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Hey Phila....  since you're unquestionably positioned to offer expert commentary....  perhaps you can swing by Taste of Philadelphia in Syracuse next time you're passing through. Folks around here insist that they're great but I have no valid reference point.

I live four blocks from Taste of Philadelphia and have never had their cheese steak sandwich! So I checked with the folks on our neighborhood email group and so far have gotten this response: "I am far from an expert but based on my experiences in Philly, I would say that Taste of Philadelphia cheesesteaks are very authentic. If you haven't tried one, they are awesome!"

We definitely will give it a try and will report on the experience, although since we have never been to Philadelphia, we cannot compare.

Lonnie

"It is better to ask some of the questions than to know all of the answers." --James Thurber

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We definitely will give it a try and will report on the experience, although since we have never been to Philadelphia, we cannot compare.

Please be sue to add A-1 steak sauce - after all.... you are in Syracuse. This cheesesteak discussion has got me thinking about an old time Syracuse institution that was called Char-Wall's Steakout. It was a popular late night place for satisfying the munchies for years but the Croly Street neighborhood where it was located in the 70's and 80's declined to the point where their business dried up.

It was an African-American owned joint that featured a shaved steak sandwich with "the works" (finely diced and sauteed peppers and onions along with some sort of brown BBQ sauce). I tried one of their sandwiches back in the late 80's and recall it being distinctly different form a Philly Cheesesteak. They resurface in the late 90's near the Valley section of the city but I'm not sure if they're still open.

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  • 2 weeks later...

My wife and I recently had a wonderful meal at Lento Restaurant in the Village Gate: www.lentorestaurant.com. The chef owner Arthur Rogers' bio is on their website as well. His stint at Primo, Melissa Kelly's restaurant in Rockland Maine is evident in the food here. This is local seasonal produce presented as sophisticated comfort food if there is such a genre. In fact, he is briefly mentioned in Michael Ruhlman's "The Reach of a Chef" as an unflappable line cook at Primo during his tenure there before getting married and returning to his hometown in Rochester. The Village Gate spot has been home to a series of restaurants, BBQ, Greek, Greek/Italian. The interior has been redone and the vibe suits the food. Here is hoping that the next meals will be as good as the first. This may become one of our favorites which include established restaurants such as Max at Eastman and 2vine.

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My wife and I recently had a wonderful meal at Lento Restaurant in the Village Gate: www.lentorestaurant.com. The chef owner Arthur Rogers' bio is on their website as well. His stint at Primo, Melissa Kelly's restaurant in Rockland Maine is evident in the food here.  This is local seasonal produce presented as sophisticated comfort food if there is such a genre.  In fact, he is briefly mentioned in Michael Ruhlman's "The Reach of a Chef" as an unflappable line cook at Primo during his tenure there before getting married and returning to his hometown in Rochester. The Village Gate spot has been home to a series of restaurants, BBQ, Greek, Greek/Italian.  The interior has been redone and the vibe suits the food. Here is hoping that the next meals will be as good as the first. This may become one of our favorites which include established restaurants such as Max at Eastman and 2vine.

Must be good if you're putting it in the same sentence as the Max - will have to give it a look see.

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My wife and I recently had a wonderful meal at Lento Restaurant in the Village Gate: www.lentorestaurant.com. The chef owner Arthur Rogers' bio is on their website as well. His stint at Primo, Melissa Kelly's restaurant in Rockland Maine is evident in the food here.  This is local seasonal produce presented as sophisticated comfort food if there is such a genre.  In fact, he is briefly mentioned in Michael Ruhlman's "The Reach of a Chef" as an unflappable line cook at Primo during his tenure there before getting married and returning to his hometown in Rochester. The Village Gate spot has been home to a series of restaurants, BBQ, Greek, Greek/Italian.  The interior has been redone and the vibe suits the food. Here is hoping that the next meals will be as good as the first. This may become one of our favorites which include established restaurants such as Max at Eastman and 2vine.

Must be good if you're putting it in the same sentence as the Max - will have to give it a look see.

We're going back and if it is consistent, it may be a winner. The Insider had a recent blurb: <a href="http://www.rochesterinsider.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070718/INSIDER1310/707200314/1198/INSIDER13">Rochester Insider</a>

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Earlier on saturday, my brother and I dropped by the public market to see what was looking good. I wish I could say that we were looking for fresh, local produce or something virtuous like that, but the cold, hard reality is that we were jonesing for empanadas...

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One of these days I'm going to try a combo platter, but so far I've just grabbed individual empanadas, 4 for about $10.

It was early, so it seemed wise to start with a breakfast empanada, with egg, cheese, sausage, bacon and ham.

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The beef and onion versions are my faves.

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Curiosity got the best of me, and I ordered a "pizza" empanada. It was OK, but the fillings are kind of boring, like I should have expected. It reminded me a bit too much of a Hotpocket...

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I look forward to trying the rest eventually, but those beef and onion ones rock, especially with a bit of the red or green sauce in squeeze bottles at the counter.

How did I miss this post? Hit the Rich Port Bakery sometime for tacos (i think they may have moved next door next to Java's though. Muy Delicioso!

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How did I miss this post? Hit the Rich Port Bakery sometime for tacos (i think they may have moved next door next to Java's though. Muy Delicioso!

I saw the taco set-up in Rich Port (which has indeed moved-in next to Java's, who also seemed to be making tacos) but they weren't actively making any while I was there, so I didn't witness any actual tacos being served, but I was intrigued... Good to know they might be worth adding to the empanada fix next time!

I had one odd experience at the market that day: inside, there is a vendor with some interesting Eastern-European sausages. I crouched down to take a picture of the refrigerator case with its unique contents, but was quickly told "no pictures!!" by a stern woman with a Russian accent. Hey, I'll happily comply with such requests, but I couldn't help wondering what the issue could be, I was just pointing the camera at some sausages. If I'm not allowed to take a picture, can I tell people about it? Is this some sort of illicit underground sausage ring? Am I in trouble now for tell you about it? I was going to ask her these questions, but she didn't look like she'd think it was funny.

Edited by philadining (log)

"Philadelphia’s premier soup dumpling blogger" - Foobooz

philadining.com

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We went back to Lento tonight. The food was still solid but not as spot on as the first time. The first time, my wife had the chicken which despite its simplicity amazed me for the flavor that can come only produce and meats from local farms. Ditto for my maple brined pork chop that night. Tonight I ordered the lamb three ways. My lamb chops were again of the finest quality. I ordered them medium but they were clearly rare (I didn't quibbe because I like them that way as well). The lamb Merguez sausage was good but to my taste could have had a little more grill char. Whoever prepared the dish this evening also had a slightly heavy hand with the salt cellar and I am a person that appreciates well seasoned food as I think many restaurants don't taste their food enough and underseason. The staff was quite attentive but some still need need more experience. It was a little unusual that after we devoured a wonderful caramelized onion focaccia of the day, a wait person came by and asked if we were done with bread so as to take our bread plates away instead of asking if we would like more (as our wait person did the first evening). We still like this restaurant quite well and will come again. I have recommended it as a place to try to friends as we believe Rochester needs a restaurant that emphasizes seasonal local produce. I think they are off to a great start. Some fine tuning in the kitchen and staff over the next several months will probably smooth things.

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PIZZA tonight. While in Rochester, Veneto is probably one of the best places for a good wood fired pie (although for eating-in the waits can sometimes be horrendous), but for eat-in or take out pizza on the east side of Rochester, I suggest trying <a href="http://www.sliceofnapa.com/">Slice of Napa</a> in Victor. My wife and I hadn't gone there since they changed over to a wood fired oven instead of the rotisserie commercial oven they used to have. The pizza was good then but not necessarily worth the drive time. Since the wood fired oven, the pizza definitely has taken a step up in quality since the last time we were here. The pizzas are thin crust with a slight chew. You can fold it like a Neo-Neopolitan pie, not as crisp a crust as a true Neopolitan or Roman crust. The oven particularly the deck is probably not as hot as those in the true Neopolitan tradition as the pizzas take several more minutes to cook than the blazing 800 degree ovens that give the crust char and leoparding that pizza aficionados are often after. Nonetheless, far and away better than any chain.

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  • 1 month later...

Hey everyone, I'm new to the board, and a Rochester local. I figured I'd resurrect this thread, and recommend a few places I didnt see get mentioned.

La Manne Haitian: This is a recently opened Haitian restaurant located on Monroe Ave, right next to Mark's Pizzeria. I spotted a mention of this place in the City Newspaper and decided to check it out. I ordered the goat and rice, accra, and a slice of pineapple cake. I started with the accra, which is a nicely fried appetizer made from the malanga root. If you do a quick google, you might see that malanga is essentially yucca/cassava root. The accra were tasty, if on the tad greasy side. I ate them with a spicy cabbage slaw, and the combination was a nice way to start off the meal. Next, came the goat and beef. I think the last time I had goat, it was in a vindaloo, and that was a long time ago. This time around, I could actually taste what the goat is all about. This slightly gamier meat was tender and served with a nice portion of rice and red beans. Lastly, came the upside down pineapple cake, which I found to be moist and fluffy, a nice way to end the meal. I recommend giving them a shot. I found the service to be extraordinarily helpful, especially since this was my first experience with Haitian cuisine. Next time I want to try out their Oxtail and rice.

Bad to the Bone BBQ: This place is a little outside of Rochester, about 30 minutes in the town of Williamson. My girlfriend and I were on our way to go apple picking, but decided to find a spot to eat first. After driving for a bit, we came across this pretty isolated looking BBQ place on Rt.104. To be honest, its nothing much to look at from the outside, but I am never one to turn down an opportunity to eat BBQ, so we stepped inside. First thing that hit us was that wonderful wonderful smell of BBQ. I ordered a half slab of ribs, with fried okra and mashed potatoes for sides. You have no idea how happy it makes me to see ribs that just fall off the bone, and these succulent ribs slid off the bone like a prom dress. The sauce leaned towards the vinegary side, which I enjoyed, but some may prefer their sauce a little sour and a little thicker. However, I'm glad that the ribs were not soaked in sauce, so I could enjoy the smoky flavor of the meat itself. This is not to say these ribs had been cooked without the sauce, as evidence of the sauce caramelized on the ribs could be seen. The bits fried okra were crisp and tasty, and the mashed potatoes must be mashed on the premises, because I had a couple of lumps in mine. I'm not complaining, since I still found it satisfying, especially served with what I believe was a turkey gravy. I'll take a couple of lumps over instant anyday. All in all, this was a nice surprise, and, since its apple-picking time, anyone heading out to Lagoner farms (or in that general direction) should head up the road and give this place a look if for no other reason than to see a pretty good Rochester-area BBQ outside of Dinosaur BBQ or Sticky Lips.

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Thanks for the welcome phil!

Anyway, I wanted to add another one, since I didnt see it mentioned here: Cappuccino Italiano Cafe, an Italian restaurant on Park Ave. right across from Bacco's.

I've been here a number of times and the meals, both lunch and dinner, have been pretty damn solid. Tonight I went with my girlfriend and ordered the Chicken Artichoke while she had the sacchettini that came in a vodka sauce. The meal starts off with a lovely little salad in a balsamic vinaigrette. The chicken artichoke is a very rich dish. The chicken itself was perfectly cooked, tender and moist. On the side was a serving of pasta with a marinara, which neither added much nor took away from the meal. I was pretty indifferent to the pasta. Overall, the dish was a success. My girlfriend's sacchettini was wonderful. What I had was so delicate and the vodka sauce in which it was served was so flavorful.

We ended the meal with a slice of cheesecake and a coffee. I have to talk about the coffee first. This has to be some of the best coffee in the area hands down. None of the bitter aftertaste people often associate with coffee from Starbucks or a diner, the kind that might be loaded with cream and sugar to hide that taste. There is a sure hand making the coffee here. The cheesecake, while not my favorite dessert here, was still a satisfying end to the meal. The dessert I would have to recommend would be the Tiramisu. The owner has mentioned in the past that they import many of their desserts from Italy.

The lunch menu offers a number of panini sandwiches which deserve their own mention. I've had lunch a couple of times here and the sandwiches were equally as delicious, if not more so. The service was attentive and the owner is a common sight at the restaurant, often serving the customers herself. The price is moderate to slightly expensive. Expect 15-20 dollars per meal for dinner, about half that for lunch. I can't sing the praises of this place enough. The quality has been consistent on every visit.

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Thanks for the welcome phil!

Anyway, I wanted to add another one, since I didnt see it mentioned here: Cappuccino Italiano Cafe, an Italian restaurant on Park Ave. right across from Bacco's.

I've been here a number of times and the meals, both lunch and dinner, have been pretty damn solid.  Tonight I went with my girlfriend and ordered the Chicken Artichoke while she had the sacchettini that came in a vodka sauce. The meal starts off with a lovely little salad in a balsamic vinaigrette. The chicken artichoke is a very rich dish. The chicken itself was perfectly cooked, tender and moist. On the side was a serving of pasta with a marinara, which neither added much nor took away from the meal. I was pretty indifferent to the pasta. Overall, the dish was a success. My girlfriend's sacchettini was wonderful. What I had was so delicate and the vodka sauce in which it was served was so flavorful.

We ended the meal with a slice of cheesecake and a coffee. I have to talk about the coffee first. This has to be some of the best coffee in the area hands down. None of the bitter aftertaste people often associate with coffee from Starbucks or a diner, the kind that might be loaded with cream and sugar to hide that taste. There is a sure hand making the coffee here. The cheesecake, while not my favorite dessert here, was still a satisfying end to the meal.  The dessert I would have to recommend would be the Tiramisu. The owner has mentioned in the past that they import many of their desserts from Italy.

The lunch menu offers a number of panini sandwiches which deserve their own mention. I've had lunch a couple of times here and the sandwiches were equally as delicious, if not more so. The service was attentive and the owner is a common sight at the restaurant, often serving the customers herself. The price is moderate to slightly expensive. Expect 15-20 dollars per meal for dinner, about half that for lunch.  I can't sing the praises of this place enough. The quality has been consistent on every visit.

The owner was the the salesperson for high end espresso/cappucino makers in the city. The coffee is always top notch. His son had the place years ago as Colosseum Caffe - a Park Ave fave for their gourmet pizzas and gelato.

What are you fave high end spots in town?

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What are you fave high end spots in town?

Hey Gordon,

Of the high end restaurants, I've only had the opportunity to try Max's Chophouse, which was a while ago. I dont even remember what cut of meat I had, only that it was one of the best steaks I've had. The cramped space can be a little TOO intimate when there is a large crowd present, which may bother some. I was too involved in my steak to notice or care.

I've been meaning to try Max of Eastman, and I'm very interested in the newly opened Lento, which was reviewed upthread.

So many places, so little money :(

Edited by Al Abonado (log)
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What are you fave high end spots in town?

Hey Gordon,

Of the high end restaurants, I've only had the opportunity to try Max's Chophouse, which was a while ago. I dont even remember what cut of meat I had, only that it was one of the best steaks I've had. The cramped space can be a little TOO intimate when there is a large crowd present, which may bother some. I was too involved in my steak to notice or care.

I've been meaning to try Max of Eastman, and I'm very interested in the newly opened Lento, which was reviewed upthread.

So many places, so little money :(

Max of Eastman is my haunt - I'm usually eating at the bar once a week. Love the steak at the Chop House but it's a scene place a la 2Vine albeit with excellent food. Mark at the Chop House (Ex- Victor Grilling) made me the best seafood dish I've had in years no too long ago. How ironic is that?

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Max of Eastman is my haunt - I'm usually eating at the bar once a week. Love the steak at the Chop House but it's a scene place a la 2Vine albeit with excellent food. Mark at the Chop House (Ex- Victor Grilling) made me the best seafood dish I've had in years no too long ago. How ironic is that?

Speaking of seafood, are there any good seafood places around Rochester you'd recommend? I think the only place I've ever had seafood here was at the Pittsford Seafood Market, which was a couple years ago. Something about us being far from the ocean makes me nervous about ordering seafood here.

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Max of Eastman is my haunt - I'm usually eating at the bar once a week. Love the steak at the Chop House but it's a scene place a la 2Vine albeit with excellent food. Mark at the Chop House (Ex- Victor Grilling) made me the best seafood dish I've had in years no too long ago. How ironic is that?

Speaking of seafood, are there any good seafood places around Rochester you'd recommend? I think the only place I've ever had seafood here was at the Pittsford Seafood Market, which was a couple years ago. Something about us being far from the ocean makes me nervous about ordering seafood here.

Buying seafood? Captain Jim's on Main St (corner of Winton) The owner worked at Palmer's for years then he and his son Bill started it about 15 years ago. They always get first delivery - why? They pay the purveyors in cash, no check, no charge, ...that's how they do business.(don't give away their secret) Lots of great stuff and they can order you in anything you may need. They do a little eat-in fish fry biz on site - I grab take out occasionally but buy all my seafood there. Not a big fan of Pitts or the others. Their wholesale reputations are burned in my mind.

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People have mentioned both Seoul Garden and Korea House and I have enjoyed both. I just read on the Rochester Wiki of Young's. It says the head chef of Seoul Garden opened his own place. Have any egulleters tried it?

On to a different ethnic cuisine, I recently saw a Food Network Bobby Flay throwdown of Cuban Roast Pork. The Mojo marinated pigs were roasted in a Caja China. Sometimes one gets a hankering for crispy pig skin and dam the lipid profile. Occasionally I'll get Chinese roast pork at Dac Hoa when I need a crispy pig skin fix. Any places in Rochester for the Cuban variety short of hosting your own pig roast?

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People have mentioned both Seoul Garden and Korea House and I have enjoyed both.  I just read on the Rochester Wiki of Young's. It says the head chef of Seoul Garden opened his own place.  Have any egulleters tried it?

On to a different ethnic cuisine, I recently saw a Food Network Bobby Flay throwdown of Cuban Roast Pork. The Mojo marinated pigs were roasted in a Caja China. Sometimes one gets a hankering for crispy pig skin and dam the lipid profile. Occasionally I'll get Chinese roast pork at Dac Hoa when I need a crispy pig skin fix.  Any places in Rochester for the Cuban variety short of hosting your own pig roast?

It's unfortunate that the best Korean food in Rochester can be found at a church function or a dining room table any day of the week.

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People have mentioned both Seoul Garden and Korea House and I have enjoyed both.  I just read on the Rochester Wiki of Young's. It says the head chef of Seoul Garden opened his own place.  Have any egulleters tried it?

It's a bit of a drive to Syracuse (about 90 to 110 minutes) from Rochester but we do have one truly authentic Korean restaurant. It's not "Korean-Japanese", does not offer sushi, "Korean BBQ" or anything else targeted at a mainstream market. The clientele is predominately Korean students attending nearby Syracuse University who come for the equivalent of mom's home cooking.

I haven't discussed it previously in this forum but did cover my visit to Chorong House in a recent foodblog.

On to a different ethnic cuisine, I recently saw a Food Network Bobby Flay throwdown of Cuban Roast Pork. The Mojo marinated pigs were roasted in a Caja China. Sometimes one gets a hankering for crispy pig skin and dam the lipid profile. Occasionally I'll get Chinese roast pork at Dac Hoa when I need a crispy pig skin fix.  Any places in Rochester for the Cuban variety short of hosting your own pig roast?

Once again... I can't speak to the Rochester experience but we do have a Dominican restaurant here in town that does a very respectable roast pork - it's close to what I've had in a Cuban friend's home down in West New York NJ - a huge Cuban community. Puerto Rican restaurants also tend to have good roast pork. I'm sure Rochester has a few of each - maybe even a Cuban place.

Something about us being far from the ocean makes me nervous about ordering seafood here.

If you're referring to ordering seafood in a restaurant versus buying it to cook at home... I suggest ordering seafood dishes at a good higher end restaurant that has a reputation for quality and ordering seafood on Wednesday through Saturday evenings.

Foley's of Boston - not the only purveyor but one of the better ones from Boston - delivers fresh to Syracuse Tuesday through Saturday. No deliveries on Sunday or Monday and the rest is easy to figure out. You won't get fish in Syracuse or Rochester that's as fresh as you'll find closer to the ocean but you can get some that's pretty darn fresh.

And if you're adventurous and cooking at home just visit a big Asian market and buy it live straight from the tank.

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It's a bit of a drive to Syracuse (about 90 to 110 minutes) from Rochester but we do have one truly authentic Korean restaurant.  It's not "Korean-Japanese", does not offer sushi, "Korean BBQ" or anything else targeted at a mainstream market. The clientele is predominately Korean students attending nearby Syracuse University who come for the equivalent of mom's home cooking.

I haven't discussed it previously in this forum but did cover my visit to Chorong House in a recent foodblog.

Once again...  I can't speak to the Rochester experience but we do have a Dominican restaurant here in town that does a very respectable roast pork - it's close to what I've had in a Cuban friend's home down in West New York NJ - a huge Cuban community.  Puerto Rican restaurants also tend to have good roast pork.  I'm sure Rochester has a few of each - maybe even a Cuban place.

Owen, thanks for the Syracuse tips. I will be sure to try them.

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People have mentioned both Seoul Garden and Korea House and I have enjoyed both.  I just read on the Rochester Wiki of Young's. It says the head chef of Seoul Garden opened his own place.  Have any egulleters tried it?

On to a different ethnic cuisine, I recently saw a Food Network Bobby Flay throwdown of Cuban Roast Pork. The Mojo marinated pigs were roasted in a Caja China. Sometimes one gets a hankering for crispy pig skin and dam the lipid profile. Occasionally I'll get Chinese roast pork at Dac Hoa when I need a crispy pig skin fix.  Any places in Rochester for the Cuban variety short of hosting your own pig roast?

While not Cuban, supposedly La Lechonera, a Puerto Rican eatery on North Clinton, roasts whole pigs. So you may find that delicious crispy pig skin there. The rest of the menu actually sounds tasty, at least what was provided by Karen Miltner from the DnC:

On Fridays this image comes to life as this Puerto Rican eatery roasts an entire pig outside. The smell throughout La Avenida is intoxicating. Customers can choose their favorite parts — tail, feet, head, skin, shoulder. The pig is usually sold out by early afternoon.

Roasted pork shoulder and crispy skin is a mainstay the rest of the week. So, too, are savory fried pastries filled with chicken, beef or seafood (note: the pastry is made in-house), rice with beans or sausage or chicken, morcillas (thick rice-stuffed blood sausages), mofongo (a mashed dish made with green bananas), fried plantains, beef or chicken stews and large roasted chickens that are often mistaken for turkeys.

Unfortunately, I can't vouch for the quality. Maybe this weekend if I have a chance.

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I believe I'll have to visit there some weekend to try the mofongo. I had it here n Syracuse at a Las Delicias - Dominican restaurant - and it showed promise but didn't quite hit the mark for me. The local Dominican place that I prefer - La Casa del Te - does not offer that dish. We don't have any place around here that does whole pig unless you contract for a private pig roast during the summer months.

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