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Mountain Home Magazine

Take a Bite Out of Summer

Jun 30, 2014 07:58PM

Brad Goodwin

What makes your mouth water? Sample Our Menu of Choices!

How we picked them: Mountain Home writers and editors Teresa Banik Capuzzo, Maxwell Black, Michael Capuzzo, Cindy Davis Meixel, Olivia Hall, Cornelius O’Donnell, and Amy Packard roamed far and wide over northern Pennsylvania and southern New York finding delectable things to eat and drink.


Atwater Estate Vineyards

5055 State Rte. 414, Burdett, NY (607) 546-8463

According to Atwater winemaker Vinny Aliperti, “The vintage 2012 North Block Six is the most expressive Cab Franc we’ve ever made.” Expressive enough, it turns out, to have won a unanimous gold at the Riverside International Wine Competition this year. Cabernet franc is a grape that loves the Finger Lakes, and we love it back. So we thrilled as we sipped it at a tasting. But it wasn’t until we poured it next to a fresh red sauce on pasta that it blew our socks off. This is one of those “Why am I telling this to thousands of people?” moments, because the truth is the stash of 2012 North Block is not long for this vineyard. But I, for one, will be keeping an eye on this block of grapes. ~ TBC


Bum Steer

105 S. Buffalo St., Elkland, PA (570) 258-5142

While the name may conjure up images of disgruntled cattle, the Bum Steer in Elkland has surely tamed that fair beast. Their hot roast beef sandwich is testament to that. A mound of juicy beef thinly cut in house, along with sautéed onions sandwiched between Texas-toast-style bread would be more than enough to make this sandwich worth the trek to Elkland. It’s the twist on the classic roast beef sandwich—the addition of fresh cut tomato, lettuce, and a zesty pepper-relish—that really sets this sandwich apart. The intense umami of the beef, beef so juicy that it almost soaks through the bread, is pleasingly cut by the tomato and piquant relish. The expertly balanced yin and yang of flavors makes this a sandwich that does more than exceeds expectations, it trumps them. ~ MB


The Copper Oven

6800 New York 89, Ovid, NY (607) 220-8794

The first thing you’ll notice as you approach The Copper Oven is the warm metallic glow of its eponymous cooking implement, parked right outside the door. As the story goes, Mary Jane Challen-Kircher acquired the Le Panyol as part of a deal with her husband Seth: he was going to build a wood-fired sauna in their backyard, and she answered, “Not until I get a wood-fired oven.” Today the remarkable heat-retaining qualities of its white kaolinic clays from Provence give wafer- thin pizzas—topped with “hyperlocal” meats, vegetables, and cheeses from surrounding towns and villages—their crunchy crust and just the right amount of char. Pair them with a fresh salad or one of the cheese and charcuterie boards for a leisurely meal on the outdoor deck overlooking Cayuga Ridge Estate Winery, run by Mary Jane’s parents. And a name like “Nutella Foreva’” should convince anyone that there’s still room for one of the sweet dessert flatbreads from the short but satisfying menu. ~ OH


Cuba Cheese + Time

Ron Osgood (814) 228-3563

Originally from Cuba, New York, a local city famous for its cheese curds, Ron Osgood and Frank Grom are aging some of the best cheddar around. Lily white, with slices that crackle when cut, this cheese is not something to be messed around with. Its bite is bracing, and pairs incredibly well with some oil-preserved sun-dried tomatoes perched atop a cracker. It also proves to be a feisty companion to a Finger Lakes Riesling. Beware, however, of getting too complicated, as this is a cheese you’ll want to appreciate on its own. This cheese is only by special order, though, and can be bought from Ron. ~ MB


Dano’s

9564 Route 414, Lodi, NY (607) 582-7555

Step into Dano’s and beyond the spacious entry you’ll see the soaring ceiling that arches over the dining space below. Before you move down to your table note the refrigerated cases on your left. Set in gleaming white serving dishes are the various hors d’oeuvre/ first courses this Austrian oasis offers. If I were you I’d ask for samples of at least four or five—to share when you get to your table. I always go for my two favorites: Liptauer cheese and celery root remoulade. The former is a smooth mixture of butter, cream cheese, anchovy, caraway seeds, capers,and Hungarian sweet paprika. You won’t easily taste the anchovy. It provides the salt for the dish. The celery root is peeled and shredded or cut into tiny matchstick pieces and then tossed with the remoulade sauce. The latter is a delicious mix of mayonnaise, finely chopped gherkins, Dijon mustard, capers, lemon zest, and tarragon. Of course there is the lentil salad or the roasted beets with horseradish, or maybe the red pepper spread or the... Main dishes delight as well, especially the goulash or the farmer’s plate: pork shank, knockwurst, and smoked pork on sauerkraut. It’s all flavorful, and mixed drinks made with locally distilled ingredients, the best area wines, and brews made in the Finger Lakes make great accompaniments. Save room for the house-made desserts. The strudel is heaven-sent. ~ CO


Florida Fryed Chicken

17467 Route 287, Tioga, PA (570) 625-0011

As regular readers of Mountain Home will know, Gary Morey and Bonnie Schroeder misspelled “fried” to pique your curiosity and trick you into their warm abode, but they needn’t have. The eponymous chicken more than suffices. Tender and warm beneath a light coating of fried goodness, the chicken is expertly cooked. It maintains a delicate juiciness that serves only to make this chicken easy, if not a little bit too easy, to chow down on. Served with a variety of sides, like potato salad, sweet potatoes, and coleslaw, this chicken calls to mind the sultry heat of the South, and the décor only enhances that atmosphere. There are few things more strictly American than eating delicious fried chicken from a paper plate with plastic cutlery on a hot day, and there’s nowhere better to spend a summer afternoon. ~ MB


Fulkerson Winery

5576 Route 14, Dundee, NY (607) 243-7883

The Fulkerson family staked a claim on this land in 1805, and this month they celebrate the twenty-five years since Sayre Fulkerson—the sixth generation to farm this land since Revolutionary War veteran Caleb Fulkerson turned the first shovel on this ground—turned to grape growing. And from all this old comes something new as well, as the Fulkersons grow the hybrid Traminette, developed at Cornell in the ’60s from Herb C. Barrett’s magical mix of a French American hybrid crossed with the classic Vitas vinifera Gewürztraminer. Dry to semi-dry, this grape nonetheless packs such a knockout front end of floral that it can satisfy taste buds tuned to the sweet side as well. It is the taste of summer itself. ~ TBC


Nocchi’s Hoagie Stand

445 N. Keystone Ave., Sayre, PA (570) 888-2267

What’s the secret of the oil? I ask this question of the young lady at Nocchi’s who has just served me what is likely the tastiest cheeseburger hoagie I have ever eaten. And I ask this question innocently, as I figure I will try to replicate this aromatic mixture, which reminds me of the spicing of a gyro (there’s garlic in here for sure—and maybe oregano?). “It’s a secret,” she replies matter-of-factly. “Bob stirs it up downstairs, and locks it in a closet. We are not even allowed to get it ourselves. Bob brings it for us.” Now that is a secret sauce. ~ TBC


Ozzie & Mae’s Hacienda

43 W. 4th St., Williamsport, PA (570) 322-8141

Some secrets are meant to be kept. Some secrets are meant to be shared. I was reluctant to take the Mountain Home publishers to the site of my favorite dessert in Williamsport. What if they wanted to include the dessert in their “Fabulous Food Finds” issue? What if the dessert started to sell like hotcakes and I could never get it again? Alas, since I adore the publishers as much as the creators of this dessert, I suggested they follow me to Ozzie & Mae’s Hacienda, in center city Billtown. There, we fell silent (except for oohs and aahs) as we indulged in the Mexican restaurant’s signature fried ice cream—a delightful concoction of vanilla (or chocolate) ice cream served atop cinnamon-sprinkled dessert tortillas, with drizzles of honey and chocolate and caramel sauces (and one secret ingredient that Mae is keeping to herself). Mae and her husband Ozzie opened this authentic Mexican eatery nine years ago. After the birth of their daughter, they were looking to move away from the hectic life of the Philadelphia suburbs into a quieter locale. Serendipitously, the couple found this sweet spot tucked in the quiet hills of Pennsylvania. Some of life’s sweetest secrets are meant to be discovered. ~ CDM


PanAsia

18-22 W. Market St., Corning, NY (607) 936-6300

Stepping into the new PanAsia restaurant at 18-22 Market Street in Corning is like stepping into eateries in Tokyo, Bangkok, Seoul, or Peking. This spacious eatery with a semi-exposed kitchen and large serving staff—all done up in black—has a most impressive menu. There is something here for everyone. The knowledgeable staff will guide you to unfamiliar tastes and flavor combinations. Afraid of food being too hot (spice-wise)? Never fear. They will advise. Often the chef-owner, Craig Wilson, will be roaming the floor and will help introduce you to his amazing foods. (The Web site will give you information on his extensive cooking experience.) I say amazing food because everything we sampled was just plain delicious (although I wasn’t wild about the red bean ice cream—but my companion loved it and I must admit I finished it!). I liked the small plates and mixing three or four of those to form a meal. On another visit I may choose from a list of what we called spring rolls (six variations) or the ten “speciality” rolls including a “Corning Roll,” filled with cucumber, red pepper, squash, asparagus, and cream cheese. The combinations are fun to read—and delicious. Then there is the sushi and sashimi. Holy moley! Light eaters and vegetarians might opt for a dish of edamame (soy beans) topped with Seneca Lake salt, and there are ten different noodles and ramen plates. The bar is on one side of the dining room and, while they serve traditional cocktails, you may want to try a Lycheetini: lychee vodka (who knew?), cognac, and peach juice. Or a Sakitini with sake, tangerine vodka, Cointreau, and an orange garnish. This newcomer is already a favorite. ~ CO 


Peter Herdic House

407 W. 4th St., Williamsport, PA (570) 322-0165

The term “Blue Plate Special” started to become common in America in the late 1920s and gained avid followers during The Great Depression. Of course, an inexpensive, full meal never goes out of style and one area fine dining restaurant has chosen to put its own luxurious spin on the blue plate. The Peter Herdic House restaurant in Williamsport’s Millionaires’ Row historic district offers a $10 Blue Plate Special ever Wednesday night. While traditional American comfort food is often included as part of the varying weekly presentation, Herdic House’s blue plate also offers more sophisticated fare. Organic fettuccine tossed with wild-caught salmon, asparagus, and lemon cream; grilled Korean BBQ- marinated tenderloin tips served over a radish and arugula slaw with spicy avocado cream and tomato-ginger salsa; and wild mushroom and asparagus risotto finished with grilled local shiitake mushrooms and brie are a few of the recent Herdic specials. Liz Miele, executive chef, says she began offering the popular specials five years ago, and it typically sells out each Wednesday. As with her other creations, Miele enjoys incorporating seasonal produce and local meats into the special. Of course, the current garden season abounds with options and she says, “I’m always overbuying at the farmers market, so it’s a great way to pass fresh, local ingredients on to our customers.” That sounds like a blue bon appétit! ~ CDM


Pleasant Valley Inn

7979 New York 54, Hammondsport, NY (607) 569-2282

What’s in a name? Well, at this Inn, “pleasant” describes the surroundings inside and out. This landmark is about halfway on the main road between Bath and Hammondsport. You can’t miss the mid-nineteenth century pink- hued Italianate farmhouse surrounded by rolling hills and vineyards. It’s also a B&B with access to a classic porch alive with rocking chairs plus an adjacent stone patio. Tom and Marianne Simmons have owned the place since 1991, and they have kept the high-ceiling and flocked-wallpapered dining rooms as they were when the house was built. Candlelight dinners in these airy spaces are a delight. Marianne is the chef and Tom is the “front man” conjuring drinks in the cozy and rough- beamed bar and seating patrons. We like to have a pre-dinner drink at the entry/ bar well ahead of our reservation (a must here) and study the chalkboard’s listing of the evening specials. Tom makes delicious mixed drinks and has carefully chosen the wines for their impressive list. He is also an adept hand in the kitchen during prep time. An experienced wait staff will enhance your evening. Marianne respects the high quality of her ingredients, featuring locally sourced foodstuffs whenever possible. Her cooking respects their natural taste and goodness. The simplicity pays off—the food, and the wine, are exceptional. (Lamb is a specialty—and is perfectly cooked.) The Inn is open for dinner from May through October. I might add that off-season the owners usually visit other countries to pick up ideas. A couple of years ago they were so delighted with the food in Spain, that marcona almonds, Manchego cheese, goat-cheese-stuffed piquillo peppers, and marinated olives appeared on their menu. Go. I promise you will enjoy this upscale place. ~ CO


Red Skillet

99 Main St., Wellsboro, PA (570) 787-4545

The Red Skillet sandwich is a doozy. It’s been called extravagant, luxurious, and the more pious (I count myself among them) might even call it sinful. Their concoction, succulent pulled pork doused in a homemade barbecue sauce that’s full of tang with just a hint of sweetness, placed under a crisp, healthy portion of coleslaw, and slapped into a brioche bun, is a sandwich fit for royalty. For those kings or queens whose love of food borders on hedonism, the Red Skillet will happily add bacon to your order. We recommend an accomplished cardiologist to go with this sandwich, but it’s eminently worth it. Better yet, a psychologist, because this sandwich will drive you wild. The Red Skillet has two locations: a food truck located in the parking lot behind Ginn & Vickery, and a fresh-made food stand that can be found at the Wired Rooster. ~ MB

The Red Skillet also offers up a great side order to their sandwiches: their version of a common Canadian dish called poutine. The dish consists of fresh cut French fries covered with a pan-seared gravy and cheese curds, and while it is not uncommon to have fries with gravy, the fresh cheese curds add an entirely pleasant twist for your taste buds. ~ AP


Rico’s Pizza

371 W. Morris St., Bath, NY (607) 622-6033;

92 W. Market St., Corning, NY (607) 962-2300; 2162 Grand Central Ave. Horseheads, NY (607) 796-2200

Much of the pizza pride we feel in America is thanks to New York and its storied Italian heritage. New Yorkers make sure their pizza is thin, wide, and exceptionally foldable. This can engender a tendency to gobble, and while that may be the way to eat many an American pie, you’re going to want to savor the ricotta and broccoli pizza at Rico’s Pizza. With fluffy mounds of ricotta whose peaks are lightly browned, and an intense saltiness from its mixture of broccoli and garlic, all piled on a thin crackling crust, this may not be the food to eat before stealing a kiss from your sweetheart. Even so, if you can forgo romance for an afternoon or evening, this pizza is well worth it. Who knows, you might even fall in love. ~ MB


Rivals Sports Bar

420 River Ave., Williamsport, PA (570) 322-8980

One word: wings. The staple food of bars and parties, everyone has his or her favorite flavor. A recent dinner with my sister introduced me to the wings at Rivals. While the bar looks like your favorite watering hole on your weekly night out, complete with six or seven televisions airing every game possible, the wings should be your focus. Ranging from BBQ to teriyaki to “southern dynamite,” there’s sure to be a sauce to catch your eye. But my sister ordered two plates of the teriyaki before I could even take it all in. I had never had teriyaki on anything, so my expectations were low. To say I was pleasantly surprised is an understatement I am proud to admit. From the sweet taste of the teriyaki and the crunch of the skin to the drippings left at the bottom of the plate—which are perfect to dip into with a side of fries—these wings had me at first bite. ~ AP


The Stonehouse Wood Fired Pizza & Pasteria

343 Pine St., Williamsport, PA (570) 322-3344

The last time I had homemade limoncello on a restaurant terrace was over a decade and a half ago, on our honeymoon in Italy. The proprietor, learning that we were writers, started plying us with the sweet stuff, hoping we would write about him. And I guess he was right, because Papa Roche’s Limoncello at the Stonehouse Wood Fired Pizza & Pasteria in Williamsport took us back to that sweet night. Limoncello is made of lemons, vodka or grain spirits, and lots of sugar, a sweet alcoholic confection that is the perfect drink to end an Italian meal—or begin it. (The Stonehouse recipe comes from the kitchen of the father-in-law of GM Tony Ecker, Dave “Papa” Roche.) They also serve a homemade pasta that is not to be missed, a broad and delicate fettuccine (which I highly recommend under the silky housemade vodka cream sauce). ~ TBC


Straub Brewery

303 Sorg St., St. Marys, PA (814) 834-2875

Pennsylvania’s Route 6 is one of America’s most scenic highways according to National Geographic. But the view is even rosier when you stop at the Straub Brewery in St. Marys for a free golden sip from the Eternal Tap. Yep, an hour or so west and south of Coudersport (a short hop off 6 through Emporium), the small, charming brewery founded by German immigrant Peter Straub in 1872 will give you a tour. Or, Monday through Friday during the main office hours of 9-4:30, you can just go right to the tap, chat with the village regulars, and draw yourself a complimentary glass or two of the sweet-nutty American Amber, the lager, or whatever else is flowing— hand-crafted, fresh, and free—that day. Aside from the usual cautions of roadway laws and etiquette, there’s only one rule: wash the glass for the next traveler. ~ MC


Tioga Central Railroad

9 Muck Rd., Wellsboro, PA (570) 724-0990

The giant Genesee & Wyoming railroad, with offices in Connecticut and Rochester, New York, owns 112 short line freight railroads in the United States, Canada, Australia, the Netherlands, and Belgium, but only one passenger railroad in the world— the small, charming Tioga Central Railroad (TCR) at the Wellsboro Junction outside Wellsboro (pop. 3,000 give or take a few). That alone excites train buffs, but for the rest of us meandering through the county’s idyllic green hills, lakes, and streams on the TCR’s burgundy-painted dining train for two or three hours while enjoying a gourmet, white-tablecloth meal is an experience not to be missed. Our dining car formerly was hitched to the Dixie Flyer, a train on the legendary Chicago-to-Florida “Dixie Route,” so the scrumptious half a roast chicken with Alabama white sauce (a gentle mayo sauce from ’bama’s long barbeque tradition) seemed fitting. Talented chef Shannon Mosher picked that one up while cooking in northern Alabama. Shannon also boasts a pull-behind smoker in which he does the rotisserie chicken before loading it onto the gleaming steel train-car kitchen where the rest of the real cooking gets done while the chef is rocking down the rails. The mashed potatoes pleased my Polish, tater-fussy bride, and the side veggies were fresh summer locals—carrots, cabbage, and zucchini—with a tasty bite of black pepper. The strawberries, barely sugared, rested on an unsweetened buttermilk biscuit under fresh whipped cream for a hard-to-find dessert: a throwback strawberry shortcake, classic as a summer train. The Saturday night dinner train is $45 for adults, plus wine or a can of beer for $3 apiece. ~ MC


Two Goats Brewing

5027 State Rte. 414, Hector, NY (607) 546-2337

If you only have one single solitary item that you offer for lunch or dinner, it better be good. And so it is at Two Goats Brewing. Perched on the eastern slope of Seneca Lake, with decks that drink in all that watery view, the menu consists of a roast beef sandwich. Served on a mitt of a roll (made by the Village Bakery in Montour Falls, crusted with sea salt crystals and caraway seeds), the beef is au jus with a creamy horseradish sauce. A big pile of chips, a few pickle spears, and a roll of paper towels (not that the sandwich is inordinately sloppy, but more as a matter of style) are the only sides. The Two Goats “farm-style” beer list, though, does go on, with a Danger Goat! Blonde Doppelbock and a Whisky Richard Stout on the board the last time we were in, weighing in at 9.75% and 12% alcohol respectively— and coming with a 2-drink limit. A healthy list of bottled beers accompanies the Two Goats brew list. Along with a healthy dose of good times. ~ TBC


Wired Rooster

76 Main St., Wellsboro, PA (570) 724-1001

Scones. The word evokes a The- Importance-of-Being-Earnest-esque atmosphere, one populated by witty remarks and cucumber sandwiches. Said with gusto at the Wired Rooster, “scone” will immediately summon a delicious, cakey masterpiece. With all of their baked goods made by co- owner Robin Adams herself, the Wired Rooster offers a deliciously honeyed counterpoint to its Williamsport- roasted coffee. Unlike its Old World cousin, that has a tendency to austerity and plainness, the All-American scones served up at the Wired Rooster are good enough to share, though you may not want to. ~ MB