Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Molly Pitcher Waffle House - Valentine's Day dinner

That breathless charm

Couldn't call this 'find' dining exactly: Molly Pitcher Waffle House located in the heart of downtown Chambersburg--109 South Main Street (Route 11 South) past the intersection of 11 and Route 30 just before Capitol Theater--is, O how to describe it? a charmer of a little place: old-fashioned storefront, bright neon sign, small-town striped awning, curved iron railings.

Inside was what Hemingway might have been pleased to call 'a clean, well-lighted place.' Dark wood tables and chairs, leather stools facing a diner counter, metal rooster sculpture looking out the window, door with oval stained glass-style insert, knicknacks tucked away at every corner.

So when Luz and I had breakfast there and found out they were planning a Big Fat Greek Valentine's Day Dinner we said to ourselves: 'Why not?' and made reservations. Only that was Monday; by Friday night we completely forgot all about it--I was working Saturday night and so was she, so the reservation slipped our minds.

Only my schedule suddenly changed; my new day off was Saturday. Luz's day off was every other Saturday and this wasn't one of them--but dinner was at five; we figured we could  eat, leave around six or so, and still make it by her clock-in time.  

So we went. 

Thought the place was pretty enough in the morning; at night it had a Parisian cafe glow (the frost on the windows--the glass look as if it were weeping--helped a little). 

The tables--most folks brought their entire family, only two or three of us were couples--had candles and flowers; on the tables were placecards and a printed menu decorated with a corny little pink heart.

First up: baskets of house-made pita chips with house-made tzatziki sauce and lemon hummus, the tangy dips making nice contrast with the crispy bread.

Next was a cup of avgolemono--eggs and lemon juice stirred into a soup of rice and chicken broth, the thick soft chewiness of the orzo (rice grain-shaped pasta) and richness of the yolk cut by fragrant lemon. Chopped dill rounded off the soup's simple yet vivid flavor.

Have to apologize for the look of the Greek salad--was halfway through it before I thought to snap a pic. Crisp greens, tangy feta, even tangier dressing with chopped herbs and I'm sure I left a couple of olives in the bowl.

 Finally the main course: Greek-style chicken breast, Greek greenbeans and potatoes, baked orzo, and a spanakopita. Easily the best thing on the plate was the spinach pie--had it in Brooklyn, had it in Greektown in Detroit, had it in a few Greek restaurants; I've never had it better than here. Tender tender spinach in a crisp crust; you almost have to just lay the fork on the pie and it sinks to the plate, cutting you a nice little morsel of cheesy garlicky greens.

The meal was to end with a cup of strong black coffee, baklava and koulourakia (coffee dunkers)--but it was six, and Luz needed to be at work, so we had to ask for takeout boxes.

The boxes came when we got a call; she'd been downsized. 'O I suppose we can sit and finish our coffee after all,' we told our server. 

The baklava--crisp phyllo stuffed with chopped nuts and cinnamon and drenched in honey--never tasted so sweet. The koulourakia turned out to be a dense shortbreadlike cookie; when dunked it became a warmly moist coffee-flavored cookie. Almost as if it rewarding us for staying longer the server gave us our thimbleful of ouzo, a sweet powerful firewater flavored with anise; it burned going down, lit a glow in our chests that kept us warm in the cold. 

Maybe it was the ouzo, maybe the extra time we were granted to be together but the night street outside looked especially beautiful that night. So did she, but then she's like that every night

 So I took advantage, you betcha.

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