Hudson River Coffee House: Verdict

photos by andrew franciosa

So a while back, I posed my feelings about the run-of-the-mill coffee shops Albany is cursed with. Since then, I’ve been to Mocha Joe’s in Brattleboro, Blue Bottle in Brooklyn, Gimme! in Soho and The Hudson River Coffee House on Quail Street right here in Albany. The above photo details what I got when I ordered a small coffee and a shot of espresso from The Hudson River Coffee House. The photo below is the detail shot of the espresso I received.

The espresso: When I ordered, I was asked whether or not I wanted a single or double shot. I took the single option since I didn’t need a significant quantity. The guy who made it, dumped previously-ground grinds into the basket from the chamber in the grinder, gave it a lackadaisical tamping, put it into the machine, and pressed a button. He then set my paper cup under one of the two spouts, and a metal milk pitcher under the other. My drink was capped, handed off and he went back to the pitcher to either dump it out or make himself a drink. Shit, even at Starbucks they offer you the other shot since they pull in multiples of two.

The shot tasted like it looked. There was no crema and it tasted as if you were licking your hands after dealing with a fresh bag of rubber bands; not the nutty, complex and concentrated taste I’ve grown accustom to. It was also room temperature from being put into a huge, cold cup (not to mention the incredible amount of waste this is, which almost bothers me the most out of this whole ordeal). At both Gimme! and Blue Bottle you get your shots in a pre-heated shot glass with a small cup of seltzer or water to wash it down, unless you specify it as to-go. The shots there look as if they are pouring dark amber paint into these cups, with a rich, and long lasting crema (it usually stays behind in the cup). Look at the second photo in the Gimme! guide to latte art, to get a comparison shot (no pun intended).

The coffee: Perplexing. I was mostly puzzled by it. At temperature it tasted transparent or weak, I guess. I don’t know really how to describe it. It definitely wasn’t offensive or bitter, just kind lacking all flavor. As it got colder, it did what all coffee does and started tasting funky, but to no fault of THRCH. When I return there, I will definitely opt for a coffee rather than a shot. I want to solve this puzzle.

Also, I was very happy to see them using Soy Blenders as their soy milk. It’s in my opinion the best and tastes the most like a non-flavored milk product. Maybe even like regular milk; that said, I haven’t had regular milk in over five years. I added this to the rest of the coffee and happily finished it. It definitely nudged it in the right direction.

The space there is really awesome though. Arcade games, chess boards, a place to buy cards (???), plenty of seating and even a few nights of dancing with the Heady Pro gang, it’s definitely adds to the neighborhood as a good adaptive use of an old space. I just really wish their main product, coffee, stood out more than the fact they made a cool room. I was sincerely and genuinely hoping to be able to stop mail ordering my coffee from Mocha Joe’s and finally be able to support a business in my own city. I guess that since Anton clearly understands the reason why all the coffee in Albany is awful, he decided to not offer a knock-out product since people will buy the coffee regardless.

Oh well.


photo: flickr user rsutphin

Over the past few couple of weeks, I’ve been hearing nothing but talk of whipped cream flavored vodka.  After trying it on two different occasions, my vote is that the shit is glamorized and disgusting.

Pinnacle‘s Whipped Cream flavored vodka  is handcrafted in small batches using spring water from the Champagne region of France and their website eloquently details their distillation process.  The bottle is fairly attractive, a smooth penguin shape, blue tint in color.  We picked it up because we thought it sounded cool.  Which is does.  In theory.

These are some of the flavors that are available:  banana, berry, chocolate whipped, cotton candy, root beer, green apple, cherry lemonade and of course, the whipped cream flavor.  Upon opening up the bottle, the observation is undeniable — the distinctively strong smell is reflective of the flavor itself and kinda like a strip club or like the county fair scene featured in Joe Dirt.

We tried mixing it with a variety of things to no real winning combination.  Orange juice made it taste kind of like a creamsicle for awhile, but then halfway through our drinks, our palates got turned off by the overwhelmingly syrupy/chemical taste.  I mixed it with strawberry daiquiri mix and it was a thick syrupy overload.  When we added blended ice, it got slightly better but still took me awhile to finish the drink.  Last night I found the best-of-the-worst concoction yet (thanks to my friend’s suggestion):  Blue Moon and the whipped cream flavored vodka.  It was still semi-gross though.  The flavor lingered for me, made worse by the smell, and even though it didn’t have the typical bite other vodka’s have, it still just didn’t do it for me.

For me, the only way that I enjoyed the whipped cream flavored vodka was to drink it weak and heavily mixed.  Last night, the overall consensus in my apartment was more of a “now what?” than a “hell yeah!”  We finished the bottle rather quickly and then chose to move onto beverages we know we like.

I give Pinnacle thumbs up for creativity and price ($15.99 for the 1.75 liter bottle we bought last night) but think it falls short overall.  Translating sugary food products into liquor flavors is what gives it its appeal, but I think the branding or idea of it is more successful than it is solely as a beverage.  The only thing that I can think of right now is that it could be good as jell-o shots but then again, pretty much any vodka makes for alright jell-o shots.  Or maybe mixed with hot chocolate.

The website declares the beverage, “ultra-smooth, crisp and clean.”  I’m gonna go with “fairly cheap, sugar high and trendy.”  Try it to see for yourself, why not.  But I’m personally already over it.

Scotty’s Music Monday: MOSCA

Mosca tracks have been my favorite for the past two years. It’s club music where the galaxy is the dancefloor and lightspeed flying saucers are the ravers. Each of his releases are sophisticated bangers that need not rely on any of the usual cheap tricks for hooking your ear & making you move. Mosca invents new, synthesized emotions that alchemize the abyss with the triumphant! His uncanny percussion loops and mammoth basslines are his particle accelerators, and these revolutionary new feelings are sure to be proven stable in modern music to come. You can’t say that about Einsteinium. I hope that Mosca will create his own breakaway music industry, and take me with him.

Square One was the first release on the inimitable Night Slugs label. You also need to check out ‘Nike’ if you vibe to this. It was the B side. The Roska remix also bangs.

Tilt Shift came out in December, but I was eagerly awaiting it all summer. It’s kinda mental, and the video is perfect.

Mosca’s mixtapes are held to equally high standards of taste and self-awareness. They usually combine UK Bass, classic techno and house, the latest bashment rhythms, and even some Bmore club if I’m lucky. Here’s an old mix from BBC Radio 1. Man I really miss Mary Ann Hobbs’ phone-sex voice. Can’t find a tracklist so get searching DJ’s!
Mosca Mix on BBC Radio 1 by DeejayMosca

Most recently, Mosca’s Gucci Mane remix got posted on XLR8R for the new Sinden mixtape. Check it out and next time you hear me playing these tunes in the club I hope you will lose your mind with me.

2011 Metroland Reader’s Poll: Please vote!

I’m asking that everyone vote in the Metroland Reader’s Poll. It’s sad to see that clearly none of us are voting. Everyone knows Dunkin Donut’s coffee is not the best in the area. Help make the things that are getting called the best, actually be the best!

Best art gallery, metal/hardcore/indie/punk/rock bands, club/radio djs, radio station, local and music blog? Vote for them!

This post will appear at the top of the list, with newer posts below it until voting ends.

Jersey Shore Season 3 Episode 6 Recap

The episode starts out with the crew out drinking at a bar (surprise). However Ron is doing double duty since Sam is crazy so he’s drinking until she isn’t, or something. Maybe he’s getting ready for creep mode. Regardless, he’s shredding other peoples shots.

Back at the house, Snooki promptly falls asleep on the wood floor in the dog pen. Situation heads up to his room with his grenade from that night, gives her a shirt that says “situation” on it and when she tells him it’s purple, he tells her it’s “ok”. Pause. Sam makes drunk food, try feeding it to Ron and he promptly refuses it in the same manner a two-year-old would, which rules. Ronnie starts spinning and pukes into a bag, and all over his arm, and on Sam’s bed. All with Mike and the random girl in the room. Pure class.

Ronnie wakes up and shits blood. Actually. Doctor give him a nice finger in the bhole, which he appropriately preps with some lubricant. Diagnosis: too much drinking. Apparently drinking until you shit blood, that’s possible!

Snooki on a date rattles off “everyone google it, the ocean is salty from the whale sperm”. (It’s false if you failed Earth Science). The dude who Snooks hung out with blew up his own spot when he, like an idiot, told her he was previously engaged. He then, like a weirdo calls the house over and over to try and make amends with her. Pauly pretends to be an answering machine and dude actually tries to leave a message! Horrible.

The girls then go out to the sex shop, which might as well be the SUNY Albany halloween costume repository. Snooki, who is drinking beer out of a plastic cup in the car, is shit hammered and ends up wearing her “stripper pretending to be a baseball player” costume out of the store, and all through dinner too. Ronnie makes a lot of misogynistic comments throughout cooking.

Snooki goes to work, and tells Danny, quite possibly the only reasonable human ever featured on this show, “relax bro, it’s a tshirt shop” when he tries to get her to work, while at work.

Fast forward to when it’s time to go out to da club. There’s a lot of dudes cleaning their shoes and girls spraying faces with hairspray. Snooks brings back a dude who she wants to get it in with, but it’s shark week for her and nothing happens. Waste of the smash room. Dena’s dude calls her light, and says she should gain weight. The next day Snooks convinces her dude to impress her with his pole dancing skills and he rips it out of the floor like the gorilla juicehead he is. It wasn’t secured at all.

There was a keyboard cat and Snooki pistascio commercial. What?

Back out to the club. Sam is wasting everyone’s time straightening her already straight hair. Everyone agrees with Mike that the “only thing that needs to be straightened out is her brain.”

Regarding her dancing at da club, Dena delivers the quote of the episode: “face down, ass up, that’s the way I like to have a good time”. Pauly then for some reason that I think is good, entertains his stalker who just threw a drink at him during their last encounter. Also, it is sadly discovered that hot Israeli Danielle has an unfavorable tooth-to-gum ratio. She’s is back at the house for some reason, and is taking jokes from everyone like “what kind of bird brings the baby” and “Jack climbed up the bean what” (admittedly well) and leaves eventually after just hanging out. Can’t wait to see what can of worms that opens. Pauly knows how to stay entertained and this is clearly a good decision.

The preview into next episode shows Sam announcing that she “needs a hot guy right now” when she’s at da club and then 5′ 7″ Ronnie roid-raging and smashing all her shit in their room.

6 more days.