A Reunion of Sorts

One of my first Accounting for Taste blog’s last January was about a group of coworkers meeting for a holiday dinner at Padrino’s Bistro & Italian Steakhouse, authentic Southern and Coastal Italian cuisine, on Kuser Road in Hamilton Township, NJ. Well this time around, it was with another group of MCCC staff members—the College Advancement team, some of whom have retired and/or moved on to other pursuits. One thing you can always count on at Padrino’s is a large, varied menu with huge portions! And we weren’t disappointed…

Because we couldn’t stop gabbing, our friendly waitress had to come back several times before we finally put in our order. And with their long list of specials, there were numerous requests for a repeat description. Most entrees come with a choice of soup or salad and while we waited for these to arrive, we enjoyed tastings of various red wines provided by some of the group (it is a BYO.)

Native Italian food is a part of Chef Leonardo Coppola who was born and raised in Monte di Procida, Napoli Italia. He spent his very early years in his Nonna’s kitchen, sitting on the counter watching and “helping.”That’s how it started. In that country kitchen filled with fresh tomatoes, basil, and olive oil picked from the families land, she taught him how to prepare the family’s homemade secrets. He learned you can’t rush a good sauce and fresh herbs and good olive oil make all the difference. The most important lesson Nonna taught: cook from the heart and the soul is rewarded.

Edyta’s Capri – Chicken breast grilled and layered with pesto and fresh mozzarella, then broiled and topped with bruschetta served with broccoli rabe and fried cheese ravioli in a sundried tomato cream sauce. “YUM, YUM, YUM!”

Lynn’s entree was Ischia – Jumbo lump crabmeat, shrimp and clams (although, not liking clams I asked for extra shrimp), in fra diablo sauce over bucatini pasta. “Very large succulent shrimp, perfectly cooked!”

Rosanne ordered Parma – Veal layered with prosciutto, eggplant & mozzarella cheese served in a marinara sauce served with cheese ravioli & spinach. “…it was delicious twice, since I had the leftover again yesterday.  I liked that it was not over the top huge.”

Saveria dined on Luca – Salmon topped with an artichoke salad with pesto risotto and asparagus. “Very good, but they went overboard on the huge pile of risotto!”

And Wendy ‘s meal was Toscano – Chicken breasts in a sherry wine sauce served with artichokes, grilled asparagus, sun dried tomatoes and topped with portobello and fontina cheese over cappellini (although Wendy requested whole wheat penne instead.) “It was delicious and HUGE. I still haven’t eaten all the leftovers!”

With no room for dessert, and doggie bags for most, we ended the evening with lots of reminiscing and laughter. But a storm warning had been issued and prompted us to get started on our separate journeys home.

Seated from left: Wendy, Edyta, Saveria, Lynn and Rosanne.
Brenda and Candace had cancelled…

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