Friday, July 20, 2007

A friend took us to the Rhumb Line in Searsport the other night. Neither of us had ever been there, so we thought it would be a good adventure. I've always heard the food was good, but expensive and I have had their catered food at various parties around Belfast, so I was looking forward to it.
We walked in and I was immediately on guard. The restaurant is in an old sea captain's home on the north side of Searsport. The trouble with such spaces is that the owners tend to want to clutter it up to "authenticate" the space. The Rhumb Line was no different. Bold print wall papers and patterned rugs, lots of odd dust catching things on table tops, (rather like my house), random pictures on the wall hung every which way and big swag curtains in a "country chaaam" pattern all helped to turn my stomach and close in the space. The main dining room held about seven or eight tables, each having a bold red tablecloth, purple napkins, and huge blonde chairs that were ugly but comfy. Needless to say, the interior did not inspire confidence for the food. There were only two other tables dining, one with a screaming and crying baby in attendance and the proprietor asked us to come earlier than we'd wanted, probably so they could close early to watch "The Next Best Thing" on ABC.
We sat down and the server was very attentive. The drinks were served and all was well, nice pours on all the glasses and the server came back to ask us each, individually, how our drinks were.
We ordered and I had the special soup which was a broth base with ground pork, green chilies, scallions, and tomatoes. It was suprisingly light, but hearty a nice, simple choice to start the evening. Our friend had the artichoke salad, which looked and tasted good. Greg had the crab cakes, which he raved about at the table and then said they were miserable when we got home. He thought they were a bit mushy and had too much dill in them, an herb that can ruin seafood if applied to liberally. Greg likes his crab cakes to have a bit of a crunch instead of having the consistancy of warm tunafish.
The main courses arrived and my steak au poivre, which can be so good with the right cut of meat, looked a bit like salsbury steak. The cut was bad and fatty, so I was completely disappointed there. Accompanying my steak were a melange of really mushy vegetables and super smooth mashed potatoes. If you haven't learned by now, I judge food a lot by texture and so vegetables that can be sucked through one's teeth and mashed potatoes with no umpfff..really get me...its so easy to make this stuff delightful to look at and good to eat. At $26.00 for this dish, I would expect it to be better than what it was.
Greg had the scallops which he said were super rubbery from being over broiled. Even I know scallops take about 1 minute to cook for them to be perfect. His scallops arrived in a sauce that was scalding hot but tasty, so at least he had that to look forward to. Our friend had the crab cakes as an entree. She loves them there and has them every time she goes.
Dessert was a chocolate covered peanut butter pie that was a bit on the chalky side. Greg and I shared this and I already know that he felt the same way.
Frankly, I would rather go to Camden to pay this much for food. The price was probably a bit less than someplace like Francine's, but at least the atmosphere is better down there and you know the food will be perfect.

Atmosphere: In dire need of changing D-
Service: Very attentive A
Food: A completely disappointing C-
Price: Astonishingly expensive


Tuesday, July 17, 2007

My ten year old nephew just went off to sleep away camp for the first time. Three weeks without his mom. I remember that my mom used to send us congo bars, essentially they were really gooey, rich, blondies.

I called my sister today to ask if he would like that and though she thought the sentiment was adorable, she said that because it is a Waldorf School camp, they don't allow sweets in care packages! So what are we supposed to send, shredded carrots, a nice ceasar salad, or perhaps a roast chicken?
My sister laughed and said that she actually sent him a Wall Street Journal article about 9 year olds promoting skateboarding products......Families these days!!! Sheesh

Here is the congo bar recipe:

2/3 cup butter melted
1 lb light brown sugar
3 eggs
2 3/4 cups flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
12 ounces milk chocolate chips
1 cup chopped walnuts

Melt the butter and add brown sugar; mix well and cool.
Add eggs, one at a time, beating well each time.
Add dry ingredients and mix well.
Add the nuts and chocolate bits.
Put in a greased 9x13 pan and bake 350 degrees for about 25-30 minutes.

**UPDATE** I thought the 1lb of brown sugar might be a misprint, so I just made these with a cup of brown sugar and they were awful...they had the texture of regular cookies, only drier. You really do need to make these with 1 lb of brown sugar...hey, your kids are away at camp...let the councilors deal with the sugar high!!


Sunday, July 15, 2007

David's Princess Torte

No really, its supposed to look like this.....its Swedish.

<------This frigging Princess Torte has me almost defeated. I called David several hours ago and told him that I gave up. After attempting to make the custard / whipped cream filling twice, I almost lost it. The first time, I made scrambled eggs instead of custard. The second time, I didn't let the milk scald and the custard never set. I tried to make the filling anyway and after folding in the whipped cream, the whole filling was runny, so I tried to freeze it to set it and I left it in there and got ice cream (which melted when I tried to frost the cake with it. )

I have two delicious new recipes for scrambled eggs and ice cream, but not one for custard filling. The third time seems to be the charm so far. The custard is perfect and setting well and the whipped cream is soft but strong. I have to reign in my impatience and wait for the custard to cool completely. If this round doesn't work, I have Jell-o pudding in a box that is guaranteed to set in 5 minutes...The used by date has me worried though. I reads 16 June 08 06 06 I cannot tell if the used by date is June 8, 06 or 16 June 08. Its from Nealey's so I am never sure. The other type of puddin' in a box was certainly expired, it had dust on the box and read March 07. Yikes!

Mine will certainly not look like the one above, which is about three times as thick as mine will be, but my martzipan is greener!!!

I'll keep you posted.