July 22, 2010

Dining and Drink
Eat and Run: Cafeteria style

Dish Creative Cafe serves up interesting selections and substantial portions in a beautiful setting.

From staff reports

Visiting Pineland Farms in New Gloucester is always a pleasure because the campus is so lovely, there's a terrific garden open to the public and lots of trails. To my delight, I've discovered the campus has yet another reason to visit it: The Dish Creative Cafe, run by Portland-based Black Tie Company.

click image to enlarge

Mike Borland, Black Tie head chef at the Dish Creative Cafe at Pineland Farms, shows off the turkey dinner.

Kat Franchino/Staff Photographer

DISH CREATIVE CAFE

WHERE: Pineland Farms, Common Building, off Route 231, New Gloucester; 688-4681, www.pinelandfarms.org

HOURS: 7:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Monday through Friday

CHEAPEST GRUB: Several lunch menu items, including a slice of cheese pizza, Thai noodle salad and vegetable pasta salad, sell for $2.95.

WAIT: Less than five minutes

HANDICAPPED ACCESS: Yes (parking and flat entrance into cafe)

PARKING: Lots

RATING: ****

Ratings based on a five-star scale

I visited the campus on a Tuesday afternoon. The cafe is in the Common Building, which is just beyond the visitor center parking lot.

It's distinguished by a cylindrical white structure in the center of a lot of brick.

You can sit outside on a patio or inside in a large room with a contemporary look and open feel. Notably, as open as the dining room is, the sound level from folks talking around you is reasonable.

The cafe is set up cafeteria-style. You can select pre-made sandwiches and salads or grab a hot lunch.

On the Tuesday afternoon I visited, my friend and I opted for pre-made sandwiches.

A whole sandwich is gigantic, so we both went with halves. I selected the turkey gobbler (fresh roast turkey, cranberry chutney, mayo and stuffing) for $4 ($6.95 for a whole sandwich), and my friend went with a BLT wrap (wood-smoked bacon, lettuce, tomato and red pepper mayo) for $4 ($6.25 for a whole sandwich).

I also could not resist a whoopie pie for dessert. (Selecting just one item for dessert was no easy feat, because the cafe offers many yummy treats.)

My turkey gobbler was terrific, and my whoopie pie was amazing. Sometimes the cream in a whoopie pie can be too heavy, but this one was just right.

One of the things that struck me about the cafe's offerings was how interesting the food was for a cafeteria-style eatery.

Daily specials include grilled salmon for $6.95; chicken mirabella for $5.95; shrimp and corn cake with remoulade, black beans and rice for $6.95; and New England boiled dinner for $4.99.

You can buy a slice of cheese pizza for $2.95 every day, but the cafe also offers a specialty pizza, which changes daily, for $4 a slice.

The specialty pizza options include vegetarian pizza with artichoke, spinach, tomato, caramelized onion, olives and feta; steak lovers' pizza with flank steak, mushrooms, caramelized onions and cheddar and provolone cheeses; and southwestern pizza with olives, black beans, grilled chicken, tomato, avocado and Jack cheese.

The cafe also offers breakfast items from 7:30 to 11:30 a.m.

On the breakfast menu are a variety of breakfast sandwiches and wraps ranging from $3.25 to $4.50, including the Pineland (cured ham, scrambled eggs, cheddar and tomato on a grilled English muffin) and the farmer's wrap (apple wood-cured bacon, scrambled eggs and cheddar on a soft flour tortilla).

You can also order a variety of baked goods, such as muffins, croissants and sticky buns, and fresh fruit.

My only disappointment is that the cafe is not open on weekends.

The Features staff of the Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram anonymously samples meals for about $7.

 

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