Obscurus CNY : Pumpernickel’s Original New York Delicatessen



On a day where the first snow flakes fell of the season, I found myself craving one of my favorite spots growing up.

Pumpernickel’s Orginal Delicatessen is tucked away  deep into the Center Court of the New Hartford Shopping Center.  My best friend and I must have eaten there twice a week in our early 20s.


The food is incredible.  Try a panini on their focciaca bread.  But its the style and decor that draws me to it.

Owner Philip J. Amodio decorates this restaurant and table tops with memorabilia from his native, New York City.


Just the fact that its practically hidden from sight makes me feel like I am sitting in some underground “hole in the wall” protected from the busy outside world.

10 years later,  the place hasn’t changed much. (Besides the installation of a bar in the back)  I consider that a good thing.  Owner still behind the counter.  Same waitress taking orders.

Best of luck to them.


Mother’s Cupboard : James Street, Syracuse

How I have lived in Syracuse for 7 years and not been to this little hole in the wall is beyond me.  IMG_20171018_090330809

Home of the “Whole Frittata” this place was cozy with delicious food.

I ordered the whole Frittata with cheese at $12.  How big could it be?

Holy Hell….

Now only was it the biggest portion of food I have ever seen but it was mouth wateringly good.

Featured on Man vs. Food. Check it out here.


Delayed Gratification : Michael T’s Restaurant

If there was ever an example of a man who understands the benefits of delayed gratification, the sacrifice and daily grind day in and day out for years, it would be the owner of Michael T’s in New Hartford, Michael Trunfio.  

It’s been a decade since I stopped working for the man but I still swing my his restaurant every chance I get.  

Mick was a good friend of my Dad’s, so I had an inside track to his low overhead operation when I found myself looking for work after I graduated high school.  

He gave me the opportunity as a bus boy, takeout and salad preparer, cook, and the sous chef.  Working under the equally brilliant, Chef Visalli, who is now a doctor.  He have me the freedom to create my own dishes which was something I took much pride in.    

Mick knew how to hustle.  With three young daughters to support, he put in his 20 years at the post office while simultaneously working behind the stove and running the business end of the family restaurant he took over from his father.    The man never stopped.  Working till 5 sorting mail then hustling over to the restaurant for service.  

Did I mention that the food is amazing?  Of course it is.  Serving up classic Italian American dishes as well as many house specialities.  What makes it so amazing is it’s simplicity.  The combination of a few high quality ingredients in a conscientious way to create something delicious.   I and many consider their Chicken Riggies and Utica Greens the best.  But don’t overlook the fish fry, the chicken franchaise, or Haddock Gianna.  

When I see Mick now,. I see a more relaxed, light hearted version.  When I see pictures on Facebook, he looks to be enjoying life a little more.  He is also able to focus more on expanding his business with the addition of the ever popular food truck.  
Mick…if you read this.  Thank you for the opportunity all those years ago.  The experience you gave me was invaluable.  

Eastwood Gems : Taste Of Philadelphia and Books & Melodies

Eastwood got its name from it’s general location, just east of the city of Syracuse.  

Known for its tight community vibe, “a village Within a City”, Eastwood’s main strip of James Street has some awesome local spots. 

Today, I had time to check out a couple of them.  

First up, Taste of Philadelphia.  Very similar to Geno’s in Fayetteville and North Syracuse, just set back 15 years with it’s dilapidated booths and old style menu. They serve up authentic Philly Cheese Steaks on freshly delivered Hoagie rolls.

This place reeks of Philadelphia pop culture.  With it’s Rocky boxing  gloves, McNabb Jersey, and movie posters.  The food is really good but I do prefer the more modern Gino’s that I mentioned earlier.  

I love when businesses display their first $ earned

Next up, Books & Melodies.  I mean what can I say, who doesn’t love to see a local  used book and record shop survive and thrive in the day and age.  Full of all genres of books, records, movies, and cds definitely worth a glance. 

Festa Italiana Syracuse

Syracuse’s annual Italian Fest has taken over Downtown this weekend.  

I spent most of my life feasting on Italian food and I haven’t yet found a cuisine that compares.  

I was born in and am also a citizen of Italy, though I don’t remember it. I spent my early years in a strictly old school Italian house hold.  Nanni and Papi seated at the dinner table as Grandma served up meatballs and red sauce.  Plus I grew up in Utica, Ny which has got to be the Italian American Cuisine capital of the country.  

Drinking Peroni while my wife sipped on Moscato, we sampled calamari, greens, chicken riggies, tomato pie, and cannoli.  

It’s going on from Friday to Sunday this weekend.  Check it out

Great New York State Fair : Preview Day


I can’t actually explain why I love the NYS Fair so much.  It’s probably related to the love I have a busy cities.  The crowds, the stimulation, always something to see and do appeals to me.  (I will always regret not living in a major city at some point in my life.)

This year the fair opened at day earlier than it’s usually twelve day run.  “Preview Day” is what they called it and with the $1 special admission price we were off to get our own preview of the end of summer event.


Preview Day was an accurate depiction  because there were a great deal of vendors and attractions not fully set up or operational.    Lots of vacant spaces to be found that I am sure will be filled by tomorrow.

This didn’t deter us at all as we were more than content taking the first day to walk around and get the “lay of the land” so to speak.

You see the sand sculpture taking shape.  This particular side will be highlighting Women’s right to Vote in 1920.



I have brought Lucas here every year since he was born.


All Liam wanted to do was check out the animals.  He learned that if he yells at the turkeys that they would gobble back at him  Literally the funniest thing ever.





Liam spots the train and it was on.


Not trip to the fair is complete without stopping by the Dairy Building and checking out the Butter Sculpture.  Don’t forget to grab a cup of fresh milk.  Still .25 cents.


Many more visits to follow.  If you have never been and are able you should totally check it out.   The food, the Midway, the exhibits all have coverage to follow


Syracuse Bacon Fest … Needed More Than One Day

When they announced the first Annual Bacon Fest in Downtown Syracuse’s, Clinton Square I was like “Yes!!!!”

When they announced it was only going to run for one day I was like “What????”

Clearly they underestimated CNY’s love for pork.

Hell, the Middle Eastern Fest is four days long.  

So I parked my car down at the Inner Harbor with Liam so I didn’t have to pay or fight for parking then strolled up the Creek Walk to the square and let’s say I wasn’t surprised.  

Each vendor line was easily 30 people deep.  Some we’re just lined up to get lemonade.  

So let’s just say they were a little overwhelmed.  

But I did get to sample a few delicious items in between Liam’s requests for M&Ms. 

Bacon Mac and cheese from MacaRollin

Chicken bacon ranch Gyro from Byblos Street Grill

And a ground beef and bacon Pazzerotti (FriedCalzone) from Pascarella’s

Nice idea for this event.  But it needs more time.

Taste of East Syracuse

Hot day here in Syracuse.  I took a short break from painting to head into the village of East Syracuse for their 12th Annual “Taste”.  

Now, I really haven’t spent much time in the village.  It’s the location of one of the best firework shows I have seen but other than that, East Syracuse isn’t kinda of a “transitional” town.  Not much going on here except for a couple bowling alleys and a few thrift shops.  Just a place you pass through to grab some ice cream or hit the diner.  

The Taste was a motley assortment of about half a dozen local family restaurants.  

I sampled the meatball sub from Tony’s Family Restaurant and the Chicken Riggies from Twin Trees while Marcy Playground played on the stereo.  “Who’s that casting devious stares in my direction?”

Both were amazing.  Worth another try next time I’m passing through.