This is the final entry on our Finger Lakes vacation. After touring the east shore of Keuka Lake and part of the west shore of Seneca Lake, we decided to go out of the immediate area on Sunday and visit the “holy of holies”, Genesee Brewing, in Rochester, NY. We’ve been drinking Genesee beers for decades, mostly the Cream Ale, and decided to see where all of our hard-earned money has gone.
We made it to Rochester with no problem. Had a bit of confusion when it came to finding Cataract Street. The street sign is small and it looks as if you are going to be turning into the brewery itself. The name of the street is appropriate considering it leads you to a lovely overlook of the falls in the Genesee River.
The pub has only been around for about a year now. It consists of a museum, gift shop and small brewery on the first floor and a restaurant on the second. The small brewery, the “pilot brewery”, makes a few special beers for consumption only on site (or for take away in a growler). We tried a flight of these beers, including a fresh Cream Ale, and then headed upstairs for lunch.
The place was very busy, and rather loud thanks to various sports games being on. We got a perfect table against a wall at a window. Ordering two more cream ales (no, we’ve not got tired of them yet), we perused the menu. A special was buffalo chicken egg rolls – chicken, hot sauce wrapped in an egg roll wrapper and deep fried. These were very tasty and a good amount as an appetizer for two. I then got a most excellent hot dog, the type that still has the casing, covered with well-drained sauerkraut and a pile of tasty potato chips. My husband got a beef on weck, a famous sandwich from the western NY area that consists of thin sliced roast beef on a roll that is covered with caraway seeds and large grain salt. (the pub’s website doesn’t have the entire menu up on it.) I wanted a sign with Miss Jenny on it but I really had no place for it. So we settled for getting a pint glass that had the logo of our beloved cream ale on it.
We got back to Hammondsport in the later afternoon. We made reservations at a local restaurant, the Snug Harbor for later in the evening, so we spent some time wandering around the town and relaxing in our room.
The Snug Harbor appears to be a large lakeside house that was converted into a restaurant. There is parking across the road from it, against a rock wall and some down a very steep lane near the building. It even has docks for lake traffic. We were seated near a real fireplace with a fire in it, very nice on a cool evening. A local jazz station played softly in the background, and once the arguing couple next to us left, it was a very pleasant evening. My husband had the Bayou trio cakes which were mixed seafood cakes breaded and deep fried. I had a evening special, a cracked peppercorn sirloin; both quite tasty.
After a breakfast of eggs benedict, we headed to the east shore of Seneca Lake. There are some very nice falls along the road there but they have little parking to enjoy them.
Our first stop was Finger Lakes Distilling. We got there a little before they opened so we looked over the lake as we waited. You can see the tall copper still through the windows on the side. Once they opened, we went into to be greeted by a sweet border collie. He very much wanted to play but a room full of glass bottled isn’t the place to play fetch. So he contented himself with having his ears rubbed by me.
Three dollars got a sampling of three of their products. I tried the rye, the gewurtztraminer grappa and maplejack liqueur. The grappa was 90 proof and left a nice warm line down my throat. The maplejack was not terribly sweet and excellent for sipping, a apple brandy sweetened lightly with maple syrup. I have a taste for rye, and this one was a very good version, spicy with the nutty notes from the sherry barrels coming through nicely. The most notable thing my husband tried was the Glen Thunder, a classic American corn whiskey, aka moonshine. We’ve had moonshines, but this one was probably the best we had. It didn’t have the funky corn cob taste, and tasted more like caramel corn. We came away with a bottle of rye, though I’d love to get more from here. They also have a very nice selection of bitters from various sources.
JR Dill was the next winery we visited. Their advertising mentions having a bar made of glass from the shores of Seneca Lake which had some glass manufacturing plants along its shores. We were figuring that this would be some kind of resin with the glass embedded in it. The reality was a little less impressive, being glass bits lying in glass boxes. But the wine made up for it. We very much liked their Jabber Waulkie series (yep, same prounounciation as jabberwocky), slightly sweet blends.
Just up the road was a winery we wanted to make sure we visited. Shalestone Vineyards has one of the prettiest buildings that we visited. The wines were drier reds, and we came away with a bottle of Red Legend. Another dog, a Australian Shepherd I think, greeted us there.
Lunch was at Dano’s Heuriger on Seneca. What a treasure! It has a menu of Austrian and Hungarian dishes. We both got the goulash soup, a wonderful mix of pork, lots and lots of paprika and dumplings. My husband got the Farmer’s Plate, which was a slow cooked pork shank, knockwurst, knoedel (a dense dumpling) and sauerkraut. I got the fish plate which had scoops of all of the fish salads, smoked trout, etc. The one fish salad could have used fewer bones but it was all delicious. The deserts looked heavenly but we simply had no more room. Perhaps I have a genetic predilection for this type of food, having Austrian and Hungarian ancestors….
After eating ourselves silly, we decided to head back to Hammondsport. Later that evening we went to the Union Block Italian Bistro. A light dinner of a pepperoni pizza (crisp, long and rectangular) was what we needed after our large lunch. Their pasta dinners looked *huge*. We finished up the evening with a bottle of Jabber Waulkie Red.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this tour of the Finger Lakes courtesy of the Club!