Friday, March 28, 2003

Big G's, Winslow, Maine

This is perhaps one of the best sandwich places I have been to. This was a staple when I was in college, and the place has grown and moved three times in ten years. The atmosphere lacks something, but the food more than makes up for it. The sandwich board takes a good 15 minutes to read through if you are not familiar with the place. I have my usual favorites, the Miles Standwich which is essentially Thanksgiving dinner on bread, complete with cranberry relish, gravy, stuffing, etc or I have the Mad Max, hot spiced roast beef with melted cheese, lettuce, tomato on choice of bread.

Here is a piece of advice...if you are a first timer, order 1/2 a sandwich! really.....unless you are REALLY hungry, only order a half. Big G's makes its own bread (rye, wheat, white, pumpernickle) and the slices are probably 8 inches square.

The chicken finger basket is huge and the fries are great too....

All of this for an affordable price. I give Big G's a hearty A.

Wednesday, March 26, 2003

The first review...Ocean's Edge, East Belfast, Maine

As I said, these post are going to cover a variety of restaurants all over the place in our state. The first is a special review because I'm going to begin with the restaurant where the idea for this blogging site occured, The Ocean's Edge Restaurant in East Belfast, ME. What attracted me to this restaurant was the really nice signage on Rte1. Needless to say, I should have come to my senses when Greg questioned, "we're going to the Comfort Inn for dinner?" I thought I'd give the place the benefit of the doubt.....I should've walked away. The restaurant and the Inn are built right on the water, so I can see the attraction to the locale in the summer....Well, its still 30 degrees here at the end of March, so they couldn't have the French doors open to the Bay during out dining experience. The restaurant is what you'd expect from a Comfort Inn, a lot of mauve and straw baskets. The decor filled me with dread even before our meals came.

We ordered the deep fried mushrooms to start and they came with our drinks. I was pleasantly suprised at the generous pour from the bartender and later, the price ($5) for a mixed drink. The mushrooms were plentiful, but passable...a bit on the bland side. I then ordered what sounded good on the appetizer menu, but what turned out to be bloody awful...the pan fried tortolini rolled in spices with a marinara dipping sauce. Spices turned out to be massive amounts of paprika which dried out the pasta, or maybe it was the microwave reheating that did it???? David told me to send them back and I'm glad I didn't. (scroll down, gentle reader, to find out why)

With the arrival of dinner came groans after the server left. My Delmonico cut pepper steak smothered with sauteed red peppers was one of the worst cuts of meat I have ever seen and at $16.95, I decided to call the server over and show her the gristle cut that I received. She pleasantly took it back and asked what else they could serve me. I asked for a plain grilled chicken breast without the Jack Daniels sauce. It was very juicy, but a bit overpriced for $10.95! David ordered beef tips in the JD dipping sauce and I thought they were pretty bad looking, though he liked them. Greg has scallops that he told me later were some of the worst he's had.

We decided against dessert, had a few more drinks and hightailed it out of there.

Might be a great place for lunch in the summer, the view on the deck with a sandwich and a cold one...don't think you could go wrong there. Until next time....I give this place a solid C. By the way, for the three of us, the bill was $95.00 for bad food.

Butternut Squash Soup
I have a beautiful butternut squah soup simmering on the back of the stove. The recipe is sooo easy that I just chop and drop into the pot without really measuring. Great soup for grayish/coldish/wettish/foggyish type days. There is a good skeleton to this soup that you can really use as a jumping off point when you get comfortable with it. I did a bit of experimenting today and I like what I ended up with.

I get a hankerin' to make this soup about every two weeks. I adore the deep orange color of the liquid because its so cozy. I am dying to paint my living room walls the same color.

Start with a large stock pot and some garlic infused olive oil.
Heat up the oil and throw in about 1/2 a large yellow onion, a few cloves of garlic, and one large leek.
Fresh ground pepper and sea salt to taste.

Here's where I experimented: To the sizzling onions I added a few pinches of Madras curry and a dash of cayanne...just trust me Also threw in some sliced red peppers and baby carrots.end experimentation

A package of pre-peeled and cubed butternut squash comes next...I still feel the need to chop up the squash a bit more before dropping.
Next add two or three small hard apples. I like pink ladies or gala personally because they are hard, sweet and taste nice (read the posts during apple pie season, they'll make your mouth water). Core the apples, chop and drop into pot, skins and all (oh so healthy).
Add to this, some ground or fresh ginger.
Let everything sizzle and soften at a medium temp., turning mixture frequently. It smells gorgeous.

Today I added a bit of white wine at this point. It was open and on the bar and I wanted to feel like a chef today (try it and see what I mean. Use just enough white wine to get the bottom of the pot wet.

Now comes the stock, either veggie or chicken, homemade or canned (I'll won't tell if you won't) approximately 2 to 2.5 cups, or enough to almost cover the veggies in the pot. Bring to a boil, turn down to simmer, and let the vegetables get almost smushy.

Take off heat and let cool.

Transfer with ladle (I just got a long handled metal one and it makes me feel very important) to a blender in two batches. Puree the first batch until smooth and pu in clean bowl. Repete with second batch and transfer back to recently rinsed out stock pot...add the first batch and stir. keep on low and let the flavors meld. Just before serving, swirl in a pinch of crumbled romano cheese. (totally optional for all of you lactose intolerant souls.)

Today, I'm making fresh hot cornbread with this (not enough energy to write that experience today)

I've also served this topped with crumbled fried sage or a dollop cider infused sour cream.



First post, already lost one version of this one, hope this comes out.

Welcome. This weblog came about at dinner last week with foodie friends David and Sarah. We like to get together and experiment with all types of places to eat from crab shacks to diners, to reservation-type places to other people's houses). Our friends are opening a bar/place to eat to complement their already thriving lobster pound enterprise where they sell live or cooked lobsters to locals and tourists alike. Because of this, we are often invited to conduct "bar research" with them. As we were picking through the food we ordered, David came up with bright idea of starting a restaurant review webpage for our fair state ( a two hour drive to try a restaurant is not uncommon here, so I feel that eventually, I'll cover the whole state. I've been thinking about it ever since and decided to write down some of my thoughts on the food we encounter along the way. I'm also going to throw in my musings about what is simmering on my stove on any given day. You'll get my inspirations, and my experiments, both successful and failed. I usually start with recipes I get from or one of my cookbooks or from something I particularly liked when eating out that I try to copy (usually to a great failure the first two or four times).