Mark (mhaithaca) wrote,

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Winery Jaunt I: The Belated Birthday

It wasn't still jccohen's birthday, but it was as close as he could get for his birthday winery gathering. Quite an impressive crowd! I don't think I've ever been in a ten-person winery-tour group before, but it was fun. (Would've been more fun in a big limo or something. Maybe next time!)

J.C. and jencohen and fabunobo and drdjmike and willdevine and ruffian_wind and redfyre and marlokat and I first stopped at the Grist Mill Cafe in Burdett (most of the way to Seneca Lake) for a very good lunch; I'd had a bit of breakfast, so didn't need much to eat. The BLT was perfect! Enough crisp bacon that I didn't feel cheated as I do with many BLTs, and very good multigrain toast. The fresh limeade lacked a little something, but wasn't bad.

From there we headed off to our first winery of the day, Dr. Konstantin Frank's Vinifera Wine Cellars, where Staci met us. She's a winemaker there, so we got the royal treatment! After getting to taste just about anything we wanted in the tasting room, we were given a very nice personal tour that included tastes of a couple of young wines that are still maturing in their barrels. I took advantage of Staci's generous offer to let us use her staff discount to pick up three nice bottles of wine at what's long been my favourite winery, including one of their stunningly good sparkling wines.

We next moved on to J.C.'s favourite, McGregor Vineyard, where Staci had a friend working but where she'd never visited. The best wine there, and probably the best in the Finger Lakes, is the Black Russian Red. Here, we got the royal treatment thanks to J.C. and Jenna's new Clan Club membership, including not only complimentary tastings for the group but also a big discount, since we all had J.C. pay for our wine. (Hey, thanks, J.C.! Oh, wait, you want money?)

We also hit Ravines, just around the corner from McGregor, and this time, both Staci and Marlo had friends working there! Decent wines, if nothing that blew me away. They're very new, so I'll look forward to seeing how their wines mature. One last stop was at Keuka Overlook, which reminds me of area wineries of ten or more years ago, when tastings were more of an afterthought than the big, shiny tourism business they are now. Their tasting room was still very much a basement. Decent wines but nothing spectacular again; their late harvest riesling turned out to be a good selection for Staci to go along with a blueberry cake she was bringing to someone's place for dinner later in the evening. (Will, she headed home to get the cake before meeting us.)

The day wasn't over yet... from Keuka Overlook we proceeded back to Ithaca for dinner at [info]Sindbad on Eddy Street. On the way, I joined Marlo for a quick stop at home, so she and I could both say hi to perisoft and their cat, and see if David wanted to come for dinner. (He wanted to, but didn't have time. They've been busy!)

Let's just say this won't be my last visit to Sindbad, which despite the idiosyncratic spelling, has outstanding Mediterranean food, and from what I could tell, good Italian food and pizza, too. They have a pretty simple operation, and have ditched some of the tables that overcrowded the place in its previous incarnations, such as Little Joe's. It's counter service, and they bring the food out to you when it's ready. While I waited, they let me have small tastes of the hummus and baba ghanouj. Besides the usual and expected tahini, garlic, and lemon juice, I tasted something unusual in the hummus, and asked about it. They use a secret blend of Syrian spices. Yum! Highly recommended, and I imagine I'll be having that for lunch before long.

My actual meal began with a stuffed grape leaves appetizer, served hot with some tomato sauce drizzled over it, which was new to me. Pretty similar to the grape leaves at the Corners Deli, except I usually have those cold! Then I had the shawarma pita, a wrapped sandwich with sliced lamb and beef, lettuce, tomatoes, onions, and cucumber dressing (I'm guessing). I wish I hadn't waited a while before starting to eat it, while other people waited for their food and while I started with the grape leaves; it would probably have been best nice and hot. Next time.

Staci rejoined us there for a soda while killing time before her dinner engagement, so she got to meet kinnerc and Arc when they eventually turned up to join us. I'm glad I now have a face to put to Arc's name when I hear about him. Sindbad's has lots of vegetarian options, important for a vegan such as Arc.

Dave and Kelly dropped me off at home after dinner, and I caught up on the previous night's Sci Fi Friday before going to bed at a reasonable hour!

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