October 11, 2012

Birthday at Bandaloop, Kennebunkport

Ed. note: Bandaloop has relocated to a new location in Arundel. 

My 30th birthday! Last year the weather looked like this: 

But this year it rained. Meh. My friends threw me an awesome Bowling Bieber Birthday party, and stenciled my face on a cake with cocoa powder. Too funny. 

See any resemblance? 

On my actual birthday (Wednesday), my boyfriend A. took me out in Kennebunkport and we spent the night at his parent's beach front cottage. Very romantic and cozy, but a little chilly in the three-season camp! But I loved falling asleep to the sounds of the ocean on the beach. 

We went to Bandaloop in downtown Kennebunkport, just off Dock Square, for dinner. We had our first official date at this restaurant - a night of drinks and apps at the bar after a *brief* walk on a pier to see the sunset (brrr again, since it was February!). 

I've been to Bandaloop a few times since and always enjoy its cozy environment, with low light, lots of dark wood, and very high ceilings. The menu focuses on locally sourced, seasonal ingredients, frequently organic, with free-range and organic meats. It feels fancy, but still has reasonable prices for a nice night out. 

Their bar has a nice drink menu - I had an $8 tempranillo, while A. had the pepper infused tequila and ginger beer margarita. They make classic cocktails as well as house versions, and the bar is a lovely place to sit. 

We were seated in a cozy corner with a view of the open kitchen and started with the Bandaloop soup ($4.50), this night a peanut squash coconut spicy bisque. And it was delicious. I wish I could figure out how to make such a creamy, spicy, nuanced soup in my own kitchen - it's all I'd eat. 

A. returned to his favorite starter, the cheese quesadilla ($10). I agree, I was skeptical the first time he suggested we order it. Really? A cheese quesadilla? 

But this one has some extra crispy cheese baked on the outside (genius) and comes with fantastic candied jalapeños, on this night super spicy! 

I opted for a smaller starter as my entree - to save room for dessert! - and tried the Shiitake mushroom, Gorgonzola in cream with greens and a garlic puff pastry twist ($14). 

The preparation was a little rich, and could have used more greens to offset the salty cheese and rich sauce. But I spaced out my meal with bites of A.'s entree to lighten up the overall effect. 

A. had the entree special  of a pepper crusted pork chop, Yukon Gold mashed potatoes, and roasted Swiss chard. Everything was delicious - especially the potatoes, which were both creamy and crispy, thanks to a few slices of roasted potatoes on top. 

We finished with a creme brulee dessert, which our waitress was kind enough to place a candle in. She said she figured it was my birthday - all the present opening gave me away - and I was so happy to be full of good food while celebrating with my sweet boyfriend. 

Kennebunkport doesn't have the food reputation that Portland does - I'd imagine there's a lot of overpriced, mediocre food being served to the wealthy out-of-towners that frequent. But Bandaloop bucks this trend by serving up a solid meal without pretension in a nice environment.