It is hard to believe that the summer in the Pocono Mountains is coming to an end. I had a minor real estate transaction to file at the Pike County municipal building in Milford Pennsylvania and this served as a good excuse to take a ride on the can-am Spyder RT Limited from our lake house across Route 6. We had observed an attractive restaurant just inside the border of Milford during previous trips there and a reservation at Open Table fit our schedule for lunch perfectly. The Grotto at the Zaloom House offers an eclectic assortment of dishes from the coastal Mediterranean countries including France, Spain, Turkey, Egypt, Morocco, Italy, Israel, and Greece. The restaurant offers seasonal menus using local suppliers and their own baked goods.
The Zaloom House was built in 1904 and has been restored to its original grandeur. In addition to a unique dining experience, the Grotto follows a multi faceted Green initiative that includes composting their vegetable trimmings, using local purveyors which in turn reduces green house gases form delivery trucks, using an environmentally friendly high temperature dishwasher instead of a chemical based machine, comprehensive recyclinge, energy efficient hand driers in restrooms, and various other creative techniques.
The food was great, but what impressed me most was the technology. We had our lunch on the outside porch and enjoyed music from an iPod that was plugged into a speaker on a nice table. When the server asked if we wanted dessert, we declined and I presented her instead with our American Express card. She turned and handed me an iPad. Our check was itemized and I could select from a menu of gratuities ranging from none to an array of choices at various percentages and the option to enter a specific amount. When we got home, I checked my email and found a pdf receipt for our lunch. Later that day, I received an email from Open Table asking for feedback on the lunch experience.
The next morning I spoke with the local Township about a permit to add electrical service to a shed on a lot across the street from our summer home that I had just installed to house four-wheeled motorcycles. The building inspector said I should come in to fill our their three-part carbon-copy form. Huh!? Carbon copy? Yes, there are three people who have to approve the permit application. I would have to come in the office and use a pen and press hard so all three copies are readable. The contrast is striking: The Zaloom House trying to provide a satisfying and efficient digital experience and the local government hanging in there with carbon paper. E-government has not reached this part of America just yet.
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