If there is a theme to this edition of Dish, it is "starting early." Each of the three features in our annual dining guide refers to that concept in one way or another. Dayna Papaleo's feature on Tocoti Chocolate profiles the Walworth-based small business that takes the chocolate-making process all the way back to its roots — or, rather, its beans. The couple behind the product starts each small batch of chocolate from scratch and creates that dark, sweet treat the old-fashioned way.
City Food Critic James Leach explores the "early" concept from a totally different perspective. He recently had a new addition to his family, and as he looked at his food-friendly 8-year-old son and at the mass-produced baby food awaiting his infant daughter, he reflected on how the ways parents feed their children can have a big impact on what kind of eaters they become. He talked with child nutritionists and psychologists, and then offered up a few kid-friendly recipes of typically grown-up cuisine. Why not try putting away the hot dogs and feeding your 2-year-old greens and beans instead?
Finally, Jason Silverstein's piece on late-night dining options goes so late, that it arguably becomes mega-early. When you think about grabbing a bite at 1 a.m. your thoughts likely lean toward the greasy end of the spectrum. But Rochester has many after-midnight dining options to please any palate. - ERIC REZSNYAK