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Jul 15

Oriental Star, Fayetteville

Posted on Wednesday, July 15, 2009 in Chinese, Fayetteville, Japanese, Sushi


Oriental Star
210 W. Genesee St
Fayetteville, NY 13066
315.637.0505 & 315.637.0527
menu: Menu PDF File
website: don’t have one

Tonight I went here with my former roommates. We are very fond of this restaurant. We dined in this time, usually we take out. The restaurant is both chinese and japanese, so you can get most chinese dishes, and sushi. They have a sign out front that boasts $20 all you can eat sushi. I know for a fact that this turns people off, and i have to admit i was skeptical of “all you can eat” sushi.. i pictured a sushi buffet and that idea sickened me. i went once with some coworkers and found that it was anything but a buffet. They make all your sushi to order. it’s delivered to you on a plate, just as if you were paying for each individual roll. the rules are though that you have to eat the whole plate, rice included, before you can order another plateful. The two coworkers i went with actually challenged each other and ate at least 2 plates full. it was a little bit hard to watch.

there are a few go-to menu items for me. I loooove their peanut avocado rolls. seriously, i’ve never seen them on any other sushi menu. these are a must try. i also really love their steamed vegetable dumplings, also known as yasai gyoza. they have thin skin made of spinach, and stuffed with soft vegetables. the sauce that they give you to dip them in is a variation of soy, but it has scallions in it. so delicious. i so wish i had remembered to take a photo of these… next time.


for a meal item i got bean curd pad thai tonight. It was great, it had little tiny bits of pickled ginger in it. their plate display is quite attractive too.


My former roommates got what they always get, Honey Walnut Shrimp & Chicken. They rave about the creamy sauce that the shrimp are in. Seriously, they order this EVERYTIME we eat here.. It’s got to be good.


The ambiance is casual and relaxed, the waitstaff isn’t interfering, and there is a dedicated sushi bar at the front of the store.


The bathroom also smells great. it’s very clean and it’s a single person room.


at the end of the meal they always deliver the check with a plate of oranges. yum.

Jul 12

Alto Cinco, Syracuse

Posted on Sunday, July 12, 2009 in Mexican, Syracuse


Alto Cinco
526 Westcott St
Syracuse, NY 13210
315.422.6399 or 315.472.3633
menu: from cnymenus.com (from cnymenus.com)
website: www.alto-cinco.com (didn’t work when i checked)
hours: Mon-Sat 11am-11pm, Sun 11am-10pm, Every Night 11pm-2am (limited menu)

Cathy and i went to this restaurant before our CSA planning meeting. I had been trying to make it to this restaurant for years and it just never worked out. we arrived at about 530-6pm. we were seated right away. by the time we left though the small dining room/bar was rather full. They do have outdoor seating on the sidewalk though.


They had quite a wine list, and i had a glass of Pinot Noir. it was fine, but rather pricey. i think it was 7.50 for the glass. however, our server forget to put it on our check. bonus! the server was also the bartender. the place is small enough that he could do both.


one KEY thing about the bar was that there were purse hooks. i don’t know why more bars don’t adopt this practice, who wants to put their purse, or jacket on the sticky dirty bar floor? no one.


we ordered the chips and salsa to start, cause how can you eat at a mexican restaurant without trying their salsa. i don’t really care to pay for chips and salsa, but their salsa was very good and worth the $3.25, plus he gave me a refill for when my enchilada came.


i ordered the spinach and cheese enchilada’s. i love corn tortillas, they had black beans inside, spinach, cheese and yellow rice. definitely some of the better enchiladas i’ve had so far in the CNY area. it came with a little radish/onion/lettuce garnish on the side. i was very satisfied with that mean and would totally order it again.


cath ordered a chicken quesadilla. she liked it very much. we ate all our meal and had no need to take any home.


it’s a singlet bathroom


i didn’t go to the bathroom, but Cath did, and i lent her my camera. it looks very industrial from the photos. i like the vessel sink, and the steel back splash.

all in all i had a very positive experience at alto cinco and will definitely be back there.

Mar 8

The Black Olive, Syracuse

Posted on Sunday, March 8, 2009 in Mediterranean, Syracuse

The Black Olive
316 South Clinton Street,
Syracuse, NY 13202
315.399.5599
menu: Menu PDF File
website: none at the time of this post
hours: Mon 11-3pm, Tue-Fri 11-10, Sat 5-10

I read a blog about the success of restaurant week here in syracuse, and this new restaurant caught my eye. First, because it was called The Black Olive, my favorite food, and next because the article touted that its fare was Greek, Moroccan, Spanish and Middle Eastern cuisines. i love moroccan food…

KW and i headed there on an early friday evening.. we drove around armory square forever looking for the place since i forgot to write down the address. it is on the same side of the street as Dorseys and across the M parking lot from Awful Als.

the night we were there they had just got their liquor license. they had house wines and beer.. we both got the chardonnay and were ID’d, bonus! 🙂 we sat at a tall table kind of close to the guests next to us, but not bad..


they gave us bread with oil to eat while we waited for our apps… the oil looked good, but it was really just dipping our bread in straight olive oil.. that drew attention to how bad it probably was to eat. just sponged up olive oil..


we each ordered an appetizer.. i got the tirokafteri, it was a scoop of this feta, crushed pepper and garlic mixture.. it had a total bite and was just salty enough. it came with freshly cooked and warm pita triangles. they had a little bit of oil baked into them, and were great! i really liked it. KW ordered the spanikopita. i got some with my entree and thought it was okay.. i’m not a big fan of spanikopita in general because it doesn’t have enough flavor for me.. but the presentation was nice. it looked like a giant stuffed pretzel.


our meals were quite a bit of food.. i ordered the greek classic platter, and KW got the Aegean Shrimp Salad. i wish the waiter had told me that my meal came with the appetizer i ordered… it’s a good thing i liked it, but i would have preferred to try something else as an appetizer. there were 4 spreads on my plate in addition to half a piece of spanikopita and souzoukakis which was 4 ground beef meatballs on a skewer.. they were so delicious.. too bad KW is observing Lent.. she missed out.. the spreads on my plate were hummus, tzatziki, tirokafteri, and something else that i figured was potatoes, but the waiter couldn’t identify it either. kind of strange. it tasted like garlicy liquid mashed potatoes. the tzatziki was pretty amazing though, the yogurt had a kick to it, it was like a little mouth party! the hummus was just okay, nothing out of the ordinary.. the dolmades were also just okay.


KW had the aegean shrimp salad. she said it was good.. it didn’t come with any dressing though which was strange.. but she said that when she ate the shrimp, the roasted red peppers and some lettuce all at once it didn’t really need any…


we were too full to have any dessert, but i’m not really sure they had any to offer.. i didn’t see any on the menu. i also forgot to go to the bathroom.. but i did want to point out the terrible painting on the wall that i looked at the entire meal. the idea of it was probably sound.. but the execution of the painting was not good.. it looked like a caveman painted it..

all in all i enjoyed my meal. i was disappointed that i didn’t see any moroccan recipes that i recognized on the menu. i was hoping for some tajine, or interesting couscous dishes.. this is not the place for such recipes.. next time i go i will try a emditerranean classic meal.. some of them looked delicious.

Oct 5

Juanita’s Mexican Kitchen, Liverpool

Posted on Sunday, October 5, 2008 in Liverpool, Mexican

207 Oswego St
Liverpool, NY 13088
315.478.2185
menu: PDF File
website: none that i could find
hours: efforting

my roommates and i went to this restaurant yesterday. it was the first time for all of us. we had heard rumblings that it was the best mexican in town. i googled it to see if i could find the menu, and found all kinds of those crappy review sites. luckily i read some of them because we were under the impression it was located on court street… but it has since moved to Liverpool near Heids.


the place had a large parking lot, and we found parking very easily at 530pm. when inside we got the last booth that flanked the walls. the decor is nothing fancy.. in fact it’s downright bare bones. but oddly, that always signifies better mexican food for me. maybe it’s because i feel like mexican food should be cheap and plentiful and don’t like to pay a lot for it.


there were 4 of us.. dressed very casually.. no need to wear anything fancy here. we all ordered cokes or diet cokes, they were large and the waitress brought us free refills when ours were low. we started with a half order of the nachos, and i forgot to take a picture. it was nothing special.. corn chips, a few jalapenos, and some crumbly beef melted into the cheese ontop. it also came with a plate that contained salsa, guacamole and sour cream. the salsa was great. if i go back i am skipping the nachos, and just getting chips and salsa. that was one thing this restaurant was lacking… free endless chips and salsa. you could order them for $2.50 if you wanted though. one thing i did like though was the back of the menu had a glossary of mexican food terms.


i ordered 2 enchiladas, one shredded beef and one vegetables covered in tomatilla sauce. the waitress didn’t really know what i was asking for when i asked for tomatilla, even though it was on the menu.. i had to clarify by saying green salsa, salsa verde. the vegetable enchilada had corn and zucchini in it. it was tasty, but i would get two if the shredded beef tacos next time. i swore the menu said it came with rice on the side, but mine only had shredded lettuce with a decent tasting oil/vinegar dressing ontop. it wasn’t bad, but i kind of like rice or beans with my meal.


my roommates ordered taco salads, the kind where you can eat the shell. they ordered the beef salads and were impressed with the amount of beef that was in them. they both remarked how full they were later on our drive home.

my friend got the bean and cheese burrito and had no complaints.


because i had read so much about their chocolate cake we decided to get a piece and share between the 4 of us. it had a curious cool whip typed frosting to it. it was very moist and flavorful, and i’m glad we all spilt it.. i wish i had tried the sopaipillas though…


the main thing about this restaurant for me was the inexpensive menu..

there was also a separate room at the back of the restaurant that doubled as a bar.


the bathrooms were not that great. there was a two stall room and it reeked of urinal cake. they were definitely “bar bathrooms”.

i will not rule this place out as somewhere i won’t go again, but lets just say i am still on my quest for “the best mexican” place in syracuse.

Oct 1

Sakana-ya, Fayetteville

Posted on Wednesday, October 1, 2008 in Fayetteville, Japanese

Sakana-ya
532 Towne Drive
Fayetteville, NY 13066
315.329.0080

menu: pdf file
website: none that i know of
hours: Mon-Thur 11:30-3pm, 5-10pm; Fri & Sat 11:30-3pm, 5-11pm; Sun 2-10pm

I have been to this restaurant a couple of times now. i really like it, and apparently to boost business they are now having a special happy hour deal where monday through thursday from 5-7pm they have half off all menu items (except drinks).


so anyway.. the ambiance is on the dark side, all the tables are granite and sparkly.. they have low hanging lights that make the place feel very classy. this place does not have the cool conveyor belt that the downtown location has. they have a regular menu. but the prices are very fair on their sushi. i’ve never had the entree items, so i am not sure of their prices.


this is my avocado maki. it was delicious. i’ve ordered this at least twice now and always forget to ask for them inside out


i tried this philadelphia roll off my dining partner SFs plate. i couldn’t really taste the salmon.. it was my first time consuming salmon.


this was SFs order. she thought that by “one roll” the menu meant 1 piece of maki (maki is round piece like above) one roll is generally cut into 4 pieces. so.. buyer beware.. she ended up with WAY too much for herself for lunch.. obviously.


this is what my roommates just ordered. i love sakana-yas artistic display of the rolls. on the left is the boston roll. it has shrimp, mayonnaise and lettuce.. Cath loved the lettuce inside.. she said she had never had one with lettuce inside and like the crunch it added. the middle rolls were the shrimp tempura rolls.. tempura (beer battered) shrimp rolled up in seaweed and rice. the one on the right is the sweet potato tempura roll. it is temura’d sweet potato rolled inside seaweed and rice. i really liked the sweet potato one. because the potato was deep fried and beer battered it added a crispness when you bit into the roll, i liked it.

we saw some children dining with their parents tonight. cath was a little surprised at how children love sushi.. we then joked that it was probably the area.. i would imagine that most children aren’t so privileged that they can afford exposure to sushi.

i had a glass of california chardonnay tonight that was great. i can’t remember what it was now, but it was 8.5 a glass. well worth it.

i took pictures of the bathroom the first time i was there opening week.


it was a singlette… nothing too special.


the interesting thing was for such a classy place they had a bottle of strawberry shampoo as the hand soap. i found that very odd.. again, it was the first week, but being in the same parking lot as a P&C you’d think they could run over and get some proper hand soap. it did smell good though. 🙂


this was something else that i thought was funny. the photo on the wall in the bathroom seemed so out of place. it’s a japanese restaurant, but they had a scenic cape cod beach photo. 🙂 lol. there must have been a sale at The Christmas Tree Store.

so i would highly recommend this place. tonight three of us ate on half price night and had one glass of wine, two appetizers, two sodas, and 7 maki rolls for 37.80 before tip. the dress is casual. there seemed to be people there post work, so nothing fancy, i’ve gone in jeans before as well.

Jun 26

Nothing But Noodles, Dewitt – Take 2

Posted on Thursday, June 26, 2008 in Dewitt


Nothing But Noodles
3409 Erie Blvd. East
Dewitt, NY 13214
315.445.4000
menu: Link
website: www.nothingbutnoodles.com/
hours: Mon-Sat 11-9, Sun 11-8

AMC and i ate here for lunch.. at lunch time during the week there was much more of a line of people ordering things, and just the one cashier. i think that the line would move along faster if the cashier didn’t talk as much. i think it would help if they printed the list of vegetables that are available as an add on, rather than having the cashier need to read off at least 20 items. . 🙂 but once we sat down our food came really quickly.

i ordered the sesame lo mein and added avocados, olives and onions.. in hindsight, the olives should have been let out.. kalamata olives are too strong for lo mein. but it wasn’t horrible.

AMC ordered the beef stroganoff. she said the meet was delicious, but the “sauce” needed something… it wasn’t as creamy/thick as she is used to. again, she said it wasn’t horrible, she rather liked it, but next time she would try another menu item..

we also ordered the cotton candy!! woooot! or as they call in down under, “fairy floss”.

i would also like to note that someone from the restaurant noticed that we were taking photos of our food, and wanted to know why. we told him, “the blog” of course!

Apr 18

Funk N Waffles, Syracuse

Posted on Friday, April 18, 2008 in Syracuse

funk ‘n waffles
727 S. Crouse Ave
Syracuse, NY 13210
315.477.9700
Menu PDF File
website: www.funknwaffles.com
hours: Mon-Thur 7am-1am, Fri 7am-3am, Sat 9am-3am, Sun 9am-4pm

i met my frequent dining partner SF here for lunch on a friday.. we met in the alley outside of Hungry Charlies. the restaurant is actually located right below Chucks, so you have to descend about 12 cement steps into the basement of the building.. the laid back atmosphere hits you immediately. there are small tables with no more than 4 chairs set up all over the pretty large floor. there are comfy looking sofas and chairs on the perimeter of the room. the primary lighting are table lamps.. it gives off a cozy feel. the menu is not really large.. it really seemed more of a coffee shop than a restaurant. the counter girl took my order, Falafel Waffle, and when i inquired with her about the selection of soda in the cooler she acted put off that i was asking. i decided to buy one of the old fashioned sodas no matter what flavors there were..

we sat down to chat and one of the counter workers brought our meals (milkshake and falafel waffle) to the table. i was not expecting a waffle made out of falafel mixture.. i should have been though. the waffle had a mound of diced tomatoes and cucumbers piled on top with a side of hummus. i must say the waffle itself was very dry.. and the hummus was full of dry chunks of chick pea. i was wholly disappointed.

everyone around me that was eating seemed to order the plain waffles.. and there were syrup bottles on each table, i should have taken that as a clue as i pondered my meal selection. i had to pay for parking as it was lunch time and was a little irritated, so i am not sure i will go out of my way again to eat at this establishment..

Mar 15

Nothing But Noodles, Dewitt

Posted on Saturday, March 15, 2008 in Dewitt

05

Nothing But Noodles
3409 Erie Blvd. East
Dewitt, NY 13214
315.445.4000
menu: Link
website: www.nothingbutnoodles.com/
hours: Mon-Sat 11-9, Sun 11-8

My roommates and i went to nothing but noodles on saturday. I believe the restaurant just opened. i was expecting counter service.. but we were pleasantly surprised. we were greeted in the entryway by what i would imagine was the owner or a manager. he gave us a take out menu and explained that we could look at that menu, or the wall to decide what we wanted to order. i knew i wanted to order, their pad thai noodles as i find that syracuse is lacking in some delicious pad thai. for $6.99 you order the noodles and proteins are an extra charge. i added tofu but asked if they could deep fry the tofu instead of putting in on raw and they happily accommodated me.

we placed our orders and they gave us our cups to fill ourselves in the soda machine and a laminated number to place in the holder on our table. we found our own table and got our own silverware, drinks and napkins.

it was not long before our appetizers arrived. we ordered thai lettuce wraps and cranberry spinach salad. the thai lettuce wraps were great. the chicken mixture seemed like it had water chestnuts diced up inside it. it was very tasty, a little on the salty side, but not too much. i believe it came with 5 pieces of lettuce, it was perfectly proportioned to the fillings.

my roommates got the cranberry spinach salad. it looked tasty, they remarked that it had a little bit of spicy kick to it.

we didn’t have to wait long till our meals arrived. i ordered the pad thai with tofu, it was very decent… next time i order it i think i will ask for more scallions, but the sauce was great, the noodles were good, and i am glad they were able to accommodate my fried tofu wishes.

my parents got the pad thai with steak, and spaghetti and meatballs.. the steak was very tasty i heard. the spaghetti looked great, one thing i noticed about that dish was that there was plenty of sauce. so much so that there was some leftover when he had eaten all the noodles.

the portions were very large and keeping in line with their “do it yourself” utensils, there were styrofoam containers so that you could take your own leftovers.

we didn’t have room for dessert, but i noticed that a majority of people were getting the bowl piled high with cotton candy. and for 92 cents i can understand why.

i will definitely be going back here, i was impressed with the food, the concept and the quick service.

Jan 29

Pastabilities, Syracuse

Posted on Tuesday, January 29, 2008 in Italian, Syracuse

Pastabilities
311 South Franklin Street
Syracuse, NY 13202
315.474.1153
menu: Link to website
website: www.pastabilities.com
hours: M-F 11:30-2pm cafeteria style, Sun-Tue 5-9pm, W-Sat 5-10pm

i went to pastabilities on a wednesday night and we had no problem sitting down immediately. i was immediately struck by the beautifulness of the space.

there were all sorts of neat items on the walls and the lighting was low and romantic-like. there were some leftover christmas decorations.. which was strange since it was mid january… they were stylish decorations though.

everyone at the restaurant seemed to be getting wine, so my dining partner and i also ordered wine. i had a glass of the Chianti Reserva, and she had a glass of Dr. Loosen Riesling. i wish i had ordered the Riesling.. it was crisp and slightly fruity, but still had a dry finish. perfect. the Chianti was alright… i’m not even sure that i finished it..

one of the main reasons we went to this restaurant is for the Spicy Hot Oil and bread they give you to eat while you wait for your meal. it was unlike anything i’ve ever eaten. it was pretty heavenly.. it was a plate of oil with what looked like tomato sauce floated inside.. it was so good they charge you for more.. and they sell it to go..

i was torn on which entree to buy. either the Baked Spinach and Feta Manicotti or the Broccoli, Mushroom & Spinach Lasagne. the waiter suggested the lasagne. he said that its not always on the menu, so go with that one… while we waited my dining partner and i talked about how much we enjoy stouffers vegetarian lasagne. well, pastabilities lasagne didn’t stack up.. 🙁 it was too cheesy for me. ricotta cheesy. i wish it had more tomato sauce in the lasagne itself, it also felt like it was created singularly, not as a part of a whole pan of lasagne.. it wasn’t horrible, but i wouldn’t order it again or even recommend it to anyone else.

my DP ordered the basil pesto ravioli. she seemed to like it.

the portions were large enough that we both took home about half our meals.

the bathroom was a singular room, i liked the size of it and the walls were tastefully decorated.

before we left we had to stop by the bar and check the wine list to see exactly what that delicious Reisling was….

i can’t be certain if it was the meal, or something i had eaten earlier, but halfway through “Celebrity Rehab with Dr Drew” i had a digestive emergency… could have been completely unrelated, but it’ll make me think twice about going back..

Jan 10

The Mission, Syracuse

Posted on Thursday, January 10, 2008 in Mexican, Syracuse

The Mission
304 E Onondaga St
Syracuse, NY 13224
315-475-7344
menu: Fall ’07 Menu PDF File (i believe it changes per season)
hours: Mon-Thur 11-9pm, Fri 11-11pm, Sat 5-11pm

my roommates and i went to The Mission for dinner last night to try to use my “Discount Deals” gift certificates. i bought two $25 gift certs for $25. the caveat is that they can’t be used on fridays or saturdays (believe me i’ve tried) and you can only use one at a time. this time we asked the server before and he told us that he is sorry but that is the way “Bridge Street” set them up, so that is how they have to honor them. i checked with the BSt people and they said that 99% of time it’s the businesses that set up their own rules. ugh. so frustrating… i think i’ll never buy those coupons again.

because we thought we had $50 for dinner but only had $25 we went with appetizers as our meals, instead of entrees. it ended up working out as the perfect amount of food, and gave me a chance to buy something i would not have typically ordered.

they gave us chips and salsa or some sort of tomato mixture for free to munch on before our order came to the table. whatever the dipping mixture was, it was terrible. it had no flavor, it was basically fresh watery diced up tomatoes. there were a few onion pieces in there, but they didn’t seem to lend much flavor.

i ordered a side caesar salad to start and maybe it was the cheese on top, but it was so much better than most ceasar salads i’ve had. the dressing was already on the salad (which i like) the romaine lettuce was the perfect size. i think it was the manchego cheese really made the salad.

i had the “queso do cabron” it’s grilled goat cheese wrapped in banana leaves served with tomato mint salsa and flatbread. i am a huge fan of goat cheese, and more a fan of dishes that are eaten in an alternative way (fondue, dim sum, african food). to eat it, you unwrapped the cheese and dipped the bread in the salsa and cheese. the goat cheese was warm and melty all wrapped in the banana leaves, the salsa was so much more flavorful than the table salsa that came with the chips. when you combined the warm cheese and the subtle mint salsa it made my mouth so excited it tingled. i was so glad the waiter was a huge pain and wouldn’t let us use that gift certificate, otherwise i would have overlooked this delicious appetizer.

CB ordered the quesedillas. she was reluctant since she had ordered them the last time she was there, but they were so good she had to get them again. she cooed when she took a bite and made us all taste her meal. the quesedilla was made with flour tortillas, it was cooked in such a way that the tortilla had a light flakiness about it. the description read: …filled with a mixture of roasted wild mushrooms, herbs and Chihuahua cheese… the bite i had was pure buttery goodness. i don’t typically order things with flour tortillas, because i prefer corn, but i will definitely be ordering these next time..

MB ordered the Camarones, 5 large shrimp sauteed in a fiery diablo sauce of tomatoes, onions, garlic and chipolte chilis. i am not sure how they tasted because i don’t like seafood, but they looked good enough, especially with a slice of avocado on top.

one thing i want to mention is that there was a “happy hour” of sorts going on in the bar section (which is about half of the entire space) with about 25 people and the acoustics of the room made them seem EXTREMELY loud. CB was visibly annoyed almost the entire meal. their loud rowdiness made our conversations virtually impossible.

i went to the bathroom this time, and it was a single toilet room decorated with a mexican looking sign that read “muertas” i believe. it made me check the other room just to make sure that i was going in the right one. the other door said “hombres” so i figured i was going in the right room. the room was clean enough, but it had those tacky sponge painted walls. not a fan of that type of paint job, and the toilet paper frustrating-ly would not turn off the holder. grrrr.

the food was great on the whole, it disappointed me that they wouldn’t accept that gift certificate, and that we were charged for soda refills.. but i am sure i will be back. (i do have that other gift cert to spend!)