December

December

August 17, 2011

What Makes A Good Table?

Many times, we had passed by a roadside restaurant as we headed out to Two Lights Park known as The Good Table. The Good Table, in the heart of Cape Elizabeth, is close enough to the beach to get some serious ocean breezes and has apparently been a popular neighborhood restaurant for years. The parking lot was usually full to the brim, morning, noon and night.  so perhaps it was time to take a closer look.



I had learned that about 10 years ago, the restaurant burned to the ground, but the owners quickly rebuilt, crafting a shingle–style manse looking like a cross between a country inn and a structure more often found in residential subdivisions. They have been in business since 1986. Essentially,  it’s a roadhouse for locals who adore The Good Table. It covers an amalgam of cuisines—continental classics, Greek, and good old-fashioned American comfort food. You can order anything from a turkey platter with stuffing, potatoes, and cranberry sauce to lamb souvlaki. I am always leery of restaurants that offer too much variety. Experience has told me that most everything on the menu is average in appearance and taste and there is not one particular type of cuisine that is exceptional. However, since the restaurant always appeared full, this is usually a sign of good food, atmosphere and service.


The Divine Miss M and I decided to go for brunch one morning while she was visiting last month. Of course, Luke was to attend also and promised to be on his best behavior as he loves going to breakfast or brunch back in Atlanta! I ordered  the Belgian Waffle with fresh blueberries, real Maine maple syrup and Miss M had Tony's Corn Beef Hash with eggs and home fries. The coffee was served in mismatched mugs and the napkins were paper rather than cloth. The atmosphere was pleasant with delicate antique little light fixtures over each booth which gave the feel of a somewhat vintage tea room. Just my opinion, mind you, the coffee mugs, although mismatched, should have been a little more elegant, rather than a flea-market find and the napkins should have been white linen, rather than paper. Details....always remember the details! Would we recommend The Good Table to visitors? 
Well, having only had brunch, I  still prefer I-Hop or Cracker Barrel for breakfast. (what can I say? I am a southern girl) If you wanted to experience local cuisine and atmosphere, The Good Table was a place I would go back to. The scene this time of year is mostly visitors staying in neighboring beach rentals, motels, and hotels that line the Cape Elizabeth and Scarborough strips.


Be sure to take in the view at Two Lights which is in Cape Elizabeth directly across from
The Good Table

 

Estelle's has her own Good Table...
where the coffee mugs match, the napkins are linen and the food is GREAT!
This week we are savoring some fresh Farmer's Market summer produce in
THE most fabulous and easy recipes!



Eggplant Tomato Napoleons
1/4 cup KRAFT Balsamic Vinaigrette Dressing, divided
2 large tomatoes, each cut into 4 slices
1 egg
2 tsp. water
 1/2 cup seasoned dry bread crumbs
 1/4 cup grated Parmesan Cheese
1 cup Shredded Mozzarella Cheese
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
2 Tbsp. olive oil, divided
2 large eggplants (2-1/4 lb.), ends trimmed, peeled and each cut crosswise into 6 slices

DRIZZLE 2 T. dressing over tomatoes in shallow dish; set aside. Beat egg and water in pie plate until well blended. Mix bread crumbs and Parmesan in separate pie plate. Combine mozzarella, remaining dressing and basil. HEAT 1 Tbsp. oil in large nonstick skillet on medium heat. Meanwhile, dip each eggplant slice in egg mixture, then in crumb mixture, turning to evenly to coat both sides of each slice. Add, in batches, to skillet; cook 3 to 4 min. on each side or until golden brown, adding remaining oil as needed. Transfer to plate. PLACE 1 eggplant slice on each of 4 serving plates; top each with 1 tomato slice and about 3 Tbsp. mozzarella mixture. Repeat all layers. Cover with remaining eggplant slices.






Panzanella Salad
3 tablespoons good olive oil
1 small French bread loaf, cut into 1-inch cubes (6 cups)
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 large, ripe tomatoes, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 hothouse cucumber, unpeeled, seeded, and sliced 1/2-inch thick
1 red bell pepper, seeded and cut into 1-inch cubes
1 yellow bell pepper, seeded and cut into 1-inch cubes
1/2 red onion, cut in 1/2 and thinly sliced
20 large basil leaves, coarsely chopped
3 tablespoons capers, drained

For the vinaigrette
1 teaspoon finely minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
3 tablespoons Champagne vinegar
1/2 cup good olive oil
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Heat the oil in a large saute pan. Add the bread and salt; cook over low to medium heat, tossing frequently, for 10 minutes, or until nicely browned. Add more oil as needed. For the vinaigrette, whisk all the ingredients together.
In a large bowl, mix the tomatoes, cucumber, red pepper, yellow pepper, red onion, basil, and capers. Add the bread cubes and toss with the vinaigrette. Season liberally with salt and pepper. Serve, or allow the salad to sit for about half an hour for the flavors to blend.



 

Country Style Potato Salad
3 lb. Yukon gold potatoes (about 6 large), peeled, cut into 1-inch chunks
 4 hard-cooked eggs, divided
 3 green onions, thinly sliced
 1 stalk celery, chopped
 6 radishes, thinly sliced
 2 T. Sweet Pickle Relish
 3/4 cup MIRACLE WHIP Dressing
1 Tbsp. white wine vinegar
1/2 tsp. paprika Make It


COOK potatoes in boiling water in saucepan 10 to 15 min. or until very tender; drain well. Transfer to large bowl; cool 5 min. Meanwhile, chop 3 eggs; slice remaining egg.
ADD chopped eggs, vegetables and relish to potatoes; mix lightly. Mix dressing and vinegar. Add to potato mixture; mix well.  SPRINKLE with paprika; top with egg slices.



 

Strawberry Shortcake Cream Squares
64 Vanilla Wafers, divided
1/4 cup sugar, divided
5 Tbsp. margarine or butter, melted
 2 pkg. (3.4 oz. each) Vanilla Flavor Instant Pudding
2-1/2 cups cold milk
1-1/2 cups thawed Whipped Topping
3 cups sliced fresh strawberries

CRUSH 40 wafers; mix with 3 Tbsp. sugar and margarine. Press onto bottom of 13x9-inch pan.  BEAT pudding mixes and milk in large bowl with whisk 2 min. Stir in whipped topping; spread half over crust. Cover with layers of remaining wafers and pudding mixture. Refrigerate 3 hours. Meanwhile, toss strawberries with remaining sugar. Refrigerate until ready to use.  CUT dessert into squares to serve; top with berry mixture!



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