Last Saturday, I met a couple at the restaurant who were in the process of moving to Albany from San Francisco. Now, there are others who have made this same trek East only to be disappointed by some of what the Capital Region has to offer. I don't know if it is a question of expectations, personal values or perception, but after more than 20 years living in Albany, I can emphatically say (politics and orange mayors aside) that I love Albany. Don't get me wrong - in my heart, Greenwood Lake, N.Y. will always be the place that I envision when I hear the word home, but, Albany is where I am able to provide my family with a good quality of life at an incredibly reasonable cost and I celebrate that with sincerity.
Since Saturday, I've been considering how much Albany has changed since I first moved here. The most obvious change, to me, is the increase in dining options. In 1988, there were very few fine dining spots downtown and little variety in ethnic food choices. The Lark Street area then was home to a mediocre Chinese place, El Loco and Mamoun's Falafel, all of which remain, but they have been joined by Indian, Thai and Greek options. Seriously, there have to be at least 7 or 8 countries represented by menus on Lark Street these days - and that is a good thing. And for fine dining downtown there are terrific options like Yono's/DP, Angelo's 677, Marche, Dale Miller, and The Brown Derby - all of which have made their debut in the past 5 years. Pretty impressive.
I grew up outside of NYC, and it was initially a challenge to consider Albany a "city," but over the years, I've grown to appreciate Smalbany and am quite content here. If you're local, be it native or transplanted, to the Capital District, what are your favorite places? Share.