Wednesday, September 08, 2004

Ithaca, NY - an adventure described via food - part 1

The first thing we noticed, heading into Ithaca via state route 93, was the abundance of roadside farm stands. Sure, in Ohio, you get these out in the country. But, up in NY, they were *everywhere*. Even the falling-in-abandoned-looking shack, with the "Open" sign that I thought had been wearing out up there since 1952...well, was open. Corn, tomatoes and apples were in season and you couldn't drive a mile without hitting one or two people hawking these wares. (We also noticed that everyone and their mom was having a yard sale was well, but anyways...).
Normally, we'd be driving out of the area with an armful of produce, but we had a bigger destination in hand, so..good or bad..we didn't get the chance to stop at any of these stands.

Instead, our first taste of upstate New York food came, appropriately enough, from Moosewood Restaurant. For the veggies out there, Moosewood will ring a loud bell in your stomach. Back before Burger King carried a veggie burger, or pseudo-chicken could be had at any corner grocery store, there was Moosewood. Churning out good vegetarian food (though they do consider Fish to be vegetarian - a holdover from their start in the 70's that I assume they were never able to kick) in their restaurants and spreading the word via their very popular Cookbook, which has since spawned a number of others. The Moosewood cookbook line was one of the first I cooked from and continues to be a staple around the house. Sure, they're not the *best* recipes out there, by far, but they're solid. So, it was a weird thing for me to go to the restaurant, after being so familiar with their line of books. I almost felt like it was a book, come to life (even if it wasn't exactly a narrative book ;) But, it was very enjoyable. Though the prices were on the slight side of steep, most likely because of their name value, the food was good and very tied to the simple wholesome style put out in their line of books. Genevieve got a stuffed portabella mushroom with cabbage and cheese, served with beets (and another side I can't remember) and I got a Pesto Lasagna.. along with my first taste of local alcohol, a bottle of Ithaca Brewing Company's I.P.A.. The latter was actually not bad. Though it didn't have the cutthroat taste of other I.P.A.'s I've had, the taste was solid with a good level of hoppy bite.

Rather than get desert there, we finished our meal off with some homemade chocolate covered strawberries and wine (okay, that was not homemade) I had brought with us to the B&B.
end day one be continued..