On my first official endeavor into the wonderful world of food criticism, my companion and I partook of an interesting dining experience.
Only a short walk from the Peaks Island launch, we casually walked into Happy Cooking. The inside is quite different from its “general store” outside appearance. The deck would have been a very nice option had it not been for the poor weather. The walls are painted a very pale yellow, which by the end of the dinner were illuminated by the soft glow of candles. Tables are small, but equipped with some very interesting items.
We had the privilege of being seated at a table with salt and pepper shakers in the shapes of a cactus and fez hat-wearing monkey, respectively. Along with these strange characters were a large selection of teas, a basket of three different breads, and an adequate list of wines.
Directly behind my seat was the open curtain to the kitchen. Inside, about three people were busy shuffling around cooking for the now busy restaurant. One of the cooks, dynamically dressed in shorts, T-shirt and clogs, slaved over the hot grill, tossing dirty pans to the floor. He was obviously not meant to be seen.
Considering the limited menu, dinner was not that bad. A larger selection would have been preferable, and vegetarian options would have been nice as well.
The $12 lasagna with yellow peppers and fresh basil was new to my taste buds, but enjoyable. My companion ordered the $16 saut?ed jumbo shrimp with roasted grape tomatoes and linguine.
The food was presented very professionally and looked very appetizing, yet something was lacking. For the price of the dinner, a side dish or salad would have been nice.
Dessert was nothing less than this meal’s salvation. Happy Cooking’s coconut pie is to die for, decorated with a puff of whipped cream and some blueberries scattered about. Never have I enjoyed pie this exquisite.
Overall this dinner was enjoyable, but with a little tweaking here and there it could improve dramatically. With a friendly staff, and an open mind to quaint, out of the way restaurants, Happy Cooking is a great place to spend a quiet night out.
Location: Peaks Island, Maine
Overall cost: $39.54
Rating: 3.5 out of 5