Hungry Uticans

A Quick “Snack” at Gerber’s 1933 Tavern

Happy Friday, Uticans!  It’s hard to believe July is almost over and we’re getting in the homestretch of summer.

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There’s still a lot of outdoor eating to get to and share with you guys, so let’s get to it!

Last weekend Rick and I took over the madinutica Snapchat for a day out in Utica and hit a bunch of local hotspots – the Utica farmers market, Nail Creek, Woodland Brewery, and we even stopped by the Mt. Carmel festival in the evening.  One of the spots we stopped at for this week’s blog is a small tavern in downtown Utica – Gerber’s.

Gerber’s is a small bar and restaurant in the Baggs Square district of Utica.  There are tables outside to sit at to eat or drink if you so wished, or just pop inside and enjoy a cool beverage. This was my first stop to Gerber’s ever, and I didn’t leave disappointed.  We didn’t go crazy – it was more of a “snack” stop than anything.  We shared an order of their meatballs for an appetizer and then split a grilled cheese, macaroni salad, and chips as well.  The meatballs were great, with parmesan cheese and fresh, thick bread to eat with it.  We added bacon to our grilled cheese (because everything’s better with bacon) and it was extremely filling, thick, creamy, and delicious. One of the best treats was the macaroni salad – it was a little sweet and very flavorful.

We stopped at Gerber’s early on a Saturday and it was pretty empty, so we got our food super quick and it was made very fresh. Our waitress was very friendly and helpful, she chatted with us the whole time about the food and bar.  As an added bonus – when you visit Gerbers, bring your Utica Passport!  You’ll get a free draft beer with your entree.

Hungry Uticans

Relaxed But Classy Dinner At Ancora

Bias alert: Ancora is one of our FAVORITE’S in Utica.  

It is definitely Rick’s favorite hands down, and definitely in my top two (the other one in this mix to be coming soon….)

Ancora! is located next to the Stanley in downtown Utica and has a swanky bar feel to it. The atmosphere is relaxed but classy. The drinks are great, and the food is spectacular. We’ve been going to Ancora pretty regularly for the past two years and have never left disappointed.

This past week we went to Ancora on a random Wednesday night.  We ordered bruschetta for our appetizer, I had Chicken Francese (I substituted polenta fries for pasta), and Rick had Ancora’s filet. I LOVE Ancora bruschetta.  It’s always so delicious. They use a goat cheese as a base under the actual bruschetta (a move I have since stolen when I make homemade bruschetta), along with a balsamic glaze drizzle over the top. I could have eaten three trays of it; it is THAT good. Unfortunately Rick doesn’t appreciate it when I hoard the entire appetizer so I had to share.

Rick’s favorite steak in the city is the filet at Ancora.

He gets it nearly ever time we go – and last summer, he was making me come nearly weekly to enjoy dinner (we are painfully predictable in our eating habits).  The filet is served with a mushroom risotto and they go perfectly together.  I always get Chicken Francese the original way – with polenta fries instead of pasta.  The francese always used to be served with the polenta until recently, but seriously considering substituting – the polenta is delicious and crispy and will melt in your mouth.

If you’re looking for more recommendations, the gorgonzola potatoes are a must try.  We’ve tried probably every appetizer and tapa on the menu and never been disappointed, but the potatoes and the bruschetta are just our favorites.

You can also eat outside at Ancora this time of year, and it’s a great place to go and order some cocktails to enjoy in the sun or under an umbrella.  Ancora makes great cocktails – Rick recommends trying the Makers Mark Manhattan, while I’m partial to their sangria – it’s full of fruit and gives an extra kick.

Overall there’s really nothing bad to say about Ancora.  We always get great food and drinks with excellent service – at this point the staff knows what we want anytime we come in (like I said – painfully predictable) and we’re always treated like family.  Be sure to check out Ancora this coming weekend and share with us your pictures!

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Hungry Uticans

Treat Yo Self at Tailor and the Cook

Sometimes you just need a great, top notch meal to relax and end your week.

Something to look forward too during the long work hours. A place to dress up, enjoy some wine, and taste some magnificent food. A treat that’s only for once in awhile.

Tailor and the Cook is that place for us.

Tailor and the Cook is a place Rick and I visit once a year, maybe sometimes twice. When we finally do find a menu or meals that really speak to us, we go all out, and really spare no expense on your special treat meal. Drinks, appetizers, desserts, anything goes for this special date night. T&C has a romantic appeal to it – the decor is great, the ambiance is perfect, and the staff is always attentive, approachable, and knowledgeable on all their dishes.

We received two complimentary Amuse-bouche with our meal – the first on the house,

The second our friend Meredith sent over – she is a great server at T&C. If any of you are making reservations, you should absolutely request her if she’s working!

I honestly couldn’t tell you what they were, but they were both delicious like pre-appetizers to whet our appetite.

We then got our Utica Bread and our appetizer – the Butcher Board, aka a meat plate.
We decided on a meat plate as opposed to our normal cheese board for a change, and man….it was delicious.

Who doesn’t love a good meat tray?

For my main course, I got the chef’s spring fettuccine, and added on pork shoulder bacon and scallops.

Full disclosure: the inspiration for this dish (and really, the entire meal and the reason we chose Tailor and the Cook for the first full review) came from friend of Made In Utica Sarah Foster – she recently went to T&C and posted a picture of this exact meal on her instagram, and we were both hooked and had to try it for ourselves. It did not disappoint.

I adore scallops, and the fettuccine and asparagus was amazing. It even came with fried cheese on top (which was huge). I ate the entire meal and basically went into an immediate food coma, to the point that I couldn’t even have dessert.

Rick had Spring Lamb with asparagus risotto as an added on side.

His lamb was cooked to his desire perfectly (medium), and all the flavors mixed together well. He loves risotto, so his addition of the asparagus risotto was a nice compliment to the meal.

For dessert, I had a cup of tea and he enjoyed affogato paired with a dessert red wine, a perfect end to the meal.

Overall we both left full, happy, and a little poorer – Tailor and the Cook is definitely not an every week visit. But for our special occasion meal, sometimes it’s totally worth it to treat yo’self especially if the meal and time spent was completely worth it.

Let us know your thoughts and adventures at Tailor and the Cook!

 

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Hungry Uticans

Date Night at the Ambassador Restaurant

That’s right, the Hungry Uticans are back in action for 2017!

We may have taken a hiatus during the fall/winter/summer months, but when the Utica Passport comes back out of the vault, so do the Hungry Uticans. We are ready for a summer filled with exploring the greater Utica area’s well known spots as well as the ones off the beaten path, and the ones right in Utica as well as the surrounding areas that may just be worth the drive.

So, what have Rick and I been up to? Since our last one-off blog in January, we’ve both been focusing on our respective careers, still raising our puppy-daughter who is going through her normal teenage rebellious phase and driving us bonkers, travelling for bachelor/ette parties all over the east coast, getting ready for wedding season with a ton of friends getting hitched this summer, and still eating all the fabulous food we can get our hands on (probably not the smartest way to get ready for bathing suit season, but who cares, right?). We both had birthdays in the winter, another year older and inching closer and closer to the pivotal 30th birthday next year. We also did a super fun podcast chatting about food with the bros over at the Uticast – which was a ball.

Mia giving us the evil eye, a look she has been perfecting over the last several months.

So, before we get the big reviews rolling again, we’ll treat you with a small mini-post about an East Utica staple Ambassador restaurant.

We originally took these photos back in January for a date night, and never got around to getting the blog up.  We’ve had dinner at Ambassador a few times before, and never have had a poor meal.  The ambiance can be a little dark for some, but the food is always great and the service is top notch.

If you’re looking for a good Italian meal and want to go somewhere a little different, it’s absolutely worth the visit.

The Veal Ambassador
Linguine and Scallops
And greens for the appetizer for this meal.

Rick and I both hope you’re ready for summer 2017 and come along with us for the ride of weekly reviews! We’d love to know where you want us to visit and some of the places worth a review.

Hit us up on twitter and tweet to us where to visit, @urtzicle and @rick_carson. We’ve got a good 10 meals to eat and blog about and need some help narrowing it down.  And in the meantime while you wait for next Thursday’s kick-off review, be sure to check out all the we reviewed last summer.

 

Happy eats,
Becky & Rick

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Hungry Uticans

Delicious Focaccia Sandwiches from O’Baby’s

O’Babys Gourmet Pizza and Sandwich Shoppe makes DELICIOUS focaccia sandwiches.

Who doesn’t love a good bread?  As a carb-o-holic, I will eat bread with pretty much every meal.  Bonus points if it’s with pasta.  So, I LOVE sandwiches – sandwiches on delicious specialty bread.

If you’ve ever driven up Oneida street heading towards Washington Mills, you’ve definitely passed O’Baby’s nestled in a small drive surrounded by woods on either side.  It’s an easy spot to miss if you’re not looking for it or know it’s there, but what a hidden gem it is!

O’Baby’s almost looks like an old style drive-in from the outside, and it sort of gives a nostalgic feel when you go inside.

O’Baby’s is actually a pizzeria first and foremost, offering a wide selections of pizzas, salads, wings, finger foods, and daily features including chicken parm, greens, and other Italian delicacies.  Rick & I both focused on sandwiches this week, each picking a specialty focaccia sandwich to enjoy.

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Rick selected the Eastsider for this meal (though the Drunken Unicorn is one of his favorites), a chicken sandwich with greens and mozzarella.  I stuck to a classic and one of my favorite sandwiches in the area, their Chicken Club.  If you haven’t had a sandwich on focaccia bread, you are seriously missing out.  O’Baby’s has perfected the art of getting their sandwich bread to a perfect mix of crispy and soft, buttery and yet not overly so.  The bread is what makes the sandwiches, and is something they boast on all their signage and fliers in the area.  It is sinfully good.

O’Baby’s is a place where you can take out, or eat in – being that it’s summer, you can enjoy their outside patio while you eat your sandwich or pizza.  Being in a secluded area, it’s a very relaxing atmosphere to enjoy a chill lunch or dinner.  Be prepared as well – O’Baby’s sandwiches are enormous.  Both Rick and I got the small that you can see features – their large sandwiches would be a feat to eat in one sitting! If you haven’t tried O’Baby’s yet, give it a whirl this week – try their comfort food, let them know Made in Utica send you, and tell us what you think in the comments below!

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