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Mid-coast Maine (Camden)

Since this seems to be the thread for this, a quick round-up from our just-completed mid-coast mid-July weekend:

Home Kitchen Cafe (Rockland): A real disappointment. The coffee, must-get-right for any breakfast specialty place, was tasteless: could not be discerned to be coffee. Hollandaise sauce on the "Bennies" (a cuteism for Eggs Benedict-themed courses) was similarly tasteless- not a note of lemon and very little egg to taste: basically yellow white sauce. OJ: from a box. Breads; very good. Jams: Smuckers. Giant American servings. Plates arrive bare except for the ordered items: no garnishes, so there you go: plop. Friendly, efficient service, nice view from their rooftop deck. We won't be back.

MUCH, much better mid-coast breakfasts:

Saltwater Café right in the middle of Rockport: breakfast food and coffees as they should be, with a terrific deck overlooking Rockport harbor. Real OJ, real (Matt's Wood Roasted organic) coffee. Stuff like that. Seriously great restaurant-building and -running.

Surprisingly, despite its mid-century-resort heaviness, the Samoset has a great breakfast, served in a large dining room with a sweeping view of the water. Prices are nowhere near as high as they might be for a resort hotel. I would skip the buffet and order from the menu. The ricotta-lemon-blueberry pancakes are a must-have: my wife calls it the best breakfast she's ever had. The Samoset is a big sprawling mess and we actually had a hard time finding the main entrance, but it’s well worth a morning visit for breakfast. Dig the view.

Francine Bistro: good as ever. Their entree’s tend a bit on the heavy side, but if you understand that going in, Francine’s just one of Maine’s best restaurants. We returned the next night, for cocktails and oysters before dinner, because: Francine.

Then we headed up the hill to Natalie’s, which is a bit of a mixed bag. I could write an essay about what’s going on there, but in a nutshell Natalie’s is as much about the experience as the food. A guest at Francine called Natalie’s “stuffy”: it’s not, not at all. It IS unctuous, self-referential, friendly and somehow tawdry. The food is very good and often excellent. Be prepared to be pampered, if your idea of being pampered is having waitstaff at the table for a large part of your time there, asking how you like the food or telling you what you’re eating or about to eat. They unintentionally double this up from time to time: 2 or even three consecutive servers coming to ask if we found the most recent plate enjoyable. High-end table service used to be unobtrusively helpful and elegant: this is an “experience”, designed to reassure one-percenters and strivers that they are as important as they feel they should be.

Jul 14, 2013
Dual in Northern New England

Trader Joe's Yay/Nay Thread - May 2013 [old]

The trick with the farro and the barley is to work them into dishes: they can't stand on their own. Farro is really nice if cooked up in a speedier version of how farro is cooked in Italy, or added to a slow-saute dish (rabbit with pancetta was very nice...)

May 31, 2013
Dual in Chains

New (?) Italian on Route One, Falmouth ME??

Well I just found their website. It does NOT look promising...

Mar 18, 2012
Dual in Northern New England

New (?) Italian on Route One, Falmouth ME??

I just noticed that the place the originals Hugo's decamped to (on Route One in Falmouth) has gone Italian. My net research indicates it might be called "Hugs Italian". OMG.

Anyone been there?? Reports?

Mar 18, 2012
Dual in Northern New England

Pai Men Miyake - Noodle Bar In Portland

Dec 23, 2010
Dual in Northern New England

"East" Chinese restaurant in Wells, ME???

Anyone been there? It's run by the folks who run Hong Kong Market, my favorite Chinese-oriented asian grocery in Portland.

Dec 14, 2010
Dual in Northern New England

Pai Men Miyake - Noodle Bar In Portland

Perhaps you could consider deleting or severely editing the "Bad service overpriced food" copy of this review (written days after the soft launch) you've posted to Google Maps. You seem to have reconsidered here: give a small business a bit of a break and reconsider your very negative post there as well?

Dec 03, 2010
Dual in Northern New England

Dining in Waterville Maine Help

There's an Italian place in the Hannaford's shopping center on Kennedy Drive. Any reports?

Dec 01, 2010
Dual in Northern New England

Dining in Waterville Maine Help

Anyone have a report on Apollo 91?

Dec 01, 2010
Dual in Northern New England

Waterville, ME area: dining???

Anything at all going on in the Waterville ME area? We have an overnight scheduled soon: looking for dinner.

Nov 28, 2010
Dual in Northern New England

Lewiston ME: what's cooking??

Oh, really? So the original cooking staff are no longer there? I recall links to Bandol...?

(on edit) OH: AND- The Daniel Stone Inn? Thought that closed a few years ago???

What's the skinny on DSI food?

Jul 22, 2010
Dual in Northern New England

Lewiston ME: what's cooking??

Headed to Lewiston soon, will stop for dinner? Quality recommendations?

Jul 22, 2010
Dual in Northern New England

Snow Squall - South Portland, ME

How is it? Open now AFAIK: my daughter went to the soft launch early this week

Nov 25, 2009
Dual in Northern New England

Believe it or not, Walmart!

Most importantly: cheap booze!!

Nov 06, 2009
Dual in All New England Archive

Snow Squall - South Portland, ME

It's reopening? David Gooch behind it, or someone else? Any further info appreciated.

Nov 06, 2009
Dual in Northern New England

Seek simple, reliable heritage turkey recipe

...and just because this conversation has moved around a bit, Cheryl; you -are- talking about your experience with heritage turkeys here?

Nov 02, 2009
Dual in Home Cooking

Seek simple, reliable heritage turkey recipe

I've never had a brined turkey I enjoyed eating. Maybe there's a brining technique which doesn't result in a salty, processed-tasting bird, but I haven't encountered the results.

Nov 01, 2009
Dual in Home Cooking

Seek simple, reliable heritage turkey recipe

Well put.

Oct 30, 2009
Dual in Home Cooking

Seek simple, reliable heritage turkey recipe

"...not to mention the accommodation for a one-ton bird. Musta been a real terror in the barnyard."

LOL!!! I didn't REALLY mean 1820 lbs. Substantially less than that.

Oct 28, 2009
Dual in Home Cooking

Eileen Yin-Fei Lo's Mastering the Art of Chinese Cooking is finally out!

Can you tell me why this particular volume has you so excited? Always on the lookout here.

Oct 26, 2009
Dual in Home Cooking

Seek simple, reliable heritage turkey recipe

I seriously overcooked last year's local, heritage turkey. Searching online for heritage turkey recipes produces recipes all over the map.

Our bird this year will be about 1820 lbs, I'm told. Want to roast it simply, with a stuffing.

Anyone got anything?

Oct 26, 2009
Dual in Home Cooking

Solo Bistro: Bath ME

I'm very glad you had a good visit, because I like the idea of this place and the people who run it.

In the years since I posted above, wife and I have hit a point where she refuses to go there any longer, and I understand how she feels. Straw that broke the back was a special of the day which consisted of superbland flounder in a tough dense crust of what appeared to be oatmeal. So we gave up.

Sep 19, 2009
Dual in All New England Archive

Lydia Shire's Blue Sky on York Beach, ME

Well, if you read this thread carefully from the top it becomes clear that Blue Sky NEVER received proper attention. It's almost as if the place were either (A) intended to rake money in from ignorant tourists, a great mistake for an upscale restaurant in the internet age (here we are talking about Blue Sky, right?), or (B) designed to lose money for some arcane business purpose.

Either way this place does not serve the dining public or its owner's reputations well.

I read another, recent review here where Blue Sky was in a list of area restaurants the poster had visited, and he encountered abysmal service as well.

Sep 19, 2009
Dual in Northern New England

New England threads need a City/State prompt.

"Identifying location is the responsibility of the poster, in the title. Chow Lords' job description does not include correcting third graders' homework."

I know this. I'm just suggesting that Chow should structure the new-thread entry screen to REMIND and PROMPT posters to do the right thing.

Honestly, why not just have City/State fields default in EVERY forum? No matter where you live, a thread with a title like: "Went to Joe's Place and loved it." does no one any good.

Sep 19, 2009
Dual in Site Talk

New England threads need a City/State prompt.

Somehow the lords of Chow need to find a way to PROMPT people who start threads here to include the location of the places they're discussing. "New chef at Harry's?" just doesn't cut it in a board that's stretching over such a wide range.

C'mon, Chow Lords: if you can't break our area into appropriate sections (doesn't Portland YET deserve its own?), at least you can come up with a way to let us know if a thread references Providence or Presque Isle.

Sep 18, 2009
Dual in Site Talk

Portland -The Corner Room and Grace?

Bumping for more on Grace?

Aug 13, 2009
Dual in All New England Archive

Rue St. Jacques: wtf?

As I said, it was in April, early April. I don't recall specifically, but nothing you inquire about should have affected the waiter's performance, or the complete emptiness of the restaurant.

Jul 31, 2009
Dual in San Francisco Bay Area

Portland-Fore St vs Vignola vs Caiola's?

Gilbert's chowder (their claim to fame) is supersuperthick and awful. I refuse to eat there.

I like the Farmer's Table; as long as you bring modest expectations to the place it will serve you well. Think of it as a downscale, downsized Fore Street.

Don't miss Paciarino. Duckfat has never wowed me as much as other writers here.

If you're into sushi, you owe it to yourself to check out Miyake.

Jul 29, 2009
Dual in All New England Archive

Riverside Farm Market Café, Oakland ME

The Riverside Farm Market Café, in Oakland ME is just a short drive from Waterville Maine Tpk Exit 127, and well worth the trip. A lovingly-run small business set alongside the Messalonskee river, they serve very good food in a friendly, casual manner. My wife and I were there for lunch the other day. I particularly enjoyed the quiche, a lunch staple that most restaurants make soggy and leaden. This was just about perfect. Same for wife's very-full lobster roll (could have used a bit more mayo) and the delicious pies. Wide-ranging and affordable wine list.

There's a tiny vineyard next to the patio dining area: they have not yet produced a satisfactory wine, but its presence adds a very charming touch to what's already a restful and attractive view.

The "Farm Market" is more of a gourmet store, with an impressive inventory of wines.

Well worth the short detour if you're in the Waterville (Colby College) area.

http://www.riversidefarmmarket.com/

Jul 23, 2009
Dual in Northern New England

Rue St. Jacques: wtf?

Been meaning to post this for a while, forgive the delay.

I took my family there for dinner when visiting SF in April. Very, very good food, but:

(A) We were the only customers there the whole time. We left about 9:30.

(B) Service was idiosyncratic to downright weird. Among other things: the waiter had a very outsized personality, and favored my young-adult daughters to the point of completely ignoring me, like: never refilling my water or wine when he did everyone else's. Plus everything, for everyone was dashed onto the table like a hurricane. He'd refill water glasses en-masse: swoop the pitcher across the table. Really. Big puddles on the tablecloth.

In case it needs to be said, I am a well-behaved respectful diner and caused this waiter no reason to behave like this.

The food was great but the service was awful, and the fact that we were so alone said a lot.

Anyone have anything further to share on this place?

http://www.ruesaintjacques.com/welcom...

Jul 16, 2009
Dual in San Francisco Bay Area