Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Chase's Daily, Belfast ME

Whenever we're "down east" in Maine we make a point of hitting Chase's Daily, in Belfast (technically "mid coast" I believe, but close enough), either for Saturday lunch or Sunday brunch. Chase's is both a vegetarian cafe, and the front end to a local farm, so while you wait to be seated you can peruse some pretty gorgeous produce.

Potatoes and Tomatoes

Nice, huh? This is probably one of the last batches of tomatoes I'll see... I'm not going to be back up for another few weeks and so I suspect it'll be mostly potatoes and squash by then.

Peppers

I like to look at what's available before we sit down... so we can figure out what we want to make for dinner... and then pick up what we need on the way out. On this particular trip we had already decided what we were making that evening, so those sexy tomatillos up top didn't call me like they normally would.

Wall

At the height of summer it's probably more advisable to grab what you can, when you can, because at the end of a leisurely lunch things can be pretty picked over. If you're eying any of their amazing freshly baked bread you're also going to want to ask them to put it aside for you... since the baguettes and batards can be gone before breakfast is over.

Dining Room

The main dinner area is a quaint cafe area that, while it looks quiet in this picture, can have pretty significant wait times even in the dead of winter... getting there when the produce comes out (around 11 from my experience) seems to me to be the best strategy. [UPDATE: Anna thinks the produce generally is out earlier than 11... regardless, the point is that if you come for lunch at 11 you probably won't wait much for a table, but if you come at 1 you certainly will. Standard "popular restaurant" stuff.]

Lunch

The food is entirely vegetarian... no meat... but eggs and cheese are involved, so you can still get your Sunday omelet if that's how you roll. Usually there is at least one vegan option... or at least something that can be ordered without dairy... though I don't believe they necessarily guarantee it, they'll at least know what you're talking about if you ask.

As an omnivore, of the innumerable vegetarian places I've eaten, I would have to say that Chase's is my favorite. Even on their special Friday and Saturday night dinners, it's not quite the fine dining experience of a Horizons or an Upstairs on the Square... but it's consistently excellent seasonal and local food that is incredibly tough to beat. They don't try to make vegetarian fare the mimics traditional meat based dishes... no fakin' bacon here... they just cook to get the most out of the freshest and best ingredients, and really, what more can you ask for than that?