Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Old Naples Italian Restaurant, Doc's Saloon and Grill, John's Diner and a Shoofly Pie.....

I used to joke that in this town of Pennsylvania, you can defy the law and park your car perpendicular to the allocated parking space, and it won’t make a difference simply because land is aplenty here. Houses are big and far from one another, and supermarkets as well as restaurants are located miles away from the residential areas. I’m really glad that I managed to get my international driving licence prior to my departure. Or else, it would have been solely Irish food in the hotel or the limited number of restaurants nearby for 7 weeks. And when I say nearby, it’s still at least 1/4 mile away.

But I’m not complaining about the food in those restaurants, of course. In fact, in this last installment of my trip to the USA, I’m dedicating it to them - our regular afterwork spots to dine, relax and rant.

Old Naples Italian Restaurant

It’s quiet in here. I hope their business had picked up since, because it’ll be a pity if they decide to close for good. Their complimentary Country Salad is a simple recipe that works - parmesan emulsified in Italian dressing to give a creamy texture that goes well with the vegetables, peperoncini (!) and crostinis.

What made us return again and again, however, was the Seafood Spaghettini. I was skeptical at first, knowing that pomodoro will always be, well, just a light tomato sauce. And I was wrong. Perhaps it has been American-ized (like Western Chinese cuisine?) because the sauce was thick, robust in taste and hot. As the picture depicts, the variety and amount of seafood thrown in was amazing too.

The selection of dolci’s pretty good, with the raspberry cheesecake topping the list. The sourish sauce cuts through nicely that rich taste of cheese. Keep doing what you do and best of luck, Old Naples!

Doc’s Saloon and Grill

The previous visitors highly recommended the signature grilled baby back ribs but I wasn’t paying attention when they mentioned it. And I’d mistakenly ordered the prime rib instead. Doc’s Famous Prime Rib, which was roasted for 17 hours, was a good mistake though. A 3/4 pound of succulent piece of meat that was savoury ‘til the last bite. As for the French onion soup, I think the ratio of mozzarella to soup was approximately 1:1. Seriously.

John’s Diner

I get a tug at my heartstrings as I recall the countless dinners I had here. It’s more than just the delicious pickled roasted beetroot at the salad bar, seafood chowder, orange duck, ham with bone, spaghetti marsala, Philly cheesesteak, chocolate bomb cake, etc. The owners and staff (well, most of them) made us feel at home. It was just the courteous how are we doin’ today? at first and soon, conversations extended to include the weather, weekend activities and better choice of desserts. You can tell that this diner, despite the simple interior and menu, is a favourite among the locals when it still packs in a crowd even at those odd afterhours.

On my last visit in a late evening, I had a piece of Shoofly Pie, not knowing that it's actually a Pennsylvania Dutch classic dessert. The base and top usually consist mainly of brown sugar while the filling is of molasses. Despite the saccharine ingredients, the pie was surprisingly just aptly sweet. Very interesting!

And this certainly was, the perfect ending to my stint here in the USA.

Old Naples Italian Restaurant
110 Limekiln Road, PA 17070
Tel: (+1) 717 920 3627

Doc's Saloon and Grill
110 Limekiln Road, PA 17070
Tel: (+1) 717 920 3627

John's Diner
146 Sheraton Drive
New Cumberland, PA 17070
Tel: (+1) 717 774 5004


J said...

WAH. That's a lot of goooood looking food.
(Dammit. You are makin me hungry n I already had breakfast!)

Life for Beginners said...

Methinks a piece of Shoofly Pie would be the perfect end to a wonderful meal, a trip to the States and an incredible year.

Happy New Year, bro! :D

qwazymonkey said...

If I was there, John's would definitely be my kinda place. :)

HairyBerry said...

j, i also felt hungry while writing this post in the morning...hehehehe.

kenny, i absolutely agree! if only we can get a piece of this pie here...hmmmmm. happy new year to you and the devil too, bro!

qwazymonkey, you will definitely like john's! i bet your comics will tell lots of good stories about that place. ;)