In earlier posts I bemoaned the fact that (1) I didn’t have friends with whom to go to dinner; and (2) that there weren’t places that would measure up to, say, Kool Beanz in Tallahassee, or Stone Park Cafe in Park Slope. In fact, recently I posted about going to dinner at a barbecue restaurant that was less than stellar and the name of which will not be repeated here. I never want to hurt anyone’s feelings nor do I want to discourage others from embarking on a culinary adventure in the Poconos!
Sitting here alone again, I am pondering the last week or so when Michael came to visit and then Rachel came to visit as well. Once Rachel left, my friend, Nancy, suggested that we go out to dinner and I happily accepted. Oddly, I had lunch and dinner out (twice!) at the same restaurant. Unlike Tallahassee which loves chain restaurants, this area has mostly individual or family owned restaurants that cater to what they perceive the tastes are of locals and tourists. This has left, in my opinion, a void. There didn’t seem to be a place that really took pains to provide food that makes sense, that is freshly prepared, lightly sauced (“sauce should be an accompaniment, not dominate the food,” says Chef Adam Haygood).
The Grotto at the Zaloom House opened a little over a month ago and is, in my opinion, just what Milford needed. My hope is that through word of mouth people will notice where they are (right on the main thoroughfare coming into and out of Milford) and give it a try. Rachel says it is an “occasion restaurant” and I think she’s right. Other than Peter’s on Route 6, there isn’t really a place to go for a celebration, special night out, birthday or anniversary. Or, as we did last night, just a place to go for a great meal.
I reflected later that my desire for this restaurant to flourish and be appreciated by people in the area is also an indication that, after one full year, I have become a part of the larger community. So, not only did my visit to The Grotto three times make me think about where to go out to eat, but it made me feel good to think I even cared about what was available here and that I was proud that maybe what I think counts around here.
It may seem like a little thing to you but to me the meals at The Grotto were more than food for a meal, it was food for thought and food for the soul. A bit dramatic, you say? It depends.