seriously OBESSED with this cheese

seriously OBESSED with this cheese

Hey! It’s been awhile. We have been sorting through the different restaurants getting each one up and running and tweaked. Seems to me the best blog posts are going to come from ZZest Market from now on. So check in often for featured products, amazing cheeses and some really great gift ideas. My rule of thumb is if you are still thinking about a food days after you’ve eaten it, you better sit up and take notice. I have been thinking about Blue Jay for 1 week now! I am seriously OBSESSED with this cheese. My cheese favorites change almost daily. As a Certified Cheese Professionalist (yeah, I know… who knew that was a thing ??!!) I really hate to admit to not loving every kind of cheese there is. But, blues are weird for me. Those big bold blues, are really not my go-to cheeses on a board. Though I will say, added to recipes, they can shine. Like a salad of greens, walnuts and apples or with roasted pears, Rosemary Shortbread Cookies (another obsession!) and a drizzle of honey for dessert. Blue Jay is different. First, check out the spectacular label! That alone seals the deal for me! From there we have a triple cream, so smooth, rich, decedent, much like chocolate. For me, I need textured, and I love something unexpected! That’s where the juniper berries come in. There’s a nice little crunch and a citrusy, piney sharp flavor of juniper. Yep, like gin. I happen to love a good gin and tonic too, so there is that. But, juniper and blue cheese? remarkable! Do yourself...
growing up zzest

growing up zzest

The Price family is RIGHT up there with our fave families! I actually remember when Katharine and Dan got married because it was one of Broadstreet’s first (if not the first), catering gigs with Rochester Art Center. Now a few years later we got to meet Charlotte, Ben and Henry! Charlotte and Ben were regulars coming long before Henry was born. Just wee ones coming in with their parents and always well mannered. The thing we love best about the Price’s is that they understand what ZZest was intended to be. The neighborhood gem where you could drop in any time and get something wonderful to eat. They may come in for special occasion but they will come in on Tuesdays as well. To them, it’s place for the family and we love that! The Price family comes winter, spring, summer and fall. It’s not about the patio or pizza! And… they always order vegetables! Right now avocado toast is a hit, but I’ve been told Ben is a bread and cheese sort of guy. They welcome the menu changes and always find something that works for each family member. The kiddos each have a very fun personalties, The boys grow their hair out. I love this, so much!! Henry must have chosen to cut his but not Ben! Henry often sports tall rubber boots. Charlotte is a reader. The whole family bikes over in the summer months and often meet other families. Last week after being closed for a week our front door was very dusty. Someone wrote I heart ZZest so much! in the dust. I asked...
our best next door neighbors

our best next door neighbors

Amy came in for her birthday. I asked her and Josh if I could take their picture for a blog post. She said, “Sure! I wondered how someone would make the cut, ha,ha.” I said, “I have to have a story to tell and I have a good one on you!” Once upon a time, several years ago, Amy and Josh came in and sat at the chefs counter. We were all feeling like we were getting to know Amy and Josh and none so more than Bre. Bre could say the darndest things. At the time Bre greeted everyone with Heeey, Girl! I think Josh was taken back at first but played along. We all felt comfortable around Amy and Josh. Josh ordered his entree, (long forgotten what it was, except it had micro greens on it). When it came out Josh had a few bites and really started to heat up. He asked the chef if there was something spicy in the dish. No, no peppers, nothing. Bre breezed by and Josh told her the dish was really, really, really hot. Bre told him there were no peppers and what a girl he was thinking it was hot!. She laughed, I laughed, and we all went about our business while poor Josh got warmer and warmer. Finally, we got to thinking he might be in some discomfort. I told Bre to bring him a bit of ice cream. What you need to remember is the story sounds like really bad service, but, Josh and Amy are like your next door neighbors, we felt REALLY COMFORTABLE around them!...
serious patio people

serious patio people

Here’s Joe and Debbie, Mary and George. They are serious about sitting on the patio. Debbie and I go way back to the days of choreographed exercise classes at Rochester Ballet, circa 1984-ish. I should remind her how she actually used a favorite song of mine for a routine, I was so thrilled! I’m sure no one else in the class had any idea who Jerry Jeff Walker was, nor cared. But, Debbie did that for me. Don’t it make you Wanna Dance. It did! George, although I should have ran into him sooner as like me, a native Rochesterite, I only came to know of him through mutual friends. The one thing I didn’t know for quite some time is that George and Debbie are brother and sister! Both families are incredibly loyal customers. In fact, I thought each winter I should award them “points” for every time they came in. The “points” could be used to secure a patio table in the summer, because the patio, is what they really love! When a fair amount of people enjoy the patio only in it’s perfection, George, Mary, Debbie and Joe are the first ones out there come spring when there’s not a leaf on the tree. All summer, heat or not and come fall, once agian until there’s not a leaf on the tree. I’ve usually workout a patio seat when they come in! For that kind of customer loyalty, I’m going to work hard, turning my rubics cube to make that happen. Thank you for enjoying our patio but also for enjoying the booths in the winter....
and then these ladies…

and then these ladies…

came in and it was a blast from the past! Love this group!! I first met them in my little shop, Culinary Market on 1st Ave in 2008. So…they go back to almost the beginning. Martha favored goat cheese and Tammy had adventourous cheese tastes. They each made weekly stops to see what was new. Debbi brought her daughter Danielle in for dinner at ZZest ay least a couple times in the summer when she was home from college. Cindy frequented ZZest for lunch. They ALL did their part to keep ZZest Market and Cafe going!Thank you, thank you so much! I was also extremely lucky to score an invite to one of Tammy’s wonderful dinners a couple years ago. This particular one featured foraged mushrooms and was served in her wine cave. So fun and so delicious! I dined with several of the ladies in the photo and it will be one of my more treasured memories of ZZest. Awfully glad I met you...
special occasions, special people

special occasions, special people

Meet Kaely and Dylan. I first met them shortly after ZZest opened. Kaely is the daughter of a high school classmate of mine. It was fun seeing Sally again to to learn about her daughter Kaely, who at the time, just got married. When Kaely and Dylan come in they always lavish us with compiments, and thumbs up on facebook. And, even though they were newlweds they would come in fairly frequently. It turns out Kaely and Dylan came in frequently because, they had things to celebrate. Dylan was all set to join the marines feeling like this was his best choice for the future. But Sally and Kaely surprised him with tearing up his papers and offering to pay for college. #1 celebration! College graduation was another and soon their first baby girl in 2014. It was particularily fun to listen to Sally gush about the wonders of holding a grandchild for the first time (something I can’t wait for!!). Baby David was born last Nov. and that gave Kaely and Dylan one more reason to celebrate and come to ZZest. Tonight when I caught them for the photo its was yet another occasion. Their 7 year anniversary, dinner at ZZest and on to Las Vegas! Such a special couple and thank you for sharing your special occasions with...
meet the parkers

meet the parkers

Here’s an awesome family! They may have slipped my radar the first few years. I’m pretty good at faces, sadly names elude me, but, I’m really good at remembering what cheese you like! Thank goodness after awhile I started to realize, something was up with these folks and New Years Eve. It turns out the Parkers have not missed our New Year’s Eve Chef Tastings, since we began them! That’s at least 7 of them! And… if it couldn’t get any sweeter than that, New Years Eve is their anniversary. A couple years ago they brought the whole crew in to celebrate their anniversary and of course New Years Eve. All the kids were decked out and every one of them had the chefs dinner, that’s 6 courses and not one course is a burger. That makes my heart sing! I’m glad I connected the dots a few years in, is was fun to look forward to them coming each year. The Parkers live in Winona and do pop in now and again beyond NYE. When they learned we were closing, Chris called and made a reservation for the whole group again. Here are their smiling faces! Thanks for sharing life’s celebrations with...
our first customer, julie

our first customer, julie

As we begin our final days at ZZest the very best part is seeing old friends again. Julie promises this is not her last evening in (whew! I’m not ready for tears quite yet). But, as I was chatting with her it occurred to me there are so many ZZest stories. Now, I want to catch as many as possible and post them! Julie has been a great customer, literally going back to the very beginning which would make her actually our very first customer! The very beginning, was my short stint in a little kiosk space in Rochester Produce, 10 years ago. She enthusiastically looked over all the jars and cheeses and proclaimed this to be her favorite “shop” ever! Ha! literally 3 shelves and about 12 specialty cheeses. But that’s Julie 🙂 Later when I moved to my “little shop” Culinary Market, Julie was one of the first customers in the door. Now there were a couple more shelves and about double the cheese for her to explore. When we changed and moved to ZZest Market and Cafe, Julie made the trek south. I used to laugh at her because she couldn’t get past the $15 lb Hooks cheddar from Wi. She put in on her sandwiches for lunch every day! I told her it was one hell of an expensive sandwich to pack daily! She moved on to other cheeses. For awhile her fave was Delice de Bougogne especially with Robert Lambert raspberry champagne jam. Julie also made coming to the cafe a priority. We all enjoyed chatting with her at the counter where she lavished...