Thursday, 21 March 2013

Lincoln Dine-A-Round: #1 – All Around the World

The easy 2-hour drive up the I93 from Boston had got us into Lincoln in mid-afternoon, giving us plenty of time to dive into the Rite-Aid on Main Street to get a few basic provisions (mostly beer and wine, to be honest, but Julie also spotted some great value bottles of cranberry juice and apple juice at just a dollar each, so we could mix up a replica of the refreshing ‘Cran-Apple’ Megan had enjoyed on the leisurely flight over...). We could have gone to the Price-Chopper supermarket, but at the risk of going into too much detail Megan needed the loo and I knew I could just run her into Dunkin’ Donuts next door while Julie started putting a few things in the basket in Rite-Aid.

Actually the ‘run’ into Dunkin’ wasn’t that straightforward in the end – all the new snow that had preceded our arrival was piled a good couple of feet high and was obscuring the pavement (or should that be sidewalk...?), but hey, we weren’t complaining!

Purchases made, we hopped back in the car and decided to take a drive past the restaurant we thought we might visit for dinner that evening. We had never been to the Gypsy Café before and, as it is just a couple of hundred yards down the road right on Main Street, we thought we’d just pull up outside to check the opening hours. As we did so a lady who was walking down the street stopped, turned and started heading determinedly towards our parked car. Expecting a gentle admonishing for perhaps being illegally parked, I lowered the car window and began mentally preparing my apology and excuse. “I’m sorry” came the friendly voice with a gentle, local lilt, “we’re not serving right now. Lunch was until 4.00pm.” It was now 4.10pm. Pleasantly surprised, I quickly established that the restaurant would be open again for dinner from 5.00pm to 9.00pm, we offered our thanks and headed off to check-in at our hotel, the Indian Head Resort. “That was nice of that lady to stop for us” commented Julie, and we both agreed that it epitomised the friendly welcome and attentive service we always get when we’re skiing in New Hampshire

After unpacking and taking a quick and refreshing dip in the hotel's year-round heated outdoor pool (and relaxing the muscles in the adjoining hot-tub) we showered and got ready to head back into town. The Gypsy Café was already busy with most tables already occupied and all the bar stools taken, but we were quickly seated in the cosy rear section. We had heard the food was of an international flavour, and the menu proudly proclaimed ‘food from around the world’. The specials were tempting, and we chose to share what turned out to be very plump fish-cakes as a starter, which were delicious. The value-priced kids’ menu offered fairly standard children’s fare and Megan was delighted with her burger, which was just want she fancied.

Julie and I both pondered long and hard over what to choose for our main dishes, the choices on offer being very varied both in terms of style and geographical origin, and all sounding very tempting. I toyed with the Black Angus New York Strip Steak, but decided I could tuck into a good steak in most restaurants in the area and decided I should go for something from a little further afield. The Jamaican Jerk Chicken perhaps, or maybe the indian-spiced Tiger Salmon with yoghurt sauce? I was more than pleased with my final decision – the Thai Red Curry Duck. Served on a saffron rice, the red curry sauce on the two duck breasts had just the right amount of fire in the spice and, being more of a red wine person, the whole dish was easily washed down by a glass of Cabernet Sauvignon (or quite simply Cab, as the locals tend to order it). Julie was equally delighted with her Shrimp Piri-Piri: the attentive waitress has accurately advised that it wasn’t excessively hot (from a spicy point of view, that is) and that the citrus flavouring was not overpowering. And Julie is always partial to a glass of crisp, chilled Pinot Grigio and was not disappointed.

With fabulous food a little different from the normal offerings, in casual surroundings and a relaxed atmosphere, our first visit to the Gypsy Cafe will definitely not be our last, and next time maybe I’ll sample cuisine from a different part of the globe.

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