My father often pronounced, “Thomas Wolfe was right. You can’t go home again!” It must have been a family saying because I’ve heard my aunt say it many times as well.
You may not be able to go “home” again. But you can find those places that are familiar, that feel somewhat like home. When Husb and I married, we moved to York County, PA, and—Philly girl that I was—I felt as though I’d gone off the edge of the earth. I was sad, I was lost. That Pennsylvania Dutch cooking just didn’t answer my yearnings. And then in one evening (I mean this), one meal, I started to find my way back “home.”
I don’t remember the occasion but we chose the Blue Moon in West York for dinner one night. I walked into the old rowhouse on West Market Street and knew I was home. Wooden floors, high ceiling, narrow room. That might not sound too attractive but to this ex-Philadelphian it was heaven. And the food was even better. French but not fancy. So good we went there any time we wanted good food. It became our anniversary tradition to sit at one of the tables in the windows, drink good wine, and order any one of our favorites (the duck in black-cherry sauce was particularly memorable . . . and, oh, the side potatoes!).
The Blue Moon closed right before we moved away (although it is now open again in a new incarnation). We tried to get a table for the last night but those reservations were gone in a flash. We moved here to Harrisburg and while we have enjoyed our new experiences, and even developed new favorites, we still talk about our nights at the Blue Moon.
This past August friends Suzanne and Mark (she a York County native and our original landlady when we moved!) came to the mountain to visit. Suzanne has long loved everything French and through the course of our conversation let us know that David (co-owner of the Blue Moon) now has the Blue Heron on the east end of York. I considered telling Joe not to bother heating up the grill, we were headed south, now! But more rational heads prevailed and we agreed to come to York another time.
That time was this past weekend. On our way, we drove through Foggy Hollow past our old house and the rental we started out in, reminisced about living in the woods (oh, wait, we still live in the woods), paused at our dogs’ graves by the creek. Even though we’ve moved, and we’re very happy here, that place still feels like home, too.
The Blue Heron (remember, this is supposed to be about a restaurant) resides in what had been a pizza place, a brick building that sits among banks and garages and other local businesses on East Market Street. But the blue glow of lights under the restaurant’s awnings beckoned. We walked into an interior completely unlike the rowhouse on West Market Street or the pizza place this building used to be; with soft colors and white tablecloths, it’s a space transformed.
Menu? For me there was no anticipation. I had read the menu on-line and knew there would be no duck (but I let Husb read the menu and find out). The waiter listed the specials, which included two fishes, a seafood combination, and lamb chops. Ding! I knew what Husb was getting. I thought about swordfish or mahi-mahi, but instead ordered the seafood (crabcake, scallops, shrimp, grilled). Suzanne had boeuf bourguignon (she makes a pretty good one herself) and Mark joined Husb in selecting lamb chops. Although I was thinking of the potatoes from Blue Moon days, we had rice and vegetable sides with each meal (except Suzanne’s, of course). Normally we would have started with a salad (would the dressing be the same?) but we had indulged in appetizers before going to the restaurant.
I took a picture of my tower of seafood (that’s an onion ring circling the crabcake at the bottom and a sundried tomato on top). There’s no better way to prepare scallops than grilled, but it was all delicious. Joe and Mark loved their lamb (and so did I the next day when I had Joe’s leftover chop for lunch). I reminded Suzanne that when we took them to the Blue Moon (their first time, so many years ago), she had also had boeuf bourguignon—obviously a keeper. With a nice bottle of wine to share and much conversation, it was a perfect evening.
Did we have enough room for dessert? If Husb doesn’t get chocolate mousse, the meal is not complete. But he couldn’t decide between that and a slice of a mango/coconut/pineapple creation (I should have taken a picture) and so he ordered both, the latter to go. Suzanne and I had crème caramel, Mark the crème brulee. Great way to end a meal.
And as I said, the next day I had Husb’s last lamb chop. He ate the carry-home dessert. We were both home.