Erika and I stopped in on our way to an Adirondack Phantoms game and came away, as always, fully satisfied.
For her, it’s the falafel, which she usually gets as a wrap — the chickpea fritters always crispy outside and soft and mealy inside — and the lavash, a crispy flatbread that balloons in the open oven, which comes with a yogurt sauce or, for a premium, the best hummus I’ve ever had.
For me, it’s the curried chicken, below, in a spicy and not terribly sweet sauce, sitting atop chunks of toasted pita which sop up the extra sauce. It comes with pickled onions with a great bite, chilled grilled green beans with a little sweetness in the dressing and perfectly — and I do mean perfectly — seasoned white rice, which may be the biggest triumph.
And think about that: When was the last time you had rice that made you smile?
You can keep your pates and terrines and your fallen souffles. You’ll find me at Ali Baba Express with a plate of curried chicken. I’ll save Open Table for vacation.