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#1 porcupine

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Posted 28 May 2006 - 09:24 AM

Watkins Glen; Montour Falls; Dundee; Hector; Lodi; Ithaca

 

I travel to Watkins Glen, NY several time a year to indulge in my other passion [see sig line]. It's almost axiomatic that where the racing is good, the food is lousy. But not in the Finger Lakes region. Here's my take on a few restaurants in the area.

In Watkins Glen proper, for breakfast and lunch the best bet is Glen Mountain Market, with very good fresh coffee, pastires, and breads. At lunch they offer soups, subs, and creative sandwhiches (like turkey, blue cheese, and sliced apple). The wait is always ridiculously long - call ahead if you're coming from the track.

Savard's is a typical old fashioned American diner, decent for breakfast but otherwise awful. For the true greasy spoon diner breakfast head south toward Montour Falls and hit Chef's [open since 1949].

Jerlando's is not bad for a basic pizza parlor.

Seneca Harbor Station is barely acceptable - big space, decent outdoor seating in season, but boring American style steak and chicken.

Every other place in town that I've tried (Wildflower Cafe, Bianco's Daughters [For Sale in 2011]), is too terrible for words.

On the west side of Seneca Lake is an overblown 'bed and breakfast' (it's really a motel) - The Inn at Glenora, I think they call it - with an equally overblown restaurant. Avoid. They've clearly been exposed to finer food but totally fail to execute the (medium)high-concept dishes.

The east side of the lake is where you'll hit gold. The following places tend to emphasize local produce and dairy. And wines, which is not necessarily a good thing.

In Hector, the Bistro at Red Newt serves pretty good modern American food in a very nice space with a good view of the lake.

Stonecat Cafe is a quirky restaurant built out of an old roadside fruit stand. The food is kinda latter-day hippie style. Brunch on the rear deck in summertime is a real treat. It may not be technically the best in the area, but the owners' style really shines, it's laid back, and it's anything but formulaic (my main complain against Glenora, come to think of it). It's my favorite.

Further north in Lodi is Suzanne ("Fine Regional Cuisine"). Last summer the menu offered dishes like crab and salmon ravioli with Chanpagne vinaigrette; diver scallops with pea puree; salmon with morels leeks and sweet peas; roasted breast of duck with wild rice, currants, and pine nuts in green peppercorn sauce. I only ate there once but it was very, very good. I remember thinking that Suzanne could hold her own if she were in DC (I don't think the same is true of Red Newt, though Stonecat could make it in the right location - say, Del Ray).

In Ithaca Just a Taste offers some fantastic tapas.

That's it for a quick recollection. I know there are several others on this forum who've dined in the region. Hopefully you'll chime in with more restaurants and more details.

 

[this post was edited by DonRocks, who didn't have the guts to say so.  :P ]


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#2 ol_ironstomach

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Posted 28 May 2006 - 11:54 AM

Hector

 

For those lowbrow occasions when you need a roadhouse, by far your best bet is Big Johnson's in Hector, one of those shacks where the locals swill cheap beer between staggering up to the karaoke mike. I understand they used to hang Barbie dolls from the ceiling for decoration, too. However, don't pass up the Baked Alaska...it's quite satisfying, and exotic among the usual burgers and fries.


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--------"Cuisine represents a knife edge that separates attractive stimulation from death."--- Art Ayers


#3 Escoffier

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Posted 28 May 2006 - 12:03 PM

I travel to Watkins Glen, NY several time a year to indulge in my other passion [see sig line]. It's almost axiomatic that where the racing is good, the food is lousy. But not in the Finger Lakes region. Here's my take on a few restaurants in the area.


We will be in the Glen area from June 9 through the 11th. I wish you had posted this about 2 months ago. Posted Image I haven't been to the Glen for over 30 years so it's good to know any and all decent places to eat. (of which there aren't many). I'll accept any suggestions for good food because here is where we will be for dinner on Saturday night...Saturday night dinner...not exactly my first choice but anything that sounded good or avant garde was overruled as either too expensive or too exotic....Fortunately Saturday and Sunday lunch are still not group efforts so there may be a way to save a bit of the weekend.

In memory of David Weber of Malvern Racing, Desmo4USA, and StephenB. Good friends gone forever.


#4 ol_ironstomach

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Posted 28 May 2006 - 06:11 PM

I'll accept any suggestions for good food because here is where we will be for dinner on Saturday night...Saturday night dinner...


Nothing to do with food but while you're out and about on the lake, wave at the big schooner Malabar X if she's out there. Last and largest of the Alden racing schooners, she was completely rebuilt a few years back by owner Doug Hazlitt of the Hazlitt 1852 winery, and nowadays takes tourists around the lake.

Dave Hsu
--------"Cuisine represents a knife edge that separates attractive stimulation from death."--- Art Ayers


#5 dcdavidm

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Posted 28 May 2006 - 10:31 PM

Buffalo; Lodi; Penn Yan

 

Time and weather permitting, we often drive through the Fingerlakes region several times a year on our way from DC to Buffalo to see family. For many, many years, most of the Fingerlakes have been a dining nightmare, relegating us to munching Parmesan Goldfish and sipping diet Cokes while we cruise through. Things have picked up recently, however. We have eaten often at the Red Newt Bistro. The preparations are nothing to write home about, but decent, and best when they use local suppliers. The menu is creative for the area (it is posted on their web site). A warm spring or autumn afternoon on their Seneca Lake-facing deck is a good way to break up the trip.

We had an interesting experience at Suzanne's, up a bit in scale and along the same road. We were overnighting in the area and heard that they were having a wine dinner with the owners of Standing Stone winery, so we snagged a table. Driving to the restaurant, we were suspicious about the utter quiet and darkness that had descended upon the eastern shore of the lake. A sudden, fierce storm had came up and knocked out the electricity for nearly the whole east side of the lake. Finding the place in the dark was a challenge. Undaunted, the restaurant had a gas stove and lots of candles, and we had a wonderful evening. The electricity came back on just as we were leaving. We certainly will return.

One Seneca Lake place that gets some good press lately is called Dano's. We haven't been, but will try it perhaps later this summer.

We were not impressed by the food at Esperanza, at the north end of Keuka Lake. Straight out of Sysco. Too bad, because the location is gorgeous.

I agree with Porcupine's evaluation of the Glenora; mediocre food in a setting that promises more.

We have yet to find the "we want to return" restaurant in Corning, which for its size and history should be able to do a lot better than it does.

Thanks for the suggestion on Stonecat; we will try it, too.



#6 CrescentFresh

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Posted 29 May 2006 - 10:25 AM

Geneva

 

Belhurst Castle on the northwest side of Seneca Lake near Geneva is a beautiful place. Several well furnished, classic dining rooms in the mansion. A nice setting right on the lake. The kitchen did a nice job when we were there about 2.5 years ago. On the nights we were there, in late October, the Northern Lights came down south very far. Fantastic evening sitting out behind the castle with a bottle of wine and watching the colors in the sky shimmering over the lake.

They were in the process of building some new accomodations next to the castle when we were there. I don't know if these new rooms will add or detract from the ambiance of the place.


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#7 DC in DC

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Posted 29 May 2006 - 11:33 PM

Ithaca

 

As a Cornell alum, I had to chime in with two Ithaca recommendations: Just a Taste (excellent tapas/small plates-- not Spanish or Mexican, though) and of course, the venerable Moosewood Restaurant for vegetarian fare. If you find yourself in Collegetown, Aladdin's was good for Middle Eastern, though I have no idea if it's still around.


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#8 JLK

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Posted 30 May 2006 - 12:37 PM

Ithaca

 

As another Cornell alum, I suggest deep dish pizza at The Nines. I have heard, though, that its sister restaurant, The Chariot, is no more. Can anyone verify? [It closed during the summer of 2005]


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#9 DC in DC

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Posted 30 May 2006 - 01:37 PM

As another Cornell alum, I suggest deep dish pizza at The Nines. I have heard, though, that its sister restaurant, The Chariot, is no more. Can anyone verify?


I have heard the same too, from someone who actually went to reunion. I loved the corn fritters at the Chariot!
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#10 cucas87

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Posted 30 May 2006 - 02:09 PM

Ithaca

 

Another Cornell alum here with a lot of nostalgia (and sadness over the Chariot's closing which I unhappily can confirm) -- and a few Ithaca dining ideas. Cheap and in Ithaca's Collegetown: I second the recommendation for pizza (it's deep dish) at The Nines (The Nines). Also: Aladdin's on Eddy Street for salads and middle eastern food, Souvlaki House on Eddy Street for Greek Salad, Ruloff's on College Avenue for sort of "American" food. Moosewood Cafe downtown in the DeWitt Mall is a piece of history. If you want to relive your hippie days go to ABC Cafe [Closed Spring, 2010] on Stuart Avenue. If you're in Ithaca by Cornell, and you're walking around and in need of a snack, head to the Cornell Dairy Store (on campus by the vet school) for some good, creamy and not frou frou ice cream . For a good Saturday night place, I'm a little stumped as the places I would love to recommend have closed. There used to be a wonderful French restaurant called L'Auberge du Cochon Rouge. It has become John Thomas Steakhouse which is apparently well liked. I also have heard that Just a Taste in downtown Ithaca is great. I haven't been to Willow, [Closed] although I have the sneaking suspicion I went there in its prior incarnation on the night before I graduated. I also haven't been to Madeline's (also downtown Ithaca on the Commons) but I've heard raves about its desserts -- and single malts. Now, if you're looking to hear a crazy band in a funky location, I can talk and talk and talk about the Rongovian Embassy in Trumansburg. In any event, I saw these two websites that may be of more help: Ithaca and Ithaca Dining.


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#11 JLK

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Posted 30 May 2006 - 07:46 PM

Ithaca

 

Corn fritters = THE BEST. I grew up eating homemade corn fritters with maple syrup, but at The Chariot, I learned to love 'em with blue cheese. RIP Chariot (and Little Joe's for that matter).

I have heard the same too, from someone who actually went to reunion. I loved the corn fritters at the Chariot!

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#12 rbh

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Posted 07 June 2006 - 07:39 PM

Ithaca

 

In Ithaca, there's a surprising amount of good food. Never been to Moosewoods... always meant to, but the vegetarian aspect of it never really motivates me. The best discovery in Ithaca is north of Cornell... The Heights Cafe. Excellent food and service that can rival any of the comparable places in DC. Expensive by Ithaca standards... moderate by DC standards.

I always liked Cosmo's for breakfast. I want to like Simeon's on the Commons, but it inevitably disappoints me. The one time I went to The Station, it also disappointed. The Thai place over by Wegmans was always good also. Forget about any Chinese food in Ithaca... Vietnamese place on Dryden Ave was always a good deal. Taughonnack Inn northeast of Ithaca is supposed to be a nice place also.

btw, Joe's Restaurant is back after a demise of a few years... I may go by when I'm there over 4th of July weekend.



#13 DC in DC

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Posted 07 June 2006 - 09:48 PM

Ithaca

 

In Ithaca, there's a surprising amount of good food. Never been to Moosewoods... always meant to, but the vegetarian aspect of it never really motivates me. The best discovery in Ithaca is north of Cornell... The Heights Cafe. Excellent food and service that can rival any of the comparable places in DC. Expensive by Ithaca standards... moderate by DC standards.

I always liked Cosmo's for breakfast. I want to like Simeon's on the Commons, but it inevitably disappoints me. The one time I went to The Station, it also disappointed. The Thai place over by Wegmans was always good also. Forget about any Chinese food in Ithaca... Vietnamese place on Dryden Ave was always a good deal. Taughonnack Inn northeast of Ithaca is supposed to be a nice place also.

btw, Joe's Restaurant is back after a demise of a few years... I may go by when I'm there over 4th of July weekend.

I agree that Ithaca has a lot of really good restaurants considering its size and location (I have spent time in another college town--I'll give a clue, its initials are AA-- that had pretty mediocre food). I forgot to mention Thai Cuisine-- they claim to have the "best Thai food in NY state outside of NYC." My husband LOVES that place (well, based on a 10-year-old memory), but I don't know if it's really worth going to if you live in an area like we do with lots of excellent Thai options. As for the Moosewood being vegetarian, I had always found that as a non-vegetarian, there were always many good and inventive things to eat. Also, they serve fish, so you will not be eating a plate of string veggies. Finally, I have always wanted to go to Taughonnack Farms as I remember that in order to get a reservation for graduation, you had to write an essay. (I don't know if that's actually true or if it is still true.)

The problem with dining options in college towns is (1) many people's recommendations may not be trustworthy because they are based on what they nostalgically remember was "good;" was "good" for when they were in college; or was the expensive place to take dates and parents. (2) If you return to your alma mater, you are not likely to want to sample a new restaurant but rather return to your old stomping grounds. I'll probably never make it to any of the places I never tried before in Ithaca.
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#14 ol_ironstomach

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Posted 07 June 2006 - 10:11 PM

Ithaca

 

I agree that Ithaca has a lot of really good restaurants considering its size and location (I have spent time in another college town--I'll give a clue, its initials are AA-- that had pretty mediocre food). I forgot to mention Thai Cuisine-- they claim to have the "best Thai food in NY state outside of NYC." My husband LOVES that place (well, based on a 10-year-old memory)...

If it's the one I dined at last September, it's still good...fresh basil, rich curries. I think I digested afterwards while looking at the Carl Sagan monument thing farther along the pedestrian district. Considering how rural western NY (like most of the country) can be, Ithaca is a good little oasis for its size. Also worth a visit: Pie Girl.

If only AA had restaurants like they have bookshops! I had a pretty good Ethiopian meal in AA not too long ago, although being served Ethiopian in a modern restaurant space with conventional booths was kind of a first for me. Aren't they close enough to Detroit to have a critical mass of Middle Eastern food? And of course, there's Zingerman's.

Dave Hsu
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#15 rbh

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Posted 09 July 2006 - 10:59 PM

Ithaca

 

Was in Ithaca and the Finger Lakes over the long 4th of July weekend. Again mostly pleased with all the dining options up there.

First night went to The Heights cafe. They really have outstanding food. We all got some type of steak.... ranging from tenderloins to ribeye to porterhouses. They were all quite good... not quite prepared the same way as RTS. First the cuts were a bit thicker... and then on the ribeye there was a semisweet glaze, enough to accent the meat without overpowering it. Just way to full for dessert that night.

Other dinners on the weekend included Just a Taste, Joe's, and the Nines. I swear the Nines pizza is actually better than I remember. Get the deep dish.... dough doesn't have that little sweet taste anymore (which always seemed a bit odd to me). Pizza prep time/service just as slow as I remember. Joe's is back. Unbelievably, I never went to Joe's when I went to Cornell.... the one person in our group who had been said it was pretty much as she remembered... with a few changed menu items. Don't go expecting haute Italian cuisine... but for affordable southern Italian cuisine.... it fits the bill. Just a Taste was a bit disappointing to me. As DCinDC says, it's tapas, but not like Jaleo... just small plate food. We went late and they seemed hurried. Food was good, but not particularly memorable. The one distinctive thing were the wine flights they offered.... 5 3-oz tastes for $10. They had some pre-created flights, or you could create your own - very good value. My impression of Just a Taste could've been influenced by a full day of wine tasting on Seneca Lake though.

Couple other places that haven't been mentioned that are good for breakfast/brunch... Cafe DeWitt (in the DeWitt mall, where Moosewoods is) and the venerable Collegetown Bagels... I think I like the Collegetown location better though than the one downtown. We tried the Ithaca diner on State St one morning... passable, but nothing great... if you want diner food, go to Mano's instead.

For the CU (and IC) alums... Starbucks has finally invaded Ithaca.... on the ground floor of the Hilton Garden Inn that opened just north of the Commons. In Collegetown, the Greek House and the corner convenience store are gone. It's strange to see Stella's - coffeebar on one side... martini bar on the other, yes a martini bar in C-town. The usual beer hangouts are still there... Dunbars, Royal Palms, Ruloffs, Chapter House. Aladdins is also still there... surprisingly the cheap Vietnam restaurant is also still there.

Wine tasting was mixed on Seneca and Cayuga Lakes.... Rieslings had a tough year in 2004. The standout wines from the trip.... Wiemer Semi-Dry Riesling and the Standing Stone Vidal Ice wine.



#16 DC in DC

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Posted 10 July 2006 - 06:04 PM

Thanks for the update RBH!
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#17 JLK

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Posted 10 July 2006 - 09:31 PM

Wait...Joe's is back from the dead? Same "concept" new ownership or old ownership? Breadsticks?

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#18 rbh

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Posted 11 July 2006 - 07:50 PM

yes - Joe's is back in the same space. same concept; new owners. breadsticks and bottomless saladbowl. click for ithaca journal story on reopening.

#19 porcupine

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Posted 24 July 2006 - 12:06 PM

Hector; Lodi

 

Just back from having my a** kicked at the Glen, but the trip was worthwhile because of some fine eatin'.

The Stonecat Cafe was as good as always, if not better. Mr P had cremini and protobello mushroom ravioli in a red wine, chevre, and sage sauce. The flavors were nicely balanced, with no one thing dominant. I had a simple linguine with greens, mushrooms and tomatoes in a white wine sauce with a touch of pecorino.

I continue to think of this as one of my favorite restaurants ever, but I can't quite say why. It doesn't look like much from the outside - the building used to be a roadside fruit stand - but inside the decor is simple, a bit homey but not at all kitschy; airy and light. The back deck has a most delightful view of vineyards rolling down to the lake. The food is rarely high-concept but the quality of ingredients is excellent, the preparations well executed, and the taste is, well, just delicious. Service is simple and friendly. No pretentions here.

We also had brunch on that deck before heading home. It may be in New York State but it's still some of the best pulled pork barbeque I've ever had.

Maybe I like it so much because the food always exceeds the expectations you'd get from the setting. Unfortunately the opposite is true of The Bistro at Red Newt, which tries for high concept (mostly) and doesn't quite make it. The setting, a big, lofty, airy, wood-filled space also overlooking Seneca Lake, is much nicer than Stonecat - well, in a fine dining way, anyway. But the food just doesn't knock my socks off. Mr P had a bacon wrapped filet mignon, and I had a bacon-wrapped pork tenderloin with a filling of chevre and arugula, served with a blueberry and red wine sauce. Really nice flavors, but somehow boring. Service is not simple or friendly, but rather trying to be formal and not succeeding. I'd rather they set the bar lower and clear it rather than setting it high and failing. Also, it really irritates me when the server gets my order wrong and then argues with me about it.

Of course, the best of both worlds would be a place that sets the bar high and clears it consistently. That place would be Suzanne, in Lodi. We went with two other couples and had a grand time in a more formal setting (and more intimate, in an old farmhouse), with better service, and perfectly executed dishes that were well-conceived and showcased their ingredients. I had a simple, fresh, delicate corn soup, poured over a small mound of fresh tomato and roasted shrimp, and my main course was a perfectly cooked duck breast (medium rare inside, ultra crispy skin) in a red wine sauce, with a wild rice side enlivened by thin strips of candied lemon, and simple sugar snap peas (no sauce or other flavors).

Suzanne is easily the best of the three by any measure, but Stonecat is still my favorite, just for the vibe.

Also popped into Dano's Heuriger (also in Lodi), recently relocated from Ithaca. Apparently the chef was in Ithaca for something like 15 years and has a devoted following. Another big, open, airy, wood-filled space, with a menu offering spreads (liptauer, gorgonzola, horseradish walnut, artichoke lemon...); salads (corn and cabbage, celery root remoulade, Viennese potato, daikon cilantro...); lots o' different breads; charcuterie (pate, bockwurst, knockwurst...); fish (smoked trout, herring salad, smoked bluefish mousse...); roast meats (chicken and pork); side dishes (spatzle, knodel...); and several German desserts. I really wish I could have eaten here once or twice and report on how all of these taste.

Next time, no Red Newt, but a nice feast at Dano's instead.

I still don't like NY wines.


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#20 Escoffier

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Posted 24 July 2006 - 12:58 PM

I still don't like NY wines.

Slightly off topic, but we did find a Glenora Dry Riesling that is very nice. Limited run, 2003 vintage, very good for NY wine and beats Taylor by two country miles...bummer about the racing.

In memory of David Weber of Malvern Racing, Desmo4USA, and StephenB. Good friends gone forever.


#21 porcupine

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Posted 24 July 2006 - 01:48 PM

Watkins Glen

 

PS - In Watkins Glen proper, Tobe's (coffee and donuts) has reopened. And the decrepit old building on the south side of town, at the junction of Rts 14 and 414, has been renovated and now houses a Great Harvest Bread Company, which has the great virtue (for Watkins) of being open at 6:30 am.


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#22 Scott Johnston

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Posted 09 June 2007 - 05:59 AM

Ithaca

 

Cucas87 and I dined at Moosewood Café on Thursday Night. Overall the experience was very good. The atmosphere is pleasant, the drinks were not expensive, the food was very good to great. We started with a chickpea humus like app. Tried some Veggie Jamacian Calliloo soup, and a flounder with rice and pastico entrée. Dessert was some homemade ice cream. Definitely a healthy low fat meal! Dinner with 2 drinks apiece was 80 bucks including tax and tip.

Since there are some CU grads on the board, tonight we are "eating from the HOT TRUCK" Some sort of French bread Pizza truck that is only open from 9pm-3am. http://en.wikipedia....iki/Cornelliana


No more wafer thin mints for me!!!!

#23 JLK

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Posted 09 June 2007 - 11:06 PM

HOT TRUCK? DID SOMEONE SAY HOT TRUCK?

How was it?

Signed,
Very jealous lover of MBCs

Jennifer


#24 cucas87

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Posted 11 June 2007 - 06:42 AM

Ithaca

 

HOT TRUCK? DID SOMEONE SAY HOT TRUCK?

Hot Truck,welcome back, how I had missed you!

Apparently Bob sold the truck and it's up and running again as of at least last year. It was a little odd to find the hot truck parked on the Arts Quad, but that was done, I'm sure, for Reunions and the many alums who never would walk down to west campus (especially in light of the fact that it is largely a construction complex now) to find it. We shared an MBC, which was warm and gooey and delicious. Prices, of course, are higher than I recall! I also should note that the wait time wasn't too bad because they had anticipated the onslaught of alums so the experience this time around was a little different than in the old days. But really good. Especially when we took the MBC to our tent party madness.

Incidentally, if you are a Cornell alum and haven't been to Collegetown recently -- and I hadn't been back in 5 years -- it's a sad sight as many storefronts are vacant. Still around: Ruloffs, Collegetown Bagels, Aladdins, Sangam, Dino's, Dunbars and, of course, the Royal Palm. Oh and Starbucks is in Collegetown now. Sigh.

One last note about the Moosewood Cafe: it's a wifi hot spot. This ain't the Mooseood of old.

CGR
"I'd give up chocolate, but I'm not a quitter."


#25 porcupine

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Posted 29 July 2007 - 07:47 AM

Watkins Glen; Hector; Lodi

 

Reporting from Watkins Glen, once again at the annual kicking of my a** (aka the July Sprints). [edited to add - not so bad this year cool.gif ]

Stonecat Cafe is still my favorite. Not much has changed since my last visit. Everything our small group ordered was almost perfect (a slightly overcooked double-cut pork chop was the only misfire). The Jazz brunch is a real treat - the pastry chef's blueberry crumble is a great amuse.

Tobe's is indeed reopened, and joy of joys open at 5 am seven days a week! The new owners have really cleaned the place up without losing the greasy-spoon diner charm. The chef supposedly came from Chef's in Montour Falls. We had a good basic diner breakfast - scrambled eggs, toast, bacon, coffee - but the really good news is that the donuts are fresh and lively. They must've finally dumped that 30 year old vat of fry oil. Afternoons they serve ice cream and milkshakes from the deck.

Dano's Heuriger is every bit as good as I hoped it would be, if not better. Fourteen of us went and sampled a very large portion of the Austrian/German/Hungarian menu, including charcuterie, spreads, salads, braised red cabbage, creamed squash, weiner schnitzel, breaded catfish filets, an unusual take on a hamburger, spaetzle... you get the idea. The Viennese Bento Box was a cute way to sample many different dishes. And for parties of six or more, you can order the Chef's Table, which is basically the entire menu. Desserts included various seasonal fruit tarts, puddings, and cakes.

Our New York (city) friend, originally from Austria, was absolutely delighted. "It's just like home! And almost New York good." He explained that a heuriger is a neighborhood place where people go to sample "this year's" wines, while nibbling away at small plates of food. So of course the place has a long wine list, featuring Finger Lakes wine (and beers from Wagner).

One thing I always look forward to when arriving in Watkins Glen is the big neon sign flashing Mr. Chicken. It's a silly place, with a bunch of crap junk food (Mr P's burger was just about the worst ever), but darn the fried chicken is tasty. I always get a plate of spicy hot wings with blue cheese dressing, and fries. Hits the spot. You can get fried chicken pieces by the bucket - they'll be just cool enough to pick up with your hands by the time you get back up the hill to the track.


Elizabeth Miller
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#26 JLK

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Posted 24 August 2008 - 04:46 PM

Finger (Lakes) Food - NY Times

Jennifer


#27 porcupine

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Posted 14 July 2009 - 03:32 PM

Hector; Watkins Glen

 

2009 report: Stonecat just keeps getting better and better - excellent local produce and dairy, good concepts well-executed, laid-back vibe. I want to move to Watkins Glen so that I can be a regular there, like twice a week or so. I think that it really is my favorite restaurant ever. Dano's hasn't changed a bit; it's still good; Glen Mountain Market, Jerlando's, and Mr. Chicken are same as they ever were. Mmmm, spicy wings. [and for the five or so people who read this thread and know me: a** kicked again; this year I lost fourth gear during practice and had to put in another transmission. I don't know why WGI hates me so much when I love it so much...]


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#28 dcdavidm

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Posted 14 July 2009 - 10:32 PM

Hector; Lodi; Ovid; Geneva

 


2009 report: Stonecat just keeps getting better and better - excellent local produce and dairy, good concepts well-executed, laid-back vibe. I want to move to Watkins Glen so that I can be a regular there, like twice a week or so. I think that it really is my favorite restaurant ever. Dano's hasn't changed a bit; it's still good; Glen Mountain Market, Jerlando's, and Mr. Chicken are same as they ever were. Mmmm, spicy wings. [and for the five or so people who read this thread and know me: a** kicked again; this year I lost fourth gear during practice and had to put in another transmission. I don't know why WGI hates me so much when I love it so much...]

Sorry to hear about your transmission misfortune! We were at Stonecat over the July 4 weekend and have to agree with you wholeheartedly about the food. The smoker was going full tilt, too, which only whetted my appetite. (Stayed at a B&B a couple hundred yards up the road, so could even walk there!) Dano's could have been better; they were out of many things I wanted; would have been easier if the server had told me as I ordered, rather than going back and forth four times with bad news whenever I ordered a substitute! Got some other places for you to try, too. If you have time on a race weekend, go over to the west side of Cayuga Lake and try "Simply Red Bistro" at the Sheldrake Point winery. Terrific food in a pretty setting and some killer rieslings. Also, if you can wander up to Geneva on the north end of Seneca Lake, try Ports Cafe. Alltold, a great time of year for dining in the Finger Lakes with many local ingredients available!

#29 porcupine

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Posted 15 July 2009 - 11:30 AM

Thanks for the tips! I'm happy to read that Ports is still around; I really liked it last time we went there, probably 6 or 7 years ago. And I will put Simply Red at the top of my to-do list next time I'm in the area.

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#30 Choirgirl21

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Posted 04 August 2009 - 12:24 PM

Hector; Lodi

 

I am just seeing this thread now. I had posted to another section to get winery advice before my trip last month. Thankfully, I happened upon Stonecat Cafe somewhat accidentally. One of the best dishes I've ever had honestly, it was sort of bizarre since it was "just" a corned beef hash served over potatoes with 2 poached eggs and a dijon thyme sauce. But it was phenomenal. Had a rasberry mojito alongside - ate on the deck with our pups hanging out in the grass beside us. It was a very leisurely pleasant brunch. I will make that a must visit every time I go back.

Went to Dano's again as well - as good as always. They were kind enough to allow us to eat on the patio with dogs (all 5 of them) in tow. And were very accommodating when, right after desserts and coffee were served, it started to pour on us (I mean a torrential downpour). As we huddled under the eave, the servers came out with umbrellas and moved our belongings and desserts out of the rain and brought our coffees to us so we could stay warm. smile.gif We sampled quite a bit and the food was good as always. Some favorites were the pumpkin seed oil spread, the sausages, and the knudel.

Those were the only opportunities I had for meals out, but I look forward to trying some of the other suggestions on here next time. Am thinking I might go back in the fall - I've really been enjoying the whites I've brought back so far.


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#31 Adam23

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Posted 09 November 2009 - 03:50 PM

Ithaca; Hector; Trumansburg

 

Finished up a wonderful weekend in Ithaca and the Finger Lakes. Highlights included a wonderful meal at Maxies in Ithaca including delicious crab and corn chowder and a wonderful fish fry. Also had a fabulous lunch at the Stonecat near Watkins Glen. Wonderful smoked beef sandwich, a hearty, flavorful vegetable beef soup and a tasty reuben with house made corned beef. Finally, we had a fabulous meal at the Hazelnut Kitchen in Trumansburg. Probably the highlight of the vacation. I had a very nice frisee salad with poached egg and a wonderful, flavorful, perfectly cooked hangar steak that would give the best steaks i've ever had a run for the money. My wife had a nicely prepared quail for an appetizer and a wonderful trout with lemon butter sauce for a main, served with a delicious local greens salad. Highly recommend the Hazelnut Kitchen if you are anywhere near it.



#32 Sthitch

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Posted 26 April 2010 - 01:44 PM

Aurora

 

Aside from the Pleasant Rowland owned establishments, does anyone have any ideas for someplace decent to eat around Aurora?



#33 porcupine

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Posted 12 July 2010 - 04:34 PM

Lodi; Hector; Watkins Glen

 

The 2010 Report

Dano's hasn't changed a bit, and that's a good thing. But Stonecat was disappointing. The preparations are getting more complex and not necessarily better for it. Had a boneless pork chop that managed to be dry and undercooked at the same time, and not enhanced in any way by a too-sweet cherry sauce. But maybe it's just my tastes changing.

A big social event that I couldn't wiggle out of had me dreading Friday dinner, because it was held at Seneca Harbor Station, whose only redeeming feature is the ability to feed two different parties of twenty at the same time, with all the other tables full, too. "Feed" - yeah, as in human feed-lot with a bunch of human bovines gorging themselves. It was just bad. Cheese-stuffed rigatoni in vodka tomato sauce: cold in the center, yet the pasta was overcooked. Nasty side salad - this is the kind of place where you get an iceberg lettuce salad no matter what your main course. You know, "and what kind of dressing would you like with your salad?" Had to try a bite of MrP's cheesecake. God, how can you get cheesecake so wrong?

Fortunately, though, I didn't have to actually eat much of what I ordered, because before the event I stopped at Mr. Chicken for a plate of spicy wings. Now Mr. Chicken serves junk food, no doubt, but it's honest junk food. Deep fried wings with buttery Tabasco sauce, enjoyed under the tin-roof on the patio during a terrific thunderstorm. So much better than that rigatoni.

Didn't have the opportunity to try Simply Red Bistro.


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#34 ktmoomau

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Posted 07 September 2010 - 10:01 AM

Rochester

 

Was in Rochester this weekend for a wedding. Dinosaur BBQ is a must-eat. The ribs were tender, but not too fall off the bone. The pulled pork was great, kind of a cross between NC and GA style, but juicy and full of flavor without being watery. Brisket was ok. Cajun corn was a great side, although it doesn't have much nutritional value. You could smell the smoke outside and the atmosphere inside is very Roadhouse in a great way.

We also went to breakfast in Pittsford at the Coal Tower because the crepe place was packed. That was a nice homey diner and my spinach, mushroom and swiss omlette with homefries was really good. They seem to be able to do the classics right here.

The Woodcliff Resort was ok as a hotel, but don't expect a real resort. And as a note their restaurant isn't very big so it is hard to just walk in for a meal when they are busy.


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#35 Rovers2000

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Posted 18 October 2011 - 09:04 AM

Geneva

 

Going to a wedding this weekend at the Belhurst Castle in Geneva, NY.

I have never been up to this part of the country, so a couple of quick questions:

-Any suggestions for places to stop and grab a bite to eat / drink on the way there (leaving early Friday afternoon from DC) as I wouldn't mind breaking the drive up some or on the way back Sunday?
-I will have a car, so are there any places worth checking out food / drink wise (or suggestions on wineries) in Geneva or nearby?


Thanks!


Dave

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#36 JPW

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Posted 18 October 2011 - 11:38 AM

Going to a wedding this weekend at the Belhurst Castle in Geneva, NY.

I have never been up to this part of the country, so a couple of quick questions:

-Any suggestions for places to stop and grab a bite to eat / drink on the way there (leaving early Friday afternoon from DC) as I wouldn't mind breaking the drive up some or on the way back Sunday?
-I will have a car, so are there any places worth checking out food / drink wise (or suggestions on wineries) in Geneva or nearby?


Thanks!

Herman J Wiemer has long been one of my favorite Finger Lakes producers. About halfway down the west side of Seneca Lake. Konstantin Frank isn't too far away on Keuka Lake.

At all costs avoid Castel Grisch.

Joe
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#37 porcupine

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Posted 18 October 2011 - 11:44 AM

Geneva; Watkins Glen; Hector; Lodi

 


Going to a wedding this weekend at the Belhurst Castle in Geneva, NY.

I have never been up to this part of the country, so a couple of quick questions:

-Any suggestions for places to stop and grab a bite to eat / drink on the way there (leaving early Friday afternoon from DC) as I wouldn't mind breaking the drive up some or on the way back Sunday?
-I will have a car, so are there any places worth checking out food / drink wise (or suggestions on wineries) in Geneva or nearby?


Thanks!

We ate at Ports (Geneva) in July, and were somewhat disappointed. It wasn't bad, just not as quirky good as we'd remembered. But at least it's an independent. Sorry that I can't recall any details.

In Watkins Glen you can get really good utterly junky chicken wings at Mr. Chicken. (The rest of the food is pretty bad, though a bucket of chicken is good enough to feed your crew and friends while at the track.)

I still haven't made it to Simply Red. If you don't mind a fairly lengthy detour, Dano's and Stonecat (both on the east side of Seneca Lake) are worthwhile (see various descriptions upthread).

Trusted food-oriented friends rave about Suzanne (in Lodi) every year. I've been twice and it was indeed excellent, but it's been a few years.

A lot of small places close for the winter or have limited hours, so call first to make sure they're open (winter comes early to the Finger Lakes, or so it seems).

Depending on which route you take (and it's a great game of theme and variations there), you can hunt for barbeque. Some friends (with trusted palates) told me they'd stumbled across some excellent barbeque on the east side of the Susquehanna, when they crossed over to take PA 147 as a scenic alternative to US 15. I'm not sure if they crossed on PA 61 at Shamokin Dam or US 11 in Northumberland, but it was somewhere in that area. If you try it and find anything delightful please let us know!

Elizabeth Miller
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#38 ChiantiandFava

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Posted 18 October 2011 - 01:52 PM

Hammondsport

 


- (or suggestions on wineries) in Geneva or nearby?

Ravines. On the southeast side of Keuka lake. They've gotten rave reviews (recently from the NYT) for their Rieslings but I've been very impressed by their reds. They also have a kitchen that looks like it turns out some good grub.

Perpetually reverse-commuting.


#39 rbh

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Posted 18 October 2011 - 11:27 PM

Herman J Wiemer has long been one of my favorite Finger Lakes producers. About halfway down the west side of Seneca Lake. Konstantin Frank isn't too far away on Keuka Lake.

At all costs avoid Castel Grisch.


I absolutely second Wiemer and Dr Frank's... our third favorite up there is Standing Stone

Labor Day weekend at Wiemer and Standing Stone resulted in purchases of Wiemer semi-dry rieslings and late harvest rieslings... and 3 types of ice wine at Standing Stone (Gewrutz Ice, Chardonnay Ice, and Vidal Ice). We didn't make it over to Keuka Lake. A new find this year was JR Dill and a surprisingly good cab franc.

#40 Choirgirl21

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Posted 19 October 2011 - 01:25 PM

east side of Seneca Lake

 

I was utterly disappointed with my visit to Standing Stone this summer. Compared to my trip 2 years ago, when I came back with a case of wine from there, this year I didn't buy a single bottle. The single stand out winery of the trip for me was Damiani. They've got a new tasting room that's easier to find (right next to the distillery) that's much fancier than their previous garage sort of tasting room (although I actually preferred the old place), but more importantly I was really impressed with their wines, whites across the board, a dry toasty champagne, and an older vintage of pinot stood out. And the staff was great.

If you're on that side of the lake (east of Seneca), there's a new place, Two Goats brewing their own beer and also pouring a lot of nice craft beers.I particularly liked their oatmeal stout. All they serve food wise is a single sandwich, but it's a damn good sandwich, hand made by the owners who are a young couple that make you want to spend lots of time there.


Jen, part time pourer at Black Ankle Vineyards

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If not ORGANIC, then Family farm.
If not FAMILY FARM, then Local business.
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#41 Choirgirl21

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Posted 25 July 2012 - 02:42 PM

Anything new to report in this area? I'm headed out Friday for my annual trip. There are 2 "new" wineries included in our event this year (new in that this is the first year they've participated in the event I go for), Eremita and Seneca Shore Wine Cellars. Are either worth visiting?

I will be visiting some standbys like Damiani, Standing Stone, and Red Tail Ridge, but a big wrench was thrown in my plan when I found out 2 Goats has asked us not to patronize them so I need somewhere else to idle away my Sunday afternoon.

Jen, part time pourer at Black Ankle Vineyards

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If not ORGANIC, then Family farm.
If not FAMILY FARM, then Local business.
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#42 saf

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Posted 25 July 2012 - 08:52 PM

Seneca Shore Wine Cellars.

2 Goats has asked us not to patronize them


IMO, Seneca Shore is more about playing ren-fest than about wine.

What's 2 Goats?

Geograpically, where do you wish to idle away said afternoon?

Sarah In Petworth


#43 ChiantiandFava

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Posted 26 July 2012 - 09:01 AM

Have you been to Bloomer Creek before? Recent article on them here. I've been looking forward to the first releases from Forge Cellars too, they don't have their own facilities yet (they use Hector Wine Co.) but you can likely arrange a tasting.

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#44 Choirgirl21

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Posted 26 July 2012 - 01:53 PM

IMO, Seneca Shore is more about playing ren-fest than about wine.

What's 2 Goats?

Geograpically, where do you wish to idle away said afternoon?

2 Goats is a small brewery on the East side of Seneca lake, right next door to Atwater. They serve microbrews from elsewhere as well (really nice selection when I was there last year) and serve only one food item, a hand made roast beef sandwich that people rave about. Sadly they were out of the roast beef when I was there, but if the turkey sandwich they were subbing in was any indication, it's a nice sandwich. :)

I actually emailed the owner and we are still welcome to come, they just couldn't invite all fo hte event attendees because of the rules regarding dogs and food, but I'm not sure I'll go.

I'm staying in Watkins Glen so southern parts of Seneca Lake are ideal, but there's an organized walk at Taughahannock Falls Sunday morning so I'm thinking now about going to the Ithaca farmers market afterward and making a piecemeal lunch from the vendors there. Depends on weather as dogs are no longer welcome in the market.

Have you been to Bloomer Creek before? Recent article on them here. I've been looking forward to the first releases from Forge Cellars too, they don't have their own facilities yet (they use Hector Wine Co.) but you can likely arrange a tasting.

I actually read about them yesterday and added them to my list. Also Billsboro if I can make it up there (they are farther up the West side than I typically go). It's apparently the same winemaker as Atwater, whose wines I enjoy so I figure it's worth a stop and hopefully they'd be amenable to allowing the dogs in since Atwater hosts our event. I'll check out Forge Cellars too, thanks!

Jen, part time pourer at Black Ankle Vineyards

If not LOCALLY PRODUCED, then Organic.
If not ORGANIC, then Family farm.
If not FAMILY FARM, then Local business.
If not a LOCAL BUSINESS, then Fair Trade.


#45 Choirgirl21

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Posted 02 August 2012 - 10:46 AM

east Seneca Lake; west Seneca Lake; Watkins Glen

 

Had my best trip yet to the Finger Lakes this past weekend. Did a lot of eating and wine tasting, will just touch on some of the highlights.

Friday I started at Bloomer Creek on the east side of Seneca Lake. Note that while the website says they are open Fri-Sun they are technically only open Sat/Sun (he didn't realize the website said that so hopefully they will fix that). I really enjoyed the whites here. A bit disappointed in the rose and pinot, but I think it shows promise and is worth a stop for the interesting varietals alone. The owner was very friendly and interesting to talk to as well.

I always love a stop at the Finger Lakes Distillery. Saturday was no exception and the bacon bloody mary (bloody mary mix, Fee Bros celery bitters, and bacon salt all available for sale with their whiskey) was a nice way to "ease myself" back into drinking. :P I also really enjoyed their gin and left with a bottle of it. After a few more winery stops, I did end up stopping at Two Goats for a glass of their IPA and the infamous roast beef sandwich. I would likely never order a roast beef sandwich if I had other options and I did wonder how good a roast beef sandwich could be before having it, but wow, I am in love. Slow cooked roast beef dripping with jus, a horseradish mayo sauce of some sort on a bun with a top sprinkled with a few caraway seeds and this was the kicker, a heavy dose of salt. An extremely messy endeavor, but SO satisfying, especially mid way through a day of drinking. Oh, and the beer was good too. :P Dinner that evening was at Red Newt's bistro. We had a really lovely meal on their deck with a beautiful view of the sunset. The salad I ordered was disappointing, but the meatball appetizer was tasty and the bronzino I ordered as my entree was delicious. They have a lovely wine list featuring some of the best local wines by the glass and half glass, all nicely arranged into interesting flights (or available on their own). I wasn't sure I'd make it all the way up to Billsboro on the other side of the lake so I was able to start with a glass of their dry riesling. I moved on to a flight of dry roses and then finished with a glass of Head and Heart pinot. The latter was a real treat - I had heard great things about what they were doing, but a trip to the East side of Cayuga lake was out of the question so I was thrilled to have the chance to taste it. Granted I had been drinking all day, but this wine was amazing. One of my favorites wines from the entire trip.

Sunday I started the day with lunch at Stonecat, always a nice place for solid food and a lovely seat outside. Next was a tasting at Hector, where the winemaker/partner for Forge Cellars then met me for a private tasting. Their dry riesling is slated to be released this coming weekend so it was in the bottle, although not labeled. Their 2 pinots are still in barrel, but I was able to taste them that way. Really high quality wines across the board. The riesling was still showing some signs of bottle shock, but the acidity and the long finish on this wine were amazing. I convinced Richard (the winemaker) to slap labels on 3 bottles and sell them to me. They currently make 2 pinots, their "little pinot" which will be bottled and released relatively soon and was a really lovely pinot on the more delicate side, and their big brother, which will take some more time in the barrel. The latter had a strong nose of bloody meat and was definitely big for a pinot, but as it settled in the glass, I really started to appreciate what this wine could become. I look forward to going back next year and seeing how they taste once they've been in the bottle for a while and I highly recommend a stop here.

After that, I made my way over to the west side of Seneca and finished up my day at Billsboro. They were nice enough to let me taste as they cleaned up as I showed up about 10 minutes before they closed. They've got quite a large selection of wine and not everything stood up, but there were some really nice wines in the line up. I was most surprised by a cabernet sauvignon that had rich dark fruit and dark chocolate notes. I don't know how they managed to get those grapes so ripe, but I was impressed enough that I left with a bottle (along with 3 others, including their dry rose).

I also made stops at various other "usual" places - Atwater, Damiani, Standing Stone, Red Tail Ridge, JR Dill (this was my second time there, I probably will not go back) and I left with a bottle here and there, but the new places this year were really the stand outs. It made me kind of excited for what is happening in this region and I look forward to going back next year.

My biggest complaint - it's tough to find good coffee around here, or maybe I just don't know where to look. One place that does serve a nice latte, along with a large selection of homemade pastries that will make you drool as you look at the case is Glen Mountain Market. This is always my last stop before I leave town to pick up a breakfast sandwich (really good thick bacon, egg, and gouda on a homemade croissant thankyouverymuch) and coffee to go.


Jen, part time pourer at Black Ankle Vineyards

If not LOCALLY PRODUCED, then Organic.
If not ORGANIC, then Family farm.
If not FAMILY FARM, then Local business.
If not a LOCAL BUSINESS, then Fair Trade.


#46 ChiantiandFava

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Posted 29 August 2012 - 10:21 AM

east Seneca Lake; Watkins Glen

 

Got back from my week long vaca on the east side of Seneca lake about a week and a half ago. By the third night my SO was talking about buying a vacation home there.

Wineries

The Best, The Future of the FLX
Hermann J. Wiemer- Across the board well made. Also our best tasting room experience, very professional and talented staff. Their Field Cuvee (red) would make a fantastic house wine.
Ravines- Again, very well rounded producer. Their Chard was 75/25 oak/SS and delicious, SB was NZ style, Pinot was excellent, and the Riesling almost goes without saying. They had a fun cheese and chocolate pairing to go with their wines too.
Silver Thread- Very small and impressive producer. Fun to contrast the wines of the previous owner with those of the current (especially the 2010 vs 2011 PN).
Shalestone- They only make [very good] reds. Use one of their unusual blends in a blind tasting and watch the fur fly. The winemaker was a pleasure to chat with as well.

Very Good but Uneven
Damiani- Their single vineyard PN may have been the best we tried all week but the whites were a little thin and disappointing.
Red Tail Ridge- Should see great things from them in the future, favorite Blaufrankisch (aka Lemberger) I tried.
Anthony Road- Tasting room is way over the top and reds should be avoided but they had the best Riesling lineup from top to bottom.

The Rest
Dr. Frank's- Sorry, I know it's a sacred cow. Sparklers were excellent (they were also one of the only to offer sparkling on their regular tasting lineup), I loved their quirky grapes like Rkatsiteli and Muscat Ottonel, but was underwhelmed by the rest.
Fox Run- Their Riesling ($15) is a great benchmark and example of the almost universal high quality of Rieslings found in the FLX but little else was interesting.
Atwater- Fantastic view of Seneca Lake.
Shaw- All the reds are aged in barriques for 2-4 years. They taste like it.

Had a great dinner at Dano's, some delicious ice cream at Cayuga Lake Creamery, and a surprisingly good lunch at the Village Marina Bar in Watkins Glen. If you like dry hard cider Bellwether Cidery (near Cayuga Lake) is making some incredible stuff. I also enjoyed the Finger Lakes Distillery--thought the gin was solid, the rye tasty and mouth-coating, and the bourbon all-around excellent. I think we went to Two Goats three or four times over the course of the week. I have plenty of hiking information and even went on a sailing trip if anyone is planning a trip.


Perpetually reverse-commuting.


#47 porcupine

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Posted 13 October 2012 - 07:49 AM

Ithaca

 

Going to a conference in Ithaca in a few weeks. During the conference itself meals will be provided (scary thought) and I won't want to dodge because of the networking (sigh), but I'm planning on going two days early, which gives me time for some hiking, exploring the town, and finding good restaurants. Recommendations? Breakfast is free at the hotel but given which hotel it is, I'm thinking it'll be worth skipping. Besides, I love a good diner breakfast.

Chiantiand Fava, would love to read your hiking info.


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#48 Adam23

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Posted 15 October 2012 - 08:40 AM

Ithaca

 

Is your conference at the Statler? If so, the food isn't bad.

We are going up to Ithaca later this week, but I would do one dinner at Maxies (wonderful creole food) and one dinner at Just a Taste (tapas). For lunch, Collegetown Bagels (sandwiches, bagels) is very good and the Cornell dining halls are actually pretty good. If you are going up to Taughnanock Falls to hike, Glenwood Pines is right near it. It is a dive but has a pretty good burger. Other options are Hazelnut Kitchen in Trumansburg which is wonderful farm to table food. Two newer places I havven't tried but heard good things about are The Piggery for sandwiches and Mercato Bar and Kitchen.



#49 porcupine

porcupine

    ill-tempered sea bass

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Posted 16 October 2012 - 07:45 AM

Not the Statler; Ramada. :( Thanks for the suggestions!

Elizabeth Miller
fast cars, slow food

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#50 Adam23

Adam23

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Posted 23 October 2012 - 10:45 AM

Ithaca

 

Quick trip up to the Finger Lakes this weekend. Had dinner at Maxies in Ithaca and still superb. Wonderful, flavorful crab and corn chowder.

Also had two nice lunches. One lunch at the Copper Oven at the Cyauga Ridge Estate Winery. It is outdoor seating only and I think next week is the last weekend. Basically they specialize in flatbreads/pizzas all featuring "hyper-local" ingredients. We had a nice flatbread with cheddar, roasted cualiflower and curry sauce. It was fabulous. Also had a very nice charcuterie plate.

The other lunch was at the Piggery, a new butcher and sandwich place in Ithaca. We had a great pastrami ruben. Highly recommend it for a good quality sandwich.

Lastly, we hit up the Ithaca Farmers Market and had some delightful Cambodian food and hard ciders.







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