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Rochester Round Up Nov 2014

Thanks for this report! I was also visiting Rochester for the Thanksgiving holiday, but I didn't get out to nearly as many places as you did! A few reviews:

We went to Swan Market for lunch on Friday. The last Thursday and Friday of each month feature live music, and the communal tables were PACKED with a line out the door. It was a very fun atmosphere. People drank 1 liter mugs of beer while waiting, and every 1/2 hour it was a "Prosit Time" sing a long. Once you are seated, you get a plate of rye bread and butter. We ordered the smoked pork chop, the schnitzel, the sampler platter, and a sausage plate. The schnitzel was especially nice, as was the flavor of the chop. I also liked the sweet tart red cabbage as a side.

On Saturday, we were at the Public Market for breakfast. We had a pastrami sandwich from Fare Game (available after 10:15, until supplies run out). It was only $6 or $7, with a stack of very tender meat, soft rye bread, mustard and a good pickle. I had a nicely spiced chai from the Chai Guy, a new vendor. We bought some breads from Flour City and Martha Janes, and some cheeses and olive oil from Giordano European Cheese Shop.

Next time in town, I'll try some of the places on your list!

Family-Friendly Rochester Recommendations?

My folks in Rochester suggest the following restaurants in Charlotte - near the lake and Abbott's custard: Mr. Dominic's at the Lake (might get busy) and Hose 22 (great decor in an old fire house, they only went there for a snack of fried pickles). You can take a walk on the Charlotte Pier before getting Abbott's for dessert. Sinbad's on Park Avenue is a good place for Mediterranean, and there are lots of places for ice cream as you walk up and down Park Avenue. If you've never been to a Wegman's, it is a grocery store but it is also an experience! Grab some lunch for a picnic in one of Rochester's beautiful parks!

Veggie Burger Fixins, Toppings?!?

Quick pickled red onions are a breeze to make and liven up a veggie burger with the texture and flavor.

Aug 06, 2014
refinnej in Home Cooking

Wheelchair Accessible Restos Near City Line?

I am not 100% sure about accessibility, but consider In Riva along Kelly Drive in East Falls. It is just a short drive from City Avenue. They have high end pizzas and pastas, appealing appetizers and drinks. There is a parking lot and my memory of the floor plan is that it is pretty open.

Jul 19, 2014
refinnej in Philadelphia

Where to find an inspired slice of pie?

I read a wonderful mouthwatering article in the NY Times last week about pie in Memphis ("Sampling Sweet Slices of Memphis Pie"). A restaurant owner was quoted: "The state of pie in Memphis is alive and well — you just have to know where to look...our program is all about paying homage to our grandmothers, and the best pies in the city are from people who bake like that.”

What is the state of pie in Philadelphia? Are there bakers who are using grandma's recipe, or drawing inspiration from classic recipes? Where should I be looking for a slice of pie with a story behind it?

Jul 18, 2014
refinnej in Philadelphia

Potential Move to PHI Area

Take a look at Elkins Park, a suburb just across the city line in Montgomery County. I moved there a few years ago and have found plenty to keep a foodie interested! The new Creekside Co-op in Elkins Park is a great place to shop, and has become a true neighborhood hub. It is also easy to drive to a Korean supermarket (H-Mart) and a Russian supermarket (Bell's), as well as Trader Joe's and Whole Foods and a huge Shoprite. I'm still exploring the area restaurants, both in the city and in the suburbs...Carribean, Polish, Cuban/Colombian, Peruvian, Vietnamese, Korean. We like to get pastries and cheesy bread from the Colombian bakery, bagels and babkas from the kosher bakery, cakes from the Italian bakery. Elkins Park has excellent access to public transportation; several train lines pass through to get to Center City. Also, I travel up to Rochester frequently and because you are north of the city you get a jump start on the trip.

Jul 11, 2014
refinnej in Philadelphia

Glenside Train Station

We were at the Glenside train station on Saturday morning for the farmer's market there. We bought cherries, snow peas, a jar of dilly beans, and two Humpty's Dumplings (Buffalo chicken and roast pork). Elcy's Cafe is in the train station building. We stopped by for some iced coffees; it looked like they were making some nice looking sandwiches and they were cutting up a pan of homemade brownies. Indoor and outdoor seating made the Glenside train station a destination in itself!

Jun 24, 2014
refinnej in Philadelphia

Breakfast Elkins Park Area

You might enjoy Our Family Cafe in Jenkintown. Nice selection, good quality ingredients, and a pleasant family run atmosphere.

Jun 06, 2014
refinnej in Philadelphia

Need Saturday Lunch Spot Near Jenkintown for Vegetarians

If you are looking for something very casual and quick, Jule's Thincrust Pizza has a nice selection of flatbreads.

Argana Tree is a new Moroccan place in Jenkintown, with a variety of vegetarian salads and spreads for a light lunch. (BYOB)

La Pergola attracts sedate crowd for Mediterranean flavors, but the food is good. (BYOB)

Our Family Cafe is a friendly place for sandwiches and salads. I've only been there for breakfast but they also do lunch.

Mar 21, 2014
refinnej in Philadelphia

Haitian restaurants serving Soup Joumou?


On a Chowhound soup thread, I read about Soup Joumou, a Haitian savory pumpkin soup, traditionally served around New Year's. I've likely missed the season for this soup, but I am wondering about any places serving Haitian food in Philadelphia? Thanks.

Mar 15, 2014
refinnej in Philadelphia

Glenside, again

Not Glenside, but close...

A couple of new restaurants have opened up in Elkins Park, near the train station.

We particularly like Alexander's. It is a cozy place serving homestyle Polish food as well as other items to round out a small menu. BYOB

Leila's Trattoria is related to Leila's Bistro in Jenkintown. They have upscale pastas and pizzas.

I haven't tried Park Plates yet...we call it the secret restaurant because there isn't much in the way of signage. But people are finding their way there, and I hear good reports. My friends stopped by after a hike, so they certainly weren't dressed up, and they were welcomed in. The menu looks great....interesting and far more sophisticated than your typical neighborhood place. BYOB

We also liked Argana Tree, which is Moroccan BYOB in Jenkintown. I

Feb 20, 2014
refinnej in Philadelphia

Family visiting Philadelphia

I am a big fan of Manakeesh at 44th and Walnut for Lebanese flatbreads and baklavah. They are open for lunch and dinner.

A favorite place in Chinatown is Xi'an Sizzling Woks. The atmosphere is basic, but the food is from the Shaanxi province and is different from what you typically find on a Chinese restaurant menu.

In Chinatown, I also like Vietnam Palace and Rangoon (Burmese).

Feb 14, 2014
refinnej in Philadelphia

Specialty grocery in Rochester?

For fresh boar and other meats, I would talk to Barry Kucker of Fare Game Foods at the Public Market. I don't know that he has boar, but he would be a good resource in any case.

For chestnut flour, I see that the Lori's Natural Foods website lists Dowd and Roger's chestnut flour on their product list. Niblack Foods (I know them by their former name of Tadco) would be another place to try for spices, dry goods, and lots more. Conveniently, both stores are at the Genesee Valley Regional Market on Jefferson Avenue. And actually, Niblack also has a stand at the Rochester Public Market.

Actually, if you are at the Genesee Valley Food Market, you can check out Palmer Foods for specialty meats and seafood. Palmer Foods is a long time Rochester source for high quality butchering. They have prepared foods too, like fried seafood platters and crab cakes.

Schmooze in Jenkintown. Closed?

They were open the day before...we were there for Sunday breakfast. Actually we all were very happy with our meals. We asked for our potatoes extra extra crispy and we got something close to crunchy potato chips, which made us very happy! I guess they've been open for about 1 year at this point. Hoping that the Monday closing was just for one day only...we like having this place around.

Sep 25, 2013
refinnej in Philadelphia

No frills near passyunk square

On Monday night, I went to Hardena for the first time (Indonesian food). My friend and I both had the rice platter. There was a selection of 9 different dishes, and we could choose 3 served over rice. I had a tofu/eggplant stew, a jackfruit stew, and fish curry. A little drop of hot sauce on the side was too hot for my taste, but could liven up the meal for those who enjoy some heat. Very simple arrangement, with 4-5 tables, disposable utensils, and a self serve cooler of water. A lot of food for a very reasonable price, and a friendly atmosphere.

I also like to buy fresh ricotta from Mancuso Cheese Shop. It is a crowded narrow space, old school, no frills. The fresh ricotta I eat instead of ice cream as a dessert!

Jun 20, 2013
refinnej in Philadelphia

Challenge: Taking a picky 10 year old for a "fancy" lunch.

We have successfully taken our picky eater niece to Beau Monde for crepes. Savory cheese crepe for dinner, sweet butter crepe with ice cream for dessert. Those are the very basic models, but could be easily customized with familiar ingredients. I think it is a very appealing place on the interior, but dining outdoors at 6th and Bainbridge is fun too!

Jun 12, 2013
refinnej in Philadelphia

The bride is vegan bachelorette dinner

You might want to check out Adobe Cafe (locations in Roxborough or S. Phila). It is not high profile gourmet like Vedge, but it is above average. The have an extensive vegetarian menu, with plenty of vegan items. I like their seitan fajitas and when I went most recently I had a portabella mushroom burger. At both locations, the spaces can accomodate groups...the website has a private parties section.

Jun 08, 2013
refinnej in Philadelphia

Rochester - what's best?

Cure was good, but not particularly memorable in my opinion. A few highlights: the bread (it comes from Flour City Bakery, which uses the space during the day), the sauces (for the sausage and the duck confit crepes... the sauces were flavorful and good for soaking up with bread), the cocktails (fun). I was with my dad, and he liked the veal sausage that we ordered a lot. It was crowded, even for an early Saturday night reservation, and it got a little loud. Good vibe, though.

Rochester - what's best?

I'll be visiting Rochester next weekend and a family member is taking me to Cure, a new bar and restaurant at the Public Market. I'll let you know how it goes!

Higher End Food for Eating In


We'll be celebrating a special event, but family logistics will prevent us from going out to a restaurant. Any suggestions for nice restaurants or prepared food places where we could get a special meal to eat at home?

City, and north or west suburbs would be the best location.


Apr 07, 2013
refinnej in Philadelphia

Rochester-Pittsford-Henrietta: Eateries, Please!

Please try to work in a stop at the Rochester Public Market if you are going to be in town on a Saturday morning (they are also open on Tuesdays and Thursdays, but there are fewer vendors on those days). It might be a little bit early for local produce, but there is plenty to eat! You can get tacos at the Market, and empanadas. There is also sometimes a vendor who sells Indian influenced breakfast sandwiches.

Another Rochester treasure is Swann's Market for German food, a small off the beaten path place with limited hours, but with a lot of friendliness and character. If you like sausages and schnitzel, you would like this place!

Voula's Greek Sweets for breakfast, lunch and baked goods! Monroe Avenue / Park Avenue is a great part of the city to wander around.

Ristorante Lucano is a place for a special meal (Italian).

I know there are several Indian restaurants in Henrietta, but I haven't been in a long time.

Hatboro - Kasbah Cafe

Link to Michael Klein column:


He doesn't mention this in the blurb, but La Morena Taqueria is a great little Mexican restaurant in Hatboro.

Dec 23, 2012
refinnej in Philadelphia

Hatboro - Kasbah Cafe

Michael Klein gave a shout out to the Hatboro dining scene a few weeks ago in his column, calling the town a "mini-United Nations."

One place he mentioned was Kasbah Cafe, highlighting the short rib entree at this new restaurant as well as the Moroccan chef's background at Frog Commissary catering. That short rib was calling my name, so we stopped by for dinner. The short rib did not disappoint, and neither did a very moist chicken entree with Moroccan flavors. The French vinaigrette for our salad was also a stand out. It was a friendly atmosphere, and we felt there was special and quality cooking going on in the kitchen here.

We'd like to return for another visit, maybe also to check out Indian, Portuguese restaurants mentioned in Michael Klein's blurb and explore Hatboro a bit more. Any recommendations?

Dec 22, 2012
refinnej in Philadelphia

Any West Indian/Caribbean groceries in Buffalo or Rochester NY?

I don't really have an answer to your question, but I would suggest checking out the Public Market on a Saturday. I know I've seen a stand that has produce typically used in Caribbean cooking, and they have some spice / grocery vendors too which sometimes have unexpected selections. On the web, I found websites for Livie's Import Market on Chili Avenue and D&L Tropical Groceries on Genesee St. (both in Rochester), but I've never been to these places.

Here is a listing I found: http://rocwiki.org/Caribbean_Food

In Rochester for conference

Go Philly! Go Rochester! I am also in Philly but grew up in Rochester. While I love the Philadelphia dining scene, I have to say I am always excited to explore Rochester restaurants when I return for hometown visits!

Here are a few ideas for you to think about. I haven't been to all of these places, but I've heard about them from my family members.

If your conference schedule allows, definitely try to stop by the Rochester Public Market on a Thursday morning (fewer vendors and thus quieter) or a Saturday morning (crowded with challenging parking). The market is on the outskirts of downtown Rochester and they open early. It is an outdoor market on a scale way beyond what we have in Philly, also there is a lovely cheese shop and bread bakery. Lots of local flavor. Even if you aren't doing your weekly shopping there, you can get breakfast sandwiches, pastries, coffee, hotdogs, empanadas, etc.

Cure is a new restaurant and bar on the site of the Public Market, open in the evenings and incorporating market offerings.

The Genesee Brew House is also new. It is at High Falls, just on the edge of downtown Rochester along the river. It is a good place to learn about Rochester and its brewing history and also have a Genny beer and a Zweigle's white hot (dog). They also serve burgers, sandwiches, salads, etc.

The Owl House is another place you might want to consider, also a quick drive from downtown. They have a creative menu that is vegetarian / vegan friendly but they do serve meat. I went to this location during a previous incarnation and I don't think they have a parking lot. But it is a residential neighborhood and the on street parking is a lot easier than in Philly. It is also across from the Abundance Food Coop which might be a fun place to stop in. I only was in there once, and I think it is quite small but active.

Lento is the fancier restaurant in Rochester that has a local spin. I haven't been there myself or heard any reports, but it would probably fit what you are looking for.

All of these restaurants are in buildings or neighborhoods that would give you a bit of a feel for Rochester. Have a good visit!

Rochester restaurants

I've got a few more ideas for you to explore in Rochester: Phillips European is not too far from the RIT campus. They are best known for their desserts. Sticky Lips BBQ has branched out with a second location on Jefferson Road, which would be an easy drive. Palmer's Direct to You Market is also on Jefferson Road. They close early evening, but would be a good casual spot for an afternoon bite, like a burger or a crab cake. It is a place to buy meat and fish, or to eat fresh and quality prepared food in their cafe. There are also a lot of popular Indian restaurants on Jefferson or Henrietta Roads, and some well regarded Korean restaurants too. Scotch and Sirloin is an old school steakhouse on that side of the city. Keep in mind that Rochester is a very easy city to navigate...just about everything is 20 minutes away. If you do go into the city to a museum, you might enjoy a place like 2 Vine, which is an upscale bistro. Enjoy exploring Rochester...it is not a big city, but it has a lot to offer!

Restaurant suggestion nearish to St Joes University

For fun atmosphere, Manayunk is also just a few minutes away. You can walk up and down Main Street where there are a lot of restaurants. There are also a lot of shops, and plenty of people of people watching. Chabaa Thai, Han Dynasty, Agiato are some places to consider. On-street parking might be tight, but you can pay to park in a lot.

Jul 05, 2012
refinnej in Philadelphia

Restaurant suggestion nearish to St Joes University

There is a very new Indian restaurant called Jazmin, very close to the St. Joe's campus. It is at 2013 N. 63rd Street. It is low key, and there may not be any other customers when you go, but the food is really tasty. It is BYOB, and there is a beer store deli just up the block. For a fancier dining experience, La Collina is classic Italian tucked away in Belmont Hills (up a hill, but very close to City Avenue). I also like Al Dar (Mediterranean) on Montgomery Avenue.

Jul 05, 2012
refinnej in Philadelphia

Baba in Rachacha

Where do you go for quality baba ghanouch in Rochester? Seems like a lot of the baba sold in stores has mayonaise in it. This topic is to help find an above average non-mayo version.


Rochester - anything great?

A few more ideas to throw into the mix, after checking in with my relatives in Rochester. Their favorite place for special occasion Italian is Lucano's. Rooney's and Black and Blue are other favorites. Amaya is a new place serving Indian food in French style, which they found interesting and enjoyable. Flight Wine Bar is recommended for wine and appetizers. And Dinosaur BBQ is an experience of its own! For a terrific but really casual Rochester evening, I like to go down to the lake at Charlotte to get a frozen custard at Abbott's and walk on the pier. There are some char broil burger places by the lake too that have loyal followings if you are interested in that sort of thing!