This past weekend my sister, Des, brother-in-law, Ab, and myself packed up the car and hit the road to visit our younger brother, Chris, up at Cornell! I was beyond excited, not only to see my awesome brother, but to finally get the chance to see where he was living and celebrate his belated 21st birthday! My parents have of course been up a bunch of times and had a lot to say about Ithaca. They always said it’s somewhere I’d like because there are lots of chill “artsy people,” cute shops, and little restaurants. Sounds like my kinda place!
The drive up wasn’t nearly as bad as I thought it was going to be. Most likely because Ab drove there and back, I had my sister to entertain me with her singing and dancing, and because I had my Nintendo DSi to play. I’d just purchased the new Super Mario Brothers game too (which I highly recommend!) My brother got a kick out of the fact that I now play video games… apparently I’ve turned into a 12 year old boy. But I have Julie Q to thank for hosting her Girl’s Guide to Gaming Party.
First we checked out my brother’s frat house, which, by the way, is not your typical frat house. This house was gorgeous and I can’t even believe there are parties held there! It was awesome to finally meet all of Chris’ frat brothers since we’ve heard so much about them… a very mature group of young men! I was also quite impressed with my brother’s room at the house. He’s like a little David Bromstad with his decorating skills! Flat screen tv mounted, accent walls painted… the kid has style and class!
After the tour and some mingling, we grabbed dinner and drinks at Mahogany Grill. I got the Black Sesame Encrusted Pork Tenderloin with white balsamic pink ginger reduction. It came with mashed potatoes and some veggies and it was quite lovely. Definitely a great meal to have after sitting in the car for about 5 hours! I also got an Ithaca Flower Power beer… cause why not, I was in Ithaca after all!
After dinner and some more hanging out we moved on to a really cute and vibin’ hangout called Stella’s. On their website it says they’re the “Home of Casual Swank” which describes them perfectly. The decor was awesome; curvy white walls, funky tiled floors, and lots of young folks! We headed down to the bottom level for drinks and snacks. To drink, I got the Namaste. It was delicious; Rain Organic Vodka, muddled limes, and iced green tea! Quite soothing! Then we ordered the Warm Brie with Mixed-berry Chutney and Crostini. You can never go wrong with brie in my eyes!
Sisters at Stella’s. I’m rocking my Michael Jackson King t-shirt (which I love!) and I’m looking like heck… or “homeless” as my sister and brother so lovingly said. They’re kind of awesome. Hey, it was a long day!
The following day was an action packed one filled with lots of food, wine, walking, and touring! We decided to just grab an early lunch so we headed to Simeon’s on the Commons. I think we need to quickly discuss how fantastic my burger was. I ordered The Cowboy which was 8 oz of grilled angus beef with cheddar cheese, apple wood smoked bacon, bbq sauce, and fried onion strings. Please take a look and get a napkin so you don’t drool on your keyboard:
I wonder what I’d look like if I ate one of these everyday… hmm. Anyway, the rest of the food at Simeon’s looked great too. Chris ordered the same thing I did (cause he’s smart), Des ordered a crab salad and Ab ordered a panini. All the food was so pretty and tasty!
My other favorite thing about Simeon’s is their… bathrooms. I love a nice public restroom, especially ones covered in subway tile, black crown molding, and helloooo to the wallpaper! Attention to detail matters to me and I give Simeon’s about 12,000 thumbs up for the job they did! And yes, Dad, the paper towel dispensers were SCA!
After all the bathroom chat and wonderful food, we decided it was almost necessary that we do a wine tasting. The winery that was recommended to me from Ted of 2guysuncorked (who also went to Cornell) was closed the day we were there, so we headed to Six Mile Creek Vineyard. This was an absolute blast. My siblings are insane and we laughed, both at and with each other – but mostly at - just about the entire time. And for the record, I’m usually the one who gets made fun of the most. Guess that’s what happens when you’re stuck in the middle! Luckyyyyy me! The manager Eric Russo and employee Maryam were extremely helpful. They did a great job explaining what would pair well with each wine and were really great at answering all of our questions. Eric was quite hilarious, too!
We ended up leaving with quite a nice stock of wines and adult beverage to bring back to Boston! My favorites were the Vignoles 2007 (lots of grapefruit aromas), Dolce Vita (pairs well with cookies, pound cake, cheese and crackers OR use it in sangria!), and Semi-Sweet Riesling 2007 (burst of honey and pears).
After the winery stop, Chris took us on a tour of the Cornell campus where we saw an insane suspension bridge which cuts through part of the campus and is built over the gorges. Ithaca really is gorges! Holy heck, were we up high… and the bridge sort of “sways” in the breeze, which is pretty crazy, but we got used to it after hanging out for a bit!
For dinner we went to Just a Taste, which is a very popular wine and tapas restaurant. The place hadn’t even opened yet and there was a line forming outside!
We ordered so much food! Everything from Tortilla Española to Flatbread with Caramelized Onions and Cheeses, to Grilled Quail and a bunch more… the plates just kept coming to the table… which you’ll never hear me complain about! It was all pretty tasty, too!
For dessert we headed to Madeline’s which is allegedly what it’s know for, a townie told me! We didn’t have a reservation so we grabbed a seat at the bar. I got the Red Velvet Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting… it did not disappoint. I’m the first to admit I’m not the biggest fan of baked goods and I’m not really a “sweets” person but this was delicious.
The following day we packed the car back up and headed back to Massachusetts. It was a ton of fun to get dedicate the entire weekend just to the siblings, explore Ithaca, and get to see how Chris lives up at school. I can’t even believe my little man is all grown up and doing so well… umm, and also ordering beer and wine at dinner… sheesh, where does time GO?