Utica, NY - Just Passing Through

Page: 12 > Showing page 1 of 2
Author
cecif
Double Chili Cheeseburger
  • Total Posts : 1414
  • Joined: 2007/04/01 14:17:00
  • Location: Was MA, now UK
  • Status: offline
2009/02/18 22:47:34 (permalink)

Utica, NY - Just Passing Through

I recently spent a stop-over in Utica NY, on my way to Canada.  Before I left I realized I would have time for dinner and breakfast and I quickly emailed Billyboy, who went to college here, to ask for suggestions. One VERY helpful email later I was all set to hit a place called Holland Farms to try their Chicken Riggie for my supper.  Little did I know...

I left Boston on the afternoon of the 12th... by about 7pm I checked into my low budget hotel just off the Pike (aka the Thruway or I-90).  I checked the online map, drew it in my head (always works and I have a great sense of direction), checked that the website that said the place was open til 9pm, and hit the road just after 7pm.  Now it was DARK and it was RAINY but all I had to do was go right out of the hotel and a ways down then right again on a major road. Then a couple of miles on that road to my destination. Only ONE turn - what could be easier?!?!  In Utica, in the dark & rain... ha.  As I leave the hotel, I call Billyboy to tell him how psyched I am to try his suggestions.  But I soon see too that things do not look as I expect from the map, and he happily goes online to "follow" me and help.  (THANK YOU!) So he was the first to know that when I reached Holland Farms, I got Travellin'-Manned!!!!  Sigh.

No worries, they are really all about the pastry in the morning, and on the way I'd told Bill that I passed a place with a big sign that said "World's Finest Chili Dogs". See below.  This was a no-brainer of a stop. Especially with a crowded parking lot.  So the Patio Drive-In it was...


Oh boy what a treat!!!!!! I felt like I was Buffetbuster somehow living in Cecif's body. (Weird but follow me...) I walk in and am immediately greeted by a very friendly man - who turns out to be the Owner.  And the place was full of local regulars. Antony's grandparents had started the drive-in back in 1954, his parents had followed in their footsteps.  He had actually left Utica to attend the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park (I've been there!)... so he had great training. And his experience was at some mighty-fine restaurants around the country. Did this make him a food snob who converted the drive-in to fancy food? Not a chance. he is all about good, local, comfort food. He makes grandma's recipe macaroni salad (yum) and soups every day.

Here is Tony moving a big pot:

The original menu he took off the wall for me:

The current menu:

Tony told me they originally had waitresses on roller skates (a real drive-in) and he pulled out one of the original car trays. Cool!

(sorry that is blurry, I hate using flash!)

My first dog... a chili dog with onions and side of mac salad. They are Hoffman dogs, which Billyboy told me are local (very good!)
 
and close-up. Note that the "chili" they put on dogs in this part of the world is NOT the regular beef/bean kind, but rather a sauce-like concoction with a tang/hotness to it. Very tasty!

My beer, also local: (in fact you can see the plant from the window here!)


As I was ordering a second chili dog - with cheese - the waitress said to me (in a TOTAL Buffetbuster moment), "Be sure you save room for pie!" I almost fell off my stool.  Seriously. No one ever says that to me, I never order two dogs, and I almost never have room for dessert. But, in honor of Billyboy and Cliff, I decided I'd better listen up. Of course they also told me that the waitress makes the pies herself, from scratch. (I hear BB going "Yes!" and making that arm motion like he scored a touchdown...)
Second dog...

Note the toasted bun. They did it up right! (This is a great all-beef dog, btw...)


PIE TIME! I chose chocolate cream pie. Very good! Great crust, light interior just chocolate-y enough without killing me, and whipped cream on top. Choclate jimmies complete the picture. Mmmmm.




I have rarely ever left a meal so full. And btw the locals were all chatty and friendly and Tony and his wife were fantastic! I HIGHLY recommend it.
I took a shot of the outside the next morning as I went past:


Breakfast on the 13th: gotta hit Holland Farms.  So I can see where I am now (bright sunny cold day) and I have no trouble navigating to the cow billboard again...


You know it is going to be one of those days when you pull into a full lot, you walk in and the first thing you notice is a guy on a piano playing & singing. Wow! This is Carleton Boone and he is a great guy... not to mention a terrific singer!  I had a short chat with him about why he was there. (Me: "Are you always here?" CB: "Nope, they asked me to come in for Valentine's Day!" Me: "But that's tomorrow..." CB: "I know but the owner likes me and she got started withthe holiday early!")  So there you are.  And here he is at his piano:


The sign by the entry is all about the buns, and I know I have to have one (even though it's not usually my fave).


I was also told that half moons are a specialty around here, and the front case showed me they had plenty:


I got one jelly roll for me and a neat looking box of three cookies to take to the friends I was visiting. (I forgot to photo the box & cookies! Oops!)  One of the women behind the counter had a great shirt on and I asked for a photo of it, she was happy to help:


On my way out Carleton Boone wanted to chat a bit more and then said he had something for me in his car - a CD of his music! So I happily accepted some music for the road. (And darned if it wasn't terrific stuff! Mosly Sinatra covers and very well done & produced!)  That was one WORTHWHILE stop!

I took the jelly roll back to my hotel where I had probably the messiest breakfast ever! This thing was LOADED with powdered sugar. And it was delicious.




Also on my way back to the hotel I stopped at a place on Billyboy's list called "Florentine". He had mentioned a specialty there called a pasticciotti- (he noted:"cc" in the middle ) and I bought one for the road.


For my morning driving/coffee break I had it with coffee... Delicious! Fantastic light and crumbly and just-the-right-sweetness crust. Wow... this was a great treat. Wish I'd bought more!




I made a quick trip up and over the border and am now visiting (& dog-sitting) in Kingston, Ontario.  I visited Ottawa over the weekend, but sadly did not get to try the Beavertails or the poutine... I was with friends who cooked.

Now I know there are people complaining about trip reports that are not really trips... and this is not like a WJ, TTM or BB trip, by any means. But I hope no complaints and y'all enjoyed it.

And no, I am not going to get a GPS. I am poor and like road maps!

post edited by cecif - 2009/02/18 23:06:26
#1

33 Replies Related Threads

    cecif
    Double Chili Cheeseburger
    • Total Posts : 1414
    • Joined: 2007/04/01 14:17:00
    • Location: Was MA, now UK
    • Status: offline
    Re:Utica, NY - Just Passing Through 2009/02/18 23:01:47 (permalink)
    FYI...

    PATIO DRIVE-IN
    1401 Oriskany St W
    Utica, NY 13502, United States
    (315) 724-0136
    no website

    HOLLAND FARMS BAKERY AND DELI
    50 Oriskany Blvd.
    Yorkville, NY 13495
    315-736-6044
    Website:  www.hollandfarms.com

    FLORENTINE PASTRY
    667 Bleecker Street
    Utica, NY 13501
    ph # 315-724-8032
    No website

    #2
    FriedClamFanatic
    Double Chili Cheeseburger
    • Total Posts : 1674
    • Joined: 2008/07/14 19:56:00
    • Location: west chester, PA
    • Status: offline
    Re:Utica, NY - Just Passing Through 2009/02/18 23:04:36 (permalink)
    Great stuff!
    #3
    Davydd
    Sirloin
    • Total Posts : 6374
    • Joined: 2005/04/24 12:15:00
    • Location: Tonka Bay, MN
    • Status: offline
    Re:Utica, NY - Just Passing Through 2009/02/18 23:12:06 (permalink)
    The only way it is not a trip report like BuffetBuster's is that you did not have two pieces of pie at the Patio Drive-In.

    Great narrative and super photos!
    #4
    ynotryme
    Double Cheeseburger
    • Total Posts : 562
    • Joined: 2006/08/20 14:24:00
    • Location: mansfield, TX
    • Status: offline
    Re:Utica, NY - Just Passing Through 2009/02/18 23:38:54 (permalink)
    I'm glad you enjoyed Utica. How did you like your Utica Club? If you ever go back, take the brewery tour. It's worth it, if only for  their old Schultz and Dooley commercials (voiced by Jonathon Winters). For Dinner, I recommend Symeons. A Greek restaurant just a couple of miles straight past Holland Farms. Try the souvlaki and salad and for dessert , the Galatoboureko. The first time I took by wife there, I had to force her to take a taste and then I thought she was going to lick the plate.
    #5
    brittneal
    Double Chili Cheeseburger
    • Total Posts : 1265
    • Joined: 2006/09/17 14:45:00
    • Location: fairborn, OH
    • Status: offline
    Re:Utica, NY - Just Passing Through 2009/02/18 23:53:29 (permalink)
    I cant say that the food you had reached out and grabbed me.  You did have some unique experiences tho.  Imagine finding a drive-inn that serves beer. Even more unexpected would be to find a piano player you heard of playing at a bakery
    #6
    cecif
    Double Chili Cheeseburger
    • Total Posts : 1414
    • Joined: 2007/04/01 14:17:00
    • Location: Was MA, now UK
    • Status: offline
    Re:Utica, NY - Just Passing Through 2009/02/19 00:01:50 (permalink)
    Thanks for the replies...

    ynotryme, I really enjoyed the Utica Club. very good! Thanks for the tip, next time I have some time in Utica I'll try the tour!

    brittmeal, I don't think of RF as "reach out & grab me food", and this is just a report, not a review. But fwiw I loved what I had... everything pictured is FAR better than average food.  Especially all the sweet stuff.   My tummy was happy and I reckon that's all that really matters at the end of a meal.

    #7
    billyboy
    Double Chili Cheeseburger
    • Total Posts : 2407
    • Joined: 2005/01/23 02:28:00
    • Location: New York City, NY
    • Status: online
    Re:Utica, NY - Just Passing Through 2009/02/19 01:22:31 (permalink)
    Ceci, 

    Top notch reporting, just top notch.  Great narrative and great pics to boot!  You really got to mingle with and spend time getting to know the locals and the people who have been running these places for years that make them great stops along the way.  And you had a local Utica Club Pilsner to wash it all down.  

    Sorry you got "Travelin-Manned" on the Chicken Riggies!  Definitely a dish you should try the next time you're in the area.  Most Italian restaurants in the Utica/Rome area have them on their menu.  

    The only bad part of this report for me is that I'm jealous!  All of my years in CNY and I never went to the Patio OR Holland Farms, despite having driven by them countless times!  Definitely on my radar for this year!

    I need to make a trip to the Patio!  Mac salad is a CNY staple with many meals, especially at barbeques and picnics in the summer. And the piano player at Holland Farms, that is priceless!  That "pustie" looks fabulous!  Is that chocolate filling?  
    post edited by billyboy - 2009/02/19 01:24:21
    #8
    Davydd
    Sirloin
    • Total Posts : 6374
    • Joined: 2005/04/24 12:15:00
    • Location: Tonka Bay, MN
    • Status: offline
    Re:Utica, NY - Just Passing Through 2009/02/19 08:23:50 (permalink)
    Cecif, I thought you captured the essence of roadfood quite well. You are right. It is not a review. If we were all concerned about eating nothing but top notch food we would not be going to those kind of places. Meeting the owner, the cook, communicating with the wait staff and other patrons, learning a little Americana local history and getting a hint about the community is also a big part of the experience. The unknown and the discovery is also the venture. Sometimes you can be disappointed but you still have the experience. If a place like the Patio Drive-in can survive in a small town there has to be some good to find in it.
    #9
    leethebard
    Sirloin
    • Total Posts : 6274
    • Joined: 2007/08/16 17:35:00
    • Location: brick, NJ
    • Status: offline
    Re:Utica, NY - Just Passing Through 2009/02/19 08:33:49 (permalink)
    Hey what was in that pasticciotti ?...it looks like another version of the italian pastry "pastache(sorry about the spelling (pronounced pah-stage)
    #10
    cecif
    Double Chili Cheeseburger
    • Total Posts : 1414
    • Joined: 2007/04/01 14:17:00
    • Location: Was MA, now UK
    • Status: offline
    Re:Utica, NY - Just Passing Through 2009/02/19 08:41:25 (permalink)
    leethebard

    Hey what was in that pasticciotti ?...it looks like another version of the italian pastry "pastache(sorry about the spelling (pronounced pah-stage)


    Lee & Bill - it was a choclate custard filling. Delicious!

    Davydd - thank you!
    #11
    FriedClamFanatic
    Double Chili Cheeseburger
    • Total Posts : 1674
    • Joined: 2008/07/14 19:56:00
    • Location: west chester, PA
    • Status: offline
    Re:Utica, NY - Just Passing Through 2009/02/19 08:56:51 (permalink)
    Cecif........as i see from another post on here, the annual Chicken Riggie contest is coming up in Utica. Too bad you didn't have a chance to sample the city's signature dish!  Next time! 
    #12
    MiamiDon
    Filet Mignon
    • Total Posts : 4306
    • Joined: 2006/09/08 07:12:00
    • Location: Miami, FL
    • Status: offline
    Re:Utica, NY - Just Passing Through 2009/02/19 08:59:15 (permalink)
    What a fun report!  And great photos, too.  I haven't been to Utica in 34 years, but if I get there again I will be sure to look up those treasures.
    #13
    ken8038
    Double Chili Cheeseburger
    • Total Posts : 1600
    • Joined: 2004/02/04 20:13:00
    • Location: scotch plains, NJ
    • Status: offline
    Re:Utica, NY - Just Passing Through 2009/02/19 09:03:59 (permalink)
    Cecif, thanks for a great report. I love local places that are loyal to the old school local beer (although I didn't realize Utica Club was even still being bottled. Mostly that brewery is making contract beers and the more widespread Saranac line of beers). I was on the tour years ago, and I agree it is worth a stop.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fZSJt6M7wfo&feature=PlayList&p=FAC176545A6AA5C2&playnext=1&index=9

    <<Now I know there are people complaining about trip reports that are not really trips... >>

    Even a couple of stops is a trip to me. I enjoy the trip reports no matter how few stops there are. Thanks again!
    #14
    Greymo
    Filet Mignon
    • Total Posts : 3727
    • Joined: 2005/11/30 08:54:00
    • Location: Marriottsville, MD
    • Status: offline
    Re:Utica, NY - Just Passing Through 2009/02/19 09:08:20 (permalink)
    I just loved your report.  I nearly fainted when I saw that you went to the Patio Drive-In.  That used to be a favorite with  me when I lived in the Utica area.

    I am so glad that you found it..................it really is a great Roadfood stop.
    #15
    Nancypalooza
    Filet Mignon
    • Total Posts : 3778
    • Joined: 2004/06/17 14:39:00
    • Location: Columbia, SC
    • Status: offline
    Re:Utica, NY - Just Passing Through 2009/02/19 09:13:10 (permalink)
    Ceci, seriously, this is awesome.  I love that the chili dog guy took you around and showed you artifacts along with your meal.  And I think Cliff should be proud that he's had such a positive effect on the rest of us ("always order pie").  I'm still giggling about the piano player in the bakery.  And I would have been all over a jelly bun like a cheap suit.  Thanks for taking us along!
    #16
    wheregreggeats.com
    Filet Mignon
    • Total Posts : 4611
    • Joined: 2003/07/13 22:24:00
    • Location: Northampton, MA
    • Status: offline
    Re:Utica, NY - Just Passing Through 2009/02/19 09:16:29 (permalink)
    Tremendous report.
    Thanks for the work that went into it.
    I've got to find an excuse to head to Utica.

    #17
    buffetbuster
    Porterhouse
    • Total Posts : 10285
    • Joined: 2002/05/09 13:42:00
    • Location: Pittsburgh, PA
    • Status: offline
    Re:Utica, NY - Just Passing Through 2009/02/19 09:31:59 (permalink)
    cecif-
    I'm not as eloquent as Davydd, but you did a wonderful job of capturing the local color and character.  This is one of the best trip reports I have seen on here for quite a while.

    My single favorite thing is the photo of Carleton Boone playing keyboards in front of some cold beverage cases.  Sure, he is playing a bakery, but that isn't going to stop him from giving it his all and having some fun.  Absolutely priceless!  The cow billboard is quite charming, too.

     
    And thanks for having that piece of pie, which looks fantastic.

    So, are you going to hit some cool places on the way home, too?  What kind of dog are you sitting?

    #18
    carolina bob
    Filet Mignon
    • Total Posts : 3420
    • Joined: 2005/01/01 23:06:00
    • Location: Chicagoland
    • Status: offline
    Re:Utica, NY - Just Passing Through 2009/02/19 10:36:17 (permalink)
    cecif, I really enjoyed your report. You found some nifty places with great-looking food. I agree with you that a trip doesn't need be a long one to be of interest to roadfoodies. You can drive two hours from home and still find places worth reporting on.
    #19
    cecif
    Double Chili Cheeseburger
    • Total Posts : 1414
    • Joined: 2007/04/01 14:17:00
    • Location: Was MA, now UK
    • Status: offline
    Re:Utica, NY - Just Passing Through 2009/02/19 10:36:27 (permalink)
    Aw shucks. It's really great to get compliments from a slew of my favorite RFers! Thanks everyone!

    If Tony gets around to reading this, he'll chuckle about the Riggies, as he said it isn't his favorite but the locals sure love it!

    BB - I have to say that when I finally hit the open road out of Utica, and I popped in Carleton's CD, I was jaw-droppingly surprised how good it is!  What a bonus!

    The dog, Forest, is a lovely 8 yr old yellow lab.  We've known each other since his first week here, so we are old buds!
    #20
    buffetbuster
    Porterhouse
    • Total Posts : 10285
    • Joined: 2002/05/09 13:42:00
    • Location: Pittsburgh, PA
    • Status: offline
    Re:Utica, NY - Just Passing Through 2009/02/19 10:44:05 (permalink)
    I assume it would be proper etiquette to wait until Carleton's song is over before asking him to hand you a Dasani?
    #21
    cecif
    Double Chili Cheeseburger
    • Total Posts : 1414
    • Joined: 2007/04/01 14:17:00
    • Location: Was MA, now UK
    • Status: offline
    Re:Utica, NY - Just Passing Through 2009/02/19 10:46:57 (permalink)
    I re-read and realized I forgot two important notes about the Patio:

    1. The dogs are local all-beef Hoffman (if I did say that already, sorry...).

    2. The total cost of my meal - beer included - was $9.99! No kidding. The two dog & side was a special, the beer was about $2.50 maybe, and I don't think they charged me for the pie. That or the beer was really cheap! In any case, the tip had extra... I was grateful!
    #22
    cecif
    Double Chili Cheeseburger
    • Total Posts : 1414
    • Joined: 2007/04/01 14:17:00
    • Location: Was MA, now UK
    • Status: offline
    Re:Utica, NY - Just Passing Through 2009/02/19 10:48:27 (permalink)
    buffetbuster

    I assume it would be proper etiquette to wait until Carleton's song is over before asking him to hand you a Dasani?


    LOL! Something else I forgot, he asked me for a request. I was stumped for a minute - all those standards and I couldn't remember anything. Then I remembered a musical I did in high school and the perfect Valentine's song: 'Tea for Two'.

    #23
    Food_Fan
    Cheeseburger
    • Total Posts : 139
    • Joined: 2009/02/03 11:32:00
    • Location: Roselle, NJ
    • Status: offline
    Re:Utica, NY - Just Passing Through 2009/02/25 10:36:51 (permalink)
    Wow, what a great report!
     
    I used to visit Cornell and SUNY Bingham but I only stayed overnight once. It was nothing but work and I didn’t have time to look around. Looks like I missed some great places.
    #24
    buffetbuster
    Porterhouse
    • Total Posts : 10285
    • Joined: 2002/05/09 13:42:00
    • Location: Pittsburgh, PA
    • Status: offline
    Re:Utica, NY - Just Passing Through 2009/02/25 10:51:00 (permalink)
    cecif

    buffetbuster

    I assume it would be proper etiquette to wait until Carleton's song is over before asking him to hand you a Dasani?


    LOL! Something else I forgot, he asked me for a request. I was stumped for a minute - all those standards and I couldn't remember anything. Then I remembered a musical I did in high school and the perfect Valentine's song: 'Tea for Two'.
    I would have asked for In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida!


    #25
    David_NYC
    Double Chili Cheeseburger
    • Total Posts : 2164
    • Joined: 2004/08/01 15:15:00
    • Location: New York, NY
    • Status: offline
    Re:Utica, NY - Just Passing Through 2009/02/25 11:11:07 (permalink)
    If you are going to be in Utica on a Thursday night, see if the Matt Brewery has anything going on in the parking lot:
    http://www.saranac.com/page/brewery-events
     
    I was up there a few years ago in the fall when they had their Octoberfest in the parking lot. Among the people there in the parking lot was the president of the brewery. REALLY fresh beer and good food, too.
    post edited by David_NYC - 2009/02/25 11:12:56
    #26
    CajunKing
    Sirloin
    • Total Posts : 6393
    • Joined: 2006/07/06 19:49:00
    • Location: Live at Saint Clair
    • Status: offline
    Re:Utica, NY - Just Passing Through 2009/02/26 13:43:07 (permalink)
    cecif

    You have no worries, your trip report was fantastic.  Great local food with great local character.

    The patio looks like it is my kind of place, good dawgs and that mac salad looked quite good.  I noted that even back in the good old days, they served Uttica Club it was only 30 cents back then.
     
    Findng a piano player in a bakery is truly a great find, in Chef Imondi's Bakery/Cafe in Panama City, FL.  They have a piano player that comes in from 10:30a to 1:00p to play for the lunch crowd.  He is an OLD time N'awlins piano player.  He is awesome to listen to while eating in.
     
    That was such a wonderful experience, a Valentine's Day Eve you wont forget.
     
    Ah Yellow Labs, I wish Icould get a dog. I love labs
     
    and last but not least
     
    Who needs a GPS when you have a brain and maps
    (I too, like paper maps)
    #27
    cecif
    Double Chili Cheeseburger
    • Total Posts : 1414
    • Joined: 2007/04/01 14:17:00
    • Location: Was MA, now UK
    • Status: offline
    Re:Utica, NY - Just Passing Through 2009/02/26 15:24:09 (permalink)
    Thanks Food_Fan, BB & CajunKing!

    And thanks for the maps back-up, Donald.

    Only other place I know where bakery & music combine is also in Florida, funny! It's on another post or two around here somewhere (but not a trip report)... a place near Ocala.

    #28
    ken8038
    Double Chili Cheeseburger
    • Total Posts : 1600
    • Joined: 2004/02/04 20:13:00
    • Location: scotch plains, NJ
    • Status: offline
    Re:Utica, NY - Just Passing Through 2009/02/26 17:07:13 (permalink)
    <<Only other place I know where bakery & music combine is also in Florida, funny! >>

    I came across a duo of old time Italian musicians in a Bakery in Philadelphia a few years ago. Dam if I can remember which bakery and I don't know if it was a one time event or regular. But it felt like I was in Europe.
    #29
    Clay Bell
    Junior Burger
    • Total Posts : 45
    • Joined: 2003/02/26 23:39:00
    • Location: Tucson, AZ
    • Status: offline
    Re:Utica, NY - Just Passing Through 2009/02/27 20:02:58 (permalink)
    The Florentine Bakery was something else I went out of my way to catch that place and it was worth it. I think I bought $50 worth of baked goods and they were gone before I hit Ohio on my way back to Tucson
    #30
    Page: 12 > Showing page 1 of 2
    Jump to:
    © 2014 APG vNext Commercial Version 5.1