Finger Lakes Region Bristol Valley Canandaigua Bed and Breakfast

Premier Bed and Breakfast Inn Lodging Accommodations in Canandaigua, the Bristol Valley of the Finger Lakes Region of New York State

DINING REVIEW: Brown Hound Bistro

June 27th, 2013

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

[ 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 6th, 2013
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.
www.canandaiguaarts.com/pleinAirFest.html

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 3rd, 2013

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.

Robin Update

May 30th, 2013

Well, the robins have all left the nest.  The first brave chick, barely seen here in the lower right, hopped around the grounds for hours until I could no longer see or hear it.  The other two stayed in the nest for over 24 hours before finally making that leap.  I haven’t seen any since, but this morning I heard the most wonderful chirping in the gardens and can only imagine who was singing…

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18th Century B & B Get 21st Century Bling

May 30th, 2013

Sometimes it truly is the little things that make me happy…

For the nearly nine years that I have been the Innkeeper at the 1795 Acorn Inn, guests have gotten two keys upon arrival; one for the front door and the Dining Room door and one for their respective rooms.  Since the Inn is locked at all times, these keys made it possible for guests to come and go as they please.  Always in the back of my mind though was the thought that although these keys say do not duplicate, they (name not to be mentioned) duplicate them for me as needed.  So, why couldn’t guests get them duplicated and come back at any time?  I’m not thinking of the kind, respectful, wonderful guests that I usually have the pleasure of meeting…

So, years ago I decided to make the investment and purchase Schlage locks with keypads.  This year, when my fabulous brother Roger was visiting, he installed them for me.  And, now that I have gotten adept at programming and deprogramming, my vision is complete.

Simple

1795 Acorn Inn Front Door Lock

Upon arrival, guests are asked to provide a four-digit code that would be easy for them to remember.  Their code is programmed into the locks and voila… they can come and go as they please.  Upon their departure, their code is removed from the system.  Simple.

For those guests that cannot make our regular check in hours of 3:00 to 5:00 pm and have made arrangements in advance of their stay for a late check in, we can input their code of choice on the day of their arrival.  Once inside the Inn, they are able to follow our simple self-check process and use their personal code for their entire stay..

So far, so good.  And, I am happy to say, another improvement completed.

I Love Spring – Part IV

May 20th, 2013

Well, my relief was short lived this morning when we found a poor, little chick on the ground beneath the nest.  It was on the brick floor and unfortunately will never know what it feels like to fly.  I gently put it in a box and Amanda and I will have a burial service for it later this afternoon.  I have to keep reminding myself that this is nature.  But it still hurts.  There are some things this city girl will never get used to in the country.

On a positive note, just after we noticed that one didn’t make it, another baby was on the ground.  This one was hopping around, flapping it’s wings and following mama/papa.  There are still two left in the nest and I’m sure they too will soon be taking that leap.  Once out of the nest, they don’t really know how to fly.  They will spend the next few days hopping around on the ground and learning how to fly.  Of course, this is when they are most vulnerable but I think they will make it as we are pretty protected in our beautifully lush perennial gardens.

Will there be a Part V?

I Love Spring – Part III

May 20th, 2013

May 19… The babies are getting so big they no longer need their mother/father for warmth at night.  Mama/Papa sleep close by on a branch now.  Yesterday they were chirping up a storm and it was hard to believe how big they had gotten overnight.  I was getting a little worried because I hadn’t seen them getting fed all day.  Actually, I was besides myself.  I started researching all I could about how to care for these Robins and was almost out the door ready to go dig up some worms when the mama/papa came back to feed.  I felt instant relief.

They barely fit in the nest.

Part IV to follow…

 

I Love Spring – Part II

May 20th, 2013

On Wednesday, May 15, I noticed a little head popping out from under mama/papa.  It was still very cold in the morning and I didn’t think the eggs would have hatched yet.  But apparently they did.  A few hours later Amanda noticed two heads.  And a few hours later, we saw her/him feeding them… all four.  She or he (I think they take turns) would land on the edge of the nest with a worm in his/her mouth and all four heads would reach out of the nest and chirp for food.  It seemed like there were constantly flying to and fro.  Did you know a baby robin needs to be fed every 10-20 minutes?  With four in the nest, that’s a worm every five minutes.  And I still can’t figure out how she/he knows who got the last worm.

I think they grow into their beaks.

I think they grow into their beaks.

Just finished feeding

Just finished feeding.

Can I have some more please?

Can I have some more please?

Part III to follow…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I Love Spring – Part I

May 20th, 2013

Spring feels like the shortest of all seasons and passes with a blink of an eye.  Case and point…  This is the third year in a row that a robin has chosen nest atop the light just outside of my office door.  The first year we took her nest down because we painted the outside of the Inn.  The next year she/he rebuilt it.  This year she/he made a few modifications and reused the old nest.  It’s pretty safe there but wonder why she chooses to lay her eggs there given the amount of traffic in and out the office door.

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I don’t think he/she knows what to think of me and my camera.

 

Always close by…

 

Part II to follow…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

May Touring Tips Courtesy Of The Finger Lakes Visitors Connection

May 6th, 2013

Take a stroll through the nine gardens at Sonnenberg Gardens & Mansion or visit one of the many historic homes and mansions in Ontario County, replete with period furnishings and architectural grandeur of the Victorian, Federal and Greek revival periods. Sonnenberg Mansion & Gardens, 151 Charlotte Street, Canandaigua. 585-394-4922.

During the month of May head over to Geneva, NY and check out the Rose Hill Mansion and Johnston House both once working farms in the Finger Lakes.Take a step back in time to explore these historic estates and learn about historic farming techniques. Contact the Geneva Historical Society for tickets, tours and more! Located at 543 South Main St, Geneva 14456 (315) 789-5151.

Join the Finger Lakes Visitors Connection as it unveils the photography, art, local products and people of Ontario County that helped to make the happiest Visitors Guide ever! Finger Lakes Visitors Connection is showcasing travel happiness in Ontario County with the 2013 Travel Happiness Art Show. The public is invited to the Opening Reception on May 10 from 5 pm to 7 pm at Hazlitt Red Cat Cellars in Naples. For questions contact FLVC at (585) 394-3915.

The Ganondagan State Historic Site is now open! Learn about local Native American History at the site of a 17th century Seneca Village. Make sure to visit the self-guided hiking trails, the 1670 bark long-house replica and Visitors Center. 1488 New York 444 Victor, NY 14564 (585) 742-1690.

The signs of summer are starting to appear! Head to the northern shores of Canandaigua Lake and kick-off summer at The Inn on the Lake – Sand Bar! Featuring live music weekly and great food specials! If you have a boat in the water, feel free to dock along the waterfront at the hotel to take in the sound waves! 770 South Main St. Canandaigua, NY 14424 (585) 394-7800.

Hit the links at Ravenwood Golf Club in Victor. In 2003 Golf Digest Rated it the #5 “Best New Public Course in America.” On Mother’s Day, Mom plays golf for free! 929 Lynaugh Rd., Victor. (585) 924-510.

Spring is here and summer is near! Time to hop on a bike and ride around the lakes! Bike rentals are available at R&E Bike and Skate, 168 S.Main St., Canandaigua, (585) 393-5680 and Geneva Bicycle Center, 489 Exchange St., Geneva, (315) 789-5922. Or, bring your own bikes and check out a fabulous resource at the 1795 Acorn Inn… Take Your Bike, a list of bike trails in the Finger Lakes.

In celebration of the City of Canandaigua’s Centennial, enjoy 100 days of free entertainment in Commons Park, Downtown Canandaigua. There will be music, dance and theater for 100 days – every day something different. Come downtown and see what’s in store. Events begin after May 27th.