Monday, April 25, 2016

A Day in the Life


The city of Rochester has a lot of unique qualities that make it such a special place. This video is a sneak peek at some of the staples and traditions that an outsider will come to know and love.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Feeding the Crowd

As someone who has traveled around most of the country for hockey, I've had the pleasure to eat at some pretty good restaurants in some pretty cool places. I've also had numerous Sunday drive thru missions before hitting the long road home. I now know that every burger chain I had growing up in the Chicago suburbs does not exist in every state. Different regions have different greasy options. I get it. But even still to this day, I sometimes let out a shocked "Really?!" when someone says they have never been to a joint that has been a staple of my late light food options. Out here in Western New York, a few really things really stand out.

Take the our titular heroes pictured above. This movie certainly did not take place around here and many non-New York City New Yorkers were probably a little confused. When I first took my Rochester-native girlfriend to Chicago this summer we grabbed a crave case from White Castle one night at about midnight (some boyfriend I am, right?). She legit thought that it was a made up place from the movie. I was genuinely surprised that she had never even driven past one or anything. After about six or seven sliders, she called it quits. Her White Castle experience was one that many of us had had before. It filled us up with more than just food. Shame and regret was sprinkled in as well.

We had a similar interaction when I told her I had never heard of or been to Moe's for a burrito. We went, she watched with anticipation as crammed the queso-filled dish into my mouth, and then I was done. Pretty good sure, but life changing? Meh, I think I'll stick with Chipotle.

I will admit a dish that has in fact changed my life for the better, or worse from a health standpoint I suppose, and would love to be the great entrepreneur that brings this back with me to the Midwest. Garbage plates. I was introduced to them very quickly upon my arrival to Rochester. They vary from place to place, but the main takeaway is this: four different types of food smooshed together on a plate and covered with hot sauce or some other condiment. Sounds pretty risky but it usually pays off. There are some mornings where you find a half-eaten one in your fridge and you are a little embarrassed for yourself. But these have definitely found a place in my heart and in the rotation for fourth meal options on weekends.

While I may get into some finer dining options in a future blog, just take some of the notes above to hold you over until then. 

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Let's Talk

I have always been someone who is either weirdly proud of something trivial about Chicago, or weirdly ashamed. I have no control over my feelings about these things so its best to just not try and dissect my odd mental quirks.

One of these subtle little things that I for some whatever reason care about, is how I talk and how I refer to things. I never really thought there was such thing as a "Chicago" accent. And if there was, I certainly did not have one. I think if you talk to me for an extended amount of time I'd still have to tell you where I was from. It wouldn't be obvious solely on my dialect.

Western New York is pretty similar I think. There are no real glaring differences in people's speech out here unless you go looking for them. And of course I do.

When I lived in Wisconsin and then more notably Minnesota, these things were easier to hear. My billet mom in Saint Cloud sounded identical to Frances McDormand in Fargo and after two years it just seemed normal to me. I came across a few thick accents in Wisconsin too but our main differences came from what they call certain objects. (A water fountain is called a "bubbler." Weird I know).

I had never heard anyone make fun of a New York State accent or seen any parodies about it so I didn't expect much to be different out here. I like that mostly everyone does refer to it as "pop" versus "soda." That saves me an argument. But there are definitely some red flags that make me cringe every time I hear them.

The way Rochesterians especially say the words "documentary" or "elementary" is like nails on a chalkboard to me. My fellow Chicagoans and I are for sure in the wrong when we leave just sort of rush through the word "documentary." It turns into more of a "documennary." Leave out a couple consonants. We're too busy to say the whole word.

A couple other strange things I have noticed:
Every highway gets a "the" put in front of it

Just a little heads up for you folks planning on heading out here anytime soon. Hope this helps.

Friday, April 1, 2016

A True New Yorker

As someone who has lived in four different states in the past six years, getting away from home was always pretty easy. For some students here at Brockport, staying close to home was the easy option.

Sunday, March 27, 2016


"No good...wide right." 

I thought I knew the whole story when I came out here. The four straight Super Bowl losses. Not winning a playoff game in 20 years. The Sabres bouncing around the playoffs but never really making too much noise. I've dealt with upset sports fans before, trust me. Cubs, Bears, we know the feeling. But even out here its pretty different.

I was recently told by a friend's uncle that, "we root for .500 out here. .500 will keep your job. It will make people believe that the next year will be better." He seems like he has fallen for that too many times in his life and won't let it happen again. Until it does. After week 5 this season the Bills were 3-2. They would never get two games about .500, and never two below. They would meddle around all season and finish, you guessed it, 8-8.


I have been a Bears fan my whole life and they have certainly provided me with plenty of thrills. Not too long ago, although I may have to consider dropping that phrase soon, they made it to the Super Bowl where they lost to the Peyton Manning and the Colts. It was a pretty terrible game but it still gave me, and many other fans of my generation, probably our greatest Bears memory up to this point. That's right. My greatest memory was a kickoff return. In a game in which the Bears lost. Ouch.

I do have one borrowed memory of course that my parents have passed down to us younger fans. The '85 Bears. What many, including myself, call the greatest football team ever assembled. Bears fans still hold on to '85 like they're scared that if they stop talking about it, it will have never happened. I know more players from that team than I do their current roster. Bills fans may bring up the four straight Super Bowls, but they want those to be replaced. They are not clinging to the early '90s.

The Sabres are in full rebuild mode so I have nothing bad to say about them or their fans. My beloved Blackhawks were in the same situation about a decade ago and it has turned out pretty well for them. Jack Eichel will be the next American superstar and he will have plenty of good weapons around him.

The Hawks have gained a massive following around the country and have cemented their spot in Chi-town galore forever, but I won't be too proud to admit that a lot of these new fans know nothing about hockey or about losing. They have jumped on the bandwagon at the right time and have pretty much only known Stanley Cups. Buffalo fans, you guys are smart and know the game well. You guys deserve a championship soon and it will come.

I have heard the phrase before, "Buffalo is a drinking town with a sports problem." Hopefully soon it won't be a problem, but a celebration. Until then, LETS GO BUFFALO!

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Cup of Joe

"Maybe we can go somewhere and just eat a bunch of caramels. When you think about it its just as arbitrary as drinking coffee." 

Last August I started my college career. If everything goes as planned, I will graduate in 2018 and begin some other career. Of course, I will be expected to take all the knowledge I obtained at SUNY Brockport and apply it in my place of work. One thing I can guarantee I'll be taking with me, is my choice of beverage to start my day. A hot cup of coffee.

Out here in western New York, you will have a new conglomerate added to your list of coffee houses. Tim Horton's is a nice little luxury that us Midwest-folk are not really used to. I used to get Tim Horton's as kid when I would go to Canada for hockey tournaments, but it was only something we got north of the border. I was a little hesitant at first to stray away from my normal routines of Dunkin and McDonald's, but after a while I warmed up to it.

I first started getting Tim's when our coach would stop on our way to road games. I was never much of a hardcore coffee drinker, so I didn't really have a certain taste or quality that I was looking for. I just wanted a nice dose of caffeine to get me buzzing before a game. So, a double-double was perfect. Two creams, two sugars. Medium.

People are very loyal to Tim's around here and kind of look down on fans of other places. You really won't come across too many loyal patrons of Starbucks or Mickey D's that will go down swinging to defend their coffee or breakfast. I can understand why people like the Tim's coffee and food, but I don't understand the blind devotion to their restaurants. The prices are pretty similar to other places (McDonald's actually currently offers any size for just a buck) and they each have their own great select items. Just something about it I guess.

Out here there is an unwritten battle between Dunkin and Timmy's, but I'll tell you this, in a war between fast food joints, the consumers are always the winners.