staying in rochester : sticky lips

Get ready to throw things:

I’ve lived in Rochester for almost 8 years now (OH MY WORD?!) and until last weekend…I had never been to Sticky Lips BBQ.

It’s a true story. It’s a sad story.

But no more! The rents and I visited on Father’s Day. I’m sure it was the first of many visits.

Really sure.

First things first, the atmosphere is perfect. It’s just fun to be inside, packed with retro signs and magazines from floor to ceiling without being overwhelming. And then you get the menu…

where to begin?! It’s HUGE.

We began with fried pickles to see what all the fuss was over. No discredit to Sticky Lips, but we didn’t utter much fuss. Maybe we’re just not a fried pickles family.

But that’s just fine because it allowed extra room for the real star of the show. Original Pulled Pork with Cajun Corn and Sweet Potato Fries:

Um, yes.

The sandwich was awesome. I’m more of a sauce-in-my-meat rather than sauce-on-my-meat kind of girl, but that was easily remedied with the huge selection of bottled sauces available on the table right alongside the ketchup and mustard.

The sides…oh, the sides! Because there was just so much goodness to sample we all decided to get one different side so we could try a bunch. I got the Cajun corn – a solid decision. My mom’s baked beans were top notch. But my dad struck gold with the cheddar grits. These grits were the stuff that dreams are made of. These grits made me want to say y’all and move south just for the opportunity to further bond with all things grits.

I’d go back again just for the grits.

And the sweet potato (three tries to spell potato just now, in case you were wondering) fries? AMAZING! I think they were tossed in a cinnamon sugar mixture, and they liked it. I did too.

The dessert list was tempting, but ultimately we were too full to say yes. Another reason to go back.

If you’re in the Rochester area, don’t wait 8 years to visit Sticky Lips. You’ll wake up in the middle of the night murmuring about cheddar grits and missed opportunities and wondering how early is too early for sweet potato fries.

staying hungry [nc series] : southern food tour

Well y’all…I did it up right food-wise in the South.

Would you expect anything less?

The soul food train started rolling in the right direction with a classic staple:

Stop #1: Southern fried chicken with applesauce, fried okra, and two buttery biscuits from Mama Dips.

I think I can still feel that brick in my stomach…but oh my word…it was so worth it. I’ve been dreaming of that chicken ever since.

Next was straight to Stop #2, Locopops. Because what better to add to a stomach brick than a layer of ice cream?

This one was AMAZING. Mexican Chocolate, you have my heart.

But as for pure, unadulterated love? That goes to Jubala, Stop #3, and home of one of the best cups of coffee I’ve ever had in my coffee-lovin’ life.

But wait, there’s more! They serve food too! This granola yogurt was good, but I think I have to make a trip back just to try one of their pressed sandwiches (oh my word, the PB&J…).

Never one to leave well enough alone, I went back to Locopops because I couldn’t stop thinking about this Pineapple Basil concoction.

It was a good decision.

Which brings us to Stop #4. I think I could do an entire post on A Southern Season, a mecca for fans of all kinds of culinary wonders. Just to prolong the experience, I decided to have lunch at their attached restaurant, Weathervane.

The chicken salad…it was calling out to me. And I’m so glad I answered. It was over-the-top amazing! And sweet potato fries? One can never go wrong with sweet potato fries.

Unpictured Stop #5: Chick-fil-A. And lots of it!

(Regret: I wish I had tried one of their new cookies. But perhaps, along with the milkshake, that would have been a tad overzealous.)

I knew that after an exhilarating three days in the South I’d need some special fuel to drive North on the fourth. So at Stop #6 I ordered a black iced coffee with a shot of espresso from Caribou Coffee. As far as iced coffees go, it was standard. I appreciated the bold assistance offered up by the espresso. The ambiance probably enthralled me more than the coffee.

At Stop #6.5…I ordered up an iced triple tall caramel macchiato from Starbucks with my free birthday coupon! The fact that I drank one iced coffee, four shots of espresso, and over 2 liters of water and only stopped to use a restroom twice in a 12 hour drive is a testament to years of building up bladder endurance. Admissions travel and cross-country road trip – I’m looking at you.

Ok, people…let’s talk about Stop #7. This was clearly the way to go out with a bang: a chicken biscuit from Sunrise Biscuit Kitchen.

Don’t let it’s unassuming looks deceive you…this breakfast beauty packs a wallop like no other and leaves you wanting more! Oh…SO much more! It’s a good thing I stopped here last because otherwise I would have been tempted to have all of my meals between biscuits.

Alas. all good things must come to an end. Sometimes for your gastrointestinal system’s sake.

Which is why I woke up to this on Sunday morning:

Time to pay the seamstress piper.

staying in rochester : birthday weekend food tour

I celebrated my birthday over the weekend. And by celebrated, I mean I ate an abundance of really good food with a lot of really good people.

OH…the abundance!

In highly uncharacteristic fashion…I didn’t photography ANYTHING that I ate. Who am I?! I’ll return to normalcy next time around, but for now, enjoy the logos and website links!

Here’s how it all went down:

Thursday:

Location: Napa Wood Fired Pizza

Napa

Order: The Medusa (wood-fired pizza with basil pesto, goat cheese, the Napa cheese blend, figs, and caramelized onions instead of pineapple)

Friday:

Location: Yotality

Order: Vanilla, Pink Lemonade, and Pomegranate Frozen Yogurts with Toppings

Location: Dogtown

Dogtown - Where the best hot dogs live

Order: The Schnauzer (traditional dog with sauteed onions and brown mustard)

Location: Yotality (Round Two)

Order: Peanut Butter and Chocolate Frozen Yogurt with Toppings

Location: Village Bakery (full post coming soon…this place stole my heart!)

Order: Farm Table Salad (organic greens, carrots, tomatoes, avocado, goat cheese, croutons, nuts, lemon vinaigrette), the Daybreaker (espresso, steamed milk, honey, vanilla simple syrup, cinnamon sprinkles) (OH MY WORD.)

And…there’s still a trip to Simply Crepes left for next weekend! Does life get any better?

Here’s to good food and extended celebrations!

staying in rochester : yotality

There was a time when I was not in love with frozen yogurt.

That time seems so distant now.

It started with Pinkberry in San Diego. Then it was 16 Handles during visits home. And now…

…it’s Yotality.

With 18 flavors of frozen yogurt and about three times as many toppings, it’s safe to say that I’ll be visiting our new little self-serve frozen yogurt paradise frequently.

Actually, it’s beyond safe to say. You can go ahead and say it. Because I’ve already been three times since they opened.

Last Friday.

(And while you’re saying things, you can also offer condolences to both my bank account and my wardrobe. They may suffer some of the more unfortunate consequences of this budding relationship.)

Seriously, ice cream is one of my favorite things about life. But since my other favorite thing is not becoming morbidly obese, I can’t eat it as often as I’d like. Which is why frozen yogurt is my BFF. It’s hardly guilt-free – there’s plenty of sugar and preservatives and artificial dyes to make it a less-than-ideal choice – but it’s at least a better option, especially at Yotality since most of the frozen yogurt flavors are either nonfat or lowfat and have between 80-120 calories per 1/2 cup. And then you have the added bonus of all of the healthy stuff already in yogurt – calcium, protein, probiotics, etc. So it’s really a decent dessert choice!

Really. Which is why I should totally go back again right now. Right?

I’m glad you agree.

beka stays in rochester : good smoke bbq

This is Ashley.

She had the tall order of choosing between 8,000 different restaurants for our get together over the weekend because I make decisions about as well as I walk gracefully.

So… not very successfully. At all.

But luckily she’s a woman after my own heart and made a decision based on the dessert menu. Nicely done, Smash.

We went to Good Smoke BBQ in East Rochester, a practically brand new brick-and-mortar from a team that’s been traveling around winning BBQ competitions for years.

(FYI: the address is 326 West Commercial, not 376. If you accidentally put 376 into your GPS you will arrive about a block south of your desired location and wonder where in the world you are.)


In another feat of great decision making, Ashley ordered this turkey sandwich which was basically Thanksgiving on overdrive. Her reviews were very positive.

I opted for the pulled pork sandwich: kiddie size.



Or more aptly described: fat kiddie size.

But OH MY LAND was it ever amazing! Great smoky flavor, just enough sauce, and really crisp slaw. What more can you ask for from BBQ?

Hiding out in the back of the photo is the best cornbread I’ve ever had. Crunchy on the outside and SO moist on the inside – not dry at all like cornbread can be sometimes. And not pictured but equally delicious: a side of smoked potato salad. Wonderful.

And of course, the reason we gathered together in sisterly love at Good Smoke, the Gooey Bar:

That right there is a vanilla gooey bar topped with a banana caramel sauce and smoked bacon.

Bacon!

It was too decadent for description.

Now, since I’m making strides to be healthier than ever, I haven’t indulged in anything even slightly shady for over a month. So I was overdue for an oh-my-goodness-my-stomach-is-going-to-explode kind of meal. And I did really well with this one. I split everything in half to take home for later, dessert included!

At least, that was the plan.

Before:

After:

Dessert, I just can’t quit you. And to be honest…I kind of don’t want to! You bring me too much joy!

(But only getting together every now and then is probably best for both of us.)

(But mostly for me.)

beka stays in rochester : the gate house

Just so we’re clear, all of these In Rochester posts are going to be about restaurants.

I mean…what else is there?

This month’s new place : The Gate House.

It was my first time there. It will not be my last.

What I Loved:

  • The Menu. It’s pizza and burgers with class. And lots of healthy options, too!
  • The Atmosphere. Relaxed but stylish. Perfect for a night out that feels more special than most but not so stuffy that you’re afraid to laugh out loud.
  • The Fact That The TV’s Are Tuned To The Food Network. (Say no more…this place is a winner.)

What I Loved Less:

  • I had the Manhattan Square salad – spinach, apples, avocado, bacon, and honey sherry vinaigrette. It was so good! I just wished there were more of the toppings since it was mostly spinach. BUT…it came with two cheese-filled breadsticks…so that made me forget about my longings for extra avocado.

What I Ordered:

  • Split an order of Sweet Potato Fries with Carolyn. They were thick-cut and crispy and even more flavorful when cooled to room temperature!
  • The Manhattan Square salad described above.

Overall Rating: 7/10

Any suggestions for next month’s outing?

beka stays in rochester : magnolia’s

Since a) I love trying new dishes/restaurants and b) I live in the opposite of a food desert, I have a rule when it comes to ordering takeout: if I order it, I have to walk to pick it up. (Unless it’s clear on the other side of the city, in which case all bets are off.) It makes me feel less guilty about eating out because I’m saving gas AND calories! Right? Maybe?

Regardless, it comes in handy that Magnolia’s is only about a 10 minute walk from my apartment. Especially when I’m craving pizza, as I was last Saturday.

Isn’t it pretty?

This is their Margherita pizza, which has a full layer of cheese, red sauce, and strips of basil. I usually prefer the traditional preparation: thick slices of fresh mozzarella and chunks of marinara sauce and whole basil leaves, but let me tell you, this pizza makes me forget all of that. There’s something special about it; the flavors are incredible! It’s also huge, which means I get 4 meals for $10! That’s what we call a deal, folks.

Also, their tomato artichoke soup is hands-down the best tomato soup I’ve ever had. Potentially the best soup of any kind I’ve ever had! It’s SO good!

If you live in Rochester, go visit Magnolia’s. (But you don’t have to walk there if you don’t want to.)