Verona, New York
These days, I have the privilege of traveling out-of-state on business about once a month. Here recently, work took me to Upstate New York where I had the opportunity to dine at my first Forbes Travel Guide 4-Star Rated Restaurant.
My colleague and I sat side-by-side at a booth which faced a large picture window overlooking a fountain and beautifully landscaped grounds. It had rained earlier in the day, and a delightful double rainbow filled the sky. As we awaited the main course, the Chef sent us these bites from the kitchen to tantalize our taste buds. At left, goat cheese panna cotta with a layer of red currant jam, topped with none other than an edible wildflower. At right, something wildly contemporary which my vegan co-worker quickly devoured.
The bites were followed by my choice of bread and round disks of softened butter. Salty and hot, the pretzel bread-stick was everything I needed it to be.
My meal began with Lobster Bisque. The big white bowl was delivered to the table with a large piece of lump crab in the center, topped with the stem of green garnish you see here. Then, for a little table-side entertainment, our waitress poured the bisque down and around the meat. The bisque had real depth of flavor, peppery and reminiscent of seafood stock. It had, no-doubt, been simmering for hours.
For dinner, I chose one of the host-recommended menu items: the Dover Sole a la Meuniere. Classically prepared with brown butter, lemon, capers and parsley, the fish was perfectly cooked, light and beautifully presented. To cook something “a la Meuniere” simply means to first dredge it in flour. Everything sounds better in French.
For my side dish, the seasonal vegetables were a colorful and healthy addition to the fish. I loved the little stockpot-like vehicle in which they arrived. Tossed lightly in butter, they were steamed, then grilled.
We didn’t order dessert, but, to end the meal, our waitress did deliver these delights to our table along with a tempting message. The orange flower was for my co-worker, and the chocolate square for me. She said, “Put the whole thing in your mouth at once, and there’ll be a little surprise in the center.” I thought there would be some sort of fruity or creamy filling, much like you’d find in a box of chocolates. However, the Chef de Cuisine at Wildflowers would never be so predictable. With one bite, I was thrown back into my childhood and surprised immediately with a million little snap-crackle-pops. POP ROCKS! It was a really fun way to close out a fine dining experience.
If I’m ever in Verona again, I’m planning to revisit Wildflowers, but next time, for breakfast. The culinary philosophy here echos my own: Sourcing locally grown ingredients, while supporting the nearby farming community. The chef also changes the menu seasonally to accompany what’s fresh and in-season, ensuring a memorable dining experience that’s Some Kinda Good.
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Georgia native Rebekah Faulk Lingenfelser is a freelance writer, entertainer and food enthusiast who writes and speaks about her love of good food and the Coastal South. A Season 2 Contestant on ABC’s “The Taste,” she is the Statesboro Herald food columnist and host of SKG-TV on YouTube.com. A Georgia Southern University alumna, Rebekah also attended Savannah Technical College’s Culinary Institute of Savannah. To learn more, connect with Some Kinda Good on social media, or visit RebekahFaulk.wix.com/RebekahFaulk.