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Snow in the morning.  Post-equinox dusting.

Snow in the morning. Post-equinox dusting.

Rochester, NY again. Is Rochester emerging as a major tech hub? Who knows, but if you must stay in Rochester, the Inn on Broadway is the place to stay.

After an awful United Express flight up (operated by the inestimably bad ExpressJet), we arrived very late on a Sunday night. So late that there was some serious confusion at the front desk. Fortunately Kat managed to fix everything (thanks Kat).

But before the fix, we were assigned room 407 with a—GASP—plastic shower. Here are some pictures of that room.

Room 407 bedroom

Room 407 bedroom

Bathroom on 407.

Bathroom on 407.

Sadly, this 407 bathroom shower is designed over a tub with a plastic shower curtain. OH NO MR. BILL.

Sadly, this 407 bathroom shower is designed over a tub with a plastic shower curtain. OH NO MR. BILL.

The kitchenette in 407 is not really our style.

The kitchenette in 407 is not really our style.

Thin sliding door on the 407 closet.  Yuck.  And do not steal my hanger hangers.

Thin sliding door on the 407 closet. Yuck. And do not steal my hanger hangers.

Fortunately that room was abandoned shortly after it was temporarily occupied. The switch to 409 made everything better.

Bed in 409.

Bed in 409.

Fireplace in 409.

Fireplace in 409.

Gorgeous sink in 409.

Gorgeous sink in 409.

This is a glass shower cube.  YES.

This is a glass shower cube. YES.

This shower has 4, count 'em 4, showerheads.  Awesome shower.

This shower has 4, count ’em 4, showerheads. Awesome shower.

The Inn on Broadway is pretty much adjacent to Java’s Cafe. Go there for breakfast. Great espresso, fresh squeezed OJ, bagels you can toast yourself, the NY Times, and Net.

It snowed all morning during our meetings, but it didn’t stick.

After a reasonable dinner at a local pizza joint called Tony D’s (authentic Italian style), it was time for a real cocktail. Above the Solera Wine Bar is the Cheshire. Sadly, the Cheshire is only open Thursday through Sunday. But the proprietor Evvy Fanning is a good egg and quite possibly, there may be real cocktails available whenever. Thank you Evvy for an oasis of incredible goodness.

Possibly worth flying in for all by itself; visit Cheshire.

Five showerheads, four of which are in the actual shower, for Inn on Broadway.

I was just here at the Inn on Broadway, so it was with a severe sense of deja vu that I arrived from NYC this week. This time I was assigned room 401, which was somehow more classy than 301. Maybe it was the bathtub over the hot tub.

The bathtub in 401 beats the hot tub in 301.  At least when you're by yourself.

The bathtub in 401 beats the hot tub in 301. At least when you’re by yourself.

Or maybe it was the welcome note and the perfectly timed cheese and crackers? (Yes, they do listen! Awesome.)

Welcome package.

Welcome package.

Whatever it was, the Inn on Broadway felt better this time than it did last time. Are there quibbles? of course there are. This is still noplasticshowers-land. They still need some bowls for cereal in the morning (no plastic bowls). And I do not want to steal their hangers. Oh yeah, and the wireless net still needs a major overhaul (especially for the computer in the business closet).

These hangers must go.

These hangers must go.

All in all, there are some nice things in the room. Like a fireplace:

Perfect on the last day of November.  It snowed.

Perfect on the last day of November. It snowed.

And a big old soft bed.

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The bathroom is great as well, with a huge glass and tile shower (just like in 301).

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My visit to RIT was superb. They are great hosts.

The highlight of my visit was a trip to the Cheshire (above Solera Wine Bar). The Cheshire is a supremely great mixology location with friendly barmen and a great vibe. Superb.

In low light, the collection and its arrangement is hard to capture. The bottles in front of windows ideas is fantastic.

Last time out I met Kyle McHargue who has been promoted to barman from wine guy. Daniel Kajdas provides great experience and a good simulator for concocting new things. In addition to a Greenpoint (with rye), we worked on an un-named experimental beverage. We’ll call it the Rochester Passage:
1 oz Card Amaro
2 oz Rittenhouse 100 Rye
.5 oz simple syrup
.25 oz lemon juice
2 dashes Fee Brothers Black Walnut bitters

Stir down. Wash glass with smokey scotch (laphroig maybe). Serve up.

A visit to the Cheshire is definitely in order if you ever find yourself in Rochester. World class.

United regional travel woes

October 10, 2012

Back in February, I pointed out how entirely variable United Express travel is. Some is great and some just plain sucks.

Rochester is serviced by ExpressJet. So far they hover at the suck end of the range. I flew here on a very short 40 minute hop an an old CRJ with no overhead storage. I was seated in a bulkhead as requested but the guy next to me was severely overweight and his fat drooped over the armrest to such an extent that it opened up the little flap over the fold out tray. Awful.

The plane was overloaded and the non-English speaking gate agent took way too long to ask two passengers to leave the plane. He had no authority whatsoever. The captain sat in his cockpit seat pretending to be oblivious. It was absurd. Meanwhile I was wedged in what remained of my seating space just hoping that the flight would end soon.

BTW, whatever you do, don’t plan to eat lunch at the airport in Rochester. There are only fast food restaurants and off brand coffee shops.

Rochester, NY, yes indeedy. I haven’t been here since 4th grade when I lived here for six months. Rochester is in many ways like a big city without the traffic.

The Inn on Broadway was built in 1929. It is an interesting place. On my first visit, they gave me an equally interesting room (number 301). Awesome shower.

The non-plastic shower has its own bench and way too much room.

View from the shower.

The room is nicely appointed as well (but as usual in these ancient places could use some more outlets).

Comfortable bed with a fireplace.

The sitting area exists between the bed and the big giant hot tub.

Sitting area with extra mirror.

The piece de resistance: giant hot tub.

Big giant hot tub.

A foray into mixology in Rochester met with limited success. The Solera Wine bar has an associated speakeasy upstairs called Cheshire. They have no web presence, phone number, or publicity. Sadly, they are only open Thursday, Friday, and Saturday which you can only find out when you go to Solera and ask. But their menu looks great. Gotta get back there. I also heard that Lento has a very good bar too. Found out they are closed on Monday just like Cheshire.

The good news is there is a bottle of Eagle Rare 17 in stock at the hotel bar at Inn on Broadway and they are willing to turn off the TV.

Some flies in the Inn on Broadway ointment are worth ranting about. The breakfast spread desperately needs help. Sure, I like Frosted Mini Wheats, but I also like using a real bowl instead of a plastic container. And espresso? Not in this hotel. Maybe Sanka or Taster’s Choice. Finally, the interweb tubes are clogged at the Inn, sporadic at best and no throughput when you can bind. I had to leave the hotel this morning to get some work done. That sucks.

Because of the flies, we will award the Inn on Broadway only three shower heads. Lets see if any of these things improve before I return in November.

On the plus side, the particularly bad breakfast at the Inn forced me to discover the delightfully quirky Java’s Cafe with well-crafted espresso, real net, and the most sawdust-flavored bran muffin ever created in the universe.

Other noteworthy stuff in Rochester: the Abilene where I enjoyed some supremely bad live music (turns out John Lennon is hard) and a fun but sporadic bartender who throughout the night made 2 good drinks (Moscow Mule), 1 disaster (a lame attempt at an unmeasured Nevada), and 1 watered down mess of a copy of the two good drinks. Last note of the good: the BBQ at Dinosaur Barbque sure beats the terrible Hyatt food.