Thursday, May 22, 2008

Being Inventive and Vescio's Franklin Hotel

We've been noshing on leftovers for a couple of days... I've got to admit that I can not get enough of that Spicy Peanut Sauce. I'm putting it on everything! Yum yum yum...

I had intended to make a lovely pork-mango dish to share, but when I cut into my mango, it was rotten on the inside. What a bummer! :( I really hate wasting food like that--but I find it's the challenge of shopping for produce at Aldi.

Aldi is a budget grocery chain in the U.S. Eastern states. You pay a quarter to get your cart, then return your cart to get your quarter back (thus no need for staff to clean up the parking lot); you either bring your own bags, use boxes or other containers, or purchase grocery bags there. Food is mostly generic brands; meats sold there have a certain preservative smell and taste that I find off-putting.

That said, I do buy things there, such as butter, sour cream, block cheese (like cheddar, colby-jack, etc), cream cheese, and produce--but you have to use that produce quickly ... or else.

It's a bit of a balancing act, I'm afraid. Like the icky mango.

With the loss of my mango, I had to invent something else on the fly. Mr.W absolutely L-O-V-E-S anything teriyaki, so I threw together a teriyaki sauce (low-sodium soy sauce, brown sugar, a little honey and some grated ginger) to glaze cubed pork and served it over brown rice studded with green onion. He gobbled it up.

Meanwhile, I used my portion of cubed pork along with that spicy peanut sauce over more whole wheat noodles! Oooooh yeah! Just writing about it makes me want more... but I have something else planned for today. More to come later on that!
But I really want to share our dinner outing last night.

Mr.W and I have lately been eating out Wednesday nights instead of weekends. It's a day of the week where we can use discount coupons (if we have any) and it's significantly less busy. Last night we drove to Vescio's Franklin Hotel.

The Franklin Hotel has been around forever. As a kid I would go there on occasion. Back then there was no printed menu--you would order from whatever specials of the day were written on the large blackboard over the bar. There was always a slab of butter in a bowl on the table and good italian bread. When it was time to pay the owner's wife would come to your table and tell you the total. You'd pay her in cash only and that was that.

Nowadays they're a bit more mainstream. Printed menus, plus the specials up on the blackboard. A huge menu, really. Outstanding food. Desserts to die for. And now you pay at a cash register and can use cash or credit cards.

The ambience hasn't changed much, other than perhaps a coat of paint and some new curtains. It's two large rooms, no music, utilitarian tables and chairs, and a big, old-fashioned bar. Everyone can see everyone else.

Photo courtesy of
But the Franklin Hotel doesn't need ambience--it's all about good food. And the food is outstanding.
Last night I ordered the Greens Beans and Sausage. It's a big, steaming bowl of cannelini beans, escarole (and probably other) greens and italian sausage in a rich, spicy, garlicky broth. Superb, and just the kind of comfort food I was looking for.
Mr.W ordered the spinach salad with grilled chicken--and allow me to say, "Whoa!" It was humongous! Loaded with spinach, chicken, hard boiled eggs and bacon, this was a man-sized meal!
Sadly, I didn't bring my camera, so you'll have to imagine the deliciousness. We didn't order dessert, but I would recommend any sweet there--cannoli and pusties are perennial favorites, but their cannoli cake is TO. DIE. FOR.
Vescio's Franklin Hotel
301 South James Street
Rome, NY 13440


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