Lounging at the Beach at Kostantis

One of the best things about island life is living outside. Napping on the balcony. Splashing in the pool. Sitting at a restaurant on the beach.

No, not a beachside restaurant…an actual restaurant ON the beach.

Like this one:

kostantis1 The small beach community of Ornos has a beautiful, idyllic stretch of beach that is lined with restaurants and sunbeds. You just pick a comfy couch under a canopy and order lunch, or – if you would rather – choose a sunbed and order a drink and perhaps a massage from the women walking around offering them. All PG here, before you get too excited.

Oh, also – if you come here from the Mykonos Grand, just follow that long, winding road. It’s going to seem like it is NEVER ENDING. But it will end, hopefully with you unscathed by roaring mopeds down the teeny, tiny road.

When you get to Kostantis, immediately sit down, order a glass of some SERIOUSLY strong house wine (it has to be 90 proof!), and order the simplest, freshest food you can.

For example:

kostantis2 Fried appetizer platter

This ain’t your local TGIFRiday’s appeteaser plate. This is the best part of local ingredients fused with the best part of guilty pleasure. There are crisply fried zucchini sticks that are so sweet and light that they are nothing like the thrice battered stuff dipped in marinara sauce. There are oily, slightly spicy green peppers and soft zucchini patties, mixed with feta cheese and studded with dill. And then, there is the cheese. Oh, the cheese. A soft, creamy, buttery cheese that is wrapped in phyllo dough and sesame seeds, fried, and drizzled with local honey. There is nothing better than this sweet and savory treat. Dip any of it in the simple, creamy tzatziki sauce. This would be a perfect light meal for 2. kostantis3 Grilled seafood platter for 2

There is no way that this was cooked before we ordered it – I don’t even think that this fish was caught before we ordered it. It was impeccably fresh. There was tender, almost sweet calamari. There were tiny white fish, filled with bones and the sweetest meat. There was meatier grilled fish, tender and tasty with the accompanying lemony butter sauce. There are tender, almost creamy mussels and more of that luscious Mediterranean shrimp.

octopus

And octopus that looks scary but tastes crispy, almost like super crispy French fries.

After the enormous meal is over and your head is swimming with the sun and wine, you can relax on the beach chairs or have the house car bring you back to your hotel. This meal was fairly priced with friendly, if relaxed (read: slow!) service, a huge menu, and scenery that can’t be beat.

And if you thought that this meal was great, wait till you see dinner!

Avra – Beautiful Atmosphre, So-So Food

This trip that I took wasn’t just a normal trip. It wasn’t a once-a-year travel blowout. It was my honeymoon. You only get one of those, if you are lucky, and it can’t be all about running around to ancient relics, looking for weirdly flavored potato chips at roadside gas stations and shopping in the local equivalent of Target. You also have to relax with your new spouse, sleep in late, and take it easy.

I am a more “ants in my pants” kind of traveler, so this was hard for me at first.

But, eventually I settled into it. I enjoyed sleeping until the sun was high in the sky. I loved sitting with a book looking out over the Aegean. I even let up my guard and booked dinner at a romantic restaurant instead of the one that got the highest reviews for eating.

There was my mistake.

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Avra, in Mykonos, is highly recommended for its Mediterranean menu and romantic, vine-covered, trellis-lined outdoor dining area. You definitely need reservations and it does look extremely romantic with its candlelit tables, verdant atmosphere, and mellow soundtrack.

Of course, the kids running around helter-skelter don’t really help the vibe, but we ate very early by Myconian standards, so it’s hard to blame them for that.

20140501_195858 Roquefort and olive dips

The dips are a mixed bag. The tapenade is very mundane – salty and tasty for sure, but if I can get it at home or in the grocery store, I’m not so interested in paying for it on vacation. The Roquefort butter is marvelous – creamy and smooth, with a rich, buttery taste that is sweet at first and then fades to an umami, slightly funky Roquefort aftertaste. It’s soft and spreads easily on the rather mundane bread. This stuff is great.

*Side note: you always pay for bread in Greece. When they ask if you want some, expect to be charged 5 Euros for it and the accompanying dips. Always order it, anyway…there are usually at least one or 2 dips that are worth the price of admission.* 20140501_200931 Tzatziki

Delicious, if not memorable. Creamy, fragrant with dill and spicy black pepper. It isn’t as garlicky or as thick as some versions, and is finished with some rich olive oil to add another layer of lushness. I ate all of this and would eat it again without reservation, but can’t say that it stood out among the tzatziki I sampled this trip. 20140501_202114 Halloumi wrapped in bacon

The standout of the night. The European style bacon, more flexible than the bacon that we are used to here, wraps well around the pleasantly squeaky, bouncy cheese. It’s grilled so that the bacon is salty and charred and the halloumi softens and becomes pleasantly melty. Some lemon juice brightens the dish and is the ideal, unexpected finishing touch. My husband almost stabbed me with a fork to ge the last piece.

Luckily, I’m too quick for him.
20140501_203245 Mussels

Simple and tasty. Steamed in white wine flavored with plenty of pepper, dill, and woodsy oregano.  Every single mussel was open and sweet - no bad mussels here. They are juicy and very mild, with just a touch of salinity. The only downfall here is the broth – it is merely serviceable.It lets the mussels naturally sweet flavor shine through, but it isn’t craveable. If I’m not lapping up the broth with a spoon at the end of the meal, something is wrong.

20140501_203101 At the end of the day, Avra is fine. If I lived in town, I would come here for the lovely surroundings and the fabulous halloumi appetizer. But on vacation, it just isn’t tasty enough. You can’t rely on romantic atmosphere on a touristy island because – hello! – people travel with kids. And the price is a little high for the food. So this wasn’t a major winner.

But that’s okay…because lunch the next day was insane.

Poolside Lunch at the Mykonos Grand

The thing about Greece is: Nobody eats until very late. You don’t wake up until 9:30, which means that breakfast is at 10 AM at the earliest. After that plentiful meal, you aren’t hungry again until 2 pm and then no one has dinner until around 9 pm, after the sun sets. At that rate, sometimes the small restaurants in town are closed by the time that you are ready for lunch.

In that case, you treat yourself to a decadent poolside lunch at the Mykonos Grand.

Aqua and Sol is the casual poolside restaurant. It’s covered but open air, so you don’t get sunburnt while you chow down. The Mykonos Grand is rather – as its name suggest – grand, but the restaurant is very casual. Feel free to go in a cover up or swimsuit and sandals as you sit back and sip a decidedly non-Greek but delicious Blue Hawaiian.

20140501_145920 Olives and olive oil

Told you that I ate these every single meal. These were excellent – juicy and meaty with a sweet, fruity flavor. Marry someone who doesn’t like lives so you can eat his/her portion. 20140501_152326 Keftedes

These little meat patties aren’t the traditional spherical keftedes, but they are delicious nonetheless. Juicy patties of beef, pork and veal, mixed with fresh oregano and the sharp bite of mint. They are grilled to get a touch of smoke on the outside, contrasting the juicy, soft texture.

20140501_152608 It comes with a sweet, hoisin-like barbeque sauce that is unnecessary and a little out of place – why would you muck up the perfection of this delightful meatball? Do eat the accompanying salad greens though – they are fresh and tender, with tastes that range from sweet to bitter to grassy. Dressed in some rich olive oil and lemon, they are divine.

20140501_152337 Prawn croquettes

Crunchy, piping hot morsels filled with a creamy, potato and shrimp mixture. The shrimp is nearly undetectable – it’s just a light, salty note in the creamy mixture that keeps it from being too heavy

20140501_152455 The croquettes are light and airy; ideal with a dollop of smooth tartar sauce. This is seafood at its best – a myriad of subtle flavors and contrasting textures. It really takes fish and chips to the next level.  20140501_152638 Crab and avocado terrine with lime sorbet

The ideal poolside meal. The shellfish in Greece is extraordinary – this crab was so sweet and plump that it seemed almost like lobster. No tiny cat food shreds here – it’s all pure, sweet, lump crab meat. The avocado is a buttery counterpart and the lime sorbet, while a touch sweet, is refreshing and tart.  20140501_154311 Walnut cake

For Pete’s sake…what kind of stuff is in this? Angel’s kisses? Ambrosia? Whatever it is, it WORKS. This is dense and rich, filled with nutty, buttery flavor. It is reminiscent of sticky toffee pudding in its thick, syrupy texture and intensely sweet taste. Add some of the vanilla ice cream on the side  and you are in business…for a nap.

But that’s okay! Because besides the delicious food, the exquisite scenery, and the good service, the best thing about eating poolside is that your bed is right upstairs.

After all, next up is dinner on the party island of Mykonos!

Mykonos Grace – A Little Slice of Heaven

One of the coolest things about the Greek islands is that many hotels offer breakfast in the room rates. That means that you wake up, roll out of bed, take 800 photos of the most beautiful scenery that you have ever seen, and go right to breakfast in your bathing suit and cover up.

I will be doing a full report on all hotels, but first off, let’s start with just the food.

The Mykonos Grace, a small boutique hotel, offers a full breakfast to all of its guests. And I mean full. Look at this menu.

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That’s right. Each guest gets everything on there. Or anything else that they desire. I wanted bacon, not ham. My husband wanted tomatoes, not spinach. Done and done.

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The scenery isn’t the worst either. If the weather isn’t nice, you can sit inside the poolside restaurant, but if it is nice…it’s a little slice of heaven.

20140501_103848 Bread

Don’t miss the bread basket – I am partial to the round, sesame ring. It’s dense and chewy, and I spread it thickly with unsalted, tangy goat butter and some of the sweetest honey anyone will ever have.
20140501_104031 Yogurt parfait

Because to call it Greek yogurt is redundant and to call it custard isn’t exactly appropriate. But it’s as rich as custard, with a smooth texture and an almost indiscernible tangy taste that cuts the sweet honey. Sadly, the fruit and cornflakes are just irrelevant. It’s all about the decadent, vanilla-y custard. It’s so thick that you can stand your spoon upright in it. I could eat this every day and never crave anything else.

Except, maybe, for this:

20140501_105413 Egg white and spinach omelette with Naxos Gruyere, crispy bacon, and Greek bruschetta

Olive oil egg white omelette…incredible. The mild olive oil REALLY infuses the egg with rich, lush flavor and provides a nicely crisp bottom without too much browning – decidedly different from a French omelette, but delicious in its own right. The spinach is fresh and sauteed with just a pinch of salt and a few slivers of garlic – nothing over the top. The bacon is prepared crispy, the way that we Americans like it, and the gruyere, from neighboring Naxos island, is nutty and not too salty. It’s delicious.
20140501_105531 So is the bruschetta.

It’s twice baked bread (called rusk), topped with tomato pulp and some salty mizithra cheese. This is a small plate found all over the islands and it’s a well thought out one – the salt from the cheese makes the tomatoes taste even sweeter than they already are, and the tomato pulp softens the hard bread. It’s fresh, light, and ideal at any time of day.  20140501_110940 Crepes with caramelized apples

So sweet and light. The crepes are whisper thin and the apples are tender, sweet, and bursting with juice. The lacy, crispy edges of the crepe are particularly addictive. I only wish I could eat more of them, but I had already eaten a full breakfast by this time! 20140501_111912 And of course, a homemade spanikopita.

There is WAY more spinach than cheese here – the cheese is mrely as easoning accent. I have been doing it all wrong.

I have missed Greece all of these years. That’s REALLY what I have been doing all wrong. Luckily, those days are in the past – next up, poolside snacks!

The Fish Lunch of My Dreams at Seirines, Rafina

So…

I’m back from my honeymoon.

And while I thought that my first posts back would be all about the wedding…I was wrong. A fool, really.

Because how could I write about anything besides the beautiful, historic, and DELICIOUS country of Greece?

Don’t worry, wedding recaps will take place.

But first, jump a plane, a ferry, and a donkey to Greece with me, won’t you?

The first meal I had in Greece was actually one of my favorites of the entire trip. It was at the port of Rafina where we boarded the (HELLISHLY LONG AND CROWDED) ferry to Mykonos. Rafina is the secondary port of Athens, and mostly used by Greeks while tourists use the larger port of Piraeus. As such, the restaurants here cater to the local clientele – wealthy Athenians island hopping and business men stopping by for lunch from nearby offices.

20140430_144725 Small tavernas line the harbor, but bypass the others and go straight to Seirines.

20140430_161217 The atmosphere is nothing stuffy – a small indoor section and a large, covered outdoor patio area where young families and people in $10,000 watches sit side by side. Everyone in Greece seems to speak impeccable English, but this is the closest that we got to being totally out of our element and relying to pointing at pictures on the menu.

Needless to say, I loved it.

The chef will come and show you the catch of the day, or you can order off the menu. There really isn’t any way to lose.

20140430_150240 Spicy cheese dip(Tyrokaferi)

Hello, land of feta! This is made with soft, creamy feta - it has that briny quality that feta has, but with the texture of whipped cream cheese. It isn’t bitter or crumbly at all. It’s interspersed with some sort of pepper paste from heaven – a little zippy at the start, but then it fades quickly to let the natural flavor of the cheese shine through. It really highlights the cheese with a touch of spice instead of overpowering it and stealing the show. A spritz of lemon somewhere in there lifts the dish and finishes it with the perfect touch of acid.

20140430_150236 Tzatziki

I almost cried. This is the best tzatziki that I had in Greece, and that’s really saying something, since I had it at almost every meal (breakfast included). So thick and rich – what the hell kind of yogurt am I eating at home?! The cucumbers are finely shredded and obviously drained because they are lush and verdant without being soggy or watery. The dill is abundant and the garlic is a revelation – I have NOT been using enough garlic in my tzatziki! The raw garlic provides a savory, spicy note that resonates in the back of the throat long after the bite is gone. However, because the yogurt is so wonderfully rich and fatty, it tempers the garlic’s bite. This is so spicy, creamy, cooling, and refreshing…I ate it with some toasted bread but mostly ate it with a fork, because who wants bread to get in the way of pure, unadulterated garlicky fat?

20140430_150246 Country salad

1. Where do they get the tomatoes in Greece?! They are the sweetest, juiciest, thinnest skinned tomatoes that I have ever enjoyed in my life. They are ripe and firm, tasting of the sun and the earth at once.

2. Peeled cucumbers. In a casual taverna. Because everyone knows that cucumber skin is for the birds.

3. Sweet, THINLY shaved onions. Scallions, be gone.

4. Olives. My ankles swelled to the size of elephant ankles from all of the olives that I ate. Soft ones, hard ones, small ones, juicy ones, green, red, and black ones…they were all the absolute best that I have ever eaten. To say NOTHING of the fruity, thick, golden olive oil served tableside at every meal.

5. The feta. The block of feta of which I couldn’t take a photo because I started to eat it too quickly. This feta that is different from the feta in the dip – it’s light and crumbly, with less of a salty bite. It just goes to show how carefully the food here is made – the feta used for the dip would be far too salty and soft to meld with the crisp and salty vegetables.

20140430_150400 Smoked and cured fish plate

Dontcha just love a place where there is a huge plate full of house-caught fish that has been cured and smoked right in the back of the restaurant? Some of it I loved (the anchovies were garlicky, and oily but not at all fishy), some of it I liked (the soft cured amberjack or skipjack in the back – mild and rich), and some of it I couldn’t stand (sorry fish on the side – crunchy shouldn’t be a term when discussing fish). It was nothing I have ever had before and I would advise any adventurous seafood lover to order it!

20140430_150940 Shrimp, souvlaki style

The best  cooked shrimp I have had in eons. Plump and juicy with a garlicky (they love garlic here) olive oil marinade that makes the sweet shrimp just sing. Grilled on a skewer so they are juicy within and smoky without.

20140430_151035 They are so mild and sweet that they almost don’t seem like shrimp – they are more like scallops. They were doubtless caught that morning and cooked to order. The shrimp in Greece is in general FAR superior to what I have had in the USA – probably there is little to no iodine treatment there. These were the best of the many shrimp that I ate on the trip.

20140430_152923 Creamsicle cake

This is what I call it…who knows what the real name is? Light, vanilla scented cheesecake with a graham cracker bottom and a tart, thick marmalade top. It’s hard not to love this.

And it’s impossible not to love this restaurant. The price is fair – not cheap but it’s a TON of delicious, fresh seafood. The atmosphere is lovely and relaxed and the staff couldn’t be sweeter. We ordered and our food was brought promptly (NOT always the norm in Greece), then after we finished we were left alone for an hour to sit with our coffees and read magazines until it was time to board our ferry. The server was thrilled that we loved the food so much and the chef was in and out of the kitchen, advising diners what to order. I would come back here in a heartbeat if I could.

What an introduction to delicious Greece!

The Far Eastern Side of France at Paris Baguette

When I saw a Paris Baguette going up right near my house, I got excited. After all, wasn’t this the Korean owned, French inspired bakery with things like bulgogi sandwiches? We really need more Asian food up this-a-way, so I was pretty excited.

This, however, is much more continental version of the mini chain.

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The minuscule shop (only 4 seats in the whole place) is pristine and filled with the scents of yeast and butter.

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By looking at the overflowing pastry cases, filled with loaves of fresh bread and beautiful cakes, you might as well think that you were in France.

Until you get a little closer.

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Curry croquettes? Franks in Danish dough?

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And what the hell is hash brown bread and why am I not eating it right now?

This is the Asian influence…love it!

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Roasted veggie and goat cheese sandwich

My decidedly un-Asian offering was finger-lickin’ good. The bread is thick enough to house the garlicky pesto and creamy goat cheese without crumbling, yet the crust is very pliant so it breaks easily under your teeth. The vegetables are super fresh – no limp lettuce or green tomatoes here. And the house roasted tomatoes are wonderful – plump and spiced with oregano and olive oil. They are so soft and juicy that they are almost confit style – really something else! The sandwich is filling and properly sized – no afternoon naps needed to recover.

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Pistachio macaron

Satisfies the craving but not much more. The cookie is a little soft and the ganache is a little on the sweet side. It’s still nutty and delicious, but it’s not the best in town.

Paris Baguette is a nice spot if you are in the mood for a quick pastry or sandwich, but it isn’t destination worthy. It’s pricey and the seating is so limited that it isn’t really good for a leisurely meal.

Come on, banh mi place, open up near me!

Russo’s – The Pizzeria of My Youth

On my little suburban jaunt, I needed more than lunch with appetizers and dessert.

Because once I am out of the 212, calories don’t count.

Luckily, my sister directed us to Russo’s Pizzeria.

I don’t know wheer she found it – it isn’t on any blog that I can find.

But it is one of the best old school slices I have ever, ever had.

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The joint is just like the one that I grew up going to - Winner’s, in Westlake, for any of my 818 peeps (ok that’s it for the area-code slang).

It’s family owned with some vinyl covered table, an ancient menu on the wall, and a bulletin board with business cards for towing companies, fliers for babysitters, and advertisements for local school plays.

It’s impossible not to like this place immediately.

And that’s before you even try the pizza.

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Sausage, Meatball, and Cheese

Be still, my heart.

The slices are thin and properly floppy, with doughy, floury bones. They aren’t too charred, but the best street slices aren’t. The sauce is mild and oregano heavy and the cheese is stretchy and tangy, put on with a light had so as not to overwhelm the delicate sauce. The meatballs are soft, spiked with fennel, and this sausage…oh this sausage. Shaved into thin, garlicky ribbons that almost melt into the cheese with porky goodness. Tiny crisp edges and melting, soft meat…this is the best sausage pizza I have ever had.

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This place is ridiculously cheap and the owner couldn’t be more efficient or kind. If you find yourself in town, come here.

After all, when calories don’t count, what do you have to lose?

3 West Restaurant in Bridgewater – Why I Love Suburbia

On a recent rainy Saturday in suburbia, I had such a delightful lunch that I figured I should blog it. This restaurant isn’t just good for a lazy day road trip, it’s good for a New York City restaurant.

I know how snobby that sounds.

Don’t worry, I promise to watch trashy tv and eat an awesome Doritos Locos Taco as penance.

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I found 3 West on my favorite app, Foodspotting, and loved the atmosphere from the second my family and I walked in. Cozy, warm, and inviting with brass fixtures, heavy wood paneling, and a rumbling fireplace. It’s the kind of place that is upscale but not snobby and where you could easily take your well-behaved kids for a brunch treat. Even better, get a sitter and come here with your significant other for a few drinks off of the extensive cocktail menu.

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Crispy shrimp spring rolls

Just what you imagine. Crispy, light, filled with aromatic vegetables and such mild, buttery shrimp that it might as well have been pork. Served with sweet-spicy chili sauce and a garlicky aioli, these could easily be eaten by the tray. They are juicy but not soggy and served piping hot – nothing worse than an old eggroll.

If that isn’t a saying, it should be one.

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Wasabi edamame hummus

WHOA. I rarely order hummus off of a menu unless it’s at a mediateranean or middle eastern restaurant, and I didn’t order this – my mom did.

Mama knows best.

This hummus is craveable. It uses chickpeas, garlic, onions, lemon, AND edamame, wasabi, and various asian spices. It’s savory, it’s thick and has some texture, and it has that wonderful, nasal-clearing property that wasabi has. I wish it had a little nutty component form some sesame oil, but other than that it was top-notch and spot on. SErved with freshly fried wonton crisps, we made quick work of this.  Forget Tuscan Hummus, it’s all about this Asian version.

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Spicy chopped salad flatbread

This is pretty much everything I love about food.

Fresh vegetables – check. Creamy chip0tle dressing with a slow, gently burn that heats up to a pleasant frenzy? Check. Buttery avocado and crispy bacon? Check. Crumbly, salty feta – double check - they aren’t stingy here! Warm, freshly fired pizza dough with a charred underskirt and pillowy top? Check.

Yeah, I ate this like it was my job.

The desserts here aren’t special, but everything else is! The service is personalized and attentive (ie, they heard us talking about my upcoming nuptials and brought us a celebratory cookie at the end of the meal), the atmosphere is lovely, and the food is well priced and just delicious. If this were in the city, I would be here week in and week out. I just can’t say enough about it.

Plus, when you are done with lunch, you can go to Target.

Who doesn’t love suburbia?

Carl’s Custard – My Favorite Landmark

And, now, a blast from my roadtripping past.

If you should ever find yourself in Fredricksburg, VA, don’t worry. This small town is near some awesome seafood, some finger-lickin bbq, and one of the best desserts you will ever taste.

 Carl’s Custard has been in this spot since 1947, and can be easily seen by the big neon custard cone on top. It’s actually on the National Registry of Historic Places, if you can believe it! Frozen custard is perfect road trip food – open late, cheap, quick, and – most importantly – something way too indulgent to eat on a daily basis.

  Frozen custard differs from ice cream in that it has more eggs added to it.  It is made in a machine that also incorporates less air into it than traditional ice cream, more like a gelato machine. In other words, the ice cream is richer.  It is to ice cream what Bill Gates is to your dad.

Just step up to the counter, order your custard and toppings, and dig in. The line, if there is one, goes quickly and the servers, who are often high school kids, are efficient and congenial.

Maple walnut sundae and a plain scoop of chocolate 

Shove it, Snapple. THIS is the best stuff on earth.  That first bite of vanilla custard hammers home the truth that this is NOT ice cream. This isn’t sugar or fluffy – it is pure, sweet, clean cream with the texture of frozen pudding. The sundae version amplifies that rich custard. The almost overwhelming, creamy, eggy feel is just barely tempered by the sweet maple syrup and meaty walnuts.  The chocolate has a bit more complex flavor, with hints of espresso and nuts, but with the same buttery, rich mouthfeel.  It is divine.

Don’t be a shmo. If you are in Fredericksburg, come here. Hell, if you are in Virginia come here! What other National Historical Landmark has a dessert takeaway?!

Sorry, Lincoln Memorial, you don’t hold a candle to this when it comes to lasting impressions.

The Friendly Toast Serves the Perfect Brunch

It’s time to discuss the most important meal of the day.

Brunch.

Ok, I take that back. Considering that it’s a totally optional meal, it’s not the most important meal of the day – it’s just the most PERFECT meal of the day.

especially when you have it at The Friendly Toast in Portsmouth, NH.

The Friendly Toast isn’t just a place to get brunch – it’s THE place to get brunch. It comes up over and over again in google searches, there is always a wait, and it has a menu that is less of a menu and more of an encyclopedia.

*Disclaimer – most of my pictures turned out terribly, thanks to awkward lighting. Hence, the outsourced photos.*

the friendly toast via

The interior is something out of a John Waters film. It’s a huge warehouse that is crowded with vintage posters, memorabilia, and random paraphernalia – a full sized rocking horse hung from the ceiling, anyone? Before you are allowed to sit at a Formica covered table from the 1950s, you will probably have to wait in line – that’s how popular this place is. The wait is made easier by the coffee, hot cocoa, and scones waiting for you to sample at the hostess station.

orleans fries via

Orleans Fries – sweet potato fries topped with Tabasco and brown sugar, and served with sour cream

Hands down amazing. Somehow these fries get super crispy and stay that way beneath their sticky, sweet, spicy, and tart glaze. Yep, brown sugar and Tabasco tend to do that to a fry. It’s sweet and hot perfection, especially dipped in tangy sour cream. This may not be on the brunch menu, but it’s an awesome starchy counterpart to a very good bloody Mary – ask for some horseradish to up the spice quotient.

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Ole Miss – cayenne cheddar toast topped with sausage, chipotle mashed sweet potatoes, scrambled eggs, and mango sour cream

What sick genius runs this joint? This is over the top and yet JUST enough. The homemade toast is stellar – filled with hunks of sharp cheddar and enough cayenne to make it taste zesty but not spicy. Atop that is a porky, savory sausage patty and atop that are some sweet and smoky chipotle mashed potatoes. The eggs are well scrambled, but not overly done, and topped with a fresh, vibrant sour cream that is sweet but not sugary – just enough mango to bring another facet to the meal. This really has it all. Yes, it’s extremely heavy but it’s so, so good. The pork is really important to ground the meal so you don’t just have a landmine of carbs.

Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

Oh yeah, and there are some kick ass sweetly caramelized onion-laden breakfast potatoes alongside, too.

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King Cakes

Chocolate chips, peanut butter, bananas, whipped cream. and bacon.

All together. Nutty and creamy and porky and banana-y.

In pancakes. Fluffy on the inside, crispy on the edges, pancakes.

Whoa.

I’m all shook up.

This meal is more than most in Portsmouth, but is so worth the price. The portions are huge, the staff is competent (not to say amazing), and the food…is…memorable.

Hands down the best meal of our little getaway.

Hands down the perfect way to have the perfect meal.