Saturday, May 13, 2006

Mezzo Marketplace and Eatery

Mezzo on 340 Hamilton Street, near the intersection with Dove, is a fantastic find. If I lived in downtown Albany, I'd probably be there a lot. They'd get tired of seeing my urbanite face every week. As it is, I have to settle for when I get to Albany and can actually find street parking.

Mezzo has absolutely top-notch deli foods as well as amazing baked goods (when I was there, I saw but didn't try what looked like a giant pie-sized lacy pecan cookie smooshed sandwich-like with some really yummy-looking creamy frosting stuff.) You can treat it like a mini gourmet shopping mart and pick up your fun fruit-shaped marzipans to brighten up someone's day; you can go there and forget you're in Albany for a moment while you sip your European espresso (or latte, chocolate, tea, etc) with baked delicacy of choice; or you can actually do lunch there and sit inside or in the courtyard. The staff is friendly and enthusiastic, and they also do catering and cooking classes.

I sat in the courtyard and had a little plate with crab cakes and roasted vegetables, picking and choosing from their deli counter. The crab cake I ate there was one of the best I've *ever* had anywhere: fresh lump crab meat with a minimum of the other stuff or breadcrumbs that seem to weigh down even the best-intentioned crabs. (I like to think of myself as a crab with only the best intentions!) I saw, but didn't pounce on (yet) their salmon (not sure if it's baked or poached) filet, some great looking pasta salads and chicken salads. Pestos, people! They actually have pestos in Albany, and it's only, what, 25 years after the gourmet food revolution?!?

Did I forget to mention that they also have sorbet and gelatos? These people know how to please.

They sell unusual ingredients (extra-fine sugar, marzipan, specialty seasonings and the like). My hope is that they will be hugely successful and have to buy out the whole block and then just work their way up the river to Troy.

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