Tuesday, September 9, 2008
Road Trip! Collegetown
While Collegetown is technically a part of the city of Ithaca and only about a quarter mile up the hill from the Commons, this neighborhood feels miles away from downtown. Many Cornell students never venture beyond the invisible boundary at the top of Buffalo Street. When I was a Cornellian (two decades ago!), I had no idea downtown existed until I was a senior. I'm serious. Common sense is not a requirement for admission to Ivy League colleges. In the same vein, townies often choose to avoid college hangouts and the steep hike up the hill, made pseudo-famous by early Little Rascals episodes involving go-carts careening out-of-control down this very slope.
That said, the Chapter House is a great excuse to give your thighs a workout. In fact, they were featured in this month's Imbibe Magazine in the article "100 Best Places to Drink Beer in America."
Our reason for visiting the Chapter House last night was to have a final toast with our former bartender, Nat, on the eve of her embarking on a permanent journey to foodie heaven (San Francisco) with her partner, a fully loaded moving van and two mentally unstable cats. More on Nat in my next post.
Chapter House has one of the best beer selections in Ithaca, with over 30 brews on tap. Leah and I both started with a pint of Wachusett Blueberry. Leah went back for a second. Unfortunately, my sense of taste has been off since I had a cold a few weeks ago, and the blueberry flavor was too mild for me to completely appreciate. I chose the more burly Saranac Black Forest as my second pint. Our friends were drinking Victory Golden Monkey (which tasted remarkably like bananas), Rogue Dead Guy and a lot of pints of Strongbow Hard Cider.
Having not eaten since breakfast, Leah and I then set out on foot in order to find somewhere in Collegetown that was open at 10pm on a Monday night. Our usual haunts, the ABC Cafe and Vietnam Restaurant (best Vietnamese we have ever had), were sadly closed, as was Nat's favorite Korean place, Four Seasons. We ended up at a Japanese restaurant we had never been at before, Miyake. We were a little nervous that we were the only people in there, but decided we were up for an adventure. Here's our review: excellent food with artful presentation, a little pricey for C-town, but the service was exemplary. Leah had the avocado salad and a something-dragon roll (it included shrimp tempura) and I had the spicy tofu appetizer followed by a yam roll. We liked all of it, and it was easy on our beer-filled late-night bellies. They were out of the 375 ml bottle of sake that we ordered so the owner gave us the chilled house sake for free. Nice touch. Total for dinner before tip came to $38 for two. We will definitely go back to Miyake, as long as we can get our lazy booties up the hill again.