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Upstate New York Dining ?


GordonCooks
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Regarding Buffalo:

I had a HORRIBLE experience at Toro. The waitstaff was incredibly snobby, and the food was uneven.

I agree the service at Papaya is uneven, but overall I have been pretty happy with the food there.

I had a great meal at Tsunami, some of the dishes were amazing, and some were just good.

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That sucks, I haven't really had the desire to go there yet, saving for a Toronto birthday (thereabouts) trip right now and also still haven't made Rue F. Have you tried Tempo? Nobody's mentioned it lately, but I had my birthday there last year and the service wasn't great but the food was decent. My problem with alot of what Buffalo is about is the same as Gordon's with Rochester but to a greater degree. They are totally serving a meat and potato's crowd, while trying to wow the food critics as well. It's like making pictures with a blurry lens a bit.

I guess that's why I stick so much to the ethnic and pizza. Have you found a good pizza shop yet ErinB, there is bound to be one nearby. They don't sell the Naples style, but it's good anyway if you like the cheese, as you already are used to thick crust I imagine.

Has anybody been to the Eastern European Butcher shop, I hear good things about from some people. Also, water boiled ham for Christmas?

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I've been really exploring Toronto lately, and have been less interested in Buffalo.

I live in North Buffalo, and my fave place for pizza so far has been Romeo and Juliet's on Hertel. Their salads are also really good. Entrees are just average. I grew up in Connecticut, so I'm used to NY style thin crust pizza.

I would love to find a great authentic Chinese in the area, I just read about Ming's on main st that I want to try.

I haven't tried Tempo.

Edited by ErinB (log)
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Looking at spending two weeks over Christmas between Cornwall-on-Hudson, New Paltz and High Falls along the Hudson....

Has anybody any recommendations in those areas?

In High Falls, you should try Chefs on Fire, in the basement of the Depuy Canal House I'd like to recommend the Canal House, too, but I've never been, so I can't say.

You might want to visit a couple of wineries. We ran a story on a day trip to wineries around New Paltz Going West for Wine.

I wish I had more advice, but I'm much more familiar with Rockland, Westchester, Putnam, Dutchess and Columbia. Let me know if you have any specific questions.

Liz Johnson

Professional:

Food Editor, The Journal News and LoHud.com

Westchester, Rockland and Putnam: The Lower Hudson Valley.

Small Bites, a LoHud culinary blog

Personal:

Sour Cherry Farm.

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I've been really exploring Toronto lately, and have been less interested in Buffalo.

I live in North Buffalo, and my fave place for pizza so far has been Romeo and Juliet's on Hertel.  Their salads are also really good.  Entrees are just average.  I grew up in Connecticut, so I'm used to NY style thin crust pizza.

I would love to find a great authentic Chinese in the area, I just read about Ming's on main st that I want to try. 

I haven't tried Tempo.

My mistake, I assumed you were more for the Italian style Providence pizza. It's funny thin crust is all they have down here in Olean practically, I would describe a Buffalo pizza as a pie much as a Chicago, but less saucy more crusty. I for one have only had a good one staying with friends and they ordered it so I'm at a loss, Pasquale's??

I haven't been to Ming's on Main, but for authentic chinese the town of Ft. Erie is right up there, not exactly Toronto, but it's right across the bridge (peace), first exit, and head towards the water eventually, sorry that's the best I can do I'm sure you can google it. I remember a place called Happy Jack's, but I'm not gonna swear to it being the best there, there are a few. I imagine Niagara Falls has some spots too, but I haven't checked them out as much, it's too far.

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Any recs on getting an organic fresh turkey in the Buffalo area?

You'd think the Lexington Co-op would have a handle on those.

Has everyone been to the Somali takeout joint on Grant St.? (Somali Star, 195 Grant St.) 100 percent takeout but tasty goat curry (more tender at dinnertime), wonderful fragrant rice pilaf and super beef-stuffed pastries with hot but delicious fresh hot sauce.

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For reliable Chinese in WNY I think you have to go to Amherst, where there are a sizeable number of Chinese, mostly around UB.

Gin Gin, hidden in the northeast corner plaza at Sheridan and Bailey, has a huge menu including congee, chicken feet, beef tripe, etc. It's uneven but delivers tons of dishes that Cookie-cutter Chinese places don't have. (I like their roast pork and tofu, and their "spare ribs in wine sauce.") Great cold noodle with a dose of fish sauce. No table service.

Chang's Garden, on Maple just east of North Forest, does the best sitdown Chinese in the area that I know of. That's where I see tables of a dozen Chinese people for special banquets. Ja jiang mien ("saucy noodles") and other "Northern Chinese specialties" are on a seperate menu that they don't hand the "lo fan" unless you ask for it.

Do get the cold sliced duck breast appetizer (hacked bone-in) with amazing sauce.

One thing WNY does have is a great-for-outside-Koreatown Korean resto (barbecue grills right in the table) at Korea House, in Amherst on Evans near Sheridan. One order of bulgoki, one of dwaeji bulgoki (spicy pork) and my wife and I are set.

One last can't miss: really solid blue-collar Vietnamese at 99, 3396 Bailey Ave., Buffalo (just south of UB Main St campus). Pho and grilled pork are top notch.

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Oh, yeah, I forgot about the other Chang's Garden, I couldn't remember where I saw the other one. The one down south is OK, but too far from you to rec, and I've had much better. Good suggestions, my short list is getting bigger.

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Looking at spending two weeks over Christmas between Cornwall-on-Hudson, New Paltz and High Falls along the Hudson....

Has anybody any recommendations in those areas?

Cornwall- on- Hudson is near Newburgh, and I would highly recommend

Il Cena'colo on rte. 52. It's one of my favorite restaurants. They also have a sister restaurant on the Newburgh waterfront called Cena 2000. It's really good too, has a better view, but I prefer the food at the first one.

New Paltz- Go to Beso. In my opinion it's the best restaurant in New Paltz.

High Falls is not on the Hudson, but Highland, which is next to New Paltz is. I'll give you a recommendation for both;

High Falls- The Dupuy Canal House- it's pretty expensive, but has an unusual menu, and worth it for dinner. Chef's on Fire, which is downstairs, has a really nice Sunday breakfast menu.

Also in High Falls is The Northern Spy. It's one of my regulars. Good food and pretty reasonable.

Highland- The Would is very good and Coppola's for Italian.

Also, since you'll be in the area, you might want to try for reservations at the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park. It's about 20 minutes form New Paltz, 10 from Highland. Don't wait to call. They get booked far in advance.

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I made my first visit to Dijon Bistro in Ithaca this past Friday night - I'm sure to return there again soon. It was their first or second night of being open to the public - not busy yet but I'm sure that will change. They mentioned that they'll be able to being serving wine sometime this week or next - neither my girlfriend or I drink alcohol so it was an issue of no concern to us for our dinner - we had Pellegrino (as usual).

The space is very simple and the decor still a bit spare but I'm sure that will evolve quickly. My interest was the food and it did not disappoint.

I had onion soup - nicely caramelized onions and a rich broth without a hint of the excess saltiness that seems to plague most of the French Onion soup I try.

We shared an order of frites - the best I've ever had. The insides were a sort of puffy, ethereal, featherlight texture and the outsides a perfectly crisped golden brown. My dining experience with French food is limited but these were far better than what I've had at Markt or Steak Frites in NYC, at L'Adour in Syracuse or in some tourist joint on Montmarte in Paris - far superior. And the ailoi served with them was exceptional.

We also shared an order of steamed mussels. In retrospect it's obvious that a shared order of the frites and mussels and perhaps a frisee salad followed by two desserts would have made a satisfying meal for us but I wanted to try more. We were encouraged to try the frisee salad but opted for a double porkchop and also the duck confit.

My date's pork chop was fantastic - juicy, thick, not overcooked and with a terrific au jus that had dried cherries and green apple slices in it. The duck confit was pretty amazing as well. I'm on the fence about the pumpkin and blue cheese risotto. My taste in risotto runs towards savory rather than sweet - even when the hint of sweetness is serving as a complement to the protein dish. That's personal taste - no reflection on the dish itself.

We ordered a creme brulee to share but ended up testing out a chocolate mousse and a lemon tart as well - all very good and at $4.95 each a bargain even by central NY standards.

The creme brulee was in the same league as what I had at Lokelani's about a month or two back and as good as what I get at L'Ecole in NYC - meaning it's now in my list of the top three creme brulee's I've ever had.

All told - a very good dining experience and one I hope to repeat soon. Mark and Courtney Papera are engaging and warm hosts. She handled the seating and rode herd on the dining room. He came out from the kitchen several times to check up on us and chat. He advised us that he considers his Choucroute and Cassoulet, both of which will be among the featured Plats du Jour on a weekly basis, to be among his own personal favorites. Not sure when they'll start serving those but hope that it's soon because I'll be back to try them. That's for certain.

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There is hope for Mexican food in upstate NY.

Over the weekend, I found myself at El Rincon Mexicano 2 in Canandaigua. The atmosphere was a little more upscale than at the original El Rincon in Sodus, but the food (although good, and worth going back to) was just a smidge lesser than what I'd eaten in Sodus. In particular, the salsa didn't have quite the flavor (although some of that could be due to the added difficulty in finding good tomatoes in November, compared to a month ago) and the chips were cold in Canandaigua, but warm in Sodus. The rice on Saturday was somehow a bit more boring (the peas and corn scattered perfectly sparsely throughout didn't contrast much in either texture or flavor), but a couple of spots had somehow been juiced with chile heat. The beans and chicken flautas were quite nice. However, as I said, I'd certainly not hesitate to return.

If you happen to find yourself in Canandaigua, it's certainly worth also checking out the New York Wine and Culinary Center. It's located down by the lake, and although it's rather commercial, it's interesting to look at. Their Website isn't as complete as it could be, especially the class listing, but if you're there for a Saturday, it's worth doing one of the tasting sessions (either from a demonstration or based on a food or cheese and wine pairing). My husband went to a beer and food pairing session last month, with Garrett Oliver of Brooklyn Brewing, that he enjoyed greatly. They have a hands-on kitchen, but we haven't done any of those classes. And they have a tasting room with selections arranged in flights that change regularly---complete with a nonfermented juice flight for the non-drinkers.

MelissaH

MelissaH

Oswego, NY

Chemist, writer, hired gun

Say this five times fast: "A big blue bucket of blue blueberries."

foodblog1 | kitchen reno | foodblog2

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There is hope for Mexican food in upstate NY.

Over the weekend, I found myself at El Rincon Mexicano 2 in Canandaigua. The atmosphere was a little more upscale than at the original El Rincon in Sodus, but the food (although good, and worth going back to) was just a smidge lesser than what I'd eaten in Sodus.

Can you supply addresses, possibly? Would this be good for a family driving by on the Thruway? How far off the highway are they?

Do they have any unusual Mexican stuff or just the usual?

Thanks for the info.

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I had some very good Ethiopian at Dashen at 503 South Ave in Rochester. It might have been a year ago though... I've eaten Ethiopian in NYC, D.C. and Philly and I thought this held up quite well in comparison.

The neighborhood's not exactly a destination, and the place itself doesn't look like much, but the food's good.

I have not been to Abyssinia, so I can't compare them, sorry.

Edited by philadining (log)

"Philadelphia’s premier soup dumpling blogger" - Foobooz

philadining.com

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There is hope for Mexican food in upstate NY.

Over the weekend, I found myself at El Rincon Mexicano 2 in Canandaigua. The atmosphere was a little more upscale than at the original El Rincon in Sodus, but the food (although good, and worth going back to) was just a smidge lesser than what I'd eaten in Sodus.

Can you supply addresses, possibly? Would this be good for a family driving by on the Thruway? How far off the highway are they?

Do they have any unusual Mexican stuff or just the usual?

Thanks for the info.

Sodus is a ways off the Thruway, so that would not be at all practical if you're looking for a quick stop. (However, if you're coming across on 104, it's just a short detour.) Be aware that the Sodus restaurant is only open Thursday through Sunday, or something like that.

The city of Canandaigua is about 7 miles (give or take, depending on which direction you're coming from) off the Thruway, so that's a bit more practical. The restaurant is at 5 Beeman Street (just off Main Street, and right by a public parking lot). There's a bit of an online menu here.

MelissaH

MelissaH

Oswego, NY

Chemist, writer, hired gun

Say this five times fast: "A big blue bucket of blue blueberries."

foodblog1 | kitchen reno | foodblog2

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  • 1 month later...

visting with my friend in catskill and were in town shopping. went to mod cafe for lunch and it was both reasonably priced and good food. while not something i would go out of the way for if you are in the area it's good to know there is some good food available. i had the soup and 1/2 sandwich - chili with blt on pumpernickel. the chili was nice and chunky with a nice spice and the tomatoes(i was worried about those) were sliced grapes. crisp lettuce, beautifully fried bacon and i was licking my fingers. my friend got the chicken salad with tapenade in a wrap and ate every bit of it - didn't even give me a spoonful to try. for dessert they bring a tray around and it contained a pistachio pudding, bread pudding with tullamore dew creme, a few other things and what i had as a take away - a gingerbread cupcake with a tart lemon icing. the cupcake was more like a spice cake but the spices i associate with gingerbread came through and the icing was a perfect foil- creamy and tart. total for two meals, an arnie palmer and a dessert was 26.00.

course my tab went up by 90.00 because of the painting of the mountains i bought off the wall...

Nothing is better than frying in lard.

Nothing.  Do not quote me on this.

 

Linda Ellerbee

Take Big Bites

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Have a reservation at Blue Hills at Stone Barns. Am very excited. Anyone been there and think I'm crazy (or smart) to be excited?

Very, very, very, very smart. Arguably the best restaurant in Metro NYC.

Rich Schulhoff

Opinions are like friends, everyone has some but what matters is how you respect them!

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Have a reservation at Blue Hills at Stone Barns. Am very excited. Anyone been there and think I'm crazy (or smart) to be excited?

Very, very, very, very smart. Arguably the best restaurant in Metro NYC.

Agreed. Try to get there early so you have a chance to check out the property.

I have some pictures from a recent visit:

Blue Hill at Stone Barns

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Stopped by the New York Wine and Culinary Center in Canandaigua over the holidays.

It's a lovely building, overlooking the lake, that contains a large-ish tasting room, a boardroom-style private meeting space, a theater-style lecture hall, a teaching kitchen, and a bar/restaurant featuring small-plates with suggestions for matched NY wines.

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The tasting room offers several flights for $6-7-ish, which usually feature 6 different wines, fewer for the bubbly and desert tastings. Or one can select individual wines for $2 per pour. The featured wines change each month, and surprisingly didn't consist exclusively of Finger Lakes offerings, there was decent representation from Long Island, the Hudson Valley and the Lake Erie area. I'd been hoping for a comprehensive collection of everything worthwhile from the surrounding lakes, but I suppose it's not practical to keep all that wine in stock, let alone available for tasting. And I'm sure the wineries would rather get folks into their own tasting rooms and gift shops!

Sadly, between two different flights of 6 wines each, we didn't encounter anything that thrilled us, although I was pleased that many of the wines were better than I expected. I was happy to find some Wiemer bubbly that I hadn't seen in Rochester stores, so I grabbed a bottle of that because I knew I wouldn't have time to make it to their winery on this trip. They generally stock only what they're featuring that month, but there are random bottles from previous months. My favorite NY wineries didn't happen to be represented this month, but it was interesting to sample some others without threading one's way around the lakes for a few days.

A visit to this center is never going to replace visiting the individual wineries, and the appeal of the lectures and test kitchen will depend on the quality of talent they draw to make presentations. The offerings are not quite extensive enough to make this worth a long trip in and of itself, but it's an interesting stop if you happen to be in the area.

www.nywcc.com

"Philadelphia’s premier soup dumpling blogger" - Foobooz

philadining.com

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