Iâ€™m happy to have Tio Wally (long-time Me So Hungry reader) aboard to send in his eating adventures from across America. Here he is in Hanover, Pennsylvania.
Greetings from Hanover, Pennsylvania
N 39Â° 48.602â€™ W 076Â° 56.6333â€™ Elev. 609â€™
There we were, sailing along with time enough to spare to make a diversion if we wanted. The idea was to swing through West Asheville, North Carolina and eat at one of my favorite restaurants, Nona Mia Italian Kitchen, whichÂ I’veÂ written about before here and here.
WeÂ didn’tÂ go however because IÂ wasn’tÂ sure we could make it there before they closed and, more so, the 90-mile diversion would take about 2-1/2 hours of very hard work to make up due to the terrain and the burdensome weight of the land yacht. So we blew it off.
But I was bummed. I really wanted to have a great meal. I was due.
We ended up at our destination a day early and were lucky enough to be able to get rid of it even though it was Martin Luther King Day. Then we were sent here.
As we sailed into Hanover that evening I was wondering if La Cucina Italian Restaurant would be open. I wanted to eat there if only in gratitude of the owner helping me secure a Sausage and Peppers fix even though his restaurantÂ wasn’tÂ even open; he was in the process of moving the restaurant 500 feet to a different building at the time.
As good fortune would have it La Cucina was open. Moreover, owner Armando Malvone was standing right there when I walked in. I told him about my phone call, which had taken place in late August of 2011, and damned if he didnâ€™t remember it. Funnier still: It turned out that he had gone to Jerry & Salâ€™s (Sal is Armandoâ€™s uncle) and had ended up making my Sausage & Peppers himself because J&Sâ€™s donâ€™t actually make it as an entrÃ©e.
So I ordered … Sausage and Peppers, specifically Penne Sausage and Peppers ($12.95), and it was fabulous: pasta perfectly al dente, great sauce, and great homemade Italian sausage. La Cucinaâ€™s S&Pâ€™s had the added treat of not only green peppers, but red and yellow peppers as well.
The meal came with choice of soup or salad and focaccia bread. Being as I was getting it to go, I got a salad (leaf lettuce, cherry tomato, cucumber, shredded carrot), which came with a really great creamy Italian dressing. In retrospect, I shouldâ€™ve asked about the soup; you never know what youâ€™ll find. It also came with a small pizza box full of a tasty assortment of breads: slices of focaccia (one with garlic, onion, and olive oil, the other with a light tomato sauce) and homemade rolls.
As I was about to leave Armando asked â€œDo you like ice cream? Are you allergic to nuts?â€ Then as a gift he gave me a Spumoni Bomba (Spumoni Bomb). It was a roughly cannonball-shaped, baseball-sized frozen confection with pistachio, chocolate, and cherry ice creams encased in a hard chocolate shell. I thought the pistachio made it kind of an improbable pairing of flavors, but it was incredible. It could only be described as lethally good, which would do much to explain its name. I could almost hear the Duke of Earlâ€™s voice saying one of his favorite descriptors, â€œThis is the bomb!â€
Everything at La Cucina is homemade, and it tastes like it. Although I think cook-offs are stupid and unduly subjective, I believe if one took place between La Cucina and Nona Mia, La Cucina would make a more than worthy competitor.
La Cucina is a warm, inviting and intimate restaurant. The food is exceptional and the prices are extremely reasonable. And Armando takes good care of vagrant land yachters â€” even in the midst of moving his restaurant. Now thatâ€™s service!
And so we roll.
La Cucina Italian Restaurant, 496 Eisenhower Drive, Hanover, Pennsylvania
Tio Wally pilots the 75-foot, 40-ton(max) land yacht SS Me So Hungry. He reports on road food from around the country whenever parking and InterTube connections permit.