Sunday, December 16, 2007

I went up to hear a lecture at Colby College in Waterville on Wednesday afternoon and had the distinct pleasure of being invited out to dinner with the speaker, several professors in the art and American Studies department, and the Director of the museum. We went to Apollo Spa and Bistro on Spring Street for dinner. I hold no great hopes for Waterville as a destination place for food, but the Apollo is a refreshing suprise. The bistro is on the second floor of an old Italianate Revival Victorian house with the spa and salon occupying the first floor. Once one gets upstairs, the soft glow of the lighting and the deep, rich colors of the walls immediately put one at ease and really makes one relax. There is a lot of atmosphere here, which is a good change from restaurants on the coast which are lacking in both good food and good atmosphere. One of the first things that I noticed was the abundance of fresh flowers in interesting vases. Each table held a vase of white freezia and at the end of the dining room was an array of white roses, lillies, freezia and other fresh flowers that made the room smell so gorgeous. Each table had starched white tableclothes and antique chairs...different sets of chairs at each table, making for an interesting visual. When menus were placed before us, I noticed with glee that they patronized local Maine farmers, meat producers and fisheries. That meant that everything was fresh and not more of this food service idyll that coastal restaurants like.
The restaurant knew we were coming and so delivered to the table a bottle of wine that the director of the museum favored. I must comment on the wine glasses here...big beautiful bowled glasses that fit perfectly in the palm of my huge hand, they were gorgeous! And the wine was just so smooth and rich...I was in heaven.
I decided for the vegetarian meal for the evening, so I went with the most delectible potato/ leek soup that arrived dotted with green pesto surrounding an island of crutons....I loved the presentation so much that I will probably steal it the next time I make potato/ leek soup (perhaps today). The soup was a perfect balance of potatoes and leeks and was really, really tasty. Other options were a beet salad that was beautifully colorful on the plate...if you like that sort of thing, and oysters on the half shell that were nicely presented.
For dinner, I had a roasted acorn squash filled with a buttery and smokey mixture of grains and vegetables topped with sauteed swiss was a treat to behold and a nice change of pace for me. We had an excellent time laughing and telling art jokes and stories. We had discussions ranging from tango melodies to the history of formica to the dangers and joys of skating on ponds in Maine in the winter.
I would highly recommend this lovely and suprising bistro. I would love it if there was something like this on the coast that could sustain itself somewhere around Belfast.