Ithaca Fall Favorites: A Definitive List

Fall is now in full swing, and one of the activities I enjoy the most is going to local Ithaca eateries and trying their seasonal pastries. Whether it’s to Wegmans or Collegetown Bagels, I embark on a delighted scavenger hunt to find the fall treats that are both affordable and rich with flavor. Here is my yearly rundown of my favorite fall items from local Ithaca eateries. 

Pumpkin Spice Bar from Collegetown Bagels 

These special bars are triple layered, starting with a chewy graham cracker crust, cream cheese frosting and a pumpkin spice spread, all topped with a pumpkin spice whipped cream. Simple yet flavorful, this pumpkin spice bar will give you the full experience of fall. This is one of my go-to desserts for fall, as the pumpkin spice bar isn’t too sweet or bland.

Milkstand Just Skims the Surface of What’s to Come in Ithaca

When I first arrived back in Ithaca for the fall semester, I drove down North Meadow Street and was surprised to see a bold white sign outside one of the many strips of businesses, proclaiming “HIRING — ALL POSITIONS.” I did a double-take, then did a little research and learned about a new restaurant called Milkstand that was soon to open. It doesn’t take long for news of a novel food establishment to spread around Cornell, and I quickly overheard the name “Milkstand” on the daily. This past week, I finally got a chance to check out the new spot, just a few days after its opening. 

The restaurant is located in an old Byrne Dairy, a chain of gas station and convenience stores, founded in upstate New York. The owners, who also created Maru Ramen across the street, named their newest business in recognition of the building’s roots. 

The menu consists of typical diner food with some enhanced entrees, such as a portobello sandwich ($14) and a kale pasta with pesto ($22). There is definitely a range to be explored, from an array of typical omelettes ($13-$15) to the most expensive item, steak frites ($34).

Missing Manndible: Mann’s New Unremarkable Cafe

Those who are fortunate enough to have experienced Manndible Cafe in Mann Library will remember the comforting taste of hot curry on a cold Friday afternoon, the soft and springy textures of a freshly baked muffin and the buttery, crumbly goodness of a Manndible scone. As of this academic year, the independently-owned Manndible Cafe we knew and loved is gone. The cafe’s regulars — including students, faculty and staff — received the news of its closing last spring with deep sadness and disappointment, patiently waiting to find out what would replace the beloved Cornell staple of 13 years. The new Cornell-operated Mann Cafe opened this semester and is almost as insipid and unremarkable as Rusty’s in Uris Hall or Olin Library’s Libe Cafe. It offers a selection of pastries, refrigerated bowls and wraps, coffee and bagels, as well as hot foods including breakfast burritos and avocado toast — a respectable array of options that will do the job of sustaining you enough to get through a study session, but won’t give you the warm, fuzzy feeling of eating a home cooked meal.

Jump on the Trend, Take a Friend to Ren’s!

Ren’s Mart, which opened last November, is one of the finest Asian supermarkets in central New York. They have an impressive variety of products for any and all Asian dishes, and also are one of the few groceries that sell whole butchered or live fish.

A Middle-Eastern Themed Trader Joe’s Review

Finding reasonably priced, authentic Middle Eastern food is not always the easiest task in Ithaca. However, with the recent opening of Trader Joe’s, there are now a number of suitable options for most needs.

The Best Fish Sandwich

I’m passionate about seafood, and finding the best fish dishes is an ongoing quest of mine. As for finding the best fried fish sandwich, that’s already happened: Doug’s Fish Fry in Skaneateles, NY has fish that is unmatched in both taste and quality.

Dining Hall Dinners That Got Me Through CHEM 2080

Despite the general vibe around campus that food from the dining halls has been lackluster, Ally Mark ’24 has found many diamonds in the rough. Here are her top five favorite Cornell dining hall dinners and deserts, like the gouda mac and cheese which helped her dance through the rigors of CHEM 2080.

Circus Truck: A Decadent Find

Circus Truck, though a little difficult to find, is absolutely worth the effort. Handmade pasta served up perfectly makes this food truck one of Ithaca’s hidden gems.