Because we are in Maine, we have eaten seafood for dinner for the past two nights.
On Sunday we stopped just north of Old Orchard Beach in southern Maine at a large place called the Clambake Restaurant. The Clambake was unusual because of its ordering mechanism: customers go to a central ordering queue, place their order and receive drinks, and then retire to a table. About 20 minutes later their number is called and they retrieve food from a central food distribution window. So it’s sort of like a take-out place, but you eat in. Catherine and I both had shrimp and lobster claws. This was Seafood with a capital S: no garnishes or other distractions, simply a giant mound of shrimp and lobster the a slightly spiced breacrumb mixture sprinkled on top. It was very good, but about 50% too much food. Worth a stop if you’re hungry.
Tonight we stopped just north of Belfast, Maine at a place called the Maine Chowder House, a restaurant and gift shop mini-complex on a bluff overlooking the ocean. The location was very scenic, and the food (clamcakes for Catherine and chowder for me) was hot and good tasting, but the service was abysmal. To begin, they hit my number one restaurant offence, the “customers with wriggling child(ren) left waiting for a table for 10 minutes when plenty of tables are available.” This was followed by the “wait 10 minutes for menus and water glasses after being seated” followed by the “wait 20 minutes for food” followed by the “wait 5 minutes for the check”. They didn’t seem particularly busy or over-stressed: somehow the system just broke down. The final snafu: I walk to the cash to pay and the cashier, upon seeing me, says “I’ll be right back” and then disappears for 5 minutes. I ended up leaving the money on the counter and heading out.
Other eatings of note on this trip: Chiang Mai on Rte. 101 in Nashua, NH is a decent Thai restaurant (the Kapow rice packs an appropriate punch); the Harrisville General Store in Harrisville, NH makes great sandwiches and has excellent, friendly, human service; the food court in South Station in Boston is best avoided at all costs; room service in the Swissotel in downtown Boston is excellent for breakfast (pancakes and waffles), but as expensive as you might expect; Gritty Macduff’s in Freeport, ME is a great place for lunch, with a broad and tasty menu and good beer brewed right there.
Tomorrow we cross the border into New Brunswick and leave the land of unsweetened iced tea behind, much to my chagrain. But we’ll be home after almost three weeks away, which we’re very much looking forward to.