Thursday, April 10, 2008

Lazy Mary you better get up...

Cara Mia Cafe
218 Main Street, Hackettstown, NJ

Alexis: I took Alex back to my old college town. We hit up my old college, the M&M/Mars factory (no tours!!!), Charlie Brown's where I used to work, and finally Cara Mia Cafe, where my love of Italian food and cooking was solidified. Owned by Tommy and Gigi Wohlrob, I worked here for about a year and a half right before I moved to NYC.

Alexis: I started with my absolute favorite dish, Spiedini a la Romana. This is basically prosciutto sandwiched between bread, then battered lightly in egg and fried. Melted fontina on top, with an anchovy-caper sauce and gaeta olives. So many flavors going on here but they all work - especially with a squeeze of fresh lemon to break up the saltiness.

Alexis: Filomena salad - tricolore salad topped with fresh tomatoes, sun dried tomatoes, artichoke hearts and fresh mozzarella.

Alexis: This is the Duck Alexis (named after me, I'm guessing because it has shiitake mushrooms in it). On the menu it's probably called Anattra de Alexis but this is what Gigi calls it. Smoked duck breast topped with shiitake mushrooms, sun dried cranberries and a Gran Marnier demi-glace. For me they served it with asparagus and saffron risotto. Everyone knows duck and orange go together like Sex, Lies & Videotape but the cranberries give it an extra zing. This was usually served with mashed potatoes in the past - the saffron risotto is a new addition but it was rich and creamy and delicious.

Alexis: Filet Mignon Diana - filet mignon topped with wild mushroom cream sauce, served with mashed potatoes and spinach. This used to be my favorite dish on the menu.

Alex: Very tasty, the Mignon was cooked to perfection with just the right amount of red in the middle. It was HUGE, I struggled to finish it all. Topped with Mushrooms and a Cream Sauce, what more could you ask for?

Alexis: For dessert, Gelato Fritto. The gelato isn't actually fried - it is coated in Frosted Flakes, chocolate and coconut, then baked under the broiler. Served with creme anglaise, we gobbled this up.

Alex: I was very excited to try this dessert out. My only gripe would be that it had a tad too much Coconut. It still vanished in under 45 seconds!

Alexis: Coming here to eat was like coming home. All these dishes and flavors I loved so much - eating them again brought back a lot of memories. Tommy really takes pride in the quality and flavors of his food, and Gigi makes sure that everything in the front of the house runs smoothly. There are a lot of regular customers who have been coming around since the place opened. Sadly we didn't see any last night but I hope to be back more often in the future. Zipcar is a wonderful thing.

Alex: PS... Sorry I'm such a crappy tipper. My mind wasn't right at the time, I panicked. Don't ask me why.

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