Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Esselon - Hadley, MA

You have to do something special to get me to enjoy Eggs Benedict without meat.  Esselon did that.  I actually didn't look at the special board close enough and just assumed some sort of pig meat would be on the Benedict.  There wasn't, and I didn't care.  It was on ciabatta bread, had poached eggs, tomatoes, beet greens and homemade basil hollandaise.  Absolutely awesome - 4.75

Kari had the Bagel Platter which included everything you could ever want on a bagel, plus a salad.  We think it deserves a 4.0

The drinks were awesome too!  I'm not sure you can get Matcha like this during the rush, but it was a nice touch.  The fresh, local apple cider was quite good.

Love the decor in here, and the staff is quite friendly.  Free Wi-Fi, all the amenities of a coffee shop with really good meals.

Esselon Cafe on Urbanspoon

Thursday, August 9, 2012

A Tale of Two Breakfast's - Lori's vs. Kathy's in Maine

Kari and I sometimes do a dumb thing when it comes to eating.  We get picky and pass up potential restaurants for one reason or another until we are starved and stop at the very next place.  That place was Kathy's Breakfast and Chowder House in Trenton, ME.

The server informed us that the food might take a while since the cook was behind.  We though it okay since they warned us, but we should have known something wasn't right since there were very few customers.  The waitress was having some kind of conflict with the cook (who might have been the owner) because she kept saying the cook won't do this or that.  She apologized repeatedly for minor issues and kept warning the hostess to stay at her station to avoid getting yelled at.  All this in front of the customers.

After a VERY long wait we got our food.  The only bright spot was Eggs Benedict that rated a 3.25.  The breakfast sandwich was limp, uninspiring and ugly looking.  It didn't taste very goo either.  It gets a 2.0.

There were other weird things going on, too numerous to mention.  We will not be going back here.

The next day, having learned our lesson, we committed quickly to the frst place that had a good crowd. This was Lori's Cafe in Liberty, ME.  We were greeted by a friendly, funny and outgoing waitress who happened to be the owner.  She joked that they don't let her out of the back often.  She made the meal fun and the entire room had a great vibe to it.

The food was excellent.  I had Eggs Benedict, again, and it was a solid 4.5.  The oatmeal I had on the side was served with wild blueberries - tons of them.  I didn't have to put any sugar in it - 4.25.  The Hashbrown scrambler was excellent and the single blueberry pancake amazing.  The toast was made with homemade wheat bread - thick and delicious.  Kari called the whole meal 4.5.

The differences between Lori's and Kathy's were numerous and obvious.  It was clear that the owner of Lori's cared about the customers and the quality of food and made sure her staff was onboard.  Kathy's clearly did not and either had a hands off approach, or a bad hands on approach.

Either way, I would eat at Lori's any day, I will not be back to Kathy's.

Lori's on Facebook
Kathy's on Urbanspoon:
Kathy's Breakfast & Chowder on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Blaze - Bar Harbor, ME

Dogfish Head 120 Minute on Tap.  They're already awesome in my book!  In addition they have about thirty taps filled with some great local beer as well as some awesome rare ones from around the country.  The beer got us to come in, the food's gonna get us to come back!

We had Grilled Endive as a side dish.  Most of the food is fire roasted and this is no exception.  They didn't do anything fancy except a little spice, oil and then fire.  Endive can be bitter and so we don't eat it enough (it's super good for you.)  This preparation was awesome with just a hint of bitter to round out the flavor.  4.25
This is a 2 pound fire roasted lobster.  This is a great way to have lobster because it adds a ton of flavor and requires a lot less work to get at.  It was so succulent and rich you didn't even need the butter!  The corn and potatoes were great too!  5.0

I had the pork belly tacos.  The roasted tomatoes on the side were delicious.  The tacos were everything you would expect with a generous portion of pork belly served with a lovely slaw of cabbage and radishes.  4.5

This place is pretty new, but I'm confident they're going to be around for a while.  They really put great effort into making sure they have fresh food and unique beers.  They even put wild maine blueberries in  the blueberry beers they serve (if you like that kind of beer.)

We will definitely be visiting these guys again!

Blaze on Urbanspoon

Friday, August 3, 2012

Maine Lobster Festival - Rockport, ME

Kari and I visited the Maine Lobster Festival this year.  It was pretty cool, with all the usual festival stuff (rides, games, food) with the addition of tons of lobsters.

We got pictures of the cooks cooking the lobster for the whole festival: