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CHOW HOUND: The sweet spot 

If you're not already happy when you cross the threshold, walking into a bakery can instantly put a person in a good mood. The atmosphere is typically homey, the smells are always heavenly, and the display cases are packed with vivid nibbles that are almost too pretty to eat — but there ain't no way you're leaving empty-handed. Paternico's Bakery is one of those places: the sun streaming in on a recent early autumn afternoon bathed the welcoming space in a golden glow, and oodles of Italian cookies, many with those irresistibly swirly tufts of colorful frosting, competed for my attention with such offerings as key lime pie, red velvet cake, and pumpkin-pecan cheesecake, as well as cannoli shells patiently waiting to be filled with pastry cream or sweetened ricotta.

Maybe you've indulged in some goodies from Paternico's before; Steve and Sheri Paternico operated the business out of their home for 18 years, selling through word of mouth and at the Rochester Public Market before planting roots at their new North Winton Road location. So why take the plunge now?

"I don't know; maybe I'm a little crazy," Steve says with a laugh. Though it's fair to assume that mixing butter, sugar, flour, and eggs is a bit less stressful than the law-enforcement career from which he retired in 2011.

The goods at Paternico's are made from family recipes that have been perfected over the years, along with new formulas that the Paternicos have tweaked to their tastes. Steve and Sheri are hoping to get back to the Public Market soon, but before then Paternico's will celebrate its grand opening on Saturday, September 28, with deals and samples. And anyone hoping to learn a few of Paternico's sweet secrets might be interested in Steve's class at Vella Culinary Center on Monday, November 11; visit rochesterculinary.com for the details.

Paternico's Bakery is located at 272 N. Winton Road. It is open Tuesday-Friday 10 a.m.-6 p.m.; and Saturday-Sunday 9 a.m.-3 p.m. For more information, call 288-1199, or visit paternicosbakery.com.

Fusion infusion

The interior of the newly opened Shui Asian Fusion (236 University Ave., 546-6525) shows absolutely no trace of the seemingly bombed-out KFC that once preceded it; it's a charming, tranquil spot that provides a fitting backdrop for Shui's pan-Asian menu, one with a decided emphasis on Thai flavors. You'll find an interesting selection of starters (I particularly dug the khao neow gai [$5.50], which stuffed chicken and vegetables in sticky rice then wrapped everything in banana leaf) along with a roster of classic dishes like papaya salad, panang curry, pad thai, and much more. There are also a few traditional Chinese restaurant options that allow you to choose the sauce and the protein, including tofu, and weekday lunch deals that won't break the bank. Want more information? Visit Shui Asian Fusion's Facebook page.

Quick bites

Saturday, October 5, the Good Food Collective will host A Good Night, a celebration of local food that will raise money for GFC's social advocacy projects, which help to make fresh produce available to those who might not be able to afford it otherwise. The event, to be held from 6-10 p.m. in the Zeppa Auditorium at 315 Gregory St., will feature finger foods with local beer and wine pairings, a cash bar, and live music. Tickets are $25 (kids under 12 free); visit thegoodfoodcollective.com to learn more.

Custom BrewCrafters has expanded and is now known as CB Craft Brewers, but some things stay the same: the Autumn Festival of Ales returns Saturday, October 5, 1-5 p.m. at the Fireman's Field, 321 Monroe St., Honeoye Falls. Attendees can expect food, beer, live music, beer, a chili-cookoff fundraiser for Mercy Flight, and beer. Advance tickets are $30; for further information, visit cbcraftbrewers.com or call 624-4386.

The 24th Annual Harvest Festival at Keuka Lake's Hunt Country Vineyards goes down October 5 and 6, with cooking demos, wine tastings, haywagon tours, a grape-stomping contest, and specialty vendors all on the docket, along with a menu of Finger Lakes-centric foods. Admission to the festival is free; visit huntwines.com for more details, or call 800-946-3289.

Semifinal voting begins October 1 for the Nature's Plate Award, a people's choice contest spearheaded by The Nature Conservancy to spotlight the Finger Lakes' greenest restaurants, the ones who understand the relationship between our dining choices and our planet. Search "Nature's Plate" at nature.org to get involved.

Openings

At this rate, by 2015 we will each have our very own self-serve frozen yogurt shop. Until then, however, we're gonna have to share new places like the national chain Yogurt City (3300 West Henrietta Road, 413-1552, yogurtcity.com), and Yotini Frozen Yogurt Bar (2105 Five Mile Line Road, Penfield, 662-5327), locally owned by the Vacchetto family and found on both Facebook and Twitter.

They're carving shawarma over at Sultan Lebanese Restaurant & Bakery, now open at 1659 Mount Hope Ave. Besides spit-roasted meats, Sultan offers vegetarian-friendly favorites like falafel and tabouli, as well as manakeesh, pizza's Levantine cousin. Call 241-0082 for more information.

Closings

Fujiya Japanese Restaurant is closed, having merged with its sister business, Bento-Ya, located at 2007 Empire Blvd.

Meda Ethiopian Restaurant and Bar, formerly at 302 University Avenue, is closed after less than a year in business.

Longtime West Henrietta Road fixture Arigato Japanese Steakhouse has closed.

Farewell to Flipside Bar & Grill, closed after nine popular years at 2001 East Main Street.

Chow Hound is a food and restaurant news column. Do you have a tip? Send it to food@rochester-citynews.com.

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