Saturday, February 21, 2009

Brasserie PIP

Located in Ivoryton.

Certainly not a brasserie strictly defined, but that's quibbling.
PIP, attached to the much-lauded Copper Beech Inn, is the little brother to the main dining room.

The Inn is a typically nice, moderately upscale New England Inn.

Nice dining in a nice atmosphere.
Not formal, but not too casual either.

This was our first visit to the Copper Beech, but we will most assuredly return.

As it was Valentine's Day, we were offered the $75 4 course prix fixe menu.
Though, as my wife pointed out, calling it 4 courses may have been a bit cheeky, as the second course was a one-bite palate cleanser.
But, again, that's quibbling.

Service was prompt, courteous and knowledgeable throughout the evening.

We ordered the Sancerre Sauvignon Blanc.
I know next to nothing about wines, but this was excellent. Bright, crisp, fruity. Just lovely.

On offer for starters were Wellfleet Oysters, Squash Bisque, Arugula Salad, and Sear Foie Gras.
My wife chose the bisque, I the foie gras.

My wife enjoyed the bisque, and it was tasty, but the curried pumpkin was a bit much for me.
The seared foie gras, served with a pistachio tuile, pickled apples, blackberry jam and french toast, was excellent. It melted in the mouth.

Three one bites were offered. I chose the picked beets with goat cheese, my wife the blood orange bellini.
Both were on point. Especially the beets. Beets are a vastly underrated, underused ingredient.
So, the next time you see beets on a menu, try them.

Next up where the entrees. We decided on the Roasted Chicken with carmelized onion-cheddar bread pudding, royal trumpet mushrooms and mustard jus; and Organic Salmon with a cider-bacon braised cabbage, and smoked potatoes.

My fish was excellent, perfectly cooked, and slightly sweet from the honey-mustard glaze. The cabbage was also good, but the potatoes fell short as I tasted no smoke.
The chicken was good, though not the best we've had, but we both appreciated the bread pudding effort, which was also nice.

For dessert I chose the lemon tart as I love all things lemon, and my wife chose the brown butter chocolate cake.
My wife lodged the minor complaint that her cake was a bit dry, but other than this, both were very good. The creme fraiche ice cream served with my tart was a nice touch.

All in all, a very nice evening.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Porky Pete's Barbecue & Fixins

Located in Essex.

There two wonderful things about barbecue: 1) When it's done right, it's downright delicious; and 2) With a little practice, anyone can do it right.

Porky Pete's does it right.

Humbly located in the building which also houses the Essex Mart Citgo gas station, Porky Pete's exists solely to to serve up good pulled pork barbecue sandwiches and St Louis style ribs, with a few "Southern Sides."

Since there are no seats, it is, by default, no-frills take-out only.

Inside, there is simply a counter, to which it taped the non-extensive menu.
On the walls behind the counter are various album covers of 60's rockers, Bob Dylan, The Rolling Stones, like that.

We ordered pulled pork sandwiches, coleslaw and potato salad.
Other sides, cornbread and baked beans among them, are offered.

The potato salad is basic, a little dry, with a few red peppers.
The coleslaw is of the finely chopped variety, no vinegar, and nicely oniony.

The pulled pork is very smoky, and, unusual for barbecue pork, a bit hot. Which is fine, as it's very tasty.

So, if you find yourself on Route 153, between Interstate 95 and Highway 9, give Porky Pete's a try. It's worth it.