Monday, November 9, 2009

Jello Country

On the road to the Genessee Country Village we passed a small but brightly colored billboard for the Jell-O Museum.Well, anyone who knows me, knows I can't pass up a lure like that. I grew up on Jell-O; Grandma Brown made a killer cranberry jell-o salad. I love strawberry pretzel jello. So after our village visit we headed into LeRoy (LEE roy or lee ROY, depending on who you ask) where jell-o was invented. We almost passed the place, there was a not particularly large sign on the sidewalk, and the museum was down a driveway behind a house. How cool is that? It's a small place with the history of jell-o for our edification. There was a display of over 20 kinds of gelatin products, which kind of surprised me; did you know agar agar gets gelatinous? I just thought it was one of those mysterious ingredients on food labels. I feel so enlightened. By the way, gelatin is made from beef and pork hides. Hope I didn't ruin it for you.

We headed to Corning next; Corning is where - drumroll please - glass is made! Ok not just glass, but also, think Corningware, Corelle... When I was growing up I thought Corelle was the only kind of dinnerware available! There is the Corning Museum of Glass, and it's a beauty. They have examples of glass gew gaws dating from before the Romans. I was all over the Hot Glass demo - our master glass blower made a pumpkin. It's not exactly an easy hobby to take up.
Corning seems like a really nice town, and in case you go... for coffee, try the Soulful Cup on Market Street. I ordered a cafe mocha (I've given up on ordering cappuccinos) and asked for foam. And I got foam. In a nice big cappuccino type cup. It was wonderful! For breakfast try Crystal City Cafe and Bakery. I've included the link so you can listen to Mambo Italiano! They have the usual breakfasts on the menu, and also pretty nice looking baked goods. Our food was good so I give it a thumbs up.

Paul and I are restless so we moved on to Jamestown, the birth place of Lucille Ball. How could I pass that up? Definitely had to hit the Lucy-Desi museum, which is small and not actually a huge deal. I will say they had recreated a couple of sets from I Love Lucy, which was pretty cool. It was strangely cool to see their apartment in color.

The night before the museum we ate dinner at Roberto's at the Ironstone, on 4th street. Did I tell you I find restaurants by searching the internet? Roberto's is a warm and friendly family owned old-fashioned style Italian restaurant. I decided to try an Italian American classic, baked ziti. It was pretty tasty, with one large, tender, tasty meatball on top. The owner, Fred Yezzi, (his co-owner wife Tammy is the kitchen honcho) confided to me that they get their meatballs from a supplier in Buffalo; they just can't make enough themselves. Paul had spaghetti and several meatballs. Their marinara is rich and flavorful and dressed the spaghetti as well as my ziti. Of course, being who I am, I can't help but think of ways to change the ziti, such as a tomatoey beschamel, more cheese, etc. But, does the ziti want to be changed? Will it still be the ziti? I'll try it and let you know.

It was time to head back to Cleveland OH, and I must say the drive back through the narrow, green, lush valleys of New York got monotonous. I live in California, I'm not used to that much green! I jest. A little. Back in Cleveland (actually Brooklyn) we spied Carrabba's across the street from our motel (Hampton Inn - I loooove Hampton Inn) and decided to try it. It's set up a lot like a Macaroni Grill, only I think the food is better. I tried their chicken marsala and it was very good - they actually use marsala wine. Since they gave us a coupon for a free appetizer if we came back and I'm a sucker for those coupons, we went back the next night - our last evening. The food was still good. I have one regret which makes me grind my teeth a bit - Iron Chef Michael Symon's restaurant, Lola Bistro, is in Cleveland and I had totally forgotten about it until I got home.

One last stop and I'm outta here. The Westside Market in Cleveland is a must for foodies. It's an inside food market - a must in the winter - and it's a wonder. There are butcher shops, pastry
shops, spices, a Hungarian meat market, coffee, falafel stand, on and on. There's a second, smaller building with fresh beautiful produce. I really wanted to get some food and cook it. Until

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