BATH — In the lazy, heady days before the children – ours and otherwise – came, brunch was a standard of Sunday life. We would settle in to a favorite restaurant or cafe with a very large and unwieldy Sunday New York Times (remember when the Sunday New York Times used to be large and unwieldy?), a fresh pot of coffee, a dish of something tasty, often with eggs, perhaps some fresh baked goods, and a nice glass of juice with perhaps … perhaps … a bit of champagne in it, or a bit of vodka in it.
We could spend hours trading the Book Review back and forth and drinking coffee and ordering perhaps … perhaps … another Mimosa or Bloody Mary and eventually toddling home to sit on the deck in the watery sunlight and enjoy the rest of the day without doing much of anything else.
Well, times and family size have changed, and so has the size of the New York Times, as well as the size of our to-do list for Sundays, which now includes housecleaning, laundry, yard work, dog care, and everything else that can’t be done during the week. So having time to laze about having brunch is a rare thing, and it was quite nice that we spent an hour or two enjoying a delightful meal at Mae’s Cafe, at 160 Centre Street (442-8557).
Mae’s has breakfast all day, which right there makes it unique in the midcoast. Open from 8 a.m. – 3 p.m., it also serves a nice nuncheon if that’s what you’re looking for, too.
We are especially fond of Mae’s in the summer months, because it has a patio where you can sit with your well-behaved dog, and we often take advantage of that special offering.
Mae’s also has a justifiably famous bakery, offering cakes, quiches, rolls, pies, croissants, muffins, scones, and cookies of many kinds and flavors. They take special orders, too, for things like special event cakes, such as wedding cakes and anniversary cakes and the like.
On Sunday, we arrived sans Times, but with youngest child in tow, to sample Mae’s brunch menu. (They probably wouldn’t have minded if we had brought the Times, but we had a pellet stove to clean and a Super Bowl to prepare for, so we had to make it quick.) Mae’s has a great brunch menu, including eight kinds of Eggs Benedict and 13 kinds of omelets. We adults sampled Morse’s Mountain ($8.50), one of the house specialties that includes two eggs, one sausage patty or two slices of the best bacon this side of the Adirondacks, two small blueberry pancakes and home fries. The dishes came with a slice of absolutely ripe pineapple. We echewed the champagne this time, although I can tell you from previous happy experience that Mae’s Mimosa is quite a light and lovely thing, in favor of juice and coffee.
Said child ordered not one, but two breakfasts, including the Lighthouse ($4.50), which was an order of one slice of French toast and one sausage patty, and Steak Quesadillas ($12.95), which came with grilled steak, peppers, onions, mushrooms, and Pepper Jack cheese, garnished with salsa and sour cream, and a side salad.
Mae’s decor is Maine Cottage, and we were seated in one of the bay windows where we were able to watch the world go by. Given that it was early February, a substantial part of the world did in fact go by, and some of them stopped into the bakery for breakfast rolls while we were having brunch.
Mae’s also serves as an art gallery, and is supportive of local artists, musicians, and other cultural institutions throughout the year.
Our poached eggs were perfectly done, and we ordered a side of multi-grain toast to help mop up the yolk, thus leaving our blueberry pancakes for a delightful dessert. Our adult companion horned in on the toast a bit, but we graciously shared.
As for the young person, he quickly demolished his French Toast, then moved on to the Steak Quesadillas. He chowed down with the gusto not seen in persons beyond 17 years of age, and while we relaxed with coffee and juice after demolishing our own brunch, we watched with amused amazement at the sheer amount of food the boy was able to put away, as did our server, Angela, who came by regularly to refill our coffee and take away the remains of our brunch.
As he promised, he was more than up to the task of completing the two hearty portions of brunch, as well as gulping down a cup of coffee or two and a glass of milk.
It is also inexpensive enough … even in these difficult days … to treat your family to brunch at Mae’s from time to time without breaking the bank. Brunch for the three of us came out to about $46, even taking into account two meals for our son, which was certainly not necessary, because the portions are quite ample all on their own.
If you haven’t been to Mae’s yet, spend a nice brunch there. They take reservations, which are strongly recommended on days like Mother’s Day and Father’s Day, but you don’t need a special occasion to spend a Sunday morning at Mae’s. It’s definitely worth it.