Friday, February 25, 2011

Pastry Palooza

Treats from JonJohn's Bakery
(more photos)

I had heard about Pastry Palooza (at the Genesee Center for the Arts & Education on Monroe Ave.) via Twitter, but I didn’t pay too much attention until I saw a mention in the paper last Thursday. The calendar listing mentioned sampling baked goods from local bakeries, and that’s all I needed to know—I love free samples, and I love bakeries. I cut out the listing and left it on the kitchen counter for Clem to see when he got home, simply writing “nom” in black marker at the top.

Last Saturday was snowy and windy—a great day for staying in—but we decided to brave the storm and go. (After all, this is February in Rochester.) When we arrived, we paid the $5 each to get in (the admission fees benefited the Center) and took a look around at the tables full of cupcakes, cookies, brownies, and other treats. I remember seeing five bakeries represented there, but the event’s Facebook page lists seven, so either I missed two or those people didn’t make it. The bakeries were: JonJohn’s Bakery, Small World Bakery, Elegant Expressions, Donna Marie’s Gluten Free Bakery, and Cakes a Go-Go.

Each bakery offered free samples as well as items for sale. Coffee and tea were available to buy, too. (Milk would have been perfect, considering all the cookies around—hey, after all, it’s scientifically proven!) I tried tidbits of a chocolate chip cookie, brownie, sweet potato pie, peanut butter chocolate cupcake, and a couple others.

We couldn’t resist buying a few things, too. OK, more than a few. While we were there, we ate two cupcakes (peanut butter chocolate for me, and cherry 7UP for Clem, both from Cakes a Go-Go) and took home two cookies and a piece of chocolate cake from JonJohn’s, my favorite of the bakeries that took part. Their food was delicious, and the owners were so friendly, too.

In fact, all the sugar in the building must have been working its magic, because virtually everyone was cheerful at Pastry Palooza. People were smiling, and strangers struck up conversations with each other, like the woman who told me she had the same baby carrier that I was wearing. If the Center puts on this event again next year, I'll be there. (Of course, if you put a plate of free brownies on a card table on the side of the road, I would be there, too—but this really was a fun event.)

Monday, February 21, 2011

Here again

So before I wrote that last post, I wrote another post that explained why I had been gone (got pregnant in the fall of '09 and had a baby last summer) and why I wouldn't be keeping up this blog anymore. Then a while after that, I decided to delete that post, and then several (?) days later, I wrote about the Valentine's Day event below. I changed my mind because I really enjoying blogging about Rochester. I may not post here as often as I did before (I never realized how much free time I actually had before I became a mom!), and I'll probably include more kid-friendly and/or kid-focused places and events, but I'm excited about writing about and taking photos of Rochester again. Stay tuned!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Valentine's at the Eastman House

(more photos)

Instead of going out for dinner this Valentine’s Day, we decided to try the George Eastman House’s annual Valentine’s Day Brunch & Film on Sunday the 13th. I had never heard of this event before finding out about it in January in an email from the museum. This year’s movie was “To Have and Have Not" (1944), with Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall (who fell in love during its filming), and  neither of us had seen that either. We didn’t make a decision right away, and we called to make reservations just in time--we got the very last two tickets ($35 each for the brunch and film).

When we arrived, we saw tables and chairs set up along the entire long hallway (the Potter Peristyle) that starts at the back entrance to the museum. Before we sat down, we had to check out the table of chocolate pizzas that the Eastman House was selling as a fundraiser. The heart-shaped chocolate slabs were covered with peanuts, almonds, cranberries, and raisins, and sold in small pizza boxes. (I admit to later using a knife to chisel out the cranberries and raisins from my pieces.) We were told that one of the boxes held a gold necklace worth $1,000 (donated by a jewelry store). Given my abysmal record with contests and prizes, I was pretty sure I was not going to win this, but Clem bought me a pizza as a Valentine’s gift anyway. (They had me at “chocolate.” … And “pizza.” And “necklace.”)

Probably because we reserved seats so late (oops), our seats were at the very last table in the back. (Fortunately, that meant that we were the first to be called for the buffet line.) By the way, if you’re looking for a romantic Valentine's meal, the Eastman House brunch probably isn’t for you--you’ll be sharing a table with several other people. Our tablemates included Karen, a Dryden Theatre docent, who dressed for the occasion in a ’40s-style outfit.

The buffet offered plenty of sweet and savory items, including fruit, fruit breads, home fries, bacon, sausage, omelets (cheese and spinach/feta), cranberry-focaccia French toast, ham, and turkey. I would have loved to see some pancakes or waffles, but I suppose those may not hold up too well when kept warm in a buffet. Each place setting had a glass of orange juice already poured, and servers offered coffee and tea.

Not too long after we finished, we left to grab front-row balcony seats at the Dryden to watch “To Have and Have Not.” Before the movie started, everyone who had bought a chocolate pizza was asked to open them at the same time. I was not surprised not to find a necklace in my pizza box! Oh, well. Karen, the docent, gave a really interesting introduction to the film, which I had known nothing about. I enjoyed the movie, although I did giggle at Bacall’s odd singing voice and let out a (quiet) laugh each time someone addressed Bogart’s character as “Captain Morgan.” Plus, Captain Renard = the French Comic Book Guy. Although our attendance at the brunch gave us free admission to the museum, we had to leave after the movie to pick up our son. We’ll have to save “Between the States” for another day.