(originally posted May 2, 2012)
A road trip? Already? Well, the blog’s here, the trip was there. Sure, why not?
We spent a weekend in Lake Placid and visited a few quite nice eateries based on some recommendations of those that had been there before.
We arrived for lunch on Saturday and stopped at what probably qualifies as a hole in the wall sandwich shop. Very unfancy place, very unfancy presentation, pretty good food. Just outside of the main drag heading towards Saranac Lake is Saranac Sourdough (no website? menu here: menu). Wife went with a Turkey Gobbler, which was so-so, too dry. Interesting twist with cranberry ketchup on a turkey sandwich instead of the more common cranberry mayo. I wanted something warm because it was winter again in Lake Placid, having snowed that morning. I asked about the Jerk Chicken Breast sandwich, which is both hot (heated) and hot (it took a full bottle of Nantucket Nectar lemonade to stop my head from giving off sparks) and it was recommended by the ‘seems to know everyone’ woman manning the register and taking orders (probably the owner).
Wow was that thing spicy. Let’s get this out of the way – I like spicy food, but it has to taste good. I don’t just put Tabasco on things, just making things hot doesn’t do anything for me, I don’t want to taste ‘hot’, I want a spicy pepper taste for example. Anyway, this had some decent seasoning on it, probably a little heavy-handed for me, but it was good. And hot. The grilled pineapple pretty much refused to stay in the sandwich with the chicken, but it all worked out. Unfortunately I think I got the end of a loaf of raisin bread because one slice was almost comically larger than the other, so it was very hard to eat as a sandwich, I mostly picked at it with a fork, which was fine.
Sandwiches come with a salad – macaroni salad, chickpea, potato, etc. Wife got the chickpea and pronounced it excellent, lightly dressed chickpeas and a few other things in a little plastic container, just enough for a few bites. I just can’t eat cold salads of this type. It’s a thing. I just don’t eat them. I said I didn’t want anything and was offered a pickle spear instead, which I happily accepted. Nice customer service! It doesn’t look like much, but Saranac Sourdough is a nice spot to stop for lunch.
For dinner we drew on the recommendation of a local and went with Lisa G’s, just outside the main drag on the other side of town. We wisely arrived a bit before 6 with a big CSEA convention in town and got one of the last hightops by the bar, most of the tables in the main dining room were reserved for a bunch of CSEA’ers who showed up around 6:30, so we got our order in, etc. before they hit, which was good. Nice enough place inside, sort of upscale bar/nightclub in a barn sort of feel? Hard to describe. Big, weirdish portraits on the walls in the dining room, long bar in the other room, TVs showing sports. It was nice enough.
We decided to splurge on some wings as an appetizer and got the Greek Style wings, which were fantastic. Why don’t more places do a Greek wing?! Basically just picture a lovely Greek chicken and that’s your wings – very lemony, very oregano-y, yum! The only drawback was that they were literally swimming in an oil bath. I would have preferred that they be drained prior to service a bit more than they were. Extra napkins? Oh, yes. The menu describes it as being served with a feta cheese “dip”, but it was very chunky, mostly feta, best applied with a knife like a spread. It would have been nice if it was more like a typical blue cheese dip in texture, but it was tasty.
My wife hadn’t had her fill of chickpeas and went with the Moroccan Burrito. The waitress quite correctly warned her that you really better like chickpeas if you order it, because it is loaded with chickpeas. No kidding! This thing had probably a can of chickpeas in it. She didn’t even come close to finishing it. She ordered it with the optional chicken, but it didn’t have any chicken in it. It was brought to the staff’s attention afterwards since it was obvious that it wasn’t going to be a necessary add-on and we weren’t billed for the chicken. Served with your basic ruffled potato chips that could have been upgraded to something like fries if desired.
I was intrigued by one of the specials, a cuban pork loin with some kind of macaroni and cheese with mole sauce (I know, that’s like saying ‘sauce sauce’, but we do what we can) and gave that a whirl – hey, it’s a vacation! Let’s take the pork first. It was decently cooked, for some reason I was asked how I wanted it cooked – I know that they’re saying you can eat pork a bit less done nowadays, but really when I order pork I just want it ‘cooked’. No pink, still juicy. Cooked. I decided to not risk things and tried ‘medium well’. Two generous slices of pork, one just in the land of dry, the other moist with just a hint of color in the middle. I’ll be blunt, this pork had no flavor. If it was supposed to have a cuban spice rub of some kind they forgot it. However, it was served with a fruit sauce in a little dipping cup – pieces of watermelon, blueberries, maybe a couple of raspberries, in a mostly watermelon sauce. Other than the fact that it’s really too early for watermelon this was really yummy and made the pork quite edible. Would be better with fresh, in-season fruit later in the year.
And then the superstar of the weekend, heck, the best thing I’ve had in a long time. The pork was served over a macaroni and cheese that was mixed with a mole sauce and pieces of pulled pork! Sounds insane? It was! It was awesome. Add a bit more pulled pork and it’s an entree by itself. I ate every scrap. If something is particularly good I try to mention it to the staff, usually when I’m surprised it’s as good as it is. I went out of my way to tell them that this was ridiculously good. Supposedly it might be going on their regular menu. You think? Do it!
Bizarrely for a bar/restaurant they billed me for two sodas. I don’t recall seeing a ‘no refills’ anywhere and wasn’t told about it when asked if I wanted another. C’mon. $2 for a refill on a Diet Coke at a bar? Way lame, Lisa G. WAY lame. This is why I almost always get water at restaurants, I just refuse under most circumstances to pay as much for a glass of soda as I do for a 12 pack at the supermarket. We all know it costs you like a dime. Usually we stick with water and then adjust the tip as if we had gotten drinks, so the server doesn’t lose out, they’re bringing water and refills for water same as anything else. No dessert. Did you read the above? We were ready to burst.
Breakfast on Sunday was supposed to be at Chair 6. Surprise! Closed. Oh well. So we went back into the main strip, parked in the public lot (free on Sunday until 1 PM) and walked to the Breakfast Club, Etc. No website. Some details at Urban Spoon. It was good and we’d definitely recommend it. Wife had the french toast, which was thin slices of a bread in the challah family, lightly egg-coated (some places go nuts with the coating) and served with real maple syrup and cinnamon butter. The cinnamon butter was interesting and I think I need to make some at home – seems simple enough, toss some room temp butter into the mixer and let it whip it a bit then throw in a mess of cinnamon. Tasty. I decided to back off the meat and had a basic omelet with tomato, peppers, and pepper jack cheese. It came with toast and hash browns. The omelet was quite huge and filling and good. Asking for tomato was a mistake, I rarely eat tomatoes this time of year when they’re so far out of season, don’t know why I didn’t stick by that. No choice on the toast, it was a wheaty grainy loaf that was OK, although so thoroughly bathed in butter that my fingers were dripping after picking it up at first before I noticed. Little packets of Smuckers grape jelly to put on it, that’s it. The hash browns were just bad. Fully cooked through, but not crispy, cubes that were very heavily seasoned with…something. I ate some of them, realized I wasn’t enjoying them at all, and just left the rest. I guess maybe they had paprika on them, but the color didn’t seem right for paprika. Whatever. The omelet was plenty. I’d go back here, things were pretty decent and there were other things I’d try.
So there you go. Lake Placid eats. I would go back to any of the 3 places but order a little differently. There were several other places that looked interesting and were recommended. It’s gorgeous up there, I mean you’re walking down the street and, gee, there’s Whiteface just rising up in the distance…wow. It was super clear (though very chilly) both days and not too crowded, even with the CSEA’ers everywhere. We walked, we shopped, we ate, we did the Olympic museum (fun and interesting – about $3 interesting, not $6 interesting, though).