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Saturday, July 22, 2017

Eating Out + Eating In: Ma Mi Eatery, Lotus Cafe, Korean-style quinoa and more

Rice Noodles topped with creamy Grilled Tofu and splashed with fish sauce ($9.95) at Ma Mi Eatery, a fast-casual Vietnamese restaurant in Closter from the same family that gave us Simply Vietnamese in Tenafly and its predecessor, Saigon R in Englewood.
Owners Joseph Diovisalvo, a third-generation Vietnamese chef; and wife Amy Nguyen, in kitchen door at right. His grandmother, Marie Tran, opened her first Vietnamese restaurant in Queens in 1974. His mother is K.T. Tran Diovisalvo, chef-owner of Simply Vietnamese.

-- HACKENSACK, N.J.

By VICTOR E. SASSON
EDITOR

Ma Mi Eatery in Closter is another reason we favor Asian food when we eat out or order food to go.

I stopped at the fast-casual Vietnamese restaurant for a quick lunch and takeout on Thursday after having my hair cut at Dong Yang, a Korean barbershop in Closter Commons, a nearby shopping center.

Another great reason to visit Closter is The Fish Dock, where the fresh fillets in the case were caught in Iceland just a day or two ago.

At Ma Mi Eatery, I couldn't finish my delicious Rice Noodles with Grilled Tofu, so added the container to the shopping bag with takeout for my wife, son and mother-in-law:

Beef Combo Pho, an anise-flavored soup, with sprouts, cilantro, jalapeno and lime ($11); Spicy Ma Mi, a Vietnamese-style banh mi sandwich with buttermilk fried chicken, spicy Asian slaw and jalapeno ($8.95); and Grilled Basa Fillet over Rice ($12.95).


Ma Mi Eatery seats up to 20. 
The restaurant's name is a play on "mom" and "mi," Vietnamese for noodles or sandwich (banh mi), both menu staples.
DETAILS: Ma Mi Eatery, 546 Durie Ave., Closter; 1-201-660-7826. Closed Mondays. Website: I Want My Ma Mi
MORE TAKEOUT: From Lotus Cafe, 450 Hackensack Ave., in Hackensack's Home Depot Shopping Center, clockwise from top left: X.O. Seafood E-Mein, braised noodles with seafood in a sauce of anchovy, shrimp roe, dried scallops and herbs ($15.95); Chinese Broccoli stir-fried with fresh garlic ($10.95) and Filet of Sole with Scallion & Ginger ($17.95).
EATING IN: After preparing 2 cups of Organic Quinoa in 4 cups of Organic Chicken Broth in an electric cooker, I put the quinoa in a large bowl and combined it with Bibimbap Vegetables from H Mart. Here, I enjoyed the versatile whole-grain, low-carb side dish with an egg-white omelet stuffed with reduce-fat Swiss cheese and leftover marinara sauce.
H Marts in Little Ferry, Englewood, Fort Lee and Ridgefield sell the Korean-style seasoned vegetables for $7.99. This version is from Jinga, an H Mart supplier in Queens, N.Y. 
EATING OUT: At Seafood Gourmet, the fish market-restaurant in Maywood, I enjoyed a beautifully balanced lunch of pan-seared Soft Shell Crabs with potato and steamed vegetables ($18).
A friend started with Seafood Gourmet's wild-caught Jumbo Shrimp Cocktail ($13).
EATING IN: My wife brought home Icelandic Haddock Fillets from Costco Wholesale in Teterboro ($8.99 a pound), and I put a delicious fish-and-vegetable medley on the table in less than 30 minutes. The Fish Dock in Closter sells a ready to cook version.
My fish-and-vegetable medley was ready in under 15 minutes in a preheated 400-degree oven: Organic spinach drizzled with extra-virgin olive oil, skinless-and-boneless haddock cut into serving pieces, chopped pitted olives, capers and fresh lemon juice. Once the pan was out of the oven, I added pesto; a reduction of organic diced tomatoes, shallots and red wine I cooked separately; and shredded fresh basil.
EATING IN: Fresh wild-caught whole Porgies were only $2.99 a pound at the H Mart, 260 Bergen Turnpike, Little Ferry.
We also had a Broccoli Salad with Garlic and Sesame from a recipe in The New York Times.
EATING IN: Organic Whole Wheat Linguine with marinara, diced tomatoes, sardines and anchovies, above, and Organic Whole Wheat Shells, below, have fewer carbs then conventional pasta. The linguine is from ShopRite. Only Whole Foods Market carries whole wheat shells. Both are about $1.50 a pound.
Organic Whole Wheat Shells from Whole Foods Market are wonderful for breakfast topped with two Organic Eggs from Costco Wholesale with Aleppo red pepper, grated cheese and fresh herbs.
TAKEOUT: I don't eat meat, but other family members do, so we got a half sausage, half vegetable pizza from the Food Court at the Costco Wholesale Business Center in Hackensack (an 18-inch pizza is $9.95).
BREAD RUN: On Friday, I stopped at the retail store of Balthazar Bakery on South Dean Street in Englewood for two signature Baguettes, still $2 each, and hamburger buns, below.
Six Balthazar Bakery Whole Grain Burger Buns, left, were $4.50. Six Plain Burger Buns were $3.
Balthazar's tarts and pastries are to die for or die from.
SHIT SHOW: On Thursday, I stopped at the ShopRite on Forest Avenue and Route 4 east in Paramus to take advantage of a sale on Northwest Bing Cherries ($1.88 a pound), and was confronted by this mess.
Also at the Paramus ShopRite, I could find only four New Jersey peaches that weren't cut, heavily blemished or soft. And the price per pound went up to $1.99 from $1.69 last week.
The Paramus ShopRite was offering 3 1-pound packages of Farm Promise Grass-Fed Ground Beef for $14.97, but the store was out of stock on Thursday. The ground beef is locally raised on family farms without harmful human antibiotics or hormones, ShopRite says.
At the Paramus ShopRite last month, I bought grass-fed Nature's Reserve Whole Beef Tenderloin from Australia on sale for $6.99 a pound, compared to $8.99 a pound and $12.99 a pound for the same cuts of domestic beef.

On the road


EATING OUT: On July 5, we stopped in Queensbury, N.Y., to charge my all-electric Tesla Model S. At Ninety Nine Restaurant & Pub, above, I had a surprisingly good lunch of Simply Seasoned Fresh Haddock, pan roasted and served on a bed of steamed fresh spinach with a side of Cajun Rice ($15.49). The Summer Seasonal Menu also offered lobster rolls.
NORTH OF THE BORDER: At Marius, 50 St. Catherine St. West in Montreal, me and my wife split Le Pagnol, a tasty warm sandwich of marinated salmon with lemon confit, grilled pepper and aioli ($9.25 Canadian), below.

REGENCY CLUB: At the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Montreal, me and my wife paid a total of $50 Canadian a day extra for a large buffet breakfast, including granola, plain yogurt and honey, above (normally $24.50 Canadian per person); a light dinner of soup, salad, cheese and desserts, below; and unlimited coffee, tea and cookies during the day.

MONTREAL COSTCO: Three-liter jugs of Elara-brand Extra-Virgin Olive Oil from the Greek island of Crete were $18.99 Canadian or about $15.15 each at the Costco Wholesale on Bridge Street in Montreal. At the IGA Supermarket in the Complexe Desjardins, I picked up a 2.2-pound bag of Cubita Coffee Beans from Cuba for $15.99 Canadian or about $12.75.