Milestone in the New York Finger Lakes Region – November 12 – 15, 2016
This month, I reached a major milestone in my life. I turned 40! To celebrate, my husband and I spent a long weekend in New York State’s gorgeous Finger Lakes Region (http://www.fingerlakes.com/, 2016).
This area of New York State is meaningful to me, not only because of its beauty, but because I went to college in the region. So, it brings me back to that joyful time in my life. This region has the right to boast because it produces some of the best wine and produce in the United States.
Video Description: View of Seneca Lake in Geneva, NY on November 13, 2016. Camera pans from the northern shore of the lake to the eastern shore, and then, it pans to the south. The views show the tree-lined shores and ripples on the water.
During our time, we visited some fun and surprising places. These included the Corning Museum of Glass (http://www.cmog.org/, 2016), which was inspiring and fascinating, and Wagner Vineyards (https://wagnervineyards.com/, 2016) and Wagner Valley Brewing Co. (http://wagnerbrewing.com/, 2016). My husband did a wine tasting (six wines for $5.00), and I did a beer tasting (five beers for $4.00). I enjoyed the malty, sweet flavor of the Dockside Vienna Lager and the distinct caramel and molasses notes in the Sled Dog Doppelbock. Out of everything we did the thing made me happiest was reuniting with some dear friends from college. Seeing them made me feel like I had come home again.
My husband and I had some great meals to celebrate this milestone. Please enjoy reading about them.
Kindred Fare, Geneva, NY
“From butchering our own meats to baking our own bread we focus on creating our own recipes in house, but are happy to source from our friends who do it better. Our menus change at the whim of each season and with our own urge to make new things.” (http://kindredfare.com/our-story/, 2016)
We started the meal with the Kindred Fare Bread plate (rustic, house made whole wheat sourdough and gluten-free almond-thyme crackers with cultured butter and Seneca Lake salt) and a bowl of butternut squash hummus. Everything about this starter was incredible! The bread and crackers were so flavorful, and they tasted freshly baked. The butter was creamy and rich, and the butternut squash hummus had the perfect balance of sweetness and spice.
Our next course was the Kale Salad (kale with delicata squash, apricot, feta, seeds, and apple cider vinaigrette). The kale was crisp and deep green. The squash was tender and slightly sweet. The seeds (flax and pumpkin) added crunch to the dish. The dressing was underwhelming, and it did not bring much flavor.
We split two specials for our entrees: the Braised Meat Sauce and Polenta and the Mushroom Bucatini. The Braised Meat Sauce and Polenta (pork, beef short rib, oxtail, red wine, and tomato) was a hearty dish perfect for a cold night. The meats were rich and savory with the mouth-filling flavor of the wine. The polenta was creamy, and it soaked up the juices so nothing went to waste. The only way this dish could have been improved would have been to have had a touch less salt.
The Mushroom Bucatini (a long spaghetti-like pasta with a hole in the middle) was made with oyster, shiitake, and trumpet mushrooms, walnuts, balsamic vinegar, cream, and parmesan cheese. It had earthy flavors from the mushrooms, nuttiness from the walnuts, surprising sweetness from the vinegar, and salt from the cheese. The pasta itself was chewy, and it seemed to be slightly under cooked.
Accessibility Rating for Kindred Fare.
I used my wheelchair to visit Kindred Fare.
- Entryway – 4: There is one wide door at the outside entrance. Then, there is a vestibule before an interior door. There are slight bumps at each door. There are no stairs.
- Bathroom (Men’s) – 3: The spacious, brightly lit bathroom has three grab bars around the toilet. I was able to make a 180° turn within the bathroom with ease. I was not able to fit underneath the sink. The sink has standard length faucet handles and a tall faucet.
- Walkways/Space – 4: The moderately lit space has both standard height tables and a high counter (at the bar) and tall tables where customers can eat. The counter and tall tables have tall stools and the standard height tables have standard height chairs. I had no problems negotiating the aisles in my wheelchair, even when the restaurant was crowded. I was able to fit comfortably underneath the central pedestal table with my footrests raised up. All of the furniture is moveable. There was background music playing at a moderate volume while we dined there.
Video Description: Interior of Kindred Fare in Geneva, NY on November 12, 2016. Camera pans through restaurant showing bar in central area with ceiling height shelving for liquor, and the bartender is working behind the bar serving patrons. There are wooden tables around the perimeter of the restaurant and windows along the far wall and the wall to the right. People are dining throughout.
- Staff – 5: The held the exterior and interior entrance doors open for us upon our arrival and leaving. They removed a chair from our table so I could access it, and they asked if the table met my needs. They hung our coats for us, which was nice. That way I did not have to sit with it while dining.
- Braille Menus: They do not have Braille menus.
Veraisons Restaurant at The Inn at Glenora Wine Cellars, Dundee, NY
My husband and I had a romantic dinner for my birthday at Veraisons Restaurant at The Inn at Glenora Wine Cellars (http://www.glenora.com/Restaurant/Veraisons-Restaurant, 2016). This restaurant is at a winery overlooking the southern end of Seneca Lake.
“With menus that change with the seasons, Executive Chef Orlando and Sous Chef Sarah consistently factor in quality, sustainability, food-miles, and flavor into their cuisine. Where the food comes from, the farmers, and the environment that creates it are of utmost importance.” (http://www.glenora.com/Restaurant/Veraisons-Restaurant, 2016)
We began the celebratory meal with the Local Cheese Sampler (First Light – Rye Cheddar, Old Chatham – Black Mule Bleu, Meadowood Farms – Strawbridge, and East Hill Creamery – Underpass). All of the cheeses were rich and creamy, but the standout was the pungent, tangy, funky Black Mule Bleu. The highlight of the sampler was the local red grapes. They were so plump, juicy, and sweet. The fact that they were grown locally really showed in their flavor.
We split a large Veraisons Green Salad (Lucky Dog (farm) greens, candied walnuts, Ithaca Jersey Bleu cheese, apple chips, and cider vinaigrette). The greens were so tender and fresh, and were the star of this dish. Again, the quality of the local produce shone through.
For my entree, I had the chicken (local chicken breast, cider glazed, roasted apples, spaghetti squash, sage, maple, potatoes dauphine, and brown butter broth). Our waitress poured the brown butter broth over the dish after placing it in front of me. The chicken had a bit of luscious gamy flavor to it. I think this is from the chicken being from a local farm. The potatoes dauphine were fried balls of creamy, smooth, mashed potatoes. The apples and maple brought sweetness to the dish. The spaghetti squash was a bit crunchy, but this added a pleasant texture. The brown butter broth was nutty and earthy. It was a delicious indulgence for my birthday.
I had a glass of Trestlecreek cider (hard cider) made at the Glenora Wine Cellars. It was crisp, light, and just sweet enough to not be dry. A very refreshing drink to go with the lovely meal.
Accessibility Rating for Veraisons Restaurant at The Inn at Glenora Wine Cellars
I used my wheelchair to visit Veraisons Restaurant at The Inn at Glenora Wine Cellars.
- Entryway – 5: There are two, wide, side-by-side doors at the exterior entrance. Then, there is a vestibule before another set of wide side-by-side doors. The transition from outside to inside is smooth. There are no stairs.
- Bathroom (Men’s) – 1: The brightly lit bathroom has two grab bars around the toilet in the accessible stall. The problem is that between the way the stall door opened and the small size of the stall, I was unable to get into the stall and close the door. When the stall door is open, it blocks one of the grab bars. As a result, I had to use the stall with the door open. I was able to make a 180° turn within the bathroom with ease, but not within the stall. I was able to fit underneath the sink. The sink has a faucet that needs to be pressed down to be turned on and a standard height faucet.
- Walkways/Space – 3: The entrance from the lobby into the dining room has a huge bump from a tall wooden threshold. The moderately lit space has standard height tables. When crowded, I could see the entire space being tight. Even with my footrests raised up, it was a tight fit for me to sit close to the central pedestal table. All of the furniture is moveable. There was background music playing at a louder volume while we dined there. This was surprising considering how few people were dining there at the time.
Video Description: Interior of Veraisons Restaurant in Dundee, NY (November 2016) showing high ceilings in restaurant space with white tablecloth topped tables throughout. Each table has light colored wooden chairs around it. There are floor-to-ceiling windows along the length of the wall on the left. There were very few people dining in the restaurant when this was recorded.
- Staff – 3: A staff member removed a chair from the table they selected for us so I could access it. The table was at the far end of the dining room, and there were a few tight spaces I had to negotiate to get there. Considering how few customers were dining there at the time, it would have been easier for me if they had chosen a table closer to the restaurant’s entrance. Upon leaving, a staff member held the interior and exterior doors open for us.
- Braille Menus: They do not have Braille menus.