Located on the oh-so-trendy Westcott street, is one of the coolest restaurants in Syracuse, Alto Cinco. The location itself makes this Southwest-dining palace pretty awesome. It lies at the heart of Syracuse’s booming hipster hipstersom, with a grungy movie theatre and concert hall to its right, and the perfectly–shady-its-charming pizza joint to its left. Along with the current businesses on the street, Westcott is historically know as an activist, progressive, neighborhood. Why shouldn’t the food on the street be the same?
I’ve been to Alto Cinco just about once a year, for the four years I’ve been in Syracuse. It’s not a tradition, but more of my obstinacy to sample Mexican food that was not made in the Southwest. I had previously lived in Southern California, so my standards for Mexican food are pretty high. It’s just not the real thing, and I know Mexican food before there even was an Alto Cinco! (The pot calls the kettle black: I guess I’m being a hipster now, too.) (more…)
On South Main Street in North Syracuse sits a little bit of downtown Philadelphia, PA. Or at least, that’s what the folks at Gino’s Original Cheese Steaks would like us to believe.
Gino’s original cheese steaks in North Syracuse, NY
And here’s something that ticks me off: I’ve read a few comments online about how Gino’s (with an “i”) is a rip-off, and can not be affiliated with the place in Philly – which is Geno’s – with an “e.” I’m sorry, but these people are morons. I’ve never read or heard of them trying to pass off that they’re affiliated. The names aren’t even spelled the same! End of rant; now back to the review.
I wanted to take my wife somewhere nice for dinner, as it was her birthday. Traveling was not a problem so I began to look a little farther afield than downtown Syracuse. Doing some searches, I found a number of positive recommendations for a place in Rochester. The place is called Next Door.
Next Door restaurant
What shocked the heck out of me is finding out it’s run by a supermarket!
Highland Park diner is one of those places that apparently everyone loves, and for good reason. It’s in a slightly sketchy neighborhood in Rochester, NY and that’s actually one of it’s charms. The parking lot is tiny, as is the building itself.
Highland Park Diner in Rochester, NY
There’s so many people coming here that they have tables outside with umbrellas. Except for the outdoor seating, it reminds me of the best of the old time New York City diners I’ve eaten in.
Over the weekend, some friends took my wife an I out to Camillus to visit one of their favorite eateries. They’ve been telling us about Boom Boom Mex Mex for several years now, but this is the first time we’ve made it out there.
Boom Boom Mex Mex
I forgot to take a pic, so I snagged this one from someone on-line. In this age of Internet-connected everything, I also didn’t find a web site or Facebook page for the restaurant. This is a place that truly lets their work do all the marketing. If you don’t like it, that’s fine. But the folks who do like it. . .
My girlfriend and I took some time to drive out Rt 31 along the lake. I remembered there was a Mexican place somewhere out that way in Cicero, past the high school. Guess what – there was! We pulled in to the Lakeshore Heights Plaza and found a parking space in front of La Taqueria.
Storefront for La Taqueria in Lakeshore Heights Plaza, Cicero New York
La Taq as fans call it is just about in the middle of the plaza. It’s not really Mexican. They call it a Mexican Fusion Grill. Which is totally cool! Hello! Tofu? Spicy Ranch sauce? Yes please! But I’m getting ahead of myself.
The American Diner is across the railroad tracks on Old Liverpool Rd in Liverpool. It's definitely on the right side of the tracks, and that's the whole point.
The food is not the point here. It's fuel for the body, prepared sufficiently and presented plainly. The prices are completely average – not high enough to gouge your wallet, but high enough to give the staff a decent wage. The staff – efficient & friendly. Happy to talk with you if you want, willing to leave you to your own devices. Parking is sufficient, enough for everyone if the place is packed. No, there's only one important aspect of The American Diner, and that is the ambiance.
"Nothing good is ever cheap, and nothing cheap is ever good." This is the slogan – or warning – emblazoned on the front of the menu at Coop's Kitchen. There are a number of other breakfast joints that may be cheaper, but it's not like they're charging double what other places do. Is it worth the extra money? I'm not sure – I've had a couple different experiences here.
Coop's Kitchen has taken the spot last occupied by PardZee's on Bridge Street in E Syracuse. PardZee's was a golf-themed breakfast and lunch spot, and some of the golf-themed decorations still haunt the spot. PardZee's had been there for a number of years, and had built up a steady following. After they closed, I'm sure many of the regulars moved on to other nearby spots.
3 Rivers Plaza in Phoenix is an anomaly. They have a first class Thai restaurant here at the south end of the plaza, one that's surprisingly good. They also have a decent Chinese takeout joint. But if you get up early – like crack-of-dawn early – and visit the north end of the plaza, you'll find a sugar-soaked gem. It's open Tue – Sat 6 AM – 1 PM, and Sunday 8 AM – 1 PM, closed Mondays. Tucked into a tiny, tiny spot near a dental office (how appropriate!), you'll find Just Donuts. And find it you must.
I've said before, my favorite dessert is another lobster tail. But that doesn't mean I don't like sweet stuff. I've never really gone out of my way for confections, but I just might if this place stays open. If you like truly hand-made sugary delights, you'll have to make your way up to Just Donuts. Even though these are hand prepared, you can still buy them by the dozen. And why they don't charge more is a mystery to me.