Posts Written ByRochelle Bilow

Dano’s Heuriger on Seneca: Unique Austrian Style in Finger Lakes Wine Country

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Monday, May 7 was a big night in the national culinary scene — so big, in fact, that many in the business call it the “Academy Awards” of the food world. The James Beard Awards Ceremony is an annual event that honors outstanding restaurants, chefs, culinary professionals as well as food and wine writers. And although Dano Hutnik of Dano’s Heuriger on Seneca wasn’t in attendance, the event held special meaning for him and his wife and business partner, Karen Gilman. “Too much to do around here!” Gilman said last week with a tinkling laugh.” Hutnik was nominated as a semi-finalist for the Best Chef…

Standing Stone Vineyards Vertical Gewurztraminer Tasting: As Unique as the Grape

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The wine tastings at Standing Stone Vineyards are hardly typical, but then again, owner and winemaker Marti Macinski isn’t your average wine industry professional. A former lawyer with a degree in piano performance and philosophy, Macinski purchased the winery with her husband Tom in 1991; they’ve been making wine since 1993. On April 1, Standing Stone conducted a vertical gewurztraminer tasting, featuring six wines from their library: 1995, 1996, 1997, 2006, 2008 and the recently-released 2009. With 9 of us seated in the main tasting room around a low picnic table outfitted in a white tablecloth, it felt more like…

The Piggery Deli and Butcher Shop: Making Meat Cool Once More in Ithaca

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“Do you want to meet the butchers?” Heather asked me as we rounded the corner of the kitchen. In the middle of next room two men intricately worked knives into the ribs of a pig, severed in half and propped on a table. Its skin was carnation-pink, and its bones were clean as a whistle and creamy white. Yes. I wanted to meet the butchers. Heather Sanford and Brad Marshall never intended to run a full-scale butcher shop and deli in one of the Finger Lakes’ most vegetarian-friendly towns. They started their organic pig farm seven years ago with the…

At 171 Cedar Arts, Real Culinary Education by Finger Lakes Chefs

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By Rochelle Bilow, Finger Lakes Food Correspondent Most celebrity chefs guard their secrets closely, denying consumers and fans their recipes and techniques. And why should they share? It’s their repertoire, after all. There’s a certain unspoken fear in the restaurant world that if clients can replicate dishes on their own, the banquettes and bar stools will slowly empty as home ovens steadily warm to a roaring fire. The chefs in the Finger Lakes believe otherwise. For years, a core group of culinary professionals in the region have been teaching specialized and themed classes to laypeople, unraveling the mystery and mystique…

Sheldrake Point at Seneca: What’s New for a Classic Finger Lakes Winery

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By Rochelle Bilow, Finger Lakes Food Correspondent Photos courtesy of Sheldrake Point winery Mention Sheldrake Point Winery on Seneca Lake and, chances are, you’ll be corrected. “It’s on Cayuga Lake,” I heard a half-dozen times over the course of the last month from friends and Finger Lakes wine fans. They aren’t wrong, but neither am I. On September 26, 2011, Sheldrake Point opened a second tasting room on Route 414 along the southeast side of Seneca. The tasting room has opened quietly, not for lack of marketing and outreach on their part, but because they were just getting started as…

At Skaneateles Bakery in the Finger Lakes, Tradition Meets Youth in a Sweet Twist.

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By Rochelle Bilow, Finger Lakes Food Correspondent Photos by Stu Gallagher In a town steeped in tradition, there’s something decidedly new – and young – happening on the culinary front. Husband and wife team Chris Grilli and Katie Brennan, ages 28 and 26 respectively, purchased the decades-old establishment on Jordan Street in July of 2011, and have since been putting a modern spin on a classic repertoire. Skaneateles Bakery has been in operation since 1959 and despite having changed owners a few times, still feels as authentic as it had when it first opened. The original recipes are still in…

For Chef Samantha Buyskes-Izzo, Simply Red Means Simply Good

By Rochelle Billow, Finger Lakes Food Correspondent Photos by Onion Studio If you’ve had any sort of connection to Finger Lakes food within the past ten years or so, chances are you’ve come across Samantha Buyskes-Izzo. She’s been cooking here since 2002, and since 2007 has served as the Executive Chef at Simply Red Bistro at Sheldrake Point Winery on Cayuga Lake, as well as at La Tourelle Resort and the Hangar Theatre in Ithaca. It’s a fair assertion that she’s best known for her work at Sheldrake, where the bistro earned her a sort of cult following, attracting visitors…

CaryMo Chocolate: Where Decadence, Artistry and Creativity Meet

By Rochelle Bilow, Finger Lakes Food Correspondent I guess I had envisioned that chocolate making would be a quiet, relaxing sort of activity, zen-like and leisurely this past Saturday morning. But there we were, half an hour into it at 9:30, and the noise in the kitchen was so deafening you could’ve convinced me a train was running straight through the vineyard down below. Cary Becraft had agreed to give me a lesson in dark chocolate technique at her production kitchen at Anthony Road Wine Company, where her husband, Peter, is Assistant Winemaker. I’d had an inkling of what goes…

In Geneva, Opus Wine & Espresso Bar Gives Small-Town Dining New Meaning

By Rochelle Bilow, Finger Lakes Food Correspondent Photos by Stu Gallagher Passing through Geneva, one might be inclined to write off Opus Espresso and Wine Bar as just another eatery in a college town already saturated with pizza shops and fast-food spots. Local foodies know better. Nestled between buildings on the long stretch of downtown Geneva, just an espresso bean's throw from Main Moon Chinese Restaurant and a Philly cheesesteak takeout joint, Opus doesn’t seem like the type of place to be serving up fresh, inspired food with good coffee and great wine. It doesn’t seem like the type of…

At the Black Sheep Inn, Organic is More than a Buzzword

By Rochelle Bilow, Finger Lakes Food Correspondent “Come here, you,” Debbie Meritsky cooed, coaxing a brown cow closer to her. It batted its eyes and licked her hand. “Oh!” she said, and added with a sweet-as-pie grin, I’ll take that tongue and eat it!” The cow might have thought she was kidding. Debbie and I had paid a visit to Ever Green Farm in Rock Stream, NY, as part of the day of cooking I’d scheduled with her. I’d asked her the week prior if she was game for an interview and she agreed — under the condition that I…