The Gorge and Vegan Cheese Boards
Besides being beautiful, New York’s Finger Lakes Region has some spectacular vegan options. Like Veraisons, the restaurant located on Glenora Winery in Dundee. Honestly, this place was our main reason for this trip. After discovering the vegan options on its seasonal menus, I have been watching them change. With an exciting summer menu released, it was finally time to go to Glenora.
We had two reservations. One for breakfast and one for dinner. With a busy day ahead, breakfast was a serious task. We ordered everything vegan on the menu, save for the oatmeal, and watched the morning fog dissipate over Lake Seneca from our table on the terrace. First course, a seasonal fruit plate and chia pudding.
Our breakfast entrees to split: Coconut Pancakes with a basil glaze, pineapple chutney, and spiced cashew crumble and Chipotle Tofu Benedict–tofu croquettes, toast rounds, topped with chipotle cashew cream. I know! A heavenly spread. All tastebuds fulfilled. It was an amazing vegan breakfast that exceeded our expectations and high standards.
We were full of energy for our time at Watkins Glen State Park, or–the foot path around a 400 foot natural gorge–passing caverns, gorgeous rock striation, and 19-waterfalls.
Since there was no swimming allowed near waterfalls in Watkins Glen State Park, we moved on to Robert H. Tremen State Park, making good use of my Empire Pass, for some lake swimming. The swimming area was a bit bustling and the water was quite cold. But with a backdrop like that, how can you not partake.
Trying out my underwater camera pouch.
This shot looks like a painting.
Onward to lunch in Corning, New York, headquarters to Corning Inc. Though they sold their CorningWare and Pyrex consumer lines to World Kitchen–owner of other familiar food-related consumer lines Baker’s Secret, Magnalite, and Snapware–in 1998, there is lots of vintage CorningWare in the antiques shop and a huge glass museum in town.
Lunch was at The Cellar, a wine bar who supplies tapas and fusion to downtown Corning. Their menu includes clearly labeled vegan options, including (gasp!) a vegan housemade cheese plate. Though this is astounding, having only had a true vegan cheese plate in North Carolina’s Plant (cheese plate at now defunct Cocoa V was just Dr. Cow’s tree nut cheeses, not housemade), it was actually the first of two, yes two, cheese plates we’d have today.
There she is: Semi-soft House Cheddar, soft Herbed Chevre, Soft Spirulina, and semi-soft Truffle cheeses along with crackers, apple slices, pickled fennel, candied walnuts, and a sweet chutney.It was amazing that this omni wine bar takes the time to make these cheeses from scratch. New York City, pay attention to this.
It was a delight to partake in a vegan cheese plate, mixing and matching different flavor options. I took at lot of pictures. Because these cheeses were legit.
We also split an entree–their Ancient Grain Tamale with a medley of Amaranth, Teff, Quinoa, Millett grains inside Masa along with mixed greens, marinated tomatoes, and an avocado& cucumber salsa. It was fresh and yummy but missing beans, we thought.
After some strolling in Corning’s cute downtown, it was already time for our dinner reservation back at Veraisons at Glenora. It was time for vegan cheese plate number 2. It is important to say that Varaisons’ service was extrordinary. Since I indicated we were vegan when making my reservation, they thoroughly explained vegan options on their regular and special menus, brought us a trio of vegan options for our vegan bread (including vegan butter, tomato oil, and a tomato jam), as well as a vegan Amuse-bouche.
We got the vegan cheese sampler for 1, since it was not too long ago we had eaten another cheese plate. This one had even more sublime textures and tastes–a vegan Brie, a “rarebit” soft cheddar (my favorite of both cheese plates) and Whimsy, a soft cashew spread, along with crackers, fruit, and a chutney. And a glass of Riesling. Delectable.
One of their featured farm starters–Staffed Squash Blossoms! Always a joy to see a vegan version of something new. We couldn’t resist. The cashew Brie oozes out seductively after each bite.
The memorable appetizer round. Veraisons, you are blowing my mind.
Our entree: Five Spice BBQ Tofu: cornbread, maple barbecue gel, tempura pickles, charred baby carrots, and a lemon dill aioli. Very good but not the grand finale I had envisioned.
And finally dessert, a S’mores spread of chocolate avocado mousse, meringues, housemade graham, and a dollop of Ricemellow. I was so full at this point, I barely contributed to the eating of this. Such a wonderful meal of vegan options. I am so pleased that Veraisons lived up to expectations and met our needs for a complete and scrumptious vegan breakfast and dinner, from start to finish.