Wednesday, November 6, 2013

WIAW: Finger Lakes Restaurant Week

One of my favorite things about where I go to college is the local food scene. Additionally, since it's a college town, there are always special deals going on to keep prices down. This past week, it was Finger Lakes Restaurant Week in the surrounding towns (luckily, Ithaca Restaurant Week is coming up as well!).

I headed to my favorite restaurant ever, Hazelnut Kitchen in nearby Trumansburg, with my foodie friend Blake for an amazing three course dinner at a great price. As always, the restaurant didn't disappoint- their focus on local ingredients and innovative techniques made for an incredible meal!

Finger Lakes Restaurant Week at Hazelnut Kitchen

Normally, I avoid pre-meal bread because I hate filling up before I eat. However, this is no ordinary bread- they get the bread from a bakery down the street, which is warm and crunchy on the outside and insanely soft on the inside. The butter is a homemade apple cider and cinnamon spread- and oh my goodness. This was easily the most memorable bread and butter I've ever had.

My friend and I decided to split a charcuterie plate, which was served on a lovely wooden plank. Every element was so fresh, but the smoked trout roulette was definitely a standout. We smeared it on literally everything- including that delicious bread! Also, the pickled vegetables on this plate were oh so flavorful.

The first course was a "chicken noodle soup" with orecchiette, chicken sausage, carrots, and celery. The focus was the chicken sausage, which was homemade and full of flavor. I also adored the fresh orecchiette pasta, and the warm soup was perfect for this chilly day.

The main course was an apple cider-braised pork with fingerling potatoes, pickled vegetables, and chinese broccoli. This pork was insane, possibly the best I've ever had- it fell of the bone and got amazing flavor from the apple cider. Also, I was so happy to see the pickled vegetables again! I wish I had a jar of them so I could throw them on everything.

The meal ended with an apple strudel with cranberries, raisins and walnuts on homemade cream cheese frosting with a side of cinnamon ice cream. This was such a fantastic end to the meal! It tasted like autumn on a plate- and the homemade cinnamon ice cream? I could eat it all day.

And thus concludes another amazing meal at the Hazelnut Kitchen! Let the countdown to Ithaca Restaurant Week begin... (24 days. I think I can make it?)

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