Our holiday travels to Rochester, NY brought a culinary discovery: the Garbage Plate.

My husband grew up in Rochester, but he somehow never before mentioned that this is the signature dish of his native city. What, might you ask, is a garbage plate? It’s hash browns, macaroni salad, two hamburger patties or “two hots” (aka hot dogs), smothered in mustard and onions and meat sauce. I consider myself to be a willing eater of all things disgusting (cheeseballs; cow intestine sandwich; I even liked haggis, for god’s sake) but I have to draw the line at a garbage plate. Seriously. Yuck!

Thankfully, after a few days we left Rochester for Toronto, where we ate the antidote to the garbage plate:

Soup dumplings! Soup dumplings are one of my favorite foods on earth. We ate them at Asian Legend, and they were delicious. (One day soon I’ll write up an entire post about soup dumplings in NYC…my sister and I once did a soup dumpling pub crawl, eating at about 8 places till we found the best ones. We ate so many that night that we couldn’t even look at a soup dumpling for a long time afterward. Thankfully, we’ve since recovered.)

We also had a fantastic meal of dim sum at Lai Wah Heen. Oh. My. God. I’m going to dream about this place for a long time. This is not your ordinary dim sum place—it’s very high end, and I have to say I was a little suspicious at first, since I’m partial to the greasy order-from-the-cart kind. But I love this place and would go there again in an instant. We had the dim sum tasting menu, and one of my favorite things was cured pork and shrimp in puff pastry, with sweet red bean on top—it was kind of like a cured-meat-filled cupcake. It was SO GOOD.

In Toronto, we also went to St. Lawrence Market, which was heavenly too. If you ever venture to Toronto, you must go there! I would like to live inside St. Lawrence Market. The Olympic Cheese Mart stall has an amazing selection. (And some very cute cheesemongers too…not Lucali’s-level cute of course, but quite nice. And they know their cheese…what more could you want in a man?)

Happy New Year!