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CHOW HOUND: Sweet somethings

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UPDATED 3/15/13 with clarification on Chester Cab Pizza, which will be sold to a new owner, not close.

Culinary doyenne Alice Waters has suggested that the best way to finish a meal is with a single, perfect peach. But that's probably only because she hasn't had one of Kelly Halligan's Fruity Pebbles cupcakes, consisting of vanilla cake flecked with Fred Flintstone's favorite cereal and topped with a swirl of vanilla frosting. Now, Mother Nature obviously knows what's She's doing, but so does Halligan, who recently moved her baking business out of her home and into Village Gate as Get Caked.

Halligan's route to bakery owner has been an indirect one. Originally on track for a degree in biochemistry, an unexpected leave of absence from her job found Halligan brainstorming income opportunities, and before too long she and her mom were offering cookies at craft shows. Naturally the scientist in her began developing her own recipes, and soon Halligan had her home kitchen certified so she could sell her wares by word of mouth.

"It made me really happy," says Halligan. Biochemistry didn't stand a chance.

"I just had a really good feeling about the Village Gate," Halligan says of her decision to drop roots in the evolving space, one that provides a lot of hungry traffic thanks to the gaggle of neighboring restaurants. But visitors to Get Caked have some tough decisions to make. Molasses, double chocolate chip, or oatmeal cookies? Black forest, chocolate-raspberry, or lemon cupcakes? Halligan's selection rotates, and she's got a good number of vegan options as well, like her deeply chocolate cupcakes, which are actually not a result of tinkering in the kitchen lab. "It was my grandma's recipe," she says. "It just happens to not have milk, eggs, or butter."

Halligan hopes to soon hit upon a gluten-free cupcake that meets her standards; in the meantime she's trying out new flavors (like that Fruity Pebbles one) and doing consultations with people interested in her custom creations. Halligan is also exploring the possibility of supplying some of the other Village Gate eateries with treats from Get Caked, and she's even toying with the notion of an evening delivery service for baked goods... an idea for which, if you've ever had your way with a sleeve of Chips Ahoy at 9 p.m., there would no doubt be an enthusiastic market.

Get Caked is located in the Village Gate at 274 N. Goodman St. It is open Tuesday-Friday 11 a.m.-2 p.m. and 5-10 p.m., Saturday 10 a.m.-10 p.m., and Sunday 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Prices start at 80 cents. For more information, call 319-4314 or visit getcakedroc.com.

Lettuce rap

Well, the good news is that the Lettuce B. Frank food cart will be out and about again in the spring. The even-better news is that you don't have to wait for the daffodils to enjoy a carrot-and-chick-pea slider ($6), because David Potwin has now opened Lettuce B. Frank Bistro in the same Swillburg landmark that houses the Cinema Theater.

The brick-and-mortar version of Lettuce B. Frank offers some enduring favorites as well as new variations on Potwin's seasonal "farm-to-foil cuisine," currently meaning such items as a reuben made with Small World sauerkraut ($9), plus roasted squash, greens, and caramelized red onion with white bean spread ($7) that's available open face, in panini form, or atop housemade flatbread. There's dessert, too, like Oreo tiramisu ($4), Fuji apple crisp ($3), and a decadent two-bite cake shot ($2.50) assembled with Jameson chocolate cake, Guinness ganache, and Bailey's buttercream.

Lettuce B. Frank Bistro is located at 957 S. Clinton Ave. It is open Tuesday-Saturday 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Food prices range from $2 to $9. For more information, call 708-9515 or visit lettucebfrank.com.

Stack 'em up

For about two months every year, Cartwright's Maple Tree Inn in Angelica, NY, just east of Hornell, offers its famous buckwheat pancakes, served all-you-can-eat for $7.35 alongside a sausage patty, a slice of ham, and the 100 percent pure maple syrup that the Cartwright family has been making for the last century. But the window is fast closing on the 2013 season; it ends Sunday, April 14, so you pancake connoisseurs had better act fast. For more details, visit cartwrightsmapletreeinn.com, or call 567-8181.

Food for thought

It's time again for the 4th Annual Edible Books Festival at the Central Library of Rochester, which offers professional and amateur bakers of all ages the chance to bring a beloved book to life through the medium of food, be it cake, sculpted produce, chocolate, pasta, or any other edible items. The April 7 event will feature cooking demos and tastings, but the deadline for entry into the contest is Saturday, March 30. Visit libraryweb.org for the proper forms, or call 428-8350.

Openings

Crust Pizza Kitchen is now open in East Rochester at 115 W. Commercial St., serving — you guessed it — pizzas and calzones, as well as subs, salads, wings, fish fry, and the Landfill Plate, available in many combinations. Wanna know more? Visit crustpk.com or call 218-0818.

Webster's newest eatery is the Brimont Bistro, which offers, among other things, its take on classic French cuisine like duck confit, coq au vin, and beef bourguignon. It's located at 24 W. Main St. in the village; check out the menu at brimontcateringcorporation.com, or call 872-3170.

La Placita, one of the Public Market's most popular food vendors, has opened a South Wedge outpost called La Casa. Located at 93 Alexander St., La Casa serves Mexican faves like nachos, tacos, and carnitas, plus tamales, ceviche, and a few breakfasty dishes. Call 730-5025 or visit La Casa's Facebook page.

Changing hands

Chester Cab fans were saddened to learn that Howie Nielsen would be closing his Park Avenue pizzeria in the near future. However, after the news broke about its impending closure, the word started spreading that the business would NOT close, but rather that it was being sold to a new owner.

On Friday, March 13, Nielsen -- who also owns local barbecue giant Sticky Lips -- clarified the Chester Cab situation for City.

"I was going to close Chester Cab Pizza at the end of this week, but our long time manager Dess Ivanov has made a last-minute purchase offer, which I'm happy to accept," Nielsen says. "He will have an uphill battle and I wish him all the best of luck. So if the community wants Chester Cab, and he continues to make great-tasting pizza, it should work out for the best."

Chow Hound is a food and restaurant news column. Do you have a tip? Send it to food@rochester-citynews.com.

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