I sat down with Tracy recently and she reminded me that I needed to do another post about places I like. So, here are some of my current favorites.
Cafe at 407
I've written about 407 before. I'm actually sitting in the cafe writing this blog post, staring at the real whipped cream on top of a hot chocolate a child is drinking while waiting for the singer-songwriter to start playing. In fact, I'm sitting in an overstuffed chair on the wifi with a cup of coffee on the side table, remembering that this place raises money for a non-profit called Ophelia's Place, which deals with eating disordered youth and adults. There's a conference room in back, next to the employees' cubicles and an outpatient clinic. It's in the village of Liverpool. Go there.
Recess Coffee is celebrating their fifth anniversary this week. The cafe was packed the other night (that's where I had the aforementioned get-together with Tracy), and they are not going anywhere any time soon. Best hot chocolate in town (York, Almond Joy, peanut butter, and more), and a few really good whole-bean roasts.
Farmshed CNY is a web-based app (that is, you go to the website, you don't download it) that will find you farms, farmers markets, restaurants, breweries, dessert, bakeries and more in Central New York. The idea is to have you buying local foods, drinking local beer, and considering where you're sourcing your stuff. And also it helps you find it, by determining your location by GPS. It's awesome.
Small Potatoes Marketing
Maybe it's weird to recognize a marketing firm, but Marty at Small Potatoes works hard to get Central New York food producers distributed into bigger venues. He started as strictly a shoe leather business, and eventually let himself be talked into a blog and Twitter account, both of which he's done really well with. Look for Better Brittle, Recess Coffee and Brooklyn Salsa at the CNY Regional Market thanks to Small Potatoes, and he's worked with a bunch of other locals you're starting to see more and more places, too!
Laci's Tapas Bar
You've probably heard of Laci's by now; they've been around a couple of years. Tapas is a food presentation that features appetizer-size portions of really beautiful, frequently creative food. The menu is excellent, the service is wonderful, and they're over in a part of town you never go to. Try them out!
I had a chance last week to meet with Neil Brody Miller to talk about his new project, Farmshed CNY.
Farmshed is an iPhone app (I'm hoping there's an Android app in the future) that lets you see nearby farms, farmers markets and locally-owned restaurants. The download times are getting faster (it's a fairly large database), and Neil clued me in on a few upcoming changes, including organizing everything by distance (it's currently alphabetical) and further organizing what farms do (meat? veggies? organic?).
Neil met me at Strong Hearts, and we chatted a bit about our backgrounds. He's an old (70s-era) punk with an entrepreneurial mentality, great ideas, and a love for all the stuff that's going on here. He particularly mentioned Syracuse First and the guy who introduced us, Marty Butts of Small Potatoes.
Watch for more coming on Farmshed. If you're the iPhone sort, download the app (it's free, I'm sure you have seen it because its mobile app marketing is on point.). Here's a miniaturized version of the brochure: