I moved to Buffalo, NY some six odd years ago and I’ve yet to leave. I do like it here but no matter how much I adore Buffalo, a big piece of my heart will always belong to my hometown of Rochester (as suggested by my blatant refusal to change my cell phone number to one bearing the “716” Buffalo area code).
Just an hour away by car, Rochester is home to Eastman Kodak, Genesee beer, Wegmans (the world’s best grocery store) and the Garbage Plate (the world’s best drunk food). Although I do not particularly love Genny, Genny Light or even the esteemed Genny Cream Ale, I am a huge fan of Rochester’s other signature successes. During a recent KegWorks lunch outing, I explained the culinary genius behind the Garbage Plate to some of my colleagues and Dave suggested that I share my enthusiasm with all of you and write a blog about this world famous post-bar cuisine. I thought that was a fabulous idea.
The Garbage Plate originated at Nick Tahou Hots in 1918 and the popular downtown restaurant is now revered as a true Rochester landmark. Tahou’s is holder of the trademark and the only restaurant able to use the name “Garbage Plate” but you’ll find tons of alternatively named imitations (think Trash Plate, Rubbish Plate, etc) on menus all over Upstate NY.
You’re probably wondering why anyone in his or her right mind would invent or more importantly order and pay for something with the word “garbage” in its name. All I can tell you is that to really understand, you absolutely must try one but I’ll do my best to do it written justice here anyways.
Basically, the Garbage Plate is an incredibly delicious pile of seemingly simple food selections all slopped together on a paper plate with no regard for component separation.
Two “base foods” are placed on the plate first. You choose your favorite combination of home fries, french fries, baked beans or macaroni salad. I like to go with home fries and mac salad for mine.
Your next selection is the “meat” of your garbage plate; cheeseburger, hamburger, red hots, white hots (another Rochester favorite), Italian sausages, chicken tenders, fish (Haddock), fried ham, grilled cheese, or eggs. I’m a cheeseburger girl myself. Keep in mind, there are no buns involved here – just two grilled cheeseburger patties piled right on top of my home fries and macaroni salad.
Next, diced raw onions are generously sprinkled on top, along with a schmear of spicy mustard for good measure. Finally, the whole shebang is drizzled with a greasy hot sauce made from ground beef and spices and it’s all served with two pieces of bread. A garbage plate made to my liking looks a little something like this:
To top it all off, it is imperative that one adds ketchup and Frank’s Red Hot to taste.
After a good night of drinking, I swear there isn’t anything better in the world.
What’s your favorite post-bar drunk food?
[techtags:GARBAGE PLATE, GENNY LIGHT, ROCHESTER, FRANKS RED HOT]