2013-12-13 / Letters

A Taste For More!

Dear Editor:

I hope the Taste of Rockaway was as much of a success for the restaurants as it was for the locals. For those of you who don't know. HEART, the local Hospitality & Entertainment Assoc. for Restaurants & Taverns organized a taste tour. Tickets were sold at the participating establishments for $10. Ten eateries for $10. We organized a group of four to explore the evening and what a fun night we had.

Some folks were very savvy and started their experience early, pacing themselves throughout the day. We started at 1600 with our first stop at St. Camillus for some crafting and even though we were about to embark on an eating adventure, one of us could not help but get an order of fried Oreo's.

From there we went to 101 Deli and the Irish Circle. Silly I brought a Tupperware container thinking we could collect the morsels from each vendor, stopping at every third or so establishment to imbibe and enjoy them.

101 prepared a three course meal in a to-go-container consisting of a pulled pork sandwich with sauce, a corn salsa and a cinna-curl. Wow! I looked down at my container and thought, we're gonna need a bigger boat! The Circle had a nice presentation of a Mac and cheese ball, a grown up grilled cheese sandwich corner, and a salad with chicken on flat bread. We stayed to have cocktail and shared stories with fellow travelers at the next table.

The next set of stops was Playland, Veggie Corner and Uma's. Playland was the only black eye of the night. The employee behind the counter was more interested in his phone call than the customers, even telling one customer off with words you couldn't print because he dared to say excuse me, trying to inquire why he was being passed over for service. Three separate groups totaling about 10 people walked out. I get that they're young and hip and not worried about losing some more discerning customers but, rude is rude. Veggie Island gave us an I.O.U. Those poor folks were supposed to be closed already and people kept coming in. I did hear that the Tea (Thai or Chai?) was good from everyone that tried it and Surfside offered a choice of a small chicken sandwich or a half a bagel with feta or garlic cream cheese. I chose the feta, fabulous! Having never been there before, I found the staff very friendly. They seemed genuinely pleased to see us.

This evening was feeling like a Foodie Trick or Treat! Running around from place to place getting our ticket punched or X'd, laughing like kids at each new adventure.

The next set of eateries started with Uma's for a couple of pirogues in a to-go-bag and Sayra's Wine Bar. Some of us had never been before and it was nice. We decided to sit in the covered outside area for a drink with our treat of a cup with sauce, a spicy meatball and a toasted piece of bread. We had beer and a glass of mulled wine that they brew. It was $9 and it came in a big steaming mug. Very enjoyable. I have to say I really liked the waitress. I don't know her name but she exuded easy confidence that made you feel comfortable. A trait not always associated with someone her age.

We stopped at Elegante for our complimentary slice (which I ate as a late night snack) and a verbal tour of their goodies on display before having our picture taken in front of the library Christmas tree.

Our last two stops, Thai Rock and Bungalow Bar. Thai Rock greeted us with a smile and a container with a sampling of some spicy rice and beef, with a dumpling. I was driving so I refrained, but everyone else chased the spicy mix with a cocktail or two at the bar before going to our final stop, the Bungalow Bar. We had all seen the Rescue episode, but this was our first visit back since Sandy. Inside we met up with other friends from the block and were served a sampling of quesadilla with sauces, a spicy wing and chili. We shared stories till it was time to head home. The bar looked good inside and out and we all marveled at the tide mark, pausing a minute for reflection.

Thank you to all the restaurateurs for their generosity. We hope there's another tour next year. For now, I have three new places to explore further.

LISA ZOLLER

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