August 16th, 2010


New England Roadtrip, July 7, part 1: Maine Diner

I hadn't included the Maine Diner in my initial list of New England destinations, because I had not been impressed by the seafood chowder they served at the New Orleans Roadfood Festival. But Lori wants to start the day with breakfast food, and it was one of the few places nearby with a Roadfood listing that mentioned breakfast, so we put it on our list. I'm very glad we did.

The Maine Diner is a very cute diner with a blue and white color scheme:

I explained to our waitress that I was interested in lobster, but had had a bad experience with lobster the night before; what would she recommend to a lobster newbie? This is a question of particular interest at the Maine Diner, because their menu includes lobster roll, lobster mac and cheese, lobster quiche, lobster benedict, and lobster pie. She said "well, people like the lobster roll", and though I was full of trepidation because of the nasty Red's Eats lobster roll, I decided to go for it.

I remember exactly what she said when she brought out the lobster roll: "if that isn't good, deah, I'll take you home and make you one myself." (One of the peripheral discoveries we made on this trip: the New England accent is alive and well in a way that, say, the stereotypical Pittsburgh dialect is not. We heard that strong non-rhoticity in many restaurants and even on the radio.) I didn't have to put her offer to the test, though, because this lobster roll was excellent. The meat was cool, sweet, and tender - quite the opposite of the Red's Eats lobster roll.

Lori chose the Country Breakfast, which tells what part of the country it comes from by the inclusion of baked beans. It was all good, although the biscuit was not a great Southern biscuit.

We hesitated about dessert, because we were meeting up with Chris Ayers for a Roadfood tour later that day. But the menu listed Indian pudding, and I had never tried Indian pudding before, and we didn't have plans for Indian pudding on our tour. So we had Indian pudding with ice cream. It was splendid! It had a base of hearty grain flavor, but the flavor was lifted and softened into something sumptuous, like a burlap sack made into a quilt. I would definitely have it again.

One more story from the Maine Diner: as I was coming back to my table from the restroom, the proprietor looked at me with a glint of recognition and said "you're from around here, aren't you?" Well, no; I haven't been to New England in years. Then he took another look, and he got it: "You were at the New Orleans festival!" I was very impressed, because I wasn't close to recognizing him as Myles Henry from the festival. We chatted for five or ten minutes about the New Orleans Roadfood Festival and about our Roadfooding through New England. It really tickled my fancy to be recognized - it made me feel much more famous than I believe myself to be.

I'm very glad that we gave the Maine Diner another chance; we had a great time there.