So, I'm finally getting around to dating this thread. Lots to report! This first part starts with New York City but makes its way to Central NY and has strong connections to the area. Thursday September 10, 2015
- My friend, Gary, called me a while back to say that he and his wife, Rebecca were coming up to NYC for the 9/11 anniversary and would like to meet up. As it turned out, they were also heading back to Rome, NY on the evening of 9/11 so they offered me a ride. We grew up together in the Lake Delta area of Rome and have a taken a few road trips over the years but we hadn't seen each other in almost a decade so I was really looking forward to this visit and trip. Out first stop tonight was the 9/11 Memorial & Museum. The memorial plaza outside is free but you need tickets for the tour of the museum inside which Gary had secured days in advance. The sunken space with the waterfall is very understated and moving. At the lower part of the picture are the names of all the victims who perished here in New York City and the lighting underneath really makes them stand out at night. The waterfalls are also located in the footprints of the original Twin Towers.
Two of the beams from the towers recovered from Ground Zero.
A wonderful quote and words to live by. The background is made up of 2,983 pieces of paper to represent each one of the victims from the 2001 and 1993 attacks. Each one is a different shade of blue to represent the clear, calm blue sky that began the day on 9/11/01. I didn't take any other pictures of the exhibits inside as I just didn't feel right about it and honestly, they really are meant to be seen in person.
The new Freedom Tower exterior.
Time to hit the local pub, O'Hara's Restaurant & Pub
for some vittles and frosty, malted beverages.
First pint of the night! Gary is a Lieutenant in the East Lake Fire Rescue in Pinellas Park, FL and given that this is a firefighter's bar it was the perfect pick for tonight.
A nice, comforting dish of Shepherd's Pie.
Gary brought one of his department's patches to add to the wall of patches from around the world. Friday September 11, 2015
- The next morning we swung by Leo's Bagels
on the way out of town to give them a taste of real NYC bagels. We picked up a "Broker's Dozen" (14 bagels) and tore into them. Crusty and still warm, these were a perfect start to the day.
We shot up to the Upper East Side for some classic hot dogs at Papaya King
Gary and Rebecca with a New York icon.
We stopped at a pizza shop a few doors down for some slices. Here we have a sausage slice.
And a Buffalo chicken slice. These were just okay and not anything that would cause me to return. Walking into a place out of convenience doesn't always pay off but we had to get on the road and didn't have time to search out other spots. On their next visit, I'll have some places already on my list to check out!
We were heading to the Albany area to have dinner with Gary's cousin and along the way I spotted Auntie El's Farm Market & Bakery
, so we turned around to check it out.
Yeah, you know I'll be picking up some pie!
Believe it or not, this is a smoker!
Lots of locally made artwork and outdoor knick knacks for home and garden.
Fresh! And I love the flyer for the bluegrass festival.
Sounds like fun.
Nothing more invigorating than a good hike.
Baskets, dishes and jars for sale. Much of the furniture is for sale too.
...pickled vegetables, jams, chow chow and preserves.
Cool refrigerator magnets too.
Time for baked goods!
Fresh from the oven.
We picked up a box of rugelach, which honestly, were somewhat dry. I don't eat them often but are they a fairly dry product, best paired with coffee or tea?
Mini cherry and blueberry crumb pies. These were excellent. Flaky crust and fruit fillings bursting with flavor were a great combination.
And the cross-section shot.
The wonderful doggies that they have roaming the grounds.
I forget the name of the breed but they were very sweet.
We had a wonderful dinner with Hollis, Gary's cousin. That guy sure knows how to cook and he gave us a tour of his newly updated kitchen. Jealous. We pulled into Rome close to 10pm and met my mom and Gary's mom at her apartment. His mom, Norma, found this photo of my sister and among her things. It's the Christmas card our parents sent out in 1976. We were dressed for the Lake Delta Bicentennial Parade that summer. I still still remember how tight that collar felt around my neck! Saturday September 12, 2015
- I introduced Rebecca to tomato pie on this trip. These slices are from a local gas station. I call them "gamble slices" as one doesn't always know from which bakery they came or how long they have been there. Serviceable in a pinch but certainly not the best the area has to offer. Given more time, I would take her to a local bakery to sample some fresh slices.
I've eaten many of these pre-wrapped, convenience store/gas station versions over the years, with mixed results.
Earlier in the day, I got a head start and went out for breakfast at the Country Kitchen Restaurant
in Rome, NY. I've driven by this place countless times over the years but never stopped in.
Definitely a locals hang-out, I loved the placemats with ads for local businesses. There were a couple of elderly gentlemen were seated at the counter across from me talking about the old days and one of them mentioned that he almost didn't marry his wife because she was Irish from the other side of town and he was "Eye-talian" from the wrong side of the tracks and her parents didn't approve!
I had heard that they made a good Giambotta here so I had to try it. Eggs, home fries, greens, mozzarella, onions, peppers (some hot and possibly some picked as well) and bacon. Really great mix of ingredients and enough to fuel me for a while. The toast and jelly were pretty ordinary but I was pretty happy with this breakfast.
Just a few miles down the road on Rte. 233 is North Star Orchards
, my favorite place for local fruit, jams, peanut butter and baked goods.
I've been coming here since college and make it a must-stop after running the Boilermaker Road Race each year (and even the years I don't run it!).
Stuffed peppers or a boatload of sausage, pepper and onion sandwiches, anyone?
Or some intensely flavored NY State cheese curds?
As fresh as can be.
Dayna and I both love the nut butters here and I really love the honey roasted peanut butter and it is so cheap compared to what grocery stores charge.
Those onion & chive cheese curds were great with some Triscuit crackers.
Back in Rome, I stopped by Cafe Divino
on North James Street for some classic CNY pastries.
It's the name you all love to hear me say...Pusties!!
Chocolate (aka flat-top)
And vanilla (aka button-top) These are some top notch pusties. I'd make this place, Florentine Pastry Shop in Utica and Vescio's Franklin Hotel regular stops if I still lived here.
Before taking this trip, I wanted to get Gary & Rebecca something to thank them for the ride and something for his mom to welcome her to her new apartment. For a number of months, my friends in Rome have been telling me about Maryann Mazzaferro aka The Cookie Lady of Rome, NY. When I read her story online, I knew these would be the prefect gift.
She can present them on a tray for an extra $1...
...or in a box.
Possibly the best chocolate chip cookie I have ever eaten.
I posted a write-up of her cookies on Facebook a while back and I think it sums up everything I still feel about these cookies. I also bought 6 dozen at Christmas to give out as gifts to my family (and some awesome Snickerdoodles for Dayna and I to take back to NYC. Spoiler alert: they never made it to the Big Apple!).
From my Facebook post: "You know that something truly wonderful has happened when you're still thinking about that cookie (alright, "those cookies", yes, I had way more than one!!) you ate six days ago.
My friends in Rome had been telling me about these cookies for months and I finally had the chance to order some before heading to "The Copper City" last weekend. I was fortunate enough to be able to pick them up at Maryann & John's lovely home and had time to talk with Maryann about her cookies and the whole experience of being chosen for the "Our American Kitchen" series by GE.
I could hardly wait to get home and try these. Friends, family, you all know I've baked and shipped many cookies over the years and I could be described as "Body by Cookies", but Maryann's are on another level altogether. I hope I can bake cookies like these one day. Crispy on the outside, chewy on the inside, the perfect amount of chocolate chips and just a hint of salt to balance it all out. When I broke the first one open, it didn't crumble but came apart almost like monkey bread. Those dark, toasty knobs of cookie on top were just wonderful. Not a false note in these cookies. When Maryann says that it's all about "friendship, love and cookies" it rings true in every bite and in her approach to getting to know the people who buy her cookies.
I can only think of two cookies that still inhabit my thoughts years after I first tried them and I have a feeling that these will be with me for a long time as well. Maryann Mazzaferro
, thanks you so very much for the most thoughtful, well-balanced cookies I have eaten in many years.
Aaaaaaand...check out her YouTube video that was shot all over Rome, NY for the GE campaign and "like" it! It's very cute and funny and also features my super cool friend Lori Colasanti Frieden
at the 1:15 mark! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=irvaRPAzF5c
Such a great story.
For better readability.
Later this evening, we met my sister for dinner at Limp Lizard
, a BBQ joint in the Liverpool section of Syracuse, NY and not too far from the RF-reviewed HEIDs.
I'm a HUGE fan of Dinosaur Bar-B-Que and the family has been wanting me to try the Lizard for years. No lines for a table and they like the BBQ. My sis had a smoke turkey sandwich with cranberry mayo, potato salad and cottage cheese. That turkey was very juicy and had good smoke on it. I'd come back for that.
I had a two-meat platter of ribs and brisket with mac & cheese, baked beans and cornbread. The ribs were great. Tender, smoky and the sauce was good too. Unfortunately, the brisket was somewhat tough and need a bit of force to cut through it. Good flavor, but would have liked it broken down more. the side and cornbread and beans were good but the mac & cheese was kinda bland to me. I'd come back again but Dinosaur is still my first pick.
Love the wall mural and the nod to HEIDs. Sunday September 13, 2015
- Before heading back to NYC today, my mom, Harold and I met Gary and his family for breakfast at Le Jardin Cafe
. It's part of The Inn at The Beeches. The Beeches has been part hotel, conference center, banquet all, inn and all-around institution in Rome for as long as I can remember. I believe the cafe is fairly new and they offer a good seniors special for breakfast on Sundays.
My ham, American cheese (they didn't have any other options) and mushroom omelet and the home fries were pretty good and the toast was ordinary, but those greens, sautéed with just some olive oil and garlic were perfect. Simple, classic and exactly how I like 'em.
We said our goodbyes and made our way to the bus station in Utica, NY but not without a stop at Voss BAR B Q
in Yorkville, NY.
Mom didn't get anything but Harold had a pair of dogs with mustard and I had one with mustard and onions and a ham BBQ sandwich with extra homemade BBQ sauce. They have changed the dogs from the Honest John's brand made by the Smith Packing Co. to the Zweigle's brand based in Rochester, NY. They are a smaller dog with a different snap and I do like them but I still prefer the Honest John's. Certainly won't stop me from ordering them again.
So good. As of this writing (05/07/16), Voss' has added two new locations: one at the Utica Zoo (not sure if it has the full menu) and one in Ilion, NY that has indoor seating (though it too is seasonal).
That's it for this segment but much more to come! Thanks for tuning in! The 411
1.) 9/11 Memorial & Museum
180 Greenwich Street
New York, NY 10007
Ph# 212-312-8800 (Administrative offices)
2.) O'Hara's Restaurant & Pub
120 Cedar St
New York, NY 10006
3.) Papaya King
179 E. 86th St
New York, NY 10028
4.) Auntie El's Farm Market & Bakery
Sloatsburg, NY 10974
Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/auntie.els/?fref=ts
5.) Country Kitchen Restaurant
6788 Martin St
Rome, NY 13440
6.) Cafe Divino
413 N James St
Rome, NY 13440
Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/Cafe-Divino-253301761465718/
7.) Maryann Mazzaferro (aka The Cookie Lady of Rome, NY)
Phone # 315-569-7744
Email address: email@example.com
Maryann does deliver locally but I'm not sure if she does mail order. You'd have to contact her for more details.
8.) Limp Lizard
201 1st St
Liverpool, NY 13088
9.) Le Jardin Cafe
7900 Turin Rd (aka Rte. 26)
Rome, NY 13440
10.) Voss BAR B Q
Rte. 5A (aka Oriskany Blvd)
post edited by billyboy - 2016/05/07 15:44:54