Posts tagged ‘restaurants’

Honeymoon Food #3: Iron Hill Brewery

Sorry that this series of blog posts is taking so long to get done.  Yes, we’ve been back from our honeymoon for 10 days…We moved into our new apartment last weekend and it’s been really busy around here. Maybe next trip won’t be “technology free” and these posts will be more timely.  Or not.

After Philly, Brian and I headed to Delaware to check out the Winterthur Museum and Country Estate, Longwood Gardens and the Brandywine River Museum.  We stopped in Wilmington with the hopes of finding something to do and somewhere to eat.  Frankly, there didn’t seem to be much going on in downtown Wilmington, but the folks at the visitors center mentioned something about a brewery.  Brian, beer lover that he is, decided that was where we should have dinner and, after getting lost driving around the city, we found Iron Hill Brewery located on the riverfront.

He hasn’t stopped talking about it since.

We started our meal with a sampler of 8 types of beer, the 6 house beers and two seasonals of our (Brian’s) choosing:
My husband, who is far more knowledgable about these things than I, thought the beer was really great. I actually liked most of them too, and only having to have a little of each was definitely the way to go for me.   Sampling all the different kinds was a lot of fun.  It’s possible I’m starting to like beer. Who woulda thought?

We also ordered an appetizer of sweet potato fries.   Sweet potato fries aren’t usually on my radar, but they might be in the future. I think the picture speaks for itself.  Amazing.  I would’ve been content to skip the main course and just eat more fries.

For our entrees, Brian had a pulled pork sandwich:

He really liked it:

I had a “healthy selection” crab cake with tomatoes, avocado, baby arugula, and roasted tomato-jalapeño vinaigrette:
You know you’d had a lifestyle change when you order things off the “healthy selections” menu not because it’s healthy but because it sounds more appetizing than the “normal selections”.

The food was really delicious, the portions sufficient and the atmosphere was fun. Brian suggested, before the meal was even over, that we forgo looking for other restaurants and just come back to Iron Hill for the remaining evenings of our trip. I declined, but it wouldn’t have been the worst thing ever. Iron Hill Brewery has several locations in Delaware, Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

August 19, 2009 at 1:19 pm

Honeymoon Food I: Pizzicato

As I mentioned on Friday, my husband and I were on vacation…our belated honeymoon, actually.  We spent the first 24 hours checking out the historic sites of Philly.  We promised each other we were going to eat well.  And take pictures of  the food, of course.  Over the next couple posts, I’ll share some of the highlights.

On Wednesday night, we were in search of a nice, reasonable sit-down restaurant so we checked out Pizzicato on Market Street.  Brian enjoyed a grilled chicken, spinach, and prosciutto pizza.  Since it had so many toppings, it had a tendency to fall apart, but otherwise it was great.  I only got a bite, but it was delicious.

I had a refreshing salad.  I don’t remember what was in the dressing, but it was lemony and light and amazing.  Plus arugula, asparagus, goat cheese and artichokes.  It was wonderful.  It was also pretty big…

It’s very possible that I consumed the entire thing.

If you ever find yourself in the historic district of Philadelphia, Pizzicato seems to be a safe, yummy choice with some healthy options.

August 11, 2009 at 10:51 am 2 comments

There Goes My Money…

I may have just decided where all my money is going to go.

I also just had an amazing whole wheat bagel with delicious sundried tomato cream cheese.

If my Man notices in a few weeks that we’re out of money, brewhaha, in downtown North Adams, may be to blame.  It’s adorable.  It’s delicious.  And they have vegetarian/vegan offerings!  They offer loose, organic teas!   Not to mention coffee and baked goods.

If you’re in the area and looking for breakfast or lunch, I highly recommend it.

Finally leaving the house today was so worth it.

July 9, 2009 at 11:57 am

Vacation Is My Best Excuse

Posting’s been thin lately, but I have a good excuse (I think).  My sister and I were on vacation in Quebec City.

If you’ve never been (and we hadn’t), I highly suggest you go.  We had a wonderful time shopping, going to the Musée National des Beaux Arts du Québec, walking through The National Battlefields Park, and, of course, eating.

crepes burgers

I’m sure Quebec isn’t the end all, be all of fine cusine, but I took my mini-vacation seriously and ate whatever I wanted, not necesarily in terms of quanity-we stuck to 3 meals a day, and relatively cheap ones because we’re like that- but I ordered whatever I felt like off the menu, vegetarian or not.  We were only there for 3 days and it was vacation after all.  Everything we ate was delicious (who doesn’t love crepes?), and despite our lack of ability to speak French, the waitstaff in all the restaurants we tried were accomodating and helpful.

We finished up our wonderful trip to Canada by stopping at the Empire Grill in Skowhegan, Maine on our way home.  For those unfamiliar with the novel Empire Falls by Richard Russo, the Empire Grill is the restaurant owned by the main character.  The Empire Grill in Skowhegan was used as the site for the filming of the HBO miniseries based on the book which starred Ed Harris, Helen Hunt, Phillip Seymour Hoffman and Paul Newman, after which time the restaurant kept the Empire Grill name.  Empire Falls is one of my absolute favorite books of all time, so stopping at the Grill was a “must do”.  The restaurant far exceeded my expectations.  The portions were huge (I think they served my sister an entire fish with her fish and chips), the prices reasonable and the food delicious.  Even if you don’t care about Empire Falls (though you really, really should!), the Empire Grill is the perfect place to eat if you ever find yourself in Skowhegan.

May 27, 2009 at 9:30 pm 1 comment

Two (More) Reasons Maine is Awesome

1) The Maine Brewer’s Guild  has just released a brochure about the “Maine Beer Trail” (opens PDF).   Personally, I’m not a fan of beer.  I’ve been told it’s is an acquired taste but I’ve been trying it for almost 4 years now and I still haven’t acquired it.  Nevertheless, visiting breweries can be fun and I know a lot of people who do like beer, including my wonderful Man.  So if you’re in the great state of Maine, check out some of the locations on the Maine Beer Trail (apparently Maine has the fourth most breweries per capita in the United States, one for every 42,000 residents).

2) The Portland Press Herald had a lovely story on the front of the “Food and Health” section of the paper today about Rob Evans,  the James Beard Foundation Award winner for Best Chef: Northeast.  Evan’s restaurant, Hugo’s, is in Portland.  I haven’t been there yet, but it’s definitely on my list.  Who would’ve thought a Portland chef would beat out the Boston ones?  Me, because Maine is awesome.

May 13, 2009 at 6:04 pm 1 comment

Part II: Fore Street and Gelato Fiasco

Fore Street Restaurant

Whole Foods Market, though completely wonderful, was just an errand on the way to the climax of my day.  I had 6 pm reservations at the Fore Street Restaurant in Portland (Maine).  Fore Street made an appearance in a recent issue of Down East Magazine in  “Where to Eat Now”, but what really got me interested in checking it out was its nomination for a 2009 James Beard Award for “Outstanding Restaurant”.  When I saw that a Portland establishment had been nominated for an award, I knew I had to go, especially since Fore Street is focused on local, fresh ingredients, which sounded right up my alley.

I don’t eat at “fancy”  restaurants much, but the meal really made me question why I don’t.  From the moment we entered the restaurant, I felt at ease.  First of all, though Fore Street is beautiful, it’s just rustic enough to feel cozy.  Our waiter, Lance, was incredibly kind and helpful.  The menu was relatively long and though I’ve never been somewhere where carpaccio or foie gras was actually being served, they apparently don’t just exist on television.  That said, there were many items on the menu that sounded delicious and I wish they didn’t change their menu daily (!!!) so I could try to experience more of the items on it.  I settled on duck, cooked in their wood-burning oven.  My Man ordered pork loin.  We split a side of delicious Maine garlic mashed potatoes.  I had never had duck before, and it was incredible.  I figure if you’re going to eat at a good place, you may as well order something different because it’ll be good.  Yay for trying new things, again.  We also had some really excellent pino grigio (I forgot how good quality wine was!)  We had a wonderful meal at Fore Street.  I would absolutely recommend it to someone looking for perfectly prepared food, though be prepared for $25-40 entrees.

Gelato Fiasco

Forgoing dessert at the Fore Street was a hard decision (though we were pretty full…)  My Man and I had other plans; on the way home we stopped at another place we adore.  The Gelato Fiasco in Brunswick is a frequent stop for my family (my sister once went 3 times in one weekend…and its a good 40 minutes from our home!).  I’m sure Brunswick isn’t the first place you’d look for good gelato, but it’s well worth it.  The gelato is created fresh from scratch right in town.  They always have at least 20 flavors available and I’ve never had a bad one.  Tuesday night’s choice for me was half strawberry (sorbetto, actually, not gelato) and half chocolate gelato; my Man had half espresso gelato and half chocolate caramel.  Delcious.  Gelato Fiasco is also very generous with samples, has games for customers to play and provides free wi-fi.  They’re open 7 days a week, 11-11.  If you’re ever in mid-coast Maine, definitely check them, or one of their partner locations, out.

April 23, 2009 at 8:56 am 3 comments

Weekend Summary

So far so good, as the weekend goes.  On Friday, the family and I went to see celtic rock fusion band Enter the Haggis.   An excellent show as always (In my family, I’m the slacker with only 5 ETH concerts under my belt.  Check them out, they’re great.)  On the way to the show we stopped at Big G’s Deli in Winslow for dinner.  I have never seen more sandwich choices or bigger sandwiches in my life.  Not gourmet, but quality.

Yesterday I finally got my parents to Whole Foods (it’s over an hour away from home, so it is a bit of a feat).  Mom, once again, surprised me by being way more interested in all the store’s inventory.  Dad was surprisingly patient and may have even enjoyed the experience too.  Maybe its because our local supermarket is so…what’s the word? Limited… but Whole Foods really is an experience.  I purchased 2 tubs of Israeli (aka Middle Eastern) cous cous, which I love but have a hard time finding anywhere else.  Still trying to decide exactly what I’m going to do with it.  If I can get my act together in the future I may do more real shopping there.

This morning’s been starting out slowly, which is the way I like Sunday mornings.  Tea, hard boiled egg, toast.  I can’t remember the last time I had hard boiled egg, but I felt like making some.  Craving resolved.  Normally I’m an overachieving morning person, but sometimes its nice to just sit around and enjoy the day.  Church supper and service beginning at 4:45.  The only thing I have to accomplish between now and then is making cupcakes (possibly dyed green?) for debate club.

Finally, I loved this news story about reusable shopping bags which was on NECN this morning.  It’s wonderful to see that this is really catching on.  I’m so sick of the piles of plastic bags accumulating in my house.  Now, if only I could get in the habit of bringing my reusable bags into the store!

March 15, 2009 at 10:21 am

Favorite Places: Spice Root

Seems to me I never eat Indian food in places that one would expect.  The last time in memory I can recall having authentic Indian cuisine was in Wales 3 years ago, homemade by an individual who was hosting members of the mission team I was working with.  Every time I smell curry, I think of Wales.  Indian food in Wales is about as expected as Indian food in northwest Massachusetts, I would think, but expectations are often false.

Spice Root is located in downtown Williamstown, MA (home of Williams College and the Clark Art Institute).  My Man and I ventured there because it was recommended to us by one of his friends who is, reliably, Indian.  According to him, the food is something like 75% authentic and 25% what Americans want to eat.  Honestly, I wouldn’t know and I wouldn’t say that’s necessarily a bad thing.  Weekday lunch is a $8.95 all you can eat buffet and it was delicious.  Rice, naan, chicken tikka masala, mulligatawny soup, aloo gobi (potatoes and eggplant).  It was everything I think Indian food should be and my stomach and I left very happy.  the rest of the menu looks great as well, I definitely plan to head back.

February 20, 2009 at 9:14 am

Restaurant Review: Frontier Cafe, Cinema and Gallery

Despite the fact that I frequent the mid-coast college town of Brunswick, Maine, I had never heard of Frontier until a student mentioned it to me a week or two ago.  I immediately checked out their website (  and was intrigued.  It looked different, modern and delicious.

My family and I got the opportunity to check out Frontier today.  Located inside Fort Andross, a refurbished mill on the Androscoggin River which also houses Cabot Mill Antiques, the cafe immediately felt warm and inviting to me.  As I mentioned, I’d never heard of Frontier, which left me initially concerned that they might be struggling.  However, the place was practically full when we arrived at 2 in the afternoon and remained as such.  I’m not worried for them; if there’s a recession going on, it’s not apparent at Frontier.   The bulk of the cafe is open and spacious, with thick wood tables and benches.  The walls are deep reds and yellows and the big windows overlook the River.  Black and white artwork of loggers ran along one wall.  I’m big on atmosphere and to me, the place seemed comfortable, friendly and hard to be unhappy in.  Another draw of Frontier which we did not explore today is their cinema.  I didn’t count seats but I suspect it holds about 50, with counters in front of each row of chairs for enjoying your food while watching an indie film.

One orders at a counter immediately upon entering the cafe; menu selections are written on chalkboards suspended from the high ceilings.  I had previewed the menu several times online and was especially interested in the “marketplates”: themed platters of various ingredients including French, Italian and Cheese.  However, once we arrived at the cafe I couldn’t resist the creamy potato dill soup being offered.  My parents ordered the pastrami sandwich and a Frontier Italian sandwich.  Everything on the menu seemed appetizing, however and they also have a large selection of bottled teas, sodas, beer and wine.  The wait for our food seemed a little long for soup and sandwiches, but they were busy.  My soup arrived in a ceramic bowl with two slices of crusty bread.  It was very thick, very tasty and very filling.  The rustic sandwiches looked delicious as well.

Overall, I’d definitely recommend Frontier to someone looking for a refreshing dining experience.  My soup was great and so was the atmosphere.  One of my parents said “it was good but not stupendous.”  I agree-it’s not gourmet cuisine, but it was really quality, original, fresh cafe and deli food in a great location.

Also, check out the reviews from the Portland Press Herald and Down East Magazine.

Frontier Cafe, Cinema and Gallery
14 Maine Street, Brunswick, ME

January 17, 2009 at 9:23 pm

Top 5 Food Experiences, thus far

  1. Mesa Grille, NYC, February 2008
  2. Bricco, Boston’s North End, April 2007
  3. Whites Tavern’s Guinness Pie, Belfast, Northern Ireland, April 2008
  4. Homemade Indian food in Wales, March 2006
  5. Chocolate covered shortbread, Stonehenge Vistors Center, England, April 2003

What are yours?

December 31, 2008 at 12:43 pm 1 comment

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