Bon Apetite

Courtesy of Roc Docs on the D&C. Anybody up for a hot dog at Frontier Field?

Restaurant Inspections.


Next Week, We Dine

This upcoming week is Rochester Local Restaurant Week, which features special meals at a ton of local restaurants for $20.09 each. Sarah and I have been looking forward to this for a while now. There’s so many places on the list and so many great deals, I think our plan of attack for this week is going to be inevitably random.

However, check out Great Northern Pizza Kitchen’s spread for an impressive twenty dollar meal. No, it’s not haught cuisine. But damned if they don’t make a good pizza. And Peter Guyer Steak House is offering one incredible deal: salad, filet, and cheesecake at a place where I know the steak is at least $22 by itself. Remington’s is swingin’ the shrimp scampi plus appetizer and salad for your dining pleasure. The Winfield went all in on the entrees, offering two really decadent specials, especially for them.

There’s so much stuff, man. I’m excited. Can you tell?


UPDATED, I Was Wrong: Portobello? Portofino? Porto-Potty? Whatever it is, I’m Not Going

I recently had a chance to go to the new Portofino and was completely wrong about the new restaurant. If you’re thinking of not going because I told you it was awful, forget what I said. It was fantastic. ~ DFE

I saw this in the D&C and though, “mainstay?  What the hell are they talking about?”:

Portobello is now Portofino | | Democrat and Chronicle

Portobello Ristorante, a mainstay in the Italian restaurant lineup since 1993, closed in March. After a makeover, an updated menu and a new name, the restaurant reopened earlier this month as Portofino Bistro.

Portofino, Portobello, Porto-potty.  Call it what you will, but this is the site of one of the worst service and food related experiences that my wife and I share over the four years we’ve known each other. Rude, hasty service, over-cooked and disgusting food, preposterous prices, this place had it all.  To whom is Portobello a “mainstay” of Italian eating in Rochester?  Give me their names and I will show them ten other places with better prices and better food.  Crimeny, you can fall out of a car drunk and you’ll just roll right into an Italian restaurant, in this town.  Off the top of my head:

  • Michellina’s, right down the street
  • The Northside Inn
  • Perlo’s
  • Domenico’s
  • Brio (technically Mediteranean, but lots of Italian influence)
  • Bennucci’s

OK, so there’s six, right there.  Anyone care to help complete the list?  No fair looking at!


Tuesday at Tasteology

Whilst my site undergoes new hacking, coding, styling and other mayhem, it occurs to me that it’s been a while since I’ve talked about food on this site.  You’d never know it to look at my ever-expanding ass, so I thought I’d address a new place we checked out yesterday evening.

Generally, when something new opens up in Pittsford, I keep my powder dry.  A new boutique or some new trendy place like the Cold Crotch Creamery doesn’t usually do it for me, but after the initial public “panic” wears off, its usually safe to check out.  Such was the case for Tasteology, and since my wife and I have been trying to eat healthier and this place boasted of a more organic menu, it seemed like a good fit.

The decor is about what you’d expect in Pittsford, I’d say.  Lots of modern accents and light wood, flowy lines and generally very sleek styling.  It probably looks pretty cool at night, and I suppose at 7pm or so it didn’t look too bad either.  I’m just a fan of old-school touches and a bit more softness.  Can you tell we new home owners have been watching the HGHD network?

But the food was pretty kick-ass.  We started with grilled pita, tapenade and hummus.  Normally, this appetizer comes with guacamole, but nothing comes with guacamole when its meant to hit any table I plan to eat off of.  Actually, neither hummus nor tapenade are things normally found on my menu, prior to a few years ago.  But as Sarah and I slowly go “Foodie,” these things inevitably creep in.  We tried to eat this one slowly.  We failed.

Then Sarah had a chicken stir-fry with orange-soy sauce and noodles and I had the lobster ravioli.  Yes, we’re trying to eat healthier.  But “trying” and “doing” often are not the same thing.  Still, these are a fair sight better than the carb-fests we’ve typically eaten at Biaggi’s or Carrabba’s or Bennucci’s or Gambini’s or Fibonacci’s or The Guidonian or whatever.  Sarah’s dish was something of an “acquired taste,” but she liked it.  Mine was nice because it had leeks and tomato sauce.  We also had a couple of hot teas: mine was hibiscus, ginger and orange, hers was called “white lemon lime,” and I’m not sure where the lemon and lime flavours came from, but they were there.

We ended with a chocolate torte.  Like I said, “trying.”  And besides, tortes don’t have wheat, so that’s good, right?  We didn’t over-think it, we just ate.

And it was pretty damned good, and the price was right.  We got out of there for fifty bucks.  So, we’ll probably go back, especially since our new-found craving for healthier food doesn’t leave many options for eating out, anymore.

Hello, My Name is Tom, and I Went to the Cheesecake Factory

If you’re like me, you probably heard about the Cheesecake Factory opening and thought, “Hey! Another strip bar in Rochester, how nice!” After all, with more and more people attending college these days and tuition skyrocketing up and up, we need more places in which to meet the heaving bosoms of all those hard-working grad school strippers we’ve all heard so much about. And a place called The Cheesecake Factory seems like a really nice, clean, friendly place in which to view the exposed mammary glands and scantily-clad gluteal clefts so much a part of our American heritage in all their buxom glory.

Well, allow me to disabuse you of that errant notion. The Cheesecake Factory is in fact a large chain restaurant. The women that work there are comely, no doubt, but they are waitresses and hostesses. So, a heads up, fellas: careful where you put your singles!

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!


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.


A Birthday Dinner at Biaggi’s

OK, so it’s not the most exotic thing you’ll ever have for your birthday dinner.? At the same time, it’s damned good food at the right price, especially for a Wednesday.? I had the four cheese ravioli, and they’re outstanding.

I’ve not been able to decide whether or not to review this place, since it’s not really a Rochester place, but since I needed something to fill out a new category – and I needed a new category to fill out a new section of DFE v4.0 – I’m posting this into the blog.