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Monday, July 16, 2007


I had the rare chance to have breakfast at two of my very favorite places on consecutive days last week...and I took it. I'm a diner breakfast hound, and I maintain a whole breakfast hagiography in my head, based on coffee quality (and mug quality, too), pancake texture, homefried flavor, omelette innovation (the Miss Albany Diner takes the cake on that one, and if there was any way to fit them into this breakfast orgy, I would have), and overall atmosphere.

So Friday morning I got everyone up (after going out and filling up on diesel and coffee myself), left our motel in Northampton, Mass., and drove through the countryside to the Roadhouse, just north of Belchertown. I first ate here with Cathy, back in 1989, when we drove up north out of Connecticut early on a Saturday morning, just cruising around. We came across it just as we were getting hungry, and it was great. I've been back three or four times since, and never been disappointed.

The place looked almost exactly the same: small, open, simple. But the menu had evolved. They've gone very much fresh, local, and organic food: fair trade coffee (delicious, get the Fogbuster blend), local ingredients, and organic where possible. I got two eggs over easy, big chunky homefries, thick toasted slices of house-baked onion-dill bread, and a delicious house-made corned beef hash. It was excellent, and we didn't need anything to eat until around 3:00.

The next day, I woke up before everyone else again, and toddled down the street to another of Lew's Breakfast Top Ten: The Littleton Diner. It's a classic Sterling diner (which has had a dining room added on in the rear), and I parked at the counter, had three or four cups of coffee, and snarfed down a grilled blueberry muffin. Later, after everyone had woken up and got dressed, I led them all down the street, and we ate properly.

I had exactly the same meal I'd had at the Roadhouse the day about separate but equal. The Littleton Diner's house-made corned beef hash has real chunks of corned beef in it, you can really feel that it's meat, and it's superb, probably the best corned beef hash I've ever had.

Happy guy. Can't wait till tomorrow, when I get to have breakfast at Moody's, in Waldoboro, Maine...anyone know a great place for breakfast in Portland?


BuckSpin said...

A lot of locals might say that Moody's isn't even the best diner IN Waldoboro! Almost a mile south of it is a TINY diner called Deb's that is very good.

A fantastic place for breakfast is the Brass Compass in Rockland. I recommend the sausage gravy over freshly made biscuits, side of hash browns. You better be hungry.

The A1 Diner in Gardiner is fantastic and a REAL vintage railcar diner. Menu is mild or WiLd and the beer selection is great for a diner.

The Maine Diner in Wells is well known & revewed and probably the closest to where you are headed (Portland).

Anonymous said...

As a longtime Philly resident who still visits Littleton (my birthplace) regularly, I have to say that you're spot on about the Littleton Diner. The hash really is something else.

Unfortunately, you're also right about the Italian Oasis' attempts at brewing. Blech.

Anonymous said...

I'll echo the request for a breakfast spot in Portland since my wife will be there on Friday.

okbrewer said...

Sounds good, Lew! I delight in a breakfasts at local spots too, and try to seek them out when I travel. But I gotta tell ya, there's something about waking up to left over smoked brisket and fruit tart!!

GenX at 40 said...

What the heck is a "grilled blueberry muffin"? Is that like a muffin that is later fried on a hot plate? remember: I am Canadian and I have never even seen chicken fried steak.


GenX at 40 said...

The Maine Diner is the boss, by the way. Have the Indian pudding. And a mile south of it on US #1 is the ever excellent bottle shop Tully's:

A Good Beer Blog

Lew Bryson said...

Grilled blueberry muffin? Take a blueberry muffin, slice it in half top to bottom, grease 'er up a bit, and throw it on the grill ('grill' as in a diner's 'grill,' a big metal plate over heat), it gets it hot and a little crusty. Good stuff, man.

Lew Bryson said...

Okie Bob: fruit tart and brisket? Damn, where can I get a breakfast like that!

GenX at 40 said...

Diner in Portland? The Porthole in the wharves area about 300 yards ESE of Gritty McDuffs:

Anonymous said...

When you get up to Montreal next time, look for Chez Coras, they have one of the best breakfasts going. Its a chain in Canada, but worth checking out, huge portions and variety.

Lew Bryson said...

Just got the same recommendation -- the Porthole -- from a wine store owner on Fore Street, and also got a recommendation for Becky's, also on Commercial Street (the waterfront), at the other end of the waterfront. So...we'll try the Porthole tomorrow morning, Becky's on Thursday morning, and Friday we'll hit the Maine Diner in Wells on the way home.

Alan said...

Go to Tully's, too, if you are in Wells. A great bottle shop with wine and cigars as well. All your vices except for the whole "frying pastries" thing.

If you are still in Portland, go over the big bridge and hit Reds soft ice cream for a Chocolate Boston, Beals Ice Cream for hard ice cream as well as hit the Tim Horton's for a truly Canadian experience. Plus my wife says to get to Three Dollar Dewey's on Commercial for a smoked chowder.

Did I ever mention I love Portland Maine? Do you want my buddie's name to hang out with him, too?

Dan Bengel said...

There is also a place right across the street from Big Sky Bakery near "The Bear" Right smart cajun breakfast! Gilbert's Chowder House for what else and make a stop at Brian Boru and sit up top on the deck. So many places, so little time.

Lew Bryson said...

Damn, guys, just had dinner at the Porthole: yum. Draft Allagash White, lobster roll, and some delicious fish chowder, great lobster. Good eating, some kind of atmosphere: real wharf-side eats, no fanciness at all, real friendly.

Lew Bryson said...

We were just saying on the way back from the Porthole that we need about a week to do this town justice, and another week to...oh hell, we're just going to get to what we can. Did see the Art Museum today, and that was nice, and the Portland Head Light, which was very cool, since it was right at an old Coast Artillery battery, an interest of mine. Going for the mail boat run tomorrow, I think.

BuckSpin said...

Glad to see your eating a good time!

I stumbled across this place on Father's Day:

Incredible Belgian style fries (Voted Best in Portland) fried in (what else) fat. Your choice of flavored mayo to dip. Chase it with a draft Allagash White or bottled Chimay Blue Cap....awesome. Then waddle over to Shipyard for a tour & hit the tasting room!