Thursday, October 14, 2010

A Bison Burger Right Off the Hoof

Melby's Market and Eatery
I found Melby's Market and Eatery in Waterford on my way to Bethel this past weekend. Melby's isn't fancy, but the food is good, and it has authentic Maine charm: no pretense and a certain brusqueness. It also has a great bison burger that is truly fresh. Since the local bison ranch is just a few miles down the road, one could say, the burger was right off the hoof.

On the day I visited, Melby's had its share of leaf peepers (people touring New England's for fall foliage) so the place was crowded. I ate at the counter, and as a result, I was able to talk to some of the locals. I learned a lot about local Waterford culture. Turns out, Waterford is Maine's version of Payton Place. You know, plenty of sex, adultery, and hypocrisy.

Tomorrow's Bison Burgers
Even though I'm an atheist, Melby's was a godsend. I was in one of my low blood sugar moments, grouchy and unpleasant.  I really needed a place to eat!  It was a miracle I found Melby's. 

Finding a good place to eat on a road trip is a challenge. I remember driving across country and searching for restaurants that wouldn't give me indigestion. It was always hit or miss. Fortunately, there were more hits than misses.

Beech Hill Bison Ranch
I particularly remember Del's Restaurant in Tucumcari, New Mexico. Del's was the last place I had good Mexican food. Then there was the Olive Garden (yes, the Olive Garden) in Terre Haute, Indiana, with its exceptional service and charming mid-west friendliness. Finally, how could I forget, there was the Italian Garden in Wichita, Kansas, a cheesy version of the Olive Garden (if that's possible). The Italian Garden had a certain sophistication that made you believe you were in Tuscany or at least in Little Italy.  BTW:  it had inexpensive wine and an authentic iceberg lettuce salad that reminded me of my childhood. The Italian Garden also had a logo that looked surprisingly similar the logo used by the Olive Garden. Um, trademark issue?

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