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Weekend eats in Gloucester report

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Weekend eats in Gloucester report

Boston_Otter | May 31, 2011 12:43 PM

I spent the holiday weekend with friends up in Glouchester, cheerfully eating my way through the town.

Saturday morning started with a trip to my favorite breakfast joint, Lee's, where I got the Nathalie Benedict: two eggs on red flannel hash atop english muffins. The eggs were nicely poached and runny, the hash was smoky and delicious, the hollandaise thick and rich. Lee's homefries aren't their strong point -- greasy and slippery. On the side, we all shared a short stack of their peanut butter & chocolate chip pancake, which doesn't need any butter or syrup to be decadent and amazing.

That hefty breakfast pretty much finished me for the afternoon, but in the evening we went to Alchemy, which I know has gotten mixed reviews here. I loved the warm, cozy atmosphere and attitude of the staff, and overall I loved my meal, but this place suffers from a lack of focus. They make a big deal about serving "tapas" and "sharing plates", but in reality they've only got a half-dozen so-called "tapas", and we ended up sharing our entrees anyway, so it was a little silly. We started with the calamari (topped with terrific vinaigrette and spicy pepper strips), blue cheese stuffed dates (tasty, but cheese was way too mild, almost like neufchatel) and tasty little short-rib stuffed piquillo peppers. A 'sharing plate' of very decent hummus (with warm pita, carrot sticks, and celery -- meh) and a truly excellent antipasto platter arrived, highlited by a briny olive tapenade, grilled bread, and sweet heirloom tomatoes. We then shared the excellent Greg's Burger, a half-order of the decadent and seafood-laden Uptown Mac & Cheese, and the Beef Short Rib -- the beef itself was nicely tender, but the gouda pave, garlic spinach, and zinfandel sauce that it sat on were brilliant. All this was accompanied by their recommendation of a "Cosmic Infusion" cocktail, which was just a gussied-up Cosmo, and then the Alloy #3 (Maker's Mark, bitters, muddled oranges, limoncello) which was one of the nicest little cocktails I've had in a very long time. Desert: the Chocolate Paté, an intensely chocolately concoction. An excellent time.

Sunday started with a lot of groaning, followed by a trip to Sugar Magnolia's for breakfast. Our 25-minute wait became a 35-minute, 45-minute, and finally an hour-long wait before getting inside, which was irritating; by the time we were seated, I was more than happy to get my hands on their famous pineapple fritters -- which were decent enough little balls of fried dough, but the tropical dipping sauce raised the bar quite a bit. We also shared a short stack of the vaunted carrot cake pancakes which, again, were decent, but much elevated by the maple syrup cream cheese. I went with the "Irish" benedict: two eggs with hash atop grilled cornbread. Their pork-potato-carrot hash was unique and delicious, but the cornbread was, honestly, the highlight of the whole meal; sweet, crisp, moist, and fantastic. Overall, I enjoyed the place, but my heart belongs to Lee's.

Dinner on Sunday belonged to Captain Carlo's, which started off on a mediocre note with some tasty, but very wimpy, fried clams. But as I'd ordered the full clambake, their incredibly thick clam chowder and a hefty bowl of fresh, delicious steamers (clams, not mussels, hooray!) made up for it, followed by a nicely-sized lobster. A terrific deal for $30.

A last breakfast on Monday at Passports capped off the weekend: crab & tomato benedict, with a lovely lemony hollandaise.

Now to spend the summer working this weekend off…

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