Where Rochester, Bangkok, and New York meet
There are streets in Manhattan that have yet to be completely overtaken by chain restaurants, though they are further and fewer between than they were 10 years ago. These patches of resistance are little, rabbit-warren-like spaces, crammed with wood-grain Formica two-tops and tiny black chairs.
Route 31 is a busy thoroughfare, particularly the section south of the 590 ramp and north of the Pittsford village. It's a suburban, commercial juggernaut.
This Restaurant: American, Trendy, Appetizing
An early 20th century brick fortress, the Culver Road Armory is now a mixed-use space, boasting modern flourishes of blonde wood, burnished chrome, and glowing light accents. On a Friday or Saturday night, the parking lot is packed.
A taste of Asia in the midst of Fairport
The first items arriving to our table from Bistro Han's kitchen were the braised pork belly steamed buns ($5). Two to an order, perched on a small plate, these were fit-in-the-palm-of-your-hand-sized sandwiches: thick slabs of browned pork encased in snowy, white dough.
So close, and yet so far
Tap & Table, the 14-month-old restaurant in Corn Hill Landing, hums with activity on a Saturday night. It's one of the most talked about, written about, and Yelp-ped about players on the local food scene in the past year.
Early on a Saturday evening, I drove with my husband along 490, toward West Avenue. The sun was shining, traffic was flowing, and my stomach was growling in anticipation of dinner.
Hiding in plain sight
I write about restaurants and I work in a restaurant, so it should come as no shock that most of my conversations with others (and, if I'm being truthful, with myself) revolve around the local dining scene. Earlier this year, I became kind of obsessed with Bamba Bistro, located in a little brick castle on the fringes of the East End.
Love's labor, lost and found
Dining in a restaurant housed within a grocery store — a store featuring an animatronic crowing rooster — is an odd sensation. In the span of a few minutes, you can move from dodging grocery carts in the parking lot, to walking by cupcakes decorated to resemble Cookie Monster and Elmo, to being asked if you have a reservation by a well-appointed hostess.
The grill from Ipanema
If you do a Google image search for "rodízio," a Brazilian-style restaurant in which servers continually bring diners food until the patron signals they've had enough to eat, one of the first images you'll see is a man sitting in a restaurant. Before him is a table cluttered with dishes, food scraps and used utensils.
Pollsters tell us that more than 90 percent of Americans eat pizza at least once a month, and statistically we consume some 350 slices of pizza per second. Pizza is probably as universally popular a food as there is in this great land of ours.
Syracuse native Caleb Piron had been practicing law in Manhattan for a little while before he made the choice to move his legal career to the back burner. "It was just an itch I had to scratch," the self-described "food nerd" says of his decision to trade pocket squares for side towels and dive into the food-service industry.
Putting a finger on the Finger Lakes
Summer is in full swing, which is a good excuse to get out of the city. Head south on Route 64, down toward Canandaigua Lake, through Bloomfield, past Bristol Mountain Ski Resort (marvel at the green summer slopes), and stop before you reach Monica's Pies and downtown Naples.
Parsells Avenue is part of a residential neighborhood. Children and dogs play behind chain-link fences in shaggy grass, men and women gather to chat on porch stoops, and teenage men bicycle bare-chested down the street, their wheels gliding past a broken bottle or two.
Away from the tracks
On the surface, Pomodoro Grill and Wine Bar in Pittsford appears to have little in common with its older sister establishment in Rochester. The original Pomodoro, which opened in 1994, occupies the rear of a former sawmill factory on an otherwise restaurant-free stretch of University Avenue.
The way the cookie crumbles
Jackie Powers, the owner of Orange Glory Café on East Avenue, would like you to have a cookie. She says so on her website.
Home cooking, Greek style
"The secrets of the Greek cuisine," Toula Votsis told me recently, "are simplicity, good olive oil, the freshest ingredients, spices, and love." Votsis, who is the manager of the six-month-old Opa Authentic Greek Koozina on Jefferson Road, knows of whence she speaks: she, and most of the other members of the Votsis family who are involved in Opa, has been in the restaurant business, and in the business of cooking for her own family, since she was a teenager.