A great birthday dinner and lots of lunches

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          As my October 15 birthday approached, Linda knew just where to take me for a celebratory dinner: Calzolaio in Wilton, which has been a favorite of ours since before we began writing this column 7 years ago.

          Tom and Roccell Marcellino’s awesome restaurant is always packed, so you must get a reservation. And even on that Sunday night, every table was full. We got the last available table in the beautiful brick-walled back room.

          For my entrée, I thoroughly enjoyed the Chicken Carbonnara, a boneless chicken breast, pancetta & cracked black pepper tossed in a rich cream sauce with tri-colored Tortellini ($19.95). This was a new choice for me (and at the age of 69 it’s time to try new things!), and I will definitely have it again. It was delicious.

          Today we also want to tell you about a few places where we’ve enjoyed lunch lately, including Close to Home in Rockland and Amatos. We love the original Italian sandwich at Amato’s, and while I have eaten other sandwiches there, I almost always have the original.

          Linda and I often lunch at Amato’s in Augusta, and were delighted when a  new Amato’s opened at the J&S gas station in Manchester. We’ve picked up sandwiches there twice recently, to take home for lunch.

          And we were overnight in Portland recently and hungry after an evening event. On the way back to our hotel we discovered an Amato’s just off Congress Street. We purchased an original Italian sandwich, which is big enough for us to share, along with two beers, and the total price was less than $10, an amazing bargain.

          We love the Home Kitchen Café on Main Street in Rockland, and were delighted when they opened Close to Home just up the street which includes an ice cream shop and a bakery.

          Close To Home makes wonderful subs and burritos along with pot pies, kid’s lunches and other items. I usually have the fantastic El Cubano here, but on this trip I branched out and enjoyed the barbecued pulled pork sandwich with Sweet Baby Ray’s BB sauce on their house made brioche bun ($8.99). Linda enjoyed a turkey sandwich ($7.99) with avocado, crispy prosciutto, and provolone. Sure she ordered a small and it was jammed with turkey and very filling.



          Finding ourselves on the go seems to be a theme for us this fall. But while we have been traveling there has been a huge perk… we’ve turned up near some of our favorite spots when it is nearing mealtime.

          George made it clear that he didn’t want any gifts for his birthday. “"I have everything I need”, he said. But he dropped pointed hints at the idea of going out to eat at Calzolaio, our favorite local restaurant. So I reserved a table for a Sunday night and it is a very good thing I did. Great food and reasonable prices for home cooked food have others loving this spot as much as we do.

          I was craving Tom’s marinara sauce, so I ordered the linguini pasta with one sausage. I got mine with a side salad that was pretty large, so I was happy to share it with George. Perfectly cooked pasta topped with freshly grated parmesan was really delicious and I couldn’t believe I’d never ordered it before. And of course I indulged in the warm baguettes with an herbed dipping sauce. I could only eat about half of the pasta bowl, but it was just as good eaten as leftovers.

          For my birthday our daughter Rebekah, her husband Patrick, and our grandsons Addison and Vishal took us out to one of their favorite pizza places, Flatbread in Rockport. Their thin-crust wood fired pizza is the boys favorite and I can see why. Two large pizzas and a salad fed all of us amply. I realized shortly after sitting down that we had done a travel column at Portland’s Flatbread.

           This location is relatively new, much to the boys delight. We were at an event at Maine Audubon in Falmouth a few weeks later to find that Flatbread was catering the event by bringing their portable wood fired oven. Many different types were served and all were excellent.

          About two weeks ago we went to one of Addison’s soccer playoff games at Point Lookout in Northport. As we were leaving right around noon George asked if I would like to drive up to Belfast for lunch at Chase’s Daily. Would I? I’d already been thinking about it! This vegetarian restaurant bakes their own bread and has wonderful soups, creative salads and sandwiches, and pizzas.

          George fell in love with the Spicy Tofu sandwich when I ordered it on our first visit here. It is superb. I had a Margarita Pizza, a simple cheese and tomato topping with fresh basil. Cut into fourths, one slice is huge. Because the crust is thin, you can eat a lot of it. And I did.

          Get out and travel, and by all means take advantage of some of the great eateries out there.


If You Go


Calzolaio, 284 Main Street, Wilton, 207-645-9500, www.calzolaiopasta.com

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