Whalechaser's Musings

No Matter Where You Go...
There You Are
Make the Best of It

Monday, September 28, 2009

Broasted Chicken at the Island Cafe, Island Lake, Illinois

The other day after our usual bike ride the group stopped at the Island Cafe; they don't have a website so here's the pertinent information about them:
310 East State Road, Island Lake, Illinois (it is just across from Culvers) 847 526 7797 It is almost a standard diner; with all the usual food and lots of it. Why is this one different? Well, they serve Broasted Chicken. On Wednesday, they serve an all you can eat Broasted chicken meal for an incredibly affordable price. Before you go and decide that you are going to try the chicken with thoughts of ordering more...understand that this chicken is cooked to order and it takes 25 minutes to prepare. Order your seconds well before you want them so they are ready when you are. I read somewhere once that it takes 20 minutes to satisfy your appetite, so you should probably order seconds almost immediately upon receiving your first plate. Anyway, I got to thinking about Broasted chicken; which I think is fantastic. I know that it is chicken that is fried under pressure, but that is about all. I discovered it first on a road trip through Pennsylvania; and always stopped there again and again when I was driving through. Sadly, that place has since closed down, but now I have rediscovered it here at the Island cafe. Go there and see if it isn't the best and healthiest fried chicken you've aver had!

Here is some more information that you probably didn't know and may actually have you seeking out a place that serves it.
Genuine Broaster Chicken begins with the finest quality chicken, carefully marinated and coated with specially formulated Broaster ingredients. Then, as each order is received, the chicken is placed inside the Broaster Company manufactured pressure fryer, designed to cook each individual piece of chicken "under pressure" in the chicken's own natural juices, limiting the absorption of cooking oil and driving the marinade deep down to the bone while searing the chicken with a golden, crispy-crunchy coating.

Broaster Recipe foods provide all of our popular seasonings, coatings, and flavorful marinades in a full line of high quality foods that are quick frozen for the delicious and distinctive taste that can only be Broaster. It is actually lower in calories and lots lower in fats than your usual fried chicken, see the claims here.

Ok enough, if you want to find a place near you, go here

Here are some shots of the meal. Oh, this diner also makes it's own bread, we got the wheat bread and it was divine!

Chicken and Dumpin soup...homemade...wonderful
All this, plus soup and dessert for less than $9.00. You cannot beat it!
Marlene is one happy camper!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Food on Board the Angelique

I would be remiss to say so much about this trip and not create a separate post about the food. You must keep in mind that the area for food preparation were very small and the cook stove was fueled with kerosene with only three settings low, medium and high...well that would certainly be a challenge for me!
Our chef seemed to outdo herself progressively, each meal seemed to be better than the last and every day we had freshly baked bread and desserts. It was quite an accomplishment in my estimation. View for yourself...

OK, I see I jumped the gun here...this is clam chowder that we had at Cappy's, a restaurant in Camden, Maine. We tried to test all possible choices so we could report to you which place actually served the best chowder in New England...but it was a task bigger than both of us. It was great where ever we had it!
This is a lobster quesadilla that we also had at Cappy's...kind of unusual
The only day we had cold cuts, and a bunch of other nibbles with freshly baked bread
rolls and herb spread to accompany our soup of the day...
Caught her making bread...
Fresh from the ovens

Ahh....brownies...don't need to say anything else
French toast and Canadian bacon

Salad and stir-fry chicken

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Lobster Bake, Burnt island, Maine

The highlight of our sailing trip on Penobscot Bay was the lobster bake. It started with the captain picking up a huge container of live lobsters while at our stop at the Wooden Boat Store. We held them for the night in a container lashed alongside the Angelique in the seawater, then moved them to another container and hooked up a hose to keep them alive until we found the perfect spot to have our picnic.

One of the purposes of an Elderhostel program is education, so we learned a lot about lobsters. We had a naturalist, Barbara, on board to instruct and entertain about the nuances of lobster life...

Here Barbara is transferring the lobsters to a container for the sail to Burnt Island. The container had to have openings to allow fresh seawater to flow over them to keep them alive until it was time to cook.
Barbara and Bud are holding a lobster to demonstrate the parts of a lobster and where the eggs are held.
See, you need a really big tub with a lot of seawater brought to a rolling boil...

Once the water is really hot, transfer the lobsters to the pot...

Cover them with seaweed, to act as a lid and steam the contents.
Once the cooking is finished (about half an hour) the water must be drained out.
The trick here is to keep your toes out of the water!

Create a platform with the seaweed that was used as a lid just moments ago
dump the lobsters very carefully and keep them all on the seaweed platform
Get on line and grab a lobster... (I know you will find this hard to believe, but this lobster is the same one they used as a demonstration one earlier in the post) see the broken claw and same color bands?

All good things come to an end...we helped carry all the stuff back to the boats and rowed to the Angelique and continued our sail. Yes, it was very much like a piece of heaven.

Sailin' on a Ketch in Penobscot Bay, Camden, Maine

During the week of September 13th through the 19th we enjoyed an Elderhostel program featuring a week of sailing on a 125 foot ketch, The Angelique, anywhere in the 1,000 square miles of Penobscot Bay out of Camden, Maine. It was a new experience for me...never having been on this type of vessel before. I was pleasantly surprised that I could spend a week on water and not feel the least bit seasick. I remember many fishing trips to Long Island Sound that did not end happily. Anyway, the weather was great; only one or two very short periods of rain. It never got too hot nor cold to interfere with the activities of the day.

Since this was an Elderhostel program we could participate as much or as little as we chose, in raising/lowering the sails, rowing to shore or any of the vessel related activities. We learned a lot about how the boat functions and the enormous effort required to keep her in tip-top shape. Operating a vessel of this magnitude is truly a labor of love and it is very apparent in the attitudes of the crew and the captain. But I suppose the best part was enjoying the silent progress the boat made once it was fully under sail. It is amazing how quiet and not windy it is. Since we were travelling at the same speed as the wind it was breeze-less on deck while we were moving.

We visited several little harbor towns and assisted in rowing to shore. We joked that by the end of the week we would challenge the Harvard rowing team. Not to worry, I don't think we could have really been a threat, but it was fun trying. It was amazing how fast eight people could learn to row together!

Here are a couple of shots I took from the boat to give you a taste of what we saw:

Saturday, September 12, 2009

King Arthur Flour Company, Norwich, Vermont

Another special treat for me was a visit to the King Arthur Bakers Store located in Norwich, Vermont. It was certainly a treat for the senses and the imagination. Spending time in a baking and cooking utensils store is a trip for the imagination very much like a gardener may experience with the seed catalogues that fill January mailboxes.

So you walk down the aisles see a baking pan and the mind instantly fills it with layer cake, cinnamon coffee cake or some other delicious tidbit. Wander among the extracts and you see yourself in a sea of cookies. Is your imagination asleep today; go to the cookbook section and the brainbuds instantly come alive and your hands are feeling for the tie-strings of your apron.

They smartly arranged the store in a circular fashion, so you find yourself going through at least twice...whatever you managed to say no to the first time around finds its' way into your cart on the second. You just can't help yourself. When you are all done you find yourself praying for rain or some dismal weather that will justify a day in the kitchen. Anything to get the ingredients working together...

Sourdough bread starter...oh I can just smell the bread baking now...
Extracts, nuts, and pastes are set up right next to various chocolates. I can smell the cookies already!
Gadgets, spoons, boards and bowls; can a kitchen EVER be too big?
I am on the road after all, I have to settle for something already baked.
That little white pastry on the bottom shelf, forth from the left was a delicious almond paste filled piece of heaven!

Ben 'n Jerrys, Stowe, Vermont

We couldn't go to New England and not see the Ben 'n Jerry's manufacturing plant. We took the tour, but sadly they were not making ice cream at this location that day. They showed a film giving the brief background of the founders and their subsequent success, they showed us the plant area and then they took us into the Flav-o Room where BnJ actually developed some of their successful flavors. They gave us samples of the days current NEW flavor: Orange and Creme. It was orange sorbet and vanilla ice cream, tasty...but not one of my personal favorites.
Here is a shot of the cowmobile...it travelled across the country providing free samples of Ben n Jerrys ice cream during the early days
The tour group trying the sample of the day Orange and Creme

We couldn't resist a picture of us in the Ben and Jerry cutouts...

We then moved on to the flavor graveyard; a place that retired flavors have gone in memoriam.

Each retired flavor had its own memorial tombstone...cute.

Afterwards we went to the scoop shop and had some more heaven. I had a new flavor called macadamia madness, it truly was!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Sunday River Brewing Company, Bethel, Maine

We made our way through Maine toward New Hampshire and found an interesting looking place for a quick bite to eat, the Sunday River Brewing Company

This is the sort of place that appeals to sports enthusiasts, pool players and beer drinkers. They brew several of their own and sell many others. We were more interested in food.

Chuck had the french onion soup and a Phillie steak sandwich; I opted for the meat ancho chili. They were all delicious!

This is the first chili I have ever had that had only a few beans on top...the rest was all meat.

It's been a while since Chuck had any beef..so I was not surprised when he ordered this.

This french onion soup was very good...I was sorry that I didn't order some for myself. But you can only eat so much!

After we finished the meal, we were backing out of the parking space and an eagle flew over head from one side of the road to the other. Man, that was sure nice to see.

AMC, Acadia Park Triathalon

We got to spend Friday at the AMC camp and partake of the activities that were being sponsored. After spending a quality time on Echo Lake kayaking and mentally communicating with some loons in the center of the lake,I got back just in time to witness the annual anna-banana triathalon.

This particular activity involved a person grabbing a banana and fast walking (nto running) it to a waiting canoe team (the canoe is filled 3/4ers with water), handing it off to the canoe team, they begin to hand paddle the swamped canoe to floating swimming deck some 50 away and place the banana on the deck. another team member standing on an opposite shore must swim to the deck and back to the shore, hand the banana to the final team member who walks the banana up to the judging area, sits, eats the entire banana and presents an empty mouth. There were three teams in this competition. Surprisingly, the final times were within 30 seconds of each other.

Here is a picture of the award that goes to the winning team.

Well, when you really take a good look at it; it is clear why s many people will struggle to become the winner in this contest!

They do not get to keep it though. they only hold it for a few moments and then it gets replaced on the fireplace mantle till next year when new teams will vie for it!

Dry River Campground, Crawford Notch, New Hampshire

We headed west from Maine, since we have a week before our next Elderhostel adventure begins. Since we wanted to take the Cog Railroad ride to the top of Mount Washington, New Hampshire, we decided to camp at the state run Dry River Campground located in Crawford Notch, New Hampshire.

We weren't expecting to see much in the way of crowds and we not disappointed. There were very few people there so we enjoyed a very quiet and peaceful evening. We even had a surprise...they had a newly installed laundry facility: 3 washers and 3 dryers. It just so happened that we needed a laundry stop and this was a perfect way to spend the early part of the evening.

I have to share a story about an event that occurred during the laundry process. I got everything into the dryers and was pacing while waiting for them to finish. After about ten minutes of pacing I noticed a dragonfly that seemed to be stuck between the windows on the far end of he the room. If I closed it, I would have squashed the little guy, but with it open I really could not reach it to set it free. I grabbed a pencil that I had been using to solve my sudoku puzzles and coaxed him onto the point. Very carefully I carried him outside and placed him on a pine branch. The poor thing looked dead. But hoped that somehow he might be revived. I checked every five minutes or so...while I continued my pacing. Finally, after ten minutes he was gone, hope he is alive a well!

They also had nice clean, private showers...these charge for every three minutes! I have never seen that particular breakdown before, I suppose it does limit those who like a long, lazy, hot shower...

Jordan Pond, Acadia National Park, Maine

Our visit to Acadia National Park would not be complete without a visit to the Jordan Pond House. It is an unassuming restaurant hidden out in the open, right in the center of Bubble Pond and the Wildwood stables and is always a buzz of activity. We had already ridden 12 plus miles on the carriage roads along Bubble Pond and then over to and around Day Mountain, so we were ready for a little refreshment. They have a gift shop that meanders into the restaurant area; the day we went, we found a side section that was still in the building but gave you the feeling of being outside without the bugs, heat etc.

It was pretty nice! Since we were not quite ready for a big meal, and what they were offering seemed a bit pricey, we decided to try the fish chowder (which came with two of their famous popovers) and a dessert consisting of a warm crispy popover stuffed with the richest ice cream imaginable then drizzled with a hot ganache chocolate sauce. Gee, I guess I have understated the fish chowder...it nothing short of divine! The bowl was huge and the chowder creamy which large chunks of haddock, perfectly cooked potatoes and a marvelous blend of spices.

The hardest decision was trying to figure if we should eat dessert first or the popovers with jelly or the chowder…

Chuck dug into the chowder, so I grabbed a popover and smeared it with jelly and was in heaven after one bite. The freshly brewed coffee just complimented it so well. I thought I would just take a taste of the ice cream popover until the chowder was available, but after one bite, I was not so anxious to share anymore! The crunchy popover and the sauce combined with the ice cream were turning me into a person with selfish tendencies that I never knew existed! I did share though and Chuck was obviously struggling with the same thoughts! Here are some shots of the food. Enjoy!

I don't know why they had to stab it with a huge steak knife...I don't think it was going to try and escape or anything like that! I discovered if you hold the knife rather loosely and use very little pressure, you can keep the pretty presentation throughout most of eating it.

Oh, I have to clear up the pricey thing. Everything was so over the top delicious, it was really a bargain! Go there, order with wild abandon, do not be afraid…enjoy!

Actually, even if you ARE NOT into hiking, biking or any of that outdoorsy stuff...go there for the food. I promise you will not be disappointed!