Friday, September 30, 2011


Remember a week or so back when I promised reviews on local coffee shops?  It's okay if you forgot because I totally did too.  This morning after a short run I decided to venture down the street to Equal=Grounds, a Coffee Shop in the South Wedge at the corner of South & Caroline.

Of course I was a bit groggy from lack of caffeine and left my camera back at the house so photo credit goes to Scott LaForce.

From the outside of the building this appears to be a corner store coffee shop that appears eclectic and exciting and the inside has even more to offer.  Seating ranges from wooden tables and chairs to comfy couches in the second room and a few outdoor cafe tables.

The atmosphere is friendly and welcoming to just about everyone and everything.  I believe it is dubbed the "gay friendly" coffee shop in Rochester, NY and I most definitely got that vibe.  From the various pride flags and brochures to the people enjoying their morning cup of coffee (one man even brought his dog), it appears to be a relaxing and open environment.

I wasn't quite sure about their options for pastries and selections of the sort but I did notice an Ice Cream freezer and a chalk board with sandwiches for lunch time.  In terms of coffee and teas, there were multiple options to choose from.  I purchased a Green Tea Chai Latte (12oz for 2.85).  While the chai itself was from a mix, I didn't find it to be too heavy or creamy.  Not bad for 8am.

Overall: I would definitely check this out if you're looking for a different atmosphere and a step out of the ordinary.  It's truly unique for the area.

750 South Avenue
Rochester, NY 14620
(585) 242-7840

What's next: Coffee Connection

Thursday, September 29, 2011

A Big Wish & A Little Bread

So today I made my way over to the George Eastman House to pick up my PhotoFinish5k race packet & Bib!  How exciting, my second 5k?  I should mention that I just signed up for my second race of the semester, I was initially hoping to do 5 but thats a lot, and you should think of joining me! The East Ave Grocery Run is sponsored by Wegmans & Foodlink and all proceeds go to help the hungry in your very own Rochester, NY.

Okay though, back to Crosby's Fund and the race this Saturday, which until today I thought was Sunday.

When I picked up my awesome bib & packet today I had the chance to explore GEH for the very first time, and wow, it was amazing.  I get free full admission on Saturday and plan to take full advantage.  Photography was never really a big thing to me, besides the fact that I carried my point & shoot everywhere for "fun" pictures, but now with my DSLR I love the art.

Here's my gear for Saturday morning:

After picking up my packet I made my mom stop at the South Wedge Farmers Market.  Its situated right on the corner of Alexander & S. Clinton behind Boulder Coffee & Napa Pizza.  It is more quaint and local than the Public Market, and I surely regret not bringing my camera.  However, they have a great selection of breads, pastas, LOCAL fruits and veggies and even a few stands that support local charities.

This loaf that I am munching on now is from Flour City Bread Company.  Its a multigrain sourdough, heavy on the sour, and absolutely amazing.

Enjoy your night.

Ina Garten: Vecchia Bettola

Italian? Yes please.  I can always make room for some good italian food, especially as the weather starts getting colder.  From the last post you already know that I was at Colgate this past weekend so I figured I should share a great new recipe that we discovered.

Introducing PASTA.  Well, okay, Vecchia Bettola, a vodka type sauce that is named after the restaurant in Florence where it was invented.  While it's a bit think and heavy I do suggest trying it if you have 2-3 hours in your day to set aside to sauce making.

Adapted from Barefoot Contessa/ Ina Garten.


My personal spin on this recipe would be to decrease the amount of heavy cream and posssibly add in some greek yogurt to substitute.  I am not very fond of heavy cream and even found that the pre-cream sauce was delicious.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Heat the olive oil in a large oven proof saute pan over medium heat, add the onions and garlic and cook for about 5 minutes until translucent. Add the red pepper flakes and dried oregano and cook for 1 minute more. Add the vodka and continue cooking until the mixture is reduced by half.

Meanwhile, drain the tomatoes through a sieve and crush them into the pan with your hands. Add 2 teaspoons salt and a pinch of black pepper. Cover the pan with a tight fitting lid and place it in the oven for 1 1/2 hours. Remove the pan from the oven and let cool for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook the pasta al dente. Drain and set aside.
Place the tomato mixture in a blender and puree in batches until the sauce is a smooth consistency. Return to the pan.

Reheat the sauce, add 2 tablespoons fresh oregano and enough heavy cream to make the sauce a creamy consistency. Add salt and pepper, to taste, and simmer for 10 minutes. Toss the pasta into the sauce and cook for 2 minutes more. Stir in 1/2 cup Parmesan. Serve with an additional sprinkle of Parmesan and a sprinkle of fresh oregano on each plate.

Yum, right?

Chocolate Train

This past weekend I drove myself down to Hamilton, NY to visit Brendan and his friends at Colgate.  I feel silly calling them his friends since I have known then for as long as he has but clearly not as well since I come and go so often.  Besides the usual weekend college activities we accompanied John and Ali, two amazing people who I cannot get enough of, to the local farmers market.  The farmers market sets up in the middle of town amidst a fountain and lovely trees in the middle of the main town area.  This past weekend they were celebrating a Chocolate Train Festival.  Now I am not quite sure what that means since I did not actually see a chocolate train but there were most definitely many things to taste and purchase.

If you're ever in Hamilton, NY check out Maxwells Chocolate.  It reminds me of an old world candy shoppe that serves up the most amazing shakes (We shared a chocolate coffee/ expresso one).  Of course I had to bring my camera and take a few pictures along the way:

Brendan took the photo below of a little boy that was beyond fascinated with this train set and turn tables or something.  He was so cute! Side note, we drove to Sherbourne the next day (another VERY small town in rural "upstate" New York) and this kid was sitting down to breakfast with his dad.  SO yes, let me emphasize the VERY SMALL town.

The town surrounding Colgate is beautiful and I have been in love with it since the first time I visited when Brendan was a freshman.  It seems so long ago! 

In any case, Fall Break is quickly approaching and we are all heading up to Brendan's house on Bisby. Its going to be so nice to get away and spend time with both him and his friends.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Cream and Sugar? Neither.

I love ordering coffee drinks at locations that do not specifically cater to self proclaimed coffee connoisseurs such as myself.  Ordering a specific flavor of coffee (not latte, I mean flavored bean) and having them ask if you would like "cream AND sugar" is more of an insult to coffee expertise than anything.  Then the barista or whomever is working the counter quietly slugs off to fill your cup of brew while they have this puzzled look about them as if coffee should not be appreciated for its amazing flavor but should be distorted and altered to save the stomach from medical atrocities such as ulcers.

Needless to say, I love a nice cup of Joe in the morning and am working on the whole expresso shot thing.  I can barely muster the strength to drink a latte, one because i'm lactose intolerant, and two it just ruins the taste and aroma of the actual coffee itself.  I will not lie to you though, I do have my weak moments of needing a Mocha on a chilly afternoon or a skinny vanilla latte.

As you already know, I am living in the South Wedge this semester and have yet to fully explore the shops and area just a block or so down the street from my house.  So, to make sure I do, I am creating a list of coffee shops (both in the wedge and elsewhere in Rochester) that I plan to visit over the coming weeks.  Reviews will most definitely be posted.

The List:
1. Java's
2. Coffee Connection
3. Equal Grounds
4. Spot Coffee
5. Muddy Waters
6. Jembatat
7. Boulder Coffee*

*- Already visited but plan to return for full review.

Hopefully more will follow if I discover them anytime soon.

Monday, September 19, 2011


Now that I am officially back in the swing of blogging I should mention that I am finally running in another 5k.  I should also mention that this race is a week from this coming Sunday (a little less than 2 weeks away).  While this may seem to be nothing compared to the half marathon and marathon hosted in Rochester this past weekend, the race is for more than self satisfaction and pride.

The George Eastman House "PhotoFinish 5k" is a philanthropy run in which runners raise money and support their favorite cause.  While participants were able to create their own cause on a website known as (used for raising funds), they were also given the opportunity to join a cause already started.  I chose Crosby's Fund since the cause really stuck out to me for multiple reasons.

The fund is supported by the Wish List Society, a group of young professionals associated with the Wilmot Cancer Center that came together in hopes of raising money for a "wish list" compiled of ideas from various sources.  One of these wishes is Crosby's Fund- a seed grant in pediatric research with a goal of finding effective treatment for pediatric cancer patients.

I have lost track of how many runners are supporting Crosby's Fund but the group as a whole has raised over $136,000.  I would love for you to inform yourself and to learn more about The Wish List Society and to help raise money for Crosby's Fund.  If you would like to join this cause, please feel free to donate at:

Lazy Sundays

So this past weekend was pretty eventful, at least Sunday was.  Well okay friday and saturday night weren't too bad either since I had a girls night & then went out to a Ballet Performance Group (BPG) wine night and then made my way to the frat quad afterwards.

However, the best part of the weekend was (a) being completely overwhelmed by the new Forever 21 and (b) having a cooking/baking extravaganza on sunday with my housemates.  

To begin with Forever 21 I would have to say that the new Eastview location is a ridiculously huge space.  Being as exhausted as I usually am on weekend mornings I ended up lost from the rest of my housemates and wandered amlessely throughout the store.  While it does have some perks of being divided into various sections including "basics" and "club" wear, there are multiple racks strewn in the middle of the walking aisles in which I found myself losing direction and my mind.

I woke up Sunday morning at noon after sleeping on my friends couch on campus and had absolutely no clue what I wanted for breakfast.  To be honest I could have gone with a cup of coffee and have been set for the day but my mother instructed me that I cannot wither away to nothing while living on my own.  I intuitively whipped out my recipe book and grabbed my favorite "dutch pancake" recipe, which has now been dubbed as something similar to flan.  I have never actually had flan so I couldn't tell you.

The recipe itself is quite simple and only requires 4 ingredients:

1 cup flour
1 tbsp sugar
1 1/4 cup milk
2 eggs

(1) Blend ingredients together ( I personally prefer to whisk the eggs prior to adding other ingredients in hopes of creating a fluffy texture).
(2) melt 2 tbsp of butter in pie dish in oven (at 350).
(3) when melted, swirl the dish to coat.
(4) pour batter in dish & bake at 350 for 30 minutes.

Sounds good, right?

Thats not all, my housemates were testing out some recipes of their own, including homemade pasta & perogies.  I do not have the recipe for either but I assume the pasta recipe was found online somewhere and the perogie recipe is some secret recipe from Ukraine.

Pasta making:

I am going to test this out myself once I purchase some semolina flour (used for italian baking, it is a finer more refined flour) and get back to you on a good recipe.

and finally, here is my first homemade pierogie.  The filling is currently sitting in our fridge while the pierogies freeze and wait to be eaten!

Hope everyone has a great week :)

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

A Little Logic & A Little Casserole

From my last post you may have been able to tell that I am lacking in any sort of creativity during my free time.  This may be due to a serious excess of time after classes or the fact that we are only into the third week, but phew, what a relief from last least for a little while.  If you have trouble remembering back to last semester, I was a bit of a trainwreck in the sense that I lived in the library (religiously) and very seldom went anywhere else including on weekends.  Oh well, the past is the past.

Last night I managed to make a rather quick and easy rendition of a family favorite. Chicken Broccoli Rice Casserole (The Healthy Version).

1 pkg Uncle Bens Long grain wild rice
1 pkg frozen broccoli
1/4 cup butter (you can leave this out)
1 med onion chopped
2 celery stalks chopped
1 can water chestnuts diced
2 cups COOKED chicken diced
1 can mushroom soup (low-sodium)
6oz plain greek yogurt
1 cup shredded cheddar
1/2 cup milk
1/2 tsp lemon juice

1.) completely cook rice and add to oven save dish along with greek yogurt, mushroom soup and milk.
2.) meanwhile, cook chicken as desired (broil,bake, pan sear) and add broccoli, onion and celery to saute pan.
3.) once completely cooked and heated add to casserole dish.
4.) lightly mix ingredients
5.) Bake covered @350 for 30 - 45min.  Add desired cheddar cheese on top and finish baking (uncovered) for 5min.

Let sit for 5 min so that contents solidify and serve :)

I will advise you to NOT purchase instant rice but instead actually put a good few minutes into cooking the real thing because it makes all the difference.
Also, if you're trying to be healthy use low-sodium (LS) or no-salt-added (NSA) mushroom soup.  I found that both the combination of instant rice & normal mush. soup was too salty and took away from the flavor I love.

This is also perfect for freezing and refrigerating for a few days!

I mulled over some logic reading while eating my casserole.  Our professor for this class is a bit nutty to say the least but all in all knows how to teach a lecture hall of 40 freshman and a few of us upperclassmen.  The course itself is interesting and the book isn't half bad but as you can see, getting used to letters and symbols will be a bit of a challenge.  I am not looking forward to actual compound sentences and truth tables.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Taxi Driver.

Taxi Driver.

Updates Updates. I have been promising Cara & Maureen for weeks now that I would do another post.  I haven't even been that busy yet but still blogging has taken a backseat to the rest of my daily activities.  So the question is, where to begin?

First of all, I absolutely love Rochester and my housemates.  They are all so different but amazing all the same.  Did I mention they are ridiculously fun and crazy?  Just what I need to loosen up a bit and enjoy college life.

Liana and Caitlin are in this kick ass a cappella group on campus known as "After Hours," please check them out on YouTube or FB and you will agree with me 100% or else you're completely tone deaf and have no taste in a cappella music.

This is turning into the post with a million stories but hey 23409823048 for the price of 1 is never bad?  The title, taxi driver, has a story behind it I promise.  Let me get there.  My first weekend here I actually went out with Mandy and Brad at RIT.  I found their security to be a bit too tight for my liking (theirs too) and we ended up only being out for about a half hour...nonetheless it was still a great time with my munchy and we of course added some photos to our family album (sorry carolyn we need a raggedy ann doll to bring with us next time).

we're a little strange together but it works.  She was rather happy that I actually went out and I need to return the favor to her soon by inviting her to UR.

The night ended with an obnoxious taxi driver who initially hung up on my call because he thought I was a typical college girl who had too much to drink and needed a ride.  Well did I show him.  After the third call he finally decided to come get me in his mini-van but forgot where I was.  Thanks UR for supporting this taxi company (at least I got the 30% off discount).  Just kidding.  I actually ended up talking to him the entire ride home and explained that I am a local and super talkative late-nighter.  If he had just simply answered my calls in the first place we could have started off on a better note.  Anyways, first ROC taxi experience is checked off my to-do list and in the end it wasn't half bad.
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