Bites and Bobs

I don't have a real post for you this week - I ate entirely for pleasure last weekend, and I'm not sad about it! I'm still hearing from some folks with warm feelings about the Sunday column. I miss it, too! But I'm also not minding the break.

I do have a couple of tasty nuggets, though:

A couple of weeks ago, I covered Khan's Kitchen, in Endicott, but already what I feared has come true. He wasn't able to make enough to stay open, and closed up shop this week. I will miss those empanadas.

This is why I'm so passionate about patronizing our local restaurants! People's livelihoods are at stake when we choose a place to grab lunch. Make good choices, kids!

When Kristina, Morgan, and I were in Saratoga Springs earlier in the summer, we brunched at a really cute restaurant a couple of blocks off Broadway called Scallions.

I had the eggs Benedict with bacon and avocado. Have you had cool, creamy avocado with buttery, warm hollandaise? Add in crunchy, salty bacon and you basically have nirvana. I recommend you get your brunchy mitts on this breakfast.

Throw in eggs and a riot of fresh fruit, and that was exactly what a girl needed after an epic night out dancing to the Dixie Chicks.

I also grabbed dinner out with my pal Lindsay in DC back in June, and we hit up Farmers Fishers Bakers in Georgetown. This place is run by the same folks who brought you Founding Farmers, one of my DC faves, but FFB didn't hit quite so high on the scale for me.

That's fried chicken AND mashed potatoes. I love both, in a primal, homespun, nostalgic kind of way. But this plate didn't quite turn my crank. Good thing the company was so good! We even shared dessert:

Beignets with dipping sauces! Again, good, but not great. There's a little bit of inspiration lacking at Farmers Fishers Bakers, for me. The food was kind of heavy and just a little boring. Nothing really stood out as stellar, unlike the amazing cocktails at Founding Farmers, or it's incredible pimento cheese.

Last weekend, I paid my second trip of the summer to Ryan's Lookout, in Henderson Harbor. I got the same dish that's become my favorite, the patriotic pasta. Here's why I love Ryan's, you guys: I had that dish in May and then again in late August, and not only was it delicious, but it tasted exactly the same, despite the fact that I know the restaurant has had some personnel changes in the kitchen between the two visits.

The corkscrew pasta is al dente, the garlic cream sauce is flavorful but light, the shrimp are sweeter than just about anyplace else and perfectly fried in their crispy rice flour coating, and the spinach and basil add earthiness and a floral, herbal note to lift the entire dish. So many restaurants struggle with consistency when their kitchens experience staffing upsets, but that doesn't seem to happen here. That means the management is on point, methinks. Ryan's is closing soon for the season, so if you want to dig into this exemplary dish, get there fast!

I just need you to know about this dish:

It's the queso fundido at Agava Restaurant in Ithaca. It is made with gooey, stringy chihuahua cheese, plus silky, local, sautéed shiitake mushrooms and poblano chiles and truffle oil, which lends the whole delightfully greasy enterprise an ethereal, heady aroma and taste. If you like something a little lighter, go for the chicken taquitos:

The darker sauce on this dish is the restaurant's signature black salsa, which is piquant and flavorful - absolutely perfect opposite creamy guacamole and crunchy fried tortilla shells. 

In short: the food at this eatery near Cornell is just as good as I remember it. I'll be back, and I've been referring other people there like crazy.

I think that's a pretty good round-up of what I've been eating lately. I've got an upcoming trip to Austin, so expect a dispatch from my favorite Mexican food mecca, and we're hitting up a Skaneateles stunner for my birthday, so I have lots of yummy things planned for you. In the meantime, my personality is big; my hunger is bigger!

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