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