Friday, July 04, 2008

A few final food-related vacation highlights

Our Montreal vacation now seems so long ago (two whole weeks; time does fly when you're, um, back at work). But I can't move on without mentioning a few more tasty highlights from the trip.

1) Breakfast at Eggspectation, Montreal
From the outside, this place looked like a sketchy chain diner. But after the previous day's Ritzy $100 breakfast for four--which worked out to about $10 per fried egg, plus juice and coffee--we were up for something (anything) cheaper.

Inside, it was cool and funky, all alterno-hip waitstaff, college radio music and exposed bricks and ductwork.

Inside Eggspectation, Montreal

Eggspectation's menu is mostly, um, well, ovo-centric, with unusual takes on classics and some of their own creations. But there's also a plethora of carbs: bagels, waffles, crepes, French toast. And smoothies, including one of fruit and granola, which would make a sufficient breakfast by itself. (I, of course, ordered it as well as more solid food, and realized I couldn't manage the whole thing.)

The rest of my meal: Brioche Beauty, which was actually two sizable cinnamon rolls covered with yogurt, honey and almonds, served with a fresh fruit salad.

Brioche beauty at Eggspectation, Montreal.

This, to me, is the epitome of breakfast: 50% healthy and nutritious, 50% sweet and decadent.

I'm so used to "fruit salad" that turns out to be awkward chunks of under-ripe melon with a few grapes thrown in; here, the strawberries had flavor, the kiwi wasn't sour and there were slices of mango and papaya.

Eggspectation is a Canadian franchise, with only a handful of locations in the US; our closest is South Portland, Maine. (They're in one other country: India.)

I'm not saying I'd want to make a trip north solely to eat there, but if we were in the area ...

2) Hotdog and poutine, Cité Souterrain, Montreal

I really don't think this needs an explanation.

3) Turkey dinner at The Parson's Corner

We were on our way back from Montreal, somewhere close to Nowhere, when we realized it was time for lunch, and took the next available exit off Rte. 91: Barton, Vermont. The pickings were slim--an ice-cream place, a Chinese resto called Ming's (which is always a dubious name to the English) and The Parsons' Corner, a pretty house that claimed to be a restaurant.

They stopped serving lunch at 2:30. It was 2:15. We hurried inside, and found a full-on diner counter, a guy slinging hash and the living- and dining-rooms converted into booth space.

I went for a straightforward grilled cheese sandwich; The Boy chose the steak and cheese sub. His dad ordered a burger, and his mom decided on the day's special: turkey dinner.

Everything was good, but the dinner was the winner, getting big points for nostalgia (canned peas! Gelatinous cranberry sauce!), for the silky mashed potato and gravy (doubtless both reconstituted, but who cares) and especially for--because there's no way you can fake this--the tender, moist, thick slices of roast turkey.

4) Scotch eggs in Portsmouth, New Hampshire
The last leg of our return trip included lunch in Portsmouth. We wandered the streets for a while and decided on the
Portsmouth Gas Light Company, which has a look and vibe much like the Miracle of Science. The food was lovely, fresh and interesting.

But this isn't about that place. It's about the place I wanted to go, but which didn't open for another hour:
The Coat of Arms, a British pub whose menu included not just yer usual faux-Anglo fish 'n' chips and bangers 'n' mash, but also a ploughman's lunch, sausage rolls, treacle pudding and custard and (gasp!) scotch eggs.

After lunch, as we were heading back to the car, I ran a quick errand.

I probably should have ordered them uncooked; they came hot, and they warmed my lap for the rest of the ride home. Sadly, we were too full to eat more, and didn't get to try them until the next day, when they were cold and a little tough and chewy: not at their best.

This just means we have to go back. And also try the treacle pudding.

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