Friday, July 2, 2010

Oneonta/Cooperstown eats

My time with the Hall of Fame Library is half over. Unlike other classes of interns, we have not done the whole bonding for meals that our predecessors seemed to accomplish. As a result, there is a lot of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches (or peanut butter and Hershey bar sandwiches for one intern), pre-packaged meals, etc.

We seem to avoid eating out due to budgetary reasons but I likes me my food and have hit some places. In the event you're planning a trip to the area, hopefully I can steer you to some good spots. Likewise, if you've been here and can suggest something, please do so.

My food consumption in Cooperstown proper has been limited. I've had two sandwiches from Danny's on Main Street and would happily eat there every day if the budget allowed me to do so. I'm not a bread fan but I love theirs. They also have yummy cookies.

We have donuts supplied to us on Fridays and one of the interns bought me one from Schneider's which tasted like those we get on Fridays. Nothing special. Pricey.

Heading out of town we hit China Wok. Much like any Chinese takeout place across the country but the veggies seem really fresh and the service is really nice if you do choose to eat in (even though it isn't a sit-down place to eat). It is unfortunately near Dreams Park and so is a frequent haunt of the Little League families through the summer.

There are quite a few barbecue and ice cream places out this way. I've not had ice cream and I only ate barbecue at one place. Brooks in Oneonta is supposed to be the premier place. I had their sampler plate which consisted of chicken, beef, pork and ribs. The chicken was fantastic. Sort of smoky and tangy. Moist. The rest of the meat was nothing special. The ribs would have been much better had they been slow-cooked. The meal comes with a salad bar which is very limited. Also had a side of snap peas. The fact that this is considered the best place for Q does not bode well. Especially given that the line to get in was huge. We waited forever until a staff member came out and told us there was room at the counter if we didn't want to wait. I normally won't wait in a line for a restaurant (there's plenty of other options) so I doubt I would go there again. If I get suckered into it, though, I'm going chicken only.

We continue our dining journey by following Route 7 from Brooks into Oneonta. You have Burger King which is my favorite fast food option and the only fast food I've eaten here. Nothing special. It's The King. You know what you're getting.

Beijing House is right there by Burger King. Had the chicken and scallop hibachi. Standard hibachi. Mildly entertaining. Overpriced.

Damaschke Field is the home of the Oneonta Outlaws. They have typical ballpark fare. Seems a little pricey since it is a collegiate summer league and we're looking at minor league prices. But what the heck, right? Nothing like a hot dog at the ballpark.

My second favorite place I've eaten is Athens. It is a Greek restaurant on Main Street in Oneonta. I had the stuffed grape leaves, souvlaki and a piece of baklava. The number of grape leaves they give you is unheard of (I seem to think they gave me eight) for an appetizer and they were really tasty and not all that oily. The souvlaki was outstanding. Moist, great seasoning, good veggies. Would definitely go with it again. The baklava was uninspiring. I've had much better and didn't think it was worth the price. Great sports bar atmosphere if you like European sports. Soccer jerseys everywhere and they were showing rugby scrums on the telly.

Without a doubt the best meal I have had here was at a place that advertises itself as "Oneonta's best kept secret". The Italian Kitchen is certainly not easy to find. It's in the middle of a neighborhood and not anywhere where you would be apt to drive by and stop on an impulse. No other shops around or anything. It is a small restaurant but seems to do a good deal of takeout. Despite having takeout, I didn't see anyone getting pizza and I'm not even sure they offer. The atmosphere is casual but comes across as more like fine dining. The staff dress in black. Italian music in the background. Semi-romantic lighting (a tad on the bright side and the decor is not inspiring in the least. In fact, it's virtually non-existent).

They start you off with a nice loaf of bread (and remember, I hate bread). It comes with a small bowl of olive oil which has blue cheese, roasted red peppers, seeded Kalamata olives and garlic floating in it. Has a little spoon for you to put the stuff on your bread and meanwhile the oil gets a little infusion. Very tasty.

My meal came with a side salad which was outstanding. Mixed greens, not iceberg lettuce, cherry tomatoes, and seeded Kalamata olives. The dressing was supposed to be a red pepper vinagerette or something but it resembled French. I liked it.

For the meal I had lasagna. It was a gigantic serving and could really have provided me with two meals had I been so inclined. Lots of ground meat and cheeses. The sauce was amazing. Very fresh tasting. Outside of my friend Eric's Mom, I've not had better lasagna ever. The prices of the entrees were excellent given the quantity and quality of food. Service was attentive but not overbearing. I whole-heartedly and stomachedly recommend it.

Well, I have eaten at more places than I thought. Thank goodness for Clark Sports Center.


Roy said...

I love Athens. I also love Brooks, but agree that their chicken is by far their best option.

We would practice soccer downwind from Brooks in an abandonded airfield (behind Price Chopper, etc.). It was horribly amazing.

I've never been, but everyone tells me that Pie in the Sky is the best place for ice cream in the area. In Cooperstown, I prefer Mickey's Place.

If you ever crave Pizza in Oneonta, don't bother with anywhere but Cosmos.

night owl said...

My parents swear by Brooks. Everytime they are in the area they stop there. I was there once but don't remember it that well. I think it might be a generational thing. That kind of restaurant appeals to folks that age.

I've actually been to the Italian Kitchen during one of my trips to Cooperstown. The dress of the wait staff made me a little uncomfortable as I thought the restaurant would be too fancy for me. But as you say it was very nice and not all that pricey.