Rockland ME, 04841
I was back on the east coast recently visiting family and by shear happenstance I ran into a lovely chocolate experience. I was relaxing in Owls Head Maine and enjoying the New England ocean vistas…
…watching the belted galway cows…
…and then went out for a lovely dinner in the evening with my father and brother for a Father’s Day celebration at Cafe Miranda.
We have been going to Owl’s Head for 25 years. In all of that time, I had never been to Cafe Miranda. This time I managed to go and it turned out to be quite a treat. With it’s intimate atmosphere and funky decoration I felt right at home. Unfortunately, I wasn’t expecting this wonderful surprise, and thus, was caught without a flash, as you can see from my blurry photographs. Although, I think that it portrays the warm, energetic ambiance of the place quite well. Cafe Miranda has one of the most eclectic menus I have ever encountered. It boasts Italian, Mexican, and Thai food. I had to make sure and get seafood since I was in Maine with Cafe Miranda’s house-made pasta. Also, the owner, Kerry Altiero is of Italian descent so I opted for a dish in the My Italian American Grand Ma section of the menu. I chose the Pasta, Mussels, & Roasted Italian Sausage.
It was delicious. Here, my dad’s semi-devoured Seafood Mixa in the upper left, my dish is the blurred mess in the foreground. That’s as far as I could go. My brother bet me $100 I couldn’t finish my plate. He won. It just wasn’t possible. Yet, I still found room for dessert.
This is where the surprise comes in. I, of course, asked for the dessert menu, wondering if there were any chocolate treasures to be found therein. There was a chocolate cake I was considering. However, our waitress announced that there were some chocolate truffles that were not listed on the menu due to their unpredictable delivery. I got very excited and told her about Chocolate Explorer and she said that I definitely needed to try the Woody-O’s as well. First, Why would truffles be unpredictable? Second, who the heck is Woody and why does he have O’s?
As soon as I got my plate, I started attempting to take an acceptable picture without a flash. I love the presentation and the color. Kerry, the afore mentioned owner, saw me with my camera and yelled,”Hey, are you a food critic? We may have to kill you!” I told him that I wrote about chocolate. To which he said, “Get her some Woody-O’s!” He then began the story of Woody the Renegade Chocolatier of Rockland. The Owsley of Chocolate.
Kerry first met Woody in Rockland when he walked past Woody’s ice cream shop The Tangerine Tiger and saw the flavor Blorange, (if you haven’t guessed, blueberry orange) on the menu. He walked into the shop and said, “There is no way that flavor works!” Woody responded, “Who the f*#* are you?” Kerry tried the flavor and discovered it to be sublime. They were friends from that day forward. The Tangerine Tiger’s doors have been closed for quite some time now. Woody has had many odd jobs since. At one point he worked as a plant in the audience to drive up prices during auctions. Kerry went on a few of these expeditions where he acquired some of the objects located throughout the restaurant, such as his “white trash” can, which stands behind the kitchen counter, faithfully serving its original purpose.
Woody is indeed a practiced chocolatier. He once had a truffle shop in Portland, ME. Since his days as a business owner he has gone off the grid. He has no cell phone, or landline for that matter, and no one knows where he lives. He just occasionally appears with truffles and delectable desserts, requesting ingredients, such as butter, cream, and chocolate. Everyone who knows of Woody’s confections, looks forward to his appearances and his Woody-O’s, his take on the oreo, made with chocolate sugar cookies and filled with melt-in- your-mouth chocolate ganache.
Needless to say, I enjoyed every bite of my Woody’s O’s and even managed to share them instead of keeping them all for myself. The truffles, with their deeply robust, dark chocolate ganache and just the right amount of salt to be complementary, were definitely the highlight for me. There are also several chocolate dessert beverages on the menu. One is titled cocoa d’vine, made with a combination of chocolate, cherry juice, and red wine. I was a bit suspicious of the uncommon method of pairing these flavors, but as soon as I had tasted it I wondered why I had never encountered this beverage before.
I know that I will be returning to Cafe Miranda whenever I’m in Rockland. If you ever visit, make sure to ask about the Woody-O’s and check out the Elvis shrine which also serves as a bathroom.