Category Archives: Travel

She’s Off!

Dear friends and loyal readers,

I’m about to embark on a week-long vacation to the Adirondack Mountains where I will go to sleep at 9:00 every night, eat mountain favorites like pancakes, babyback ribs, and steamers until my pants literally don’t fit anymore, and hike through the snow-covered hills with a furry dog. It is pure bliss. I will also take on the task of making Thanksgiving dinner! Upon my return, I’ll have pictures and recipes of successes and failures, and a kick off to the great holiday cookie season!

Have a very happy Thanksgiving, kiddies!

The top of Bald Mountain in the Adirondacks

 

If you’re looking for resources to create that perfect meal on November 25, here are a few of my favorite spots:

Epicurious.com

AllRecipes.com (here you can enter in the ingredients you have/want and all the recipes that include those ingredients will come up!)

Pioneer Woman Cooking

Martha Stewart

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Comfort Food

I know everyone has their own version of comfort food, and that there are also standards in this food genre: PB&J, mac and cheese, hot chocolate. All the warm fuzzies you cave to when your day isn’t going quite as planned.

I am the proud owner of a beautiful new tart pan (thanks, Aunt Cheryl!!) and was planning on making some sort of apple tart with a thin layer of cheesecake-y goodness as the crust (bear with me, it’s still in the brain-stages). But last night was colder and darker than I thought it would be, and when I got home I found out an apartment in my building had been broken into (don’t worry, Mom, I’m fine). I needed my own version of comfort food and a snuggle in my bed with an old movie. Good thing I just got back from Rochester and the fridge was stocked with it.

I took this opportunity to plug one of my favorite cold-weather spots in Rochester. If you’re ever in town you have to stop by this place cause it’s the freaking best.

Schutt’s Apple Mill 1063 Plank Road, Webster, NY. This is the kind of small-town spot that hasn’t changed in the twenty-five years I’ve called Webster “home.” They may have added a few new products and removed the rabbits (why, Schutt’s, why?!) but the bins of apples, gallons of cider, and oh-my-god-good donuts are exactly the same. I’ve tried dozens of different ciders in New York City and none of them holds a candle to Schutt’s cider.

Also, it’s worth noting that you should pick up some cheese curds while you’re here. Cheese curds are the solid parts of sour milk, and they’re totally edible and insanely delicious. When I said to my friends, “I love their donuts! And cider. And the cheese curds!”, everyone made a face. I thought I’d explain.

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Flip, Flip, Flipadelphia

Hey, did you know Philadelphia is ridiculously close to New York City? And that it’s a pretty sweet city? If you’re a New Yorker, you probably already knew this. I did not. Don’t judge me, k?

Last weekend I took the quick train ride to Philadelphia, our brother to the left (that’s what they call it, right?), specifically for a haunted house but generally to eat my face off. When we asked the bellhop at our hotel for good, close, diner food he didn’t hesitate. “Little Pete’s,” he told us. Apparently everyone else in the city heard, too, as the tiny speck-of-a-spot was packed to the gills. If you’re ever in Philly and in need of centrally located, delicious diner food with old school charm (the dude sitting next to me knew each waitress, busboy, and cook by name) then Little Pete’s is your place.

Little Pete’s 219 S 17th Street, Philadelphia, PA. Little Pete’s has been around for decades, and I’m going to go ahead and say not much has changed in the last thirty years. There are maybe 4 regular sized tables and the rest of the place is counter space (which still worked for us, a group of 4). The food is fast, delicious, cheap, and easy. Some might say the same about me.

Kiddingggg.

Verdict: As The Boyfriend said, “Man, you housed that!” ‘Nuff said. Of course, I ordered the eggs benedict and my ONLY criticism is the cheese. Why oh why oh why do restaurants put cheese in their eggs benedict? This dish was bizarrely prepared, clearly thrown under the broiler to crisp up the delicious buttery hollandaise sauce on top. I kind of loved it. The eggs underneath were still perfectly poached, which is always a concern of mine when ordering E.B. The “Canadian bacon” was actually a ham steak the size of my face, but I’m not complaining. Little Pete’s also gets points for allowing me to order a single pancake (I like to taste them, okay?) as an appetizer. I left Little Pete’s full and happy and ready to run the Rocky steps at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Which I did. Here’s some proof, in case you needed it.

That's my victory face.

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Do Gooder

I’ve posted about my not-so-exciting-but-maybe-inspiring dinners before, but this time I have an ulterior motive. This post is a dedication! To the woman who could look into the fridge and whip up something that looked restaurant quality; the woman who taught me to trust my eye and write my own instructions down in the cookbook next to the typed ones; the woman who showed me that roasting a chicken with lemon and herbs is easy as pie; and most importantly, the woman who introduced me to popcorn with Sno-caps. My lovely friend, Joelle.

Joelle is currently traveling through Mozambique and South Africa, working with charities along the way, and chronicling her amazing adventures here at Afternoon Tea Comes Early. She’s one of the most inspiring people I know, and when I look into my fridge and pull out something like this, I always think of her. Safe returns, J!

Fried eggs over romaine hearts and sauteed mushrooms and grape tomatoes, with parmesan cheese and fresh cracked pepper

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Hey Y’all!

This past weekend I flew down to Norfolk, Virginia for a little R&R. One of the reasons I love going down south is obviously, the food. I don’t know if you’ve noticed a recurring theme here in this blog, but I love comfort food. Love. It. So we always make a point to hit Waffle House when we go to Norfolk. If you don’t know Waffle House, then I don’t know you.

Let it be known that I have a couple rules when it comes to my baked goods, and that includes waffles. Rule #1: no nuts. I absolutely 100%, no exceptions, hate nuts in my baked goods. In my opinion, they ruin the whole cakey, doughy confection.

So um… I ordered the pecan waffle. It is literally the ONLY exception to my nut-less rule, and it is so very worth it. Crispy on the outside, fluffy in the middle, and it’s thin. You won’t find any three inch thick Belgian waffle here. Just a thin, delicious waffle like God intended: with pecans.

And to wrap it all up, hashbrowns, Waffle House style. It’s like a different language down there. Smothered, covered, scattered, filtered, muffled, crumpled, scuttled… Okay, those last four don’t count. But look at this perfection. Ignore the blatant slice of American cheese on there. Somehow it tastes fresh off the farm.

Going to Virginia always makes me realize one thing: if I lived down there all the time, I’d weigh 863 pounds. For sure.

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Way Up North

Every once in awhile I need an escape from the city. I know, it’s crazy. Who would need a break from the constant insanity of the city that never sleeps? Lunacy.

This weekend I took a short MetroNorth trip up the Hudson River to New Paltz, NY to celebrate a friend’s birthday. If you ever make a trip to New Paltz, you’ll find a little college town with more than a few 60s-era hippies perched on curbsides. It’s charming. And it has some good eats.

Gomen-Kudasai 215 Main Street, New Paltz, NY. A small, traditional-style Japanese restaurant off the crowded central area of Main Street in New Paltz. The lawn is pure kitsch, as the restaurant is attached to a bizarre antiques store, but that’s the beauty of New Paltz. Strange oddities juxtaposed with college comforts. Beauty.

On the menu:
Shrimp and pork dumplings
Tempura vegetables and shrimp
Miso soup
Pickles (cucumbers with rice vinegar – not your classic Vlassic)
Sapporo beer

Verdict: Stunning. The tempura was crispy and not at all greasy, the vegetables were fresh and crisp, and the tray was full of food at a reasonable price*. I was so impressed by the meal that I asked whose cell phone had the best camera so I could snap a picture. I didn’t plan on eating anything incredible over the weekend but this place was delicious. Also impressive was the homey feel we experienced when we walked in. The owner greeted us warmly at the door and our waiter was attentive and friendly without being too much. The table next to us had kids with them and the staff went out of their way to prepare something special to the families’ specific requests. Gomen-Kudasai has a sushi menu as well that I’ll delve into on my next visit. And oh yes… there will be a next visit.

*Please note that I suffer from what is known as “New York City Price Dimentia.” Symptoms include forgetting what constitutes as affordable. The plate pictured was $15. To me, incredibly cheap. Maybe for you? Not so much. You’ve been warned.

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ROC City Part 3: Wegmans

The Wegmans in Pittsford, NY

“What is it… a grocery store?” Wegmans is hard to describe. It’s more than a grocery store: it’s a destination. I was 13 (okay, 20) before I realized it’s called a plastic bag, not a Wegmans bag. If you need to grab a quick delicious lunch, you pop into Wegmans for a sub, a soup, a slice of pizza, a cookie cake, whatever. Need a new toothbrush? A kumquat? Fiddle head ferns? A bouquet of flowers for your mom’s birthday? A prescription? A place to drop the kiddies while you do your weekly grocery shopping? A DVD? An endless array of gummy worms, chocolates, or peanuts in bulk? A pint of Ben and Jerry’s at 3AM on a Tuesday? (no? me neither…)

You can literally find all of these things at Wegmans. And everyone is nice! And helpful! And there are ten people waiting to answer every question you might have about how to prepare a piece of their fresh produce, or a slab of amazing fish, or the endless Wegmans brand products they offer. No, they did not pay me to write this. They don’t need MY help. They are one of the very few American companies to NEVER have had to lay off a single employee. Did you hear that? Not a single employee.

When you ask an upstate-ex-pat what they miss most about home, they might tell you they miss the Garbage Plates, or the breakfast spots, or the festivals… but you can be absolutely certain that they will tell you they miss Wegmans. Everyone does.

A cookie cake from their phenomenal bakery

*Update: I had no idea this aired last night, but if you don’t believe me… Wegmans is getting press on Letterman. Look!

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