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Great Eats: Five must try places for food in Medford

Cactus Café cook Stan Najarro shows off a plate of chicken enchiladas in Medford. (MIchael White)

Gone are the years of Landmark, the Salad Bowl and Global Sports Café, but there are still a lot of delicious options available in Medford.

Here are five must try places, whether you live in the hamlet or just want to visit for a bite:

Chicken Enchiladas from Cactus Café

These Enchiladas are fresh and come with all the necessary accompaniments, like rice, refried beans and sour cream. I ask for my meals at Cactus Café without cilantro. When I asked Brittany Koesling, manager of Cactus Café, about the Enchiladas, she said, “Most people do chicken, mainly because they are familiar with chicken, but all of them are great. The Smoked Brisket is especially good.”

Cactus Café also sells its yellow hot sauce and you will be warned to refrigerate it — because if you don’t, the top will pop right off and make a mess. It is that hot.

Cactus Café is located at 2799 Route 112, near the DMV.

Chicken Panini from Gianna’s Pizzeria

Now, this was a tough one. Everything from Gianna’s is delicious, especially the Eggplant Rollatini Pizza, Spicy Chicken Roll and Seafood Bisque. They even have soft garlic knots that are as big as your fist and they just started deep frying Oreos. What? OK, back to my choice.

I had to go with my tried and true, Chicken Panini. This sandwich is enormous and is not like the pressed panini sandwiches that you are familiar with. This sandwich starts with soft, baked bread dusted with garlic and other Italian spices. They then layer grilled chicken, slabs of fresh mozzarella, tomatoes and lettuce.

The panini is accompanied by balsamic vinaigrette dressing on the side for dipping or pouring; it is really up to you. I cut it up and dip it because I feel like it’s the easiest way to conquer this giant without dropping lettuce all over the table.

Gianna’s Pizzeria is located at 2080 Route 112 in Medford.

Italian Stallion Hero from Associate’s Gourmet Market

The Italian Stallion is one of the eatery’s most popular heroes; tied with its Tuscany Chicken Sandwich. The Italian Stallion is a true beast that includes ham cappy, coppacolla, soppersatta, mortadella, salami, pepperoni, fresh mozzarella, roasted red peppers, lettuce, tomato, onion and then it is doused with vinegar & oil.

The array of meats, cheeses and toppings at this deli are astounding. Each day, the staffers email out their list of specials and it reads like a full menu. There are soups, items from the grill, wraps, fresh meat and ready-to-eat meals. Sign up or the emails, because one day the Italian Stallion may be listed one day and you will be able to enjoy it for less money than usual.

Associate’s Gourmet Market is located at 1699J Route 112, across from McDonald’s.

Shrimp & Mango Salsa Empanada from Island Empanada 

At this Ronkonkoma restaurant’s second location in Medford, they offer the same tempting array of empanada options. The Shrimp & Mango Salsa Empanada is one you should definitely try. It has a crunchy shell and a warm and sweet filling. Luckily, these bad boys are only $3 each, so you can have as many as you want.

If you close your eyes, you might even feel like you are dining at the beach on a Caribbean Island … maybe.

Island Empanada can be found at 2040 Route 112, next to Dollar Tree.

Anything from Chubs Meats 

On your way home after work and don’t know what to make?

Stop at Chubs.

Need to have your son’s birthday party catered? Call Chubs.

Watching the game and need some grub?

Go to Chubs.

Ryan and his crew at Chubs stock the refrigerator with fresh meat and ready-to-heat meals, and will cater to any number of people. There is no doubt that anything you order will be delicious, but try the Hawaiian Chicken, Macaroni & Cheese, Brussel Sprouts with Smoked Bacon, Fried Ravioli, Stuffed Pork Chops or just get a hero.

Chubs is at 2598 Route 112, adjacent to Robinson Avenue.

Photo: Cactus Café cook Stan Najarro shows off a plate of chicken enchiladas in Medford. (Michael White)

About the author: Melissa Kuehnle

Melissa Kuehnle is a Medford resident and lover of all things edible. She blogs about food from the Greater Patchogue area and beyond at yumness.wordpress.com.