Archive for April, 2010

Finger Lakes Summer eats South of the Border.

Mexican food in Canandaigua

Rio Tomatlan, Beeman Street, downtown Canandaigua

Rio Tomatlon offers authentic Mexican cuisine in downtown Canandaigua. The décor is colorful and appetizing with bright colors of teal, orange and magenta and lots of beautiful artwork. The friendly bar, which is visible when you first walk in, is stocked with more than 50 varietes of tequila!

Rio Tomatlan inside

The bar at Rio Tomatlan

Festive colors inside the finger lakes restaurant

Interior of Rio Tomatlan

We ask our waitress, Jaime, what her favorites are. She recommends the Chile Rellenos, (stuffed pepper) We order a Bocadilla, Ceviche,  plus Primera Pesados, Chile Rellenos and Enchillada Roja.

Juan, the owner, comes out of the kitchen for a few minutes to chat. Turns out his Mom, Maria, owns El Rincon, on Ridge Road in Rochester, and she taught him to cook. Everything he prepares is made from scratch and he uses locally grown produce. The food is delicious — especially the ceviche.  I am a bit of a ceviche freak. I make my own. My neighbor, Jim, makes the best I have ever had. I would order Juan’s ceviche again!

Mural at Rio Tomatlan

Mural: Lady Pink

Lunch at Rio Tomatlan

Enchilladas Rojas

Lunch at Rio Tomatlan

Shrimp Ceviche

Pastel Tres Leches

Pastel Tres Leches

Juan recommends we try his signature dessert, Pastel Tres Leches prepared with cream, condensed milk, and coconut milk and a shot of mescal. Creamy sweet and delicious — this is unusual and worth saving room for.

Also on his recommendation, we head over to the tattoo parlor down the street to meet the artist who created all the murals and paintings decorating the walls.

When in Canandaigua take a side trip to Mexico — via Rio Tomatlan.


April 23, 2010 at 5:04 pm 2 comments

Finger Lakes Summer “Bike or Die”.

Canadaigua lake view, of the Finger Lakes

Charlie enjoys a downhill ride

While enjoying a beautiful spring day in Canandaigua, we thought we should add some exercise to our all-food Finger Lakes tour. On the advice of a native, Joe Wierzbowski, the owner of Phoenix Coffee, we headed out to West Lake Road. Joe said if we followed the West Lake Road, as we left town, we would find a nice ride-able shoulder. During summer season I think this road might be too heavily trafficked (in the middle of the day) to enjoy a bike ride, but on an 80-degree spring day it was  perfect!

After the ordeal was over, I would recommend (if you love your spouse) that you begin your ride where West Lake Road begins, (at Parrish Street, in town) and ride out to Onanda Park (about 7 miles outside of town) and back.

BUT if you love going up and down really long hills, follow our trek. Park at the upper lot at Onanda and ride south where you can enjoy one of the longest climbs you’ll find around any of the Finger Lakes! I’ll refer to the 2 hills we rode (walked) up as the “husband-killers”.

Camp Onanda, Canandaigua, New York

Remember "Crouch" at Camp Onanda? I do.

First stop en route was Onanda Park, which used to be Camp Onanda in the 60s and 70s. I was a camper there when I was about 10, and returned with my church on a retreat as a teenager. I recognized it immediately with its signature stained dark brown, wood-frame buildings and unusual building names posted above the door:  “Crouch”.

Camp Onanada, Canandaigua lake

Lakeview, Camp Onanda

My camp memories involve learning to sail, hating homogenized milk and wearing the same pair of shorts and shirt for the entire 2 weeks — I thought that was bliss.

Soon after we left the lake shore of Onanda, the hill started, and the fun was over. It went UP all the way until you run into the main highway, route 21.  Somewhere halfway up this 2 mile-long killer hill, I lost my riding partner to high-altitude sickness, (see photo).

Finger Lakes view

Charlie looks for his lungs

While he scooped his lungs off the pavement, I went all the way to the end of the road to see if there was any vertical relief (NOT).

We did not want to continue onto this   road, instead we doubled back a short distance, took a right on Seneca Point Road, and headed back down another LONG hill, passing by Bristol Harbor, for a lovely lakeside ride. This road is scenic — especially if you like riding by the water and seeing some lovely homes — including many beautiful, well-lit tennis courts. However, it is probably a lousy ride during peak summer as there is no shoulder and the road is not very wide. On the day we took it, many of the camps were still closed, and there was little car traffic.

Seneca Point Road ends before it heads back up hill and turns into the STEEPEST road I have ever tried to ride. Bopple Hill Road is apparently a famed bike race ride — it made the Tour de France mountain I rode look tame. We went up, turned around and decided to ride back up the hill from where we came.

So poor Chas once again has a LONG ride back up hill. I LOVE going uphill — and this road was a treat. Once you are close to the top of the hill, you can turn right on Coye Rd. (instead of taking Seneca Point all the way back to Route 21) which will provide a lovely ride past vineyards, up and down, avoiding most of the steepest hills, returning you to West Lake Road, fairly close to your starting point.

Canadaigua Lake vineyard view

Coye Road view

My final warning:  if hills do not provide thrills, don’t take our route — just ride the route from the start of West Lake Road out to Onanda Park and back to town. That’s about 14 miles with plenty of ups and downs and it’s very scenic, with a nice wide shoulder.


April 17, 2010 at 12:00 pm 1 comment

Tasting Tour at F. Olivers creates Finger Lakes flavor!

April’s posts will feature a variety of fun things to do in and around Canandaigua Lake. First stop:  Flavor!

F. Olivers Oils and Vinegars opened it’s doors for business in April on Main Street in downtown Canandaigua. The store’s interior is painted with bright colors and the walls  lined with fustis, sturdy metal containers to hold the 40 varieties of oils and vinegars.

Fustis line the walls at F. Olivers

Fustis line the brightly colored walls at F. Olivers

F. Olivers sells flavor-infused oils and vinegars, small batch extra virgin olive oils, and aged balsamic vinegars. Each is available for tasting right from the tap. We filmed our tasting tour with the owner, Penelope, and she graciously educated us on the variety of gourmet products she sells.

Try the delicious balsamic vinegars at F. Olivers

Beautifully packaged balsamic vinegar

We purchased the Pomegranate-infused balsamic vinegar which is sweet enough to put directly on ice cream, but would make a great salad dressing.

F. Olivers is located at 129 South Main Street Canandaigua, New York, or you can shop online at


April 10, 2010 at 7:00 am Leave a comment

Finger Lakes Summer “donuts” at The Skaneateles Bakery.

Downtown Skaneateles New York

Bakery front, Jordan Street

When in Skaneateles early on a Saturday morning, the place to make an appearance is the local bakery.  It is the local watering hole for town officials, local business owners needing to catch up with one another, and (sitting next to me) Dads with a herd of boys eager to go fishing.

The Skaneateles Bakery is located on Jordan Street in downtown Skaneateles and has been a fixture for many years. A few years ago it had a complete facelift and it is quite charming with its robin’s egg blue walls, partitioned by permanent white framing used to frame local children’s art work.

Donuts maade at the bakery

Freshly made donuts on site

As you enter you see the donut machine churning fresh home made donuts circa Homer Price (  I order their strongest brew along with a basket of donuts and sit down, cracking open my laptop and enjoying the free wireless connection.

If you have room, try more than just the donuts!

Skaneateles Bakery Counter

Around 9:17am I noticed that the bakery is packed. Families, groups, sports teams converge. The girls behind the counter don’t flinch, serving the usual donuts, muffins, coffee as well as their specials like a caramelized onion & applewood-smoked bacon frittata with tomato & melted gruyere on house bread or, wake robin farm all natural yogurt parfait with blueberry coulis & bakery made organic granola, all in short-order.

MY donuts

Perfect seat by the window, with a basket of FRESH donuts

I surrender my seat to those patiently waiting. It’s time to return to my chore list back home. Remember to come early if you want a seat, and do not tell yourself that your waist does not need a donut. This practice of “donutting” is good for your soul.

Skaneateles Bakery on Urbanspoon

April 2, 2010 at 9:00 am Leave a comment

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