First of all, one thing that I’ve found around this area is that the name of the restaurant doesn’t necessarily have much to do with the type of food they serve. Eddie O’Briens sounds Irish to me, but the menu was very typical American Tavern food with wraps, sandwiches, burgers and various Italian items. What? You were expecting some Irish dishes? OK, here are some more random thoughts and observations about eating out in the Finger Lakes.
Fried Calamari is a very popular appetizer, as it is in many parts of the country, but around here it’s often used in composed salads (almost like croutons) as you see pictured here (top right). This was called “Fried Calamari Italiano” I believe, and was very tasty. I have had several variations of this dish around the area and I’m not sure where the idea came from, but it is very good. You do have to eat it kind of quick before the wetter ingredients melt off the crispy calamari coating, but I eat fast anyway. This one had greens, olives, tomatoes, sliced pepperoncini, and parmesan. By the way, one tip I can give all you traveling on a shoe string budget; bring a camera, notebook and tell the host you do a food blog and that you’ll be taking some pictures. My sister didn’t remember getting such a large portions before. Coincidence?
Another thing I’ve noticed is that restaurants around here love to put pictures of their deserts on display at the table. Here are two desserts they offered; a fruit filled, key lime cheesecake/regular cake combo with whipped topping, and a peanut butter/chocolate pie. The risk with this marketing approach is that I may have ordered the cake if I had read a description on a menu, but the picture just scared me. It reminded me of fruitcake, which is never a good thing. The peanut butter pie picture looked more appetizing, but I was confused by the photo’s composition. Why was that toy strongman lifting it? Was it so light a small toy could lift it? Or, was it so dense and heavy that only a freakishly strong wooden toy could lift it? Or, was I just thinking too much.
Lastly, I joked in one of my comments in the post about taking this trip that I was heading to the land of chicken wings and iceberg lettuce. Well, in all fairness, many of the local restaurants actually use baby field greens now (often combined with iceberg to keep the old-timers happy). But, the chicken wing is ubiquitous. Chicken wings are to western NY, as organic baby lettuce is to Berkeley. They are literally on every appetizer menu in the area, no matter what the cuisine. Have they now gone too far? As you can see from this specials black board at Eddie O’Briens, they even make soup with them now (No, the photo below is not doctored). Chicken wing soup? Might be tasty, but it sounds like a lawsuit waiting to happen.