Again, I must apologize for the delay between posts. The last few weeks have been a flurry of activity. My Master's Portfolio was completed, submitted, and accepted! I am now offcially done, and I have a Master's Degree in Arts for Children! Go me! *victory dance!* Also, I have been packing up to move. Due to my lease and my job coming to an end, and the fact that with the end of my degree comes the end of my financial aid cushion, I am temporarily moving home to Syracuse, NY. I need to regroup for a few months, and replenish my energy and monetary reserves. Although I will miss the friends I have made here very much, in many ways I am looking forward to going home for a little while. And since I have been living primarily in Rochester since undergrad, I am really looking forward to exploring the changes in the Syracuse local food scene while I have been away.
On that note, for those of you read my blog and live in the greater Rochester/Central or Western New York area, I decided to make a list of some of my favorite local places to eat around here. This list is by no means complete, I may annotate it in later posts, and please, if there's a Rochester-ish place you really like, and I've neglected to post it here, please feel free to add comments that include your faves:
So, quickly, off the cuff, here are some of my favorites:
The Mythos Cafe in Brockport, NY:
-Primarily Mediterranean, this place has the best dolmades, the best tzatziki, and some of the best gyro meat I've ever had. Their pasta dishes and salads are lovely too. Dessert-wise, everything is delicious, though I would personally recommend the Baklava and the Chocolate Decadence (imagine the BEST fudge you've ever had, only BETTER) (UPDATE: Sadly, this restaurant closed very suddenly in 2012, which broke my little Greek-Food obsessed heart *sniff*)
The Millhouse Restaurant in Brockport, NY
-Your basic family restaurant/upscale diner, this place has big portions, reasonable prices, it's very clean, the menu is extensive, they serve breakfast all day, and they make a KICKASS Milkshake :) They don't have a website, but their street address is 3670 Lake Road, Brockport, NY, 14420. Their phone number is (585)637-7050
Sakura Home in Pittsford, NY
-A fairly new upscale Japanese restaurant, this place has a lovely atmosphere, and the Sushi ROCKS! They have several Hibachi tables, but my personal recommendation would be to sit in the regular dining room and order a la carte. Everything on their menu is good, but I would go for any of the appetizers, the sushi, or one of their several noodle dishes. Extra Bonus, they bring hot towels to the table for your hands :)
The Cibon Cafe in Rochester, NY (Park Avenue neighborhood)
-Nestled in the massively awesome Park Avenue District, Cibon is hands-down one of the most beautiful restaurants I have ever eaten in, lots of Red, Black and Gold, with a definite European/Art Nouveau feel. There is only one dish there that I don't care for, and that is their Pasta Puttanesca (it's well-made, just not to my particular taste), but literally everything else I've ever had there is delicious. They also have an extensive wine bar and list of cafe drinks. This is perfect place to while away an evening, either for a long cozy dinner chat, or if you wanna feel all European and fancy-pantsy.
Jines Restaurant in Rochester, NY
- Also in the Park Avenue district, Jines has been around FOREVER and if you eat there just one time, you'll know why. I would call it an upscale diner kinda place, but their menu is so creative and extensive, it really defies categorization. My personal recommendation would be the Lamb and Feta Burger, but honestly, you can't go wrong. On the occasions that I have dined there, I have found the staff to be friendly and helpful, very willing to accomodate special dietary requests. They also serve breakfast all day. Classy but not fussy, Jines is definitely a winner :)
Main Street Pizzeria in Brockport, NY:
If you like thin-crust, NYC/Neapolitan-style pizza, then, in my humble opinion, Main Street Pizza is the BEST you're gonna find in Rochester. I'm not even going to tell you how much of their pizza I've had during my college years (2 slices and a soda are only $3!!) Their other stuff is great too, but I'm a pizza-girl. Just go, now, you'll thank me later. No website, but their address and phone number are 82 Main Street, Brockport, NY, 14420, (585) 637-8760.
Mona Lisa Cafe in Webster, NY:
- One word for you: GELATO!! For those of you that may not know this, Gelato is my favorite dessert of all time (tied for first place with a fountain-style chocolate ice-cream soda). Mona Lisa Cafe has some of the best Gelato EVER! (and they're pastries and panini's are lovely too) Their table space limited, but trust me, it's worth it:)
Zambistro in Medina, NY:
This place is an absolute GEM, relaxed, upscale dining, nothing stuffy. The food is delicious and artfully arranged, Chef Mike Zambito is a genius when it comes to creative use of ingredients. One of my favorite things about Zambistro is that the chef prepares tasting plates for each table, small samples of other items on the menu, no charge, just part of the experience. This is the perfect place for a celebration of any kind. It's a hike from the city, but you'll be so happy once you get there. My personal recommendations would be the lobster pasta, homemade macaroni and cheese, blackened beef tips, lobster risotto, or the cedar plank salmon. And all the desserts are phenomenal :)
Avanti's Italian Grill in Medina, NY:
Another hike from the city that is totally worth it. Being something of an Italian chef myself, I am pretty critical of Italian Restaurants, and this place passed every test with flying colors. They make all their own bread and pasta fresh every day. And it doesn't have that greasy, cover everything in tomato sauce vibe that can pervade some establishments. They have the best Chicken Parmesan I've had in the Rochester area. But I can also personally vouch for their Chicken Francese, Pollo Sorrentina, Chicken Gorgonzola, and their Chicken Marsala. Really, this is great, innovative Italian food, if it means anything to you, they have my stamp of approval. (The Avanti's Pizzeria right next door is great too)
Aladdin's Natural Eatery in Rochester, NY:
Another Mediterreanean/Middle Eastern restaurant, this has got to be one of the all-time greats! If you like your food as natural and unprocessed as possible, then you need to make a beeline for Alladin's. Their food tastes like a vacation to Greece, no joke. Thier hummus is beyond compare, as is their grilled lamb, and their Baklava is pretty darned tasty too. They have two Rochester locations, one on Monroe Avenue, the other in Schoen Place is Pittsford. The Monroe Restaurant has a lovely rooftop balcony, and the Pittsford location has outdoor canalside seating. Wholesome, fresh, exotic but comforting, I cannot say enough good things about Aladdin's. This food is delish and (almost) completely guilt free. GO!
The Old Toad in Rochester, NY
If you like the British Pub vibe, then this restaurant is for you. It is, quite literally, a British Pub. Their Fish Fry is amazing, but really, this is another place where, depending on what you're tastes are, you really can't go wrong. The Old Toad is perfect spot to visit on a rainy evening when you want to curl up with a book, or have a long, long chat with a close friend or two. The Old Toad is basically the definition of the word "Cozy". They also host trivia nights on Mondays and Jeopardy nights on Tuesdays :)
Well, that's about all I can think of off the top of my head, but I'm sure there'll be more later. Go forth my friends,explore some of these places. Eat, drink, be merry, let me know how it goes! More posting soon!
Love to All!