Thursday, October 19, 2017
- My friend Doug & I once again made plans to attend Homecoming weekend at Utica College, our alma mater since we had such a blast when we went back in 2014. I traveled up to Rome, NY a coupled of days ahead so I could spend some time with Mom & Harold. When Mom picked me up at the train station her high school friend Debbie was with her, visiting for the week from Ottawa, Canada. We were going to have dinner at Teddy's Restaurant in Rome but Mom had a surprise in store. We drove out to Steuben, NY to have dinner with Uncle Pete & Aunt Melody at their camp house. Snug Acres. The family has been to visit quite a few times and I have always wanted to go so I was excited for my first visit. Love this homemade sign.
The bedroom/living room area. This place really is snug and is still a work in progress and I love it. It has been in Melody's family for close to 100 years. It may be hard to see but on the fireplace mantle is a cannonball that they found on the property some years ago. Much of this land belonged at one time to Baron Von Steuben, who was instrumental in training the Continental Army in the Revolutionary War and for whom the town is named after.
After a hearty meal of burgers, hot dogs, homemade chili and cornbread, we gathered around the outdoor fire pit to relax and have some S'Mores. The sounds from a nearby babbling brook could be heard just steps away.
A perfect way to end the night. I hope to come back again very soon and get a chance to explore the grounds during the day. Apologies for the quality of the photos. Nighttime photography is not my strong suit. Friday, October 20, 2017
- After spending the day cleaning out my old room and looking at old school projects and my baseball card collection, we headed out to dinner at The Soda Fountain
in Remsen, NY., just a couple of miles down the road from Snug Acres. I was last here in 2015 and really enjoyed my Hofmann hot dog and homemade baked beans.
I started my meal with an excellent cup of shrimp & corn chowder. Love that boomerang pattern on the table!
I had been thinking about the Remsen Garbage Plate since 2015 and today was the day to try it.
While the 50s diner style of The Soda Fountain lacks the hash house patina of Nick Tahou's, the execution of this Rochester classic dish is fantastic. I went for the half cheeseburger/half hot dog combo and this was one pretty awesome Garbage Plate. Everything came together perfectly on this plate: starchy home fried potatoes, cool & creamy macaroni salad, a split & griddled Hofmann's hot dog, and a fairly thick & juicy burger with a spot-on amount of pink in it, all covered with a slightly sweet, meat-based chili sauce (SPICY Remsen Sauce, as listed on the menu) with hints and cinnamon and cloves and a creeping heat that left my lips aglow.
Time for dessert at the local Stewarts Shop
down the street from Mom's house. A combination gas station and convenience store, they also happen to have some of the best ice cream in town.
A scoop of Peanut Butter Pandemonium (with some nice ribbons of salty peanut butter) and a scoop of Pumpkin pie (with strong pie spices and lots of flaky pieces of crust!) capped off the night. Saturday, October 21, 2017
- Breakfast for me meant a stop at Ferlo's Bakery
in Rome, NY.
Lots of homemade goodies here. I'm not a huge fan of their tomato pie or pusties, but they make some of the best bread in the area and their donuts and pastries are top notch.
The aroma of these breads cooling off was intoxicating.
A fresh Maple glazed coffee roll.
Snacking a la car hood. Doesn't get any better than this.
On the way to campus, a stop at Voss BAR B-Q
was a must. I knew this would be my last chance to get there before they closed for the season and there was no way I was going to pass up the opportunity!
Whew! I'm glad I stopped in.
The menu for 2017.
My "go-to" order: Mexi-Dog (with homemade chili, cheese and onions), Ham BBQ sandwich (with extra sauce) and an order of fries.
That buttery, crispy, split-top roll is the perfect vehicle for the Zweigle's hot dog and that chili is still the yardstick by which I measure all other hot dog chilis.
And some chocolate milk to wash it all down, naturally.
After making my way to campus and meeting up with my friends, we stopped on our way to the homecoming football game for a shot by the Utica College logo. Left to right: Billy, Doug, Andy and his wife, Nicki.
No football team when we attended at UC but the school has grown quite a bit in the last 25 years.
A big turnout for the game against the Buffalo State Bengals.
And the Utica College Pioneers with a blowout win!
A group selfie in the stands. Billy, Doug and his wife Marisa, Andy and Nicki and our friend and classmate Betsy, who is a HUGE Utica College booster!
Love the Traveling Runner sculpture and the nod to the Boilermaker Road Race.
Trax the Pioneer Moose, the official school mascot.
The stage where I first tread the boards and truly found my love for performing.
Coming here in and walking around brought back a lot of great memories.
The student center had a numb er of different activities for adults and kids: an air guitar contest, jewelry making, bull riding and olde timey photos. I can't tell you all how much we were laughing trying on the outfits! It was hard to keep a straight face for this photo (no one smiled back then, right?)
Doug bested all of us as he lasted longer than 8 seconds. No photos of my epic failure trying to mount the bull will be posted.
There rest of the gang attended a 25th anniversary dinner (mine isn't until next year) while I broke off and stopped in at Slice Pizzeria
, a place I have been wanting to checkout for some time ever since seeing their fantastic food photos on Facebook.
It is nestled in a small shopping plaza along the main drag in Utica.
I started out with 6 of their Purple Cow chicken wings. Fried and then grilled for a great char and then coated in a sauce that seems to possess equal parts tabasco/cayenne pepper sauce, honey and butter (and a few extra things I can't quite place), they have a slow, creeping heat that lingers on the lips and they were the tops of the table for me.
Some classic Utica-style "upside down" pizza. Great crust, great browning of the cheese along the edges. The sauce was tangy but a bit too salty for my taste as I prefer a sweet sauce but I would get it again. Made by people who definitely love pizza. And yes, Upside Down pizza is a "thing". Lest you think that I ate the whole pizza, I brought most of it home to share with Mom & Harold.
When in town, Saranac Root Beer is my beverage of choice.
One more stop before heading home for the night. My friends Lori & Dan partnered up with another couple and after a few years of researching other local brew pubs and home brewing, they opened Copper City Brewing Co.
last November and it has been a smashing success. On this night there was a local band doing a Tom Petty tribute and I had to circle around twice to find a parking spot.
Some of the local offerings. I went with a Saranac Black Cherry Cream soda as I don't indulge when I'm driving. One day, I'll get a ride here and check out their flight of beers.
A local metal work artist made this for the brewery and it's a likeness of Paul Revere on his midnight ride. For many years, Revere has been a local company in Rome, NY., making pots and pans and they have a huge neon sign above the factory, that would blink, depicting he and his horse in motion. While Revere has downsized and the sign is no longer lit, for myself and many other Romans that sign always served as a beacon that we were close to home whenever we returned from a trip. Sunday, October 22, 2017
- While I rode the rails upstate for this trip, I hitched a ride with Doug & Marisa for our return to NYC. Always great to take a road trip with them and get in some quality time. A short side trip took us over the Rip Van Winkle Bridge in Catskill, NY
And over to Green Acres Farm
in Hudson. If Doug & Marisa want to stop for pie, who am I to say no? We were hoping to pick up a coconut cream pie as they only make them in the cooler months but they had already sold out for the day. Drat!
I never, ever tire of this apple pie. The best I have ever tasted.
Dusk over the Croton Reservoir. Really beautiful.
That's it for this installment. Hopefully more to come over Christmas including Upside Down pizza and other regional specialties like Giambotte and Mushroom Stew. Stay tuned! The 411:
1.) The Soda Fountain
9698 Main St
Remsen, NY 13438
2.) Stewarts (Store #377)
9189 Turin Road
Rome, NY 13440
3.) Ferlo's Original Bakery
522 Floyd Avenue
Rome, NY 13440
Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/Ferlos-Orignal-Bakery-117932494884962/
4.) Voss BAR B-Q
Rte 5A (aka Oriskany Blvd.)
Yorkville, NY 13495
No phone or website
5.) Slice Pizzeria
2007 Genesee Street
Utica, NY 13501
6.) Copper City Brewing Co.
1111 Oneida Street
Rome, NY 13440
7.) Green Acres Farm
Hudson, NY 12534