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Blog Suspended

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I recently went to Romano's Macaroni Grill in South Portlnd and had, quite possibly, the worst dinner I've ever had. The Brussel sprouts weren't trimmed, leaving the woody stem and they were burned. The sauce for the Chicken Marsalla was watery and the alcohol from the wine hadn't cooked off. There were problems with the check and overall, it was the worst dining experience I've had in recent memory.  This was three restaurants in a row with horrible meals. The one thing that all three restaurants had in common is that they all had "new cooks in the kitchen" and all were clearly short staffed. This is the effect of COVID upon the restaurant industry. Restaurants that were once very good now have untrained, inadequate, staff. So, for us, eating out isn't the treat it once was. With that in mind, I've decided to suspend reviewing or otherwise writing about my restaurant experiences. I might start reviewing again after the COVID effects on restaurants
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We tried stopping by the Dunstan Tap and Table once and learned they were closed both Monday and Tuesday. Finally, we were able to stop by about 4:30 on a Saturday afternoon.  Seating The hostess asked if a “hi-top” table was all right, and we said no, we’d prefer a regular table. She told us we couldn’t have one because they were reserved. We were aghast as we looked about and saw most of the tables vacant. She finally said we could have a table in the corner, but it was reserved for six PM, and we’d need to be done eating by then. It was apparent that the very young hostess wasn’t well trained in handling walk-ins. We were finally seated when we confirmed we wouldn’t take an hour and a half to eat.  Ordering Our server, Erin, was delightful and took our order. No onion rings for an appetizer, so we skipped having one. I ordered the Maple Bourbon Burger (8 oz. Prime Ground Beef, Smoked Pineland Farms Cheddar, Bacon, Fried Onions, Pickles, Maple Bourbon Sauce), medium well done and a s

Restaurant Review – The Garage BBQ

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We arrived at The Garage BBQ before the dinner hour, about 4:20 on a Friday afternoon. A pleasant young person met us as we came in the door and brought us to a seat. We asked to be put into a corner table with chairs with backs instead of a bench seat.  Pre-ordering They must have been short-staffed because we got the manager, Josh, as our server. He was excellent, and his knowledge of his bar was incredible.  Appetizers The table ordered an Onion Ring Tower. It included eight tempura-style onion rings and White BBQ and rémoulade dipping sauces. I like the tempura style and thought they were quite good. My wife thought they were a bit greasy. I noticed some of the rings had separation, and there was an inconsistent fry between the various rings. They were good, but not great. I thought the rémoulade was a bit bland, but I suppose I favor the hotter, more Cajun-flavored versions. Food I like sausages and had ordered the Spicy Sausage. It comes with cornbread, bacon mac’n’ cheese, and

Restaurant Review – The Clambake, Scarborough, Maine

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Background Because of COVID, it has been a long time since we have been out to a proper restaurant. We’ve done a lot of curbside and drive-thru pickup, but now that we have our COVID vaccinations and mask-wearing is becoming optional in Maine, I think we will be going out much more often. I also thought I’d start up this food blog again. This week, we thought we’d try The Garage at Pine Point. Unfortunately, we were eating about 3:30, and The Garage doesn’t open until 4 pm. So, instead, we went across the street to The Clambake.  Arrival The Clambake current hours are 11 am to 8 pm, seven days a week. We arrived about 3:40, and there were only a few people there.  Ordering Ordering is done in a line that leads to several cash registers. We placed our order for what we considered a “late lunch” and received our receipt with the call number. Then we walked across the hall to the bar. The bartender was pleasant and provided the drinks in plastic cups. My wife’s whisky soda was a bit water

National Oatmeal Day - 29 October

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Today is National Oatmeal Day, and I thought I’d look at my wife’s oatmeal.  Hers is the most interesting and best-tasting oatmeal ever. Cinnamon Oatmeal with Cream & Bailey's First, she cooks Old Fashioned Oats with cinnamon. Sometimes in the fall, she might add ginger, nutmeg, allspice, and cloves to make a pumpkin-spice like mixture. She uses enough water to cook it, but the oatmeal is still very stiff.   Next, she will put it in a bowl and create a lovely mountain, making the sides steep and create a divot in the center. She then fills the outside with cream to create a moat around the oatmeal. Then, she fills the empty volcano with Bailey’s Irish Cream. Adding a snowy mountain top of whipped cream adds to the charm. Finally, a gentle sprinkle of cinnamon sugar provides the finished product. It is impressive to watch her build one.   #NationalOatmealDay

Covid-19 Update

Because of Covid-19, social distancing, and travel issues, I haven’t traveled at all or done much eating out. I’ve done curbside at several restaurants, but to review them just doesn’t seem right. They are doing the best they can. Because of that, I’ve decided to refocus this blog more on examining the food I’ve prepared than on restaurant foods and experiences. We’ll see how that goes and if it can motivate me a bit.  

Restaurant Review – Banners Restaurant – Conway, NH

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Background – We spent the day before riding the Cog Railway and stayed in North Conway for the night.   In the morning we looked for a good place for breakfast, and a very good place we found. Arrival – We arrived at about 9:30 on a Sunday morning and they were busy.   We had about a ten-minute wait before being seated. Pre-ordering – The server arrived quickly with cups and a pot of coffee right away. We sais yes to the coffee and ordered "waters with lemon," and a Mimosa. The arrived quickly--about the time we were ready to order.     Ordering – There were so many luscious sounding items available.   My wife struggled between the traditional Eggs Benedict and Florentine and Irish versions. I wrestled with several omelets and "biscuits and gravy."   I ordered the Biscuits and Gravy and my wife chose the traditional Eggs Benedict. Traditional Eggs Benedict at Banners   Food – The food arrived quickly and without incident and was amazing. My e