{Dining} Finger Lakes Food

Per usual, our recent travels to the Finger Lakes in upstate New York centered around nature and the local food that results from those surroundings.  Both were gorgeous.  
Our weekend trip started in Northwest PA, but that evening we made it to our destination.  We started the night off with drinks and small bites at Dorothy's Music Room in Trumansburg, NY. {T-burg to the locals.} We sat down at the bar and was greeted by Dorothy herself.  As our first stop in the NY wine country, Dorothy did a fantastic job of setting the stage for the wines of the region.  After pouring us what seemed like our own local wine tasting, we chose glasses of Hosmer's Estate Red and one of Lamoreaux Landing's reislings {easily my favorite winery of the trip}. We listened to a truly unique band, Technicolor Trailer Park, a duo who sang everything from Alanis Morrissette to their own songs about squirrels. Loved them.

To go with our wines, we had an onion soup {Husband},
and mussels in a wine-based broth {Me}. Dorothy chose the exact wine for this dish herself before handing it to the cook. That's personal service!
The mussels were fantastic, as I've never had a mussel steamed with red wine. Husband enjoyed the soup, though he thought it was odd the cook chose to top it with mozzarella rather than Gruyere. I enjoyed the soup broth immensely. 

Dorothy's Music Room on Urbanspoon
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 Later that night we weren't planning on eating or drinking any more, but we ended up at Hazelnut Kitchen, just a few steps down from Dorothy's.  Y'all, reservations are required for this place, so give them a call to leave a message with your requested time. It's worth it.
Hazelnut Kitchen is a romantic, 40-seater restaurant along the main road in Trumansburg. The hostess was super nice, and we were looked after well.
Hostess' table at the front of the restaurant.
The tables were appointed for the fall dinner service.

We were served a local white wine and a local sharp apple cider.  
Local bakery bread and a pumpkin-spiced butter came shortly after. 

We started with the cheese board, which was served with local honey, walnuts, crisps, and gooseberries.
Winner cheeses were the Camembert and chevre.  The blue and honey combination was delicious together.
For dinner, I chose the spinach and feta spanakopita, served with a lightly grilled handful of cauliflower and radish. The vegetables had a faint vinegar taste, with was perfect to cut the richness of the main.

Husband debated over three dishes on the menu, but ultimately decided on the steak and chimichurri with frites. He finished the dish so fast, I was only able to have a few frites and one bite of tender, sparky steak. The sauce was lovely with the frites and spiced mayo.

The blackboard in the corner featured several tempting desserts, but we just couldn't fit anything else in our stomachs. We vowed to order something next time we were in the Finger Lakes.
Hazelnut Kitchen is seasonal, so you have to catch them at the right time of the year. Perfectly romantic.

Hazelnut Kitchen on Urbanspoon

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The next day was filled with wine, cider and beer tastings from the area. I'm fairly certain I had at least 2 hangovers that day. Enter Derrick's, coming to the rescue with pulled pork and barbecue sauce. 
We started with the Brunswick Stew, which was filled with their pulled pork, corn and bits of burnt ends. We added a few drops of Sirracha, and ate the whole bowl.
Husband ordered a side of pasta salad, too, which he said took him back to his "church food" days.  I guess that means it was good?
I had the pulled pork sandwich {keeping in simple here}. It came out with a butter-toasted bun, pickle spear and Ruffles potato chips.  Exactly what you'd expect from a southern barbecue joint.
Husband had the brisket, which was served similarly. 
How a barbecue restaurant this good ended up between Seneca and Cayuga lakes in upstate New York, I'll never know. This was the perfect mid-day hangover food we needed. Thanks, Derricks!

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That night {Saturday} we spent in Ithaca, NY, and browsed book shops, Cornell University and vintage shopping. We headed Ithaca Commons for dinner at Madeline's. 
I let Husband have full control over our order {as I was too busy taking photos of my new vintage coat in the coat closet}. He started us off with the restaurant's version of a vegetable soup, which was a special for that evening. 
Husband ate 90% of it, as I thought it was similar to marinara sauce in a bowl. It had a good spice, though.
He also ordered the beef samosas, which I in turn ate 90% of. They were spicy and sweet, served with Thai-inspired sauces: barbecue and creamy.  The mango salsa was left on the plate not because of taste, but because I don't care for mango.  
For the entree, he chose the wild mushroom ravioli {$17}. 
The dish was unexpectedly but pleasantly spicy, and Husband was a fan. I thought the sauce was lacking, as it was barely there and add odd consistency.
He ordered me a roasted beet salad with blood orange vinaigrette. I was underwhelmed by the beets, but enjoyed the rest of the salad components. 

Madeline's is known for its desserts. I thought ahead, and purposely saved room for these excellent options. After perusing the case for several minutes, I finally settled on 5 options {of the 10+}, and offered them to Husband for the final call. 
Final decisions were for the Spyro Gyra, a multi layered cake of chocolate cake and ganache and buttercream. Loved the chocolate chips on the plate for crunch.
Beautifully done.
It's in the layers, y'all.
I was delighted when Husband chose my secret favorite: Earl Grey Chocolate Mousse Cake. In a chocolate cup. With a strawberry on top. 
This was my favorite dessert of the trip. I know Earl Grey-scented desserts, cookies, breads, etc., are not new, but the flavor of this dessert was incredible. Layers of soft chocolate cake, mousse and smooth whipped cream in a pliable chocolate cup. I ate it like it would disappear at any moment.
The success of the meal was in the desserts.  WHEN {not if} we go back to Ithaca, we'll be having this dessert at Madeline's again.

Madeline's on Urbanspoon
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So, that was the extent of reportable eating activity for our three-day trip.  Marathon eating at it's best. What are your favorites of the round up? Any places we should try next time?

Also, how are you guys liking my new comment platform, Disqus? 


  1. 1) Those mussels look heavenly. I will always go for mussels, in a red or white sauce, any time.

    2) Loving Disqus! :)

  2. I'm telling you, we have GOT to take a couples trip {don't gag} to the Finger Lakes! It's so much fun there!
    It's a good thing SOMEONE likes Disqus, because some of my normal commenters are having issues with it. I think it's similar to the issue I had with my browser not supporting the platform. :/

  3. 1) I'm totally down! We should plan something for the Spring.

    2) That really sucks! I've never had issues with Disqus, but I use Safari and Google Chrome, which I know are not used by everyone.

  4. Spring sounds great! I'm sure they'll have a barrell tasting weekend we could check out. :)
    If you use anything older {Internet Explorer, for example}, Disqus will probably not work, and will error out. Of course, I can't tell everyone to update their browser.... You can lead a horse to water... ;)

  5. Next time you are in Ithaca and your tummy starts rumblin' be sure to try the fresh mexican food and hopefully a margarita at Viva Taqueria (On the corner of the commons) and also stop into Bandwagon Brew Pub (at the opposite end of the commons from Viva) for a cup of soup and some fries and a beer of course. And if you want to venture out of the commons travel 15 minutes up the banks of Cayuga Lake to Glenwood Pines Restaurant for a juicy Pines Burger and a view you won't forget! For great a great hangover breakfast hit up CollegeTown Bagels or Ithaca Bakery (same owner). The bagels aren't all they're cracked up to be but the breakfast sandwiches will cure whatever ails you from the night before, plus the atmosphere just screams "Forget about how drunk you got last night, and everything you have to do today - just eat and sip".

    I've been at Ithaca College for 3.5 years and have only just begun to tap into the extensive and exciting world of Ithaca Eateries!


Thanks for your comment; I'm all ears!