What a clever name for this very clever place. Pare opened during the holiday season last year, and now, since January, Pare is open as a gourmet to-go establishment. Through its various stages of etymological evolution, the term "pare" means to prepare, to produce. The proprietresses of Pare, Paige Martin and Susan Simmons, do just that: prepare and produce gourmet take-out foods for lunch, dinner and special occasions.
Pare is situated on Quaker just north of Cherry Street in a little narrow space. Walking into Pare, I was in full view of the day's freshly prepared foods. A large display case has shelves of the freshly cooked foods. Standard fare for Pare is a seasonal menu, yet some select items are rotated periodically.
I had no idea what to expect when I stepped inside Pare the first time, one recent day just 15 minutes before closing time at 6pm. All the foods displayed appeared to be delicious and savory, and I was happy to find a good selection of foods still available at this time of day. As I pondered my decision, a few other people came into select foods for their family dinners as well.
The current entrée menu consists of Tomato-Shallot Grilled Chicken Breast ($3.75); Layered Garden Vegetable and Orecchiette Pasta Bake ($6.50); Grilled Flank Steak rubbed with Latin Spices ($6.75); Rosemary-Garlic Roasted Lamb with Herbed Yogurt Sauce ($7.50); Sautéed Trout with Preserved Lemons ($8.50); Citrus Glazed Salmon ($8.50); Herb and Fennel Seed Encrusted Pork Tenderloin with Mustard Sauce ($6).
Sides include Roasted Portabellas stuffed with creamy Vegetable Polenta ($6.50); Roasted Poblano Mac and Cheese ($4); Mini Pizza Margherita ($5.50); Blanched Asparagus with Pare Vinaigrette ($2); Oven Roasted Mixed Vegetables ($2).
The salad menu offers Tuna Salad Nicoise ($6.25); Shrimp Salad with Sugar Snap Peas in Cilantro-Cumin Vinaigrette ($8.25); Lentil, Spinach and Feta Salad with Sour Cherry Vinaigrette ($5.50); Roasted New Potato Salad with Dijon Vinaigrette ($4.25); Edamame and Bean Salad ($7.75).
Soups include Spring Asparagus and Carrot-Jalapeno ($3).
Quite a nice selection from which to choose!
After studying my options this evening, I selected the Grilled Chicken Breast, the Pasta Bake and the Citrus Glazed Salmon. I also selected a Fresh Greens Salad ($3.50) and a freshly baked white chocolate cookie ($1). All this, a gourmet dinner for two, for less than $30.
Once home, I warmed the salmon, chicken and pasta bake (all wrapped snuggly with aluminum foil) in the oven at 350?F. In about 15 minutes, the table was set, wine was poured, and a beautiful dinner was ready.
The salad was exceptionally bright, cheery and appetizing. Mixed field greens of various leaf shapes and sizes were topped with shaved Parmesan cheese, dotted with vine-ripe tomatoes, and topped with Pare's specially prepared rosemary almonds.
Three home-made dressings--Tomato-Shallot Vinaigrette, House Vinaigrette and Serrano Citrus Vinaigrette--were my choices; I selected the Tomato-Shallot. This dressing has a zing, a pizzazz to it--just as a good dressing should have. The salad, together with the 4-Seed Cracker, was an excellent beginning to this meal.
All three entrée selections were very good, but the Citrus Glazed Salmon was my favorite. This salmon, my friend and I said, was possibly the best we have ever had. This tall stately piece of protein was flaky, very fresh, and delicately seasoned and perfectly cooked--even upon a reheating of it.
The Pasta Bake was very good. Stacked and cut like a square of lasagna, this orecchiette pasta was prepared with cauliflower, tomato, onion, green and yellow zucchini and Italian seasonings.
Orecchiette pasta is a distinctive Puglian type of pasta which is shaped something akin to a small ears, thus the name (orecchio, ear, orecchiette, which means little ears). They are small, about 3/4 of an inch across, slightly domed, and their centers are thinner than their rims.
The chicken was good as well. This thinly cut breast was tender, light and seasoned well. And, the cookie was a perfect little sweet ending to this delicious meal.
Pare is billed as a "neighborhood gourmet take-out market," a place to pop in on the way home from work, at lunch or just anytime for a quick snack. Pare also specializes in catering small gatherings from hors d'oeuvres for 100 to dinner for two.
Just for fun, I brought home a bottle of the Tomato-Shallot Vinaigrette dressing ($3.50), which has an incredible deep savory taste, perfect for salads or even sandwiches, a container of their very interesting marinated goat cheese.
While goat cheese is perfect as it this, this version is house-marinated in olive oil and various complementary spices and comes highly recommended as a hors d'oeuvre, with salad, added to hot roasted potatoes, or in an omelets. The oil, infused with the cheese, can be used as well for a sauté or salad dressing.
1441-A S. Quaker
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