Saturday, June 16, 2007

The curry was way better the second day.

We are going to a pizza-off tonight in Belfast. Everyone has to make a pizza and then we'll determine who made the best. But get this, you don't have to make your own dough! Thats three-quarters of pizza making right there! Needless to say, I am making my own crust. Two cups white flour, about a cup of corn meal or other grains, a good dash of fresh sea salt and fresh rosemary, 1/4 cup of olive oil and cup cup hot tap water with two packs of yeast dissolved. Combine first four ingredients in a large bowl and pour tap water over yeast in its own bowl and let stand for 10 minutes. Pour into flour mixture and stir with fork until dough forms. Add olive oil and knead in the bowl. If the dough is spongy, slowly add some flour to balance it out and then a few dashes more of olive oil. knead some more and then cover the bowl with saran wrap and a tea towel and place bowl in a slightly warm oven (this is my trick to get dough to rise here in Maine in the winter) After an hour, the dough should've doubled in bulk or more. Punch down and knead again in bowl and repeat rising technique for another 1/2 to and hour. Roll finished dough onto pizza stone or cookie sheet or whatever and shape your form. Cover in toppings and put into a 450 degree oven until deep golden brown and crispy. I like to use fresh grated cheddar cheese for my pizzas.

Am also making milk chocolate chip cookies with cinnamon and orange peel and lots of brown sugar. To these I am adding vanilla ice cream to make homemade chipwiches for dessert...mmmm
2 sticks butter
1 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup organic cane sugar
1 egg
1 tspoon vanilla
shakes of cinnamon and some fresh orange zest
1 1/2 cups flour
1 teasoon baking soda
1 pack of Girardelli milk chocolate chips
cream butter and sugar, add egg, mix...add vanilla and cinnamon and zest. Mix in flur and baking soda and then add chips. Mix and spoon onto greased cookie sheets
into pre heated 350 degree oven until golden brown.

I attempted to make red curry last night and it came out less than stellar. I was grocery shopping and found red curry paste at was the only curry they had and I assume that it was probably not the "best." My curry lacked the robust flavors that a really good curry should have. Tangie pronouced it "not un-good" last night. We tought it needed more coconut milk. So, to the leftovers I added some more coconut milk and stuck the whole thing in the fridge...we'll see about today. Could it also have been my lack of fish sauce? Greg thought it too limey. I just thought it lacked the inital flavor that made you want to go back for me.
The spice was a medium spice, which was ok, but there still wasn't any inital ummph to the flavor.
My recipe called for me to heat up two tablespoons oil and then cook 1 tablespoon red curry paste. Add 1 can coconut milk and 1 can broth with a squuze of fresh line juice and a couple of dashes of fish sauce...which I didn't use, and a handful of chopped fresh basil. I pounded chicken breast and cut it into strips cooking it in the red curry soup and then added broccoli, peas, and asparagus. As I said, it was ok, but not great....I need it to be great or else I won't make it again.
Any suggestions?

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Greg and I decided to be brave and try the new restaurant in Searsport last night. Its called The Old Mill Stream Eatery. Located where the Chocolate Grille used to be, the restaurant hasn't been changed too much, except that the new owners added their own "chaaam" to the place, meaning curtains and artwork that would make Holly Hobby proud. I used to think that the space was somewhat cool and had lots of potential when Chocolate Grill was there. Now, I just think the restaurant is sad...very sad. It almost has the charm of a hospital cafeteria, despite the too loud motown jamboree playing on the stereo.

Greg kept asking as we sat down whether I wanted to leave. We knew as we came through the door and smelled the food service food that the restaurant would not be one where we would return. But, we decided to stay and brave the bad food and poor service. As we looked around at the other tables we marveled that there was at least one person who weighed 250 lbs or more at each table. Not too many were engaged in conversation, and everyone had something fried.

The menu is the same as at most restaurants on the coast, fried fish and fries, a steak cut or two and some chowdahs. It appeared to be the medium priced entrees from one of the food services around. This is a higher priced version of what you can get at the Irving Station restaurant just a couple of miles north.

Greg had the fried clams and fries special and I had the New York strip with potato puffs which were tasteless except for the butter and salt that I had to put on them to make them palettable. Our meal came with "warm rolls' (read: microwaved white bread rolls) and salad, which was iceburg lettuce, some sad peppers, and raw red onion. Yuck! The steak was a nice cut of meat and I was suprised at that. Greg said his clams were actually fresh and very good. The bill was less than I thought it would be, but at $40.00 was still too expensive for the drive to Searsport and the type of food served.

But I still don't think I could go back to this restaurant because the atmosphere is sooooo bad. I used to think the Chocolate Grille had a good bar area, but the Eatery seems to have done away with that. The bar is still there, but there was no bartender and the drinks were made by the server. How odd is that? I would think with the bar already there, the owners would open it up and attract the drinking crowd, after all, its the best way to make a profit in the restaurant business.

Sadly, I cannot imagine that this place will last and so that space will be forever cursed as a restaurant and will remain empty.

Atmosphere: F
Food: B (the rolls and salad kept the score down)
Service: C


Tuesday, June 12, 2007

I found a postcard from Tranzon auction house in my mailbox today. It looks like the Summer House Cafe building in Belfast is being sold at public auction. The building is near Aubuchon Hardware on Route 1 south of town. I drive that way almost every day and I never noticed that the restaurant had closed. I thought maybe it was just for the building for sale, but the post card ad says that any remaining equipment shall be sold with the building. Anyway the auction is July 11th with previews on the 19th and 26th from 10-11am.

Another restaurant bites the dust. I only went there a few times cause I thought the food was pretty mediocre and the prices were through the roof. I reviewed it somewhere on here.


Monday, June 11, 2007

After a screening of this incredible movie made by a fourthe grade class and their teacher and worked on (as Director of cinematography) by my 13 year old friend Wes, we had a post screening dinner at the Edge in Lincolnville. We've been to the Edge several times, but this was the first time for Sunday Pizza night. We sat outside for cocktails and had a wonderful time gazing at the water and watching the boats. The outside of the restaurant is terraced down to the bay and it is just lovely. We sat on the slate terrace, but apparently one can do down to "the edge" and have your drinks brought to you while you lounge in chairs down there...what a great concept!

We were ushered inside by our sexy waiter and had a big table for the eight of us waiting. The hostess told us that there would be a family style ceasar salad brought out first, followed by several choices of pizza served directly out of the wood fired ovens and carried around the room to various tables to dole out slices. The salad was good, but could've benefited from some extra tangy parmesan on the table. The pizzas were also good and had interesting combinations such as eggplant; bar-b-que chicken with blue cheese; smoked salmon; cheeseburger; stuffed pizza with penne; sausage; pepperoni and cheese; fish and chips pizza; tomoato, mozzerella, and basil; and more. The slices were small and the crust was paper thin, so trying a number of different varieties was no problem and having a supply for the vegetarians and the meat lovers at the table was also no problem.
We skipped the rather involved desserts in favor of an early night.

The interior of The Edge is a lot of stone and colors to complement the stone. Our dining room was decorated with huge maps of coastal Maine (showing "the edge" of the state, no doubt) and had banquettes and very comfortable side chairs. Pizza night seems to be a favorite as the place was jumping. Its a casual night apparently, and diners were there in shorts and t-shirts. It really is done up very well. I have several friends who consider the restaurant to be their favorite place. It certainly deserves kudos.

Food: B+ (this is just for pizza night)
Atmosphere: A+
Wait staff: A lot of them to cater to your every need , and one in particular who is very sexy: A

Sunday, June 10, 2007

A lot of what I will write are just updated reviews or chronicles of our eating adventures around town and so the first place I'll start is a longer review of Seng Thai on Route 1 in East Belfast. I was told last night that I went out on a limb saying that Seng Thai was the best restaurant in Belfast, but you know, I think it is, just food wise. We had a discussion of the interior last night and decided that it is best to use their take out for your food, but then you do miss the incredible carved vegetable flower garnishes that Greg and I love so much.
While the interior leaves much to be desired and while the tables and old booths could use a good dose of will continue to eat in since its a 20 mile round trip for us to have dinner there.
The last time we went was Friday night when we went with a friend for a quick bite. Spicyness at Seng runs from one star to five stars. I've tried them all and I think 5 is too spicy for actually tasting the food, so we opt for four stars when we eat there. Our friend didn't want any spicyness in her food, but she was adventurous and dipped into the green curry sauce with her pad thai.
What can I say, but that the food is fabulous here and is so worthy of a stop just for their curry. The green curry is some of the best that I have had, a feeling shared by the hostess of another restaurant in town. The vegetables are fresh and the sauce is so tasty. It made me want to explore making Thai curry at home because I want to make it a staple in our house. I was so jealous that Greg's curry was so good!
I had a Thai salad with beef marinated in lemon juice and onions. It too was tasty and the beef was lean and tender. The incredible flavor of the lemon juice and the beef came through so well with the four star spice.
The pad Thai was sweet without the spicyness and was good on its own, but even better with a dip in the curry sauce.

To start we had crispy sweet potatoes and steamed chicken dumplings...neither should be missed when eating at Seng Thai.

A patron who arrived soon after we did summed it up when she said she had been craving Seng Thai all day and she quoted what they would eat from memory before they sat down....its that good.

Food is an A+
Atmosphere is a D
Friendliness of staff is an A+ Amy is great and so very friendly.

OK, well enough time has passed that my boredom with this blog has passed and I am getting back into making food again. Tis the season of porch parties and grilling and out and out merriment here in Maine. So, I will try and update this blog with recipies and food reviews again. There are still no new restaurants in Belfast and one of our favorites closed, so we still usually eat at home. We now have our boat coming up probably by the end of next week, so we can explore some eateries by water, I'm sure.

Anyway...let the Foodie begin again