Professor M. Barley’s bustles with activity every night of the week, from Wednesday night trivia contests to Saturday night DJ dance parties. Amidst the hullabaloo, servers divvy out plates of hearty sandwiches mounded with homemade meatballs, pulled pork, or buffalo chicken. They also transport cooked-to-order 8-ounce burgers, nestled beneath unique toppings such as fried ravioli, guacamole, blue cheese, and fried jalapeños. Beneath the dim glow of hanging lamps and the vibrant gleam of neon signs, bartenders dole out draft beers and mixed drinks. Nearby, rows of flat-screen TVs line the dining room walls, broadcasting the latest sports games and competitive quilting bees. Tabletops scatter on an indoor patio, where breezes drift in through wall-to-wall windows during the summer, and a fireplace blazes during colder months.
Legends Express Car Wash bathes begrimed buggies in a step-ladder of comprehensive car wash services. Starting with the most basic service, each subsequent ride rinse comes with everything offered by the service directly below it, plus more. Start off with a spray wax, rust preventer, and ultimate dry ($5), ensuring your fine fendered friend leaves looking sleek and swimsuit ready. Or, trade up to the protect and shine wash, which comes accompanied by Blue Coral protectant and triple-foam polish to protect vehicles from road salt and all weather elements ($8). Boasting Black Magic tire dressing to varnish the tires, the wheel deal wash ($10) also comes with a rim shine and wheel brightener to ensure a vibrant vehicular visage from any angle. Last but not least, the ultimate wash ($12) offers an extensive and exhaustive exterior expunging, starting with everything included in the wheel deal wash, and then adding a water-busting Rain-X glass treatment, increasing wet-weather visibility by repelling rain, sleet, snow, and all other matter of cloud tears from perambulator portholes.
At From the Garden, chefs are constantly dreaming up dishes and drafting new five-course tasting menus. One week, the chefs will feature watermelon gazpacho and duck confit; the next, they will extend their culinary expertise toward chilled cucumber soup and spiced-mushroom pasta. But regardless of the dish they are preparing, the chefs always use locally sourced produce, meats, and dairy. Diners await meals in the bright and cozy dining room, sipping glasses of wine from a carefully curated selection.
Chef Mark D. Graham crafts menus at taste that showcase culinary techniques honed over more than two decades in the kitchen, including several years working as the sous chef at the Palo Alto Spago under Wolfgang Puck and Michael French. It was time well-spent?his menu presents inventive New American cuisine that led the Times Union to declare the chef's vision as being "bright, creative and precisely tuned...Graham isn't shy about crafting a menu that tempts you to try favorites of his you may have forgotten about or never sampled to begin with." Carnivores can delight in the grilled lamb chops or feast on Heather Ridge Farm chicken wrapped in bacon and the envious stares of nearby diners. Vegetarians also have plenty to celebrate, whether its the polenta with braised fennel and olives praised by the Times Union for being "a truly Mediterranean melange" or roasted acorn squash enhanced by brussels sprouts and king oyster mushrooms.
From lunch until late at night, Blue 82's contemporary lounge fosters delicious moments of synesthesia. Bartenders artfully decorate glasses by pouring bold strokes of specialty drinks such as bright green-tea martinis or Cha Cha mojitos with hints of raspberry, mimicking the green-to-magenta fade of the illuminated wall behind the bar, which doubles as a stoplight for overaggressive segway riders. More than 15 varieties of scotch add distinguished flair to evenings spent on a velvety sofa, and the tunes of live music or those spun by weekend DJs permeate aural canals with mellifluous sustenance. Slider burgers wedded to bacon and Boursin cheese or chicken flatbread pizza with sweet-and-spicy brazilian mustard treat palates to comfort food augmented by gourmet overtones, like a Stephen Foster melody played on a Stradivarius violin. The eatery also presents daily specials, and induces or nurtures merriment by hosting parties.
In the 1940s there were two places to spot Babe Ruth: knocking homers out of baseball parks around the country and knocking back cold ones at Albany Baseball Club meetings held in the upstairs room of what is now Franklin's Tower. Chefs commemorate his frequent appearances with their Babe Ruth Bubby Burger, a Swiss cheese- and bacon-topped patty that diners can eat with two hands or whack into their mouths with a bat. Burgers are one of many American-style items on Franklin Tower's massive menu, which includes grilled cheese sandwiches with homemade pesto and wraps with grilled chicken breast and homemade Caesar dressing. Wine, beer, and whiskey wash down each feast, which unfold in a dining room that maintains the building's 1920s atmosphere with art deco flourishes.