The holidays (remember them? seems like so long ago!) were particularly stressful for me this year. And so when we headed into January a few weeks ago and all the visits were finished, the decorations put away, the last of the cookies eaten, I decided I needed a breath of Civilization—lunch in a nice place where I didn’t have to dress up too much but the food was good and the atmosphere calm and friendly. I chose the Chocolate Avenue Grill in Hershey. Dining companion—who better than Mary the Photographer, who had first introduced me to the Grill?
It was also Mary who suggested a drink before lunch. I certainly couldn’t let her drink alone. She ordered wine. After checking the cocktail menu (which is very creative) I decided on a pomegranate martini. This delicate pink gem came with a light sour-apple sugar crust around the rim and a little carafe for a second pour. For an appetizer to share Mary ordered the seafood springrolls: “A crab and shrimp blend, stuffed in crispy fried rice paper rolls, served with a black raspberry chipotle sauce” (see picture--we were halfway through by then!). In the time we were there, I saw at least three other tables get the same appetizer. Must be very popular!
For our entrees, I looked the menu over again and again. I really couldn’t decide. I have been to this restaurant a number of times but so far I have only had one thing: “Jess's Favorite Salad in the Whole World”: “Mixed greens, toasted almonds, fresh strawberries and coconut breaded chicken served with our almost world famous poppy seed dressing.” I swore I was going to get something different. I even picked out two things on the menu to choose from when the server came. But when she asked, I ordered the salad. Must be my favorite, too. I guess it’s that “almost world-famous” poppyseed dressing. There are so many other sandwiches and wraps I’d like to try—one of these times I’ll break away.
But I’m in good company as far as ordering something she’s had before because it was so good. Mary ordered the soup of the day (a seafood chowder) with a side of garlic bread: “Homemade garlic butter on ciabatta bread topped with melted Provolone and Parmesan cheeses with a side of marinara.” It’s like no other garlic bread I’ve ever had; I can see why she gets it often.
Something else for another visit—dessert perhaps? I have not yet had the pleasure, but then the salad is big (and can be a little sweet with the coconut and strawberries on it).
I see on their website that the Grill is considering adding breakfast or a bar. Breakfast got my vote but then I don’t live in Hershey. You can make your preference known by scrolling down the site’s main page and voting. And definitely stop by the Grill sometime for Jess's Salad. Or garlic bread. Or maybe even something else.
Photo (c) 2013 Mary Brenner