Driving Tour – Belfast (part 2)

We continue our day trip to Belfast with a stop at one of our favorite “casual” restaurants. Darby’s has been a bar or restaurant in Belfast since it was built in 1865. The current owners and operators, Gail & Jerry Savitz, remodeled the restaurant in 1985 and have been expanding and improving the restaurant since we first started going there over 13 years ago. Some of our favorites items on the menu are: Pad Thai, Big Buddha Bowl, Burgers, Cobb Salad and to finish EVERY meal…Scottish Toffee Pudding.

My in-laws insist on a trip to Darby’s on every visit from Michigan for this dessert. My version of the recipe (I call Sticky Toffee Pudding) is on page 160 of my first cookbook and is very comparable. Serve it with lots of vanilla ice cream and sauce. Here’s the recipe:

Sticky Toffee Pudding

serves 9

2 cups dates, pitted and chopped (11 ounces)
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 cups boiling water
2 Tablespoons rum
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup unsalted butter, soft
2 large eggs
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 batch Caramel-rum sauce (recipe below)
vanilla ice cream
whipped cream

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour an 8-inch by 8-inch baking pan.

2. Combine the chopped dates and baking soda together in a small mixing bowl. Cover with boiling water, rum and vanilla and let set for 5 minutes.

3. In another bowl, cream together the sugar and butter. Add the eggs and mix well. Add flour and date mixture and stir until well incorporated.

4. Pour into the prepared baking pan and place in the center of the preheated oven. Bake for about 1 hour, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Let cool 5 minutes.

5. To serve, cut the pudding into 9 pieces (3 inches by 3 inches) and serve drenched in Caramel-rum sauce with vanilla ice cream and whipped cream on top.

Caramel-Rum Sauce

2 cups brown sugar
1 cup unsalted butter
1/2 cup dark rum
1 cup heavy cream
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1. Bring all the ingredients, except the vanilla, to a boil in a small saucepan, stirring occasionally. Reduce the heat to low and simmer the sauce for 15 minutes over low heat. Stir in vanilla and keep warm until serving.

Driving Tour – Belfast (part 1)

Mary Jo and I spent the afternoon and early evening exploring Belfast, Maine, a short 18 mile trip north of Camden on Route 1. Belfast is a small seaside village (population of around 7,000) and it has some very interesting stores, restaurants and scenery. A few years ago Belfast ran a “bearfest” in the village, where people decorated fiberglass bears in various ways and they were then displayed around the community before being auctioned off. There was a bear riding a bicycle, one up a telephone pole, a

flying bear, picnicking bears, hulu dancing bears and the list goes on. Every time you turned the corner, another bear appeared. The bearfest continued for three years from 2000-2002 and they are currently in “hibernation” but a newer exhibit is currently on display where the artists

use bicycles and bicycle parts. The fish bike was a favorite of ours so I had to take a picture (look for my little red convertible in the background).

Next, we crossed the large bridge over the Passagassawakeag¬†River (try saying that!) and headed a mile up the road to Young’s Lobster Pound. We had 2 pound lobster’s on their outside patio (right on Belfast harbor) and sipped Gruet (it’s BYOB) sparkling wine from New Mexico. The seagulls sang, the sun was sinking in the sky and we had our own little moment of heaven. They do lobster’s well here.

Stay tuned for Belfast part 2 where we will explore “Darby’s Restaurant” and some of our other favorite Belfast attractions.