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Friday, April 29, 2011

Becoming a "Bud Free" Establishment

Becoming  a "Bud Free" bar is not a new thing. Budweiser that is. The interest in  craft brews created a rebellion of sorts among pubs, bars and restaurants over the past 20 years. Many preferred to offer more interesting brews than the standard pilsner and began calling themselves "Bud Free." The Rogues' Harbor Inn has finally joined the ranks and taken it a step further. We now craft brew our own beer.
Everyone has their favorite brand. I get that. Pilsner, the pale lager, is produced  by all the major breweries. But, let's be honest, in terms of flavor profile Bud, Coors, Miller, Michelob... they look the same, they taste the same... kind of boring. I do commend them on two things: their funny commercials and  their consistency. It isn't easy to brew a beer that tastes the same every batch, every keg, every bottle. It really isn't.
Before prohibition, the dry spell in American history from 1920 to 1934, there were thousands breweries in the US.  Anheuser Busch (brewers of Budweiser) was one of them. They began marketing Budweiser in 1876 and thus began the U.S.'s love of pale lagers.They survived the 14 year dry spell brewing near beer, root beer, ginger ale and making ice cream, and they were able to begin brewing their beloved Budweiser again when the 18th amendment was repealed. Thousands of others breweries did not survive the 14 year catastrophe; they were lost forever.
During the last 75 years the number of breweries has climbed to 1,700. Most are microbreweries happily brewing small craft batches thanks to President Jimmy Carter who passed a number laws allowing smaller companies to legally brew and distribute their beer. Peace maker & brew advocate, it's a cool combination. I like Jimmy, in fact I'd like to buy him a beer.
So, the Rogues' Harbor Brewing Company knows upon whose shoulders they stand. No disrespect to Anheuser Busch, but it's time for more flavor. Craft brews may not be for everyone (although I think they could be). But if Bud is your beverage, stop in and try something new. We mill our own barley just moments before brewing for the best flavor possible. We brew small 2 barrel batches of our Cayuga Cream Ale and Route 34 Red Ale. Like pilsners, both are very food friendly; that's why we chose them. Rogues' Harbor Inn, Ithaca, NY, heart of the Finger Lakes joins the microbreweries in their righteous endeavor to bring flavor to the masses.
So be brave, be "Bud Free."

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Easter Dinner at the Rogues' Harbor Inn

As a kid I always sort of dreaded Easter. I don't really like ham. It was usually too cold to play outside for very long and getting up early to go to church just wasn't for me. But, as I got older and began to pay attention to what my Grandmother was cooking, and learning how to cook, everything changed. I started to like holiday dinners more, even Easter. Every year I looked forward to planning what to serve for each course, shopping for seasonal ingredients, cooking all day (maybe even baking most of the night before) to serve up something new and delicious for my family. Grandma was proud.
I still look forward to Easter every year. Much has changed since then- the joyful addition of fermented beverages and professional chefs. Planning the new spring menu for the restaurant is nearly complete. We've found some new New York State ingredients and utilized others in new ways. It's an exciting time of year- for us foodies that is. Easter dinner is a day we always preview some of our new spring menu items and this year the tradition continues. We will be serving a new appetizer flat bread called, Summer Time Flat Bread. It's baked fresh with a blackberry reduction, Lively Run Chevre (Interlaken, NY), lemon & herbs. For entrees we've decided to feature two. First is an Herb Crusted Pork Tenderloin roasted with fresh herbs and served with a drizzle of Dijon cream sauce and homemade mashed potatoes. We're thinking of pairing it with our Route 34 Red Ale or a glass of Americana's Baco Noir . The second is a Blackberry Duck Breast, fresh grilled and thinly sliced, served over wilted greens with a blackberry glaze.... we're thinking maybe a Finger Lake's Merlot or the dry, oaky and wonderful Treleaven Chardonnay. Finally,  giant carrot cake cupcakes with cream cheese frosting for dessert with Hunt Country Vidal Ice Wine.
There's more to come for the new spring menu. We're even planning some seasonal brews from the Rogues' Harbor Brewing Company to compliment the warm weather offerings. Summer in Ithaca, the heart of the Finger Lakes, is simply one of the best places on earth to enjoy local wine & beer and regional cuisine, especially out on our old fashioned veranda. In my mind Easter is the kick off  for sunny days and warm weather foods. Summer is almost here and I just can't wait.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Wild Leek & Potato Soup by Chef Luke

'Tis the season for wild leeks (aka: ramps, Allium Tricoccum, spring onion, wild garlic).
It is an early spring vegetable with a strong garlicky aroma and oniony flavor. It grows from the Carolina's all the way to Canada and many foodies look forward to it's brief season each year. It looks a lot like chives, but with broader leaves and a scallion like root or bulb. It grows plentifully around the Finger Lakes, even in my yard.
Researching a few recipe ideas we found that ramps were mentioned in recipes dating as far back as 1530 in England. I suspect they thought ramps would bring some spring flavor to the last of the winter potatoes. We think they were onto something.
So, today Chef Luke braved the rain and harvested some ramp. He had his heart set on making Wild Leek & Potato Soup before the ramp season passed us by. It's rich & creamy, and comforting on a bone chilling rainy, Upstate New York "spring" day.
I once read, "It takes a good soul to make a good soup." I believe that's true. We're proud to welcome Chef Luke back to the Rogues' Harbor Inn, Ithaca, NY, the heart of the Finger Lakes.
Today's harvest of freshly scrubbed ramp

Monday, April 18, 2011

"How did you hear about the Rogues' Harbor Inn?"

"How did you hear about the Rogues' Harbor Inn?" This is a question posed on our Preferred Diner registration card. Other questions include the usual: name, address, phone, email, birthday, comments, etc...We have guests fill these out so we can email them special offers, send them coupons for their birthday, let them know about dinner specials and what we've been brewing recently. I read every card because it's interesting, but the answer which I find the most intriguing is always, "How did you hear about us?"
The answers vary as much as the guests. Some are pedestrian; some are hilarious. But all the answers reveal something about the guests that wrote them and the place they visited, the Rogues' Harbor Inn.
Many found Rogues' via the Internet. Some come from far away places and find an historic bed and breakfast in the heart of the Finger Lakes to stay in through the wonders of google. Others who found Rogues' through the Internet are from Ithaca and the surrounding area, but find Lansing to be a nice restaurant get away for dinner and drinks that seems far away, but truly is only about 5 miles north of Ithaca. Other locals often answer that they heard about Rogues' through friends or family, or were just driving by and decided to stop. Something about Rogues' appeals to them: the history, the regional cuisine, the big, fat burgers, our fabulous wings, our own microbrewery, the witty bartenders' Facebook page...Whatever it is, we're glad they found us and enjoy hearing how that happened (or maybe happened?...).
Here come some of the more clever answers.
"We know"
"We have always known"
"Can't remember, been coming here forever"
"Been coming here for 40 years!"
"My underground slave friend"
"The grape vine"
"Alien abductor"
"Cell mate"
"Bathroom wall"
"Got lost and ended up here"
"The North star"
"Civil war buddy"
"My great, great, great, great, great uncle built the inn"
Whether the answers are true or not, we may never know, but i get kick out of reading them. So, keep 'em comin'. No matter how you find Rogues', we're always glad to see you.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Orange County Choppers + 2 Valium = Disney

I have never had control of the remote; I have a husband and a daughter. So, I have the opportunity to watch shows I might never watch otherwise. Never.
A few months ago I saw Orange County Choppers for the first time. It was one of those Discovery Channel marathons of every episode ever filmed broadcast back to back, hour after hour. I have to admit, I didn't hate it. I like design and they design some cool bikes. I could live without the family drama, but watching cute guys in mussel shirts build custom stuff is easy on the eyes. I even watched it voluntarily just last week.
But,this afternoon I was blessed with watching Disney's Aladdin for about the 100th time. You can guess who maintained control of the remote today. Kind of a funny movie the first dozen times you watch it. After that you have to come up with your own ways of finding humor in the film, like counting how many times the genie says, " Wwwweeeellll..."  or throwing popcorn at each other every time Aladdin shouts, "Abu!". Today was special. Today, I had an epiphany.
If Paul Senior took 2 Valium and was animated (and gained 50 lbs) you would get the Sultan from Aladdin. Think about it. Biker + Valium = Disney Character, anything is possible.
Paul Senior, Orange County Choppers
The Sultan from Aladdin

Friday, April 8, 2011

New England Clam Chowder

I grew up in the Boston area where chowder is a matter of civic pride, an art form, and strong opinions. First, it's pronounced chowda'. Second, manhattan style is not considered chowder there, but soup. Third, everyone thinks their's is the best and everyone is very willing to loudly debate this fact with anyone who will stand still long enough to hear what they have to say on the matter. Last, there are two kinds of chowder- no not New England or Manhattan. We've been over this. The answer is fish or clam.
One of my favorite literary passages ponders this very question, "Fish or Clam?". The following quote is from, Moby Dick, by Herman Melville,
"Clam or Cod?" she repeated.
"A clam for supper? a cold clam; is that what you mean Mrs. Hussey?" says I! "but that's a rather cold and clammy reception in the winter time, ain't it Mrs. Hussey?"
But being in a great hurry..., and seeming to hear nothing but the word "clam," Mrs. Hussey hurried towards an open door leading towards the kitchen, and bawling out "clam for two," disappeared.
"Queequeg," said I, "do you you think that we can make supper for us both on one clam?"
However a warm savory steam steam from the kitchen served to belie the apparently cheerless prospect before us. But when that smoking chowder came in, the mystery was delightfully explained. Oh! sweet friends, hearkening to me. It was made of small juicy clams, scarecely bigger than hazel nuts, mixed with pounded ship biscuits, and salted pork cut up into little flakes! the whole enriched with butter, and plentifully seasoned with pepper and salt. Our appetites being sharpened by the frosty voyage, and in particular, Queequeg seeing his favorite fishing before him, and the chowder being surpassingly excellent, we despatched it with great expedition: when leaning back a moment and bethinking me of Mrs. Hussey's clam and cod announcement, I thought I would try a little experiement. Stepping to the kitchen door, I uttered the word "cod" with great emphasis, and resumed my seat. In a few moments the savory steam came forth again, but with a different flavor, and in good time a fine cod-chowder was placed before us."
Every good inn should serve a good chowder and the Rogues' Harbor Inn is proud to serve theirs this weekend. Chef Luke is preparing Clam Chowder at this very moment. Thick and creamy, hearty New England fare served up in Ithaca, the heart of the Finger Lakes. Get it while it lasts.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Tuesdays are Wing Night at the Rogues' Harbor Inn, Ithaca, NY

Tuesday are always wing night at the Rogues' Harbor Inn. Kerry is behind the bar pouring Rogues' Cayuga Cream Ale & 11 other draughts, Luke and Anthony are in the kitchen cooking for a crowd, and the whole place smells like hot wings. It's a wonderful thing.
We like to offer local foods and regional specialities, so wings are a must. We deep fry fresh wings to order by the pound and toss them in the classic Buffalo sauce as well as BBQ, golden BBQ and garlic. But, Buffalo style is the original and personally my favorite- we make our own Bleu cheese dressing, too.
According to Wikipedia, "A Buffalo wing, hot wing or wing is a chicken wing section (drumette or flat) that is traditionally fried unbreaded and then coated in sauce. Classic Buffalo-style chicken wing sauce is composed of a vinegar-based cayenne pepper hot sauce and butter.[1] Buffalo wings are traditionally served with celery sticks and blue cheese dressing.[2]
Buffalo wings were created in Buffalo, New York. The residents of Buffalo generally refer to them as "wings" or "chicken wings" rather than "Buffalo wings."[3]
2 Lbs of Wings & a pint from
 the Rogues' Harbor Brewing Co.
There are several versions of the legend inventing "wings," but all them involve the city of Buffalo, NY. during the 1960's and 1970's. It's hard to imagine life without wings. Beer without wings, a football game without wings, it just seems unnatural. So, we proudly serve the Upstate NY Buffalo favorite, wings, every night, and at a special price for 2 pounds on Tuesdays at the Rogues' Harbor Inn, Lansing, NY in the Heart of the Finger Lakes.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Craft Brewing Comes to Rogues' Harbor

When the decision was made to begin brewing beer at Rogues' Harbor Inn one of the first important choices was which style of beer would be the first brew for the pub. There was a desire to brew a style that represented a connection to New York State's brewing history. It was in his spirit that Cream Ale was chosen as the first style to represent the newest brewing endeavor in the Ithaca, NY area.

Cream ale is an original American style which had a strong presence in New York State, continuing to be brewed even after Prohibition devastated the traditional brewing landscape. It's an often misunderstood style of beer and frequently gets confused with several English style beers that get a creamy head through the use of nitrogen gas. The actual cream ale style was initially an attempt by ale brewers to mimic the light style lagers that were growing in popularity. They are lighter in color and body than pale ales, and are less aggressively hopped. The style is meant to be enjoyed by a large range of drinkers looking for something that won't overwhelm the pallet but will be an excellent compliment to any meal.

Rogues' Harbor Brewing is proud to bring its Cayuga Cream Ale to the heart of the Finger Lake's and continue in the fine brewing tradition of the region. Cayuga Cream ale has a nice golden hue, a frothy white head and mild aroma of both the malted barley and the hops that are used in its creation. The slightly warm toasty malt flavor mingles with just a hint of hops, a good body, and leaves your thirst quenched. It's a great beer to share with good company in a friendly atmosphere while enjoying a delicious meal or just great conversation.

We hope that you'll come in and try this delicious first offering from Rogues' Harbor. For those who have already given it a try tell all your friends and invite them around for a pint!

Saturday, April 2, 2011

One of My Favorite Places in Ithaca, NY

It's a sure sign of spring and what lies ahead, a wonderful Finger Lakes summer, when the Ithaca Farmer's Market kicks off the season. Today, Saturday, April 2, is their first day of the season. It makes me (and many others) very, very happy. It spreads joy where there once was grey skies and bitter cold.
Weekends at Steam Boat Landing are one of my family's favorite stops. It's less than 10 minutes from the Rogues' Harbor Inn and we usually head there at lunch time. We wander around looking at each booth. We taste wine (our favorite Treleaven), buy fruit and vegetables (best corn on earth from Fedorka Farms), admire pottery (David Kingsbury), smell scented soaps, consider plants for our garden, and have lunch down by the water and feed the ducks. After lunch we head back into the market to buy our last treat, a pastry or an icecream, which we devour by the live music and then watch our daughter dance with all the other kids there that afternoon.
Don't Miss the Ithaca Farmer's Market - It's finally spring and the Farmer's Market has made their return. It's a happy day.