Return to Ithaca, pt. 2

June 8, 2017 § 1 Comment

After our hike through the Buttermilk Falls gorge, we cleaned up and went to what is arguably Ithaca’s nicest restaurant: The Heights.

32 heights

Well, I thought it was a really nice restaurant — J said that’s where a lot of big law firm dinners took place when he was in school at Cornell, and the interior was definitely upscale for the town — but the young woman seated next to me at dinner was wearing a baggy hoodie, shorts and sandals, so who knows. And our (VERY STRONG) cocktails were served in mason jars, which I thought was a strange choice.

Our appetizers were pretty good (carrots and Brussels for me, chicken liver for J), but my entree was … not. I wanted to order the regular grilled swordfish, since it’s not an option I see often, but there was another swordfish special for the night so I opted for that one.

33 swordfish

My mistake. It came with two giant hunks of swordfish, one big scallop, a slice of sweet potato, some smoked pork and some low-quality salmon tartare. Plus a bit of vinegary salad on the side.

The dish had no cohesion whatsoever! Who would pair chopped salmon with grilled swordfish and pork jerky?? Why did I order this??? The swordfish pieces were so big that they were inevitably dry and not very fun to eat. At least my chocolate souffle dessert was good.

We ended the night at K-House, which was very exciting for both of us as we hadn’t been to karaoke in months. Love that place.

34 market

Saturday morning was farmers market time! We filled up on breakfast burritos, hot apple cider, mini pies and some very pretty but bland rice pudding.

35 rice pud

36 pies

We had just made ice cream at home, so we also treated ourselves to a very fancy handmade ice cream scoop made of afzelia wood.

Afterward, we headed to the recently renamed Cornell Botanic Gardens — though some signs still say Cornell Plantations — for some romantic strolling. The lilacs in particular were very beautiful and fragrant.

37 plantations38 lilac42 flowers

We ended up going over an unnamed bridge and inadvertently hiking some random trail, which was fun until later when we woke up from a much-needed nap and found what I thought was a spider in our bed — actually a tick, eek! At least it hadn’t fed on either of us yet.40 bridge41 hike

For dinner, we went downtown to the Commons — planted with beautiful allium flowers — and had some tasty Ethiopian food at Hawi before heading to the main attraction: Cellar d’Or.

43 commons44 cellar45 cider

The last time we visited Cornell, we purchased two growlers of cider, the bottles of which I saved for some reason (they took up quite a bit of space under the sink), and we brought them back with us to refill! I’ll be sure to write up our new purchases on my cider blog. And then we went back to K-House for three more hours of karaoke :)

Apart from the farmers market, there aren’t any standout breakfast/brunch places that we like in Ithaca, so J had the brilliant idea to stop by Narrowsburg for brunch on our way home on Sunday. The Heron was so good the first time we visited, and this time we knew we had to order the fried chicken.

We sat at the bar and admired their whisky selection, though I’m not sure when we’d ever be able to indulge in strong drinks there without having to drive at least 20 minutes down the road to our hotel of choice (or two hours back to NYC).

47 whiskey46 brunch48 chicken

Everything we ordered was great, as expected, but the fried chicken was THE BEST FRIED CHICKEN OF MY LIFE!!!!!

As I mentioned in my previous post regarding the sweetbreads, I generally don’t like deep-fried food if all I can taste is the greasy breading. (That just happens to be what people love about typical American fried chicken.) This, however, was nothing of the sort.

The dish looks unassuming, but underneath the crunchy panko exterior was an almost impossibly juicy, flavorful — and steaming hot — piece of meat. Even the white meat was succulent!! (Usually I find chicken breast to be tasteless and not worth eating.)

I don’t think I’ve been able to eat any chicken since this meal. Everything else pales in comparison. I just want to remember the perfection of that one dish until I can experience it again … soon, I hope.

After our delicious brunch, we stopped by the bookstore, admired the view of the river and made our way back home.

49 river

Part 1 here!

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