Monday Miam-Miam on Memorial Day

Today is Memorial Day in the United States of America.

Memorial Day started to honor Union and Confederate soldiers who had died during the American Civil War. After World War I, it was extended to include all American men and women who died in any war or military action.

Originally known as Decoration Day, the actual name for this event did not come into use until after World War II. Since 1971, Memorial Day holiday has been officially observed on the last Monday in May.

For the last four years, I’ve always written a post on Memorial Day. But since Monday is also the day I post about food, I am only linking to two former posts:  A Hike to Remember ( a Memorial Day hike in Yosemite with my  son) and In Memory (about my eternal gratitude towards the Americans who liberated France from the German occupation). My sentiments haven’t changed regarding the holiday, so if you are one of my new readers, you may like to read these posts. Especially if you live in France and wonder about this special American federal holiday.

Although for most Americans Memorial Day means a three-day weekend, a BBQ or a beach party with friends and family, first and foremost it is a day of remembrance.

Today is also Monday Miam-Miam and I’m taking you to Solo Bistro in Bath, Maine.

Forty minutes from Portland, Bath is home to the Iron Works shipbuilders and is proud to be known as the City of Ships. With streets filled with gorgeous Federal, Italianate, and Greek Revival houses, amazing water views of the Kennebec River, and a walkable downtown, Bath also brands itself as the small cool city in Maine.

Like so many American towns and cities in the early 2000s, this little corner of Maine evolved from a local town to a more sophisticated destination. These changes that brought more independent shops, cafés, and restaurants transformed the food scene. Just in Maine, younger chefs and more innovative restaurant owners started to explore the limitless potential of fresh local food. Soon, in addition to the typical Maine fare – lobsters of course, but also clam chowder that my son called clam sugar when he was a kid, and classic surf and turf – foodies were offered imaginative farm to table cuisine, combining flavors to exquisite presentation. The look of these new restaurants was changing too. More natural light pouring in, small votives for ambiance on the tables, gorgeous china, handsome utensils and glasses, sleek modern furniture.

Bath, once only industrial shipbuilding city, was also riding the wave. Although Solo Bistro opened in 2005 we didn’t eat there right away, mainly because our kids were still young and we knew that the setting was not the best for a rambunctious party of six people.

In the summer, on my way home from Popham Beach with the kids I would often stop in Bath to buy pizzas. While waiting for our orders we would walk through the compact downtown lined with small shops of all kinds. Including the infamous Renys, nicknamed Maine Department Store.

While the kids begged me to buy them the new noodles and surf boards displayed on the sidewalk I watched the people sipping cool white wine and sampling appetizers at the new Solo Bistro’s terrace.

One day, I thought.

The kids have grown and when my husband and I stop in Bath we no longer notice the beach gear. Instead, we sometimes get a cup of coffee and maybe a biscotti at the lovely Café Crème or buy kitchen tools at Now You’re Cooking.

Or still eat dinner at Solo Bistro.

 

When we pushed the door the first time I thought I had traveled back in time and had landed in Sweden or Denmark, two countries that my husband and I visited a few times when we lived in Paris. It made perfect sense when I found out that the co-owner is a native of Denmark. The tables are made of a blonde colored wood and the chairs have a Scandinavian Design air. The contrast of the rugs on the brick walls is both warm and elegant. Simplicity is in fact the word that comes to mind in this décor.

Although I reluctantly allow my husband to ask for two dessertspoons I’m always in favor of a shared appetizer. Lately when we ate at Solo Bistro the night was rainy and cool for the season. Some weather begs for comfort food. I don’t like fried food much, but once in a while I crave great fries. Besides I think that finger food is best when shared. That night was the perfect excuse for the delicious truffle sea salt fries served with chipotle mayo. Miam-miam.

Since I was in the mood for finger food I ordered the fisherman dish prepared with mussels, lobster meat, and clams. The toasted still warm piece of baguette was perfect to soak the tomato based broth.

 

My husband chose the miso roasted salmon, which was more elegant looking and also less messy to eat 🙂

It’s very much unlike me to skip vegetables and fruit for an entire meal. But again, a cool rainy day when it should be dry and warm…

So I went full speed and agreed to share a chocolate pot de crème with Chantilly. Unlike me my husband is a chocolate lover, so for once I let him use the two dessertspoons while I polished the last sip of the French Côtes du Rhône he had ordered from the extensive wine and beer list.

Three extra bravos for Solo Bistro:

  • Whenever possible, the owners and chef strive to use local, fresh, and organic products, including for their coffee.
  • Considering the excellent food, presentation, service, and ambiance the prices are very honest.
  • Their Wednesday special: Three courses for $19.99. Which change every week. If you plan to visit Bath, pick a Wednesday!

 

If you arrive in Bath before dinner you can pay a visit to The Mustard Seed Bookstore, located on Front Street, only a quick walk from Solo Bistro.

 

See you on Monday for another Monday Miam-Miam!

 

 

Comments

  1. I look forward to a visit. I am also thinking about lighting the grill a little early today. Standard BBQ fare, but at least it will address my newfound hunger after reading this.

    I remember the Memorial Day posts you linked to. Worth reading, for sure, maybe worth reading again, after I get a little snack 🙂

    • Maine is not that far from Connecticut, right? I hope that your Memorial Day weekend was peaceful and that the grill worked just fine. Memorial Day is more and more turning into yet another commercial “sales/deal” weekend. Which is okay as long as we don’t forget the reason for this three-day weekend. Thank you for your visit and nice comments about my former posts related to the event.

  2. Mmm, I love seafood Evelyne, so I enjoyed this visit very much 🙂

  3. Oh! I wanna go! 🙂

  4. LOVELY! I’d wanna eat your dish, the fisherman’s soup. I’d also get in on those fries. We have a pub here that specializes in fries with assorted sauces. It’s always nice to pop in on a cold winter day and be fry gluttons 🙂

    • Anything seafoodish is my kind of meal. Love paellas too! Fries have become quite fancy in the US with now the sweet potato fries and all the different sauces. And yes, being a fry glutton is okay when the weather calls for it. Right 🙂

  5. I look forward to Mondays when you take about various eateries and food. I enjoyed your restaurant review for Solo Bistro. The food looked amazing. I also enjoyed your Memorial Day tribute. This day makes me feel a bit sad when I recall the many wars and lives lost. I am thankful we have a special day to reflect and honor them. I think of the American soldiers and soldiers abroad. Thank you for sharing.

    • Thank you so much for your thoughtful words on behalf of the people who died at war and for those who are still risking their lives through wars which often don’t feel like wars.

  6. As I head to Yosemite Valley today I remember stories of your hikes to Half Dome. Thank you for reminding us of the reason we celebrate Memorial Day and for sharing a bit of the country where you have traveled and the food you have enjoyed.

    • I hope that you had a wonderful day in the park, Joan. Such a special place.
      Traveling our bast country remains a source of pleasure for me and my husband. When food is there too, then it’s a real treat.
      Thank you for stopping by!

  7. Now I am hungry. Sounds like a delightful restaurant, Evelyne. Glad to see you are maintaining your close-by bookstore rule. 🙂 BTW, my dad was always irritated both the change for Memorial Day from May 30, which was his birthday. The US took several major holidays and tacked them onto weekends so people could have a three day weekends. Or maybe it was so the merchants could sell more… –Curt

    • Yes, I will try to stick to my restaurant/bookstore deal as much as possible. Some places are easier than others, but I should manage 🙂
      When I wrote my first ever post about Memorial Day I read a few articles and found out about the frequent changes of dates for federal holidays, mostly to accomodate longer weekends. Which is cool as long as these federal holidays don’t turn into another Black Friday version. Unfortunately it looks like it in more and more cases. I understand that your dad was proud to share his birthday with a significant American holiday. Which I totally get. Mine shared it with Santa and had mixed feelings about it. Especially when he was a child and didn’t get a double serving of gifts 🙂
      Nice to see you again, Curt. Hope all is well for you and your family.

  8. I think our primary reason to head for the shore these days is the fresh fish, though it is harder to find these days than it was.

  9. What lovely pictures! Thank you also for sharing the importance of Memorial Day! (I didn’t know it was first called Decoration Day.)

Trackbacks

  1. […] arts colleges of Maine (with Colby in Waterville and Bates in Lewiston). Only eight miles from Bath and twenty-five from Portland, Brunswick manages to feel urban while being small. No doubt due to […]

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