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Filling A Food Gap On The Wine Trail

By Chris Lavin

GENEVA -- GENEVA -- Brud Holland is not the kind of chef that likes walking through the dining room, chatting with his customers.
In the Food Channel age of open kitchens and celebrity chefs, Holland prefers his closed, a private space to work his craft. Just gather the best local ingredients, create a menu, pair it smartly with local wines, and work with a team to deliver a culinary experience on the plate.
But when the spring of 2019 arrives, Holland will be taking a more public step into the Finger Lakes culinary scene. Partnering with Geneva developer Dave Bunnell, Holland will bring his farm-to-table cuisine right to the shores of Seneca Lake and in the process help close a significant food gap along Seneca's western wine trail.
Holland, who will continue to manage the Fox Run Cafe, is expanding his role to manage the new food operation at Bunnell's Plum Point Lodge on Seneca. The Plum Point Lodge, formally known as the Rainbow Cove Hotel, is nestled along the shore at about the halfway point between Geneva and Watkins Glen. It is currently undergoing a complete renovation. When it re-opens in May of 2019, it will boast a complete Brud Holland daily menu and will host events managed by Natalie Travis, a veteran of the Finger Lakes food and event scene and, like Holland, a recent addition to the Plum Point team..
"Our goal is to make the Plum Point Lodge a hub for food, wine and lodging on Seneca,'' Bunnell said. "With Brud and Natalie joining our Inn Keeper Chad Kayser, I think we've taken a big step to that goal.''

Holland was trained at the New England Culinary Institute. His well-traveled life as a Navy kid exposed him to many regional cuisines, but for some time now he has focused his professional efforts in the Finger Lakes. He founded the Glen Mountain Market in Watkins Glen, worked at Red Newt and is a leader of the Finger Lakes Culinary Bounty. Most recently, he put Fox Run Winery’s creative lunch offerings on the regional map, winning Fox Run’s Café a prized 3rd Place in the USA Today national ranking of the country’s Best Winery Restaurants.

While other chef's have built their reputations solely on the restaurants where they hang their names, Holland has created a reputation for both his restaurant work and his itinerant special events and catering efforts, proselytizing for true farm-to-table cuisine throughout the region.

At a recent wine-pairing event at the Bellangelo Winery in Himrod, he demonstrated his ability to pair local meats, vegetables and cheeses with local vintages with such virtuosity, the patrons at this $85 event left having learned as much about the region's bounty as its fine wines.

Holland finds the unique, listing locally sourced bison, lamb and red deer as ingredients he hopes to serve to customers who will be surprised they are all Finger Lakes products. Not quite a food chemist, Holland does go beyond the usual chefs in keeping track of the latest, at times discussing new “A-2,’’ milk he says is being sourced locally from specially fed cows and is producing dairy products that the lactose intolerant can handle.
“You would be surprised how rich this region is,’’ Holland says.
When asked what attracted him to this new assignment, Holland simply points out the dining room window at the nearby waterfront.
"That right there,'' he said.”I've always wanted a place on the water here.''

Holland and Travis will give locals a sneak peek at their talents on Oct.21 when they host what they are calling a “Yurt Dinner,’’ a wine and food event that will be part coming out party for this new culinary team and a celebration of the hotel’s new “glamping” yurt rooms.
The menu and wine pairings they are planning for the event give a sense of what Plum Point visitors can expect starting next spring, featuring four select local wines, two local meats and a new signature Plum Point Frozen Custard created by the Spotted Duck Creamery. The dinner is $75 per person; $260 per couple with an overnight yurt rental included.

Travis too is a well-traveled convert to the Finger Lakes. Born in Stuart, Fla, and raised in North Carolina,
she attended college in Las Vegas and has worked in Key Largo, the Caribbean and Vegas before stints at the Harbor Hotel in Watkins Glen and the Lakeside Restaurant and Tavern near Hammondsport. Like Holland, the waterfront location and the unique setting for events attracted her to this challenge.
“We don’t have the size for large weddings,’’ Travis said. “But we do have the setting for very special ones.’’

Holland and Travis’ operation at Plum Point certainly helps remedy what has been a thin area for food on Seneca’s west side, but now may become a bit of a destination.
In addition to Plum Point, Tabora, a new Napa Valley quality wine and food bistro opened this year in nearby Lakemont, joining Christopher Bates’ now famous “Weinery” on nearby Route 14. Tabora also features a full-fledged bakery that has people driving from Watkins Glen and Geneva for their cookies, pies and breads.
“Food on the wine trail has always been a challenge,’’ Bunnell said. “We’re hoping we’ll push this part of the lake past the tipping point to ‘destination’ status for food and wine.’’

Wine Dinner Menu

Plum Point Lodge—“Yurt Dinner”
OCTOBER 21st, 2018, 6PM
$75 / person

Call (607) 243-7535 for dinner reservation.

Get Started:
Roasted Buttercup & Hubbard Squash Soup with Brussels Bacon “Hash”
Wine: Keuka Spring Vineyards Gewürztraminer
—2018 Governors Cup Winner
First Plate:
Warm, Fall Vegetable Salad
Lively Run Goat Feta,
Micro Greens
Stony Brook Squash Seed Oil Dressing
Wine: Forge Cellars 2017 Dry Riesling Classique
—Wine Spectator No. 31 Top 100
Second Plate:
Cold Smoked, Bonfire Strip Steaks
Oyster Mushrooms
Apricot Stomp Glaze
Roasted Pumpkin Polenta
Wine: HJ Wiemer 2017 Cabernet Franc
Your Finale:
Plum Point Tartlet
Plum & Port Spotted Duck Frozen Custard
Muranda Raw Milk Blue Cheese
Wine: Fox Run Tawny Port


Natalie Travis

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Geneva Community News

Is Youth Football's Future Flagging?

GENEVA -- Like the cooling of the air, fall in Geneva brings the sounds of football pads and helmets clacking in the distance like rams. It is the helmet clashes that have become the focus of national attention these days.

Publicity of the cumulative brain damage discovered in the autopsies of National Football League players has parents questioning nation-wide whether football is a safe sport for their children. As the science linking football to later-life brain damage evolves, lawsuits -- some already seen at the professional and college levels -- are likely to force schools to balance the popularity of the sport against their first obligation to keep kids safe.

Recently the Aspen Institute produced a White Paper examining whether flag football, a less violent form of the game, was more suitable, particularly among elementary and middle school-age children whose brains are in early stages of development when tackle football injects repeated head blows into their young lives. The report clearly suggests a shift away from full tackle football before high school. However, many believe even the high school-age brain needs to avoid this experience as well.

The thought of eliminating or replacing tackle football with the flag version would strike many as almost un-American. Certain regions of this nation -- and a strong part of Upstate New York's Friday night culture -- are dominated by traditional football. However, as the Aspen report shows, more and more parents across the nation are re-directing their children away from the sport.

The Aspen Institute, located in Washington D.C. is an academic think-tank that examines issues in American sport and recreation. The organization recently conducted research on children's access to recreation in the Rochester Region, including Geneva, for the Ralph Wilson Foundation and the Rochester Area Community Foundation. To read the full football report click on the report below or this link: FINAL-Future-of-Football-Paper.3.pdf 

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Geneva Community News

Another Reminder Of Our 'Good' Weather

GENEVA -- Reason Number 1 that living in a temperate, varied climate like the Northeast may be preferable to what you believe about the allegedly blissful Sun Belt.

With increasing frequency, all that heat powers forces that make a few months of winter cold look a whole lot more bearable. The 1.5 million people in the unpredictable path of this current hurricane are having to pack up, head for higher ground and wonder if they'll have a home to return to in a week or so.

Our "bad weather'' this summer has fueled a bumper crop of apples, corn, grapes and hops. A pretty good upside to a little too much rain.


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Geneva Community News

A Warmer Century Looms For Geneva

GENEVA -- As the summer wanes and the perfect season -- that would be fall -- turns colder, there is at least this: According to a new study, global warming will have a significant impact on life in Geneva as emissions keep increasing global temperatures world wide.

The good news: the impact is predicted to be less here than other, already intolerably hot places.

CLICK HERE to get the info on your hometown.



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Geneva Arts News

GENEVA -- One of the great advantages of living in a college town is the fact that every once in a while world-class artists visit and offer locals access to the kind of music one usually must fight the crowds to see in New York or Toronto.

Tonight is one of those nights. Instead of sitting home and watching recreational politics on TV, you can visit the Gearan Center for the Arts and catch Elinor Frey turn her cello into a touch of magic.

A recent review in the Toronto Star included these remarks: 

"Frey’s careful scholarship and brilliant layering of moods and tempos. . .make for a great program…She is one of a growing number of younger performers who can make period instrumental solos sizzle with the same heat as artists using modern instruments and bows.
— John Terauds, Toronto Star

The performance starts at 7:30 in Frolich Hall, in the Gearan Center, the first large building on your left when you enter the campus from the north via Pulteney Street. Parking is available adjacent to the center. Tickets are available at the door. $12 general admission. $10 for students and free with valid HWS student ID.



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