Tag Archives: Laci’s Tapas Bar

Laci’s Lunchbox, Syracuse, N.Y.

2014-11-06 at 12-18-22NOTE: I visited Laci’s Lunchbox and wrote this piece before going to Laci’s Tapas Bar and writing my piece on Nov. 9.

Is it lunch box or lunchbox? I tend to go with the singular word, as if the box’s sole purpose was to carry lunch. But, I think most people would go with two words, as in a box that happens to have lunch inside of it.

The lunchbox in question during Thursday’s midday forage for sustenance was one that belongs to Laci, or Laura and Cindy, the duo behind the raucously popular Laci’s Tapas Bar on Hawley Avenue. These ladies have earned a reputation as more than mere entrepreneurs and businesswomen, but as community leaders. Laci’s Lunchbox, their newest endeavor, is located near the Tapas Bar where Hawley Avenue and Green Street meet. Continue reading Laci’s Lunchbox, Syracuse, N.Y.


Top 10 CNY Restaurants (2014 Edition)

Photo May 02, 6 22 55 PMAbout 18 months ago, I wrote a list of my top 10 CNY restaurants. These were not necessarily the restaurants that I thought were the best, but the one’s that I would go to if I had to build a permanent rotation of places to dine.

Since I posted that list, much has changed in the CNY food scene. One of the restaurants, Circa, has closed. Last week Gentile’s, loved my many in this area, shut its doors. A new version of The Krebs is open in Skaneateles at the end of August.

As we approach fall and begin our CNY hibernation (coming out only for food and SU basketball), I thought I would update the list. These are not necessarily the best restaurants in town or really even my 10 favorites. This list represents the permanent rotation of the area’s 10 best restaurants that I would go to exclusively (in no particular order):

  • Moro’s Table, Auburn [website]. The alpha and the omega. If money were no object…
  • Asti Caffe, Syracuse [website]. The best red sauce restaurant* in Syracuse.
  • Pastabilities, Syracuse [website]. Great for lunch. Good for dinner. The second best red sauce in town*.
  • Dinosaur Barbque, Syracuse [website]. Their bad days are a lot better than my good days. Remember, it’s not the 10 best, but the 10 that I would go to exclusively if forced to pick.
  • The Mission, Syracuse [website]
  • Otro Cinco, Syracuse [website]
  • Zabroso, Oneida [website]. The past three restaurants are distinctly different takes on Latin-American/Spanish food. The Mission is Mexican/Pan-American; Otro is a Spanish/Mexican hybrid; and Zabroso is Spanish. All three are wonderful.
  • Laci’s Tapas Bar, Syracuse [website]. Eclectic and fun. One of the area’s best dining experiences.
  • Ironwood, Manlius [website]. Good pizza. Good beer. Really, I’m easy to please.
  • The Restaurant at Elderberry Pond, Auburn [website]. An impossible car ride to get there, but farm-to-table begins and ends there.

*Angotti’s is not the best restaurant in town, nor is it the best red sauce restaurant in Syracuse. But it has long been a gathering spot for my family. It’s like my kitchen away from home. It doesn’t make this list because it transcends this list. And because I can almost always get a table.

Tuesday Dinner: Spanish Burgers

2014-08-19 at 17-08-57

One of my favorite items on the menu at Laci’s Tapas Bar in Syracuse are the Spanish sliders. The geniuses in the kitchen make mini burgers with beef, piquillo peppers, caramelized onions, manchego cheese and garlic aioli. There’s a lot of stuff going on in these little guys, but no one flavor overwhelms. Everything plays well together. Harmoniously even.

I wanted to recreate something similar here, but in a full quarter-pound burger portion. My nearby Wegmans stopped carrying manchego, but the fine people from Buttercup Cheese (found on Saturdays at the CNY Regional Market) import manchego and package it for sale. Piquillo peppers are another story. I could not come up with a source for these locally, instead using piquante peppers (jarred and sold under the Peppadew label). Piquante and piquillo peppers are related, and share many of the same properties, so I adapted. Continue reading Tuesday Dinner: Spanish Burgers

Laci’s Tapas Bar, Syracuse, N.Y.

Admittedly, I had been hesitant to try Laci’s Tapas Bar though I don’t know why. Small plates restaurants are either very good or very bad, with no middle ground. On one side there’s the Meddlesome Moth in Dallas, Tex., which was listed on Eater.com‘s lists of best and hottest restaurants in the metroplex when I visited last winter. On the other is a recently opened restaurant in Syracuse’s Armory Square that has received the same anecdotal review from everyone I have talked to: the food is ordinary and the service is terrible and borderline rude.

Laci’s opened in its current location on Hawley Avenue in 2010, after its owners moved their operation from Eastwood’s Palace Theatre. The historic house it sits in is the former Pascale’s Bake House near Catherine Street. I’m glad I did make reservations for 6 p.m. on the evening of our visit, as the restaurant would be packed with a line by the time we walked out a couple of hours later.

Continue reading Laci’s Tapas Bar, Syracuse, N.Y.

Grocery List: January 19, 2014

listOn my right wrist is a blue band. Ever the gadget guy, I took a dive on a Fitbit Force this week from Best Buy (Side note: I ordered it online and it arrived within 48 hours, which is pretty nice.).

Fitbit makes a couple of these wearable fitness trackers. I chose the Force because it has a silent alarm built in, a visible screen, and allegedly measures floors climbed. I say “allegedly” because it measures your floors climbed much in the same way sports watches track altitude. It’s all based on atmospheric pressure changes, of which there does not seem to be in my house (I can’t wait to see what happens when I get on a plane in a couple of weeks.). Personally, I like this for two reasons: it measures the steps I take and my sleep, which I’ve suspected has been poor recently. Based on movement, it gives me a reading on how restless I am at night and how long I was awake.

It’s all part of my technology-based plan to start living healthier. Actually, to call it a “plan” would be a overstatement. That would imply that I have a, you know, plan. I think I’m going to start by making a more concerted effort to live healthier before committing to a plan. We’ll see how that goes.


On Friday night, The Wife and I had one of our best restaurant experiences. It marked our first visit to Laci’s Tapas Bar in Syracuse’s Hawley-Green neighborhood. The menu was very reminiscent of the Meddlesome Moth in Dallas — gastropub small plates — but that was not why. At every turn, someone was talking to us, asking us how we were, if we had ever been there before, what kind of food we like so that they could suggest something. Based on the roster of staff listed on the website, we talked to both owners, two hostesses and two servers. Now, some would find this annoying or overbearing. I see this as taking pride in the business, not unlike the experience we had in Rochester this past May. It’s not often in Syracuse that a restaurant owner walks through the dining room to check on the customers. It’s also not often that you see them bussing tables either, but they were knee deep in the operation.

There is a fine line between micromanagement and being involved. It’s the idea that I would never ask someone to do something that I wouldn’t do. While there will be plenty more later on the food, I thought it was worth mentioning that the overall experience was among the best that Syracuse offers.