Author Archive

Nolan’s on Canandaigua Lake

May 6, 2011

Last Sunday, my girlfriend Ryan and I were coming back to Canandaigua from a weekend at her parents. It was kind of a special afternoon, being that we started dating a year ago to the day. We caught a matinee movie at Canandaigua Theatres and were looking for a place to enjoy a nice and quiet dinner. Anyone that dines out often knows that Sundays are tough. Most places are closed and the ones that are in fact open, you just don’t feel like going to! I heard about a new restaurant that just opened, Nolan’s on Canandaigua Lake… So I figured, let’s try it.

View from Lakeshore Drive

View from Lakeshore Drive

Nolan’s is on Lakeshore Drive in Canandaigua and for those that are familiar with the area, it is in the same building that once housed Kellogg’s Pan Tree Inn. When you walk in, you definitely feel the history of the place. If you aren’t familiar with Kellogg’s, it was a Canandaigua mainstay for years and years. I spent my summers as a child eating breakfast there almost every week with my family. The breakfasts were amazing, as were the cookies, but best of all were the homemade cinnamon rolls. Ask anyone who dined at Kellogg’s over the years, and they will tell you these cinnamon buns are the best they’ve ever had! But, enough about cinnamon rolls … for now.

Sometimes you go to a brand new restaurant and you experience what one may call “growing pains.” You know – the service is slow, the servers have no idea what is on the menu, the food comes out cold, etc. All too often I experience this scenario, but I assure you, I experienced no such thing at Nolan’s on Canandaigua Lake.

My first dinner at Nolan’s was exceptional. We started the evening off with a bottle of Heron Hill Riesling. In addition to Heron Hill, there are wines from Dr. Konstantin Frank and Hazlitt. They also have Naked Dove Brewing Company beers!

The menu is diverse, with seafood, steaks, pasta, chicken sautés and light fare like burgers and sandwiches. Figuring out what to order was no easy task. We pondered it for quite a while until I ended up with Asiago Scallops and Ryan went with the Chicken French. We’ll have to come back again soon because the Riesling Festival Chicken sounded delicious and we’ll have to try a steak, as all Nolan’s beef is certified angus and wet aged for 28 days.

I had a house salad to start and Ryan had a wedge salad, which was phenomenal. The Asiago Scallops were large, and served over a bed of tomato bruschetta and topped with melted Asiago. Let’s just say there were no leftovers from me! Ryan’s Chicken French was just as good and there was certainly no need for a knife, the chicken was so tender it was like cutting through butter.

At this point we were stuffed, and couldn’t even think about dessert. But, I figured we should at least hear what they have. Our server told us about the signature dessert, an original recipe Kellogg’s cinnamon roll served a la mode. I was sold! I later found out from Nick Violas, the owner of Nolan’s, that the Kellogg family was nice enough to give them the original recipe.

It was everything I remembered it to be and as soon as a tried it, I felt a bit of nostalgia that is hard to explain. I was brought back to being four years old, holding my mom’s hand as we walked into Kellogg’s. I was brought back to my summers swimming in Canandaigua Lake and boating with my father. It’s quite amazing how tastes, sights and sounds can trigger memories. For me, the cinnamon roll and Nolan’s was a subtle reminder of what I love so much about the Finger Lakes.

Nolan’s on Canandaigua Lake is brand new, but its unique nod to Finger Lakes history makes it feel like it’s been here forever. I walked out of the restaurant and directly to my left was Canandaigua Lake. It was then I came to the conclusion that I couldn’t have asked for a better Sunday night dinner in the Finger Lakes. We’ll certainly be heading back soon.

Spring’s Wild Water Derby

April 28, 2011

It’s true.

Wild Water Derby pirates

It’s happening.

Spring is coming to the Finger Lakes. The buds are popping, the grass is now really, really green and growing and we have had our fair share of April Showers*.  Looking for one more sure sign of spring? That would have to be the Shortsville/Manchester Wild Water Derby – one of the largest paddling events in the northeast.

The Wild Water Derby is a local tradition in the spring. It all takes place along the Canandaigua Outlet  which flows north from the outlet of Canandaigua Lake all of the way to the Erie Canal. [get directions to the event]

The Wild Water Derby includes two days of (cold) water, racing, food, music, paddling, kayaks, rafts, some pirates and having a ton of fun. Teams can put in hours planning and constructing their rafts, because many ‘water vehicles’ at this race are home-made.  The homemade raft portion of the weekend is where the teams get “extra” points for creativity and humor, and it is a spectator favorite. Although it is considered a “racing” event, the number one priority is having a good time.

* SPECIAL NOTE: The Wild Water Derby is RESCHEDULED for MAY 21 & 22, 2011 – in the interest of participant and spectator safety.

Click here to see a short video created two years ago at the Wild Water Derby. “AJ checks out Manchester and interviews some of the teams before and some after ‘the Run’.”

Maple Sugar Weekends in the Finger Lakes

March 27, 2011

Spring is here (well, according to the calendar) and that means the sap is flowing! Every year, two weekends in March are proclaimed “Maple Weekend” by the NYS Maple Producers. Maple producers around the state open their facilities to the public for tours, tastings, pancake breakfasts and more!
We decided to visit the newest member in our area – Wohlschlegel’s Naples Maple Farm at 8064 Coates Road, high atop the hills surrounding Naples. Their maple syrup is made in a new barn-style building, and the view from there is absolutely spectacular. It’s a family business, with three generations lending a hand, along with friends and neighbors. We sampled maple syrup and maple cream, and toured the production facility. I learned that they collect sap from 4200 taps, and that it takes 40 gallons of sap to make ONE gallon of syrup. There were lots of people there, young and older, families and couples – everyone enjoying the outdoors. We bought a bottle of syrup, and headed for home – taking the scenic route, of course!

Submitted by Rebecca Donovan

Red Dove Tavern in Geneva, NY

February 11, 2011

A group of us met at The Red Dove Tavern in Geneva last week.  Although I had heard great things, I had not been there before.  We had the best winter weather lunch! I had a field green salad, followed by an excellent beef stew served over horseradish smashed potatoes – delish!

The restaurant is cozy and casual, with a chalkboard menu that changes daily.  We talked with the owner, Rune Hilt, who says he gets his menu inspirations from the abundance of locally available foods. Rune, originally from the Philadelphia area, told us about his first visit to the Finger Lakes – it was a “scenic detour” on a trip from Philadelphia to Buffalo. Rune and his partner came back to visit the Finger Lakes several times, and when they were ready to open their own restaurant, they immediately thought of Geneva.

Seneca Lake and Hobart and William Smith Colleges were two pluses, along with the availability of local food and wine. Rune talked about his great relationships with Normal Bread, Red Jacket Orchards, Billsboro Winery and White Springs Winery. The Red Dove Tavern has installed a wine-on-tap system – a new innovation. Only a few local wineries are putting wine in kegs, but Rune is hoping that more will follow.  I, for one, am very happy that Rune and his partner chose Geneva as home for The Red Dove Tavern!

Submitted by Rebecca Donovan

Family Christmas Shopping

December 20, 2010

This year, I will be going to my girlfriend’s family’s house for Christmas. Her sister lives in Philadelphia and we are all going there.  I have been trying to figure out what to get her sister and brother-in-law for Christmas and I figure what better than to bring the Finger Lakes to Philadelphia?

F. Olivers Olive Oil

I am thinking about going to Naked Dove Brewery and getting a growler of their new beer for her brother-in-law; then some olive oils and vinegars from F. Oliver’s on Main Street in Canandaigua; and possibly taking a trip to Artizanns in Naples to buy some locally made gifts.  Those really embody the spirit of the Finger Lakes. Maybe I’ll also make a stop at the Wizard of Clay for some nice dishware for the kitchen. Actually, we could even use it later in the day on Christmas when we eat dinner.  I was also thinking of Inspire Moore Winery, which has a wine called “Joy” –  perfect for the holiday season.  What more could you want than to inspire Joy during the Christmas holidays?  With my shopping complete, I will head to Sweet Expressions and have Denise put it all into a nice gift basket, along with some locally made chocolates, and present that to the family at Christmas.

Another great idea is to buy local products and bunch them as a breakfast.

Bringing the Finger Lakes to Philly

Grab some buckwheat pancake mix, maple syrup, Hartmann’s sausage, Finger Lakes Coffee Roasters coffee and literally create a breakfast.  Add some Healthy Purple grape juice and that completes another great gift from the Finger Lakes.

Submitted by AJ Shear