Grandma’s Ice Cream on Goodman St.

Far away from the glitzy new storefronts of South Avenue lives another experiment in entrepreneurship that deserves mention: Grandma’s Ice Cream Parlor. No, they don’t have fancy imported stuff and they’re not “green,” as far as I know. But what they are is a nice, local store selling delicious ice cream in a nice neighborhood setting that brings back memories.

Actually, not all the memories are of childhood ice cream outings: the place took over the old MicroWorks storefront on Goodman and Caroline. Not much has changed, apart from the addition of some freezers, some signs with the flavours of the day and some funny little dropped-cone stickers on the floor. When it was a computer hardware store, it was a regular stop of mine whilst building computers for people. All the rooms are exactly the same, to the point that I almost want to reach out and see if I can feel a bin of Molex power extensions beyond what is surely a holodeck illusion.

The store is, for now, an exercise in minimalism.  There are basically no adornments on the walls, which are covered in a bright white paint.  But it’s a startup, after all.  The woman who run the place are nice and chatty, the ice cream is tasty Perry’s, and the price is right.  Best of all (for the wife and I), it’s right on Goodman and Caroline, which is not only close to our house, but only a little bit out of our usual summertime walking route.

So go support a local business off the beaten path!

Solera Wine Bar

I’ve been meaning to post something here about Solera since last weekend, when my wife and I got a chance to go there. But, I’ve been so busy with M.C. Legislature stuff, I’ve plum forgot until now.

When my wife and I went on our honeymoon, we experienced a place called “Vintages” aboard our cruise liner. This was our first experience with such a bar, and we loved it so much, we came back with stars in our eyes, talking about opening up our own wine bar here in Rochester. Well, like most such flights of fancy, that dream quickly dissipated. But fortunately for everyone who likes good wine in Rochester, somewhere else was a couple with more fortitude than we, and in October, Solera was born right in our back yard of The Wedge.

He Lived So That College Students Might Also Live

Wow!  I guess I never even thought about the notion of one man inventing such a miracle-food, but I guess he did.  Momofuku Ando is the inventor of Ramen Noodles, the blessing and scourge of po-folk everywhere:

Momofuku Ando, 96, Dies; Invented Instant Ramen – New York Times

Momofuku Ando, who ? to the delight of dormitory students and other kitchen-resistant customers worldwide ? invented those small packets of preflavored dried noodles that require just a three-minute boil, died Friday at a hospital in Osaka, Japan. Mr. Ando, the founder of the Nissin Food Products Company, was 96.

As for myself, I can say that in my early career as a Tech Support phone jockey at The Sutherland Group, I ate more than my share of these little wonders.  Hence I regard them as both a blessing and a scourge.  If you’ve ever been hungry enough to eat your own hand but had nothing in the house to eat but Ramens ~ for the third meal in a row on the eighth day in a row ~ you know exactly where I am with this one.  Still, the damned things are just tasty as all get out, and in a pinch, they’ll save ya.

Rest in Peace, Mr. Ando, the world will be just a little less malnourished for your efforts!

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Portobello Restaurant: Big Price, Little Satisfaction

The wife and I are still smarting about this experience. We decided on this particular Friday Out that we’d go hit a restaurant that we haven’t tried yet. We’ve been looking at the Portobello restaurant for a while, and it seemed to be the place to choose. We were quite wrong.

In an effort to help improve the Rochester dining landscape, let me take this opportunity to provide a few pointers that help make a restaurant a more enjoyable experience:

  1. If you only take reservations, that’s OK; if you allow walk-in’s, that’s OK also. Please kindly make up your minds before we enter the building, rather than making faces after we ask for a table.
  2. People like menus because we like to look at them and decide what we want. That’s the primary function of menus. Don’t hand us the drink menu and then ask if we’ve decided what we want. We haven’t even gotten our eyes focused on the page, yet.
  3. On the other hand, when we ask for time to decide, we don’t really require a half hour to do this.
  4. Now, even trickier are specials which you announce to a table of customers. Once again, you generally want to tell them what the specials are when they sit down or before they order drinks. What you do not want to do is, once again, give them the list of specials and then ask if they’ve decided what they wanted. We’d sorta made up our minds because we hadn’t heard the specials, but it might have been nice to have contemplated the specials, too.
  5. Salad typically includes more than lettuce and dressing. Croutons are a nice touch, but not required. Onions, peppers, or anything that might have another color than green really spices things up. Otherwise, it’s just a pile of leaves with oil on them.
  6. Oh yeah, one other thing: if you’re bringing food to the table, since people sitting in restaurants tend to do so because they’re hungry, they’ll be happy to pull back from their conversations to let you put the food down. In fact, it’s a little-known secret that we like it when you bring us food. It is not generally required of you to wield our food like a staff, pushing it at us to back us up long enough to get the food on the table.

I’ve not been so disappointed in a meal or in a dining experience ever that I know of. This is particularly true because we eventually got the bill. For two meals and two glasses of wine, it cost us 50 bucks.

And actually, it cost us more than that because we ended up going to Phillips European for dessert just to wash the taste of bitter rage out of our mouths. Thank god for Phillips! They made us feel immediately better when we walked in, and our waitress, upon hearing of our unfortunate experience, made us a little cup of whipped cream with a candle in it to sooth our nerves. How cool is that?

Friday Night at Perlo’s

Well, it’s another Friday night, and I suspect it’s another night spent eating an awesome dinner at Perlo’s restaurant in East Rochester. Sarah and I both really love this place, and there aren’t very many restaurants that get lasagna right, in my opinion. Perlo’s does.

The thing about restaurant lasagna is, they never really get the right blend of cheeses and eggs to make the thing stand up right. I like lasagna, not cheese, meat sauce and noodle soup. Perlo’s hits it right on the money. They’ve also got a bunch of other killer selections on the menu, and we’ve taken the time as many times as possible to sample.