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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.