A Public Quest for Interesting Food Finds in Huntington

Join me on a journey for the best food finds in Huntington. Whether in restaurants, a deli-packed picnic
or a neighbor's back yard barbeque - we'll discover the best spots, secret recipes and where to find
those hard to find ingredients. Foodies... follow me!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

A quiet two for one...

My nails have always been thin, transparent thin, too thin certainly to serve as a screwdriver to tighten the arm of my sunglasses. When the arm finally detached, I went to visit my friends at Moss Opticians. Randi and Natalie were eating lunch in the back; naturally I had to know what: a Chicken Caesar Salad from the Golden Dolphin Diner.

Being fans of this blog they suggested I check it out for myself. “It’s great… one salad is big enough for both of us.” Hmmm, this was worth checking out. So a few days later, on our way home from shopping for kitchen herbs, I talked my friend Denise into sharing the same salad… purely research. We ordered from the car on our way into town and walked in from the back (ample parking, critical in Huntington). The salad was ready, packed for take out, complete with pita bread for $12.50 plus tax and a little tip. (As an aside, Denise who has lived here for 5 years thought the GD was Chinese take out…)

Once at my house we split the salad in half (and I mean even Steven like a couple of eight-year-olds) and dined on the patio. Sure enough, it was overflowing with chicken, salad a plenty for two. They have other salads on the menu; all can be topped with grilled chicken or shrimp, all for about the same price. I intend to try them all, one by one.

Two for the price of one, and it was a good salad!

Last night landed me back at the Golden Dolphin with my husband, son and his friend after Lacrosse practice. It’s a kid-friendly place. The atmosphere lends itself to families. Eating in offers additional perks. We were each given a small bowl of pasta salad, a diner’s muse bouche. The bread basket offered a variety of choice, with big chunks of grilled bread sitting on top screaming “pick me first”, which I did. The boys were all hungry and sank into their hamburgers. I took a different route, to test the two for one principle, and selected the Eggplant Parmesan. It started with a huge salad, either house or Greek, and the entrĂ©e was indeed generous. The theory holds. I ate half for dinner (and was full) and brought the rest for lunch at the office.

A little planning can go a long way. It’s good food with great value. These days, that’s worth something.

And to prove my point one last time… I went to visit Aunt June in the hospital not long ago. Knowing she was fed up with mass production inmate meals, I brought her a Golden Dolphin entree of chicken and tons of vegetables over rice with a smooth gravy. Granted she eats less these days, but she enjoyed her Golden Dolphin for three nights running. Good for her.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Dinner at the bar...

Margaret had another birthday. It took us both by surprise. At some point they just zip by in rapid succession and there’s no stopping them. But we can slow things down a little, if only for a moment, to celebrate life, friendship and reflect on the year.

We did none of those things and went out for drinks instead. Margaret is single so I am cognizant of choosing a lively environment, rather than a romantic table for two gal pals. Porto Vivo was perfect. Having been there five times already I have yet to eat in their restaurant, always at the bar. It’s comfortable. Twice I’ve been there solo, eating at the bar and chatting with strangers, another hobby of mine.

The bar is a big square centered in the room, ample access, with seating not only at the bar, but tables and chairs of varying heights around the room. In one corner, which I was fortunate to share with my husband a while back, is lush and cozy with sink-in couch, chair and a coffee table.

And here’s one for the smokers… there’s an elevated balcony off the bar, over the street, just for you. No more standing by the front door, greeting guests with your leper stick.
This time around I got the Flatbread Pizza with prosciutto, arugula and fig preserve. The combination of flavors was magnificent. I’d seen this on the menu before and this was the night. With every intention of eating only half, it was gone in a blink. (Though Margaret's sample piece did seem rather excessive). And being the foodie that I am, and a smarty pants by nature, I believe I could have improved on the dish by a) cutting the prosciutto into smaller pieces so the whole flap of ham didn’t slide off with a single bite and b) either cooking the arugula a bit to give it some weight or tucking it under the cheese so the leaves weren't loose, fluttering about on top. But hey, that’s me. (If anyone tries this, let me know what you think. It’s delicious, but messy. The fig preserve is brilliant.)

Porto Vivo, 7 Gerard Street, is next to Mac’s Steakhouse. Here’s the link. http://www.porto-vivo.com. They also tout the sexiest Sunday Brunch, imaginative cocktail concoctions and a world-class wine cellar.

Another year, another martini, another moment shared with a good friend. It was indeed a successful night. Happy Birthday, Margaret!

EARTH DAY is coming…
April 22, 2010 marks the 40th Anniversary
Think Green Facts: Packaging Matters - It takes 90% less energy to recycle aluminum cans than to make new ones; 5 billion aluminum cans are used each year!

Sunday, April 4, 2010

The Guest List...

Similar to how depression era folks take comfort with stacks of canned goods in their pantry, I take comfort surrounded by stacks of books. All kinds of books - self help, business, biographical, best sellers, as long as my stack is reasonably high, I’m content. What’s especially fun is to receive a book as a gift, when it’s someone else’s favorite.

Which leads us to why this article is titled The Guest List. I’m reading a book given to me by a friend called The School of Essential Ingredients, by Erica Bauermeister. I’m sure it’s no coincidence that it’s about another foodie. The lead character owns a restaurant and teaches cooking classes to the community. It’s a wonderful read, but there’s a gem in here that made absolute sense. .. worth sharing.

Although the author was specifically talking about our Thanksgiving tradition where we pile our plates high and smoosh foods together – her point was that this is disrespectful to the food. And here’s the gem:

“…approach the food we will be preparing like the guest list for a dinner party – each dish invited for its own personality, all of them playing off one another to make the meal more interesting.”
Huh. Treat each dish as a guest at the party, with respect.

With this new perspective in mind, here's my Easter Guest List:
  • Spring Pea Soup with mint and pancetta wrapped croutons – invited because I’ve made it before and its lively personality is always appreciated...

  • Butterflied Leg of Lamb, marinated in garlic, mustard, oil, balsamic and rosemary, charcoal grilled – this guest is like a long-lost friend, invited to the table because my Armenian mother and aunts love lamb and no longer cook it for themselves.

  • Rice Pilaf – invited also because it’s a favorite of the people guests. Although they see each other often, there's always good conversation.

  • Steamed Green Beans with a shallot mustard vinegarette and slow roasted tomatoes – invited as the green guest, every plate should have one, and because I suspected the vinegarette would meld nicely with the rice guest. I just knew they'd get along.

  • Steamed Butternut Squash with cloves and nutmeg in the steaming water – invited for its wry sense of humor and because I made this dish up last week and wanted to share it with my parents, hoping it would become their friend, too.

  • Sliced Clementines bathed in a simple syrup boiled with mint, rosemary and vanilla, topped with shavings of bittersweet chocolate – invited solo but showed up with another guest, hazelnut cookies (sometimes guests do that and you just have to roll with it). They complimented each other beautifully on the dessert plate.

The people guests thoroughly enjoyed the food guests, and ate them all up.

EARTH DAY is Coming –
April 22, 2010 marks the 40th Anniversary.

Think Green Tip:
Buy local produce whenever possible. This avoids wasteful transportation and unnecessary food packaging which in turn conserves our resources and reduces your carbon footprint.