Saturday, August 22, 2009

Jersey Pie Road Trip II, State of Maine

If you find yourself within 2 states of Maine, you owe it to yourself to have breakfast at 2 Cats in Bar Harbor. Our meal was ludicrously delicious. It began with a mug of Equal Exchange coffee, then purred into a Summer Scramble: eggs, tomatoes, onions, and herbs grown on the premises. Spicy home fries and fresh baked bread with a garnish of cantaloupe and kiwi completed the plate, but don't let us forget the butter. Butter you say? Yes, the butter. Strawberry butter. That's what we're talkin' about. The service was as nourishing as the meal, superb.

After breakfast, if you still feel worthy, if the heights of excellence attained by your 2 Cats breakfast haven't blown you completely away, roll out onto US Route 1 heading south, and just about lunch time you will be in Waldboro, where really, oh, yes, really, you should pull off the road at Moody's Diner. If 2 Cats is ludicrously delicious, Moody's is insane. You will want to ravage yourself, dress up in a monkey suit, run down the highway shouting, "this is what life is supposed to be like," and then fall down in a heap weeping when you taste that PIE. We set the stage with a CheeLT, (That's a cheese, lettuce, and tomato sandwich.) a bowl of home made corn chowder, and a home made biscuit. Yum.

While we ate, the waitress walked by with a tray of pies for a table of six nearby. She did so casually, not at all telegraphing the superlative bounty she controlled. But we could hear those little slices giggling and singing. They know what they are: fresh, sweet, and made to please from recipes handed down through generations of pride and love.

Maine is a blueberry pie state, not a cherry pie state. Moody's does not bake a cherry pie. So, to honor Maine we ordered the blueberry, and to honor our friend P--also a recent commenter on Jersey Pie, and the painter of our beautiful logo--we ordered lemon meringue. Let's start with the meringue, the perfect, toasted-marshmellow-tan peaks, the white, fluffy, angel-flounce dream waves of sweet whipped fantasy puff, the melt-in-your-mouth goodness. And then, let's move onto the lemon, the vivacious, assertive, easter-yellow sweet and sour counterpoint to the diaphanous paradox that is meringue. Of course, you already know the crust is simple, flour-butter-and-salt perfection.

And now the fruit pie. First we observe that it is juicy. Its juice is running out over the crust onto the plate, the deep, purple-blue life blood of the blueberry is freeing itself exuberantly. There is little or no thickening agent in evidence. (Hello, New Jersey.) And there are scores and scores of the relatively smallish Maine blueberries packed into their perfect crust. It is a FRUIT pie. It is a serving of fruit delightfully presented as pie--how clever!--and we would like to say, thank you. Or, oh?! (interrobang) maybe that is what fruit pie is supposed to be?!

Ah, to sit at the table of a cook whose mission is to nourish your body and delight your senses. Reader, you simply must... every chance you get.


Mia said...

Had a bite of blueberry pie this week that was made with tapioca. Better than corn starch, but I'm still a flour gal. And I'd rather have runny than congealed and goopy.

My verification word is "rested." But that's a real word!? (interrobang)

Kate Forster said...

Well, then, this old mama has something to learn about thickening/or not/ one's berry pie. 'Always been a tapioca gal, but that's just me. I'll alert P to the lemon meringue reference. "roessa" soon!