The Goal: Review both breakfast and lunch at The French Press Eatery in Westbrook.
The Plan: Hunker down and work and eat my way through half a day.
The Start: 8:15. Breakfast order in, I am booted up and typing at a round wooden table along the large, front windows facing Main street.
The Early Fail: 8:30. A basket of three steaming hot donuts appears under my nose. Crystal clear that the cashier’s minimizing “oh, about this big” hand gesture was utter lie.
Even at 2:00 pm – I still couldn’t handle a sandwich.
As big as regular donuts, twice as puffy and piled high with ingredients, these outrageous donuts are not for health nuts or the faint of heart.
Two of my three choices – the Bacon-Maple and Cinnamon Sugar — even sported mini “hole” versions of themselves tucked into their middle voids. The third, Double Chocolate, was more of a donut sandwich — extra puffy, sliced in half, and coated with a thick chocolate glaze that trickled down the sides and oozed out the middle.
Completely ridiculous. And, deadly, decadently good.
At $5 for three, the donut basket was a great deal. It could feed a family of four. A dozen costs $18. One costs $2. Other options included a classic Crueler, Raspberry Jelly, Boston Cream, Chocolate Glazed and a peanut butter-and-banana-filled concoction called The Elvis.
Biting into the donuts caused an intense “fresh from the fryer” reaction in me — a slight film instantly coated my tongue as the jolt of sugar and fat hit my blood stream. After eating only a third of each, I was ready to explode (okay — confession — I eventually nibbled my way through most of the Bacon-Maple). Topped with real bacon crisps and a dense maple glaze, the mixture of sweet and savory was right down my alley (see Whole Lotta Shakin’)
I sat there in a bit of a food coma and spent the next few hours sipping too many cups of French Roast (beans from Rock City Roasters), working and glancing around at my surroundings. A wooden, almost deco style, semi-circle coffee bar extended across the vast majority of the room – rugged, chipped concrete pillars breaking up its mass. Thin, hand-blown drop-lights illuminated the order counter and expresso machine. Local art and photography graced the walls.
After two hours of morning quiet, I worried that the eatery had yet to capture a following (a cause championed in a January Maine Today review), but by 10:30, the place filled up with “ladies that lunch,” local moms and other laptop-toting self-employeds. A constant chatter and buzz continued until I left at 3:00.
My new goal: Spread the word about the killer donuts and – someday – go back for lunch.