After leaving New York City, Monte and I headed off to Rochester, NY. This would be my last travel stop of 2011. I love coming to Rochester. First, it's a cool city to visit. Second, I've got two friends who live here, Jon Gary and Mike Gladstone. I've known Jon since high school, but I've known Mike almost 45 years. It's always good to see them and hang out.
Monte and I landed, got to our hotel, and then went to dinner at Dinosaur Bar-B-Que. I've long heard stories of this famous eatery, and was mildly excited that I would, finally, get to experience it:
We walked in, and the place was packed, and it's not like it was any special occasion. It was simply 8:00pm on a Wednesday night. We put our name on the waiting list (about 40 minutes) and went to the bar. After two beers, we were paged for our table.
Now, being a bar-b-que joint, you might expect that would be an array of hot sauces on the table. On that point, you would be quite correct. There were. They ranged in their "hotness" from hot sauce made for sissies to hot sauce made for, well, Satan. Think I'm kidding? I give you "Devil's Duel":
|Devil's Duel hot sauce at Dinosaur Bar-B-Que...|
Now, I'm not really a fan of ridiculously spicy food. But, hey, I was at Dinosaur Bar-B-Que. I had to try some, didn't I?
Now, while I was more than happy to try some, I still tend to be cautious. I uncapped the bottle. The smell hit me. You know that "hot sauce" smell which burns your nose hairs and makes you lose your breath? Yeah, that was it. It hit me, and it hit me hard. After catching my breath, I dipped the tip of my knife into the bottle. While I was relatively sure that I didn't want to pour this all over my dinner, I was equally sure that I really did, in fact, want to try it.
You know how you do things in life that, as soon as you do them, you kinda' wish you hadn't?
You ever feel like that?
Yeah, me too.
Don't get me wrong. Heat can be good. Vegas, for instance, can get hot, but it's a good "hot". Devil's Duel, however, isn't good. It's bad. It's very, very bad.
If I've learned one thing about hot sauce, it's that they usually like to sneak up on you. It's as if, after you try them, they want you to have enough time to look at your snickering friends and say "That's not so bad" before your hair catches fire. Well, Devil's Duel isn't like that. I'm pretty sure the back of my head exploded as soon as the tip of the knife hit my tongue, and it lingered for a long time.
When it came time to order dinner, I was looking for variety. I opted for the "Tres Hombres":
|The "Tres Hombres". Clockwise from the top: Cornbread, cole slaw, |
beef brisket, ribs, pulled pork, and macaroni and cheese...
The next day (Thursday) we were off to visit more clients. We drove to Canandaigua, got our business out of the way, and decided it was time for lunch. We found our way to Mac's Philly Steaks. Mac's has a couple of locations, and they serve up, well, Philly cheese steaks:
|Mac's Philly Steaks in Canadaigua, New York...|
I love a good sandwich, but I don't often get cheese steaks. To be honest, I've not really enjoyed the ones I've had. But, I figured I'd give it another shot. After all, with a name like "Mac's Philly Steaks", how bad could they be?
The truth? Best damn Philly cheese steak I've ever had. It was seriously, seriously good, and cheap, to boot:
|A Philly cheese steak at Mac's...|
We had a show to do that night, so we got back to Rochester and made our way over to the venue.
Now, I live in southern California. Out here, "winter" officially hits when the mercury crawls down to a brisk 45 degrees. At that point, southern Californians are lighting fires and keeping the animals inside. I'm not used to snow in November, but that's exactly what we got:
|White out conditions fall on Rochester...|
|More snow. More cold, evil snow...|
After our show, I took Monte back to his hotel, as he was flying out early the next morning. I found my way back to my hotel and watched television until I fell asleep.
Rochester was, at one time, the home of the gajillion-dollar Eastman-Kodak. At one time, they employed over 70,000 people. Those days are, unfortunately, long gone. Now, Eastman-Kodak employs just over 7,000. Let's face it, Kodak's stronghold was in film. Film is, by and large, dead. Nobody really uses it anymore, and they haven't for some time. Kodak, despite having developed the first megapixel digital camera sensor, seemingly did nothing with it for a long time.
Hindsight being 20/20, maybe they should have.
I was taking Friday off, as I'd be working Saturday and travelling on Sunday, so Jon offered to take me to the George Eastman house. Eastman founded Kodak in 1892 and, financially, the company served him quite well.
The George Eastman house is huge. No, it's not Hearst Castle huge, but it's still huge:
|The George Eastman House in Rochester, New York...|
The coolest thing for me about the house was the exhibit of vintage cameras they had on hand. Hey, you might expect that, but it was still really cool to see some of these. I collect cameras, and I actually have some of these same models, but these things were in amazing condition:
|The highlighted camera was the "Fotoman", which produced a .1 megapixel black and white image...|
|A collection of vintage cameras at the George Eastman House in Rochester, New York...|
|Novelty cameras on display...|
|A Japanese camera disguised as a wristwatch, circa 1948...|
|A collection of Brownie and "Bellows" cameras...|
If you're a photographer, the George Eastman House is a must-see in Rochester.
I worked at a client's on Saturday, and then got together with Jon and Mike (and his family) at Mike's house. It was a good, relaxing (if not somewhat tipsy) way to spend my last night in Rochester. I really, really look forward to my next visit.
I think I'll wait 'til the weather warms up a bit, though. Maybe July?