Summer Lovin: Rosalies, the Owl House, and hurrah for the CSA!

I really love Syracuse in the summer. We’ve had a very long winter and it’s up to 74, sunny and breezy this week.

This past weekend we really enjoyed a few gems not as far as Saratoga.

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Upstate New York has many Italian “American” restaurants. In Syracuse alone we have Gentiles, Francescas, Pastabilities, and Frankie’s to name a few. But Rosalie’s in Skaneateles is probably the most well know Italian American restaurant in the area.

We go to Rosalie’s once every summer with good friends.

I consider this a special occasion and tend to splurge when we go here.  They have their own herb and vegetable garden that you can see outside.

Rosalie's garden

Rosalie’s garden

I ordered the organic green salad which came with roasted peppers and pine nuts in an asiago cheese basket.

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And I followed this with a surf and turf entree that they created for me. The dinner consisted of a small filet, three scallops, asparagus,

and roasted fingerling potatoes. This is what I consider a celebration meal!

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Also this weekend, we made a detour to Rochester. I like to get to Trader Joe’s at least once a semester and I can’t go to Rochester without a meal at the Owl House or Good Luck. Since we were going to head out during the day, I made a reservation for brunch at the Owl House. I have had mixed experiences at the Owl House including  fine dinners, good lunches and an excellent brunch. Image

This was again an excellent brunch. I wasn’t sure what to order because I was in the mood for a hearty brunch, and was hesitant about trying the tempeh. I am not a vegetarian and sometimes the meat substitutes in restaurants miss the mark.  But I had the Hash N’ Eggs (two eggs any style with Cajun Seasoned Roasted Corn & smoked tempeh potato hash, toast and marmalade). And for those of you who have an aversion to tempeh, fear not. The brunch menu has some fabulous options including Migas, french toast and Stewed Pork Shoulder & Corn Bread Waffle w/ Housemade Pickled Jalapeno Hot Sauce, Maple. Syrup.

eggs and tempeh hash at the Owl House in Rochester

eggs and tempeh hash at the Owl House in Rochester

The tempeh hash was a delicious medley of corn, potatoes and well-seasoned tempeh. I almost ordered the salted chocolate tart for dessert, but I couldn’t stop eating the toast and marmalade.

toast and marmalade

toast and marmalade

The marmalade was made in house, tart and sweet, and lovely.Image

Did I mention I love marmalade?

Last but not least, one of the many joys of summer is the weekly CSA from Daily Harvest Farm.  We are in week 2 of our CSA and I prepared this meal tonight using spinach, cilantro, and turnips from our CSA. We’re leaving town soon and I wanted to use as much produce as possible.

CSA spinach and cilantro with shrimp

CSA spinach and cilantro with shrimp

If you live in Syracuse, check out Daily Harvest Farm! Summer is really the time to eat local, folks.

Next week check back when we’ll go from Saratoga to Sarasota!

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Thought for Food or Food for Thought: Saturday links

food for thought

food for thought

So many great food-related things going on that don’t necessarily involve eating so here’s a round up of the links I thought were significant:

Do you ever think about what is appropriate to take to a pot luck or the quality of food you prepare when you entertain friends? How much of these choices are shaped by class or cultural capital? Alice Julier, sociologist of food, just published: Eating-Together-Food-Friendship-Inequality. This will be a very important book for any one who is interested in how class and inequality shape dining together and social life.

Secondly, someone finally wrote what lots of us are thinking: “The Food assholes dilemma”. This also touches on class in particular and how we can’t forget that through food we can exert power and reinforce hierarchies. My favorites from this piece are ” Eat what your grandmother ate, but only the things that take so long to prepare that she gave up making them long ago. Eat food, mostly overpriced and hyper local. Drink your tea from a canning jar that your grandmother used to make pickles in the 1960s. Don’t appear to enjoy it.” What are your food rules?

Lastly, I believe food preferences and phobias are largely linked to family, childhood exposure and environment. But this piece from the Huffington Post on Adventurous Eaters’ Food Habits is worth a read as it suggests food phobias may be linked to genetics. It touches on the nature versus nurture debate and issues related why some of us are more adventurous or picky eaters than others. Do you think environment or genetics play a larger role in how we develop food preferences?

*And if you are planning a vacation soon and want to head somewhere where you can relax but also enjoy great food, it’s time to consider Vermont. I’ve always loved Burlington, and will be there next summer. But the Vermont food scene is becoming  more interesting because of all the NYC transplant chefs combined with their well established  commitment to local food. I did make it to Bluebird last summer, but can’t wait to get back.

Road trip to Saratoga: Not for horse racing

One of the loveliest things about living in Syracuse is in under 5 hours by car, I can be in New York City, Toronto, Montreal, Boston or Cleveland. And in under 3 hours I can be in Saratoga Springs!

This past week was my annual pilgrimage to Saratoga. Not for the races, or the spas but for the fried chicken at Hatties. And I have had the fried chicken at Buttermilk in Brooklyn recently, and will have fried chicken and waffles at Ella’s in Tampa soon enough, but have you had the fried chicken with biscuits and greens at Hattie’s chicken shack? It’s an event worth driving 140 miles round trip for the one meal alone. In fact, a certain Canadian journalist and another certain food writer will confirm the worthiness of this drive.

Fried chicken dinner with smashed potatoes and corn on the cob

Fried chicken dinner with smashed potatoes and corn on the cob

I have eating at Hattie’s down to a science.  Arrive at Saratoga by 1pm for a light meal (usually at Max’s if  there on a Saturday/Sunday but we had a lovely light meal at Scallions), and arrive at Hattie’s by 5:30pm (because they do not take reservations).

At Scallions,  I ordered the mediterranean tapas appetizer which included grilled shrimp salad, falafel, hummus and naan for my light lunch.. It was all very fresh and tasty.

Mediterranean tapas at Scallion's

Mediterranean tapas at Scallion’s

And hopefully you arrive hungry because the fried chicken dinner includes a thigh, a breast, a wing and a drumstick.  But fear not, if you can’t finish half a chicken in one sitting, they will pack up your leftovers in these lovely reheatable foil packages. I have been known to bring back an entire chicken dinner for a certain Iowan.

Fried chicken dinner

Fried chicken dinner

As I said earlier, the fried chicken at Hattie’s is worth the drive alone. We finished the meal with the berry apple crisp.

The perfect ending

The perfect ending

But I always pop into the delightful Mrs. London’s for a baked good or two before I leave.

Mrs. London's pastry shop

Mrs. London’s pastry shop

Mrs. London’s is the closest thing to a Parisian bakery in upstate New York. The bread (and the pizzas, bagels and sandwiches) are all delicious.

Mrs. London's pastries

And the seasonal tarts are divine. I opted for a simple chocolate chip and a bag of shortbread jelly dots for take away!

Mrs. London's chocolate chip cookie

Mrs. London’s chocolate chip cookie

Are you planning your road trip now? Hattie’s also offers GF fried chicken, and has several new locations in the Saratoga region.  I’ll be back to Hattie’s to research their Sunday brunch (pain perdu, benedict, fried chicken and waffles, beignets)!

Check back next week when I’ll be traveling to Tampa and Sarasota!

Tastes like summer: the lobster roll

What tastes like summer to you?
Ice cream, watermelon, milkshakes, peach pie?
Can we reconsider the lobster roll?

The light and delicious lobster roll

The light and delicious lobster roll

Though we live quite a bit away from Maine, we’re lucky enough to get lobster rolls in the summer at Darwin’s.

These lobster rolls taste fresh, light and delicious.

A taste of summer

A taste of summer

The lightly  dressed lobster is tossed with herbed mayo and celery and sits on top of a  toasted hoagie bun brushed with garlic butter.

Even this bun was delicious and buttery.

I'll have an extra toasted roll with my lobster, please.

What could be better on a sunny day?

cool, creamy and delicious

And if you aren’t in Syracuse this summer check out Food& Wine’s lists of best lobster roll.

Or try making your own with Bon Appetit’s recipe.

What tastes like summer to you? I’d love to know!

Check back next week when I head to Saratoga Springs, NY for more summer favorites.

Sometimes it’s the little things: the browniewich

Byrne DairyThis weekend was filled with delicious treats. I did make it to the Funky Flea in Syracuse but I didn’t last very long in the 90 degree heat. I had really tasty chicken tacos from the Street Eats food truck and then I took shelter at Gannon’s downtown. I was afraid my ice cream might melt if I stayed outside. Saturday was filled with lots of tasty treats. But my weekend ended with a surprise when my friend Kelly brought me ice cream sandwiches from our local Byrne dairy. She knows that ice cream sandwiches are my favorite summer treat.Right now my freezer is filled with Klondike Oreo ice cream sandwiches, Cia Bella’s Smores and Key lime pie ice cream sandwiches, and also half a Target chocolate mint ice cream sandwich. My favorite ice cream sandwiches are usually the ones that I make with homemade chocolate shortbread (using Dorie Greenspan’s recipe)  and Talenti sea salt gelato. But this browniewich was a welcome treat!

The Browniewich from Byrne dairy can be found at most local Byrne dairy markets.

http://byrnedairy.com/

The Browniewich

The Browniewich

This is no regular ice cream sandwich. This is 2 brownies sandwiched together with locally made vanilla ice cream. If you love brownies, this could be your perfect summer treat.The brownie is chocolatey and chewy and the ice cream is light and creamy.

What is your favorite ice cream sandwich? I would love to know!

creamy and chewyIn case, you want to try baking my favorite chocolate cookie. http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/world-peace-cookie-360733