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Friday, September 4, 2015

Roxanne's - Mahwah, NJ

The entire department from my day job recently went to Roxanne's in Mahwah, NJ as a farewell lunch for a member of our group.  Some folks are torn on this practice.  If someone is voluntarily leaving, should we celebrate? Why or why not?  

Well, we all went.

I'd been here once before with our entire department about six years ago and hadn't been back so my memory was a bit foggy.  Here's a peek at the interior:

This gentleman caught me snapping photos with my phone so I asked if he would mind posing as well.
With a smile, he obliged and at the end of our meal, he made a point to ask me how everything was.

When you go to lunch with a group any larger than 6 people, it is virtually impossible to maintain one conversation.  Some will not be able to hear from the other end of the table and honestly, some have short attention spans for long stories so they break off and start their own,

Once we placed our drink orders, we were quickly brought bread, rolls, and a dipping oi.

We ordered two salads to share and they were served in large, shallow bowls, family style, which made it easy to share.

I only tried the first salad which I believe was the "Roxanne's" salad.  The second was the "Arugula" and I heard rave reviews at the table for both.

Next, we shared two platters of the "Roxanne's Chips."  Thin slices of  golden, lightly battered, eggplant and zucchini were accompanied by a cucumber yogurt dip.  I couldn't stop and would return just for this appetizer.

Roxanne's Chips

And then, like magic, pizza time!  Personally, I tend to turn into an elementary school child when exposed to pizza.  My internal dialogue goes crazy, "Save some for me. Oh the cheesy goodness.  I hope they pass me a slice soon. I can't stand it. I hope I don't burn the roof of my mouth, but I also know I won't wait."  AGH!



We also had a plain pie.  I had a slice of mushroom and 2 plain.  Yes, 3 slices. I love pizza.

Random peek at the ceiling

We asked our "guest of honor" about the big life changes coming, including moving back to a state that begins with the letter M and closer to family.  He seemed happy and I was delirious from being Fed Well by the fine folks at Roxanne's.  

I dream of those chips. Really.

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Thursday, September 3, 2015

The Palate Cafe in Pine Bush, NY

Yes, supporting locally owned businesses and restaurants is important to me.  Spending down times with friends over a meal and just catching up or talking over life is also pretty high on my list of priorities.  Love it when the world's collide and we can meet up at a local place for lunch.

Here's the catch, I just found out today that The Palate Cafe in Pine Bush will soon be closing its doors.  I've never written a farewell piece before, but I truly want to wish the owner, Geri, well in whatever her next venture is and hope that someone will come along and turn this space into another local gem.

You still have a little bit of time to try it or go in and wish everyone well.  So, I will simply tell you a little bit about the lunch my friend and I experienced.

For my friend:

A beautiful fresh green salad topped with apples, sliced chicken and bleu cheese.  She enjoyed the flavors and textures of these classic ingredients.

For me:
A take on a turkey club on ciabatta served with both a side salad and a fresh pea salad.  

We had arrived in-between breakfast and lunch so the soup was not quite ready before our sandwiches.  I had asked if we could still have it once it was finished, even if that meant having it after our main course.  I love being accommodated when possible.

I thoroughly enjoyed mu cup of butternut squash soup served with croutons on the side so they are not all soggy before you have your last spoonful.

Yes, we activated our dessert stomachs and found a bit of space to have a few bites (ok, I ate all of mine, don't judge) of something sweet before we left.

For me:

Salted Caramel Apple Pie

For my friend:
Pecan Pie

We chatted, admired the art on the wall by local artist, Roberta Rosenthal and were Fed Well. Farewell to The Palate Cafe.  We will celebrate our paths crossing and sometimes, I will think of you and your passion for combining food with art.

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Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Tony Boffa's in Middletown

Classic. Timeless.  While I may not remember the exact meals I've had at Tony Boffa's over the years, I know what it felt like, how I was treated, the atmosphere and simply put, that the generous portions of food were delicious.  The family feel is exactly what the Mr. likes about this local legendary favorite though he claims it is the red sauce.

It is the weekend, the dining room is full and we are pleased by the live musical entertainment. I'm sorry I never learned his name, but I was the one who tried to be sure to applaud after every song and was unashamed to join in from my table when we were all invited to sing along to "That's Amore." Who could resist?

Yes, I am completely aware that a Cosmopolitan is not a traditional cocktail for an Italian restaurant, but I like what I like and was completely happy with the Tony Boffa version.  And, I did enjoy my beverage with a more appropriate order of pasta fagioli soup.

Tender beans and al dente pasta in a rich broth were exactly what I wanted and this version could be used as the benchmark to judge all other versions.

Next up:

Clams to share

The Mr. often lets me select an appetizer for the two of us to share.  Honestly, I take his tastes into consideration because what would be the sense of ordering something he would not enjoy.  These clams were sweet and delicious, but it is always the juices we look forward to most and sopping up some of it with a slice of hearty bread.  We were not disappointed.

Look at those scallops! No, look again! They are beautifully seared and seasoned and though you can't see the pool of delicately flavored broth under the pasta, this is simply an amazing dish.  Exactly everything I hoped it would be.  I twirled and twirled pasta using both my fork and spoon while swaying in my seat.  My whole body was doing a happy dance.

Yes, the Mr. ordered his favorite with a side of pasta:

Chicken Marsala

He enthusiastically ate a huge portion and still had some to take home.  Sign of a good meal for the Mr.

Among the diners, Mr. Tony Boffa checked in on his guests and took a few minutes to chat. 

Old School Charm.  These are the words I would definitely use to describe the dining experience at Tony Boffa's.  The tables are numbered and correspond to a board on the wall that lights up when the food is ready.  Charming.

We had a lovely meal and could truly consider our night out as a date.  It was a wonderful experience and of course, we were Fed Well.  Always set aside a night for each other and once in a while, if you can, try to go to a locally owned establishment that will treat you like a guest in their home.

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