I recently had the pleasure of passing through Belfast, Maine for work and as usual, I was hungry. I found Belfast serendipitously at lunchtime and with an hour to kill. From the corner of my eye, I saw (gasp) a street was blocked off for a Farmer's Market. Yipee! My most favorite thing ever!
First I must set the scene. Me in a black suit dress, heels, pearls-traipsing through the market. Maine in all of its Autumn splendor with rosy-cheeked vendors, Irish-knit sweater and LL Bean Wellie-clad children, bounties of kale, squash, sunflowers and lavender and hot tisanes of herbs (did I mention the boats and ocean in the background?). It was straight out of a book. Chase's Daily had a line out the door with an enticing scent spilling into the street with all of the people. I sneaked to the front where I could see a single seat at the lunch counter just made for me.
I marched to the lunch counter and, as I was dressed for the part, set to shaking the hands of my lunch-counter-mates to introduce myself. They were confused but my introduction had a deeper intention and I laid out my business proposition efficiently and convincingly: that we all strategically order something different from the menu and split. All of us. (except for the guy on the end who had already ordered and who may have had a cold anyway!) Why wouldn't they accept? We are all eating alone anyways, lets profit share! This turned out well and while my proposition may have alarmed them at first, we all made friends and tried a diversity of items on the menu. Five of us (two sculptors, an author, a real estate agent and I) shared:
- A roasted corn and tomato pizza with goat cheese and cilantro (that was my pick)
- A green bok choy and tofu curry over rice noodles
- A 4 cheese grilled cheese on homemade bread with roasted tomato soup
- An order of grits
- A large salad of fresh greens dressed simply with oil, vinegar and shaved parmesean
- A five bean soup
- tri-colored pepper enchiladas
If you can't see a theme, it was a vegetarian restaurant with a menu that changed daily based on what the farmers brought in the morning. The back of the store was even a small farm market that could have been an ethereal museum for fresh food.
The moral of the story: make friends with your neighbors when you go out to eat; they just might share lunch with you!
I've tried to re-create that amazing corn pizza and I've got a good idea of how they made it. My next posting shall be pizza crust. Out of all of the culinary wonders of the world, I think that, like a 3rd grader, I would still say that my favorite food is pizza. So would my grandma. Wouldn't you?