scamutz!!!!!

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dannybotz
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RE: scamutz!!!!! 2008/07/07 14:48:12 (permalink)
quote:
Originally posted by Scorereader

Italian food along the I-81 corridor of PA, is dismal at best. After trying several suggested pizzarias (some from roadfood members) in Harrisburg, Hazelton, Wilkes Barre and Scranton, along with a few sit down Italian restaurants, I have concluded that the best food in that area, does not involve anything Italian. The I-81 corridor from MD border to NY border is void of anything a NY or Boston Italian would call good.

In fact, when it comes to good Italian food along the entire stretch of I-81 from the Thousand Islands to I-40, I'd only look to Syracuse.


what about in Old Forge??
#31
roossy90
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RE: scamutz!!!!! 2008/07/07 16:05:13 (permalink)
quote:
Originally posted by dannybotz

quote:
Originally posted by Scorereader

Italian food along the I-81 corridor of PA, is dismal at best. After trying several suggested pizzarias (some from roadfood members) in Harrisburg, Hazelton, Wilkes Barre and Scranton, along with a few sit down Italian restaurants, I have concluded that the best food in that area, does not involve anything Italian. The I-81 corridor from MD border to NY border is void of anything a NY or Boston Italian would call good.

In fact, when it comes to good Italian food along the entire stretch of I-81 from the Thousand Islands to I-40, I'd only look to Syracuse.


what about in Old Forge??

[url='http://www.frankiesoldforge.com/menu.htm']Frankies Old Forge[/url]
#32
Mosca
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RE: scamutz!!!!! 2008/07/07 16:38:37 (permalink)
quote:
Originally posted by Scorereader

Italian food along the I-81 corridor of PA, is dismal at best. After trying several suggested pizzarias (some from roadfood members) in Harrisburg, Hazelton, Wilkes Barre and Scranton, along with a few sit down Italian restaurants, I have concluded that the best food in that area, does not involve anything Italian. The I-81 corridor from MD border to NY border is void of anything a NY or Boston Italian would call good.

In fact, when it comes to good Italian food along the entire stretch of I-81 from the Thousand Islands to I-40, I'd only look to Syracuse.



Score, I'm sorry you've had bad experiences in NE PA. I won't argue with you about any of it; after all, tastes are different. Seeing as how I respect both your opinion and your ability to write enjoyably, I wouldn't mind if you gave some details. I've gotten emails from people from NYC to whom I've recommended Pasquale's in Wilkes-Barre, and from other people to whom I've recommended Alta in Hazleton, both for sit down Italian. I'd also give high recommendation to The Ovalon in Hazleton and Arcaro & Genell's in Old Forge, for being about as "old Italian" as a restaurant could be in 2008.

Thanks for considering giving details, I'd like to know what it was you didn't like. It won't keep me from liking the places I like anyhow; I realize things like cold Senape's pitza are idiosyncratic.
#33
joerogo
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RE: scamutz!!!!! 2008/07/07 18:52:49 (permalink)
roossy90, Thats Old Forge, NY. The reference here is for Old Forge, Pa.

Scorereader, Since you are obviously an expert on Italian food and Chipotle's. I would also like to have some details. To me it sounds like you just mouthing off AGAIN.

And maybe some polling data from New York and Boston Italians, since you are neither.
#34
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RE: scamutz!!!!! 2008/07/08 12:14:14 (permalink)
quote:
Originally posted by joerogo

roossy90, Thats Old Forge, NY. The reference here is for Old Forge, Pa.

Scorereader, Since you are obviously an expert on Italian food and Chipotle's. I would also like to have some details. To me it sounds like you just mouthing off AGAIN.

And maybe some polling data from New York and Boston Italians, since you are neither.


well, Joe. I am from Syracuse. Which is a hotbed of good down-home Italian food. While not of Italian descent myself. My best friend, who lived two doors down from me, is 100% Italian. I grew up as member of her family. And was regularly invited to family meals at Nana and Nano's house, columbus day dinners, umpteen Order of Sons of Italy events, I pulled a replica of the Santa Maria down North Salina Street for the annual Columbus Day Parade for several years, I performed at the Pepsi International Pavillion at the NYS Fair as part of the Syracuse Italian-American Heritage Center singing Italian arias and dancing Italian folk dances. And for everything, there was always food -from Northern Italy to Sicily not to mention Venetian Hour. I think I've learned enough about Italian food over the course of life to be able to judge an Italian restuarant's food.

Everytime I stopped for Italian food or pizza off of I-81 in PA, it was not desirable. Most of those times were before I joined roadfood and hence started keeping record of place I ate. So, I don't recall the names of individual places. Suffice to say, that during many years travelling through that area, I found other food to be better than the Italian offerings.

I do not believe I have tried the places Mosca mentioned. However, we're talking roadfood here. I made the statement that the only city to stop in on I-81 for Italian is Syracuse. Why? Because you'd be hard pressed to find a crappy italian restaurant in that city. But, it's not hard to do in any of those towns in NE PA and, heck, all the way to TN. In those place, you have to hunt for the good Italian food.

Since we're talking roadfood, I'm saying, that I-81 through PA is not known for it's great Italian food.

I can tell you a about a few decent pizza places in DC that stand out. They are actually, quite good. But, I wouldn't tell a New Yorker to hit DC for the pizza, based on those few places. Because, odds, are, when they're passing by DC at 65 MPH, they are unlikely to stumble on the good pizza.

The worst offender is that stuff they call pizza in Scranton/Moosic/W-B area. I stopped at a place in Moosic, I believe, that was a pizza place that was "famous" or something to that effect. It was a square of thick tasteless dough (they may have called it Sicilian style), with a sauce that was nearly plain tomato paste, with a cheese on top that had a nice look to it (creamy looking like provolone and mozzarella) but ultimately had a very flat taste - even though the texture was great. Thankfully, I had two slices, one with pepperoni, so, for the second slice, I just ate the cheese and pepperoni with a bit of the tomato paste attached.
I had similar experience at pizza places with Italian names, close to I-81 in Scranton and W-B.

On one trip to Syracuse, we actually stopped in Hazelton for a sit down dinner at an Italian restaurant in Hazleton, I can't recall the name, but it was someone's name, and started with an "A." Anyway, ho hum. The place had a sort of authentic feel, but the food wasn't impressive. The meats on the antipasto were so-so, the pasta itself was good, but the sauces again were nothin to write home about. When I asked my wife her opinion, she said, it was "ok." Which is her way of saying, "it was food." We agreed, it was ok and we had a nice time, but not worth stopping on subsequent trips.

I have other experiences that were similar over the years that had similar results.

So, my point, to weary travellers passing through PA on I-81, don't stop for Italian or Pizza, because you are likely to be disappointed. In Syracuse (another town located on I-81), you can pull into any mom and pop Italian restuarant and it may not be blow your mind great, but you won't walk out saying, "ya know, that wasn't worth the stop."
and so, that's my point. That's not to say that a few stand outs could exist, but, unless one is staying overnight where one has time to find the few needles in the haystack, it's not worth the time if one is merely passing through.

Look, as I said, I can recommend pizza in DC, which is fine if DC is your destination and you have time to get to those few places, but if you're just passing by, I wouldn't recommend it.

Believe it or not, there's a really nice Thai place in Syracuse, but if someone was passing through Syracuse, I wouldn't send them on a hunt to find it.

and, Joe, for the record, I don't "mouth off." I simply write, based on my travels, experiences and findings. As you do. So don't make it personal.
#35
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RE: scamutz!!!!! 2008/07/08 15:01:37 (permalink)
Well,

Based on the lack of detail and the hit-and-miss nature of your sampling, and the total lack of anything usable in identifying where you ate, I'm afraid I'm going to have to discount your account of your experiences as "not helpful". Not to say that it isn't accurate, but there is nothing there that I think would serve as a useful guide. It's unfortunate that you had such bad experiences, especially in an area that has such outstanding Italian food. I would have liked to have known more, but I understand how memories fade.

If you are going to limit the definition of "roadfood" to that which you can see from the interstate, then I do suppose that I couldn't name anything worthwhile along the I-81 corridor. But then again, anything worth eating is also worth searching for; and isn't that the whole idea of this site, to help people find such places? Your average traveler might not want to search for that Thai place in Syracuse... but a Roadfood traveler might!

It's too bad that all your experiences came before you found Roadfood; we probably could have helped you find some good dining. Thanks for your input. Next time I'm going up Syracuse way I'll make sure I ask about that Thai place (and good Italian as well)!
#36
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RE: scamutz!!!!! 2008/07/08 18:03:20 (permalink)
I'm sorry "you" don't find my experiences helpful. Not helpful, please. It's helpful information, even if you don't agree with it. Sometimes, Tom, a traveler's view of an area, even if limited, can be helpful to others who will also simply be passing through town. Case in point, Divefl recently visited Syracuse for a wedding. His view of Syracuse was that it was a small town - no doubt, due to the fact that he was exposed to only a small area of town during his brief stay. But that doesn't mean that his observation isn't valid. He went there, had some experiences, and came away with a thought. His feelings aren't wrong, even another person disagrees. It's not helpful to me, since I grew up there, but it may be helpful to another person who is also in town for a brief time.

"Hit or miss?" Bah! Look, in NYC, you are hard pressed to find awful pizza. You have to go looking for bad pizza, you won't merely stumble across it. Even the slice emporiums are better than 90 of all pizza outside NY/NJ/CT. My "hit and miss" sampling in I-81 PA were all misses. That doesn't bode well for the area if one has to track down good pizza/Italian food if the area is supposedly known for pizza, or Italian food for that matter.

How hard does one have to search for good BBQ in Lexington, NC? answer: not hard at all. Even the lesser places for the area are still quite good. I have never stumbled in a bad BBQ place along the I-85 corridor. I can't say the same for Moosic pizza.

So, while my years of sampling the area's cuisine from years of travelling from NC to Syracuse and DC to Syracuse may not be adequate for you, I believe I'm making a good observation. I have mentioned, in other threads, other fine roadfood places to eat in that area, they just aren't Italian.

As per the Thai is Syracuse, if you're truly interested, the more standard Thai restaurant that is pretty good is called Erawan. However, I prefer the more modern and pacific rim influenced Thai food of The Lemon Grass in Armory Square. As per the good Italian, the list is long for suggestions. If you really want to know, we can email or revive an old thread that lists some of them.

So, I wouldn't make Thai my first stop in Syracuse, since Syracuse is most known for it's European ethnic food: German, Italian, Irish, Polish and some Greek (restaurants, butchers, bakers, etc)- along with a host of classic blue collar town diners. Unless one is constantly passing through Syracuse, I find no reason to try the Thai food, when the town is known for other foods.

But hey, I'm not writting the S/W-B area off just yet, given your passion. You've sold me on the idea of trying more places. I'm simply stating that if a person gets off the highway and randomly tries the local PA pizza along rt 11, they are very likely in for a huge diappointment. But, I'll try any pizza/Italian place you recommend in that area on my next trip (probably in mid-sept for the SU-Penn State football game). I'm not against trying recommended places, but please, not Senape's. Maybe that Old Forge place you mentioned?
#37
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RE: scamutz!!!!! 2008/07/08 21:05:53 (permalink)
I cannot speak for, or as something I am not. I write this response as a Pittston Italian/American. When it comes to Italian food Pittston is the heartbeat of the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Area.

Tom, I wish I had more time to spend in the Hazleton Area. But I can say for certain that the Italian food in the area off Interstate 81 between Hazelton and Scranton is in fact World Class.

For starters, lets start less than 1 mile from 81:

Damenti's off the Dorrance exit. Word class dining!
Anna Maria's off the Dunmore exit. Again, world class dining.(Sister restaurant to Anna Maria's in D.C.)
Lincoln Inn off the Pittston exit. Old word Italian.
Colarusso's off the Wilkes-Barre, Avoca and Clarks Summit Exits. Great pizza and Italian food.(Avoca is the best choice)
Trattoria Bella off the Davis Street exit. Been there once, great Italian food.
Pazzo off the Pittston exit. 1st class Italian Food.
Grotto Pizza off the Wilkes-Barre exit. Yes the same Grotto as the Shore. Joe Grotto is a Pittston Boy.

Now some of these places are just several hundred feet from the exits. All less than a mile. I am sure I could come up with more, but I don't think its necessary. In just 2 miles you could be in the Downtowns of Scranton, Dunmore, Pittston, Wilkes-Barre and Hazleton. 3 miles to Downtown Old Forge.

We all make choices in life. If you choose poorly, don't blame a whole region. Its downright foolish, and thats not personal, just fact. Don't make foolish statements and then get upset when people say that you made a foolish statement.("The I-81 corridor from MD border to NY border is void of anything a NY or Boston Italian would call good.") I got a real kick out of the NY/Boston explanation. I wouldn't dance a Polka and then tell the Polish Ladies how to make Pierogies.

I am very proud of my area. A lot of the restaurant owners I mentioned I consider friends. For that reason I cannot sit by and watch you paint this area with your wide absurd brush.

Do your research, ask for help. We won't let you or anybody down.

Boy, your lucky your a Penn State Fan.




#38
Mosca
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RE: scamutz!!!!! 2008/07/08 22:49:52 (permalink)
Geez, Score. It wasn't helpful not because it wasn't valid, but because it didn't give any detail; It was like yelling, "All the food off I-81 in PA sucks!" And then running out of the room. I wouldn't argue with your assessment, because that's opinion; but there is nothing there for anyone to get a grip on. How can it be helpful without detail? THAT is what I meant, nothing else. Not that you weren't right, but that you hadn't given enough else to put it in a context. Frankly, I trust your opinion and ability to convey it more than that.

Joe, I live in Mountain Top, but I worked in Hazleton for years. My family actually prefers The Alberdeen Inn over Damenti's, by a wide margin. I know Kevin McDonald, from Damenti's; my wife went to school with him and his wife. The Alberdeen is consistently better, and about 10% cheaper.

I don't like the pizza at The Grotto. Not my taste at all. I usually have it for lunch on Saturdays at work. It's OK if you order it with extra cheese and onions. The pizza at Dino's, 100 yards away in the mall by Penny's, is MUCH better and might be one of the best pies in Wilkes-Barre.

Old Forge pizza, I will be the very first person to write that I love it, and also that it is not for everyone. It is a VERY idiosyncratic style of pizza. If you come to Old Forge looking for the definitive pie, you will leave disappointed; Old Forge pizza is a regional style, and has to be seen as that. Those who defend it have to leave room for the possibility that an outsider might not like the style. OTOH, if you go into Arcaro & Genell's and, instead of ordering the pizza you order the fettuccine carbonara, I guarantee you that you will leave astonished. Old Forge isn't about the pizza, it's about the food.

Similarly for Hazleton. NEPA is still vary much old Italian. Off the top of my head, you have The Ovalon, Scatton's, Alta, and many more in town. Castiglione's; I know Cal well.

Actually, I think that you really could walk into almost any small town along that corridor and find top notch Italian at random, where you'd actually have to search for a bad meatball sub. At Sicilia, in TUNKHANNOCK of all places, you can get a fritatta with asparagus, mushroom, onion, provolone, and prosciutto; or a sub with Genoa salami, pepperoni, sopresseta and prosciutto with provolone. Tunkhannock also has Pompeii, The Downtown Deli, Angelo's and Vesuvius. This is all in a town of about 2000 people, most of whom are English, Scottish, German and Irish, and where the main street through town is named The Grand Army of the Republic Highway (rt 6).

Next time you're passing through, post up; Mrs Mosca and I will join up and take you somewhere down home and really good.
#39
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RE: scamutz!!!!! 2008/07/09 08:10:40 (permalink)
Mosca, It sounds like you know the area.
In the where should I eat thread there is a person traveling that route looking for sugestions.
One caveat though, she's towing a circus with many animals and kids.
They are looking for a spot with room for a trailer.
It's the DC to Ithaca thread. Can you help out?
Chow Jim
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Jimeats
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RE: scamutz!!!!! 2008/07/09 08:43:43 (permalink)
Sorry Mosca, I just revisited that thread and noticed you have already weighed in with a couple of suggestions. Anyone else? Chow Jim
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Mosca
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RE: scamutz!!!!! 2008/07/09 08:44:03 (permalink)
quote:
Originally posted by Jimeats

Mosca, It sounds like you know the area.
In the where should I eat thread there is a person traveling that route looking for sugestions.
One caveat though, she's towing a circus with many animals and kids.
They are looking for a spot with room for a trailer.
It's the DC to Ithaca thread. Can you help out?
Chow Jim


I seen dat, Jim. I posted in there, that the "easy in/out" makes it tough to think of somewhere viable. They should probably take a picnic basket and cooler.
#42
Scorereader
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RE: scamutz!!!!! 2008/07/09 11:34:13 (permalink)
I thought about recommending a truck stop. I honestly, don't know where one would park a trailer full of animals. There's a couple of good diners in Hazleton, but I don't recall any parking for such an entourage.
#43
Mosca
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RE: scamutz!!!!! 2008/07/09 12:41:22 (permalink)
They'd be over by the mall area of Hazleton, off Rt 93. That's Wendy's/McDonald's/Taco Bell country. Top of the '80s is there, but that's a bit high end. There's a Damon's there that would fit the bill, it's in the Hampton Inn complex.
#44
joerogo
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RE: scamutz!!!!! 2008/07/09 14:42:56 (permalink)
quote:
Originally posted by Mosca



At Sicilia, in TUNKHANNOCK of all places, you can get a fritatta with asparagus, mushroom, onion, provolone, and prosciutto; or a sub with Genoa salami, pepperoni, sopresseta and prosciutto with provolone. Tunkhannock also has Pompeii, The Downtown Deli, Angelo's and Vesuvius. This is all in a town of about 2000 people, most of whom are English, Scottish, German and Irish, and where the main street through town is named The Grand Army of the Republic Highway (rt 6).




Mosca, I'm a part-time resident of Tunkhannock, Pa. I have a camper on the river.

At the beginning of the season I went to Sicilia to get lunch. The firemen were just wrapping up their hoses. Very bad fire, lots of damage. I will let you know if they are reopening.

Joe
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Mosca
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RE: scamutz!!!!! 2008/07/09 19:39:09 (permalink)
quote:
Originally posted by joerogo

quote:
Originally posted by Mosca



At Sicilia, in TUNKHANNOCK of all places, you can get a fritatta with asparagus, mushroom, onion, provolone, and prosciutto; or a sub with Genoa salami, pepperoni, sopresseta and prosciutto with provolone. Tunkhannock also has Pompeii, The Downtown Deli, Angelo's and Vesuvius. This is all in a town of about 2000 people, most of whom are English, Scottish, German and Irish, and where the main street through town is named The Grand Army of the Republic Highway (rt 6).




Mosca, I'm a part-time resident of Tunkhannock, Pa. I have a camper on the river.

At the beginning of the season I went to Sicilia to get lunch. The firemen were just wrapping up their hoses. Very bad fire, lots of damage. I will let you know if they are reopening.

Joe


Ouch. I hope everything is OK. That was a really old building; the Masonic Hall was in there, too I think.
#46
joerogo
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RE: scamutz!!!!! 2008/07/09 20:07:10 (permalink)
Mosca, I will have to try the Alberdeen Inn.

Kevin(Damenti's)is a real treat, that Irish boy sure can cook. What I also like about Damenti's is during the growing season all the vegetables are grown in their own garden and all the flowers and centerpieces in the restaurant come from their flower garden.

On one occasion we dined on salmon that Kevin caught in Alaska.
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