Friday, September 4, 2015

A Wild Wonderful Whirlwind Weekend with the Barillas

All Around Rochester
August 28-30

We have been looking forward to this weekend for a long time--we haven’t seen my sister Marcia and her family since Tiffany and Lee’s wedding last year, and our last visit to Rochester was three years ago.  

We pack a lot into this weekend visit, beginning with lunch with Marcia and Aunt Marie as soon as we arrive on Friday.  It is a joy to see Aunt Marie is looking great, and staying active--still driving around town, enjoying her weekly trips to the casino and her Manhattans, and keeping her sense of humor and wonderful infectious laugh.  

After lunch Marcia and I send Dick to the hotel while we hit Chico’s 40% off everything sale, then head back to her house for wine and relaxation on the back deck.  Our husbands join us, and we are off to dinner at Mr. Dominic’s, a fabulous Italian restaurant in the historic Green Lantern inn in Fairport.  We always enjoy great Italian food in Rochester, thanks to the Barilla Italian cognoscenti network, and to the output of Mrs. Barilla’s or Marcia’s kitchen.  Tonight, in addition to a great meal, we have another treat--Fairport  is sponsoring a music festival, and it is a pleasant night to stroll the streets enjoying the music from the different outdoor concert venues and the sights along the Erie Canal waterfront.  We close down a little gelato shop before heading home.
When Marcia picks me up early Saturday morning, she has already been up for hours baking a double batch of her famous chocolate chip cookies, so she can feed Dick’s addiction.   There are far more cookies than two of us will be able to eat over the rest of our trip, but she can be assured that the sugar buzz will keep us alert and well fueled during the remaining miles of this road trip.  
Marcia and I have a spa morning, with relaxing manicures and pedicures at her favorite nail salon.  Then we pick up Dick and head to the Public Market, an institution in downtown Rochester since 1905.  
We begin our visit with the purchase of half a dozen fresh hot apple cider donuts, still hot from the fryer.  Light in texture and lavishly tossed with cinnamon sugar, these donuts get my vote for best I have ever eaten. 
We walk up and down the aisles of the market, eying the produce from farms for miles around, listening to the sellers hawk their wares and people-watching--there are a lot of patrons here making eclectic fashion statements, and folks of every ethnic background imaginable are represented here, it seems.   
Marcia finds fresh sweet corn, leafy lettuce of several varieties and colorful peppers for our dinner tonight.  Just to see everything takes well over an hour. 
We take a detour to an adjacent street to see an arty house and studio with a yard overflowing with art  made from found items, then it is time to rehydrate and grab lunch at a coffee house in the Public Market.

The area around the Market is filled with striking murals. 


Small artistic statements abound here, as well.

Our afternoon tour of Irondequoit reveals that the people who own the house where we grew up are nowhere near as meticulous in its maintenance as Dad was, which should not be a surprise, but is disappointing nonetheless.  We stop into a rental house that Marcia and Tony own across the street from the Irondequoit Town Hall, and find Tony there working on a bathroom renovation.  Soon their son Mike, his girlfriend Olivia, and their big bouncing dog Raffi will be moving in.  Lucky them--this house looks great! 
A highlight of our visit is a cook-out at Barillas this afternoon, with nephews Vin and Chris, plus Chris’s girlfriend Jill and her mom from Philadelphia area.  Philadelphia is our next big stop after we leave here, so we appreciate all their tips about the best driving route to get there and the good things to do--and eat--when we get there.  Here in Rochester, the cook-out includes, just for me, white hots--Rochester specialty hot dogs unrivaled anywhere else.  Fresh local food grilled to perfection in Tony’s Big Green Egg, a beautiful night, and convivial family conversation--it doesn’t get better than this!
Sunday is Mike and Olivia’s moving day, and they can use a bit of help.  Marcia, Dick and I find ways to be of use pretty much all day long.  It’s a good way to spend time together.  We are glad to get a chance to see Mike and Olivia, even though it is a pretty hectic time for them. 
Marcia tells us Barack Obama had lunch at a nearby restaurant, Magnolia’s, when he visited Rochester, and we figure if it was good enough for the President, it is good enough for us in our sweaty moving clothes.   A lunch break in a celebrity hang-out --can’t beat it.
This is our official bucket brigade photo, taken at the end of a very productive day. 
Our dinner is a relaxed family affair of left-overs from meals we have enjoyed over the preceding days of our visit and shared memories of the time we enjoyed together this weekend.
It is always hard to say goodbye to my baby sister.

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