skinny atlas & wango tango: syracuse, part 2 [5]

Good morning everyone! Turns out blogging from your phone on the road is hard so sorry for the abrupt end to the first Syracuse entry. My thumbs were starting to get sore. But we’re back with more Syracuse adventures!

On Tuesday, I had some errands to take care of, so in our various adventures around the suburbs, we stopped at Cafe at 407 in Liverpool for lunch. I have seen that cafe grow from a little coffee shop with a few snacks to a full blown sandwich and salad place. They have all kinds of baked goodies – lots of which are available gluten free which always makes me happy when I find them! I’m not at all gluten free but a few of my good friends are, and I know at least one of them has a pretty strong sweet tooth so it always brings me joy to say “look! You can eat here!” Max got an apple and brie panini, and I got the spinach and chicken salad. Both delicious, and I have zero photographic evidence of either of them.

One of the weird things about traveling back to your hometown is the strange nostalgia of going to places that have been present in your life. Cafe at 407 is one of those places. I’ve been there so many times with so many different people, and yet when I walk in I am immediately back in winter break of senior year of college, working on graduate school applications in the fluffy armchair in the corner. When I was applying to grad school, I had such a picture in my mind of how my life would go, mostly centered around Buffalo and the boyfriend I had at the time. I laugh about it now – if you had told Winter-2011 me that in 5-6 years I would have already lived in Virginia and Connecticut and be on my way to California, married to a naval officer, traveling, less afraid of flying, I would have not even believed you a little bit. But life has a funny way of not going at all how you planned it. And somehow, this life ended up being infinitely better than 2011-me could have imagined. It took a long time of struggle to understand that the plan I so fiercely held onto for so long wasn’t the plan for me. I am so glad I finally realized it, and can look back on that time of struggle as a learning and growing experience. And through all of that, I got here. I like being here, even if “here” is a packed car on 90 west somewhere in middle America.

But I digress. We followed up my nostalgia lunch with a drive out to Cazenovia to hit up the Empire Farm Brewery. I went last summer with my best friend and immediately wanted to bring Max, so I’m glad we got the chance to go. The Empire restaurant in downtown Syracuse is a place my family went to often when I was a kid, and has become one of my favorite places to go to as an adult when I’m in town. The brewery in Caz opened last year and has quickly become another one of my favorite places in Syracuse. I mean, how can you not love this view:

We both got samplers and enjoyed the beer and the weather. There’s a lot to be said for enjoying some of your favorite beers with your favorite person on a sunny summer afternoon.



After we finished up at Empire, we headed back to Syracuse to meet up with my family, my best friend, and her mom for dinner. It seemed fitting to say our goodbyes to Syracuse at perhaps the most iconic Syracuse institution:


What can I say about Dinosaur? I am not much of a BBQ fan…but I friggin’ love Dinosaur. I have been known to say that Dino mac and cheese + mashed potatoes + cornbread would be my choice for a “last meal.” It’s dark inside Dino, so I took zero pictures of the food…but we got a platter of chicken, wings, and ribs. Normally it comes with pork or brisket instead of the wings, but we were there late so they were long out of brisket – which was okay with me because then we got Wango Tango wings! But really, I go to Dinosaur for the sides. And the beers. Our first round was Middle Ages Syracuse Pale Ale, arguably my favorite Syracuse area beer; second was Blue Light because we are moving well out of Labatt country. We all had a blast hanging out and singing along with the band who may or may not have appreciated our artistic stylings…
Thanks, Syracuse and family/friends, for a fun time. While my residence may be (constantly) changing, my hometown will always have a big ol’ orange corner of my heart.
Stay tuned for our fun times in Cleveland!!

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