WEEKEND IN THE FINGER LAKES

June 18, 2022

We rented out the beach house last week and headed up to Claverack. From there we set out Saturday morning, driving out along beautiful Route 20. Around noon we stopped off in Cazenovia for lunch, where we waited for traffic to move while a gay pride parade went through, for about 15 minutes.

Lunch was in the tavern room at Lincklaen House, a historic hotel in the center of town.

I had beef on weck, a regional specialty consisting of grilled beef tenderloin, sliced and served on a bun, with a peppered gravy for dipping. This was the first time I’ve had it, and it was delicious, cooked to a proper medium rare, and served with Saratoga chips. Stanley had a very good Reuben.

https://www.lincklaenhouse.com/

Continuing on Route 20 we arrived in Skaneateles at 2:30, where we checked into the charming Sherwood Inn, which was recommended to me by my cousin Karen, who lives in nearby Marcellus where we would be visiting the next day. She also provided lots of advice on restaurants and sightseeing. The inn is on the main street facing the lake.


We got settled in our room before heading to Auburn, a few miles away, to visit a couple of historic sites. First, we drove through Fort Hill Cemetery, where many prominent people are buried, including William Seward, who was Secretary of State under Lincoln. Then we visited the Seward house museum. Here are some photos:

Back in Skanateles, we had cocktails at Mirbeau, a spa and restaurant, where we sat at a table overlooking a tranquil pond.
The food there is not known to be anything special, so we continued on to dinner at The Krebs 1899, which is known for its food.

We started with a shared appetizer of duck croquettes, which were delicious. Stanley had steak, which was fine, but my porchetta was exceptional. The sauces and accompaniments were excellent. For dessert we shared a chocolate tart. Perfect. The wine I wanted, a Bandol for $50, was out of stock, so the sommelier proposed a 2016 Haut Medoc which was impressive. The markups on wine are very reasonable here, and though most on the list are in the hundreds of dollars, there are enough at the lower end that are worthwhile and priced very well.

Service was excellent. The only problem was an error on the bill, so if you come here be sure to check it carefully (as I always recommend everywhere; mistakes happen).

https://www.thekrebs.com/

Sunday began with a boat tour on Skaneateles Lake. The landscape and the grand houses along the shore are worth your time. The captain tells all about the lake and the histories and owners, past and present.

https://www.midlakesnavigation.com/

We then drove through Auburn and Seneca Falls to two vineyards, both along Seneca Lake. The first was Wagner, whose ice wine we have had in the past, and I was hoping to buy some. Alas, they didn’t have any due to a shortage of bottles, but we did a tasting, which was an education in Finger Lakes wines. The tasting is $10 per person and you get to keep your glass. Some were pretty good, some less interesting, all reasonably priced. We bought a couple of bottles of a sweet Riesling and one of rose.

Determined to find ice wine to buy, we tried another vineyard up the road, Boundary Breaks, which is a smaller and less-known operation that I thought might be more likely to have some. Sure enough, they did, and after taking a taste we bought a couple of bottles. At around $70 for a half-bottle, it’s probably the most expensive wine in the region. Ice wine is so expensive because it is labor-intensive and in limited production.

https://wagnervineyards.com/

https://boundarybreaks.com/

Next on our trip was a visit to my cousin Karen, whom I hadn’t seen in many years, at her wonderful house in Marcellus. It was really nice to get reacquainted. We had some wine and snacks and then she treated us to dinner at Rosalie’s Cucina in Skaneateles, where I had the best carpaccio ever. The veal Marsala and bracciole were great too.

It was a lovely night on the patio, chilly but heated by a fireplace and gas heaters, which made it completely comfortable.

https://www.rosaliescucina.com/

On Monday morning, we left to go back to Claverack, stopping in Cooperstown for lunch at the Otesaga, overlooking Otsego Lake. The buffet was pretty good and the view idyllic.

https://www.otesaga.com/

LE COUCOU – CLASSIC HAUTE CUISINE ON LAFAYETTE ST.

Looking for a place to celebrate our anniversary, I did a lot of research, to find something worthy of a special occasion without being ridiculously expensive. The options are surprisingly few. We also wanted something that was elegant without being stuffy. Le Coucou fit perfectly.

The atmosphere is beautiful, the staff very welcoming and attentive. The chef, Daniel Rose, is an American who has had several restaurants in Paris, and opened Le Coucou in 2016. The food is classic but not heavy. The flavors are vibrant and the quality of the ingredients is top-notch.

We started with sweetbreads and a quenelle, and for main courses Stanley had tout le lapin, which was rabbit prepared three ways, while I had roast veal with morels. All of these were superb. For dessert we chose baba au rhum and a chocolate ganache cake. They were very good but not as creative as they might have been if there were a pastry chef. Nonetheless the mignardises and madeleines served after were on the level of a good Parisian restaurant.

Wine prices are of course high but the markups are not extreme. I found a 2011 Saint-Chinian for $98 that retails for $39. It was an excellent choice.

Total with tip was about $430.

WHY I LOVE WHAT I DO – MORE REVIEWS

Highly likely to recommend|5.0

05/09/2022 – megbrowne22
Sold a Coop home in 2022 in New York, NY.

Robert’s skills and knowledge of the real estate market, pricing, and timing of sale are superb. So are his design sense and knowledge of what will most appeal to buyers. He designed and supervised a cost-effective renovation that raised the value significantly. His stager, photographer and construction team are top notch, and Robert is always there to answer your questions or follow up and remind you to do something so the whole process gets done on time. Also, Wohlfarth has a great, collaborative team with many years of experience. I came away feeling they, as well as Robert, really did right by me.

Highly likely to recommend|5.0

03/09/2022 – amanda lessiohadi
Bought a Coop home in 2021 in Brooklyn, NY.

Robert was really proactive and responsive. This was my first home purchase and he was so patient with me, my ignorance and my billion questions. The purchase was drawn out due to an inefficient, unresponsive and disorganized management company as well as other delays. We ended up having to close while I was out of the country, which caused a few things to slip through the cracks (e.g., not even a virtual walk through, seller took some of the fixtures that were supposed to stay and left some standing closets that I expected him to take). Even though none of these things could be remedied, I appreciated that Robert tried.

Highly likely to recommend|5.0

02/26/2022 – capilano54
Sold a Condo home in 2022 in New York, NY.

My experience with Robert as my agent was excellent and I would recommend him to anyone looking for someone who has their best interests in mind. He was very responsive and communications with him were always very quick which to me, not living in the US, was important. He took care of everything from repairs, cleaning, staging and then in the final stages of the sale was always on top of everything. Being an absent seller can be very nerve-racking but I always felt I was in very good hands with Robert. I honestly don’t know how I would have sold the apartment without him.

2 NEWISH HUDSON VALLEY FINDS: ROJO IN TIVOLI AND NONNE IN CHATHAM

Rojo

Dining out in the Hudson area has been particularly challenging during the pandemic. Some places are gone, others have staffing problems that have caused them to dumb down their menus. So we’ve been particularly happy to find a few new places that are doing well.

A friend recommended Rojo, a Spanish and Caribbean tapas restaurant on Broadway in Tivoli, so we gave it a try a few days ago. The first thing that strikes you is the elegant decor and well-spaced tables. Then comes the food. A wide selection allows you to mix and match many dishes for sharing. Wines and beers pair well. Three of us had a total of eight dishes, seven savory and one sweet. The lamb chops were outstanding, garlic shrimp delicious, stuffed mushrooms, piquillo peppers with cheese, Basque sausage, artichoke hearts, and beef/pork meatballs all hit the spot. The chocolate tart is not to be missed. The owners are charming and their devotion to good food is evident.

http://www.rojotapasandwine.com/

Nonne

Nonne (“grandmothers” in Italian) is a casual spot on Main St. in Chatham, specializing in pizza and pasta, but with a nice selection of main courses as well. We’ve been here several times in the last year and have never been disappointed.

They also have a great selection of local craft beers, and a full bar with interesting cocktails.

https://nonneny.com/

ROSA MEXICANO UNION SQUARE – ANOTHER DISCOVERY FOR US

In our quest to find restaurants we haven’t tried before, we’ve been checking out places that have been around awhile but have eluded our notice. Rosa Mexicano is one of these, and we were pleasantly surprised.

The space is huge, it can be noisy, and the service can be a bit distracted, but the food makes up for these minor quibbles.

We started with nachos, which were completely different from the usual pile of chips and cheese. This was neater and easier to eat, almost like a crisp quesadilla. We also had a shrimp ceviche which was very good. For the main courses, we loved the carnitas, though the tacos served with it were not of the best quality (I was happy to eat it without the tacos anyway). The quesadilla with steak could have had a bit more meat in it, but was tasty and fine for the price. The tres leches cake was simple and delicious. On the whole, a very good and filling meal. We also got a nice pitcher of red sangria.

We will defintitely be back.

https://www.rosamexicano.com/menu/union-square-ny-menus/

LAUT – NEW TO US, MAYBE TO YOU TOO

In our quest to find new and interesting restaurants, we discovered Laut. Actually, I had noticed it back a couple of years ago, but then forgot about it. When I was alerted to it recently, and realized it was Malaysian, along with Singaporean and Thai, I immediately wanted to try it. It’s been some time since we’d had Malaysian food here in the city, since our favorite, Fatty Crab, closed several years ago.

Tucked away on a quiet block of 17th St., the unassuming storefront is easy to miss. It’s well worth seeking out. Apparently it’s attracted quite a following, as it was very busy on a recent weeknight.

The menu is quite extensive, and I hope to return to try more of their dishes.

We started with crispy wontons, which were a bit disappointing, but the fried calamari more than made up for it. In a light batter and interestingly spiced, they hit the spot. For the main course, we had the Singapore crispy soft-shell chili crab, delicious in a spicy tomato sauce, served with fried bao which was irresistible. The other main dish was Nasi Lemak, a dish we used to love at Fatty Crab. This version did not disappoint. Combining chicken, shrimp, pickled vegetables and coconut rice, it was a real treat.

To drink, we got a carafe of 3 Pals Punch, which is made with rum and Campari, and reminiscent of Sangria. Very good.

https://lautnyc.com/