Sunday, February 26, 2006

The Lonely Canoli shines in Harrisburg

I'm home from my Pennsylvania trip and have many tales to tell with photos to share. The photos will have to wait until they are digitally available, but I could not wait to write about the Lonely Canoli. The Lonely Canoli is real. It is also a metaphor.

My relatives in Pennsylvania are beautiful, accomplished people. My last night in Pennsylvania celebrated life and captured the essence of what it means to be family. Cousin Russell Ford, his wife Barb, cousin Doug Ford, his wife Pam, and I gathered at a new Italian restaurant in downtown Harrisburg. Bricco is a dining experience and not simply a place to snarf a meal and run. It epitomizes to me the goals of the Harristown Development Corporation which has been renovating downtown Harrisburg for more than 20 years. Russell Ford is President and CEO of the H.D.C. so Bricco is a pet project of his.

It's been more than 40 years since I've had authentic Italian cuisine. The ambiance of Bricco's is aesthetically comforting, the staff friendly and helpful, and the Chef a creative gem. And oh, the wine list is impressive. I'm no connossieur of fine wines. Cousin Russell knows that about me, so chose a fruity white with a delightful name -- Menage a Trois. As a writer, many racy thoughts passed through my fertile mind while sipping that delicious wine, but I was wise enough to keep them to myself.

The meal itself was experienced in true leisurely Continental style through several courses, with a nibble of beautifully presented antipasto dishes first followed by entrees pleasing to both eye and palate. It interested me to see that Bricco includes ingredients from Pennsylvania in its menu, such as duck, combining two worlds with great results. The setting and service encourages relaxation, conviviality, and conversation, which was ideal because two activities my family enjoys are eating and talking!!

By now you may be wondering where the Lonely Canoli comes in. I have never had a canoli so could not wait to taste one. Doug, Pam, and I ordered a wonderful dessert with a demitasse cup of bittersweet chocolate with biscotti and canoli to dunk in said chocolate. WONDERFUL!! But Russell's wife, Barb, is more calorie conscious than I am so she ordered one canoli for the dessert course. Pam Ford immediately dubbed it "The Lonely Canoli" and thought that would make a wonderful title for a short story or poem if the writer among them cared to tackle such a project. But at that moment, my focus was on eating my biscotti and canoli drenched in chocolate. And metaphorically, I could not help but compare myself to this group of wonderful, beautiful people. I was the lone canoli, the not-so-beautiful cousin from the heartland, somewhat awed and tongue-tied in their presence. But they all love me despite my shortfalls and that knowledge put a shine on my last night in Pennsylvania -- the chocolate on my canoli, so to speak.

Any person reading this, if you live in Pennsylvania consider visiting Harrisburg and Bricco. Those of you from other places, Harrisburg has my highest recommendation as a destination. I'll share more memories of this Pennsylvania trip in later blogs when photos are available. The lovely meal at Bricco with my Ford cousins is only one of many highlights.


Anonymous said...

That was a wonderful review of your experiance in Harrisburg.When u become rich and famous u can take your whole family from Ne and Ks to
U know me..the one..the only..Mitts

Josh said...

Sounds like you had a great time. Can't wait to see the pictures.
Is there going to be a way to watch the PBS interview?

Anonymous said...

If you're interested in checking out Bricco's menu, viewing pictures of the restaurant, or just learning more about it, please visit

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I enjoy good writing by writers and poets who are not famous. My mother said I was born a hundred years too late. The older I get, the more I realize how right she was.

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