Last year, when Carol Fingar of the Seneca County Chamber of Commerce set out to invent a signature event that would showcase the Finger Lakes region’s restaurants and wineries, Finger Lakes Cork & Fork was born.

Chef Suzanne Stack, Suzanne Fine Regional Cuisine, Lodi

This year’s foodie extravaganza will bring together more than 60 of the region’s agricultural, viticultural and culinary stars in an interactive “field to feast” event that offers demos by wineries and chefs, tastings and an opportunity to purchase everything needed for your favorite dishes, including accompanying wine.

Finger Lakes Cork & Fork begins on Friday, September 16 from 6:30-9:30 p.m. with the “Partners and Pairings” VIP event, a fundraiser in memory of  the beloved Red Newt Cellars Winery & Bistro Chef and Co-owner, Debra Whiting, who recently passed away in a tragic auto accident.

The Partners and Pairings evening will feature regional chefs and winemakers offering 15 pairings of Finger Lakes wines or beers and Tapas prepared with a bounty of local produce.  There will also be a lively assortment of regional cheeses, dips, veggies and salsas at tasting stations. Guests can mingle to the sounds of  live jazz by the Cool Club of Hector, they will be able to purchase wine by the bottle and they can also participate in a silent auction sponsored by and benefiting the Finger Lakes Culinary Bounty.

Montezuma Winery’s Booth

Tickets to this event are $50 (advance purchase only) and are limited to 250 people so guests will enjoy dedicated time with the winemakers and chefs. Each attendee will receive a commemorative re-usable shopping bag, glass and plate.   A portion of the proceeds will be donated to the Food Bank of the Southern Tier in honor of Debra Whiting.  Attendees are also invited to bring a donation of non-perishable goods to be donated to the same Food Bank, which was one of Ms. Whiting’s interests.  Donor’s names will be entered into a drawing for an “Epicurean Experience Giveaway” that includes overnight accommodations, Calphalon Cookware, an assortment of Finger Lakes delicacies and a surprise from Mackenzie Childs.

Chef John McNabb, Knapp Vineyards Restaurant

At Saturday’s Main Event, in addition to the opportunity to taste and purchase wine, beer and participating chef’s signature dishes, guests will be treated to “Preparing and Pairing” seminars where a food producer or farmer will team up with a local winery and chef to demo the creation of a dish using local ingredients. Participating chefs include 2011 James Beard semi-finalist Suzanne Stack from Suzanne Fine Regional Cuisine, Chef John McNabb from Knapp Winery & Vineyard Restaurant and Mary Reed, personal chef and editor of Tastes of Wine Country. There will also be short seminars on subjects like “Pairing Principles,” “Proper Wine Tasting”, “CSAs”, “Chocolate Making”, “Eating for Allergies” and “Canning Techniques.”

Tickets for the Main Event on Saturday, September 17 are $25 in advance or $30 at the door. The first 1250 attendees will receive a commemorative re-usable shopping bag, glass and plate.  Guests who bring non-perishable food items that will be donated to the non-profit organization, House of Concern and will have a chance to win the “Epicurean Experience Giveaway” described above.

Both the Friday Partners and Pairing VIP Event and the Saturday Main Event will be held at the Rodman Lott & Son Farms located at 2973 State Route 414, Seneca Falls, NY.

CLICK HERE  to order tickets to either the Friday night Partners & Pairing VIP Event or to the Saturday Main Event.

All photos courtesy of the Seneca County Chamber of Commerce and Finger Lakes Cork and Fork.


The Finger Lakes are well-known for their Riesling Wines

Although the Finger Lakes region has many delightful wines, it is often thought of as Riesling Country because this region wins so many awards in this wine category.  If you are a lover of Riesling wines (or wine tasting in general), be sure to visit Finger Lakes Wine Country to check out the many events planned, and the  winery and restaurant promotions celebrating this popular wine.  If you’re thinking of staying overnight, don’t overlook the many package deals on Keuka and Seneca Lake as well as those south of the Finger Lakes.  This link on their database can also help you identify the wineries that specialize in Riesling wines.

Melissa, Sarah and owner Jackie (l. to r.) serve up "glory-ous" food

On April 11, 2005, Orange Glory Café opened its doors for the first time after owner Jackie Powers returned from a trip to Paris and decided to pursue her long-time dream of starting a café in Rochester.  Coincidentally, a small space near the Little Theatre had become available, allowing her to expand her  catering business into a restaurant.

When you walk into Orange Glory, the cheery orange creamsicle color, the café-style tables and chairs, the chalk board that heralds the day’s menu  and the word “Eat” written above the door in ’50’s diner-style lettering give the restaurant the distinctive flavor of a retro-chic Miami Beach café crossed with a small trendy Soho restaurant. Exhibits by local artists grace the walls and rotate every 6 to 8 weeks, adding to the ambiance. What is even more distinctive is the food.

Jackie and her staff prepare fresh, all-natural homemade selections each day that include savory soups, mouthwatering sandwiches, fresh flavorful salads and cookies that are “to die for.” When possible, she uses organic produce.

“I prepare food the way I like to eat,” explained Jackie, who enjoys an active and healthy lifestyle that includes biking.

Orange Glory's menu changes daily

The menu typically includes close to a dozen different sandwiches – some vegetarian, some not – several salads, two soup choices and at least 8 side selctions. Today’s menu, for example, includes Spinach Burger, Chicken Salad, Lentil Burger, Poultry Burger, Eggplant & Chickpea Burger, Tuna Melt, Ham & Brie, Turkey & Boursin and Egg & Olive sandwiches as well as Chicken Chili and Tomato Basil Soup.  The sandwiches come on a variety of freshly baked breads with tasty condiments that set off the flavor of sandwiches. Their soups are among the best I’ve ever tasted.

The restaurant has a friendly, warm atmosphere, and it seats about a dozen people, so if you want to eat in, it’s good to get there before Noon or after 1 p.m. When it’s full, as it was yesterday when I took friends from Staten Island there, it’s a bit noisy, so it’s more conducive to lunch with a friend or two than to a business lunch.

In addition to running the restaurant, Jackie continues the business that led her to the restaurant and she can cater any event from the smallest party to the largest wedding. Orange Glory offers an exclusive catering menu that  includes a wide variety of appetizers, main courses and side dishes.  She is also delighted to host events of 10 to12 people on-site in her restaurant and can delight your guests with anything from tastings to multi-course dinners!

Gerry Szymanski's show "Passing Strangers" runs at Orange Glory from April 1 - May 11

Orange Glory Cafe is located at 240 East Avenue, near the Little Theater, and is open for lunch from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday.

P.S. A new exhibit opens this evening (Friday, April 1) from 6-9 p.m. called “Passing Strangers,” featuring portraits by artist/photographer Gerry Szymanski. Be sure to stop by and enjoy his portraiture work that seems to capture the soul of the individuals he photographs.