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Canadaigua Trip Report

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We did some cross border shopping recently and stayed in Canadaigua. Since I had a really hard time finding information about the region when I was initially researching, I thought I'd post some thoughts on our trip and the eats we had during our trip.

PHOENIX COFFEE
Cute neighbourhood coffee shop that's cozy with friendly service. Had the house blend coffee, which is a medium blend. Found it a bit light on flavour and body, even for a medium blend. Earl Grey tea was Tazo brand tea, so if you like what you get at Starbucks as far as tea goes then you'll be happy here.

To eat, tried the herb and cheese quiche with a side salad. Nice balance of cheese and herb flavour, good egg to filling to crust ratios, wish the crust was less soggy (sogginess is likely due to using the microwave to reheat the food?). Also had a blueberry scone, which was about 7 inches in diameter (no joke!). I found it too moist and too airy for my liking, and definitely way too big to finish, though it was a good blueberry to pastry balance.

Overall, nothing overwhelming to report. It's a charming spot that adds to the quaint Americana experience of Canadaigua and the region, but that's about it.

ERIC'S OFFICE
Interesting neighbourhood spot with a menu that is part pub and part family restaurant. I ordered the Thursday night pot roast special. Meat was flaky, but I found it all a bit dry. The gravy poured over the dish helped, but overall, I expected the pot roast to be more moist and tender and more flavourful. The meat was served with garlic mashed potatoes that were quite good (slightly sweet) and sauteed vegetables.

My dining partner had the Uptown Strip. He asked for it rare and got something more akin to a medium. He also found it underseasoned and lacking flavour. The quality of the meat was also mediocre (not inedible, but did find it had more gristle than expected). He enjoyed the battered fries that accompanied his steak though.

Overall, a decent neighbourhood place but maybe we would have been better off ordering some of the "pubbier" items from the menu?

Service was efficient and friendly.

PORTS MARKET AND CAFE
Cute bistro with a hill top view of the lake. It has an open kitchen so you kind of come out smelling like whatever you ate.

I ordered a clam chowder soup to start and grilled salmon. Dining partner had a house salad to start and the rib eye with fries as the main. Clam chowder was very good -- no sand in the shell fish, the broth was light but creamy, and there were a good balance of potatoes, celery, and carrots to clams and broth. The chef unorthodoxly added red peppers to the chowder, giving it a very mild but pleasant heat. Very enjoyable.

The house salad was crisp and fresh, using the standard mesclun mix as a base. I love chickpeas in salads so it was a nice touch. Otherwise, nothing extraordinary with the salad.

When our mains arrived, we came to realize that the chef had a heavy hand with the salt. Everything was oversalted. It was a shame since the food is well prepared otherwise. The salmon was nicely seared, leaving the centre medium rare. The basmati rice pilaf was a touch spicy, and the veggies on the side were a simple but appropriate accompaniement to the rest of the dish. Steak was flavourful, very tender, juicy, and grilled to requested doneness. Fries were crisp and light. But again, it's such a shame that everything was oversalted.

For dessert, we had a slice of the chocolate torte. It was very rich in texture, but it wasn't really "chocolate-y" enough. I found it to be more sweet than chocolate-y. Still it wasn't sweet enough to qualify as being cloyingly sweet, but I did think the chocolate flavour was a bit lacking.

Service was amateurish but friendly (e.g., ordered tea and no milk came with it, dessert and tea/coffee brought out before we finished our wine). We were disappointed that the "by the glass" wine selection was so limited (2 reds, 3 whites). It really precluded us from trying more local wines.

NY WINE AND CULINARY CENTRE
What a fantastic space and wonderful service offerings! I wish we had something similar to promote Ontario wine and agricultural production. We unfortunately couldn't take advantage of the tastings and cooking lessons on offer (at very reasonable prices I might add) but we did have lunch at the restaurant on site, which boasts local produce and products.

We started with their charcuterie platter and cheese platter. The charcuterie platter included 3 slices each of salami, local summer sausage, and prosciutto. The salami was nothing extraordinary, the summer sausage was nicely beefy and flavourful, and the prosciutto was very tender and not overly salty. The meats were oddly served with a generic prepared mustard rather than a whole grain or dijon style unfortunately.

The cheese platter had, what was descibed to us as an "extra extra extra old sharp cheddar". Unfortunately, the cheddar wasn't at all sharp and wasn't even really all that reminiscent of aged cheddar aside from the texture. The platter also had a "hole-y" cheese that tasted exactly like gouda (I forget the name, sorry) and a champagne cheese. We enjoyed the gouda-like cheese since we like gouda anyway, but the other two cheeses were rather unremarkable. The cheeses were served with an apricot and ginger coulis which was nice though. Overall, the cheese platter was a bit of disappointment.

Both platters were served with slices of baguette that had olive oil drizzled directly on them, which I would have preferred they not do since it ultimately interferes with the taste of the cheeses in particular.

I had a beet and apple salad which was nice in that the flavours were not covered up with a strong dressing. It was just apples and beets with greens, with some walnut oil drizzled on top. So simple and yet so good.

My dining partner had an open-faced sandwich, which combined slow roasted turkey, over easy eggs, and honey mustard on a ciabatta bread base. The dish also came with roasted potatoes. The sandwich was very tasty - the turkey was very very thinly shaved and the egg yolk was an unbelieveably rich yellow colour. It was too bad the potatoes were too oily. Otherwise they were nicely browned and seasoned.

After the meal, my dining partner had a coffee (they use Finger Lakes Roasters coffee, which is quite nice) and I had an Earl Grey tea, which wasn't very remarkable.

Overall, we enjoyed the effort that was being made at this venue, but a few details could make it much better than it is. Also, service was again amateurish -- example: we had to order our coffee and tea with the bus girl because our waiter was no where to be seen for a good long while.

WINES AND BEERS
Dr. Frank 2005 Chardonnay - very light, almost no discernable characterstics. A subtle honey flavour mid-palate, but that's about it. Disappointing.

Wagner Dockside Amber - sudsy but smooth, nice balance of hoppy caramel flavours.

Fox Run 2006 Reisling - Lots of green apple, with some citrus mid-palate, and a somewhat sweet but smooth finish.

Ithaca Nut Brown - Hints of chocolate, coffee, and caramel. Slightly sweeter than average nut browns, but still very nice.

Glenora 2003 Brut - tart strawberries balanced with toasted wheat flavours, with balanced yeastiness and fine bubbles. Very enjoyable.

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  1. Very nice report. Thank you so much for posting.