The essential ingredients: a waiter, freedom to linger as long as we like, tasty drinks, entrees under $20, no reservations required, locally owned.
My favorite regular spots have become ...
- Fellini's #9, an Italian restaurant on the downtown mall. The wait is never long; a pianist, band, or trio is almost always mid-set; and I adore the Bolognese pasta: "ground beef, red onion, carrots, garlic, wine, cream and crushed tomatoes served with tagliatelle pasta $13.95 or 1/2 order $7.95 (plenty for me!)
- Fry Spring's Station, a cozy pizzeria in a converted service station on JPA. The fire-roasted pizzas ($7.95-$10.95) are crispy and yummy; salads, pastas, paninis, and a slew of appetizers round out the menu. Plus, $8 martinis. They even have a deal on growlers, beer jugs they fill up and you take home.
- Monsoon's, a Thai restaurant off the downtown mall. After a few hits and misses, I've come to zone in on the Burmese Ginger Curry with the crunchy "tofuballs." ($10.95). (Admittedly, this is a carry-out affair for us, but at it looks cozy enough inside.)
Miyako is tucked away in York Place on the downtown mall. Go inside, past the $3 dumpling place and Cafe Cubano's terrific coffee, past the hot dog joint and random art galleries. Nestled in the back is an affordable sushi oasis.
Miyako features very fresh sushi. I ordered vegetable tempura (lightly fried veggies), which came with soup and salad for $11 or so. Next time, I'll go sushi. My sources tell me that the eel and the mackerel were particularly wonderful.
112 W Main St