Hot Chickity Chicken—Winning a $25 Gift Certificate to the Red Barn in Augusta

IMG_2962The title of this post says it all! On Monday, I won a $25 gift certificate to one of my favorite places to eat—The Red Barn in Augusta, Maine. (I put my Good Eater business card in a bowl for their monthly drawing.) I’ve written about the Red Barn before, about how their seafood and chicken are so good and so fresh and about how the employees are actually paid a living wage. The employees, in turn, are friendly, cheerful, and efficient, which is not always the case with those who work in service-sector jobs. Being paid a decent wage really affects morale, and employees that feel valued give better service. It’s as simple as that. In addition, Laura Benedict, the owner, frequently makes the Red Barn available for fundraisers for area charities and organizations.

Although you can get a lobster roll or grilled fish or chicken sandwiches at the Red Barn, they specialize in fried chicken and seafood, and it is my restaurant of choice for my weekly treat day, where I let myself eat as much as I want without worry of calories. Sometimes I get fried chicken, other times it might be shrimp, but I always order a side of their crisp homemade chips. And to guild the lily, Clif and I often split a homemade whoopie pie for dessert.

Then there are the prices—$10.95 for a lobster roll, $8.75 for a pint of chicken, and $12.25 for a pint of shrimp. I have become so spoiled by the Red Barn’s prices and the quality of their food that I can hardly bring myself to order seafood anywhere else.

Yesterday, I went to the Barn to pick up my gift certificate. The smell of fried seafood, chicken, and chips was so enticing that I could barely restrain myself from ordering right then and there. But I did. Clif has a cold and quite rightly didn’t want to eat out last night. Also, my cheat day is on the weekend, either Saturday or Sunday, and while I could have ordered one of their grilled sandwiches, I had something a little richer in mind. So using all my self restraint, I collected my gift certificate, and as I tucked it into my pocketbook, I glumly reflected on our supper that night—spicy lentils over rice. Now, lentils are very good in their own way, but they certainly can’t compete with the Red Barn’s food. I hurried out the door and didn’t look back.

“Friday,” I said to a sniffling Clif as I picked him up from work—his broken wrist still prevents him from driving. “If the weather and our health allow, we’ll go out to eat on Friday, which, after all, is the start of the weekend.”

Nodding, Clif blew his nose and agreed that by Friday, he should be ready for a meal at the Red Barn.

So until then, I will be daydreaming, at odd moments, about our Friday meal at the Red Barn. I’ll be getting something rather over-the-top, something I’ve never ordered before—a lobster BLT. (Susan Poulin, are you reading this? I know you’re as wild about bacon as I am.) How will lobster go with bacon? I have no idea. Stay tuned, and I’ll let you know.

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