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Sunday, April 22, 2012

Rogues' Harbor Inn is Obsessed with Finger Lakes Cheese

FLX Cheese Board and a pint of our East Shore Pale Ale
Any guest looking over our new spring dinner menu would notice there's a lot of cheese. It's all local. It's all wonderful. But, there is a lot. We love cheese and it shows because we incorporate local cheeses is a number of appetizers, entrees, sandwiches and salads. I truly believe that few dishes could not be improved by adding a cheese component. How do vegans survive? Really. I could live without meat, but for me, life (and by life I mean eating) would be very dull indeed without cheese. Fortunately, I am not alone in my Finger Lakes Cheese obsession. There is even a Finger Lakes Cheese Trail which locates working farm artisan cheese makers large and small, near and far from all over the region. In fact, the Cayuga Lake "Trail" leads right past us. Yet another trail leading happy travelers right to our door. So, if you can't make every stop (there are 15), we're here for you.
We carry nine local cheeses and we're always thinking about more. We have the new FLX Cheese Board which has the Three Sisters Nettle Meadow, Lively Run Chevre and Harpersfield Dill Tilsit served with julienne dried apricots, fresh herbs and a toasted multi-grain baguette. Our Stuffed Skins are layered with bacon and New York State cheddar, comfort food. We have 4 more cheese lover appetizers: Mozzarella Wedges which are Empire Mozzarella triangles Panko breaded, fried golden brown and served with a spicy red pepper jam. We even melt the Empire Cheese Co's provolone over our French Onion soup. Keeley McGarr of McGarr Dairy Farm makes a Riesling washed soft rind cheese that is to die for. We serve it warm with local honey, almond slivers and crostini.  and...La piece de la resistance is our Arugula and Mozzarella Flat Bread. It features our own house made mozzarella made from farm fresh, local milk. We love cheese so much, we make our own mozzarella. That's dedication. Our mozzarella is featured in a dinner entree and a salad, too. Our really big burger, the one pound Red Beer'd Burger, features melted Bier Meck cheese from Finger Lakes Farmstead. It's a beer washed rind on a Gouda style cheese. It compliments the beer steamed beef and caramelized onions and apples perfectly. Our Rogues' Burger features New York state cheddar along with BBQ and bacon. Yum. My current fav's are from Lively Run Goat Dairy. They make the best Feta and Chevre on earth. The Feta is on our Greek Grilled Salad, a summer time favorite. I think that's nine...Three Sisters Nettle Meadow, Lively Run Chevre, Harpersfield Tilset, Empire Cheddar, Empire Provolone, Our Mozzarella, Keeley's Pond Hopper, Finger Lakes Farmstead Bier Meck, and Lively Run Feta. Yup, that's nine.
We're proud to offer so many local cheeses and we often venture out to visit the farms where they're made. We really enjoy meeting the cheese makers, seeing the beautiful farm, hanging out with the happy cows, goats and sheep... It's an incredibly scenic drive to nice friendly folks making really, really good artisan cheese. The Finger Lakes Cheese Trail  leads to the best cheese around, even in the most out of way places. So, follow the trail, it leads to every cheese maker under the moon (disappointingly not made of cheese) in the Finger Lakes- and you might just stumble upon us along the way.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Finger Lakes Beer Trail Brings Happy Travelers to Rogues' Harbor Brewing

Finger Lakes Beer Trail leads right to our door at the Rogues' Harbor Inn (#20)
So here we are again carrying on about brewing our own craft ales. We love, love, love brewing and appreciating well crafted beer so much that we just can't seem to shut up about it. The Finger Lakes Beer Trail shares our passion along with their 24 brew pub/ microbrewery members. It's a wonderful thing to have a map that will lead you to every brewer in the Finger Lakes area. Beer lovers can find even the most out of the way us.
The Ithaca area is quickly developing their own craft brew scene, and it's looking and tasting pretty good. Within just 30 minutes of the Rogues' Harbor Inn, Restaurant and Microbrewery there are six really good places to visit, hoist a pint or two and talk beer, maybe grab a bite, or even stay the night! The first in the area was the Ithaca Beer Company. We pour a few of their brews here at Rogues'. I think their Flower Power is my favorite. Next in Ithaca was The Scale House. They serve pizza and beer. It's hard to go wrong with pizza and beer. Next on the scene and my personal favorite is Band Wagon Brew Pub. They craft some truly innovative brews and the food is A+. Then we happened along last year in 2011. We brew three signature, food friendly ales: Cayuga Cream Ale, Route 34 Red Ale, and East Shore Pale Ale along with a Brewer's Choice. Our Brewer's Choice is whatever our Brew Guru wants to brew and it's usually an out of the ordinary ale. We post the pouring schedule on our web site. The next up is a Black IPA which should pour sometime around the 23rd of April. We offer pairing suggestions on our dinner menu for pints and wine alike, so you can grab a bite and see how you like our humble suggestions. Cortland Beer Company expanded their brewery in 2011 and we sometimes pour their Industrial IPA. It's seriously good, uber hoppy. The newest brewery in the area is Bacchus Brewing in Dryden. We are currently pouring their Belgian Blonde. We like it; we like it a lot. A couple more good brew stops within 30 minutes of Ithaca and the Rogues' Harbor Inn are: Two Goats Brewing in Hector and Roosterfish Brewing in Watkins Glen. If you're heading over that way, you should definitely plan on stopping at Finger Lakes Distilling. Hands down the smoothest rye on earth (Mckenzie Rye).
It makes our day to see happy faces from near and far enjoying our craft brewed ales here at Rogues' and knowing that they are following the Finger Lakes Beer Trail right to our door. We even have a lot of overnight guests that stay with us because they love that we brew our own beer. Our own Finger Lakes cuisine, our own craft brewed ales and elegant lodging in a National Historic Landmark, it's an uncommon combination.
Life is too short to drink cheap follow The Finger Lakes Beer Trail it leads to the best stuff (us!) .

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Finger Lakes Local Spring Dinner Menu 2012

Smoked Mussels with Summer Relish Appetizer
It's officially spring and it's my favorite time of year. Put away the wool clothes, open the windows and breath it in. Ithaca and the Finger Lakes have emerged from a pretty mild winter to wonderful sunny weather- a bone warming, soul dancing season. It's happiness deep down and all encompassing.
To celebrate we're serving our new Spring Dinner Menu. It features a lot of new locally sourced Finger Lakes ingredients complimented by spring sunshine, Finger Lakes wine and our own Rogues' Harbor Brewing Company's craft brewed ales. As always, we will be offering wine and beer pairings for each dinner entree which proved to be an appreciated suggestion on previous menus. Warm weather offerings for me are farm fresh, light and healthful. You can almost feel the nutrients being absorbed with every bite.
There are a few new appetizers. Smoked Mussels from Ducktrap River, Maine are being served with a summer relish of minced cucumber, onion, lemon, garlic, olive oil and ditalini. The mussels are sooooo..good. The contrast of the smokey seafood with the crisp freshness of the relish is just perfect. We are also adding a FLX (Finger Lakes) Cheese Board which features 3 new (to us) local New York State Cheeses: Three Sisters Nettle Meadow, Harpersfield Dill Tilsit (my personal favorite) and Lively Run Herbed Chevre along with a multi grain baguette and dried apricots served on a nifty personal sized cutting board. Just recently we started making our own beer batter with our own Cayuga Cream Ale. We loved it so much, it's on the spring menu; we dip our onions rings in it, and our haddock for fish n chips. They are super crunchy and delicious, addictive really.
New dinner entree offerings are tasting pretty fabulous too. Chef Luke has started making our own mozzarella cheese which has earned it's place in a few new dishes. The Mozzarella Stacked Chicken is a fresh, pan seared chicken breast stacked with our own melted mozzarella cheese, roasted red peppers, wild mushrooms, caramelized onions and a red pepper glaze, filling yet summery and flavorful. We're putting the mozzarella on an appetizer flat bread as well with a fresh arugula pesto. Another new local offering is a local, organic beef sausage from Berry Farms which we're featuring in our Northern Style Shrimp and "Grits." It's shrimp Cajun sauteed with peppers, onions, sausage,...served over Farmer's Ground local, organic polenta. There's a little heat in the sauce for the spicy food lovers (that's me). Our Greek Grilled Chicken Salad will be making it's triumphant return to the dinner menu. Grilled, marinated chicken resting on a bed of baby greens with olives, tomatoes and Lively Run feta cheese. We added one other salad as well which is going to be my summer Go To salad. The Sunflower Caprese salad is a twist on the traditional mozzarella and tomato salad. We're layering fresh tomatoes with our own mozzarella over mixed baby greens tossed in a local, organic (Berry Farm's) sunflower oil and basil vinaigrette dressing and raw sunflower seeds. Just add a glass of Long Point Vidal Blanc or a pint of our East Shore Pale Ale to go with and seat me on the porch, heaven.
Sitting on the  porch is the final jewel in the sparkling crown which is summer in the Finger Lakes. Our 19th century veranda is sunny in the early evening and shady during the dinner hour. It's just right for a couple drinks and a summery dinner. The sun sets off in the distance as you plan the Cayuga Lake Wineries and Finger Lakes Brew Trail stops for tomorrow. Summer in the Finger Lakes: eat, drink and soak it all in.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Easter Dinner at the Rogues' Harbor Inn 2012

 For Easter: Red Wine Braised Lamb Shank, served on the bone

We started blogging just over a year ago and one of our first posts was for Easter dinner 2011. It's sort of the anniversary celebration of our blog and the inspirational emergence of spring in the Finger Lakes. It's a happy time of year when everything gets a fresh a start. New duvets in the B&B, new breakfast offerings and service in the B&B, new microbrewery Rogues' Harbor Brewing Company, and a new spring dinner menu in the works...It's been a great year, in fact a record year. Sales were up on all fronts, lots of staff still here from last year (and several from the year prior, and even the year before that), and the addition of some wonderful new staff. We even started brewing our own craft ales (you may have heard us mention that once or twice over the past year):  East Shore Pale, Cayuga Cream Ale, and Route 34 Red Ale.
Well, it is time to revisit Easter (this Sunday, April 8!) and we've been working on the new spring menu as well some specials for Easter dinner. We'll be serving dinner all day from noon till 8 pm as always. The specials have been decided upon and for appetizers we're offering Cream of Asparagus soup and Spring Thyme Spring rolls with fresh herbs, carrots, zucchini and mushrooms with a roasted garlic dipping sauce. The entree special is a traditional Braised Lamb Shank in a rich red wine sauce served on the bone with carrots and onions along with our homemade mashed potatoes. I think our new addition to the wine list, Hosmer's Lemberger, would be a superior wine paring with this dish, or if you're feeling more like a pint, our latest Brewer's Choice is an Imperial Pilsner; a mighty, but food friendly brew. Our dessert special is the same year after year; I just don't think it can be more suitable for Easter or improved upon- Giant Carrot Cake Cupcakes with fresh cream cheese frosting. They're so good; we always bake a few extra so the staff (working on the holiday) and the boss (me) are sure to get one.
The new spring menu won't be quite ready yet, but we're working on it. A few wintry dishes will be taking their summer vacation: Empire State Flat Bread, Finger Lakes Beef Stew, Sausage and Butternut Risotto, spicy Mediterranean Seafood Ragout, Maple Butternut Salad... So "fare" warning, this is the last weekend they will be on the dinner menu till there's a chill in the air. We'll be offering some great new summery dishes featuring even more local Finger Lakes sourced ingredients like fresh arugula or ramp pesto, Cayuga Organics polenta, Lively Run Feta cheese, maybe even our own Rogues' Harbor homemade mozzarella cheese... Oh yes, we have found some great ingredients. We'll be offering New York wine and beer suggested pairings on the menu, too. That's been a big hit and I enjoy tasting everything for the pairings. It's a tough job, and happily I get to do it. We'll blog about it and post it all on the web site soon, very soon.
In the meantime, enjoy the last week of the cold weather menu and our Easter specials. Reservations are recommended for Easter dinner so call or email today: (607)533-3535 or