1795 Acorn Inn Bed and Breakfast (Canandaigua, New York)

Monthly Archives: June 2013

DINING REVIEW: Brown Hound Bistro

June 27, 2013 by Innkeeper

Putting a finger on the Finger Lakes

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6469 State Route 64, South Bristol | 374-9771, brownhoundbistro.com | Dinner daily 4:30-9 p.m.; Brunch Sunday 8 a.m.-2 p.m.
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[ SLIDESHOW ] Brown Hound Bistro

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Summer is in full swing, which is a good excuse to get out of the city. Head south on Route 64, down toward Canandaigua Lake, through Bloomfield, past Bristol Mountain Ski Resort (marvel at the green summer slopes), and stop before you reach Monica’s Pies and downtown Naples. Near the “Y” where Route 64 meets Route 21, sits the Brown Hound Bistro. If you haven’t yet dined there, you’re in for a treat. Simply put, it is one of the best restaurants in the region.

Availing itself of locally grown produce and meats, Brown Hound takes its cues from the season and consistently turns out delicious food. In some restaurants, that might lead to an air of superiority or pretentiousness — not here. The staff is friendly, knowledgeable, and there to make you happy and comfortable. The interior of the space is warm: Tuscan yellow walls, natural woods, braided rugs, paintings from local artists on the wall. The restroom, tucked under the stairs leading up to the kitchen, is an homage to the restaurant’s namesake, owner Trish Asher’s departed hound, Henry.

Don’t let the occasional pompous patron scare you off. (Guy who groused that his favorite out-of-state microbrew wasn’t on the menu: understand where you are and order the local beer.) If you do, you’ll remove the possibility of having a meal with tastes, scents, and colors so memorable that dishes might bubble into your thoughts at unexpected times. For instance, driving on 490 last week, I found myself longing for a slice or floral-scented apple, deep rose in color, light rose in flavor, gently sweet and slightly firm to the teeth that I’d enjoyed at Brown Hound two weeks earlier.

The rose petal-apple conserve in question is paired with a customer favorite: pan-seared yellowfin tuna with a scoop of risotto and a scattering of micro greens ($30). Like the majority of dishes on the menu, it’s both familiar and unexpected. Each meal’s star attraction is a well-prepared and satisfying rendition of a classic dish. But it’s in the sides where you’ll find the surprises: lovely shocks of color, texture, and flavor that, together, make eating at the Brown Hound both reliable and delightful.

Take the spring house salad ($7). It’s not a plate where you’d expect novelty. In some restaurants, it’s thoughtless: iceberg lettuce, shaved carrots, limp tomatoes, and maybe some corrugated cardboard posing as croutons. Here, however, the house salad plays with sweet (apple, maple) and sharp notes (red onion, shallots, vinegar), making you eager for the next bite. The lively and fresh greens are sourced just miles down the road from Ambrosia Acres Family Farm. And then there’s the scattering of diced and candied bacon. Food writing is oversaturated with declarations of love for bacon, but when it’s good, it’s very, very good. And when its smokiness is enhanced with a touch of sweetness and a bite of pepper, it’s wonderful.

Similarly, the artisan cheese plate ($11) features a mild chevre, muscular blue, and sharp cheddar cheeses — solidly appetizing choices for a Finger Lakes restaurant. Baguette crostinis, crunchy and flavored with olive oil, are eager to be piled with the cheese and — more importantly — the house-made onion marmalade. The marmalade has the texture of chutney: onion slices stand firm against the jam-like background. Cooked for a long time to develop a deep caramelization, the onions are sweetened with brown sugar and perked with ginger and (apple cider?) vinegar. Brown Hound is looking into to bottling the marmalade for sale; home cooks — myself included — will be lucky if it happens.

A few words about chicken. The menu’s chicken breast ($24), locally sourced from Sweet Grass Farm, is plump and juicy, but it’s still a chicken breast. What interests is its pairing: carrot sambal. Unlike South African or Asian carrot sambals, this is pureed smooth but retains a sambal’s spicy, warm heat. It’s the star of the entree, elevating the entire dish in the way a bold necklace can enliven a simple black shift dress.

A few more words about chicken: the chicken Moroccan ($38) is a shared plate, with two robust thighs and drums, a heap of couscous studded with dried fruits, and romesco sauce. The chicken’s skin is a deep tawny and crisp, almost as if fried, and the meat is succulent. Here, again, the sides shine: fat, sweet dates recall the dish’s namesake, while the romesco sauce reflects the piquancy of red peppers.

Lest I’ve made you think that there’s only poultry on the menu, pay attention to the Incredible Wellington ($32), a fillet of beef topped with Lively Run Cayuga bleu cheese and wrapped in puff pastry, served with bordelaise sauce, mashed potatoes, and mushroom duxelles; and the spring risotto ($21), showcasing seasonal vegetables and parmesan cheese.

If you go for brunch, make an effort to sit out on the wrap-around porch, shaded by a brick-red-and-white-striped awning. (Don’t worry if it’s chilly; the bistro has fleece blankets on hand to keep you warm.) Among my favorites are the French onion soup ($5), a hearty crock that gets the balance of salty and savory with crunchy and cheesy just right; the Sweet Grass lamb burrito ($11), featuring grass-fed lamb topped with tomato, red onion, and Lively Run feta; or the French Hill Toast ($7), made with homemade cinnamon-swirl bread and served with local Sugarbush Hollow maple syrup. (Go early if you want to order that last dish; I’ve often found that the restaurant runs out of cinnamon bread if I get there after 11:30 a.m.)

And last, but not least, if pastry chef Emmy Wilk’s toffee blondie sundae ($6) is available, order it. A blondie is a soft and chewy bar cookie flavored with vanilla and brown sugar. The blondie here is studded with toffee and the sundae is drizzled with salted caramel sauce for a sweet, salty, buttery, chewy treat. Even if you have to eat dessert after breakfast — even if you ate the Omega pancakes ($5 for a short stack) made with buttermilk, Birkett Mills’ buckwheat, ground flaxseed, and blueberries — who cares? It’s worth it

June Touring Tips Courtesy Of Finger Lakes Visitors Connection

June 6, 2013 by Innkeeper

The 2013 summer season has arrived at Bristol Valley Theater. Come and enjoy professional theater on Main Street in Naples in the heart of the Finger Lakes! For tickets and show information, visit www.bvtnaples.org. Bristol Valley Theater, 151 South Main Street, Naples. 585-374-6318.

The Canandaigua Plein Air Festival on June 6-9 is back in its second year! Artists will work in various painting media on location in and around Canandaigua throughout the weekend. On Saturday, there will be family events, live music, food, art exhibits and educational programs at 21 downtown merchants. Main Street, Canandaigua. 585-234-6032.
FingerLakesPleinAir.com. 

During the month of June check out all the exciting events happening in Geneva. Kicking off the month is Geneva Night Out on June 8th from 5-8pm starting at the Smith Opera House. Admission is free! Geneva Night Out features art and exhibits hosted by local businesses and galleries. For more exciting events, check out www.thesmith.org. Smith Opera House, 82 Seneca Street, Geneva, NY 14456.Sonnenberg’s Roses and Rosés elegant wine and food pairing event on June 10 showcases over 25 wineries and restaurants of the Finger Lakes Region and kicks off Rose Week at Sonnenberg June 10-17. For more information or tickets to the event, visit sonnenberg.org. Sonnenberg Gardens & Mansion State Historic Park, 151 Charlotte St, Canandaigua. 585-394-4922.

For the first time ever, on June 13-14, New York Wine and Culinary Center will host three prominent Master Sommeliers, all exceptional wine educators.The two-day boot-camp will help sommelier hopefuls with preparation and techniques. For more details visit www.nywcc.com. New York Wine and Cunlinary Center, 770 South Main. Canandaigua NY. 585-394-7800.

Shakespeare in the Park! Set in a 20th-century militaristic society, this accessible adaptation of Macbeth will appeal to audiences new to the play and those already acquainted with this renowned tragedy. Enjoy this 60 minute outdoor adaptation of Shakespeare’s classic thriller! Six performers play all the roles, blending inventive physicality, evocative design and original text to create this mesmerizing and chilling tale of greed and ambition on June 15 at 2pm. West Lawn Spa Apartments 11 East Main St. Rain Location: Chapel in Spa Apts. Clifton Springs.Connect with nature and hike the more than 50 miles of foot trails in the town of Victor. You’ll see a variety of terrain including open fields, wooded wetlands, hills and valleys with breathtaking views and a chance to explore the diverse wildlife of the Finger Lakes. For more information and trails visit www.victorhikingtrails.org.

It’s Strawberry Jam time! June 28 is your chance to come tap your toes! Live music will fill the air as you partake in everything strawberry: strawberry shortcake, strawberry pie, jam, jelly, strawberries by the quart, and more. If you get hungry, enjoy a local chicken BBQ. It’s finger lickin’ good! Discover the delicious “Honeoye” Strawberry. Olde Village Market, Town Hall Lawn, Main Street, Honeoye NY

Finger Lakes Literature

June 3, 2013 by Innkeeper

I attended two literature exchanges this month and spent the morning organizing my brochure rack in the Welcoming Room. It’s chalk full of not only information on things to do in the Finger Lakes, but stunning brochures with stunning photography.

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Such a great resource for guests when they arrive.  Some come with their trip already planned and have a great idea of what they want to do.  Others come just ready to relax and take it as it comes.  Regardless of how you plan your vacation, there is lots of great information online and in the Welcoming Room at the 1795 Acorn Inn.

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