A reader of my food stories in the Syracuse New Times reached out to sing the praises of Basil Thai Cuisine restaurant in Phoenix, Oswego County, and suggest I check it out. That was more than a year ago. I heard more enthusiastic reviews and made a mental note to check it out when out that way. But I'm rarely out that way.
After Christmas, craving something fresh and flavorful, we made our way there. The restaurant is about 25 miles from our home on the east side of Syracuse and a couple miles north of the busy crossroads of Routes 57 and 31 in the northern suburbs.
THE VIBE: No-frills. There's no beer, no wine and not much in the way of atmosphere. The food is the star at this storefront restaurant. There's a TV at the counter and about 10 small booths and tables. Walls are a sage-y green and posters of Thailand, the kind you see in travel agents' offices, decorate the walls. The restaurant is owned and operated by chef Pong Siripornsawan and his wife, both natives of Thailand. She handles the front counter and takeout orders and waits on those who opt to eat-in. He does the cooking. We ordered tea (served in tall Styrofoam cups) and pondered our options.
CHOWING DOWN: From the short, uncomplicated menu of starters, soups, salads, rice dishes, noodle dishes, curry and meat dishes, we each decided on an appetizer, soup and main course. The deep-fried egg rolls ($1.79) are long and thin, stuffed with pork, carrots, cabbage and glass noodles, and served with a sweet dipping sauce flecked with red pepper. We could have eaten six apiece and called it dinner.
Next, we turned up the heat a little with two soups. Robert had the tom kha soup with chicken ($3.49). This classic coconut milk based soup contains lime juice, galangal, lemon grass, straw mushrooms, baby corn and scallions, brightened further with cilantro. The soup, ordered medium hot, lacked heat but was full of fresh flavor. My tom yum soup with chicken ($3.49) had a nice, peppery punch, especially toward the bottom of the bowl, where the pepper appeared to settle. The soup is bright and slightly sour, with layers of flavors, thanks to lemongrass, lime juice and lime leaves, along with baby corn, mushrooms, scallions and cilantro. It's the kind of soup you want to pick up the bowl and sip every last drop.
For our mains, we settled on a noodle dish and a curry. Robert ordered the pad see ew with chicken ($8.99) and was pleased with the al dente "chew" of the large noodles, tossed with broccoli, straw mushrooms, baby corn, carrots, cabbage and shredded chicken. My red curry with shrimp ($9.99), arrived with a plate holding a mound of jasmine rice and a small tureen with the curry. The savory sauce of red curry paste and coconut milk contained green pepper, bamboo shoots, basil leaves and about six perfectly cooked-medium large shrimp. The gentle spice of the curry pairs perfectly with shrimp and vegetables and was a refreshing change of pace after rich holiday fare like turkey, ham and the trimmings.
SAVE ROOM FOR DESSERT? The menu lists just two desserts, Thai custard and ice cream sundaes. Neither of them called out to us. We decided to pass.
WHAT'S A VEGETARIAN GOING TO FIND? Plenty! Appetizers like vegetarian egg rolls, mee krob (crispy rice noodles with sweet and sour orange sauce), deep fried tofu with sweet chili sauce, curry puffs. All noodle dishes, several curry dishes, and most "meat" entrees can be made with tofu.
WOULD WE GO BACK? Yes. Especially if we find ourselves in Baldwinsville or Clay -- the restaurant is about five miles north of Great Northern Mall.
NEXT TIME: We'll try the chicken satay with peanut sauce, fresh rice paper spring rolls and pad Thai or one of the beef, pork, tofu or tilapia dishes. And the Thai iced coffee or Thai iced tea.
DAMAGES: $41 (including tip) for two appetizers, two soups, two entrees and two cups of tea.
Basil Thai Cuisine is at 219 County Route 57, Phoenix, in the Three Rivers Plaza (about seven miles north of Liverpool). The restaurant is open Tuesday to Saturday for lunch, dinner and takeout. Information: 315-695-2545, http://www.basilthaicny.com
Summer is coming. Eventually. It's gotta be. We're looking forward to warm days on the veranda and in the yard.
Until then, there is the open-pit fireplace in the S2 Bistro at the Scotch 'n' Sirloin. Cozy tables for two ring the fireplace. Sit there for a while, and you'll wish you were wearing short sleeves.
Also, there is the food. In case you've been hibernating the last six months, Yann Guigne, former chef and co-owner of L'Adour Restaurant Francais (RIP) in Syracuse, has joined the Scotch as executive chef. His French touches are making a mark on the bistro menu, and last fall he introduced a new menu, the first in seven years, in the Scotch's dining room.
I cannot speak for the traditional steakhouse half of this landmark Syracuse restaurant -- it has been several years since we've eaten in the dining room. But the S2 Bistro is one of our favorite places.
We love that you can go for a drink and get warm by the fire. We like that there's complimentary popcorn and peanuts and that you toss the peanut shells on the floor. We like the community tables, which promote mingling with other patrons and offer a good view of multiple TV screens when a Syracuse University basketball game is on. And we love that we can have a casual meal of a couple really nice not-so-small plates and share things easily.
We went to the bistro for a belated Valentine's Day treat. Here's what we found.
THE VIBE: Cozy, intimate, warm, convivial, rustic, romantic. The bar is lively and so are the community tables. If you're after a more quiet meal, ask for one of the booths towards the back of the room.
LIQUID ASSETS: Beer, a nice selection of wines by the glass and bottle, signature cocktails and a long list of scotches and whiskeys for those who like the hard stuff. We would like to see more New York wines on the wine list.
THE MENU: The Bistro menu changes a couple times a year and includes soups, salads, seafood and fish, a flatbread pizza, burgers, sandwiches and pasta.
WHAT'S A VEGETARIAN GOING TO FIND: Pretty slim pickings - this is a steakhouse, after all. The fall/winter menu offers Mushroom Fettucini tossed with tossed with shiitake, oyster, Paris mushrooms, Parmesan and truffle cream sauce -- order it minus the bacon and grilled chicken. There is a warm goat cheese baguette with herbs de Provence over mesclun greens. Also, truffle French fries with black truffle creme.
THE FOOD: We shared a lovely cheese plate ($16) that contained goat cheese, Camembert, blue cheese, Cheddar, walnuts, dried apricots and prunes, berry preserves and a pile of mesclun greens. Part of us wanted to ask for more baguette slices, but we knew if we kept eating bread and cheese we would spoil our next course.
I've loved every bite of the Poached Eggs Meurette ($9) twice now. Two perfectly cooked eggs are served on baguette slices, with bacon, onions, mushrooms, red wine sauce and mesclun greens. It's a really savory and elegant way of having breakfast for dinner, and Yann says the dish is a runaway hit with diners, who probably will complain if he removes it from the menu.
The slider plate ($12.50) stars all-natural, grass-fed angus beef from Drover Hill Farm, Madison County. The burgers were cooked to medium-rare, as ordered. Robert would have liked a more delicate roll with the sliders, to show off the flavor of the local beef. The burgers come with pickled green beans and French fries on the side.
Who can resist a ramekin of creme brulee ($6)? Not us. Creme brulee is one of our favorite desserts. The custard was thick and rich and not too sweet, with a beautiful brown crown of burnt sugar to crack our spoons through.
THE SERVICE: Very professional and attentive, even at the community tables, which can be tricky for a server to navigate when the room is crowded.
THE DAMAGES: $80 plus, including four glasses of wine. We probably should just order a bottle. Consider visiting on a Monday, when the restaurant offers 45 wines at 45 percent off, to celebrate its 45-plus years in Syracuse.
THE NEXT TIME: I swear I'm going to order something other than the Poached Eggs Meurette. Maybe the in-house smoked salmon? Or the trout prepared Yann's mother's way, with garlic and lemon butter? What menu surprises will spring bring?
THE DETAILS:The Scotch 'n' Sirloin is at 3687 Erie Blvd. East, DeWitt. Dinner is served 5 to 9:30 p.m. Monday to Thursday, 5 to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 4:30 to 8:30 p.m. Sundays. The bar opens at 4 p.m. daily. For more information, call 315-446-1771 or visit www.scotchnsirloin.com.
Chef Stephen Landon at last year's EnvIRONmental Chef Cook-Off at Baltimore Woods
local chefs. Give them a surprise local ingredient to create entrees around,
add the bounty of the local harvest and an array of locally produced meats,
cheeses, wines and other ingredients donated by the producers – and what have
EnvIRONmental Chef Homegrown Cook-Off, a delicious fundraiser for Baltimore Woods, Marcellus.
edition of the popular event takes place Sunday, September 8. It features
returning chef-champs Chris Kuhns of Phoebe's and Joelle Mollinger of Joelle's
French Bistro vs. chef Chance Bear of Parisa (and the upcoming The 317) and
Luke Houghton of Pure Catering and Events.
pressure! The chefs have 90 minutes to prepare entrees that use a mystery local
ingredient announced at the event. The dessert competition features Emily and Mike Woloszyn of Lune Chocolat (last year’s
winners) vs. Jennifer Walls and Natalie Hansen of Sweet Praxis and Allyson
Landon of The Sherwood Inn.
the only “challenge” is to eat, drink, mix and mingle and enjoy the scenery of
Baltimore Woods. Chef Abigail Henson of LoFo will create cocktails and
mocktails. Chef Stephen Landon of Vernak Farms
will prepare appetizers and sides from potatoes donated by Cornell
University. And chef Luke Szabo of
the Mandana Inn will use produce from Horsford Farms in a variety of
purchase tickets at the patron level ($100) can enter a lottery to work
alongside one of the chefs as their sous chef. All of the food prepared for the competition will be available
for tasting, and guests determine the winners by vote.
for many is a chance to come see their favorite local chefs in action and to
support the mission of Baltimore Woods,’’ says Mary Kate Hartnett, executive
director of Baltimore Woods. “We also find that many folks in the community who
like to support locally owned and operated restaurants, businesses and farms
attend for this reason -- it's truly a local event.’’
the event are interior designer and TV personality Thom Filicia (“Queer Eye for
the Straight Guy’’) and NewsChannel9 (WSYR-TV) anchor Carrie Lazarus.
via the cook-off benefit Nature in the City, Baltimore Woods’ K-6 science
education program in Syracuse and Auburn.
event sold out, so don’t delay on making reservations.
What: EnvIRONmental Chef
Homegrown Cook-Off, to benefit Baltimore Woods
When: 3 to 6 p.m.
Sunday, September 8
Where: Baltimore Woods, 4007
Bishop Hill Road, Marcellus
Most of us are in denial that school starts in a few weeks,
the days are getting noticeably shorter and the year is almost in its final
Alicyn Hart is already looking ahead to 2014 – and thinking
about what it holds for her and her restaurant.
Hart, executive chef and owner of Circa New American Bistro/Market in
Cazenovia, has decided not to renew the three-year lease on the space at 76
Albany St. (Route 20), that Circa has occupied since 2006.
In the seven years Circa has been there, her rent has
doubled, Hart says. It’s ironic, she adds, that she sends a check each month to
an overseas landlord to pay for a space that shines the light on local farmers
and locally grown foods.
Hart made her plans known last month, in a short article she
wrote for an advertising supplement to The Cazenovia Republican. Circa’s lease
is up May 31, 2014. After that, the future is unwritten.
“I don’t know what I’m going to do and I’m not really
worried about it,’’ Hart said Friday (Aug. 2). She said she is exploring
options and has had several “interesting discussions’’ with people about
possible spaces and locations for a new restaurant. She is open to having
conversations and hearing ideas, but is not making any plans at this time.
Hart added that she is in excellent health following the
successful removal of a brain tumor in March of 2012, but noted “an experience
like that does change you.’’
“It’s time to simplify,’’ Hart said. “I feel like I have
fulfilled our mission of introducing the community to local food and putting
local out there.’’
Hart, a native of New England, has worked all over the world
as a chef and taught culinary arts classes at BOCES before opening Circa in 2006.
Her son, Owen, was born the same year.
Circa’s menu changes weekly and focuses on seasonal, locally
grown produce, meats and other ingredients, prepared simply to play up their freshness
and flavor. Some of her purveyors, such as Ingallside Meadows Farm, have been
on board since day one. The restaurant is local down to its tables and bar,
made from reclaimed barnboard and other wood by Hart’s husband, Eric Woodworth.
A chalkboard in the restaurant, which seats about 45, gives
a shoutout to Circa’s local purveyors, as does her menu. The greens with the
Nicoise salad I enjoyed for lunch were from Smitty’s Market Farm, Morrisville; the
tomatoes from Emmi’s in Baldwinsville. The scoop of ice cream on top of your
blueberry cobbler? It’s from local favorite Kimberly’s.
When Hart introduced Main Street Cazenovia to the concept of
a restaurant that sources almost entirely from its own backyard, “local’’ was
far from the buzzword and growing movement that it has become today, Hart says.
Today, some of the farmers Hart has supported over the years
have found a market for their products in major retail markets like New York
and Boston – and in some cases outgrown the need for wholesale customers in
their own communities.
“Going to a farmers market is cooler than going to Wegmans
now,’’ she says. “Local food is being recognized for its sustainability, its
health benefits and because it tastes good.’’
Whatever the future holds for Alicyn and Circa, I wish her
success and salute her for being a trailblazer in Central New York’s local food
Circa is at 76 Albany
St. in Cazenovia. The restaurant is open 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Tuesday to
Saturday. Information: Call 315-655-8768.
Editor's note: For profiles of a couple other CNY barbecue pit-stops, see my cover story in the May 22 edition of The Syracuse New Times. Click here.
If you’re in Skaneateles or Auburn and have a hankering for
barbecue, get yourself to The Bucket.
The Southern-flavored restaurant opened in February on Route
20, near Auburn, at the onetime home of The Pioneer Restaurant. It’s owned by partners
Michael Henty, Gary Robinson, Tim Gillooly and
Albino, a native of Auburn
who is also executive chef at Rosalie’s Cucina, spent several at restaurants in
the South after graduating from culinary school. He says he had a lot of fun
developing The Bucket’s down-home menu – a big switch from the Northern Italian/gourmet
Italian fare he’s known for at Rosalie’s -- and testing it out on his family,
friends and partners.
Almost everything on The
Bucket’s menu is smoked in a smoker in The Bucket’s kitchen, rather than a big contraption
outdoors. The aroma of slow-cooked meat smacks you in the nose when you walk in
The Bucket is a nice alternative to other fast-casual
restaurants in the area, like perennial favorites Doug’s Fish Fry and Johnny
Angels Heavenly Burgers. Bring the family and queue up for some ‘cue.
THE VIBE: The
Bucket is casual with a capital “C” -- warm, wood-paneled and slightly rustic, with custom-made
wooden tables downstairs and upstairs in the loft and picnic tables outside.
It’s a plastic tray, paper plates and wait-on-yourself kind of place. Choose
your meat at the counter, proceed down the line and choose your side dishes.
THE MENU: Meat, meat and more meat. You’ll find the usual suspects, like ribs,
brisket and pulled pork, plus poultry (pulled chicken, smoked turkey), along
with about a dozen side dishes (a k a fixins’). Some of the sides are traditional
(macaroni and cheese, corn bread, salt potatoes) and some are more uncommon in
these parts, like fried pickles and fried okra.
LIQUID ASSETS: There’s
a soda fountain with soft drinks and a short list of domestic and import beers
and wines. Utica’s Saranac is represented, and we started with two bottles of
THE FOOD: The
lemon pepper smoked turkey ($10.50 with two sides) was excellent – moist and
fork-tender, slightly salty, with a hint of the seasoning shining through.
half-rack of Kansas City ribs ($16.25) had a nice char and was
fall-off-the-bone tender, but could have used more seasoning, we thought. The
collards were cooked to perfection but lukewarm. As for sweet potato fries and
onion rings: What’s not to like about deep-fried vegetables every now and then?
We really liked The Bucket’s trio of sauces in squirt bottles
at each table. One is slightly sweet, one hints of mustard and vinegar and one
packs a little heat. All worked well with the ribs.
WHAT’S A VEGETARIAN
GOING TO FIND: Not much, to be honest. You could ask for The Bucket’s
Caesar salad minus the bacon (bacon? in a Caesar?). Or feast on the side
fixins’, like a smashed sweet potato, fried pickles and okra, cream corn and
coleslaw. Collards are prepared Southern-style, with meat.
THE DAMAGES: $38,
give or take, including two bottle beers and a tip at the counter.
THE NEXT TIME:
We’ll go back for the pulled chicken, smoked wings, smoked and deep-fried
turkey leg and/or smoked kielbasa. Of the desserts, which we didn’t have room
for, the bourbon blackberry peach cobbler sounds delicious and could be really
good when local peaches and berries are in season.
THE DETAILS: The
Bucket is at 3193 E. Genesee St. Road (Route 20), Auburn. Phone:
315-255-1227. In spring and
summer, the restaurant is open Monday-Saturday for lunch, dinner and takeout.
Note: Large orders for 20 or more people require 24 hours notice.
had a gift certificate to Smith Housewares and Restaurant Supply since LAST
was tucked away in a drawer for a rainy or snowy day. It doesn’t have an
expiration date, but it has been almost a year. That’s as good an excuse as any
to take a spin through the store.
the uninitiated, Smith
Housewares is a fifth-generation family business located in an 1840’s Erie
Canal-era building in the heart of downtown Syracuse.
not as glossy as the gourmet cookware at the mall, but Smith’s is a magnet for
both chefs and home cooks in the market for kitchen essentials and shiny, new culinary
toys. The store features a rambling two floors of retail space (and some 18,000
items in the warehouse, according to the website).
find everything from cookie cutters (a whole wall of them!) to cutlery,
cookware, barware, bakeware, small appliances, beer, winemaking and canning
supplies, the Hyman Smith Coffee Roastery – and much more.
All your favorite
kitchen/cooking brands are there: Le Creuset, KitchenAid, All-Clad, Cuisinart, Wusthof,
Lodge Cast Iron.
the words of one local baking professional: “It’s like a culinary Disneyland.’’
back to that gift certificate: How to cash it in?
On a mega chafing dish for our next party? Whoa!
a Fondue Fun for Two set? Cute. But we don’t do fondue.
a ceramic pie plate in a favorite color? Sweet.
potato ricer and assorted other gadgets/utensils? No. So many gizmos, such
little kitchen space.
a pair of AireGourmet made in the USA insulated baking sheets?
the ticket! A couple of our baking sheets date to 1980-something. They’ve
served us well but are showing their age. These promise to be
scratch-resistant, dishwasher safe and “built to last a lifetime.”
lifetime? I don’t know. But
they’ll get a good workout over the holiday season, that’s for certain. Thank
you, Eileen and Dave.
Smith Housewares and Restaurant Supply is at 500
Erie Boulevard East, Syracuse (and 170 Court St., Watertown).
It has been a busy year for Syracuse Chef Kevin Gentile.
Last fall, he diversified his “eclectic Italian’’ brand with the addition of Gentile’s Pasta and Pizza Cafe in Liverpool (Route 370, corner of Longbranch Road; site of the former Zorba’s Pizzeria). And this spring, he moved his Syracuse restaurant across town – from its small spot on Burnet Avenue to bigger digs at 313 N. Geddes St., once home to the Park Circle and other restaurants.
Starved after a steamy Saturday afternoon spent strolling through the Great American AntiqueFest at Long Branch Park last month, we stopped at Gentile’s Pasta and Pizza Cafe for a bite before heading home.
THE VIBE: Casual, comfortable and family friendly, with an open prep area and kitchen and easy to read menu boards on he walls. It’s a quick-bite neighborhood restaurant, but cloth napkins on the tables let you know they take food and dining seriously.
THE MENU: Gourmet pizzas, pastas, salads, sandwiches and starters. The restaurant also features a $9.95 lunch buffet with pasta, pizza and dessert.
CHOWING DOWN: We love Utica Greens, so sharing a plate of Greens Gentile was a no-brainer. Amidst the escarole, we found broccoli – surprise! – along with prosciutto and plenty of garlic. The greens retained some of their integrity – they weren’t cooked to death, in other words. We would have liked them a little less wet and cut in more uniformly bite-size pieces.
From the list of “designer” pizzas with names like Armani, Fendi and Gucci, we chose the Versace ($12), a thin-crust pie topped with prosciutto, figs, arugula and goat cheese and drizzled with truffle oil. The combination of the sweet figs, salty prosciutto and slightly peppery arugula is a wonderful marriage of flavors and the goat cheese gave the pizza interesting texture without overwhelming the flavors of the other ingredients. We left with a couple slices in a take-out container, and it was just as delicious a couple days later.
WHAT’S A VEGETARIAN GOING TO FIND? Design-your-own pizzas with a variety of interesting toppings, including sundried tomatoes, pine nuts, pesto, artichoke hearts; pasta specialties like gnocchi tossed with spinach, artichoke hearts, sundried tomatoes, shiitake mushrooms & pistachio pesto cream sauce; sandwiches like grilled zucchini, squash, roasted peppers, tomatoes and basil with a avocado aioli; and interesting salads, like a spinach salad with pine nuts, tomatoes, artichoke hearts, capers, dried cranberries; orange vinaigrette dressing and grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese ($7.95).
DESSERT: A selection of gourmet cupcakes baked for the restaurant was offered, but we were too full to indulge.
LIQUID ASSETS: The cafe has a small beer and wine list, in addition to soft drinks, bottled water, etc.
DAMAGES: $40, including tax and tip, for one shared order of greens and one shared pizza, plus 3 beers.
NEXT TIME: Maybe we’ll share an order of char-grilled sambuca orange wings or “Banged Up’’ shrimp and the Gucci pizza (topped with steak, caramelized onions, basil, spinach, gorgonzola cheese and balsamic reduction). Yum.
THE DETAILS: 1349 Cold Springs Road (Route 370), Liverpool. Hours: 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Tuesday to Saturday; noon to 8 p.m. Sunday. Information: 315-457-3333.
Food trucks are everywhere in cities like New York, serving up everything from pretzels to pad Thai. In Syracuse, they aren’t as commonplace.
So a shiny new red truck, parked on the West Side of Syracuse or along Widewaters Parkway in DeWitt, really stands out.
So does the food. It’s definitely more high-end than the usual hotdogs and burgers, though one or both of those are offered most days.
Welcome to Street Eats, a mobile restaurant owned and operated by chef Steve LeClair, a seasoned pro who has worked at area restaurants for more than 20 years, including Antonio’s, Grimaldi’s Chop House and Francesca’s Cucina.
He opened the food truck, according to the Street Eats page at Yelp.com, so he could offer food with culinary flair at reasonable prices and better connect with his customers.
It’s working, so far. Even in a steady rain on a recent weekday, lunchtime diners drove up to or walked to LeClair’s food truck, previously set up outside Pulse, a fitness studio on West Fayette Street. It has now moved to a parking lot at The Gear Factory, at the corner of West Fayette and Geddes Streets.
LeClair offers about six weekly specials ($7 to $9), like Adobo Chicken Tacos (Adobo braised chicken, shredded and served on grilled flour tortillas with salsa fresca, Monterey Jack cheese and smoky chipotle lemon crema). Don’t eat meat? You can substitute portabello mushrooms for the chicken.
I ordered the El Loco sandwich ($8), a sloppy but delicious heap of Mojo braised pulled pork shoulder, piled on a grilled roll and topped with a tasty, crunchy and slightly sweet jicama-Bosc pear slaw. I ate the loaded sandwich with plastic knife and fork, out of the rain, in my car. As it was Friday, LeClair was doing brisk business with his seafood offerings: a clam boat and fried haddock.
On the side, LeClair offers hand-cut French fries with his special seasoning, red potato salad and Mexican black bean and yellow rice salad ($2).
For dessert, you’ll find cupcakes ($2.50), usually one or two flavors a day. Delicious sounding flavors like Limoncello, Red Velvet with Cream Cheese Icing and Chocolate with Peanut Butter Frosting.
The Street Eats truck can be found at two locations a couple times a week: at the corner of West Fayette and Geddes Streets (Gear Factory parking lot) and at 5786 Widewaters Parkway, in DeWitt. Hours at both locations are 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. For more information, call 315-729-6468.
When Alicyn Hart started seeing what looked like "flashing lights,'' she knew something was wrong.
A friend who's also an opthalmologist told her to go to the emergency room. Doctors ordered tests, and tests revealed she had a brain tumor. She underwent surgery at Crouse Hospital in March, and surgeons removed a large, benign brain tumor.
"I feel good,'' says Alicyn, chef and owner of Circa, a restaurant (and food market) in Cazenovia spotlighting seasonal menus that change weekly and emphasize locally sourced produce, meats, cheeses and other ingredients. "I hate to be anti-dramatic,'' she adds with a laugh. "It's been six weeks now. ... If you're gonna have a brain tumor, the tumor I had, I guess, is one of the better ones to have.''
Through it all, Alicyn has remained in high spirits and retained her signature sense of humor. The surgery itself and the medication she is taking have sapped some of her energy ("I get tired," she says) but she is on the rebound. She's back to work at Circa three days a week and hopes to return full-time soon.
Alicyn is grateful to Circa assistant chef Paul Cox and her staff, who rallied to keep Circa running in her absence, and to the Cazenovia community for its concern and support.
To celebrate her recovery and to lessen the load of her medical bills, the community is holding a “Tumor-Free, But Still A Freaking Headcase!” bash for Alicyn on Sunday at the Nelson Odeon, 4035 Nelson Road, Cazenovia. The public is invited to attend. Donations are encouraged, and will be collected at the door.
The event will be held from 1 to 5 p.m. and will feature food prepared by Circa’s Paul Cox using products from Meadowood Farm, Cazenovia and other local growers. Brewery Ommegang, Empire Brewing Co., Cafe Kubal and others will provide beer, wine, soft drinks and coffee.
Taking the stage will be John Kelsey, Tumbleweed Gumbo, Anthony Greacen, and other artists.
Celebrity chef Anne Burrell, host of Food Network’s “Secrets of a Restaurant Chef’’ and “Worst Cooks in America,’’ will be in her native Central New York this week to sign copies of her new book, “Cook Like a Rock Star.’’
First stop is the DeWitt Wegmans, on East Genesee Street, for a book signing at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 21.
On Thursday, she'll be at a place close to her heart, Flowers on Main Street in Cazenovia, for a second book signing (6 to 7:30 p.m.). The shop is owned by Anne’s mother, Marlene Burrell.
The Cazenovia book signing will be followed by a “meet and greet’’ reception with the chef and author at Circa, a restaurant and local food market at 76 Albany St.
Circa chef-owner Alicyn Hart and chef Burrell will serve Prosecco cocktails and appetizers and small plates from “Cook Like a Rock Star.’’
“The book is dedicated to her mother,’’ says Hart, a friend of Anne Burrell and her family. “So it’s a special signing, I would say.’’
Admission to the reception is $40 per person, with 10 percent of proceeds to benefit CazCares, a food pantry and clothing closet serving low-income residents of Cazenovia and Madison County. For more information on the book signing and reception, call Circa at 315-655-8768.
Burrell will also participate in the Iron Fork Syracuse fundraiser for the Rescue Mission on Jan. 29, 2012. For more information on that event, click here.