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Food for Thought

Rochester Regional Culinary Suggested Tour

Rochester, NY

Awaken your senses. Indulge your passion for food and cooking as you never have before. And do it all in Rochester, New York, a food-lover's paradise! This tour features an array of innovative culinary offerings and cooking demonstrations, as well as a glimpse into Rochester's diverse cultural areas. Add an optional winery tour with wine tasting to experience Upstate New York's award-winning wines.

Day 1

Begin your visit to the world of food in the Greater Rochester region at the home of Jell-Oin LeRoy, NY.  This small upstate community is the birthplace of Jell-O and they have created a special museum that gives visitors a look into the past and how all the wiggly magic began.  The museum has a fabulous gift shop where you will find unique Jell-O souvenirs.

Next: Take a short drive east to the village of Mumford to visit Genesee Country Village and Museum (Seasonal May-October).  Look back in time to a simpler way of life as costumed interpreters cook different foods according to the era in which each home existed, from 1820 through the 1880 - long before meals were cooked on a Viking range.  The village is alive with colorful characters going about the day- to-day activities of living in the 1800s in western NYS. 

Delight your taste buds with a visit to Tasteful Additions in Rochester, where you will sample and learn about special pairings.  Tasteful Additions features gourmet oils imported from the Mediterranean Region, balsamic vinegars and salts.   Enticing flavors like white truffle, Swiss mushroom or mushroom sage, are what takes food to another level.

Check in - hotel  

Dinner tonight at Pier 45(Seasonal May- August)- Located on Lake Ontario and the Genesee River overlooking the Rochester Yacht Club, Pier 45 is the perfect setting for upscale waterfront dining and cuisine, featuring flavors of the season, including the best local ingredients.  This restaurant has been voted "four stars" for ambiance, food, group dining and overall experience by Diner's Choice. 

Top the evening off with a visit to Abbott's Frozen Custard, just around the corner from Pier 45 and across the street from the beach. A food critic once said an Abbott's Frozen Custard stand is "where God gets his ice cream."  The "lore" of Abbott's Frozen Custard dates back to 1902, when a young Arthur Abbott, traveling with small carnivals along the eastern seaboard, began perfecting his recipe for a frozen concoction we know today as frozen custard.

Take a stroll along the boardwalk at Ontario Beach Park and ride the fully restored 1905 Denzel Menagerie Carousel nicknamed "the Duchess".  This carousel has the distinction of being one of only fourteen operating antique menagerie carousels in the US and one of the few that remains in its original location.

Day 2

Enjoy Breakfast and shopping at the Rochester Public Market  - Open Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays.   Voted America's Favorite Farmers Market in 2010 by the annual Farmer's Market Contest, sponsored by America's Farmland Trust. The contest measures love for markets around the country, as voted by the fans.  Be sure to bring your market bag-- because no one ever leaves here empty handed!

Lunch Options in the City of Rochester include: 

La Tea Da Tea Room - Step into a Victorian tearoom and parlor.  Meet your "Nippie" and sample the many specialties of the house.  This tearoom is famous for their homemade scones with Devonshire cream.  Special arrangements for group lunches and dinners.

Dinosaur Bar-B-Que - Dinosaur Bar-B-Que is acclaimed nationally as some of the best barbeque food in the country, including "Number 1 BBQ" on Good Morning America and featured on the Food Network and Travel Channel.  Enjoy specialty sauces, spice rubs, fresh homemade, quality ingredients and genuine hospitality.

Pomodoro's - Locally owned since 1994, Pomodoro's uses only unbleached, unbromated flour in its breads and pizzas, natural produce, meats organically grown by local farmers, raw sugar and sea salt in its ingredients.  Its menu is Mediterranean-inspired and both its locations feature dining on beautiful decks and patios.

Salena's - Since 1994, Salena's has prepared regional Mexican cuisine handed down from a Mexican family.  The Cantina has over 130 different tequilas, Mexican beers, and notorious margaritas.  The menu features many Mexican favorites and regional dishes.


Visit the George Eastman House, the world's oldest museum dedicated to photography and one of the world's oldest film archives.  A national historic landmark, the museum opened to the public in 1949.  The museum is located in and around the mansion built by George Eastman, the founder of Eastman Kodak.  The Caféis open during museum hours and features some of the best Italian gelato in Western, NY. 

If chocolate is your pleasure -- it is hard to beat the local family-owned chocolatier, Stever's Candies.  For over half a century, chocolates have been made fresh every day in small batches using Doug Stever's original recipes and only the finest ingredients.  Seasonal favorites include chocolate covered raspberries and strawberries. 

Make a visit to Wegmans in suburban Pittsford - Rochester's locally owned food store chain spans five states and has emerged as a national leader in innovation and imagination.  On any given day, you can partake in a cooking demo given by one of Wegman's award winning chefs -- or perhaps treat yourself to French pastry freshly prepared in the Gourmet Pastry Shop.

Wegmans sponsors many festivals during the year, including the Foodlink Festival of Food,held annually in September.  Sample from over 100 local restaurants, wineries and breweries.  This festival supports Foodlink, the regional food bank.  

Dinner Dine at Upstairs Bistro at the New York Wine and Culinary Center (NYWCC) in Canandaigua, NY at the head of one of the captivating Finger Lakes. 

The NYWCC is an interactive culinary experience designed to delight your senses and expand your appreciation of New York State's incredible food and wine.  The center is an educational experience and experiential gateway to New York State's incredible wine, food and culinary industries.  Groups can partake in a chef's demonstration in the amphitheater or perhaps a unique hands-on cooking class.  While there, visit the seasonal garden and culinary gift boutique.

Other Dinner Options in the City of Rochester:

Beale St Café - Enjoy authentic Cajun style cuisine and award winning BBQ.  Add a note of Blues music and every day is Mardi Gras!

Bamba Bistro - Excite your appetite with award winning wines and the best quality in food and service in a beautifully restored building.

Tournedos - Enjoy the best steak and seafood on a daily basis in a friendly atmosphere - fish flown in from Hawaii on a daily basis and only the best in house-dried aged beef.

Mario's - "At Mario's, you're not just a customer, you are my special guest."  Mario and Flora Daniele were born in Castelnuovo, Italy in the Abruzzi region and they have brought hometown classic Italian cuisine to Rochester, from antipasti to homemade soups to classic, old school pasta specialties.

Day 3

Breakfast at Jines Restaurant on Park Avenue. Located in the cultural and historic Park Avenue area of Rochester, the popular Jines Restaurant serves breakfast all day long - seven days a week.  You can order any type of omelette imaginable, eggs with style and all kinds of Belgian waffles and hotcakes.

Shop on Park Avenue-- featuring gift shops such as legendary Parkleigh "Pharmacy" specialty gift shop.

A visit to Rochester would not be complete without a stop at Casa Larga Vineyards.  In 1974, Andrew Colaruotolo started Casa Larga Vineyards as a hobby, seeking to produce wine reminiscent of wines produced by his family's vineyard in Gaeta, Italy.  Today, Casa Larga Vineyards is proud of its tradition of excellence - producing high quality, award-winning wines, and growing to be one of the leading wine producers in New York's Finger Lakes Region. Open daily for wine tastings.  The helpful and knowledgeable staff in the wine shop will gladly give you pointers on popular wine pairings.     

Lunch  Dine family-style at        Biaggi's Ristorante Italiano, located in the fashionable Eastview Mall. 

It's time to head for home.  Wherever your journey takes you, have a Bon Voyage and Bon Appétit!

Design your visit around one of the many food festivals in the Rochester region:

Rochester Rib Fest - Taste of Rochester - Festival of Food - Oktoberfest

The following festivals feature ethnic foods:

Greek - Italian - Polish - Ukranian - Puerto Rico - CariFest

Visit http://www.visitrochester.com/ for dates and details.