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Rochester Food Marathon (Part 2 of 2)

Welcome to the long awaited (I hope) second installment of the Rochester food marathon.

Read Rochester Food Marathon Part 1

  1. Shepards Pie, The Old Toad ($17) – For those of us who appreciate British cuisine, there is no other place in Rochester that can top The Old Toad. The menu is small but the food is absolutely unmatched. If you’re ever in need of comfort, this is absolutely the place to go to fill your belly and your heart.
  2. Tanuki Sushi Roll, Velvet Belly ($16) – Velvet Belly is one of the pricier locations on this list, but I couldn’t in good conscience leave it off the list. They have some of the most inventive and delicious sushi rolls I’ve ever had. The tanuki, which I’m recommending here, is a delectable selection, combining tuna, avocado, pickled carrot, and yuzu mayo. Simply unmatched.
  3. Bruschetta Board, Grappa ($11) – Grappa is one of my go-to spots in Rochester. It’s in college town, so it’s walking distance from the university, but feels more special than Chipotle or Tai Chi. Their bruschetta board is delicious – the housemade ricotta cheese is my absolute favorite, but the bread, the tomatoes, even the spiced oil are all remarkable. I will literally go to Grappa just to have this board.
  4. Pickled Market Veg, Roux ($6) – This is a small one, but you know what they say – good things come in small packages. If you want to go out and just chill, maybe have a drink and a small something to nibble on, Roux’s pickled vegetables are the best. A rotating selection, they’re crisp, tart, and delectable.
  5. Ramp and Potato Gnocchi, Lento ($24) – Lento’s homemade pasta dishes are some of the best I’ve ever had. Located in the Village Gate, they have an upscale but relaxed vibe that is perfect for graduations, family visits, or other celebratory occasions.
  6. Noble House Mac and Cheese, Nox ($12) – Okay, I’ll admit it, Nox is more focused on their cocktails and their nerd-chic decor than on their meals, but that doesn’t prevent them from having a few fan favorites that hit the spot. This Mac and cheese is one of them. If you ever wanted to pretend to be an adventurer gathering strength after many long and hard won battles, this is your stop.
  7. Bella, Locals Only ($17) – Sometimes you want lunch to be basic, sometimes you want it to be bougie. The Bella sandwich at Locals Only certainly falls into the latter category. A flakey croissant topped with pesto cream cheese , spinach, pepperoni, turkey, and sun-dried tomatoes, this sandwich (and its delicious pasta side salad) are the perfect accompaniment to a Rochester summer’s day.
  8. Rocket Tots, Swillburger ($5.75) – Again, this is a location that is more well-known for its aesthetic than its food. I’m not knocking their impressive collection of pinball machines, I’m just saying you also don’t want to skimp on their food offerings. I love the uniqueness of Rocket Tots – crisp potatoes topped with rocket sauce, pickled onions, and cilantro. And it’s one of their dishes that is 100% vegan and gluten-free, all without sacrificing any flavor.
  9. Lentil Burger, The Red Fern ($9.75) – This one is for the vegans and vegetarians. Red Fern is THE go-to restaurant in Rochester. They also serve all kinds of other food restrictions – gluten-free, soy-free, nut-free, etc. I picked the lentil burger to showcase here because it’s huge, filling, and really delicious. I’d also recommend upgrading your side and getting their mashed potatoes with gravy.
  10. Gluttony, Sinful Sweets ($4.25) – I love Sinful Sweets. Who doesn’t? It’s a cupcake bakery based around the seven sins, what’s not to love. Gluttony is my personal favorite cupcake – it’s a delicious, rich, chocolate cake, filled with salted caramel, topped with peanut butter buttercream and drizzled with chocolate. Heavenly (ironic isn’t it?)
  11. Baklava, Master Falafel ($5) – For those of us who appreciate desserts that aren’t dominated by chocolate (I have absolutely nothing against chocolate but sometimes it’s not what you want), look no further than the absolutely stunning baklava MF produces on a daily basis. I recommend the pistachio – super classic, great mix of flavors sweetened with honey, and the crunch is just perfect.
  12. Still’s Amazing Chocolate Chunk Skillet Cookie, The Distillery ($11) – Normally, I usually stay far, far away from sports bars. They’re just not my thing. But the skillet cookie keeps me coming back here at least once every few months. I’d recommend splitting it with a friend if you don’t want a stomach ache after.
  13. Salted Caramel and Pretzel Milkshake, Roc Brewing Company ($6.50) – This is the other 0.1 of the marathon, another beverage that just can’t be beat. If it seems odd for me to recommend a brewery, and then suggest you get….not beer…just trust me on this one. Their basic vanilla milkshake already rocks, but adding any of their mix ins just takes it over the top. If you’re not a fan of salted caramel or pretzels, I’d also recommend birthday cake, peanut butter Nutella, or just a basic malted.
  14. Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookie, Grassfed ($2) – So Grassfed’s cookies are not their main draw, not even close. The first of its kind, Grassfed is a vegan, kosher butchery that draws clientele from all walks of life – those dealing with dietary restrictions and those not. But no matter what you put in your body, you cannot pass up these cookies. They are some of the best I’ve ever eaten in my life – moist, full of chocolate, sprinkled with sea salt. It really doesn’t get any better than that.
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