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...
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
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.
The blizzard didn't kill them, yay!
Click here for a comprehenseive list of vegan and vegan-friendly restaurants in Rochester.