Saturday, October 17, 2009

Eating Finger Lakes: Part One

When my sister and I left Ohio, heading towards the Finger Lakes in New York, my SUV was packed like a tick ready to pop a mini-kitchen. I packed my knives, a sturdy pan, the ice cream maker (Pumpkin Gelato!), and enough other supplies it looked like I was going to a client's kitchen for a personal chef session. And moving in.

We made the 5 1/2 hour drive without incident, picked up the keys to the house, had a minor melt down when the GPS clearly routed us to the wrong house, then disgorged the SUV and settled in for the night. My weekly share from White House Gardens also made the trip, including a full stalk of Brussels Sprouts. We grilled some chicken sausages for dinner and boiled some corn on the cob from the Stan Hywet Farmers Market.

Saturday the weather was brisk and a little drizzly as we headed to Ithaca for the Saturday Farmers Market. I love that market. There is so much to eat, drink, smell, and admire, that we managed to spend nearly two hours there, despite the less than stellar weather. There is a shelter, but when it rains sideways, it only helps a little.

We started the market trip with a stop at Fat Boy's Bakery for breakfast. I had a delicious blueberry scone; sis had a different flavor.

It wasn't long before the call of bacon needed to be answered. A stop at The Piggery yielded a pound of bacon, a container of ready-to-eat pulled pork, 2 apple sausages, and 2 of their Griller Sausages. The bacon was some of the best I have ever eaten. The Grillers are in the freezer; looking forward to them.

The Piggery is offering a winter charcuterie CSA - how cool is that? I would quickly abandon my plans to dig out my copy of Ruhlman and Polcyn's 'Charcuterie' and make pancetta with the pork belly I have on order from Curly Tail Farms if The Piggery were closer and would do the work.

Even though it takes a few days to get used to the idea of tasting wine before noon, eventually you realize there are so many wineries, it seems normal. We bought a delicious bottle of Pinot Noir from Bloomer Creek Vineyard and enjoyed with our Sunday steak dinner.

I love how the farmers display their produce so it looks like art. This stand had a nice selection of hot peppers and some mushrooms I wish I had gotten a shot of.

There were plenty of brussels sprouts on the stalk. We picked up celery here, then a chicken, and some giant garlic for soup. (We lucked out, the house had a crockpot - so it all went in one day while we went out and tasted wine).

I wasn't really that hungry, but every time someone walked by me with one of these small samplers from the Macro Mamas stand, I had food envy. Eventually I succumbed. It wasn't as big as it looks, it was a couple of bites of practically everything they had that day. There was a tasty spicy bean dish, a kale and cabbage dish, fresh greens with poppy seed dressing, wax and green beans, a mushroom risotto I wasn't crazy about, a mini squash tartlet, and probably some other vegetation I've now forgotten. I nibbled a little of each, but didn't finish. Which was good because, up next, the three hour lunch.

We met up with some of my personal chef friends at the fun and fabulous Dano's Heuriger on Seneca.

My friend Mary Beth did a much better and more detailed job of blogging lunch here.

We ordered the Chefs Table (normally reserved for 6 or more guests). I think they knew we could handle it. First a selection of spreads and salads, including a delicious one with pumpkin seed. Then the meat started coming. Delicious pork shank, sausages, schnitzel, and a perfectly roasted chicken.

There were plenty of sides too. Creamy mashed potatoes, sauerkraut with bacon, spaetzle, braised cabbage, fresh beans.

The restaurant has a cute little garden right outside the kitchen.

And this beautiful view of the lake. We ate, drank, and laughed for three hours. Then it was time to get ready for dinner.

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