Thursday, December 18, 2008

The Bean (Index, NY)

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Giving a good name to cafes in stripmalls everywhere.

We have been stopping by this plaza-bound cafe for several years now due to a working on a lot of projects in Otsego County, specifically in the Index/Cooperstown area. Most likely overlooked by the thousands of little-league dads and tourists ferrying their kids from the baseball camps on the south of town to the museums and shops in downtown Cooperstown, the Bean is not ignored by local business people who form lines out the door every 20 minutes during lunch.

This is the kind of place I wish I could take all three meals at sometimes, but they close at 4pm most of the year. I think a great cafe starts with the simple things. They offer bold, flavorful coffee, big tasty muffins, and a few varieties of quality bagels. The Bean does have a menu of breakfast offerings, but I haven't ventured too far beyond the coffee and muffins. We try to get into the field as soon as we can in the morning, so a sit-down breakfast is never really an option for us.

Lunch is really why I like the place. There are about 20 sandwiches, and all are worth eating. My personal favorite is the Jerk Chicken sandwich, a hand-flattened, jerk-seasoned chicken fillet on a soft roll with lettuce, tomato, onion and pineapple mayo, served with blue corn tortilla chips. The lunch omelet is a good choice as well, served with grilled French bread and a mixed green salad.

Service is a mix between counter and table-waiting, and is always quick and friendly. The chef, as far as I can tell, works here in the open kitchen during the day, and somewhere much fancier at night. He is friendly, approachable, and has never held it against me that I am a Red Sox fan. That goes a long way in this New York baseball mecca.

Due to fresh, high-quality ingredients, the food prices are somewhat higher than the average lunch stop, but are worth it. Almost everyone on my crew will eat there at least once a week, which is quite a recommendation from our primarily brown-bag lunch crowd.

The Bean Cafe
17 Commons Dr
Cooperstown, NY‎
(607) 544-9999‎
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Monday, December 15, 2008

That Pizza Place in Tully, New York [A Pizza & More‎]

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You really don't need more information than that.


But if you must know, it's located at 6 Elm Street in Tully, NY. They have really great slices, good food in general, and are quite reasonable.

If you do a websearch, you may get a couple of different names for the place. It comes up as "A Pizza and More," as well as "Tully Pizzeria and Deli." But honestly, who cares what it's called? The pizza a great, either way.

If you are traveling on I-81, and find yourself south of Syracuse, NY, this is one of the better pizza joints in upstate NY. It's worth the detour to get out at the Tully Exit, go straight on Rt 80/11 east, and straight into Tully Center. It's at the main intersection, next to the grocery store.

While you're there, take a look at the town. Tully was booming place in the late 19th century, as part of the region's salt farms, as well as a vacation spot outside of Syracuse. The old hotels are gone now, and are nothing but map documented structures on old Sanborn maps... but there still are some great buildings in town.

Across from the pizzeria is a 2 ½ story, late 19th century, brick building with a neat gable roof. It's National Register eligible, and last time I was in Tully, was a video rental store. A quick drive through town, you're sure to appreciate the history. Keep your eye out for the an impressive Greek Revival style building on State Street. It used to be a Masonic Lodge. Also National Register eligible.

Park Diner, Broome County, Binghamton, NY

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The Park Diner, located adjacnet to the Conklin Ave.-High St. intersection on Binghamton's Southside, has always been a local favorite of mine. The food is quite good for very little money, super friendly wait-staff, and a great dining room. Yeah.. we have eaten at diners when we are on the road, but some are hit and miss. Believe me, I have frequented this diner enough times to know that the food is delicious, the way you want it. The relaxing view of Rock Bottom Dam and downtown Binghamton (minus the State Building) from the clean and comfortable dining room makes a trip to this eatery well worth it. ***1/2 Stars!

Friday, December 12, 2008


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Since field archaeologists spend so much time traveling, we have a certain penchant for finding good places to eat. After working in the hot sun, the driving rain, or bitter blasts of cold arctic air, we yearn for some good cooking, a warm bowl of hope at the end of the day (and sometimes in the middle)

I hope that our particular perspective on culinary curiosity and archaeological adventure will help you to uncover a hidden gem among the mud and muck.