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Shout Out to Symeon’s

I mentioned briefly having lunch at Symeon’s on Saturday. I thought I’d write a little more about them today, in the interests of plugging a local business that is well worth the praise.

Symeon’s, located at 4941 Commercial Dr., Yorkville, NY, is a family run Greek restaurant that has been in business for a number of years. When I worked in New Hartford (which is like, right next to Yorkville, for people unfamiliar with the area), I would treat myself to lunch there when the opportunity arose. Now that I work in Ilion, the opportunities are fewer, so I was delighted when Phyllis fell in with my suggestion to have lunch there.

Actually, “fell in with” is kind of a… what’s the opposite of exaggeration? It turns out Phyllis is just as big a fan of Symeon’s as I am. It didn’t really surprise me: lots of people love Symeon’s I was a little worried we’d have to wait for a table (worth the wait, but I was hungry). However, we were seated with no problem in one of the three dining rooms. The three dining rooms make for a cozy atmosphere and a quieter one than what you find in places with one big dining room.

We both ordered the Souvlaki Platter, which comes with a basket of warm flat bread. I asked for extra yoghurt sauce, to dip the bread in. Love that Greek yoghurt sauce. When my sister eats at Symeon’s, she almost always orders the Calimarakia (known as kalamari at other places), which is some of the best I’ve ever eaten. The Thracian chicken is good, too, and their soup is yummy, although Souvlaki is what I order most often. We did not order dessert, but I’ve had their chocolate mousse, which is excellent.

The service was very good, too. When our waitress was moved to another section, she brought her replacement over to the table and introduced her. I thought that was classy.

I had not eaten at Symeon’s in a long time, because, as I mentioned, I don’t get to the area as often. I’ll have to make more of an effort in the future, because, yum.

For more information on Symeon’s call 315-736-4074, visit their website at, or Like them on Facebook.

On With the Wine!

Have I used that headline before? You know, I don’t think I have, and now that I look at it, it kinds of looks like the post is about how I spilled wine on myself. I did not. No matter.

When we last left our intrepid blogger (that’s me), I had obtained the correct location and time of the Crusader’s Wine Tasting Event in Herkimer, NY (I know I usually start that kind of sentence in the third person then switch, but I just wasn’t feeling it this morning). I was set for fun with friends.

Steven and I met the Mills (Jim, Phyllis and Kelly) in the VFW parking lot shortly after one. It is a very popular event; the parking lot was full. We had found a space on the street in the block before the building and grabbed it.

A group of ladies who looked about my age (middle) were on their way in and noticed a sign that said no one under 21 was permitted.

“I can’t go in,” one said.

“I’ll be 21 tomorrow,” another said.

“Just flirt with he guy at the door,” I suggested. “He’ll let you in.” It used to work in the ’80s. Um, not that I ever did such a thing.

When the Mills showed up, I found them a parking space in the lot across the street. I walked over, pointing to it. They were pleased with the “valet parking.”

Donation was $10. The paper had said the first ten people got a free wine glass. I suspect that was a typo, because we all got wine glasses and there were far more than ten people ahead of us. Naturally we got in on the 50/50 raffle. While Jim and Steven filled in our names and numbers, Phyllis, Kelly and I started sampling wine.

I love this event, because you find such a variety of wine makers, from professionals to professional-looking to gallon jugs with handwritten labels that look like something my Italian grandfather would have made (if he had made wine; Grandpa was more of a beer drinker) (but I know a fellow whose Italian grandfather makes great wine).

I had remembered to wear my lanyard with a wine glass holder, purchased at a previous Crusaders event from Bottom of the Barrel. This is a store in Oneida that sells wine making equipment and other fun accessories. I must make my way to Oneida sometime to visit their store for a blog post all their own.

Canal Side Inn from Little Falls was also represented. We sampled some delicious biscuits as well as pate on French bread. Another place for Mohawk Valley Girl to visit in the future.

I was especially pleased to see Domnhall Vineyards, Herkimer’s very own winery located on Shell’s Bush Road.

“When are you opening your tasting room?” I asked. “My sisters want to know!” The guy said he would be sure to advertise when he did. Phyllis told him how I had brought a bottle of his Baco Noir to her house and how much we had enjoyed it. We enjoyed a sample of that as well as his Vignole, which Phyllis liked even better.

The event also had a food table, which I sensibly visited several times. Steven bought tickets for the Chinese Auction (or are they called something different now?). I helped him pick a few things to try for.

Imagine my delight when I got a phone call shortly after we got home. I won the necklace and earrings from Weisser’s Jewelers! When we had put in the ticket for that one, I had shown the ladies at the table the anniversary ring Steven had purchased for me there. Weisser’s is located on North Main Street in Herkimer. I think that’s yet another subject for a future blog post.

Fast Dinner

As Mohawk Valley Girl, I don’t usually plug chains and I almost never eat fast food. However, as the week wears on, I don’t have a whole lot to post about, so I thought I’d mention our Tuesday dinner.

We did not have a whole lot of time before rehearsal (regular readers will recall we are rehearsing Dirty Work at the Crossroads for Ilion Little Theatre) and, quite frankly, we did not have much inclination to cook or even slap a sandwich together. I suggested looking in Sunday’s paper (we hadn’t recycled all of it) for Arby’s coupons. No luck, but once you start thinking about Beef-N-Cheddar and Curly Fries…

So off we went down State Street in Herkimer, NY, to Arby’s. There was no line at the counter, although they were a little busy at the drive-thru. We studied the menu. No calorie counts listed like they do at Taco Bell. Um, not that I go there a lot, either. I briefly considered one of the new sandwiches, such as the Reuben or turkey something or other, but ultimately had to go with my favorite.

I just got the sandwich while Steven got the combo with Curly Fries and soda. I figured I could share his fries, to which he graciously agreed. While we waited for our food, I started flashing back to my first job, which was in fast food. When fellow came up and ordered just a small curly fry, I asked the worker if when someone asked for a small fry she ever gave them just one small french fry.

“A girl I used to work with would do that,” I told her. I’m not sure if she got the joke, but it used to amuse my former co-worker mightily.

Our food was pretty good, for fast food. At least, the sandwiches didn’t seem too fast foody. The fries did, of course, being deep fried (one of my favorite flavors). I put Horsy Sauce on my sandwich and dipped the fries in it as well. I do love that Horsy Sauce.

The service was good too. A not bad dining experience before our rehearsal.

And Thank You, Brian’s

Monday during our various movements dealing with the computer (see yesterday’s post), Steven and I got a little hungry. I suggested lunch at Brian’s Roast Beef Deli.

We easily found a parking place on Main street and easily found a table at Brian’s, even though they were doing a brisk lunch business. The menus were on the table, under plexiglass. I got up and checked the Specials board as well. Lots of good choices.

Steven decided on a deluxe hamburger with macaroni salad. I got garlic boneless chicken wings and a side of macaroni and cheese. I had been thinking of that macaroni and cheese ever since I suggested Brian’s. Seven got coffee to drink. I daringly ordered a draft beer, smallest size.

The waitress was one we’ve seen before. I asked her if she had lost weight since I last saw her. I always hesitate before I ask that question. I’m afraid the answer will be, “What, you thought I was FAT the last time you saw me?” I usually meet with a good response, though, and so it was this time. She had been trying to lose a few pounds and was glad it showed.

Our food was delicious. While we ate I noticed a note below the plexiglass on the table talking about how all the food was fresh made from the finest ingredients. I could tell. They were some of the best boneless wings I’ve ever had.

A lady Steven knows came in while we were there. She and her luncheon companion were sharing a large antipasto.

“Ooh, that looks good; I should’ve gotten that,” I said. “That’s what I do in restaurants,” I explained. “I look at what other people are eating and see what looks good.”

The lady said she thought my lunch had looked pretty good. I assured her it was. She may get the boneless wings next time.

We greatly enjoyed our lunch at Brian’s. It made a nice interlude in the midst of our computer dealings.

Brian’s Deli is located at 122 N. Main St., Herkimer, NY 13350, phone number 315-866-3664. They are open Monday through Thursday from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to midnight. You can like them on Facebook.

Saturday Shout Outs

I must begin today’s post by repairing an omission in a previous post titled, “To Market, To Market.” I had purchased a lovely a sweet treat for Steven for Valentine’s Day but neglected to make a note of the company that made it. Imagine my delight when I found the business card in my wallet.

Allow me to recommend Tamsin’s Sweet Shop of Clinton, NY. Website (imagine my further delight to find she also blogs on WordPress). She is also on Facebook.

To continue with Saturday’s post, I think I will give another shout out to The Knight Spot in Frankfort, NY. Steven and I went there Thursday night for our Valentine’s dinner. I’m not saying it is the most romantic atmosphere in the Mohawk Valley. More of a down home, family, diner type of atmosphere. But I had conceived a craving for a patty melt earlier in the week, and The Knight Spot makes one of the best.

We had no problem getting a booth. I ordered a bottle of Yuengling Beer. Steven got coffee but also ordered a chocolate shake to go with his dinner (which The Knight Spot also does superlatively). He got an open-faced hot roast beef sandwich with mashed potatoes, gravy over both. As I said, I got a patty melt.

The Knight Spot is located at 264 E. Main St., Frankfort, phone number 315-894-4054. They are also on Facebook.

Breakfast Before Adventures

Saturday Steven and I had the opportunity to have breakfast out together. Since we intended to go to Ilion anyways, I suggested Farmhouse.

Farmhouse Restaurant is located in a very small building on Central Avenue, right next to the fire station. For the longest time we would drive by it and say, “How in the world do they fit a restaurant in that little building?”

It turns out to be a little crowded but a very good place to eat. The atmosphere is homey and the decor is fun. Vintage tins and other decorations are on a shelf that runs around the wall just under the ceiling. Old-fashioned wooden games sit on the window sill and some of the tables. I especially admired a hand-embroidered tablecloth on one of the tables. The waitress told me the original owner had done it, as well as most of the other decor.

Steven ordered French toast with fried eggs and sausage, plus orange juice. I more conservatively went with fried eggs and sourdough toast (my favorite). Do I need to say we both got coffee?

While we waited for our food, I picked up the wooden game on the table. It was a triangle with golf tees stuck in holes. The object was to jump one tee over another till you eliminated all but one tee. I used to have a plastic version of it when I was little. I seemed to remember getting very good at it. Not so much on Saturday. Then when I thought about it, I figured I probably did not get very good at it but played it enough that once in a while I somehow got down to one or two pegs. Steven didn’t do a whole lot better when he tried, so no bragging rights for either of us.

I felt really stupid when I bumped the table with my knee and spilled some of Steven’s orange juice. We mopped it up with napkins till the waitress brought a cloth. A little later a lady at another table called to the waitress asking for her orange juice.

“She’s afraid I’ll spill it,” I said.

“I can spill my own orange juice,” the lady assured me.

One table had a number of books on it. I asked if they were for sale. It was actually an exchange. I could take one and bring it back and/or bring others I was done with. In fact, I have a few paperbacks I don’t intend to read or don’t intend to read again. I picked up a murder mystery and got interested in it. You know me and books.

We enjoyed our breakfast very much. We happily set out for further Mohawk Valley adventures. Farmhouse Restaurant is located at 9 Central Ave, Ilion, NY. Phone number is 315-894-3276.

Overheard at the Diner

“New Hampshire is a made up state.”

I overheard that statement in Crazy Otto’s Empire Diner, Herkimer, NY, on Monday, when Steven and I went out for breakfast. I think the guy was teasing the young boy he was talking to. He went on to say that he had never met anybody from New Hampshire and was sure the young boy hadn’t either.

The conversation may have stemmed from one of the many license plates that decorate the diner. Our own Georgia plate resides on the ceiling at the opposite end from where we sat Monday.

I did not hear the rest of the conversation, so I don’t know what, if anything, was proved or disproved. I lead with it because it was the most unusual thing that happened during our breakfast out. I know I’ve devoted a few posts to Crazy Otto’s. I have to shake things up when I can.

It’s not so easy for Steven and me to go out for breakfast together as it used to be. Our work hours work against us. New Year’s Eve, however, I didn’t work and Steven went in at 1:30. We had errands to run. A bite of breakfast at Otto’s was the way to go.

I love looking around at the decor. In addition to the license plates, there are movie posters, retro ads and more. I was especially taken with an old ad for chocolate covered Twinkies. Why would they stop making such a thing? Oh, I know, Hostess is bankrupt, Twinkies are dead. But I don’t remember seeing chocolate covered Twinkies in the decadent ’80s or ’90s either. Good chance I would have bought them, especially in the ’80s when I was young and skinny (I bet you thought I was going to say “young and foolish.” Well, I was that, too). I later heard a young voice behind me saying, “Two for ten cents,” in an impressed tone, so I was not the only one noticing the Twinkies.

Our breakfast, to get back to the real food, was very tasty. I ordered a sandwich with egg, cheese and bacon on an English muffin. It came with homemade chips and a little carrot and raisin salad. Steven had French toast, fried eggs and a very large sausage patty. And, of course, plenty of hot coffee.

The next day, we found out our friends Phyllis and Jim had eaten at Crazy Otto’s. It seems Crazy Otto’s has a gluten free menu featuring a variety of choices. Phyllis was especially delighted with the gluten free pancakes. I said, “I’m going to mention that in my blog post!” Hi, Phyllis!

Crazy Otto’s is located on Albany Street in Herkimer. For more information call 314-866-8801. You can also “Like” them on Facebook.