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I've been Exploring, food-related at least.

Some of it has been in trying new restaurants. The Wild Horse Cafe in Beverly is run by the same owner/chef as The Old Spot in downtown Salem. Delicious food at both. Salem advantage: more traditional English pub fare and matching surroundings. Beverly advantage: a parking lot across the street and a larger dining room allowing more eclectic furniture, also a full page listing of "martini" drinks if you're into that. Both have a great list of draught brews if you're into that instead, including hard cider on tap.

Another try was the USS Chowder Pot in Branford, CT. This one is Chowder Pot "III". There's a "IV" in Hartford. The website says "I" and "II" became "III", which is visually and arithmetically appropriate. Very standard American family seafood place where parents can have lobster and a mixed drink and the kidlings can have grilled cheese and chocolate milk. The salad was decent: besides the standard tomato, cucumber, shredded carrot, there were black olives and a pepperoncini. The waitress rattled off about 10 types of dressings. I chose "gorgonzola" and it came with a side container of an Italianate dressing and another container of crumbled gorgonzola cheese. Very odd. For a main course, the stuffed Dungeness crab is huge, and appropriately pricy, but if you're hungry enough it's not a bad choice when eating alone. There's enough occupation in taking it apart that you don't have to pack a book to have the excuse to linger over dinner. And it's very messy. Really. A lobster has only two good-sized appendages to crack open. A Dungeness crab has six, plus four smaller ones. You wouldn't want to eat this in front of someone you're trying to impress, unless you're trying to impress them with your gastronomic enthusiasm.

The other night I threw together a very simple dessert I need to remember. I defrosted a sheet of puff pastry and cut it apart into six rectangular sections. On each I scattered some (peeled and diced) Bosc pear, some good quality semisweet chocolate chips, a sprinkle of ground cinnamon, and a little demerara sugar. (Next time, maybe some finely chopped crystallized ginger, too?) I closed over each section and sealed the sides by pressure and folding, put a couple of small slits in the top, brushed it with a wash of beaten egg and water, and sprinkled a little more sugar on top. Then baked them for 20 minutes at 400 degrees. So very simple, and yet so very good!


( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
Apr. 21st, 2011 09:57 am (UTC)
I must try that dessert recipe when I come back to the US, it sounds great!
Crab..man I have such mixed feelings on it. It's so so delicious, but so messy and sometimes downright hard to eat...
Apr. 22nd, 2011 04:28 pm (UTC)
It helps if the crab is as big as this one was: about 2 lbs. Much more satisfying-sized bits of meat and enough room to wield a cocktail fork instead of feeling like you should be using a toothpick isntead. :-)
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )