Celebrating National Meatball Day with Mama Mancini
Tasting from the new buffet at Eden Gourmet
In celebration of National Meatball Day, Patch taste-tested the new options at Eden Gourmet.
As South Orange’s Daniel Mancini celebrates the surprising success of Mama Mancini’s meatballs, based on an old family recipe, he has added entrees to the dinner table. The hot food buffet at Eden Gourmet now boasts a selection of Mama Mancini’s finest, ready to eat at the seats along the window or to take home.
It doesn’t take a culinary expert to recognize that Mama Mancini’s entrees are labor-intensive foods. Stuffed shells, meatballs, pasta and peas, sausage and peppers are projects for the home cook, fine for a leisurely weekend, but harder on a night when we’re digging out flashlights and finding the shovels for the next blizzard.
The sausage and peppers were especially satisfying, a nice combination of savory meat and sweet peppers. Served with linguine, also on the hot bar, this is a nice lunch or a satisfying dinner. Carefully selecting stuffed shells from the hot bar, I paired that with broccoli rabe. The contrast of colors and textures made for a beautiful presentation. The acidic broccoli rabe was balanced by the smooth cheese inside the shells. Finally, who could go wrong with pasta and peas in a cheese sauce?
Just beyond the hot bar, Italian bread is there for the taking. Likewise, the traditional salad bar offers marinated, grilled vegetables and Caesar salad to round a meal. Not that anyone I care to name would do this, but it would be possible to put a fine meal on the table – salad, bread, main dish and a vegetable – in only minutes and to pass it off as one’s own. If guests are skeptical, tell them truthfully: “Mama cooked tonight.”
This article originally appeared in March 2011.