“Moo may represent an idea, but only the cow knows.”



I had such a great time out in the Finger Lakes with the American Dairy association. On day two, we stopped at Cayuga Milk Ingredients, then Patterson Farm and finally the New York Wine and Culinary Center.

Our trip started at the Cayuga Milk Ingredients Plant which opened in June. They described it as a one-of-a-kind facility in the US and they’re correct. Cayuga Milk Ingredients doesn’t just use milk as it comes from the cow, CayugaMilkbut separates the high quality milk into its components that can be added to other products. For example we saw at one point in the tour where they remove water from the milk to create milk powder and that extends the shelf life by up to 18 months, allowing it to be transported and used all over the world.

My favorite part of the milk plant is that this $101 million ingredients plant and it’s owned by the farmers who invested money. In talking to the owners of Patterson Farms, you can tell how proud they are of how this plant is taking care of their product, their livelihood. CayugaMilk2From what we were told, dairy farmers in Central NY wanted a processing plant that would not only produce the traditional fluid dairy products but milk ingredients for the world!

My favorite part of the day was having the chance to walk through Patterson Farms and see one of the farms the milk comes from. Patterson Farms was founded in 1832 in Auburn, NY. It’s a sixth generation dairy farm that uses incredible technology to not only treat the cows the best but to make their farm incredible efficient.

We learned about the process of how cows are born and what happens with the calves after birth to make sure their safety and protection. Cows that have recently given birth are marked on their heads so that they get a break between pregnancies. Patterson FamrsGoing through the farm, we got a genuine feel that they care about their animals. Cows have names and are treated fairly, like family. They had plenty of room and were certainly taken care of, like queens! The Pattersons even gave us the opportunity to meet some calves that were born not long before we got there and we had a chance to feed a baby calf milk. I’ve never seen a farm from that perspective and it was a really cool experience!

After the farm, we went back to the hotel for a delicious lunch buffet. Hot Root Vegetable & Pear soup, PattersonFarms2Fall Harvest tossed salad, roasted sweet corn, sweet potato puree, Korean BBQ pulled pork, Mediterranean pasta primavera & apple crisp. The lunch was delicious and made me even more excited to cook at the Wine & Culinary Center.

The minute I walked into the New York Wine and Culinary Center, I knew that I would feel at home. We took a cooking class preparing quick and easy food using dairy but on our way to the kitchen we passed the Eber Brothers Wine Tasting Room. FingerLakesWCCThey were learning how to taste the wine, where in the Finger Lakes the wine comes from and ideas what to pair each with. If you want a more educational wine experience, there is the Wine Spectator Theater. With seating of 44, it’s a more in-depth wine experience where many private group classes are held.

We were led into the Viking Range Hands-On Kitchen where we were greeted by Chef Jeffory McLean (aka. Cheffory). He gave us a quick lesson on knife skills: plank, stick, dice. Cheffory’s style is “New American” that focuses on indigenous ingredients that are seasonal and fresh but utilize styles from French to Asian. He said his philosophy on food is “Simplicity is Elegance.”

In our class we each took a station and between all of us we created 4 separate dishes. My friend Kellie and my dish was “Roasted Garlic and Red Pepper Greek Yogurt Dip with Crudites” with farm-fresh Greek yogurt that we mixed with garlic cloves and a diced roasted red pepper. Finger LakesWCC2The other dishes were “Inside-Out Poutine” that kind of resembled a croquette with a cheese curd covered in breaded mashed potatoes and deep-fried served with gravy. The third was “Carmelized Cheese Crisps Stuffed with Pulled Chicken” that involved shaping cooked shredded cheese disks, filling them with chicken and topped with a sauce of Greek yogurt and a flavor packet. Last was a “Chocolate Brownie & Vanilla Ice Cream Boat” that was a baked brownie with a hollowed out center filled with ice cream. All delicious! Want to see what it was like from making the food to eating it? Check out my GoPro video on my NEW YouTube channel.

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The great advantage of a hotel is that it is a refuge from home life.


First off, I’m going to start this three-part blog post by THANKING the American Dairy Association for the most amazing trip I took to the Finger Lakes this past weekend. I not only learned about dairy farms but how they’re transformed in factories up to great things to make in the kitchen using those delicious ingredients.


As I mentioned, this is going to be a three-part blog post which seems right since it was a three-day trip so I thought I’d break it up as such. GenevaParlorFriday was my first day out there and after a 2 hr and 45 min drive from Schenectady, we made it to our hotel Geneva on the Lake (1001 Lochland Rd, Rt 14. Geneva). Each Friday night, they have a cocktail hour featuring cheeses and delicious local Finger Lakes wine so that was our first stop. Hosted in the parlor, a smaller room filled with books, fancy chairs and games like chess and checkers (all of which with permission you can bring back to you room) we were welcomed by four delicious choices for wine and left to mingle. After the long drive and a glass of wine though, I was ready to explore the room.

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The hotel was incredible. The bellhop brought us into our room and had to give us a tour! We stayed in the “Landmark Two Bedroom Suite.” We walked in to a bathroom, two bedrooms, a full kitchen (with complimentary water and bottle of wine) and living room with flat screen TV. Our only complaint was that the Wi-Fi wasn’t as easy to connect to as they said it was but to the hotel’s credit, we didn’t make an attempt to contact anyone to remedy the situation.


While relaxing and reading the Dairy Association and Hotel information we learned about a huge amount of amenities the hotel offers that made me wish I could stay longer than just two nights! To start, our tub was a Jacuzzi but we didn’t really have the right amount of time to use it. It’s just down the street from the beautiful Hobart & William Smith College so the area is beautiful and it’s right on the Seneca Lake Wine Trail (but we’ll get to that with post #3).

For dinner we were offered a $25 meal voucher for the candlelight dinner with live music GenevaAppetizerat the hotel restaurant so we took advantage of it. To start, for an appetizer ($14), we had crab and spinach dip over toast points. It was a perfect serving for two and goodness gracious was it delicious. I would honestly put that on everything I ever ate if I could. It wasn’t an obnoxious crab flavor but just perfect to enhance the texture and taste.

For dinner ($38), my friend Kellie ordered Australian Rack of Lamb (grilled and roasted and served with perfectly balanced GenevaSeaBassmint and basil pesto) and I ordered sea bass (Fresh Chilean sea bass wrapped with zucchini, summer squash and carrot ribbons, roasted and served with a house tomato sauce). Those two dinners (we shared a taste with each other) were probably some of the best I’ve had out in a long while. The sea bass was melt-in-your-mouth delicious. I love sea bass but I’ve never had it cooked so perfectly, so delicate, that I didn’t want it to end. It was paired with a cooked spinach, cauliflower and wild rice from the heavens. I have no idea what magic they put in that dish but if I went back, I would order it again. Worth every penny!

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I slept like a rock, I ate like a queen. I would love to go back and if you find yourself looking for a place to stay on Seneca Lake, give this hotel a look. The view was beautiful but I can’t imagine what it would be like on a bright summer day. The property made me feel like Great Gatsby a couple of times and made for an unforgettable experience.


I’m so excited to have been asked to join the NYS Dairy Tour by the American Dairy Association. I’m not only going somewhere in NY that I’ve never been before but I can’t wait to explore where our milk comes from and to check out  the new $101M Cayuga Milk Ingredients plant and what I can make with NY Cheese Curds!?

From what I hear, there’s going to be a contest opportunity as well so keep a look out for that!

Follow me on Twitter (@518BitesNSights), Facebook (facebook.com/518BitesNSights) and my *NEW* Instagram (@518BitesNSights) to keep up with what I’m doing this weekend!


Friday, November 7, 2014

6:00PM – 7:00PM     Complimentary wine and cheese reception

Saturday, November 8, 2014

8:00AM – 9:00AM    Continental Breakfast at Geneva on the Lake

9:00AM – 9:15AM      Board Bus – Depart for Patterson Farms

10:00AM                        Arrive at Patterson Farms

10:00AM – 10:50AM    Tour of Patterson Farms facility

10:50AM        Board Bus – Depart for Cayuga Milk Ingredients Plant

11:00AM        Arrive at Cayuga Milk Ingredients Plant

11:00AM – 11:50AM     Staff Welcome and tour/overview

11:50AM         Board Bus – Return to Geneva on the Lake

12:30PM         Arrive at Geneva on the Lake

12:30PM – 1:30PM      LUNCH BUFFET

1:30PM – 2:30PM          FREE TIME

2:30PM     Board Bus – Depart for NY Wine & Culinary Center

3:00PM – 5:00PM      Cooking classes at the NY Wine & Culinary Center

5:00PM – 6:15PM     Eat what was prepared during class in The Sands Gallery at the New York Wine & Culinary Center

6:15PM        Board Bus – Return to Geneva on the Lake

6:45PM        Arrive at Geneva on the Lake

“Anyone can drink beer but it takes intelligence to enjoy beer”


I’m just gonna start off by saying that I love beer so when I see a place in the Capital Region opening up called “World Of Beer,” how do I not try it out? WorldOfBeer2My first thought before going was that they’d probably have a few more taps to choose from but I’d probably stick with my go-to craft beers because of lack of substance. Boy, was I wrong.

World of Beer not only has the largest beer selection I may have ever seen but they change the beers they have on tap daily which is pretty incredible and annoying at the same time. WorldofBeer I love options and I love being able to try new beers but I also like to be able to find a strange beer and be able to order it again which sometimes I’m not able to do there with how frequently they change the taps.

The whole atmosphere is great though. High top tables, couches, bar seating with bands in and out every so often- it’s a great place to relax with friends and have at least one cold one. I didn’t get a chance to try any of the food but I really enjoyed the entire experience. I’ve been to a lot of bars that claim to have a lot of beer options but World of Beer delivers. Which beer would you order at World of Beer?  If I was to recommend anything?  Breakfast shot, do it, it tastes like pancakes!

“Living is like tearing through a museum. Not until later do you really start absorbing what you saw, thinking about it, looking it up in a book, and remembering – because you can’t take it in all at once.”


I love museums and I was so happy to make a visit to The Hyde Collection (161 Warren Street, Glens Falls) earlier this year to check out the Ansel Adams exhibit since my mother is a huge fan.HYDECOLLECTION I’ve heard of The Hyde Collection and I’ve known where it was but because of how far I am from Glens Falls, I never made it there. I’m now so glad I finally did, this place is beautiful.

Charlotte Hyde established a trust in 1952 that dedicated her collection to the community. In 2004, they had a complete renovation and expansion. I really enjoyed the Hyde House. The various collections and exhibits that they museum has is amazing but my favorite part is the house itself.  Everything there, every piece of art, every book, every everything has a story and I found it fascinating.

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The best idea was to take the audio tour. Everything has a number corresponding to it and that entire house is full of history. I loved being able to hear the history of each room as well as specific information about each piece the interested me. For example, the library was full of first editions and some of the paintings in there were taken apart and then put back together before they arrived at the Hyde House. In some of those paintings, you can see the square cut out. These are by artists like Rembrandt, Picasso, Van Gogh,  El Greco- not little unknown artists but the big leagues and all right in your backyard. If you’re looking for a great afternoon of history and enlightenment, you need to check out The Hyde Collection!


“It’s like trying to pin down a kangaroo on a trampoline.”

Sid Waddell

Who doesn’t love to trampoline? The feeling of jumping in mid-air, almost like flying to get rid of your daily stresses is an amazing experience. IMG_7891I recently went to Flight Trampoline Park (30A Post Road, Colonie) and had a blast!

You walk in and the first thing you have to do is sign a waiver but it’s so hard to not just throw your socks off and start jumping. The best part? The prices are really reasonable! 1 hour flight ticket is $13 for an adults/$8 for children 2-6, a 2 hour flight ticket is $23 for adults/$15 for children 2-6 and if you just want a quick 30 min jump it’s $9 for an adult/$6 for children 2-6. Grab yourselves a quick $3.50 pair of socks (that you’ll need) to jump in and now you’re styling! And you can bring those socks back every time you go.

I was wondering what I’d be able to do for 2 hours jumping and surprisingly, I was plenty entertained, I think an hour would’ve been too short!IMG_7869 It’s a whole room of trampolines for you to do flips and fancy jumps or try to see how high you can get and there’s plenty of space to move around. Jump from one side of the room to another, jump off of some of the small ledges onto the trampoline or my favorite part, jump off of a high cliff into a giant pillow!

Every so often they announce dodgeball games starting so you run over to the court and play dodgeball ON TRAMPOLINES! Come prepped with water and expect times you’re going to want to relax and catch your breath- at least I did. It gets hot in there fast so before you go, grab some capri yoga pants and a short sleeve shirt so you can jump with no restraints.


I had a great time and since posting pictures on my Facebook page, tons of people have asked me how it was and saying that they want to go. Join them! I know we get kitschy things around here that loses it’s luster after a trip or two but believe me when I tell you that this isn’t it. I had so much fun and I can’t wait to go back, maybe they’ll even start fitness classes. I’d be in to do that, think of the cardio! Have you been yet? What’d you think?

“I try and reduce myself to an almost blank slate and hope to God that I am creative.”

Ben Kingsley

*NOTE -GROUPON DEAL- Slate Valley Museum visit for Two, Four or Six, ending soon!

I live in Schenectady and before a few months ago I had never been to Granville before. What I didn’t realize that was over an hour North of me was a beautiful little community with a great history as well as the Slate Valley Museum (17 Water Street, Granville) to hold it all in.

I guess I should probably start this post with a bit of a disclaimer. From June 6- November 7 the Slate Valley Museum is featuring an exhibit called “Slate as Muse” that integrates slate and the history of it within the Slate Valley into a piece of art. SlateValley-1The art could be made of slate, a picture of slate, reminiscent of slate- as long as it is a creative muse in the piece. Twenty-seven pieces of work from all over the country can be found in this exhibit and that’s what brought me to the museum in the first place. My Aunt (Chrissey Dittus based in Lake George, NY) painted a beautiful piece called “Slate Truck.” If you happen to find your way up there, I’m sure she wouldn’t mind a vote for the “People’s Choice” winner.

Aside from the specialty exhibits, this museum demonstrates the cultivation of slate and the history of slate in the Slate Valley of New York and Vermont through historic artifacts from the area’s renowned slate quarries and mills.

"Slate Truck" by Chrissey Dittus
“Slate Truck” by Chrissey Dittus

Admission to the museum is only $5 and you could probably get through the entire thing in about an hour but the surrounding area is amazing as well. Visit during one of their amazing events found on their calendar and then take a walk through town. I picked up a Slate Valley Self-Guided Driving Tour, I wasn’t able to do it but a two hour tour of the history of the Slate Valley would be a beautiful ride, especially in the Fall.

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Overall, this was a great little museum filled with exhibits and history that you wouldn’t be able to find anywhere else. Surrounded by the beautiful area of the Slate Valley, it’s a nice close-by getaway if you’re looking for an interesting and visually appealing day trip!

Anything I can add to your to-do list?


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