Sope up your tears about returning to the office
Traditional Mexican cuisine comes to downtown Rochester; photos by Lauren Petracca
Peach Blossom 9 East Main St. Rochester
The era of working from home where partners, plants, and pets were (annoying but usually cute) colleagues is coming to an end for many. Life is trickling back into downtown Rochester. While we may have to make our peace with the end of athleisure as business casual, there is a new reason to be a bit happier about the return to one’s downtown office.
Peach Blossom quietly opened in the old Byblos/Bianca location at Main and State last fall. It is a small, no-frills mother-and-son operation that pushes out some of the most delicious and traditional Mexican food in Rochester.
While most of the menu at Peach Blossom features familiar terms, its versions may not be what you are used to. The kitchen seems to use fewer ingredients to create dishes that are greater than the sum of their parts.
The quesadilla is loved for being rich and cheesy, but Peach Blossom shows what a bit of textural contrast and balance can bring to this popular dish. The quesadilla here starts with a prepared-from-scratch corn tortilla filled with your choice of shredded chicken, shredded beef, or vegetables. Then comes shredded cheese. After being cooked on both sides, the quesadilla’s inside is topped with crunchy shredded lettuce and queso fresco. The freshly made corn tortilla (slightly crisp thanks to the frying pan) and the cool, refreshing note from the lettuce makes for a tasty quesadilla that doesn’t leave you feeling bloated. Given the sprinkle of lettuce, some might say this is basically a salad. By “some” I mean me, but I welcome you to partake in this new definition!
The tacos here are deceptively simple looking—pleasantly chewy tortillas loaded with carne asada, pollo asado, or al pastor (vegetarian version available upon request). They are then topped with chopped onion and cilantro.
I tried the pollo asado, and my friend tried the al pastor. We both had the same reaction—it was one of the most cohesive tacos we have ever had. The chew of the tortilla, the meaty/grilled flavor of pollo asado/al pastor, the crunch of the onion, the brightness of cilantro, and, of course, the refreshing squeeze of lime, really came together to create a harmonious bite. I do not normally notice the size of the chopped onions in my taco, but it was hard to miss here. The fine and consistent size of the chopped onion was an important detail blending all the ingredients.
Sopes are not easy to find in Rochester, so I was excited to discover they. are served at Peach Blossom. The masa is shaped into discs and fried. Then the edges are pinched to form a protective border—nobody wants the delicious toppings to be lost to the plate.The vegetable one featured (again, very consistently and neatly) cut zucchini seasoned with garlic and topped with cheese. The sope was thick, chewy, and rich in the best way possible.
The torta de melanesa is a crowd favorite here. It is easy to see why. Imagine a soft and squishy roll (telera-style) stuffed with layers of crispy and very thin chicken cutlets, sliced tomatoes, crisp shredded lettuce, creamy avocado, onion, and a healthy smear of mayo. Now you no longer have to imagine it. At Peach Blossom, this hefty sandwich is available daily.
Peach Blossom runs a different special each day. During my visit, I was fortunate enough to try its take on the Rochester fish fry. A thick filet of tilapia is marinated in garlic and other (secret) seasonings. Then it is pan fried to perfection and served with a large portion of refreshing pico de gallo and rice that looks unassuming but packs quite the umami punch. I am not joking when I say I could eat this dish every day. The combination of the crispy but juicy fish with the rice and pico will have you coming back for more. If you love spicy food, request a side of homemade hot sauce. I am not privy to its ingredients, but I suspect it features my fruity and spicy best friend—the habanero.The sauce is very spicy, but its lightness makes it easy to pair it with any savory dish here.
Peach Blossom also offers homemade flan and tres leche, but you will have to come early to secure a slice—apparently, they have been selling out regularly. Having tasted the flan, I am not surprised that the creamy and butterscotchy dessert has many fans.
Due to staffing issues that have plagued the entire restaurant industry, a bit of patience is key to enjoying your meal at Peach Blossom. So, while it may not be the fastest place to grab lunch on a weekday, the food might make you forget that you had to wear pants with an actual zipper to work that day.