Labor Day or No, It’s Still Summertime
by Margaret McCormick - Wednesday, August 27th, 2014
Labor day is near, but summer is far from over

For many of us, the state fair and back to school signal the start of a new season. But just a reminder: It’s still summer! Through September 21, anyway.
Pumpkin ales, pumpkin spice lattes, pumpkin Pop-Tarts and fall’s first chill can wait. Let’s squeeze every last ounce out of summer.

There’s still plenty of time to:

Take in our local farmers markets. Most farmers markets in communities around Central New York continue weekly through mid- to late-October. The Central New York Regional Market, of course, is open Saturdays year-round at 2100 Park St., in Syracuse. The lesser-known Thursday edition of the market continues weekly until the Thursday before Thanksgiving. Information.

Keep the grill flames burning. Grilling season is far from over, but you might be tired of hot dogs. North Side butcher shop Liehs & Steigerwald offers more than 40 homemade sausages for your grilling pleasure (we hear great things about the Buffalo wing brat). Got tomatoes from your garden? Bring home some of their house-cured bacon for one of the best BLTs, ever. The original Liehs & Steigerwald is at 1857 Grant Blvd., Syracuse. The “North” store is at 4130 State Route 31, Clay (across from Great Northern Mall. Information.

Feast at local food trucks. Look for food trucks like Lady Bug Lunch Box, PB&J’s Lunch Box, the Chicken Bandit and others to be parked and open for business in and around downtown as long as the weather cooperates — and the customers keep coming. “We’re hoping for a nice, warm, extended fall,” says Dennis Souva, a partner in the Chicken Bandit with Cindy Baker (formerly of McShane’s Restaurant). Souva notes they have events booked through September and into October and that they offer catering year-round. Information.

Take a road trip to a seasonal eatery. Steamed clams, fried haddock, fried shrimp, Texas hots: Get your Rudy’s Lakeside fix before Columbus Day, when the drive-in on the shore of Lake Ontario, near Oswego, closes for the season. Rudy’s starts its post-summer schedule (closed Mondays and Tuesdays) the week of September 8. Information. If you haven’t made the drive to Bob’s Barbecue, near Homer, this summer, take advantage of the next nice day. Bob’s serves BBQ chicken, pork, ribs and more — it’s a roadside restaurant with a picnic setting and play area for kids. Information.

Dine al fresco in a city courtyard. The stretch bread, spicy hot tomato oil, salad of the month and summer menu additions are musts at Pastabilities in downtown Syracuse — and so is a table in the back courtyard. The courtyard, with its beautiful brick walls, is an oasis in the center of Armory Square. Information. Lunch or dinner on the patio is a treat at Francesca’s Cucina on North Salina Street. By day, the courtyard has both sunny and shady spots, and gorgeous flowers and plants. By night, it has twinkly lights and a firepit. The menu is upscale Italian, with homemade breads and desserts. Information.

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Margaret McCormick blogs about food at http://eatfirst.typepad.com. Follow her on Twitter at @mmccormickcny. Email her at mmccormicksnt@gmail.com.
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