FINE FOOD, FUN FOOD
Recently, my family went to Bella Michael’s for dinner without me, but my husband promised he would bring me something from there.
That something turned out to be Bella Michael’s very appropriately named “Chicken Fantasia,” grilled chicken breast topped with a tomato cream sauce, roasted red peppers and sun-dried tomatoes, all topped with Swiss cheese. It came with sides of spaghetti, salad and dinner roll.
I love pretty much any kind of cream sauce, but tomato cream sauce ranks way up there. It was definitely the crème de la crème of this dish, but the peppers, sun-dried tomatoes, and Swiss cheese all brought it to “Fantasia” level. Having lived in Louisiana for six years, I plan to try the
special Cajun crabmeat sauce with my pasta for my next meal there, but I’m circling back to Fantasia for the meal after that one.
Bella Michael’s is on the pricey side, but very much worth the splurge. Your taste buds will thank you. (Bella Michaels, 57 River St, Oneonta)
Mel’s at 22 is here to stay! There have been so many restaurants on the corner of Main and Chestnut in Cooperstown that have come and gone, but Mel’s serves quality food at good prices with a nice atmosphere … a combination of a restaurant that will be here for many years!
A Reuben is a Rueben is a Rueben, right? Not so at Mel’s. First, it’s Mel’s own corned beef, topped with
imported Swiss and sauerkraut, then Thousand Island dressing.
I’m a bread freak, but not so much a rye bread fan, so I had it on a Heidelberg bread ciabatta that was fresh, grilled panini-style and all of the goodness melded together. Served with the village’s best French fries and you’ve got me coming back for more! (Mel’s at 22, 22 Chestnut St., Cooperstown)
Some say it’s the water that makes Upstate NY pizza as delicious as it is. Maybe it’s that we go heavy on the cheese and stay away from overly sweet sauce.
Whatever it is, Sal’s in Oneonta puts it all together to slice up an oversized piece of heaven, served city-style on a paper plate with a fountain soda, just the way it should be.
There’s nothing fancy about Sal’s, but with the big front window and the cheery lighting, it’s like a beacon in the night after a long day. You can get a simple cheese slice or go crazy and get one loaded up with chicken, bacon and ranch! It’s all delicious.
Don’t sleep on the wings either – their garlic parmesan wings are so heavy with the good stuff that you need a dozen napkins – one for each bite! (Sal’s Pizzeria, 285 S. Main St., Oneonta)
Local favorite Pop’s Place is best known for its ice cream, but that’s not all it sells. Order up Pop’s Big Burger and enjoy a delicious burger that is truly greater than the sum of its parts. The two patties of juicy hamburger, each with a single slice of cheese, lettuce, tomato, onion, and two slices of bacon combine for a satisfyingly delicious meal that doesn’t fall apart on the first bite. (Pop’s Place, 4347 NY-28, Milford)
If you like great sandwiches with weird names, then Undercover Eggplant is the place for you! Painted in purple and green in Oneonta’s West End, this sandwich shop quickly became a favorite with locals and visitors alike. Homemade breads, quality ingredients and creative combinations of flavor and texture help make every sandwich on their menu a winner.
Whether you are looking for a sandwich piled with meats (The Wash House) or a vegetarian option sure to fill you up (The Eggplant Special), the Undercover Eggplant is sure to have your new favorite sandwich nestled between two slices of their homemade bread.
Personal favorites include The One Stop, a breaded chicken breast with melted mozzarella, red onion, pesto mayo and artichoke hearts, or The Hertha Winch, which features chicken breast,
pepperoni, melted mozzarella and cajun Mayo.
Also check out their large list of seasonal specialty sandwiches, which will all be on the wall where you go to order. (Undercover Eggplant, 421 Chestnut St. Oneonta)