GINNIE THE GREEK

From Mary’s desk:

Being a foodie, the best thing that can happen to me, is to eat with a local at a local restaurant where the food is known to be the best. Jimmy Palumbo is Italian. Our first night we had his favorite mussels and pizza.
Ginnie is Greek and her recommendations for this wonderful repast will stay in memory, to be savored again, for a long time. Oh, the difficult choices when you know you want to try the grilled octopus and shrimp, but the lamb with tomatoes and orzo is so tempting.  What’s a person to do?
A small Greek salad in this place was the size of a soup tureen. On Jimmy’s recommendation we shared a salad along with Ginnie’s recommendation to order a plate of appetizers that contained a bounty of tastes. Generous cradles of pureed, seasoned potato, eggplant, ceci bean, pea, caviar, and cucumber spreads served with a basket full of pita triangles. Also on the plate were dolmades, pickled beets, cucumbers and Greek olives. Right then, I knew I was in trouble. This delicious repast was enough for a meal, but, one can’t stop once the coin has been tossed.
To dine with people who will share a taste of their entrees with you is the second best thing to happen to a foodie.
Jimmy ordered a stuffed pepper. A huge red pepper filled with rice and lamb covered the whole plate. It was flavored with one recognizable seasoning, nutmeg, claimed Ginnie. She explained that you cannot make a bad choice on this menu. Though I’ve tasted moussaka previously, I had to try this traditional baked dish of eggplant and ground meat with onions and tomato. Truly the best I’ve ever tasted in a delicate cheese crust with bechamel sauce. Ginnie ordered the lamb in tomato sauce with orzo so I could taste it as well. Jim decided on the grilled chicken with tazaki sauce and grilled vegetables. Everything was delicious. We had to take most of the food home. This restaurant serves huge quantities at reasonable prices. We had to forgo, desert. Again, we brought our own beer and it surprised me how well beer accented this meal.
If you visit Northvale, New Jersey, don’t miss this very unobtrusive eatery. (Jimmy refers to it as a hole in the wall.)

An after dinner walk in the beautiful Laurelwood Arboretum, very near the Palumbo’s house, acquainted me with such plants as weeping neptune, giant hostas, giant clematis. Many familiar species but different genus.  All lovely in the twilight.

For more photos of the garden, click on the link below:
http://picasaweb.google.com/1579penn/52210KonosisLaurelwood#

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