Thursday, December 29, 2005

Nino's bakery in Albany

Today, a rainy, dreary late December day, on the way back from the Honest Weight Food Co-op, my husband and I stopped at a tiny hole-in-the-wall bakery called Nino's, on King Ave., right off Central (their official address is 718 Central Ave., but the customer entrance is on King.) It's holiday season, and they're bustling in there: phone was ringing, somewhat hassled-looking guy was alone operating the storefront, which seems to be a small fraction of the large warehouse-like bakery space behind.

They have really authentic Italian pastries: cannoli (in the back-- you have to ask special!), lemon cookies, other assorted cookies, breads, and these amazing almond biscotti that are unlike any others, but a wonder unto themselves. These biscotti are more eggy than others (the ones I make at home are crunchier and drier), but they taste fresh and have just the perfect chew : crunch ratio. I could probably eat an entire dozen of them if I wasn't thinking about consequences.

Nino's seems to do a lot of their business with commercial customers, but don't miss this little gem of a bakery right across from the dreaded Dunkin Donuts and OTB racing center. They even had taralli when I first visited back in August or so (taralli are little donut-shaped Italian crackers to go with wine-- simple but delicious, and some are baked with herbs. They are boiled then baked, so it's the kind of thing I'd rather someone else make. If I get desperate enough and try to make them myself, I'll post about it here). They also sell taralli at the St. Anthony's festival in Schenectady around August, which is when I first got the idea I might be able to find them lurking in one of the several old-fashioned Italian bakeries around here.

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