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CHOW HOUND: Tip Jar 

Until cloning becomes more affordable, I can't be everywhere at once. That's why I rely upon a stealthy network of well-placed informants for food intel, along with intriguing tidbits submitted by hungry readers like you. But reporting on the recent avalanche of new restaurants has left little room for me to empty the ol' tip jar here at Chow Hound HQ, so this week, let's stuff your face with facts.

First, though, a quick snack at the Penfield Pour House, which opened February 28 at 1665 Penfield Road, settling into the building that formerly housed J.G. Crummers. All the televisions give the Pour House a sports-bar feel, but on a recent visit the place was also packed with families happily chowing down at that intersection where bar food meets comfort food. Think housemade pizza logs, peel-and-eat shrimp, and pot roast, along with salads, sandwiches, pasta, and a few daily specials. There are big burgers, too, and as someone who loves bacon but not its inevitable flavor domination, I totally appreciated the Pour House's signature burger, topped with a subtle but delicious grilled bacon and cabbage hash. Call 264-1665 for more info, or do some advance work at the Pour House's Facebook page.

Palmer Food Services, Rochester's oldest family-owned-and-operated business, is once again celebrating our dining scene with its Savor Local Restaurants promotion, going down this year April 18-28. What this means is that dozens and dozens (and dozens) of eateries will offer special deals over those 11 days, including places like Bad Apples Bistro, Nathan's Soup & Salad, Six50 Black Oven Cooking, Castaways at the Lake, and the Marshall Street Bar & Grill. The list of participating restaurants truly is massive; check it out at savorlocalrestaurants.com.

Park Avenue's Café CiBon detours from its usual Italian flavors to throw a "Springtime in Paris" wine dinner on Monday, April 15, featuring Chef Ashley Swan Abramson's take on classic French dishes like vichyssoise, escargot, spring lamb stew, and crème brûlée. The $75 price includes four courses plus dessert, along with wine pairings. Call 461-2960 to make reservations, and take a gander at the full menu on CiBon's Facebook page.

The word on the street is that the wildly popular Food Truck Rodeo will return to the Rochester Public Market on Wednesday, May 29, 5-8 p.m., with installments planned through August on the last Wednesday of each summer month. There will be live music and a fleet of mobile food vendors, and if past rodeos are any indication, everyone you've ever met will likely be in attendance. Get more details at the Public Market website, cityofrochester.gov/marketevents.

Westside pizza mecca Fiamma, 1308 Buffalo Road, has expanded its hours to include weekend brunch and lunch, as well as dinner service on Sundays. Call 270-4683 for more information, or visit fiammarochester.com.

Nirupama and Rahul Laroia's Amaya Bar & Grill, 1900 S. Clinton Ave., is spicing things up with new menu items courtesy of Manhattan-based chef/consultant Tuhin Dutta, who brings to the table a knowledge of the incredible diversity of flavors found on the Indian subcontinent. The debuting dishes include Poppy Ka Seekh, a vegetarian kebab with a poppy-seed crust, and braised lamb shanks done Awadhi style; check out amayabarandgrill.com to learn more, or call 241-3223.

The Rochester Winos are hosting a light wine-and-food pairing at Banzai Sushi & Cocktail Bar, 682 South Ave., on Wednesday, April 24. Tickets are $30; pick 'em up at rochesterwinos.com.

Looks like now might be the time for a move to East Rochester: Good Smoke BBQ, 326 W. Commercial St., East Rochester, is now doing weekend delivery within a three-mile radius of the restaurant. Newly expanded menu, too; visit goodsmokebbq.com or call 203-1576.

Wanna learn something new? Highlights of the spring schedule for classes at the Culinary Center at Vella include both artisan cheese and sausage making, as well as Mexican-style food with John and Jeana Roth from John's Tex-Mex. Call 421-9362 or visit vellaculinarycenter.com to see what else Vella has in store.

Oh, and make sure to check out the lineup at the new Rochester Brainery in Village Gate on Goodman Street; upcoming classes include "Get Hip with the Dip" on Monday, April 29, and "Brewing Methods: Tea" on Tuesday, April 30. Rochester Brainery is also teaming up with Lento for Third Wednesdays, featuring culinary instruction followed by a meal; the theme for April 17 is pasta. Visit rochesterbrainery.com for more info, or call 730-7034.

Just in time for Finger Lakes road-trip season, Il Posto Bistro & Wine Bar, from the former owners of Bacco's on Park Ave., is now open at 137 S. Main St. in Canandaigua. The Italian-influenced menu encompasses a variety of starters, salads, pizza, and pasta dishes, plus unexpected entrées like lamb tagine. Call 905-0535 or visit Il Posto's Facebook page for more details.

Located at 3177 Latta Road, Soho Yogurt Café is the newest addition to this city's growing roster of self-serve froyo spots. Besides an array of frozen treats and toppings, Soho also serves coffee drinks, tea, and baked goods, with gluten-free options available. To learn more, visit sohoyogurtcafe.com or call 225-0786.

There have been a flurry of restaurant closings in the past couple weeks: Eros Restaurant & Bar, 37 Charlotte St.; Baked & Carved, inside Salinger's at 107 East Ave.; Thai Time Cuisine, which opened this past November at 2171 W Henrietta Road; and LaRosa's Italian Kitchen + Bar, 800 Pittsford-Victor Road, which closed along with the Brookwood Inn.

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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