Friday, September 10, 2004

Ithaca, NY - an adventure described via food - part 3

I love the smell of breakfast cooking in the morning. Be it pancakes or bacon or soysages or whatever. And, in the comfy environment of upstate New York, it doesn't get much better. Well, as it turned out, the baking that I smelled, while puttering around in the morning, got turned a bit on it's head. The host at the B&B was attempting to make blueberry muffins, but, unfortunately, she forgot to grease the muffin tin. So, rather than put it all to waste, we got a chance to try a blueberry-bread-type-casserole-thing. Yea, it was a bit odd, but tasted good and that's all that really matters.

There was, as well, the usual (granola, yogurt & fresh fruit), which we munched on, until a Mexican-inspired...frittata? again, not quite sure here, was served up. This was actually really good and I mowed on quite a bit of it (we were, like yesterday, the only ones eating).
It's good that we ate heartily though, as it would be awhile before our next meal. Instead, it was time to start guzzling the wine that the Finger Lakes area is so famous for.

First, it was up to Bully Hill winery. Bully Hill is one of the largest wine producers in the region and, as such, had their tourist routine down to a T. A greeter leads you to a free tour (which was only o-kay...) and, from the free tour, moves you right into a 5-for-a-dollar wine tasting (oh so surprisingly, right next to the wine shop ;). The tasting started out okay, with a pleasant white (though a bit sweet for our tastes), but, just a few drinks in, got scary when they pulled out...the Pink Catawba. Now, no insult meant to those who enjoy this most sweet cheap wine. But, we are not fans. While I have a liking for huge reds, Genevieve likes dry, fruity whites...somewhere in-between, color-wise, just doesn't do it for us. This was, in addition, followed by two more, each sweeter than the next, and ended with a wine made from concord grapes which Genevieve insists tasted like Manischewitz.

Not wanting to stick around to tour the store, we booked it down the road to another well known winery, Dr. Frank's. This was more our taste. The brash delivery of Bully Hill's was countered, by well-educated (and rehearsed) discussions on the wines we were trying. There was also subtly to the wines, including one which had the surprisingly citric taste of a grapefruit. It was all much more pleasant and enjoyable and we walked out of there with a bottle of Pinot Gris (for Genevieve) and a Cabernet Sauvignon (for myself).

At this point, our diet had consisted of only wine and crackers and we were anxious to grab some real food. But, by this time, it was also about 3pm, so, not wanting to spoil our dinner, we had a quick couple of (mediocre) corn & tomato burritos at a local Bakery/Sandwich shop and headed on to explore the city. Then, it was up to Bellweather Cidery, purveyors of locally made hard cider. We'd seen a stand of theirs at the Farmer's Market, but I wanted the chance to try them before picking up a bottle. The Cidery was low-key to the point of being invisible, when compared to the pomp of the local wineries. The store was run by one, slightly rude, older man, offering relatively informal tastings. The cider seemed to reflect the place and was much more subtle and wine-like that hard ciders I'd had in the past. The host explained that it was "European style". Whether this is true or not, who knows. It was good though and I walked out with a bottle of their 'Liberty Spy'. Walking out of the Cidery was pretty much it for us. Just a few tastings and we were ready to stop with the alcohol and get some real food.

After lots and lots of hemming and hawing, bouncing back and forth between Mexican, Thai and Bar-style grub, we settled on a local restaurant named 'Taste of Thai'. Like most all places around, their vegetarian selection was extensive and Genevieve enjoyed an awesome plate of Cashew Chicken (tofu), whilst getting flirted at (though she will insist not) by the waiter. I grabbed a powerful spiced Garlic and Pepper Chicken (yes, real) plate, which was a bit too garlicky (shock-horror!) for Genevieve, but I loved it. With our meals we had....water...just plain old water.

Last day coming soon..