CrĂ¨me De Cornell Spring 2014 Spring 2014
Crème de Cornell Editors In Chief Victoria Sadosky Tejal Thakkar
Contributing Photographers Paula Cai Andrew Geddings Micaela Gelman Candice Mahadeo Tarn Susumpow Jess Wu
Dear food connoisseurs and enthusiasts, As another year draws to a close, we are once more reminded that all of us had a time before Cornell and that we did not always reside in the town named Ithaca that has become our home. Everyone comes to Cornell for different reasons. We all come from diverse places and cultures and we all have distinct aspirations and career mindsets, but the one thing that we have all experienced is that first bite into a juicy, succulent sandwich, or that initial licking of rich, chocolate frosting off of our fingers, or that one point when you are simply left speechless and wanting to tune out the world until you finish your last bite. In our bubble of a campus, albeit beautiful, we can forget the paths which we crossed and the places which we left in order to be here. With our peers waving flyers in our faces featuring food events, the scents of tantalizing snacks from bake sales, and the rousing energy from the students partaking in Establishment, food has a presence on the hill that is sometimes forgotten. From on campus guides, to features on the School of Hotel Administration, to appraising and nit-picking reviews and finds across the nation and seas afar, we hope that this issue of Cornell Gourmet Club’s Créme de Cornell will transport you back to your childhood memories of food and demonstrate how food connects all of us.
Crème de Cornell
Victoria Sadosky and Tejal Thakkar, Editors In Chief
Table of Contents SPRING 2014
on campus treasures 4 Five best vegetable sandwiches
it’s international love 15 Are Macarons Really All
6 Dining Hall DIYs: Desserts 7 Veggie Tales: Cornell Edition 8 RECIPE: Moroccan Beef Tajine/
16 Sushi Dai in Tokyo Tsukiji Fish
Behind the scenes of statler 9 Setting the Table for the 89th Time
11 The Other CIA 12 Behind the scenes of Taverna 14
critic’s corner 17 Asian Flair in the East 20 21 21
Maté Factor Café Craving a Taste of Mexico Inside the William Henry Miller Inn
Banfi at Statler Hotel RECIPE: Spice it Up!
Crème de Cornell is a magazine published by the Cornell Gourmet Club each semester. Visit our Blog at www.cornellgourmet.wordpress.com If you are interested in working on Crème de Cornell or wish to become a member of our club, please email email@example.com for more information.
Five best vegetable sandwiches on campus Your weekly on-campus sandwich guide By Jess wu
Spring and summer is coming! It is time to cleanse your body and embrace the flower blossoms and fresh green leaves! If a salad is too plain for you, what about trying to start your spring and summer with a week of Veggie “sandwiches,” which is, by my definition, any kind of vegetables wrapped in bread (including wraps). They are healthy, delicious, and contain few calories. Here’s a recommended weekday, veggie lunch schedule, which contains my favorite veggie sandwiches on campus. If you used to order pizza, burgers, sushi, or stir-fry for lunch, here is a chance to experience something new!
Monday: Café Jennie’s Roasted vegetable focaccia This is my favorite sandwich on campus by far. On a piece of slightly roasted focaccia bread a layer of steamed, sweet potato mash settles on the spinach, and another layer of mozzarella cheese melts on top of the soft and smooth sweet potato mash. Fresh red peppers find their place between each layer, which not only adds to the texture, but also the vitamin content. Finally, it is topped off with another piece of focaccia bread, which absorbs the delicious aroma that arises from the warm ingredients beneath. A fresh, mixed green and sweet hazelnut salad is placed on side to add some extra freshness to your dish. Bang! Order up! Here’s your healthy and wholesome bomb for lunch! Having a cup of warm green tea matcha latte (reduced sugar) with this meal would be a wise and delicious choice.
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Tuesday: Mac’s Mediterranean Flatbread Recommended way to consume: get this healthy ”pizza salad” and enjoy it by wrapping the salad with your pizza! On a large piece of freshly baked, pesto cheese flatbread, there is a large mixed green salad with feta cheese, olives, onions, and vinaigrette dressing. If you are lucky, you will find a huge amount of arugula in your salad, which forms an amazing taste, with melted mozzarella and chewy flatbread! The first thing you should do is eat a small piece of flatbread to appreciate its taste when it is still very warm. Then leave half of the salad on the side of your plate and wrap the remaining salad with flatbread. Eat it in the way you would eat a burrito and enjoy the plain fresh salad as a side dish!
Wednesday: Dairy Bar’s Antipasto Hero If you love mushrooms, you will fall in love with this rustic roll. Right off the oven onto your plate, the provolone cheese with mushrooms just melts and drizzles from the sides of this rustic bread. The best way to eat it is to forgo your utensils! Take a huge bite and let the juicy, marinated mushroom and other greens burst in your mouth. The umami aroma of mushroom, the milky aroma of provolone cheese, and the wheat aroma of bread together play in a sensational symphony. The chewy, rustic bread prolongs the duration of the cheese and vegetable’s aroma in your mouth. A bottle of soymilk will add some bonus points to this lunch.
Thursday: Terrace’s Vegetable Guacamole Wrap I was not a fan of Mexican food before, but this vegetable burrito has made me a big fan. You can get it from the opposite stand from the crazy, salad line in Terrace. To start your delicious wrap, first choose a type of rice and beans you prefer - I prefer brown rice and black beans because of their textures and the nutrition content. Then you can choose to add whatever vegetable you want! The sweet corn and fresh lettuce is a mustchoose combination! Don’t feel embarrassed to ask the cook (who is usually really kind and generous) to give you some extra guacamole because more guacamole combines different ingredients better! Expert Tip: warm the wrap up in the microwave for approximately 40 seconds before enjoying it - the heat draws out the aroma in the ingredients and merges the flavors together better!
Friday: Dairy Bar’s Vegetable Gyro This is a very small wrap, which definitely helps you prepare an empty stomach for weekend delicacies. Sliced carrots, spinach, and tofu are tied together closely by hummus inside an herb wrap. The best thing about this wrap is that it is heated and pressed on both sides. The slightly crispy and warm wrap acts as a perfect shell for the mellow and juicy content! (Let the cook heat the wrap longer if you like a crispier wrap!) You’d better take care while you are eating this warp on the way because the juices often drizzle. Enjoy a scoop of Cornell Dairy Ice Cream while you are waiting for the Gyro! My favorite way to order my ice cream is to let them put my ice cream in a bowl and the cone on top. This way, you can break the waffle cone into the ice cream and enjoy the amazing texture! Give yourself a vegetable sandwich week: go green, go healthy, and go delicious!
Dining Hall DIYs: Desserts By haswiny deva
Chances are that you have walked around the dining hall at some point or another in vain looking for that perfect something to cure your sweet tooth. Following is a list of quick and easy DIYs with ingredients readily available in the dining halls that are often overlooked. Hidden within these ingredients is a promise (hopefully) of the perfect dessert to cure that sweet tooth.
1. Parfaits The dining halls are almost always stocked with essential parfait ingredients such as fruit, yogurt and granola. My personal favorite: The blueberry – banana parfait. Start with a layer of vanilla granola, followed by a layer of vanilla yogurt, and another layer of granola before putting in the blueberries (other berry toppings typically used for oatmeal and pancakes work surprisingly well). Top it off with more yogurt and finally some banana slices.
2. Ice-cream cookie sandwiches
This one’s pretty intuitive. Plus, the results will never fail to satisfy. After all, who could refuse the combination of warm, crispy cookies and cold, creamy ice-cream? My personal favorite: The classic, chocolate chip cookie and vanilla ice-cream combination.The sheer simplicity of putting this one together warrants for some imaginative combinations – Oh, the endless possibilities….
3. Soda floats Again, we’ve all had one of these but never attempted to recreate it in the dining halls. It’s just a matter of adding a scoop of ice cream to that glass of soda you’re already drinking. My personal favorite: Tropical soda floats. Try a combination of pineapple juice and plain soda topped off with a scoop of vanilla ice-cream. The resulting concoction is a perfect balance between sweet, sour and creamy.
4. Banana splits This is probably the trickiest of the desserts to try, but it’s well worth the effort. Start with half a medium sized banana and assemble in a bowl with however many scoops of ice cream you desire. Toppings can include, whipped cream, chocolate sauce, nuts and sprinkles.
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Veggie Tales: Cornell Edition By veena Calambur
How it’s impossible to starve as a vegetarian at Cornell.
As a senior in high school, I remember thinking about the great transition to college life, and how difficult it would be to maintain the vegetarian diet that I have been following since I was born (yes, I literally tumbled out of my mother’s womb deigned a vegetarian). But I lucked out and picked a university that makes it very easy to be vegetarian on campus. Right from the beginning of freshman year, I noticed how considerate Cornell was. Food in dining halls was clearly marked for what was vegetarian and what wasn’t. The chefs and food servers are open to questions about cross contamination or labels. I’ve even seen people at the Mongo Grill in RPCC prepare your meal separately if you ask nicely enough! If you’re in a dining hall (and can read!), there is absolutely no problem making sure your food contains no traces of meat. Additionally, there is a decent amount of variety, so you aren’t limited to eating salad every day (even though the RPCC salad bars are pretty amazing). From pasta and Asian cuisine, to the typical cereal for dinner, you can definitely survive as a vegetarian on a meal plan. And if you’re ever on West campus, you will be sure to be eating like a king. There seems to be a million on-campus cafes from which you can choose that are very vegetarian-friendly. It is impossible to starve if you are on the Ag-quad. Trillium’s salad bar lets you put together a meal with all major food groups shoved into a small box. Martha’s café in MVR has amazing flatbread pizza salads if you’re willing to wait a little longer in line. Synapsis simply has some of the best thin crust pizza I have had on campus; even if you need to walk a mile out of your way, I would recommend going at least once! The atmosphere of the Big Red Barn is so warm and
cozy – it’s perfect to grab pasta, a salad or some Finger Lakes Coffee, in addition to giving the impression that you are a diligent grad student. And of course if you are willing to fish out your wallet for real money, Manndibles is a delicious option. Personally, I am jealous of CALS and Human Ecology students who basically hoard these cafés for themselves. Contrary to popular belief, engineers do have to take breaks and feed themselves. While they may not be swimming with as many options as the Ag-quad students, they definitely have a few things to pick out from the Mattin’s menu. I am quite fond of their pizza, and once in a while their vegetarian wraps are nice to indulge in. Of course, they can always cross the street and go to the Atrium Café in the Johnson Graduate School of Management to enjoy a respectable meal and a nice economics pun, or to Mac’s or the Terrace in the Statler for some amazing salad and coffee (but watch out, they stop taking BRBs after 3:00 PM on weekdays!) The Arts Quad takes care of itself; from the Ivy Room, the Temple of Zeus (remember it’s cash only!), the Green Dragon, and good old Oakenshields. You will easily be able to find food to satisfy the health nut in you, if you choose carefully, and avoid daily indulging from the dessert table. But the true secret to being a vegetarian on campus is a café that is not on many people’s radars. It is the crown jewel that I only discovered this year because I live in Collegetown (although it wasn’t terribly far from the Arts Quad or the Engineering Quad. The One World Café in Annabel Taylor is a gift from the heavens as it is a 100% vegetarian café. From their amazing, daily Indian food selection, and the special pasta sauce of the day, to their lovely soup and sandwich collection, the café never disappoints. The whole café has Spring 2014
such a warm and inviting environment; it is my favorite place to eat on campus. I have definitely missed out on quite a few details and may have even left out a café or two from my description, but the main point of this wasn’t to regurgitate the menus or campus maps of dining locations. I simply want to say that as
a vegetarian, I am really fortunate that I chose Cornell. They pride themselves on the food they make and serve, are truly considerate of my dietary needs, and do not fail to provide enough ways to make sure I don’t suffer from malnutrition. There is a reason Cornell was voted #2 most vegan-friendly university in the country.
Moroccan Beef Tajine/Tagine By candice mahadeo
Ingredients: 5 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil or grapeseed oil ~1 LB stew beef, about 2 inches thick 1 large onion, thick slices 4 small gloves of garlic, minced 3 medium tomatoes, peeled and quartered 3 sprigs of parsley, tied 3 sprigs of cilantro, tied 3/4 tsp ground ginger, or similar amount of fresh ginger Zest of whole lemon, and 1 tbsp lemon juice 1 tsp sumac (sub 1 tbsp lemon juice) 2 tsp paprika 2 tsp cayenne pepper 1/2 tsp ground clove, plus two whole gloves (add at end) 1 tsp nutmeg 1 tsp turmeric 2 tsp cumin
Directions: 1- Heat oil in a Dutch oven-sized pot over medium heat, then add onions and garlic. 2-After 1 minute, sweep the onions and garlic to one side of the pot. Add beef to the now empty side and brown on all sides over high heat. 3- After 3 minutes, turn heat to medium, add tomatoes and all the dry spices, except for the whole cloves. Sauté for about 2 minutes, to get the spices roasted. 4-Add about stock or water and bring to a boil. 5-Add in the parsley/cilantro bunch, wine, tomato paste, and sugar. Then, reduce heat and simmer for about 1 hour. Set timer now. Be sure to stir intermittently. 6-At the ‘1 Hour’ marker, add the potatoes, chickpeas, cabbage, carrot, celery, saffron threads, salt and pepper. Cook for 30 minutes on low heat. Stir every 10 minutes. 7-About 30 minutes later, add the mint and raisins. And cook for another 15 minutes or until vegetables are at desired tenderness. 8-To serve: Place the beef and vegetables over 1-2 cups of couscous, ladle or strain the tajine liquid into small gravy servers/ramekins/cups. Add the desired amount of tajine liquid to your dish as you eat.
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1/2 tsp ground cinnamon 1 bay leaf 1/4-1/2 cup dry red wine (like a Tempranillo) 2 tbsp tomato paste 4 tsp brown sugar (sub honey or dates) 3 cups of water or stock 1 hour in, add the following: 6 fingerling potatoes (or 1-2 large potatoes, quartered) 1/2 can of chickpeas, rinsed 1/4 medium cabbage, cut into six chunks 2 stalks of celery, quartered (optional) 1 carrot, skinned & quartered 3 saffron threads, crumbled (optional) 1/2 cup raisins (optional) 8 mint leaves (optional) Salt and pepper to taste (2 TSP of each)
Equipment Dutch Oven or tajine pot (there’s probably a different prep for using the traditional pot)Small pot, if serving with couscous 1/2 cup raisins (optional)
Setting the Table for the 89th Time Thoughts on Food and Approach to HEC 89 By Andrew Geddings
As the spring equinox arrives, flurries blow through campus and a palpable, nervous excitement radiates from Statler. The Hotel Ezra Cornell conference is here for the 89th time and Food for Thought was the phrase of the day. Although this is my first time witnessing a HEC, this year seems a bit different. Not only is the traditional Saturday dinner service being completely revamped, but there is an urgency to make this year stand out. 89 is a difficult number to make memorable, let alone the best yet in a sea of 88 other conferences. This year, the culinary team is obviously on center stage. Darby Verdoorn (Class of 2014) is the Executive Chef of HEC 89 and at the helm of the team. I had the opportunity to fire off some questions whilst she organized her staff the morning of Day 1:
Q. Many people have a glorified vision of the Executive Chef as barking orders and getting their hands in everything that comes out the kitchen. How would you describe your role for HEC 89? I’m a problem solver. I inform relationships between volunteers and personnel and I track down orders, etc. Problem solving is huge. I also approve all orders and menu items (nearby volunteer: Darby is responsible for creating a positive environment for success, she’s great).
Q. What are some of the challenges you’re anticipating this year? TIMING. Timing is a big issue, people are feeling a bit behind already. Also we have a new system for taking orders, which is good, but kind of hard to learn and teach. Also push back from volunteers and personnel. Everyone wants to do their best but we have to remind them to take breaks, eat and rest. It’s about avoiding arguments when people aren’t as far along
as they want to be. Oh, and there’s a rumor that the health inspector is coming. Probably today so… we need to stay prepared for that!
Q. What are you adding to the HEC conversation this year? How are you putting your signature on the foodservice? Well my background is in pastry from the Culinary Institute of America so it’s a bit of a different mindset.  I’m taking a very detail oriented and mindful approach to the organization and execution of the foodservice. Also we are responding to the comments of previous years, as guest wanted to see a simplistic approach to healthy food. Fitting with the theme, we are sourcing as many local ingredients as possible to make things interesting.
Q. What’s your favorite dish that you’re putting out this year? Well I actually came up with a recipe for Danish dough myself that I’m really excited about. The lamination is really great. We’re using it for pastries: almond croissants, spinach, mushroom and feta danishes, apple turnovers, and caramelized onion and cheddar danishes. Darby (working below) was being increasingly pulled to manage her team, but was kindly willing to let me see her Danish dough. Later in Day 1, I spoke with Austin Buben (also Class of 2014), who is heading the main event - Saturday evening’s Gala.
Q. What steps are you taking to incorporate Ithaca into the Gala dinner? Has this been easy or difficult? The theme for Gala this year is "Rustic Elegance: A Snapshot of the Finger Lakes." Having spent the past four years here
as an undergrad in The Hotel School I've grown to appreciate the Finger Lakes Region. There's such an immense collection of farmers, artisans, and wineries all providing the region with incredibly beautiful and inspiring products. Showcasing their products is what I am trying to do with Gala and it's easy! Good ingredients make for a good meal; add some interesting, expressive wine and you've got the makings for a memorable dinner!
Q. Are there any challenges you’re anticipating and how are you planning to circumvent them? The challenge with any meal whether it's a small dinner party or a large gala like this is making food with soul, that makes an impact on the guest, and that is worth the time, effort, and money spent. I obsess over making any dinner the best I can given the circumstances. I strive for that "make it happen" attitude: I work hard and cook from the heart. And I always taste!
Q. How are you putting your signature on this dinner service? What will the food say about you as a chef and creative mind? First of all...I cringe at the word “chef.” I'm an aspiring chef who's still developing my own creativity. I do have a style and it is expressive in the menu: I love fresh, developed, and layered flavors. I always think to myself that every bite should pop in the guest’s mouth (not literally). A choir should sound in the back of their head- I go for that "wow." As far as the service is concerned, there is one element in particular that I'm very excited about. We are presenting the last course, the cheese course, on 4-foot long boards that will be paraded to the tables. I wanted something dramatic and memorable for my last course to the guests. I want to wow them! This should do the trick... Darby and Austin are only two talents in a force of hotelies and non-hotelies alike who are ready to show distinguished guests and excellence in hospitality. Aside from constant foodservice, the student powerhouses behind HEC are offering a host of educational seminars, networking events, and fun activities. Among the prestigious attendees and speakers are Mitchell Davis, Executive Vice President of The James Beard Foundation, Maisie Ganzler, Vice President of Strategy for Bon Appetit Management Company, and Joan Rector, Vice President of Food Policy and Industry Relations for the National Restaurant Association.
For more information about HEC, or if you want to get involved in next year’s event, visit: http://www.hotelschool.cornell.edu/academics/special/hec/conference
Crème de Cornell
The Other CIA
A chat with three graduates from the Culinary Institute of America By Tejal Thakkar
Your alarm rings at 4:30am. You have to be present at 5:30am for your first class at the Culinary Institute of America (CIA). Once at class, “you prep until your service time. It’s about getting a to-do list done, which would be prepared the night before. You would prep all the food and by 11:30am [the restaurant] would open for lunch. You would [then] clean up and have a debriefing." Then you repeat. This is a typical day for the students at the CIA. The School of Hotel Administration boasts a whole different subset of transfer students: graduates from the CIA. These students have been trained professionally in the culinary arts in a two year program and have come to the Hotel School to further their education in the hospitality industry. They walk the same halls, they live in the same dorms, and they take the same classes as the rest of us (though they may not eat the same food!) However, most of these incredibly accomplished students go unnoticed by the majority of the student body. Three college seniors and CIA transfers (Kevin Driscoll, Jacob Miller, and Ian Toglia) tell us about their perspective on life in the Ivy League. Although each of these students had vastly different experiences at the CIA, they each decided to transfer to the School of Hotel Administration. Their reasons for transferring were similar to what you would expect from a student transferring from any other university. Driscoll says, “I hated coming home smelling like fish. I realized that I am not meant for this atmosphere in the kitchen. At the time, I didn’t want to
stop because I didn’t want to admit that I messed up. I applied [to the Hotel School], and I figured I would be able to figure out what I wanted to do there because there were so many programs.” The CIA graduates have a background that most of us would find difficult to imagine. They spent two of their college years in what I can only picture as something like the kitchens in “Chopped”. Yet somehow, their experiences manage to be not so different from their peers. They have all of the same struggles as the average college student. Toglia says, “We deal with a certain stereotype. We have a very firm label in the hotel school. We are the CIA kids. They know that you are a hard worker, but there is also that thought of “Do you belong here?” Aside from the social pressures that come along with having a drastically different background, schoolwork can have challenges too. Driscoll remembers his struggle with coursework during his first semester after transferring: “One of our first classes was financial accounting. To come into that, after having a mental break for a few years was hard. It was a lot of information and it was on an individual basis, not a team basis. I definitely struggled my first semester.” CIA graduates have had to also deal with some difficult comments from their peers. Some are insensitive. Toglia asserts, “We all hate to be asked, “What’s your favorite thing to cook?” It’s shallow. We went to one of the best culinary schools in the world to become masters. We didn’t go there to pick a favorite thing and cook it. We like to cook anything or everything.”
And some are simply funny. Driscoll and Miller recall some interactions with peers: • Driscoll: I hate food allergies. As much as I respect them, it’s so hard to work with them. The awareness of the consumer bothers me. • Miller: People try to pass off aversions as allergies. Then you find out that it was an aversion. • Driscoll: There are some things that you are just not allergic to. You are not allergic to parsley. Thankfully, the transfers promise they won’t hold our picky tendencies against us! By the time we reach graduation, most of us finally feel like we have found our place on our campus, even though some of us go to universities where the student body nears 15,000 students. Somehow, we find our place, just as these transfers have. Miller reflects that “at CIA, if you didn’t cook, you didn’t have a place there. Here, cooking is just something cool that you do.” All three of the CIA transfers with whom I spoke had some wise words of wisdom upon reflection on their time at Cornell. Driscoll says, “You should never ever cry over any test because that is just admitting failure. There are a lot of things that are going to make you cry so much more after school. Things that affect other people, not just yourself.” Toglia urges students “to be confident. [The admissions] process is so thorough, they didn’t bring you here for no reason. You just need to believe that you do belong here and that you are here for a reason. And just have a positive attitude.” Miller stresses that it is important to “explore things beyond their own college. Just explore. It is great meeting people who are so passionate about what they study and how they approach the world. There is so much more to learn outside your school.
Explore but don’t overcommit.” The CIA transfers have made their mark on the Cornell community. They come alive when describing what they are passionate about. Toglia says, “We try to do stuff on campus outside of the hotel school. For example, we ran delta chi’s alumni dinner last year. I just seek out any opportunity to cook for people and show them a good time.” While Toglia spends much of his time working in the Hotel School kitchens, Driscoll works for Red Jacket Juice as their campus liaison. He lights up when recounting his work: “I try to get that juice in everybody’s hands! I just go around and give juice out to people – it’s the best job in the world!” On the other hand, Miller has been involved with the student-run farmer’s market since the very first days of his time at Cornell. He “liked branching out to other people who are also interested in food, but speak a bit of different language.” The activity that all of them equally enjoy is the underground restaurant they run out of their apartment. The idea was born out of an idea they had when they were “looking for areas where [they] can contribute on campus.” The idea was brought to fruition, and the response is incredible: it is something fun for them and an experience for their peers who come to eat the delicious food. Overall, all of CIA transfers constantly look for ways to contribute to Cornell’s bustling campus in ways that play to their strengths. Everyone that we sit next to at the library, or pass by on the way to class, has their own unique story. Ex-military officials, the owners of technology startups, and even master chefs walk by our side every day. The beauty of being a college student is that we get the chance to meet all of these people, and more importantly, learn from their perspective.
Behind the Scenes of Taverna Banfi at Statler Hotel By Paula Cai
Crème de Cornell
When I told my non-hotelie friends that I was working at Taverna Banfi last night, they asked “Where?” After I slowly repeated the Italian words “Taverna Banfi,” they were still looking at me in confusion. “Oh? You are working? Good for you! Where is that place? Is it in Cornell?” As a hotelie who loves the establishment I am working for and who is proud of its food and service, I would like to provide my personal insight of Taverna Banfi to the students at Cornell. Taverna Banfi resembles a lively Italian trattoria, serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner daily. On Sunday morning and afternoon, a brunch buffet is served with assorted desserts. It is located on the second floor of the Statler Hotel, which is attached to Statler Hall. It has a lovely bar area, and also provides in-room dining service to Statler Hotel guests. The yellow, brown and orange hues gives you the opportunity to indulge in the traditional warm, cozy, and friendly Italian atmosphere: a perfect compensation for the everlasting Ithaca winters. Imagine savoring a plate of hot lobster bisque while watching crystal snowflakes fall on the ground, or sharing a tender short rib accompanied by creamy polenta that falls apart in your mouth while hearing the wind blowing heavily outside. Nothing is more satisfying than the taste of vanilla ice cream slowly melting on the hot, seasonal Fruit Crisp to excite your taste buds. If you think that Banfi is just an upscale restaurant serving delicious Italian food with fresh local ingredients, you are only partially right. Since it is mostly run and staffed by students, especially during dinner hours, Taverna Banfi provides the best service you can possibly get in the Ithaca area. Over the past few months working at Taverna Banfi and in its kitchen, I have realized how much effort each of our student staff has put into providing the most welcoming service to the guests, whether you’re a Statler hotel guest or a student. Every one of our student employees not only has the systematic knowledge of the menu and of the food-and-wine pairing, but also a unique perspective on each of the various dishes. As our motives for providing good service is learning and not money, we are seizing the opportunity to practice our knowledge of food, wine, and servicing while working. One thing that distinguishes our service from other similar restaurants is our emphasis on details. We pay attention to particularities such as specific arrangements of utensils on tables, the timing of delivery of dishes, and the appearance and presentation of the dishes. We make every effort to reach all of our guests’ expectations – from the taste, the ambiance, and the service. We take note of each person’s tastes and preferences, and dietary restrictions. This emphasis on detail comprises the core value of Banfi’s service. Nothing makes a restaurant more attractive than the taste of its dishes. Based on the daily tasting session before our shift, I have gained some personal understanding about the flavor of several of the dishes. For the appetizer, my personal favorite is the Arancini. It is a new item on Banfi’s winter menu, comprised of four balls of spinach risotto fritters on the spicy paprika aioli. The mixture of Fontina, Parmesan, spinach puree, parsley, basil, and egg yolks give a fresh and appetizing flavor. As far as entrees go, besides the short rib
that I have mentioned, we offer a variety of dishes such as “stuffed chicken breast,” NY Strip, Pan Seared salmon, and Striped Bass. Vegetarians have the special options of Crespelle and Grilled Eggplant. Accompanying all the entrees, our chef provides assorted sides ranging from brussels sprouts to Portobello mushrooms. If you are a seafood lover, remember to try our Pan Seared Scallop served on caper raisin emulsion, and my all-time favorite, Striped Bass that has crispy skin on the outside and soft fish meat on the inside. If you are a salad lover, I recommend the new Tuscan Kale Salad, with thinly, sliced kale tossed with lemon juice and garnished with pine nuts and parmesan cheese. Not so much into kale? No worries! You can either try our traditional Bibb Lettuce topped with refreshing dried cherries, green apples and blue cheese, or the new Winter Greens salad with beets, hazelnuts and goat cheese. The house-made salad dressings’ freshness and uniqueness appeal to me the most. Apart from the entrees mentioned above, Banfi also makes great pasta. Above all, I love the Lobster Arrabbiata. It is a spaghetti pasta served in a pomodoro sauce, real lobster meat, and fresh ricotta cheese. We also serve traditional and ever-popular dishes like Gnocchi, Rigatoni, and house-made spinach Angelotti. If you asked me to recommend a dessert, I would say it’s impossible. I have always wanted to go to Banfi as a guest one day with my friends, ordering all the desserts Banfi offers. Apart from the hot, seasonal Fruit Crisp that perfectly complements Ithaca’s weather, my favorite one is the Vanilla Panna Cotta. It combines my favorite two flavors - vanilla and raspberry. Different from panna cotta served in other restaurants, it is not extremely sweet, and it is garnished so beautifully that even if you are too full from eating your
big entree, you still cannot resist the temptation. If you are a relatively conservative person who is coming to Banfi for the first time, you might want to try the Tiramisu. Personally, I think it is better than the Tiramisu from Zaza’s Cuisine
downtown and the one from CTB. However, my strongest opinion is that if you are a dessert enthusiast, you should try every single dessert at Banfi before you graduate. You will not regret it!
Spice it Up! By Neha Ratna
Ever wanted to go out for Indian food but thought it was too heavy, too oily, or just too unhealthy for you to handle? Sure, Indians love their calories, but, that doesn’t mean that there aren’t Indian dishes which can satisfy both your cravings and your daily calorie limit. Tandoori Chicken can be hard to make, especially in college. First off, who actually has a tandoor? No one. What if I told you that you could have a tender, juicy piece of tandoori chicken which had half the calories of one in a restaurant and takes only 20 minutes to make? No more walks to Mehak or Sangam and no more guilt afterwards. So what’s the trick? Instead of using chicken drumsticks, use chicken breast - it’s about half the calories! Instead of using a tandoor, you can get the same taste you know and love by using a grill pan on your stove. If you make the marinade and let the chicken sit for a night, you’ll have a tender end result! I’ve put together a recipe that combines all those flavors of a true tandoori chicken but is easier to make and healthier to eat. Try out this recipe next time you’re in craving some Indian food. And remember, it’s not too hard to transform a low-calorie meal into something delicious – just spice it up!
Grilled “Tandoori” Chicken Marinade Ingredients: 1 Boneless, skinless, chicken breast 2 cups yogurt ½ diced onion 4 chopped garlic cloves ½ inch chopped ginger Salt and pepper to taste 2 tsp paprika (or to taste)
1 tsp lemon Juice ½ tsp chili powder 3 tbsp chopped cilantro 2 tsp coriander powder 2 tsp pre-made tandoori spice mix (store-bought, includes cinnamon powder, cumin seeds, cloves, and bay leaves)
Instructions: 1. Wash the chicken and place it in a big bowl. 2. Mix all of the ingredients for the marinade in the bowl with the chicken and make sure the chicken is coated completely (if needed, add more yogurt to cover chicken completely). 3. Place the chopped coriander on top of the mixture and cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Have the marinade sit in the refrigerator for at least a couple hours or over night. 4. Grill the chicken breast on a grill pan or regular pan on the stove. As you’re grilling the chicken, keep adding the marinade, until it finishes, to the chicken to keep it moist and flavorful. 5. urn the stove on low heat and wait for the outside to get slightly brown and crispy. Serve off the grill and enjoy!
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Are Macarons Really All That? By Ananya Hindupur
We’ve all seen the photos. Pinterest, Tumblr, and Instagram have all succumbed to the dainty, photogenic French macaron. I have never had these sweet treats before, so on my recent trip to Paris, I put macarons at the top of my list (following selfies with the Eiffel tower, of course). I had my first ever macaron at a café in the 4th arrondisement. I ordered two macarons: rose and caramel. Rose is one of my favorite fragrances and the macaron flavor was too exotic to pass up. The caramel macaron sounded like a safe, second choice. These bite size treats are really sweet, so I had to order an espresso to balance out the tastes. That was a good choice on my part: the espresso and the macarons are truly the perfect complementary pair. The bitterness of the espresso complements the sugar rush from the macarons, and the
To be honest, I definitely fell for the macaron hype. I tried not to raise my expectations prior to consuming the delicate dessert, but the constant macaron bombardment through social media was overwhelming. Macarons run from 1 to 3 Euros a piece in Europe, and for a dessert that fits delicately in the palm of the hand, the price is not a bargain. But for all the foodies out there, macarons are a must. Obviously, readers should have their own opinion when it comes to the macaron, but for this foodie, macarons are definitely over-hyped and quite sweeter than I anticipated. I came out of the macaron experience slightly disappointed. But that being said, I am more of a savory-food kind of girl.
“The best macaron has a buttery, melt in your mouth” smooth buttery texture of the two combined set off fireworks in the mouth. I’ve gathered that the best macaron has a buttery, melt in your mouth texture. Of my two flavors, the caramel macaron was standard and I did not feel that it was anything special. The rose flavor, however, was scrumptious. It tasted so sweet and delicate, the embodiment of the rose flower (and the pink coloring drew me even closer). My advice to the first time macaron consumers out there: try one of the exotic flavors, rather than selecting old favorites. Pistachio, rose, and lemon meringue all sound gorgeous.
Sushi Dai in Tokyo Tsukiji Fish Market By Yuanyuan Tang
After observing the documentary Jiro Dreams of Sushi reach its height through social media the past few years, I find my strong appetite for sushi also growing. Truly, there are several high-end authentic sushi restaurants in New York City, like Kyo Ya in the East Village, Tanoshi Sushi and Sake Bar on the Upper East Side, and the newly introduced Sushi Nakazawa in the West Village. However, I still wanted to have the ultimate sushi experience in Japan. With a three-month reservation, it was not hard to get a seat in Jiro’s sushi bar near Ginza. However, right before I went to Japan, I read a comment online, saying that due to the introduction by the Michelin Guide, so many people tried to get into Jiro’s sushi bar that the famous chef didn't provide service as decent as his food was. Therefore, at the last second, before winter break, I cancelled my reservation at Sukiyabashi Jiro and decided to give Sushi Dai a try. I knew Sushi Dai online from some foodie travellers. Located in Tsukiji Fish Market in Tokyo, the world’s most famous seafood market, Sushi Dai obviously had a different ambience from other high-end sushi restaurants. It is very small, probably seating about a dozen and there’s a narrow walkway from the front to the back of the restaurant. So the wait was very, very long. How long? Well, I waited for almost four hours. I got there at 9am and sat down close to 1pm. That might sound ridiculous, and it was. However, I have to admit that, in the end, it was worth it. Once I got in, the sushi chefs greeted me and were chatting with me in different languages, which was pretty funny. One nice thing about Sushi Dai is that when you are finally seated, no one rushes you to eat
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everything quickly. The chefs want you to enjoy every piece of sushi and trust me, you will forget about the excruciatingly long wait. As for the menu options, most people go for omakase at 3900 yen (around 39 dollars) which included 11 pieces, miso soup as well as tamago (Japanese egg cake) and a final “diner’s choice” piece, so I went for this choice as well. A la carte is available as well, so I also ordered another piece of sea urchin, my favorite food in the world. I had fatty tuna, snapper, horse mackerel, surf clam, salmon roe, sea urchin, and so on. As a lover of sea urchin, I should say the sea urchin I had there was the best I’ve ever tasted. The flavor was quite clean, sweet and rich as well. It stuck to the seaweed outside, and their combination was just a perfect representation of the “flavor of ocean.” As mentioned before, it was definitely different from the higher-end Michelin-starred establishments in terms of environment, service and variety. At a fraction of the cost, however, Sushi Dai presented a lot of value. If you have a chance to go to Tsukiji Fish Market in Tokyo, be sure to watch a tuna auction, shop for a variety of Japanese goodies in the outside market, and if possible, get up at 4am in the morning and get a sushi breakfast in Sushi Dai to start a nice day.
Asian Flair in the East Village By Victoria Sadosky
For those of us who have never had the opportunity to visit the island nation of Japan, to experience the authenticity of this delicate cuisine, one has to seek out the establishments that integrate the culture into their food. In order to find these hidden gems, one has to look past the overly advertised, â€œchainâ€? restaurants, which merely seek to replicate the recipes that the Japanese have spent centuries perfecting, and delve into venues where the culture shines beyond the plate. In New York City, a cultural melting pot, I have been able to come close to tasting the gastronomical delicacies of the nation across the Pacific. For Japanese cuisine, the East Village is a hotspot for Japanese culture. What makes their food so intricate is the array of experiences one can have within this one cuisine. For example, Cha-An is a traditional tea house. Hi-Collar is a traditional coffee bar. Both are Japanese, but represent two completely
different experiences. Upon opening the door to Cha-An, one can easily feel as if they are intruding. A single suspended curtain separates a darkened staircase from a petite, quaint tea room, accompanied by bamboo walls and seating. Since Cha-An is a tea house, the restaurant boasts a beautiful array of tea selections (which is poured with a miniature black tea pot). Although the choices can be overwhelming, whether you stick to the well-known Darjeeling, or blindly select a tea whose name is foreign to you, their teas are all soothing and authentic. Cha-An also has special drinks, such as their signature green tea latte. In addition to the smooth, silky texture of the hot liquid, the already prominent green tea flavor is enhanced by jewel-like red beans at the bottom of the bowl. Beyond the drinks, ChaAn has several lunch sets. My favorite are the toasts that come topped with ingredients from red bean butter to tea-smoked
salmon. Out of nowhere, a mountain-sized piece of toast descends upon the table. It seems a mile high, crusty on the outside, but fluffy when it is broken into. The toast is covered with a type of mustard and finished with pieces of arugula and the delicate, tea-smoked salmon.Although the dishes do not disappoint, the desserts are where Cha-An really leaves its mark. Not only are the desserts creative and unique, but also whimsical. After 10 minutes of arguing over the numerous, enticing options, we finally settled for the Black Sesame Crème Brûlée and the Yukimi Zenzai (mochi ice cream with red bean porridge). The Black Sesame Crème Brûlée is a spectacle in and of itself. At the top is a crisp, black sesame chip, and as you work your way towards the bottom, you come into contact with creamy, black sesame ice cream, and then crack into the caramelized top of the black sesame crème brûlée. On the other side of the spectrum, the Yukimi Zenzai comes to the table in a bowl filled with sweet, red bean soup, and the soft texture of the mocha ice cream perfectly seeps its way into the red bean porridge, which I would simply want to order by itself.
Hi-Collar is a few short blocks from Cha-An, the Japanese coffee house (a kissaten) being more of an intimate bar than a restaurant. Nudged between two other Japanese establishments, the space is comprised of a long, narrow passage with around 12 stools that frame a gold bar. Although tiny, the ambiance is relaxed and serves as an oasis from the chaotic streets, with flower ornaments hanging from the ceiling and Japanese-style windows behind the bar. The coffee, in addition to most of the food, is made in front of your eyes at the bar. If you want the real Japanese coffee experience, order the Siphon coffee, which comes in a rounded glass tube, and is evocative of a high school chemistry experiment. The coffee has such a purity and depth of flavor that it makes the steep price of $5.80 more than worthwhile. Hi-Collar takes just as much pride in their food as with their coffee. A coffee house by day, and a sake bar by night, they occupy two distinct menus. If you want the classic kissaten experience, go for lunch. Hi-Collar has quite a few flavorful dishes. Currently, the Katsu Sandwich is one of their most popular dishes. Crispy, yet juicy, the sandwich consists of a thick piece of fried and breaded Berkshire pork, nudged
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between two slices of crustless bread. An egg and mustard sauce on the side perfectly complements the breaded pork. If you want something even lighter and are in the mood for eggs, the Tomago Sandwich is a good choice. A fluffy omelet, light as air, is placed between the same crustless bread. Razor-thin slices of cucumber and a mustard-mayo sauce act as a border between the egg and the bread, and on the side is a spoonful of refreshing peach yogurt.
What also makes Hi-Collar such a jewel is their deft hand at combining the culture of the West with the Japanese (their official slogan is “Hi-Collar – Flirting with the West”). The Omurice is a classic example of this fusion, and is one of their most filling options at the restaurant. The description sounds so simple – a flavorful mound of tomato-seasoned rice with bits of pork, which is enclosed with a Western-style omelet, and topped with a Japanese tomato sauce. However, once set on the table, you will almost shed a tear out of pure amazement of its beauty and intense flavor (well, I did anyway). If you are more in the mood for breakfast, the hot cakes are a wonderful option. Unlike American pancakes, which are known to be quite heavy and dense, Hi-Collar’s hot cakes are the opposite. Light and airy, the two pancakes have a spongy consistency and are served with homemade orange marmalade and maple syrup. The hot cakes take some time to rise to that perfect height and consistency. There is a reverence in the way the hot cakes (and the rest of the dishes) are prepared at HiCollar, which is distinctly part of the experience. Their dessert is also not to be missed, with options ranging from daily matcha cakes to gorgeously prepared parfaits. The two standouts are the Chocolate Parfait and the Coffee Zenzai, and you can really see the pride they take in their food with these desserts. From bottom to top, the Chocolate Parfait is comprised of homemade granola, addictive coffee gelatin cubes, one scoop of vanilla and chocolate gelato from Ciao Bella, fresh whipped cream, and topped with a crisp, chocolate chip. Making your way through the tall glass is an adventure in of itself. The Coffee Zenzai is another example of their dessert mastery. A scoop of Ciao Bella chocolate gelato and fresh whipped cream is placed over a mass of the coffee cubes and red bean sauce. Although it has fewer ingredients than the Chocolate Parfait, the simplicity, in conjunction with the unusual combination of its flavors, is where this dessert excels. Not only does this dessert demonstrate the restraint of the Japanese palette, but also their knowledge of the chemistry of flavors between two cultures.
In addition to Cha-An and Hi-Collar highlighting two distinct aspects of Japanese cuisine, the people are part of the experience as well. Striking up a conversation and listening to their stories from back home will make the food all the more meaningful and extraordinary.
Maté Factor Café By Julia ridley
If you’ve walked down the Ithaca Commons, you’ve likely walked past the Maté Factor Café without giving it a thought. A sign outside the entrance advertises “Hot drinks, Warm atmosphere,” summing up the Maté Factor very well. The ambiance of the café is unlike anything I have ever experienced. Walking inside is like stepping into a woodland village; raw wood railings and tabletops create a dining area with a fireplace off to the side. Soft lighting gives the inside a calming, low-key feeling. In my experience, this is an ideal location for quiet, undistracted studying. As the name of the café implies, maté is their signature drink. It is a tea brewed from the Yerba maté plant, native to South America. The maté used at the Maté Factor is sourced from Brazil from a fair wage partner, and is loaded with antioxidants, while also boosting energy and mental clarity, according to a Maté Factor pamphlet. One can purchase hot and cold brewed maté, as well as their signature maté latte with steamed milk, or buy maté tea bags for one’s own brewing. Some may at first be off-put by the strong, grass-like aftertaste of the mate, but others greatly enjoy its unique flavor. I can say without hesitation that I could eat Maté Factor’s Belgian waffles every day until I die. They are, in my opinion the best waffles on the commons (even with Waffle Frolic right across the street). The organic spelt flour waffle batter creates a hearty tasting, yet light and tender waffle, which is enhanced when topped with melted butter and real maple syrup. Extras,
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blueberry-raspberry sauce or vanilla ice cream, add an extra layer of heavenly bliss. Pair one of their Belgian waffles with a maté latte and it’s the perfect Sunday brunch affair. There’s plenty of other food served at Maté Factor Café, including bagels, wraps, salads, sandwiches, and a smoothie bar. I sampled the Deli Rose sandwich, (made with smoked turkey, tomato, mozzarella, pepper jack, and ketchup), which is hearty and savory, all of the flavors blending well together. I also tried the Tofu Avocado Wrap, (with salad mix, peppers, onions, tomatoes, sprouts, and olives) a delicious and filling option for vegetarians or for those trying to eat healthier, since there’s a whole salad worth of greens inside the wrap. There is, however, one caveat that goes along with a meal at Maté Factor. The owners and staff of the café are members of Twelve Tribes, a religious community that tries to recreate life from the Book of Acts. This entails their members wearing a specific style of dress, which is apparent once stepping into Maté Factor. While some find this lifestyle off-putting and avoid Maté Factor because of it, I choose not to judge these people by their beliefs, but rather by the quality of their food. I urge you to try the place out. Eat a waffle, drink some maté, and take in the atmosphere.
Craving a Taste of Mexico By neha ratna
Ithaca is known to be a thriving place for a foodie – the small city boasts more restaurants per capita than New York City. With all these restaurants around us, there is a decent variety of cuisines to choose from. However, I could not help but notice the lack of authentic Mexican cuisine here. Coming from a place very close to the Mexico border, I have grown up on enchiladas, tacos, empanadas, and fajitas. Throughout my time in Ithaca, I have often craved a bite of a spicy, tender fajita chicken or a delectable mole sauce on the enchiladas I knew so well back home.
The chicken fajitas at Viva Taqueria certainly were crispy on the outside, but lacked a tenderness on the inside. The chicken was overpoweringly charred and the peppers and onions were over-cooked. The guacamole lacked taste and needed to have more lime, salt, and spice while the salsa simply tasted store-bought. The beans and rice were below average and overall the food lacked taste. On the other hand, Tellez’s Mexican Grill did well with their chicken, but lost points for their overly processed guacamole and underwhelming beans and rice.
On the hunt for a true Mexican restaurant to satisfy my taste buds, I tried out two local restaurants claiming to be Mexican: Viva Taqueria and Tellez’s Mexican Grill. I tried the same two dishes at both restaurants so that I could fairly compare the restaurants: chicken fajitas and enchiladas verdes.
Next, I tried the enchiladas. Viva Taqueria’s tomatillo sauce lacked spice. Moreover, their enchiladas were overly stuffed with cheese and the tortilla was too thick. Tellez’s Mexican’s enchiladas verdes were undercooked. However, their verde sauce had a nice character to it: slightly spicy and a bit sweet. The enchiladas at both places were average, but the amazing verde sauce at Tellez’s brought the dish to another level.
First off, what truly makes perfect, mouth-watering chicken fajitas? The caramelized onions and peppers should be cooked until they are soft, but still have a bit of a crunch to them. The charbroiled chicken should be slightly crispy on the outside, delicate on the inside and simply grilled to perfection. On the side, some chunky guacamole should be accompanied by fresh pico de gallo and salsa that has a slight kick to it from the jalapeños. Flavorful black beans and scrumptious Mexican rice is an added must.
Overall, the chicken fajitas, my usual favorite, and enchiladas verdes were both underwhelming. Setting my sentiments aside, Tellez’s Mexican was able to provide the most authentic taste! Now I challenge you: go out there and try the local Mexican eats and decide which one you think is better. ¡Buen Provecho!
Inside the William Henry Miller Inn By victoria sadosky
Most Cornellians are familiar with the various hotels in the Ithaca region, but students and visitors alike may be unaware of the quaint, Arts and Crafts style Inn in the Commons: the William Henry Miller Inn. The Inn has a rich past. Its namesake is Cornell’s first architecture student, who built it in the late 1800’s. In 1998, Lynnette Scofield purchased the Inn and began the renovations that would capture the Inn’s historic allure. Over a decade later, Lynnette, along with her
talented staff, has turned the Inn into a true Ithaca gem. Last year, Lynnette was awarded “Innkeeper of the Year” by the Select Registry of Distinguished Inns of North America.
In addition to the warmth of the individuals who run the Inn with Lynnette, and the cozy atmosphere, what makes this Inn stand out is, you guessed it, the food. When the inn first opened, she had no idea the food would ultimately play such an essential role in the Inn’s identity: “I didn’t have a clue, the food just kind of evolved…the guests have made a huge difference, knowing what they might like…I had no idea what to expect, so I didn’t think about people coming back for repeated visits…and you can’t keep serving the same thing over and over again, people want something new.” Ironically, despite being a food connoisseur, Lynnette did not cook very much growing up; it was strictly her mother’s Spring 2014
domain. She was brought up in an environment where having dinner at the table at 6 o’clock every night was an event: “My mother was wonderful, but couldn’t stand to have me in the kitchen.” Lynnette did, however, carefully observe her mother while she was cooking: “When I was growing up, we had a summer house that was on an island in the Saint Lawrence River…we would often have my father’s business clients for a weekend and sometimes have 27 people to feed, so I watched my mother make sure that everyone was well fed and enjoyed what they ate. One Sunday morning, we had a problem and she said, I have run out of milk, and she always made her scrambled eggs with milk, so she opened a bottle of club soda…she made the best scrambled eggs, because they were fluffy, so that was a real a-ha moment that we never expected.” Lynnette picked up many worthwhile lessons from watching her mother in the kitchen, many of which she has found useful in running the Inn. One day, while making one of the Inn’s breakfast appetizers, a cream and pineapple napoleon, there were more guests than pineapples, so Lynnette and her staff improvised, just as her mother had, by integrating blood oranges and bananas along with the pineapple. When guests began returning to the Inn for multiple visits, Lynnette found herself expanding the list of recipes, ultimately to the point where the breakfast menu and dessert offerings were changing daily: “I get a lot from the Food Network, from different blogs, I get a lot from talking to my innkeeper friends…there is probably a couple 1000 [recipes] at least, and then there is the internet that just opens up the world.” In the morning, guests are welcomed by the tantalizing smell of freshly baked goods as they walk down the carpeted steps, from walnut or blueberry muffins, glazed apricot scones or homemade biscuits, to my personal favorite, an old fashioned, chocolate sour cream coffee cake, warm from the oven.
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The next course in the Inn’s elaborate breakfast menu typically consists of a luscious fruit selection, followed by a choice of savory or sweet entrée. You may have the privilege to taste fruit offerings such as chilled, honey roasted peaches, and cardamom soup with vanilla cream, and maple butter pear with vanilla yogurt. Thus far, the fruit dish that has resonated with me the most is the honeydew melon with limoncello gelato. The tartness of the fruit is a perfect complement to the creamy, yet sweet flavor of the gelato. As Lynnette commented, “I want them to say oh wow this is great. I also like the element of surprise, because if we serve people ice cream for breakfast, then people don’t expect that.” The sweet entrée option also raises the bar, ranging from blueberry, pumpkin, or cinnamon oatmeal pancakes, to baked cranberry French toast or delicate waffles. No matter the day, the sweet entree offerings are whimsical and innovative, a sophisticated, mélange of flavors reminiscent of brunch mornings from one’s childhood. The complexity of the egg dishes will reconstitute your perceptions of home cooking. From a rolled omelet with cheddar and asparagus with potato casserole, accompanied by homemade breads, along with their homemade cinnamon blueberry, or four-berry jam, to a baked egg-corn casserole with egg custard, chives, and cheddar (served with pepper jack jelly and sour cream), or scrambled eggs in a baked wonton wrapper. The breakfast dishes will make you long for the detail and love that is at the core of their food, well after your stay.
Lynnette and her staff are always expanding their recipes and wanting to push the boundaries of what constitutes food served at an inn: “You can find ideas anywhere and they may not be an exact recipe, it may just be an ingredient, and you think, what can I do with that ingredient? It’s all the new things and making your brain work.” Currently, they are working on transforming the storage closet into a guest pantry, where they would put in a refrigerator with a freezer (and a wine cooler), so guests could have the opportunity to come back late at night and have some homemade ice cream with the desserts, like the peach cobbler. Speaking of dessert, in the late afternoon, the divine bakery scents return in preparation for the evening’s desserts. The nightly dessert table might offer ginger cookies, peach cobbler, red velvet cupcakes, double chocolate cake with mocha frosting, or glazed lemon cookies. Once you take a bite of the soft, moist, old fashioned cake, and the silky smooth frosting, any worries seem to fade away, as you revel in the moment. The fact that an inn, with only a few guest rooms, has the ability to serve a gastronomically inspiring multi-course breakfast, in addition to a spread of gourmet dessert creations, day after day, is no small undertaking. The menu may be planned a week in advance, but contingencies are factored in, such as a guest having an allergy, or the Farmers’ Market having something so tasty, Lynnette can’t
pass is up: “Nothing is set in concrete.” The work day itself begins around 6:30 a.m., with breakfast served starting at 7:30 a.m. When breakfast is over, they begin prepping for the next day, cutting up fruit and potatoes, and making muffin mix etc., in order to minimize their tasks for the next morning. Throughout the rest of the day, they prepare the desserts for the evening. Having this daily routine may seem exhausting, but Lynnette (along with Dave, Katie and Kate, and the rest of the staff) loves her business. In addition to seeing how the Inn has evolved since its onset, Lynnette has also witnessed the evolution of the food industry: “In the beginning, if you had a website, you were really with it, now if you don’t, you might as well just close up your shop and move on…to “google” pears, you could have how many pages of pear recipes, plus the Food Network has made such an incredible difference to everybody, it’s opened up the whole world…One of the big things is what is going to be the next big thing in food and you just don’t know, it’s been interesting to see it evolve.” With food innovators like Lynnette, who transcend our expectations and perceptions of food, we can look forward to further culinary revolutions. If zucchini was the “new vegetable” when Lynnette was growing up, we can only imagine what further steps will be taken in our lifetime.
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Cornell Gourmet Club