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.