Friday, November 20, 2009

On a food run down south

The Thistle                   This is Scotland

A friend and I took a drive yesterday into southern Bergen County and part of  Hudson County, looking for good food. We found a heady ethnic mix of Italian, Portuguese, Peruvian, Scottish, Brazilian and Colombian fare, though we didn't sample all of it.

We started out on Ridge Road in Lyndhurst, where every block seemed to have an Italian trattoria, bakery or deli.

Our destination was the corner retail store in the Pechter's factory, which occupies a full square block in Harrison, suffusing the neighborhood with the comforting smell of fresh-baked bread. We bought and split a sliced, three-pound seeded rye (about 2 feet long) for $3.75, and I grabbed some small onion and large poppy seed rolls. (840 Jersey St., 973-373-1200, cash only.)

On the way back, we stopped at The Thistle Restaurant in Kearny, one of the reliable places for Scottish fish and chips. I took out a dinner serving of battered and fried haddock and french fries (from a bag) for $13.95. My 12-year-old son managed to eat about half of it last night; he liked the fish and didn't complain about the fries. (87 Kearny Ave., 201-998-3443.)

Our final stop was Mazur's Bakery in Lyndhurst, where I picked up a pumpkin pie ($7.98). My friend was delighted with a large raisin bread for only 99 cents, a permanent special, the clerk said. (323 Ridge Road, 201-438-8500.)

One of the places I'd like to return to is Oh! Calamares, a stylish-looking Peruvian restaurant in Kearny. The takeout menu lists dishes I haven't seen in other Peruvian places, such as Pollos El Chevere in Passaic, including rabbit, tripe, potatoes in a black-mint sauce and black-conch ceviche.

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