October 30, 2006 § 3 Comments
Much ink has been spilt over this small spot in Lunenburg, and most of what’s been written is true— it’s a funky, friendly little place. The line-up can be intimiadting at first, but most of the people ahead of you are perfectly happy to chat while you wait, and if it’s not too busy, a server will offer a drink while you wait.
The dining room itself is cozy and green, novelty salt and pepper shakers everywhere, one wall plastered with foreign currency— tourism is Lunenburg’s lifeblood, after all— and another covered with photographs of local and national history. There’s just one table, surrounded by six booths, and there’s not a bad seat in the
According to some lore (really just an article about the restaurant I read while we were waiting), when the two women who started Magnolia’s were trying to develop the menu, they made a list of things they just couldn’t leave off… but the list was five pages long. So they decided to have a rotating menu serving a mixture of classic Nova Scotia (Fishcakes, Scallops) and Cajun cool (Creole peanut soup, key lime pie).
Our server is friendly, if not chatty, and she brings our drinks much faster than we’d expect in a room so full. Daily Specials are listed on a chalkboard at the front of the restaurant, and there’s a small winelist at the table. I start with the Creole Peanut Soup, and my companion has the French Onion Soup, which technically isn’t a starter, but he’s on a lifelong quest to find the Ultimate French Onion Soup. And this one, he pronounces, is pretty darn close. The broth is rich with sherry, and the cheese crown is blistered and stretchy. My soup is a great success, too. Its flavor is just as deep as the French Onion, and it’s not overpoweringly peanuty, with a kick of heat at the end.
Our mains are Fishcakes with Fried Eggs and Peppers— today’s special– and Alma’s Tunisian Vegetable Stew. The fishcakes are, as promised, spectacular. Lots of haddock and potato, smoky-crisp outside, a soothing blend of creamy and flaky inside. They’re served with a rhubarb chutney which is just a bit too sweet, but the eggs are a nice accompaniment and the peppers and onions delicious.
The vegetable stew isn’t quite as good. It’s a mix of peppers, onions, chickpeas and tomatoes served on brown rice and finished with feta and almonds. There’s nothing really wrong with it, but the vegetables would benefit from a little more time caramelizing in the pan, and the almonds have been cooked a couple minutes beyond golden brown. Still, the rice is nice and chewy, and the serving is generous.
Magnolia’s desserts are legendary. They’re listed on a chalkboard, alongside the specials, and there’s always Key Lime Pie, for which they’re famous, along with other worthy offerings, like Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie and Hummingbird Cake. We share a Key Lime Pie, and it is brilliant. Tart, creamy and fragrant, and it tastes fresh. Key Limes are only in season for a few weeks at the beginning of summer, opposite the season for most North American citrus. It’s nice to know that someone is using them to great effect.
Magnolia’s isn’t a fancy place, although you can certainly get terrific food. It’s loud and friendly, and absolutely packed all summer long. It’s more a neighborhood place where you’d be proud to bring your out-of-town friends.
October 23, 2006 § Leave a comment
Happy Birthday. I’ll bet you don’t have any plans at all, aside from maybe picking up a CD at Bull Moose on your way to work. I’m writing to change your mind! And convince you to go nuts! And then write to me about it! Because the best stories told around the holiday table are never about working. In our family the best stories usually about either machetes and “junk cars” or drunken snowmobiling. But I expect more of you than that.
My plans for my 21st birthday included an apprenticeship to a traditional cuckoo clock maker in the Black Forest, and being the toast of the villagers who all turn out to celebrate at the local gasthaus. There was to be much sloshing of Pilesner from the tankards, and consumption of local sausages (by others) and local pastries (by me). Also, lederhosen and accordian music, because in my imagination the Black Forest exists around 1858.
Alas, it did not come to pass.
In fact, I can’t even remember what I did on my 21st birthday— and not for the reason you just thought, dammit.
So, this one time only, I hope you take the demon’s advice. Embrace spontaneity, and do something really memorable.
And now, a haiku, entitled So Please Be Generous.
The Age of Majority,
You have it all now.
October 23, 2006 § 1 Comment
This blog is essentially my everlasting debutante ball. Since my dad joined AOL ten years ago this month, I have been a lurker. I’ve never made my presence felt to you, Internet. I’ve refrained from posting reviews on books or music, and never comment on message boards, but today— today!— marks my coming out.
According to Wikipedia, it’s also the anniversary of Brutus’s defeat and suicide at the Second Battle of Phillipi, the first Parliament of Great Britain, the first transcontinental air service from New York to Los Angeles, the first general assembly of the United Nations. October 23, 1998, Benjamin Netanyahu and Yasser Arafat reached a land-for-peace agreement and October 23, 2001 the IRA commenced disarmament and the first generation of iPod was released. Most auspicious. It’s also my brother’s birthday (see above).
And now, a haiku.
A new blog glowing
Dimly in cold cyberspace.
Who will read it? Who?