The Hills Are Alive...with the Sound of Billyboy Running (in Syracuse, NY)!!
For the past few years my friend Shawn has been working on convincing me to run the Mountain Goat 10 Mile Run
with her in Syracuse, NY. I had heard from many people that it's a pretty tough run and mostly hills (up AND down!). She finally persuaded me this year and in January I registered thus sealing my fate, er, the deal. As it happened, the run would be on May 5th, which happened to be my 42nd birthday and I decided that crossing THIS finish line would be the perfect present to give to myself. This weekend also was my niece's First Communion so I'd have some great quality time with my family as well. Friday May 3rd
- My GF and I rode Amtrak Business Class from NY Penn Station to Syracuse. Normally, Coach Class is just fine for me but for a race weekend, I like to be able to stretch out and not have my legs cramped up while traveling before and after a race. I didn't give myself time for breakfast so I was starving when we arrived and my sister recommended a fairly new place for lunch. Jo Li Me Fresh Garden Cafe
is located inside Chuck Hafner's Garden Center, which has been an institution in Syracuse for many years. When I first walked in I noticed that the layout and ordering system is almost identical to Panera Bread.
I was ecstatic when I saw they had locally made Saranac sodas available. I love their Black Cherry Cream and I've had a hard time finding it, especially in NYC.
I went with the Ham Off The Bone sandwich (with brie, sliced apples and raspberry mayo and grilled marble rye) and for just a bit more I made it a combo with a bowl and Broccoli Cheddar soup and an orange. They threw in an extra orange just for fun!
Everything really worked on this sandwich but the star was definitely the just salty enough freshly baked ham. The soup was okay but I have had better versions before.
They have lots of vintage photos all around of Hafner's market and produce stand for years gone by. A nice touch.
Before going into Jo Li Me I spied Chuck Hafner's Ice Cream
so I knew there would be dessert soon after! I'm not sure if the soft serve is homemade but the hard pack is...
...Gifford's. Score! I love their ice cream. But what flavor to choose?
I went with the Campfire S'mores, a graham cracker flavored ice cream with chocolate chunks and a marshmallow swirl. Very happy with this choice.
After we dropped off the luggage and relaxed for a bit I went out to run a few errands, the first of which was to make my way to Fleet Feet Sports
, a great local running store, to pickup my t-shirt and bib for the race. I et a few really nice people there and had some good conversations about running and local races to check out. I love runners. Such a wonderful, supportive community.
So true, so true.
On my way back to my sister's I just HAD to stop at one of my old favorites, Vicky's Tasty Treats
, for some soft serve.
I love all of the photos of the little ones from years ago enjoying their cones and sundaes. This type of place has definitely been a part of CNY in the summer for as long as I can remember. Playing a round of mini-golf and then going out for ice cream was something I did with my family as a young boy and then with my high school and college friends. It was almost guaranteed that we would run into neighbors and other friends from school doing the same thing.
My Mexican sundae (vanilla soft serve, chocolate sauce, salty Spanish peanuts and a ton of whipped cream). This was exactly what I was looking for on a very warm day. Looking back though, I wish I had asked them to throw on some malt powder. Note to self... Saturday, May 4th
- I'm not going to post any pics from my niece's First Communion on here but we did have a gathering after for lunch and cake to celebrate. A local bar & restaurant catered it and the main dish was the local specialty, Chicken Riggies. I wasn't really crazy about this version as it seemed to have a spice/seasoning that I didn't like but their mac & cheese was terrific and I ended up having a big bowl of it along with a huge roasted sweet potato as my pre-race carbo-load dinner.
A few days before we left for Syracuse I was dropping our cat off to stay with our friends Doug & Marisa. We had Chinese food for dinner and when I opened my fortune cookie, this is what I found. I would definitely be outdoors, feeling like I was in the "mountains" with all of those hills and there would water stations every couple of miles. Quite appropriate. Sunday, May 5th
- Billyboy, heading for the finish line!
Shawn and I enjoying some beer and an ice cold water and savoring the post-race glow.
In absolutely love the t-shirts for the race volunteers!
My niece Maddie at the finish with her Silly Uncle Billy! This was definitely one of the tougher races I have run in some time. I had been used to training in 55-60 degree temps and due to my schedule most of runs were in the later evenings. This run started at 10:20am (pretty late for many runs) and it was about 75 degrees on race day, the skies were blue and cloudless for the entire run and the course was pretty wide open with little to no shade for at least 9 of the 10 miles! I definitely struggled on the hills (both going up and down!) but I have to say that this was an incredible race.
Very well organized and the volunteers and spectators were fantastic! There was a group with a water table and they had put up a clothesline between two trees and draped Mountain Goat t-shirts from previous years so that they hung over the race course. It was worth it to slow down and check them out. So many people with signs, handing out water, blasting music on their radios and so many bands serenading us along the way. The Syracuse University Band really pumped me up as did the 7 or 8 guys in a row all playing their drum kits as part of a band crankin' out Journey's "Don't Stop Believin'!! Exactly what I needed to help power me along.
The best part though was when I turned the corner onto South Salina Street and not only did I see the finish line in sight, but I spotted my family on the sidelines cheering me on and at the finish they had a birthday doughnut for me with a candle in it. Oh, they know me soooo well!! I ran this race in memory of my dad, who passed away from a heart attack at age 42. I thought it would be a nice way to honor and remember him and I know he's up there smiling and happy that I was able to push myself beyond what I had though I could ever do. I made the evening news as a local station interviewed me after the race and I was glad to be able to share my thoughts with the community at large.
They weren't giving out medals to finishers but one of the guys I met at Fleet Feet Sports had made 35th Anniversary medals and was selling them for $10. No way I was passing up that deal!
And my tech t-shirt. Love it.
There were a number of sporting goods and food vendors at the post race party in Clinton Square but the one that caught my eye was the tent selling salt potatoes. Exactly what I was craving and getting some salty, starchy, buttery potatoes in my belly was just what I needed.
They were also giving away boxes of one of my favorite childhood treats, Freihofer's chocolate chip cookies.
These have long been my favorite boxed cookie as they have a slight saltiness to them that I haven't found in any other cookie.
After a most refreshing ice bath and a short nap we headed out for dinner at Coleman's
, a local Irish pub and Syracuse institution in the Tipperary Hill neighborhood since 1933. I had been here for drinks a few times but can't remember if I had ever had a meal before.
Beer anyone? The moment I saw this all I could think of was Bob McKenzie getting stuck in the beer tank in "Strange Brew".
Quite possibly the littlest phone booth.
Yours truly, relaxing with Jerry Wilson, mentor, patron and friend of Coleman's.
The entirety of the "park".
And of map of significant points of interest in the Tipp Hill neighborhood.
St. Patty's Day at Coleman's.
The walls were adorned with many photos and days and events gone by at Coleman's as well as some shillelaghs on the walls.
A bit of Coleman's history.
We started out with a couple loaves of Irish soda bread with honey-cinnamon butter. Warm, soft and full of flavor, it was a hit with the everyone.
The Guinness onion rings with a Cajun horseradish dipping sauce were crunchy and not too greasy, another winner.
I went for a cup of Irish potato soup that had great potato flavor and a nice silky texture.
My beverage of choice was a half & half (Guinness & McSorley's). A great post race drink!
I had been dying to try their corned beef & cabbage and it did not disappoint. Really tender corned beef, Savoy cabbage, carrots and salt potatoes (2x on this day!) made me so happy. I couldn't even finish the whole plate. I managed to sang one of the Irish fries from my niece's plate.
The monument in Stonethrowers' Park at the intersection of Tompkins Street & Milton Avenue.
Notice the traffic light in this picture. Green on the top, red on the bottom. As the story goes, local youths in this predominantly Irish neighborhood way back when were incensed that the "British red" would be on top of the "Irish green" so they continually broke the light by throwing stones at it until the city finally gave in and put the green on top. Supposedly, the only one of its kind in the U.S.
I was thinking about dessert (again!) and I had a place in mind but before I said anything, my brother-in-law mentioned that we should go to Gannon's Isle Homemade Ice Cream
and I slapped the table as I had been thinking the exact same thing! A friend of mine had put me on to them as well as a great Syracuse-based food tour company, Sampling Syracuse Food Tours
. They had a pretty long line but it did move rather smoothly.
So much from which to choose...
My sister went with the Peppermint Patty. I tried some and I think it'll be on the top of my list on the next visit.
I went for a triple scoop of Creme Brulle, Maple Walnut and Almond Bark. I was a bit disappointed with the presentation in a paper cup as you can't see all of the scoops and the Creme Brulle wasn't what I thought it would be (laced with crackly pieces of burnt sugar topping...need to get a place to make this into a regular flavor!) however, the ice cream was definitely high quality and I look forward to coming back soon. Monday, May 6th
- While I neglected to have any pie on this trip (sorry, Buffetbuster
and Travelin' Man
!) I did manage to cuddle up with these "pie pillows" on a trip to the local Barnes & Noble.
On our way to the train station to make our return to NYC, we made a detour to pick up some sandwiches to go at the Second North Deli
, just down the road a ways from the train station.
My GF had a Grilled Beef Tenderloin sandwich (of which I took a very poor photo). It was pretty tasty, however, I came here for the...
...Fresh London Broil sandwich. I've had this a few times and I love it. Tender, juicy and even better with some sauteed mushrooms.
And I cannot walk out of there without a bag of their homemade potato chips. Some crunchy, some soft and quite addictive.
That's it for this trip. So glad I was able to check out some new places and hope to explore even more new finds on my next CNY trip for the Boilermaker 5K Road Race in Utica, NY next month. Buffetbuster
, I'm sorry we missed each other by a weekend. Had we been in town at the same time I most definitely would have broken bread with you on a few occasions!
"Eating is an adventure, enjoy the ride!" - billyboy, 2013 The 411:
1.) Jo li Me Fresh Garden Cafe
5105 West Taft Road
Liverpool, NY 13088
2.) Chuck Hafner's Ice Cream
Corner of West Taft Road and Buckley Road
Liverpool, NY 13088
Ph# 315-299-4451 (unsure of this phone number as I found multiple listings online, but the ice cream stand is attached to the Jo Li Me building)
3.) Fleet Feet Sports
5800 Bridge Street
East Syracuse, NY 13057
4.) Vicky's Tasty Treats
680 Old Liverpool Road
Seasonal (Mid-April to Mid-September?) Call for specific dates and hours.
5.) Mountain Goat Run http://www.mountaingoatrun.com
100 South Lowell Avenue
Syracuse, NY 13204
7.) Tipperary Hill
Wikipedia link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tipperary_Hill
8.) Stonethrowers' Park
(Unable to find a weblink that would open)
9.) Gannons Isle Homemade Ice Cream
4800 McDonald Road #6 (AKA Shady Brook location)
Syracuse, NY 13215
10.) Sampling Syracuse Food Tours
11.) Second North Deli
625 Wolf Street
Syracuse, NY 13208
post edited by billyboy - 2013/06/01 21:23:55