ALFRED — One out of two’s not bad.
Friday was an especially busy day, with appointments in extreme southern York County and at the very northeast corner of Cumberland County. I was on the road from morning until mid-afternoon, and began feeling pangs of hunger somewhere around 11 a.m.
At noon, I found myself at the Alfred Country Store on Saco Road. I had been here once before to grab a bottle of water and bag of peanuts, and remembered spying a hearty-looking sandwich counter, an enticing array of pizza slices and fine-smelling soups and chowders.
My car must have remembered it, too. Against my better judgment, my trusty Subaru pulled into the lot, put itself in neutral and shut itself off.
Somehow, it knew I could not resist the urge?
I started with a cup of corn chowder ($3.25), which was exceptional. Thanks to my grandmother, corn chowder has always been a favorite. I like a thick chowder, with small bits of potato and lots of corn kernels. The chowder at the Alfred Country Store was everything I hoped it to be and the best of what I remembered of my grandmother’s chowder: Creamy and dense with vegetables. I was given two bags of oyster crackers, which was generous and much appreciated.
I debated ordering a burger, which is what my car wanted me to have. I had seen them on my previous trip, and been thinking about them since. But I had a lunch appointment in Portland the day before at a place known for its burgers. Burgers two days in a row seemed decadent.
The pizza looked really good, too, and the two guys in line in front of me both had two slices each. The cheese was gooey, and the pepperoni was bristling with freshness under the hot lights. I had pizza on my lips as I sauntered up to the counter, but somehow “Two slices of pepperoni pizza, please” came out as, “I think I’ll try your Monte Carlo.”
Bad choice. The sandwich ($6) wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t what I wanted. It was basically a grilled cheese sandwich, stuffed with shredded chicken, bacon and cubed tomatoes. It was a tad too greasy for my liking, and the tomatoes were juicy, rendering the grilled bread a soggy mess.
Sliced tomatoes would have held up better, and it seems that a chicken breast, or sliced chicken, would have been a wiser approach than shredded.
I felt bad, because I had other choices: The pulled pork BBQ sandwich looked really sweet, as did the corned beef Reuben. The menu is actually quite extensive, and varied, with hot sandwiches, wraps and specialty burgers and dogs. There’s a full breakfast menu, as well.
This place is popular. I waited about 15 minutes for my food, because of the long line of diners. Nearly everyone got their food to go. I chose to eat mine in a small dining area near the front of the store, where I sat comfortably and watched the noon news.
I was glad for the break. So was my car.
Staff Writer Bob Keyes can be contacted at 791-6457 or:firstname.lastname@example.org