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Tuesday, June 11, 2024

Before You Go: ‘Best of 2013’

CRL columnist John Gray counts down his favorite Capital Region things.

Another year and another chance for you folks to click the “like” button on the stuff you adore in our beautiful Capital Region. I’ve gotten away from listing my own favorites the past couple of years, but thought it might be fun to, in the words of that great song writer Sugar Ray, “Do it again, do it again.” You’ll see my list makes little sense and is not based on actual research or data; just me being me I guess.

Best place to see a packed parking lot ALL the time – Joe’s Crab Shack.

Best place to find people raving about salad and bread sticks, but NOT the entree- Olive Garden.

Best place to overpay for pizza that tastes like cardboard – Chuck E Cheese.

Best place to take kids for an hour of fun and not order the pizza – see previous answer.

Best kept secret in Rensselaer County – Paolo Lombardi’s. Old school Italian.

Best seasoning invented EVER – Red Robin’s, which is meant for the french fries but tastes good on everything. I’ve thought about stealing it, but that big creepy bird is staring at me.

Best food shopping experience – The Fresh Market in Latham. You won’t want to leave.

Best place for barbecue and WIDE selection of beer – Dinosaur in Troy.

Best way to eat at Dinosaur without waiting an hour – go straight to the bar.

Best clam chowder – Reel Seafood in Colonie.

Best place to run into a lovable Greek with an outrageous mustache – same answer.

Best burgers – Jack’s Drive In Wynantskill.

Best burgers with a view – Jumpin Jack’s in Scotia.

Best burger bargain – Country Drive In Clifton Park.

Best place to eat chicken wings while playing Texas Hold Em – Buffalo Wild Wings.

Best place for chocolate that’s easy to find – Krause’s in Colonie.

Best place for chocolate that’s not easy to find – DeAnna’s in West Sand Lake.

Best place for chocolate if you feel like taking a drive – The Chocolate Barn in Shaftbury, VT.

Best candy shop if you like pigs – Saratoga Sweets.

Best place to eat and have strangers staring at you while you chew – Johhny Rockets in Crossgates. The movie theater line is right next to the tables.

Best place to pay $30 for popcorn, skittles and a couple of drinks – the same movie theater.

Best place for pretty bartenders – Stout. Used to be Graney’s, but he moved them all.

Best place to see frat boys staring rudely who have no shot of getting the bartenders number – um, everywhere, but especially Stout.

Best park – The Crossings. There is no comparison.

Best place to rollerblade if it’s sunny – Colonie bike path near the Nisky line.

Best place to rollerblade if it’s raining – Guptill’s.

Best mini golf – The Oasis in Troy. It has a waterfall and stream that actually carries your ball to the green.

Best mini golf if you like planes landing on your head – Control Tower in Latham.

Best place to take a child who needs to burn off energy – Tree Pad in Malta.

Best place to get dizzy driving in circles – Exit 12 on the way to Tree Pad, rotary after rotary after… you get the point.

Best way to make a little boy happy – get him a puppy.

Best way to make a big boy happy – get him a boat.

Best way to make a little girl happy – get her a castle with a prince who adores her.

Best way to make a big girl happy – same answer, although I’m told “Princes” are in short supply.

Best way to make yourself happy – forgive. And eat more chocolate.


Best Show on TV – “Game of Thrones”.

Best surprise hit on TV – “The Bible”.

Best show if you want to see old zombies walking upright – “The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills”. Oh, and “The Walking Dead”.

Best show to watch if you have to meet with your boss, ask for a raise and need a little swagger – “Justified”.

Best show if you like sleeping with the light on – “The Following”.

Best way to get me to change the channel – put Honey Boo Boo on.

Best radio station if you want a speeding ticket – PYX 106.

Best radio station if you just got dumped – WGNA.

Best radio station if you want to have a positive attitude – K-Love.

Best local magazine – you’re reading it now.

Odds and Ends
Best place for a first date – The Gingerman.

Best place for a last date – Chuck E  Cheese, order her the pizza.

Best way to screw up a date – talk about politics, religion or your jar of toe nail clippings you’ve been saving since childhood.

Best pick up line 20 years ago – I work at Plug Power.

Best pick up line today – I work at Nano Tech.

Best way to look pathetic – text a girl while she’s standing three feet away because you are too scared to talk to her.

Best way to break up with a guy – go to the ladies room, escape through the window and text the following SBTIWOAIJCOTBW. It means: “Sorry but this isn’t working out and I just climbed out the bathroom window.”

Best way to find a soul mate – spend time on Facebook.

Best way to lose your soul mate – spend too much time on Facebook.

And finally, best way to find out how much you love living here – move away. I did for two years during college and I missed my hometown. There’s something about the places, faces and familiar spaces that make me never want to leave again. I’m glad you are here too, sharing this moment with me.

John Gray
John Gray
John Gray is an Emmy-winning journalist and writer. In addition to his 32 years of television experience, John is the author of three children's books and two novels. He is married with three children. He and his lovely wife Courtney have five dogs, three of them are rescues with special needs. They make their quiet home in Rensselaer County.

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