Quick Bites: Now, the taste of summer comes alive

If last week's column and the subsequent long weekend didn't put you in the summertime mood, I'm here to put that issue to bed.

We are just one week away from Thursdays on First in downtown Rochester. If the weekly seasonal food/music/art street party doesn't mean summer to you, then you've lost all hope and I can't help you. For those of you wanting a little taste of what's to come, please follow me.

(Now, there are plenty of events/artisans/performances to keep you occupied, but that's not the point of this column. I'm all about the food.)

There are always the old standby vendors that keep you coming back for more, and then there are the new and unique shops that might not be there every single time — meaning you just have to be there every Thursday all summer long.

Here's what I'm looking forward to: The fish tacos from Pescara, gyros and spanakopita from Mac's Cafe, burgers from Newt's, and the crepes from Pannekoeken. I might finish my meal with something sweet, or indulge in the afternoon with a little something at Mon Petit Cupcake, Mama Meg's, or at a new stand from the fine folks at Rochester Greek Fest — they'll have their much sought-after baklava at a spot right in front of Old City Hall across from Dooley's Pub.


There's also an amazing steak sandwich with "Marco Polo sauce" at Victoria's, and if the kids are with me, I can't leave the area without stopping to get a henna tattoo for my daughter, and I always grab a bag of Carroll's Corn to go.

Thursdays on First kicks off next week. What are your must-eats at Rochester's summerlong celebration? Drop me a hint and I'll feature it in an upcoming column.

… and the livin' is easy

Speaking of summer, my next night out is going to be at ZZest Cafe and Bar, where the best patio in Rochester just got better. They recently opened their outdoor space for the season, which now includes a couple of booths, more comfortable seating, and the hospitality that ZZest is famous for.

They've just started firing up their outdoor, wood-fired pizza oven as well.

Per usual, the menu will change with seasonably available ingredients, but for now, I look at their pizza menu and I'm tempted to pull an "I'll have one of everything" move.

You could keep it simple with the margherita (tomatoes, basil, mozzarella), and there is something to be said about letting the house-made mozzarella shine, but. BUT.

How could you possibly pass up an asparagus pizza, combining panna creme, salted egg, pancetta, sage, and fontina cheese? Or try the meat-lovers pork sausage pizza with smoked tomato, kale, spicy calabrian chili, wild fennel seed, fried capers, and chevre. On my most adventurous night out, I'll give the bone marrow pizza a shot — it's got fresh horseradish, rapini, pecorino, and olive oil.


Next week

Next week when you're all out reveling in summer, I'll be savoring a brand-new menu at Rochester's latest restaurant, Terza, which opened on Tuesday, and I'll write up my first bite for the five people in Rochester who haven't been there yet. Hey, someone's gotta do it.

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