Thursday, May 03, 2007

Rochester? I hardly even know her!

John's Tex-Mex Eatery, Rochester, NY

Two weeks ago, our region had a veritable heat wave. You know, the kind that makes you forget all about winter, the kind that gives you serious spring fever? This is what is so nice about living somewhere with drastic seasons- you feel the changes in weather so accutely, and you feel really in touch with the cyclical nature of the seasons. In short, it rocks! So we decided it was the perfect excuse to take a road trip, and we headed west to Rochester.

It was our lucky day- we caught the tail end of the first public market of the year, a 100 year-old institution. I hadn't been to a farmer's market in ages, and because we got there as it was ending, we scored some great deals- a large bag of crispin apples for $1 and this entire box of mangoes for $2. I was especially excited that they were smaller, green mangoes, since I have a strange love of unripe fruits (Oh, crispy, sour, unripe fruit, how do I love thee...Back when I lived in Irvine, the farmer's market sometimes featured specialty Mexican produce such as green mangoes and I crave them to this day. Are green mangoes just unripe mangoes or a whole different variety? Either way, I love them both). Daiku was excited because he finally got to try his hand at...

Homemade mango pickle. So far, it's like a science experiment sitting on our windowsill, but soon, we will get to taste it and see if it's good! (or, you know, if we die from botulism or something)

Another thing I liked about these mangoes: their pits were freakishly small, so you got more mango for your buck! I've seen small avocados with tiny pits, but never the same with a mango. How cool!

Back to Rochester...

Next, we headed to lunch, at John's Tex-Mex Eatery. Now here's where we made our big mistake. Instead of having a light lunch and saving room for dinner, we got excited by the menu and each ordered a giant burrito. (In our defense, we didn't realize how giant the burritos would be!) You get your choice of filling, so I picked tofu, pinto beans, jalapenos, guacamole, and salsa.

Daiku picked tofu, black beans, cheese, jalapenos, guacamole, and salsa. Sorry for the food-porn shots- there is no way to make a burrito look pretty, is there? But they were delicious, especially with some salsa verde and chipotle salsa on the side. Smoking hot, but good.

We walked around, peeking into some little shops as we went. We of course visited the Abundance Co-op, since I feel the need to check out every food co-op I see! (pssst: they carry Temptation ice cream too!) I loved this crafty idea I saw in one shop: they had put hooks in this vintage picture frame. Practical as well as adorable- I have to try to replicate it soon.

For dinner, we had planned on going to an Ethiopian restaurant, since we don't have any in Syracuse and you just crave Ethiopian food sometimes, you know? But our massive lunch made that seem less appealing. We just wanted to sit somewhere cozy where we wouldn't have to eat a lot, and could just relax instead. We decided to go to The Old Toad, a British pub (with honest to goodness British bartenders and servers!). We figured, it was almost St. George's Day anyway, why not celebrate it?

We ordered some ales and chips. The server asked us if we wanted gravy with the chips, since it was free. As soon as he saw the slightly horrified looks on our faces, he hastened to add, "it's vegetarian gravy!" Well, we said ok, we'll try anything once provided it's free and vegetarian! The gravy was ok... but I'm still more than satisfied with just plain chips topped with a touch of malt vinegar. The beer list at this pub was astounding- basically any European beer you've ever heard of, and then 100's that you haven't.

We people-watched, played darts, pored over the beer list, and then left to go home, satisfied after a long, warm day in such a vibrant (and might I add very vegan-friendly) city such as Rochester. Next time, though, Ethiopian food for sure.

Here we are on the shore of Lake Erie Ontario, just outside of Rochester. I was pretty sure I saw Canada on the other side!

Some more sights from that memorably hot and sunny weekend:

Only in upstate NY: Daiku in flip-flops, standing in a pile of snow on an 82-degree day.

Our flowers!

The blizzard didn't kill them, yay!

Click here for a comprehenseive list of vegan and vegan-friendly restaurants in Rochester.



aTxVegn said...

This is a really fun post, Bazu! You got to visit some cute places and have the biggest burrito I've ever seen. I can't wait to see how the mango pickle experiment turns out.

Your flowers are so beautiful!

springsandwells said...

oh yeah! what a great post!

First! Your flowers are so beautiful!! Look at that sonbol! it's so beautiful... I can practically smell it from here. Sigh, don't you just love spring flowers?

Rochester looks like lots of fun... and what a score at the farmer's market. We have some tiny-pit mango varieties like that at our health food store here, but I must confess that I am strictly in the RIPE fruit camp! ha ha.

Finally, I must agree - there really is no way to make a burrito beautiful.

Great post!

Nicole said...

I love the public market! Last weekend we scored a box of bananas for $1 as well as a ton (2 lbs) of Ginger for $1 as well as some other great deals. I also love John's Tex Mex and the Old Toad. Seems like you went to all the best places in Rochester! But did you perhaps mean Lake Ontario?

bazu said...

Oh, whoops, did I mean Lake Ontario? I'm sorry- I don't know which is which... but that is Canada on the other side, right?

Urban Vegan said...

Spring is finally here--YAY.

You really scored at the Farmer's Market. Can't believe those tiny pits. They are only an A-cup. ;)

Can't wait to seehow the pickle turns out.

You and Daiku are so perfectly matched--you can just tell from the photo. The ale and chips look pretty filling.

jess (of Get Sconed!) said...

oh my gosh, I want all of those mangos! so lucky. Sometimes I can find mangos for a $1, but it's been ages.
Cute photos of you guys!

Bridget said...

Before you try that Mango pickle dial 911 and have your finger on the send button :-)

I love this time of the year too. It really makes you appreciate the beauty of nature.

Have you and Daiku been to the Regional Market in Syracuse yet? Saturday morning is the farmer's market and then Sunday's is the flea market. It is fantastic!!

SusanV said...

Okay, that entire box of mangoes for $1? I hate you! On a good day, I have to pay 79 cents a piece for them.

Your flowers are really beautiful, and the photo of the snow is a riot.

Emilie said...

Oh, wow! Rochester. This post offered a lovely from my past! (I did undergrad at Alfred, so the big R was ...well, it was one of the few games in "town").

Not to, you know, make ya sad or anything, but I do have to say that there used to be a veggie restaurant in the cutest little purple house just about directly across the street from Abundance. It was called...are you ready? ...The Atomic Eggplant. Best! Anyway, it's defunct and mores the shame for Rochester. I morn it, and Mission Cafe, oh, that place, I used to love it so.

Well, looks like a good time was had, deals were scored, food was enjoyed--keep rocking Western NY! ANd if you ever trek toward Alfred, NY, allow me to HIGHLY recommend lunch at Nana's--a lovely local Japanese cafe with vegan bentos everyday. It's how I lived through college.

Courtney said...

I am jealous! I used to live in Ithaca, and crispin apples are my favorite apples in the world! I cannot find them in the midwest...
It looks like you had a great time!


textual bulldog said...

When you say you used to live in Irvine, do you mean Irvine, California? The Mexican fruit reference makes me think you surely did. That's where I live, if so! I was so shocked when I moved here from the Bay Area and found a pretty decent Farmer's Market. Horray for Mexican fruits and cheap vegan tamales!

Great post; those mangos are a STEAL!!! Well played.

KleoPatra said...

i love the mangoes and the flowers... both nature at some of her best! Thank you for the lovely, lovely photos, Bazu.

Mango pickle, 'eh? Botulism, HA! Not! Seriously, let us know what the science experiment gives you two, Bazu. And how fun to find a small mango pit! Yeah, more mango!!!

Love the burritos, Bazu. Both of 'em sound sooooooooooo good!

Rochester... what great timing to hit that public market, Bazu! btw, i'm not sure i've seen the Mexican mangoes marked as such, but i'm sure in SD that's most of what we have!

i'm exactly like you about visiting co-ops. i do it as well! How cool the vintage picture frame with hooks. Never seen that done before; aren't they clever? And smart... carrying the Temptations (not the ol' Motown singing group of course!). YUM!

Bazu, i laughed so hard picturing your faces when you first heard about the gravy. Horrified, indeed, i'm sure!

Nice photo of Daiku in the snow. 82 and snow. i love it!!

vko said...

Those flower pictures are so happy & pretty- welcome spring!!!

And you & Daiku- what a lovely couple being properly taken aback when offered gravy- I love it.

And yes, I am jealous indeed of your mango score. I love mangoes in every shape & type. Can't wait to hear how the pickle turns out.

I also love that Rochester is so veg-friendly- who knew? thanks for a fun post.

Veg*Triathlete said...

So many beautiful photos, Bazu! The mangos, the flowers, and radiant YOU :-)

Jackie said...

I love mango pickle. I actually love green and ripe mangoes everyway you can serve them.

Those flowers are really beautiful.

Haven't heard of gorditas before. It could be a nice change from normal pita bread.

Anonymous said...

so much mangos for so little money? lucky you!

beautiful flowers!

great photos !

Neva Vegan said...

You guys look so cute! What a great trip and pretty flowers.

Burritos aren't pretty, but they and Ethiopian are my favorite foods! The pub sounds interesting but even vegetarian gravy with chips. Uggh! You're braver than I am to try it.

Kati said...

I had no idea Rochester was so veg-friendly - good to know! I'm so glad the freakishly-late cold weather didn't kill off your flowers either, because they're beautiful to see.

Believe it or not, I've actually eaten mango pickles before. They're quite good, although the ones I had weren't homemade...I imagine homemade would be even better. They were just about the spiciest thing I've ever put in my mouth, too.

And no, sadly there just seems to be no way to make a burrito look pretty, but I would still eat one of those "giants" any day!

Fun road trip - thanks for taking us along. =)

scottishvegan said...

Man, I am so so jealous of your mango bargain! I am barely getting one mango for that price! Not only that but the ones I’ve bought lately seem to be all pit and no fruit :( Looking forward to seeing how your mango pickle turns out (assuming you don’t die and are unable to post about it;)) Mmmmm….chips….in the pub….mmmmm!!! More jealousy here!! Love the pics of you and Daiku…what a sweet couple you are!! Hope Daiku didn’t freeze his tootsies sticking them in the snow :) And your flowers are beautiful too! What a fantastic post!

runswithdog said...

Thems a lotta mangos you got there :-) Good luck with the pickles.

It will be a happy day when Syr catches up to Ra-cha-cha and gets an Ethiopian place. We have eaten at Dashen and it was great.

Village Mama said...

Dearest sweet and thoughtful Bazu, thanks so very much for checking in on us. Life's been challenging lately...learning to become a parent to two, man oh man...

Great flower pics! Of course I'm green with envy at your pub time out, ahhh, the days before kids when it was all about discovery, and no ticking clocks. I gave up beer on Jan 1, hoping to abstain until Jul 12 (long story)...your ale pics certainly helped fill the void.

montessori-mom said...

When I lived in Rochester in the late 70's I used to buy at a co-op near Monroe Ave-It was wonderful. I also used to purchase tofu at Wegman's!
Rochester was amazingly vegan and health friendly for that time.
The only thing I missed was Mexican food!

Your pics of the beautiful flowers make me miss the beauty of spring in Rochester.
I really enjoy your blog!

laura jesser said...

What a trip! Of all the wonderful sights and the gorgeous flower photos, I still have to say the most interesting thing to me was the discount mangos! We pay that much for 1 mango here!!! Not fair... :(

I won't hold it against you, though! :)

Emmy said...

Oh what fabulous deals on the apples and mangoes Bazu!!!! The homemade mango pickles sound interesting. Looking forward to hearing how they turn out.

Wow, those burritos are huge. They look so delish. Sounds like you two had such a nice trip. Loved seeing the pic of you and Daiku :)

Glad the snow didn't hurt your flowers. Such beautiful pictures.
Hope you two have a nice weekend :)

Village Vegan said...

What a lovely trip that must have been! Everything looks so nice, from the food to the scenery. I've wanted to go to Rochester for ages (isn't that where the George Eastman house is?) but alas, it's rather far from NYC. Maybe someday.

And I can't believe how cheap you got those mangos for! Wow! I love green mangos too.

la la la liza said...

ba-ar, 2 things!

#1 thing: my mama broke off one of her big front teeth sucking on a mango seed once in malaysia. (!!)

#2 thing: the little pocket mirrors that are hanging on the hooks of the painting are by susie ghahremani, this awesome illustrator! here is her website:


Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing your trip with us. That's a great photo of you and Daiku. Also love the flip flops and snow!

I love that you turned the tv off. I don't watch much tv but I am hooked on CSI and Dancing with the Stars. Mostly, I use tv as background noise so I should just turn it off too.