Thursday, December 17, 2015

Pudgy Girl Bakery

When I sat down with Jenny, creator and owner of Pudgy Girl Bakery, one thing was clearly true: she has a passion and love for her craft.  Jenny shared about her inspirations, innovations, memories, and love for the community of Rochester.  You cannot help but be inspired yourself, listening to her story and love for her opportunity to explore her creativity in the baking scene.  You also can't help but crave the desserts that she creates...peanut butter truffles, chocolate espresso cheesecake, meringues, seasonal fruit pies... Oh! Um, I got carried away...

Jenny grew up learning to bake with her grandmother.  The weekends at Jenny's grandmother's house were an adventure within itself.  They would spend their time exploring the 3 stories of the house and of course, baking.  They would make fruit pies, hand pies, cakes, cupcakes, and breads.  She recalled the memories of her grandmother's flower and vegetable gardens, which helped her to learn about the importance of fresh and local ingredients.

Originally, Jenny went to school at RIT and has her degree in photography.  During her time at college, Jenny would often bake goods for teachers and friends.  After graduating, while her friends moved to bigger cities, such as Miami and NYC, Jenny continued to be drawn to Rochester.  She worked at the Owl House as a baker, but soon realized that she wanted to continue to explore and expand in the baking scene.  She had a small following of people that loved her desserts and during the transition to opening her own place, she found that they continued to follow her and request desserts.  Jenny soon created Pudgy Girl Bakery and the word spread quickly about the amazingly delicious vegan desserts.  She has been in business for a little over 2 full years and continues to grow in her following.

Jenny offers a variety of amazingly delicious products, including cheesecakes, pies, truffles, cookies, and layer cakes, all of which can be made gluten free.  Jenny is excited when she is able to "veganize" a recipe.  She has continued exploring new ways to continue to produce the amazing flavor that many typically know in a non-vegan desserts.  She was able to re-produce vegan meringues and as well!  One of my favorites has to be the espresso chocolate pie! Mmmm Or is it the truffles... which I am currently eating (a peanut butter truffle and a caramel pretzel truffle, in case you were wondering - Thanks Jenny!).

Jenny loves to be innovative and is interested in putting together flavors that most people do not necessarily think of putting together, such as desserts consisting of both savory and sweet flavors.  As Jenny speaks of the complexity of flavors and her ambition for creating new baked goods, she has a huge smile on her face and carefully chooses her words to describe her passion.  "Rochester is like a quilt and each of us are like a patch in the quilt.  We are all patching together to create a community." Jenny truly loves living in Rochester and could not imagine herself elsewhere.  She continues to be inspired by local ingredients found at farmer's markets, Rochesterians (that's most of you!), and the farm to table approach that is growing within Rochester.  She was very proud of our Rochester small  business promotion as we discussed how people's pallets are continuing to be opened to new ideas and flavors.  "Rochester is becoming a culinary mecca," Jenny proudly states. "Rochester IS a foodie town.  People come to Rochester for food."  That is sure right! How proud are we to be in Rochester!

Looking for Pudgy Girl Bakery goods?  How can you not after looking at these mouth-watering pictures?? You can find her products at Abundance Co-Op, Lori's Natural Foods, Balsam Bagels, and Nathaniel's Square Corner Store (which she also recommends if you are a beer lover).  You can also contact her and pick-up right at her location off of East Ave.  She also opens up her space for wedding tastings throughout the entire year!  Jenny was also contacted for 6 year old birthday party with the theme of "Cupcake Wars."  Focusing on the competition of Food Network's Cupcake Wars, she created two large cupcakes, which the girls decorated from top to bottom.  They even had their own family judging panel!  Each child went home with their own Pudgy Girl style cupcake at the end.  Oh what a dream.

Head on over to Pudgy Girl Bakery and get yourself some holiday treats for your friends, co-workers, family...and yes, yourself, because you deserve it.  You have had a long, hard working year, and deserve a few truffles, a pie, and a cookie.  While you are at it, grab a little extra for the new year!

630 East Ave
*Tip:  Look for the Pudgy Girl Bakery sign that she often has on the corner

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup with Beurre Noisette

I love food.  Really, I do.  I love being able to go to new locations to Sip and Savour local menu items, whether it is a dessert, main course, or side menu items.  I also love that the Rochester area has an abundance of locally grown food .  The combination of locally grown food, local markets in which to purchase the local items, and our growing Rochester food scene inspires me in my cooking at home.  Yes, I love to cook also!  I can sit and look at recipes for hours, leafing through cookbooks or meticulously scanning for recipes on Pinterest or the internet.  Part of this amazing opportunity to meet and explore the Rochester food scene continues to inspire my menu items at home (yes, I actually create a "menu" for the week).

Have you ever been to a restaurant and left saying "I want to make that at home!"? I do this quite often, so much so, that I typically attempt new recipes after a recent dining out....sometimes trial and error, combining recipes that I may have researched online or through cookbooks, or I will add in some of my own flare.  I would like to share with you those moments and my finished recipes so that you have an opportunity to try your favorite's from local restaurants at home.  These will not be exact replica's, but inspired by some of the menu items that I taste at local restaurants.  When I trial and error recipes at home, my husband is my taste-tester, my critic.  He is honest, gives suggestions, and helps me to "perfect" the recipe that is the final product.  I am now going to share those recipes with you!  They will not come after every blog post, but in menu items that I try to recreate or am inspired by at home after a recent posting.

I hope you enjoy...

This recipe is inspired by the Roasted Butternut Squash Soup with Sage Beurre Noisette and Creme Fraiche at Laurier Catering Company.

If you have not checked out my post on Laurier Catering Company, click here.  Chef Brad Stevenson is a genius in the kitchen.  He made an amazing Roasted Butternut Squash Soup that with every bite, I found myself saying "Mmmm, this is soo amazing! How did he do this?"

Well, in talking to Chef Stevenson, the key was the beurre noisette with sage.  Beurre Noisette is a brown butter sauce that can be used in a variety of ways, but many may typically associate it with pasta.  Check out this youtube video here if you would like more information.

Here is my recipe of Roasted Butternut Squash Soup with Beurre Noisette!  I hope you enjoy it!

1 large Butternut Squash
1 quart stock
*I used chicken stock, but feel free to use vegetable stock, or replace the stock with 4 cups water
1 tablespoons melted butter
one medium onion chopped
1 cup water (2 cups if using a larger squash)
3-4 tablespoons butter
fresh sage leaves (3-4 will do)
creme fraiche or heavy cream
salt and pepper to season
immersion blender or regular blender

Please remember that you can adjust the seasoning at any time (everyone's taste it different).  Feel free to omit the sage if you do not like sage, but you may want to try it with the sage first!  It is not overpowering, just a hint of sage in the background of your spoonful of soup.  You may also choose to use more or less butter.

1.  Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

2.  Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.

3.  Cut the butternut squash in half.  Be careful!  I started at the top and continued to work my way down and around the squash.

4.  Place the squash, cut side up, on the pan and brush with melted butter.  Season generously with salt and pepper.

5.  Roast in the oven for at least 60 minutes, until tender.
*I had a very large squash, so I roasted mine in the oven for 1 hour and 20 minutes.

6.  While the squash is roasting, chop one medium onion and sauté in a large pot in a drizzle of olive oil until translucent.

7.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

8.  Scoop out the flesh of the butternut squash into the pot and stir around to incorporate.
('s hot!  You could also roast the squash ahead of time and scoop out the flesh when you are ready to begin the soup  - great meal prep tip if you are a busy person!)

9.  Add one quart broth (or replace with the 4 cups water) and add an additional cup of water.
*If your squash was larger, like mine was, feel free to add additional water.  I added an additional cup.  The soup will be looser with more liquid and thicker with less liquid.
*With the additional cup water I added (remember I had a large squash), it was the perfect consistency, not too thick, but not too loose and soupy.

10.  Bring the soup to a boil over medium-high heat, then reduce to medium low and simmer for at least 30 minutes.  Break up any remaining chunks of squash that are in the soup and don't forget to stir toward the last 15 minutes!
*I simmered my soup for 45 minutes to develop a deeper flavor.

11.  Toward the last 15 minutes of your soup simmering, melt 3-4 tablespoons butter (feel free to use more!) in a saucepan over medium heat.  You will see bubbles begin to form and foam a bit, start whisking or stirring immediately.  Continue to stir.

12.  Add the sage leaves at this point.  The sage will bubble in the saucepan.  You will see little brown bits that begin to form at the bottom, your butter will begin to brown, and you will begin to smell a nutty flavor that will fill your kitchen. MMMMM, Yum  
*If this is your first time making beurre noisette, feel free to start at a medium low heat.  This process happens quickly, so do not take your eyes off the saucepan! Brown butter sauce and burnt butter are 2 very different flavors.

12.  Take the brown butter off of the heat and continue to stir for about 20-30 more seconds.  Turn off the heat to your soup and puree with an immersion blender. If you do not have an immersion blender, you can use your regular blender, but be careful, the soup is very hot.  IN batches, puree the soup.
*Remember you can watch the youtube video link above if you would like to see a visual on making a brown butter sauce!

13.  Remove the sage leaves from your brown butter sauce.  Then pour the brown butter into your soup and stir.

You will be tempted to eat right from the spoon you are stirring with as the aroma will waft through the kitchen leading you to feel tempted, but don't fall into temptation, just wait, I know it's difficult, but trust me....

14.  Drizzle in heavy cream or creme fraiche (whichever you have available) into your soup.  Sprinkle with a bit of freshly ground pepper.
*NOTE:  If you are serving to a person who would prefer to eliminate this step, just pour the heavy cream or creme fraiche directly into the bowls of those who would prefer this added step!

15.  The Best Part:  Grab a large bowl, a large spoon, and EAT to your heart's desire. Oooh Yeaaahh

If you are feeling like you want to enhance the soup even more, opt for homemade croutons to crumble over the top of your soup or do as Laurier Catering and grill a slice of bread to dip.  You can also garnish your soup with the friend sage leaves or crumple the sage leaves into your soup.

Servings:  This is dependent on if this is your main course or if you are serving as a compliment to a main course.  We had this soup for dinner 2-3 times throughout the week and we brought the soup to lunch.  I also shared this soup with a friend.  You may choose to get a larger squash and serve this to friends or family.  If you choose a smaller squash, you can also include less liquid.  Leftovers are always delicious and the soup develops more flavor as it sits overnight....

I think after writing this post, I need to make this soup again!  I feel hungry!  Good thing I have a squash being delivered from William's Farm in Marion from the Victor S.E.A.S. Club fundraiser!

I hope you enjoy this recipe.  Please let me know if you have tried this recipe and what your thoughts are.  If you have tweaked any steps in the recipe and it worked well for you, I would also like to hear. I hope you were inspired!  I also recommend going to Laurier Catering for some more inspiration and amazing tasting menus!  There new menu should be coming out shortly for the month of December!

*NOTE: Any bold and underlined business name has a link attached to it for you to click on!

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Food Truck Revolution

For those that do not know, I have a love for food trucks.  In fact, just the other day I was driving home and I spotted a food truck at Fairport Brewing and yelled out loud "What...the meatball truck!!" (I was the only one in the car).  I slooowwed down and stared; don't worry, I was still safely driving, I think.  There was also a point in which I contemplated starting my own food truck.  I spent a long time researching, developing possible menus, and investigating equipment on the internet.  Needless to say, I do not currently own a food truck, but I am a frequent visitor when at all possible.  Which brings me to this post...

Rochester has exploded with food trucks, leaving us with endless options.  This year was the fifth annual Food Truck Rodeo at the Rochester Public Market.  Food trucks are popping up outside of local bars, at Farmer's Markets, school events, and more.  It's so exciting to see the appreciation for food trucks and their art and cuisine.  I am going to highlight a few of my favorites below.  There are many that I can list, but here are a few that I frequently visit:

Cheesed and Confused

Grilled Cheese there anything more to say before you jump on board here?  My all-time favorite is the pulled pork mac and cheese grilled cheese. Yes, you heard me right!  The mac and cheese is so creamy and then when you put the BBQ pulled pork on top - genius!  While you are there, grab yourself some crispy tator tots, to complete your me!

Chef's Catering

Chef Mike Zazzaro, executive chef, created Chef's Catering back in 2011.  He currently has a staff with years of experience working to bring you the best in your catering needs and through their food truck.  Mike will work with you on creating a menu for your event.  You may have also sampled menu items at Chef's Catering at the Food Truck Rodeo or other locations.  One of my favorites is the black bean and corn fritters!  It comes with a guacamole, pico de gallo, cotija cheese crumbled on top, and a chipotle aioli.  I'm a sucker for avocado and chipotle aioli.  The pulled pork loaded fries were also very yummy!  Everyone at Chef's Catering is incredibly friendly and they take pride in what they produce.

Ah Macaroni and Cheese.  I love the spiraled pasta that they use, which helps you get just the right amount of toppings and cheese in every deliciously savory bite.  You cannot go wrong with any macaroni that you choose, however the buffalo wing mac and cheese is one of my favorites.  I love the hint of spicy kick that you get with the juicy chicken on top.  A little known fact...Nathan Hurtt, executive chef, also owns and operates Brick N Motor.

Eat Me Ice-cream

Catelyn and Amber are the amazing ladies that create unbelievable flavors in the Eat Me Ice-cream kitchen!  They have an ability to meld together flavors that can range from bold to bright and light.  They create ice-cream flavors with goat cheese and pumpkin to fruitier flavors such as apricot or blueberry and cheesecake.  They also paired with BadAss Power Cookie to create an ice cream sandwich! (If you haven't tried Badass Power Cookie, run, don't walk, over to Hart's or Lori's Natural Foods for a taste.  Maybe there will be an ice cream sandwich pairing waiting for you!).  The flavor combinations are both enticing and intriguing.  Look out for their ice cream sandwiches at locations like Hart's Grocery! Check out the post I wrote an on Eat Me Ice-cream in August.

Le Petit Poutine

How can Poutine not be good?  When you take french fries, and then load cheese curds, gravy, and herbs on top, you cannot go wrong.  I can't help myself so.... I get pulled pork on mine also!  How do you like your poutine?

The Louisiana Cookery

The folks (husband and wife team) at The Louisiana Cookery are passionate about their food and they put a lot of love into their cooking.  Not only are they willing to let you sample if you are unsure of a posted option, but once they begin discussing how they prepare their food, it is clear that you need to try it!  Give them some love the next time you see them and sample the Crawfish Étouffée or one of their other menu items.  **Hint**Hint*** They deep fry their grits!

The Meatball Truck Co.

The Meatball Truck Co. offers some delicious meatballs!  I love the meatballs in a cup, which is just enough to share (or eat on your own - let's be real about this one!).  If you are like me, you will try to get a scoop of fresh tasting ricotta with each bite of the meatball and then sop up the homemade sauce with the crusty bread. MMMM

The last Food Truck Rodeo of the year happened this past Wednesday, but don't worry there are plenty of other locations to get your Food Truck On. If you are thinking, I need to get me some of that (go ahead and fill in your choice of the food truck name here) right now, then check out Where That Food Truck to find your favorite!  You can also click on any of the underlined links to find out more information about your favorite food truck or business that is listed above.  If you have a favorite of yours not listed, feel free to let me know which food truck you love visiting and what your favorite meal there is!  I have only highlighted a few here on this post, but there are many more out there!

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Orien's Cafe

Orien's Cafe is a gem within the town of Greece on Long Pond Road.  Owner Gianni (John) Catalano created a Sicilian inspired cafe that captures the atmosphere and essence of food he grew up with in Italy.   John loves discussing his love and heritage and clearly has a passion for Orien's Cafe.  Nancy, John's wife, is the chef and master creator of the enticing menu that lures you into what it must be like to travel and taste in a cafe in Italy.  John and Nancy's daughters also work at Orien's, which truly give you the essence of the importance of meshing food and family (my two loves).

Upon walking into Orien's Cafe, you are immediately struck by the long counter holding a variety of gelato flavors. Whether it's the bright colors of the fruit based flavors that you are drawn to, such as strawberry, a seasonal flavor, such as a pumpkin gelato, or a classic tiramisu or chocolate flavor, you cannot go wrong.  We were clearly planning our gelato flavors that we would share before we even ordered dinner.  The staff was also excited to discuss the opportunity for creating new gelato flavors that instantly grab your attention when you walk in to the cafe.

What I particularly love about Orien's Cafe is knowing that everything is homemade; made fresh right on site.  They offer a variety of paninis, homemade soups, salads, pastas and risottos, as well as other dinner specialties.  I luckily was dining with a good friend who agreed that we should divide and conquer, sharing as many items as our stomach's could possible hold.  We began with a spinach stuffed arancini, which was filled with sautéed spinach and the risotto was creamy and had a wonderful flavor.  The seafood bisque was another starter to our meal.  There was a hint of sweetness that settled in your mouth and filled you with that warm homestyle know what I'm talking about.

When it came to decision time as to what we would share for dinner (remember...divide and conquer),  we contemplated many of the items on the menu.  After some serious discussion, we settled on the Breaded Veggie Panini and the Prosciutto di Parma Panini.  The Breaded Veggie Panini had breaded zucchini, roasted red peppers, fresh mozzarella, sun dried tomatoes, pesto and greens.  The Prosciutto di Parma was made with prosciutto that is cut in house for orders, fresh made mozzarella, basil pesto, balsamic vinaigrette, and mixed greens.  Both of the paninis were incredibly delicious and both had a crusty bread, just like you would have with your meal in Italy!

After our meal, we rushed over to the gelato counter to choose our flavors.  We shared a cup (2 flavors) of Espresso and Italian Cheesecake gelato.  The espresso had a well balanced flavor that brightened with each spoonful.  The Italian Cheesecake gelato was absolutely my favorite.  Each bite was bursting with flavor!

I don't think I need to remind you again, that we chose to "divide and conquer," so we of course could not leave without sharing a few pastries (and going home with a few also!).  The pastry chef, Amanda Verhulst, creates classic Italian pastries, such as tiramisu, butter and hazelnut cookies, and ricotta cakes.  This visit, we decided to sample the white, milk, and dark chocolate mousse like cake.  The bottom dark chocolate portion was my favorite to scoop bites of!  I saved the cannoli for my husband, who enjoyed the crisp bite of the shell and the cannoli pastry cream filling.  I need to go back for another taste of the pistachio cookie... pistachio is one of my favorite flavors.

Catering is also offered at Orien's Cafe, as well as a variety of gelato cakes and specialty cakes. Don't forget to stop by, whether for lunch, dinner, a yummy treat, or fresh brewed coffee (there are 30 different varieties of coffees)!

1100 Long Pond Road at Maiden Lane
Rochester, 14626

Thursday, October 1, 2015

A Tasting Menu by Laurier Catering

When I go out to dinner, one of my favorite ways to eat is to share smaller plates or eat several smaller courses.  This way I can, both, get to know the chef through tasting a variety of their dishes, while also sharing the experience with people that I love around me!  I love that each course in a tasting menu leads your taste buds to the next course.  Chef Brad Stevenson does just this during his tasting dinners at Laurier Catering.

With years of experience in the restaurant business, Chef Stevenson was ready to be part of a catering company in which he could explore his creativity and love for food.  Most surprisingly, Chef Stevenson had not cooked professionally in ten years prior to the start of Laurier.  Ready to take on the beginning of a catering company, only a name was needed.  It was in a visit to Ottawa that the name for the catering company came about. The historic building, Chateau Laurier, became the inspiration for Laurier Catering Company.

The very first meal at Laurier, 14 years ago, was a tasting menu.  You may be asking "Why a tasting menu?" Chef Stevenson describes the idea based on Matrie D'Hotel menu's (Multiple Course), that you will often find in Europe.  It is through this style, Chef Stevenson, as well as others that work at Laurier, are able to get to know their customers.  You will often see the servers engaged in conversations with the diners to get to know what they enjoyed about their meals and what they are looking to see in future meals. After my meal at Laurier, Chef Stevenson came out and greeted each table.  He enjoys making personal and lasting connections with those that eat at Laurier.

We tasted the September menu and were led through beautiful presentations of our dinner.  The first course was a colorfully plated grilled ciabatta bread with creamy goat cheese, roasted peppers, and basil, drizzled with olive oil and a balsamic reduction.  Each bite led you to wanting more.

The second course was a lobster ravioli with roasted shrimp and tarragon, in a lobster beurre blanc sauce.  The shrimp was cooked perfectly and the flavor left a lasting impression.

The third course was a mix of baby arugula, red leaf, and boston lettuce topped with cranberries, mandarin oranges, and candied pecans in a champagne vinaigrette.  The mandarin oranges provided a refreshing taste in the salad.

For my main course, I had the Tournedos of Beef Tenderloin atop a whipped potato and heirloom tomato vegetable ratatouille.  This was paired with a rosemary Zinfandel demi-glace.  Each bite of the beef tenderloin melted in my mouth and I found myself savoring each bite.  The tenderloin was also perfectly seasoned and had a perfect sear.  It was clear that Chef Stevenson attended to detail.  My husband had the Pan Seared Wild Caught Chilean Sea Bass in a white wine sauce, with grilled vegetables.  The sauce was a nice accompaniment to the sea bass.

The final course was a Grand Marnier Creme Bruelee with sliced strawberries.  The strawberries paired perfectly with the creme brûlée and the delicate hint of orange from the Grand Marnier was tasted throughout each bite.

Dinners are served on Friday and Saturdays at 7:00 p.m. The dining room is quaint and fills quickly.  It is recommended to call soon after the tasting menu of the month is revealed.  Make sure you sign up on Laurier's website for their mailing list and you can have the monthly menus emailed to you!  I am excited for the October menu featuring seasonal ingredients, like roasted butternut squash soup with sage and creme fresh and a warm apple crumb tart with a cider caramel sauce drizzled over a vanilla bean ice cream.  Mouth watering?  Check out the rest of the menu here.

Laurier Catering Company
10 Assembly Drive
Mendon, NY 14506

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Must Try: JonJohn's Bakery

As you head into the Brighton Farmer's Market, there is a lot to take in: the food trucks, organic and local produce, and nestled in between is JonJohn's Bakery.  The name comes from the owners- Jon and John.  Jonathan's (Jon) grandmother is the inspiration for many of the delicious desserts.  The carrot cake is made from a long time home recipe from Jon's family.  Oh and by the way, the carrot cake is made with local, organic carrots, right from the market!

 John is a local Special Education teacher.  He has been teaching for 19 years.  With Beth and I both being teachers, and myself as a special educator, we need to give some local love and support to local teachers doing great things.  John also does all the photography for the website!

About 15 years ago, Jon and John had a small storefront location on Winton.  At the market, I met their first customer, Robert, who walked in that first day upon opening the storefront.  He continues to choose JonJohn's Bakery, 15 years later, for his desserts!  Currently JonJohn's Bakery operates out of home.  See below for contact information!

JonJohn's Bakery offers a variety of baked goods that include cakes, cookies, and other specialty items.  They are famous for their peanut butter balls which are a combination of peanut butter and crisped rice coated in a 60% dark chocolate.  Their brownies are to die for- rich and chocolatey, oh how I wish there was one here right now!  Think it can't get better?  John also let us sample another dessert that included the same brownie, but was topped with cheesecake and coated in OREOs!  Yeah, you heard me right!

Fudgy brownie with Cheesecake swirled in and covered in OREOs

The many varieties of muffins offered.
If you love the brownie, then you will love their chocolate muffin, which uses the same batter!  

During our Brighton Farmer's Market visit, JonJohn's also offered roast pork sandwiches and baked mac and cheese.  BONUS!

Whether you head down to Brighton Farmer's Market or contact these guys through Facebook or their website, make sure you try some of their desserts.  You can order desserts for events or custom desserts, just make sure you contact them with a few days in advance.  They also offer a home delivery.  Trust us on this won't regret it.  In fact, you will be going back, wanting more!


Thursday, September 10, 2015

F. Oliver's

This week's post is another favorite of ours:  F. Oliver's. Their variety of olive oils and vinegars are a staple in both of our houses. We are all about supporting local, so it's great to know that F. Oliver's is a local, family owned and operated business.

Access to local and fresh flavor, combined with the influence of social media is growing the awareness of consumers interested in quality and healthful products. F. Oliver's knows their customers appreciate that their infusions are all natural, their olive oils are the freshest available and their balsamics are old-world traditionally aged, without added sugars. The team at F. Oliver's is very knowledgable to help you determine pairings and recommend recipes that you can feel good about eating.

Whether your tastes buds are enticed by the hints of fruit in the strawberry, raspberry, and pomegranate balsamics, or you lean more towards the herby olive oils, such as bright basil or herbs de Provence, there is something for you.  Can't choose? Try a sampler pack!  Our personal favorites at F. Oliver's include the 18 year balsamic, the fig balsamic, and the white balsamic vinegar.  We also love the varietal olive oils!  F. Oliver's works with a family owned importer out of California that sources some of the best olive growers worldwide. 

Why else do we love F. Oliver's?  You can host a party there! This is a fun way to gather some friends and enjoy each other's company while sampling food with F. Oliver's oils and vinegars.  F. Oliver's will provide a list of  easy, small dishes for each guest to bring that can be enhanced with their products. Then, you and your guests spend the rest of your party sipping some wine and enjoying all the flavorful pairings!

If you are looking for local restaurants that F. Oliver's sources to, check out Rio Tomatian in Canandaigua, where they also use their products in their cocktails, and the Aurora Inn on Cayuga Lake.
Or, take a day trip out to Ithaca where several restaurants use F. Oliver's products. F. Oliver's is working to partner with more local businesses in the near future!

Next time you are in, say hello to Leah! She is very knowledgeable and has a passion for F. Oliver's, cooking, and supporting the Rochester area.  Think about hosting a party or just drop by to grab some great additions to take your meal to the next level!


747 Park Ave
Rochester, NY 14607

129 South Main Street
Canandaigua, NY 14424

Click for additional locations


Monday, August 31, 2015

Favorite: Scratch Bakeshop

Oh Scratch Bakeshop, how we love thee!  Seriously, we really do.  I think our love began with the delicate French macarons that are available daily.  Not the chewy, coconut macaroons (still yummy), but the dainty, French sandwich pastry, called the macaron - only one 'o'; rhymes with phone, home - I think you get the point.

The flavors change bi-weekly, which means that we need to least bi-weekly!  Oh the thin crisp of the outer shell as you bite into the French macaron; the dreamy filling that may consist of ganache, fruit jams, flavored buttercream, etc.  Every time we bite into a macaron, we get that warm fuzzy feeling, and can't help but have a noticeable smile on our faces.  We have even done the eyes closed, savoring each bite, "mmmm' noise, when biting into one of these beauties. The possibilities are endless, which is exactly what Scratch Bakeshop shows us!

Ok, so let's back up a bit, before this entire post is about our love of Scratch's macarons!  We would not be able to seek our endless macaron cravings if it wasn't for Scratch Bakeshop, which is owned by two lovely women, Kate and Molly.  Although they did not grow up in Rochester, they have certainly established themselves in the Rochester food scene.  They initially met, working at Village Bakery.  Molly was the head of the Pastry Department and Kate had begun working at Village Bakery, shortly after leaving the Owl House, where she started as a Server and moved to Baker.  At this point, Molly and Kate began Scratch, working out of their apartments.  They both continued their full time positions, leaving Village Bakery and moving to The Revelry (Molly worked here as a Pastry Chef) and Victoire (Kate worked here as a server).  Clearly these ladies had a lot of experience as they were growing Scratch.  Molly and Kate did not expect the quick growing outpour of support from the local community.  They went straight to Kickstarter to raise $10,000 to build a commercial kitchen at their store location on Park Ave.  They both expressed that it was "overwhelming to feel so much love and support from the community."

In turn, they love to show their own support of the Rochester community. Many of the ingredients that they use in their products come from local farmers.  If you are in need of a recommendation for a florist, photographer, or other service, Molly and Kate are quick to recommend local businesses.

"We feel as though we are opening Rochester up to a whole new world of desserts.  We continuously search our brains for out of the box ideas and recipes.  We love to try new things and stay ahead of trends."  This is clearly true.  The variety of flavorings and options available to customers continues to grow.  Molly and Kate are inspired by their travels, the seasons, and local and fresh ingredients.  An example of a pair up with a local business is their connection with F Oliver's.  One of their favorite items they have created is a Chocolate Blood Orange Balsamic Cake, using F Oliver's products.  They also made a macaron with balsamic, which was fantastic! They share a passion for food and cooking, which comes out in their products.  Experimentation is key and "inspiration can be found everywhere and anywhere if you just open your eyes."

Included in the baked goods that are offered, there are the traditional baked goods, but also dairy free, vegan, gluten free and vegan/gluten free goods.  The increase in the market for non traditional items are growing and Scratch Bakeshop is able to cater to that need.  A bit less than half of their business is with clients who are gluten free or vegan.

Let's get to the tasty items....
Some of the items they offer are cakes, brownies, cupcakes, shortbread cookies, cake truffles, chocolate cookies, and of course....let's say it together....macarons!  They also provide custom goods for events.  A hint- check out their Instagram or Facebook page and look at the gorgeous creations that they continue to develop.

Molly and Kate clearly have a passion for baking and cooking and they hope to make people happy with the items they share with their customers. "We believe the key to life is finding something you are passionate about and going after it, despite any set back you feel might come your way."

This is a must try for locals; in fact, bring anyone visiting Rochester here too or send the items as a gift to a lover of baked goods!

Location:  113 Park Ave
                  Rochester, NY 14607

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Favorites: Royal Cafe

Today's post is featuring a favorite of almost a decade.  My then boyfriend, now husband, Johann, and I found a gem in the small village of Fairport, called Royal Cafe. A sign for gelato is what initially caught my eye.  A friend of mine had just returned from living in Italy for two years, and raved about the gelato she had there.

When we walked through the doors, we were greeted by the friendly owner, Sadik. He was excited to hear it was our first gelato experience, and went into detail about how it was different than regular ice cream, and his process for making it in-house. If you're not familiar, gelato is made from whole milk instead of milk and cream. This cuts down on calories and fat content.  The owner focuses on the use of fresh, organic ingredients, and extracting as much natural flavor as possible, in lieu of loading his gelato with sugar.  He was happy to let us sample new flavors from the case before deciding. From our first taste, we were hooked.

Fast forward to today where Stef and I are sitting in Royal Cafe. Upon walking in, you're welcomed by a colorful display of sixteen different delicious gelato flavors.

Kate explained today's flavors and made suggestions for combinations since we were having trouble deciding on our own!  We each decided to go with a small cup, which has three scoops. The medium has four, and the large, five. We decided to divide and conquer and each get three different flavors. Stef went with menta (mint), peanut butter chocolate, and espresso.  I decided to go with the salted caramel, coconut, and Sadik's favorite, hazelnut. Kate had explained to us that Sadik takes the time to oven-roast the hazelnuts, which fills the whole cafe with their aroma.

Even if you cannot have dairy, there is still an offering of various dairy free sorbets.  Some of the dairy free sorbet flavors include lemon, blueberry, mixed berry, and blackberry, which Stef did sample!  The blackberry flavor really came out in every delicious bite.  Yum!

Being a cafe, they do have more than just scrumptious gelato.  You can treat yourself to lunch, or a pastry dessert and a smoothie or coffee.

Staying true to in-house made goods, Sadik's mother makes the ciabatta bread for the sandwiches, and insists on using organic ingredients for the menu items.  In addition to sandwiches they offer a variety of wraps and salads.

If you're looking for a real treat that is hard to find anywhere else, try the spaghetti sundae! It's made with vanilla gelato, snaked like spaghetti, covered in a strawberry sauce, topped with white chocolate and brownies, then drizzled with a chocolate sauce.

If you are getting a gelato craving, but the Fairport location isn't a close drive for you, they just opened a store front location in the food court near the carousel at Eastview mall. They also supply their gelato to a few different restaurants around the Rochester area. No matter what you do, just make sure you check out one of the Royal Cafe locations. We're already scheming our next flavor combinations. You're in for a treat!

Location: 15 N Main Street
                  Fairport, NY

Sunday, August 9, 2015

I Scream You Scream, We all Scream for Ice Cream!

This summer I have been eating A LOT of ice cream.  The ice cream that I have been waiting to try though has been from Eat Me Ice Cream.  They use organic, local ingredients.  I really enjoyed this video that explains their process of making the ice cream and deciding which flavors to create from week to week!                                                                                                                                                                    
Apricot Blueberry ice cream on a sugar cookie

I did meet one of the wonderful ladies from Eat Me and had the opportunity to sample a CocoNana ice candy, which was like an ice cream pop, both smooth and creamy.  I have to admit that banana is not my fruit of choice, but did I gobble up the ice candy?  Yes, I most definitely did and I enjoyed every bite of it!  

My friend Amy had the Apricot Blueberry ice cream on a sugar cookie and she said it was delicious!  I did sneak a bite and it definitely was yummy.  However, I had to go with one of the staples:  The Hugup.  Oh wonderful chocolate and vanilla ice cream, hugging together, sandwiched between a brownie cookie and a sugar cookie.  
I don't mind if I do!
You can feel the love between the 2 cookies.

Yum! What flavor should I try next?