|The wonderful Bouillabaisse at Seafood Gourmet in Maywood.|
Editor's note: After Superstorm Sandy hit New Jersey in late 2012, and knocked out power to my home and thousands of others, a meal in a restaurant seemed especially luxurious.
By VICTOR E. SASSON
What I really needed to feel normal again after days without power, stove-top omelets and grilled sweet potatoes was some fresh seafood.
So, on Friday, I drove carefully around detours and through inoperable traffic lights to have lunch at Seafood Gourmet in Maywood.
The small dining room behind a working fish market on West Pleasant Avenue soon filled up with customers, many of whom were still without power like me.
I looked over the specials menu and ordered the Bouillabaisse, which was filled with a great piece of fish, crunchy shrimp, buttery scallops and shell fish ($13.99).
The fragrant saffron-accented broth served as a second, soup course. Just delicious.
I ate and took part in a lively discussion with women at the next table who listened as their friend described her recent trip to Cuba.
At a third table, a woman who said she is Colombian and has always wanted to visit the Caribbean's biggest island asked about getting there, and I suggested she go via Mexico, Canada or Jamaica, all jumping off points I've used.
Get a room
After lunch, I stopped for coffee at Victoria's in Teaneck, one of the few businesses on Queen Anne Road with power.
My $3 cup of coffee included two refills, a good thing given the young couple at a nearby table who were kissing and pawing at each other.
Normally, I'd tell them to get a room, but hotels are likely filled with residents who have fled chilly homes and apartments.
That night, I drove to Englewood and was glad to find Baumgart's was open.
I had tried to have dinner at a sushi restaurant in Fort Lee, but it was closed, as was the H Mart, Starbucks and other stores in the shopping center.
Baumgart's, a onetime ice-cream parlor on Palisade Avenue, has a terrific Asian-inspired menu thanks to the Chinese owners, who serve pristine raw and cooked seafood.
I started with sushi and seared-tuna appetizers ($8 to $11.50), and then tucked into an entree of Steamed Shrimp and Vegetables with a light garlic sauce ($16).
The plump shrimp were some of the best I've had, and I loved the soft tofu and crunchy celery in the dish. I ate all of it with brown rice.
I finished the evening down the street with a cup of Starbucks' medium-roast coffee -- then returned to my darkened home, where there was nothing to do but go to sleep and dream about my next great seafood meal.
Seafood Gourmet, 103 W. Pleasant Ave, Maywood; 201-843-8558.
Baumgart's Cafe, 43 E. Palisade Ave.,