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Archive for December, 2010

My first cross-country ski outing of the season was this past Sunday. A group of friends were going to Harriet Hollister Spencer Park, so Joel and I decided to join them. I always love the drive to the park. The paved road ends a few miles before the park’s parking lot and the scenery changes at that point as well. It is similar to when you hike and you reach the alpine zone. In this case, you no longer see houses, and the road is lined with pine tress. It was pretty chilly on Sunday morning, so all the trees were frosted. It was so beautiful! It was magical!

Harriet Hollister is a great place to cross-country ski. The trails are difficult enough to help you get a good workout. There are a few iffy downhills with some sharp turns, but if you go slow enough, you can get past them with no problem. Somehow the area always seems to have plenty of snow too. It must be due to the elevation. The park is located on Honeoye Lake’s ridge. There is actually a magnificent view of the lake on the road that takes you deeper into the park. You should definitely check it out if you have never been there. The park is also good for mountain biking in the summer (or winter, if you have studded tires).

Once we were done with skiing, we were ready for some lunch. I have always wanted to check out the Brown Hound Bistro in Naples (at the base of Ontario County Park/Gannett Hill Rd), but each time I thought about going to it, they were always closed. We were lucky this time… they were actually open. I was so excited!! And oh how lucky we were… the food was just delicious!

I ordered over-easy eggs with homefries. The eggs were cooked to my liking and the homefries were perfect. They were crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. Also, they were not greasy at all, which is very typical for homefries. I was very pleased. We also ordered a side of bacon, which was really nice. It was also super crispy and not greasy. I had brunch envy, however. Joel ordered the French Hill Toast. The bread (cinnamon bread in this case, which is made in-house) is dipped in a mixture of egg, cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla, and cream and then it is grilled. It was to die for! And it came with real maple syrup (!!!). To make it even more interesting, the dish was named after this particular hill that is close by, which I have climbed a few times on my bicycle. Next time I have to climb it, I will think about this dish… maybe it will inspire me to climb it faster. :) One last thing that I would like to mention is the service. The staff was super friendly and made us very welcomed. This seems to be a rarity these days.

I will definitely go back to the Brown Hound Bistro. We also learned that they are open for dinner. If the brunch was so delicious, the dinner must be just the same. I foresee a trip to Naples in the near future.

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I have been craving Bánh Mì sandwiches lately. “What are Bánh Mì sandwiches?”, you ask. They are these Vietnamese baguette sandwiches, which usually include some kind of meat such as pork, pate, carrots, cucumbers, cilantro, and Asian mayo.

My version of the Bánh Mì sandwich.

I keep reminiscing about the sandwiches that I had at this little place called Hancos in Brooklyn in the spring. They had the best sandwiches ever! Originally I thought that it was my first Bánh Mì experience, but I realized that I had them here in town at the Tap & Mallet. Unfortunately, the Tap & Mallet no longer offer them on the menu.

As soon as I returned from my trip from Brooklyn, I asked my friend Thuan if he knew about a place locally. He mentioned this place in the South Wedge, which we went to during one of our lunch outings. The place was interesting, since it was a video store and a sandwich place. I suppose that you can browse for some videos while waiting for your sandwich to be prepared. :) The sandwiches were good, but they were not as good as the ones from Hancos.

During a recent visit to The Owl House, I noticed that they offer a version of the sandwich. They call it the Saigon, and it includes house smoked tofu, pickled cucumber and carrot, baby arugula, cilantro-lime marmalade, and roasted garlic vegenaise on a baguette. It was pretty good. I especially liked the cilantro-lime marmalade and the pickled cucumber and carrots. I, however, am not a big fan of huge chunks of tofu, so that was a bit of a turn off for me.

I decided to try making them myself. I kept it simple. I used sesame crusted rolls, mayo, pate, grilled chicken, as well as fresh carrots, cucumbers, and cilantro. They were delicious!! They were also super easy to make, so I will definitely make them again.

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Since Joel’s mom moved from Rochester about 3 years ago, I have been continuing the Jewish traditions. I love making the traditional dinners. Since Chanukah started at sundown on Wednesday, I decided to have a small dinner.

Bruce, Joel, and Yokko

I never know what to make as a main dish for any Jewish holidays, since the traditional dish is brisket. I am sorry, but I just cannot get myself to do it. After some searching, the menu was set:

My sister and I frequently talk about dinner menus. About a month ago she mentioned that she was making a Gingered Carrot Soup. I was so excited to make it. The soup is very simple. The recipe requires 2 pounds of carrots that are boiled until soft. While the carrots are boiling, you sauté some onions (or shallots in my case), and you add fresh ginger, cinnamon, dried mint, cumin, salt, and some lemon juice. Lastly, you blend the carrots, sautéed onions, and some cashews, and voilà… you have a pot of Gingered Carrot soup. I have made the soup 4 times since she gave me the recipe. It’s so delicious!! The soup was also a hit at the dinner. We finished the entire pot! :)

Joel’s mom shared her recipe for latkes with me a long time ago. I am not sure where it came from, but I know that she has been making them for years. I was so happy to have her recipe, since her latkes have always been delicious.

A few years ago I was searching for a flourless cake, and I stumbled upon the Walnut-Date Torte on Epicurious.com. I have made it several times since, and I am always pleased. It’s also dairy free, which makes me super happy.

The dinner was great! We finished the soup (as I mentioned above), all the latkes, spinach, and almost the entire cake. I am savoring the last piece as I write this post.

Happy Chanukah!

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