Left at the Fork

the road | the food | a new direction

Month: October 2019

The Cider Mill, Endicott NY

REVIEW

The Cider Mill has been an Endicott fixture for as long as we can remember (our local memories extend as far back as 1974). In fact, the current mill is a 1972 model constructed after a fire destroyed the original 1926 cider mill. Unlike most cider producers in apple growing country, The Cider Mill is not a farm; they do not grow apples. They buy New York State apples, primarily from Wayne County, for their cider, and also for selling fresh.

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Checking in at: Sharkey’s, Binghamton NY

Through the decades we still maintain that the charcoal-grilled pork spiedies served at the 1947 Binghamton tavern Sharkey’s are the Platonic ideal of the Italian-accented skewered meat dish. Yes, it doesn’t hurt that Sharkey’s almost looks like it’s still operating in 1947, and it’s hard not to love what, to be perfectly frank, can still be described as an old man’s bar with a dining room in back.

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148th Oyster and Pork Dinner, Carversville PA, October 19th 2019

REVIEW

We love church suppers and we love enduring culinary traditions, but the annual autumn dinner hosted by the Carversville United Church of Christ, in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, is in another category altogether. This year marked the 148th edition of the oyster and pork feast. They missed a year for various reasons here or there over the centuries (a church fire, a pastor who didn’t like the tradition), so we’re not certain of the date of that first church dinner but our quick math puts it soon after the Civil War. How’s that for enduring!

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Oaks Inn, Endicott NY

REVIEW

“Which way EJ?” That’s the question, perhaps apocryphal, Italian immigrants were said to have asked when they arrived at Ellis Island in the early 20th century. Word in Italy was that there was work to be found in Endicott, NY at Endicott-Johnson, the shoe manufacturer. By the start of the new millennium the company was gone but Little Italy, on the north side of Endicott, remains.

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Checking in at: Waterman’s Distillery, Apalachin NY

Waterman’s, open since 2017, is the only distillery in the Binghamton area. What it is they produce isn’t exactly clear to us. They call their signature product, Waterman’s White, a white corn whiskey. In other words, unaged corn whiskey, or moonshine. On the other hand, they also say Waterman’s White is grain neutral spirit. To the best of our understanding, it can’t be both. So is it vodka? Vodka can be made from corn – Tito’s is one example of a corn vodka. We didn’t taste the White straight, but we did sample it in a cocktail and there’s was no mistaking the subtle but distinct moonshine flavor.

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Miss Monticello Diner, Monticello NY

REVIEW

If you find yourself motoring through the Catskills in New York when hunger strikes, we suggest locating a diner and settling in for a quick meal of American classics. We like to think that much of the appeal of diners is their fungibility and predictability, but in all honesty that probably overstates the situation. Yes, if all you want is an omelet or a burger, just about any diner will do, but some diners really do a better job than others. One of the most reliable of the breed is the Miss Monticello. Continue reading

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