Saturday, June 16, 2012

"Hi Sweetie." The Courthouse Restaurant.

"Hi sweetie. Come on in, have a seat wherever you like."

And I'm pretty well sold. They'd have to serve up sausage full of buckshot after a greeting like that for me to completely hate the place. But they don't. They serve up greasy, delicious breakfast vittles, coffee that tastes like more than soaked cardboard, and all the Southern hospitality you'll never get the chance to ask for.

It's called the Courthouse Restaurant. Just a little diner that serves breakfast right up until they close at 3pm. It's the type of place where almost every patron is a regular, and they'll treat you like you are too, even if it's your first visit.

It's the type of place lined with old men in plaid shirts talking over coffee and current events, the weather, and local gossip. It's always crowded, but rarely full.

I'm not a food snob. I like country cookin', and I'm a big fan of breakfast. On my first visit, I ordered the sausage egg and cheese croissant scribbled on the dry erase board by the door. The croissant was unlike any I've had, and though I'm told they don't bake them in house, it was remarkably fresh with a subtle honey colored sweetness that played perfectly with the savory depth of the sausage patty. The eggs were cooked perfectly (I ordered them over-medium), just runny enough to sop up the tiny, sun colored puddles of yolk that dripped from the sandwich with the end of the croissant. For $4, including a cup of coffee and served up quick, there is really no reason to ever go to Hardee's for breakfast. Ever.

On my second visit I ordered the breakfast bowl. If there's a gastronomical equivalent to sliding into a jacuzzi, this is it. Creamy, decadent sausage gravy, shredded potatoes, butter saturated biscuits. It's phenomenal. Not in a gourmet, high brow, lavender mimosa brunch kind of way, but in a way that makes you feel like a blustery day on the bay might be a good idea. Or a nap. It might make you want a nap.

To fully disclose, I haven't been for lunch yet, by which I mean I've gone in the afternoon and intended to order lunch, but having tasted the hearty, satisfying, Southern accented breakfast offerings, I just haven't been able to order anything else. My resolve remains, however. I'll definitely be back, and y'all will be updated.

My one complaint is that I had to wait for a minute or two before my water glass was refilled. I'm exceptionally particular about this though, and it happens pretty much everywhere, so don't take the caveat too seriously. 

So, there you have it. Home cooked, well priced, deeply satisfying offerings served like you're family. They keep this up, and I just might marry in.

Last note: If you are a food snob, a health obsessed urbanite, or one of those people who feel compelled to treat waitstaff like second class citizens, go somewhere else. Wouldn't want you ruining the atmosphere.

Y'all come back now, ya hear?
-The Gloucester Foodie

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Gloucester, Gloucester, Gloucester

This isn’t a restaurant review. There will be time for that later.

This is an indictment. Not of the town and it’s resources, not of the casual or fine dining options. This is an indictment of you, my fellow Gloucester residents. Yes. You.

Perhaps you’ve grown accustomed to the quaint rural charm of the Courthouse area. Perhaps your lives are crowded by the relentless procession of obligatory undertakings, the day-to-day static of appointments and chores that seem to bleed into one another like country music stations when the radio is set to scan in this coastal outcropping of civilization. Perhaps there is comfort in the consistent mediocrity of corporate chain clones. There is, after all, less to find objectionable in a place if it has no personality.

Maybe this is why Chick-Fil-A is clogged with chugging engines, and Starbucks plays host to a carousel of caffeine junkies rushing through the chapters of their lives. Maybe this is why Wal-Mart is the most happenin’ place in town.

I’m not here to crusade against chain stores. I go to them. I too find solace in precisely met expectations, no matter how diluted those expectations might be.

I’m not crusading against anything. This is about what I’m crusading for.

And that, Gloucester, is your identity.

This country is strewn with the strip mall monotony of chain stores. Stand in the parking lot of an Applebee’s, and you could be anywhere. I’d say “literally” anywhere, but that word is actually something I’m crusading against. I digress.

What makes this place magical, and I do hope you believe your town to be just that, is its character, its charm, its subtle resemblance to the heavenly archetype of that little town in Tim Burton’s Big Fish, awash with daffodils and the easy Southern stroll of life being timelessly lived.

Stop and smell your daffodils, Gloucester.

There are so many great places to eat, to shop, to sip sweet tea and speak of things without stress among hanging plants, local art, craft beer. Over gourmet dishes, surrounded by the delicately picked notes of musicians you can grab a drink with when their set is done. It’s called Main Street.

Take that turn off Rt 17 (to speak metaphorically, there being some great locally owned spots on that road), and do something you can’t do anywhere else in the world: be a part of what makes Gloucester great.

Catch y’all in the Courthouse,
-The Gloucester Foodie

Hello, Gloucester

This blog is dedicated to ruminations on the culinary scene in Gloucester, Virginia, and the surrounding counties. Punches will not be held, praise won’t be canned (especially if the veggies are), and objectivity will not be attempted.  If you own a restaurant, beware. I’m anonymous, brutally honest, and damn hungry.

Check back for restaurant and market reviews that will grumble like the innards of a stoner in a grocery store, shine like well polished cutlery, and dish right back out whatever is being served. Wine, beer, ambiance, decor, service, vision… I’m going further than the plate to create comprehensive insights into what makes a place work. Or not.

Get ready, Gloucester.

Put this on your grill and smoke it.

The Gloucester Foodie.