The sound of two different alarms pierces the quiet calm atmosphere of an early Mother’s Day morning, followed by distinct thumps and rustling as my dad and I quickly scramble to shut them off and drag my brother out of bed. All of us slowly creep down the stairs, trying not to disturb my mom’s well-deserved slumber as she slept, for once, without an alarm, knowing she wouldn’t have to wake up early and prepare breakfast as it was our turn now. Two hours later, we’ve set the porch table with fancy cutlery that rarely gets to taste a drop of food as it sits on display 364 out of 365 days a year, and with vibrant red roses plucked from the bushes in our front yard. On the gold-rimmed porcelain plate, we delicately place a heart shaped slice of homemade banana bread, still warm from the embrace of the oven and smelling sweet of raisins and maple syrup, accompanied by a colorful array of fresh and juicy fruits. From a gold-rimmed porcelain cup, emanates the nutty smell of cardamom and the earthy aroma of ginger stemming from my dad’s special chai recipe that he had passed down to me.
Moving back to Ithaca can be frightening. Many anticipate the hours of work and long nights spent in Uris. Others, like me, dread trading the variety of food a city like NYC has to offer for Cornell Dining and CTB every day. By no means am I complaining about CTB though — I can eat their Santa Fe bowl every day. But still, as a foodie, I have a desire to try out new restaurants and cuisines every week, and Ithaca has limited options. It is always a treat to find food that reminds me of NYC-quality restaurants, so I didn’t mind the trek to Boatyard, where superb seafood and juicy steaks are served in an inviting, marine-themed setting.
This past weekend I had the pleasure of eating at one of my favorite restaurants in Ithaca, John Thomas Steakhouse. For me, John Thomas is my Peter Luger’s away from home. The meat is prime dry-aged beef, just like Peter Luger’s and everything from the steak sauce to the menu selections represent how a true American steakhouse should be. Though rustic and low key from the outside, the quality of food clearly demonstrates why John Thomas’ has been an icon in Ithaca for so long.
The exterior of John Thomas is quite plain on the outside and along with the overcast weather, paints a fitting picture of Ithaca.