Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Delicious things eaten in New England on vacation

Chris and I just spent just over a week in Vermont, Massachusetts and New Hampshire, where we ate many delicious things and spent time with good friends and saw a totally killer Tragically Hip outdoor concert. It was a fantastic vacation, and here are some of the highlights. Apologies for the long quiet; I have been cooking a lot of old favourites lately but am planning a frugal food challenge of sorts for the rest of August, so I should have some new stuff to post about that very soon. In the meantime, tasty treats from the Northeast U.S.:

Vermont

Pizza at American Flatbread in Waitsfield, VT: we’ve eaten there before and were not disappointed with our meal, despite a long wait for a table (mitigated by being able to sit outside at the farm and have a drink while watching the sun slowly set). The daily special flatbread had Misty Knoll chicken, arugula and fresh herbs, chanterelles and Vermont cheddar, and it was incredible as always. The brownie sundae for dessert was pretty amazing too. We whetted our appetites with a stroll along the Mad River Greenway, something I can highly recommend.

Lunch at Boloco on Church Street in Burlington, which boasts inspired burritos and killer smoothies. We each had a small “classic” steak burrito, which was huge, generous with the tender meat, and extremely tasty. Shared a Cape Codder smoothie (cranberries, blueberries, apple juice and frozen yogurt) that was one heck of a tasty thirst-quencher. Very good inexpensive lunch – we’d go back.

Boston

Ethiopian food at Addis Red Sea on Tremont in the South End. This was our second visit to Addis, and we were pleasantly surprised at the repeated high quality of the food and service. Favourite dishes were the Lebeg Tibs (lamb berbere stew) and Doro Alicha (mild chicken with onions and spices). Excellent injera and a nifty cottage cheese appetizer too.

China Pearl for dim sum. Recommended by some online friends repeatedly. We were able to find it easily despite not looking up the location, and for $22 ate well but restrainedly (too much fried food = bad news). Pork buns, shrimp noodles, egg rolls and shu mai from the carts were yummy, as was the huge platter of stir fried Chinese broccoli (gai lan) we ordered off the menu. Shabby but comfortable interior, full of Asian folks.

Portsmouth NH

Portsmouth Gaslight Co. treated us very well for dinner one night, with Piscataqua crab cakes for starters, followed by very crispy beer-battered fish and chips for Chris and two generous slabs of maple bourbon boneless short ribs over mashed potatoes for me. The half ear of corn wasn’t the best I’ve had, but that was my only quibble. Chocolate mousse cake was also very impressive, and Chris enjoyed his Sea Dog blueberry wheat ale (Portland, MA) immensely.

The Friendly Toast scores high on the kitschy diner vibe scale, and Chris’s Granny melt (apples, brie, onions on homemade bread) was terrific. My burrito was fine, if not as good as the one in Burlington. Sides are too carby for the amount of bread in the sandwiches, but that’s a common issue with diners. Great selection of drinks (cream soda! Diet ginger ale!) and friendly staff.

Provincetown (Cape Cod)

The Waterford, on Commercial Street, has a lovely upstairs covered deck and impressive hamburgers, plus good lobster “sliders” (three mini lobster salad sandwiches on French bread; generous with the meat, not much filler) and spectacular calamari, not at all tough or rubbery.

Bistro at Crowne Pointe Inn wins my prize for best restaurant associated with a hotel I’ve ever had the pleasure of eating at. Top-notch meal start to finish, from roasted beet, goat cheese and arugula salad that was a divine example of the genre, through six perfect, large, seared sea scallops with thin grilled asparagus and an olive oil-yuzu drizzle, to profiteroles with dulce de leche ice cream and warm Valhrona chocolate sauce (poured tableside to avoid melting). Wine service excellent – a good suggestion from the waiter, who pleasantly agreed to chill the unoaked Chardonnay further when I found it too warm upon tasting. Chris’s lobster ravioli were divine, topped with a butter-poached nugget of gorgeous claw meat and some sautéed baby spinach. The deep-dish lemon pie our friend ordered was tartly divine. Excellent, friendly service. This is one to go back to.

Concord, NH


The Eagle Square Deli deserves a mention for providing us with a terrific lunch along our drive home. Tucked away next to a fountain off Main Street, they boast three kinds of homemade soup and terrific sandwiches made to order. A half smoked turkey and cheddar on great bread with fresh tomato and lettuce, plus a cup of corn and sweet potato chowder, hit the spot perfectly for six bucks. One to remember, as Concord’s just off I-93 and I-89. Beats the heck out of fast food.

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