Christopher’s serves up live classical music



Christopher’s Restaurant at Eagle Hill features musicians at Sunday brunch. One popular group is the Downeast Jazz Collective with (from left) Bruce Cassaday, Mike Kull and Don Carmichael. PHOTO BY JACQUELINE WEAVER
Christopher’s Restaurant at Eagle Hill features musicians at Sunday brunch. One popular group is the Downeast Jazz Collective with (from left) Bruce Cassaday, Mike Kull and Don Carmichael. PHOTO BY JACQUELINE WEAVER

STEUBEN — A little Bartok with brunch goes a long way, which is the approach Christopher’s at Eagle Hill is taking.

Beginning in mid-summer, the hilltop restaurant began featuring classical, jazz, blues and country musicians at its 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. brunch on Sundays.

The music will continue through the winter. Christopher’s is adding a series of three classical chamber concerts this fall and winter on Saturdays featuring the Baroque Orchestra of Maine.

“People linger over brunch and most stay for the rest of the morning once they arrive,” said Joerg-Henner Lotze, director of the Eagle Hill Institute. “We definitely see more people since the music provides an extra reason for people to travel here.”

Chef Christopher Meynell said the musicians bring more than music to the atmosphere.

“The musicians do a great job engaging the crowd and are always happy to chat with customers during and after brunch,” said Meynell.

Among those who performed since July are musicians from the Pierre Monteux School in Hancock. The suggestion for the musical brunches was made by Phil Devenish, president of the board.

For the sweet tooth, profiteroles. PHOTO BY JACQUELINE WEAVER
For the sweet tooth, profiteroles. PHOTO BY JACQUELINE WEAVER

Others include the Downeast Jazz Collective, the Piero Brovarone Trio, the Bluesboy Review, Cousin B and the Downeast Rambling.

The Chamber Music Concert Series with the Baroque Orchestra of Maine will be held Saturdays on Nov. 22 and Dec. 6.

The concerts start at 5 p.m. in the more intimate Commons Building space preceded by a 4 p.m. reception and followed by an optional dinner at 6:30 p.m. at Christopher’s.

Tickets for the concerts are $20 in advance, $25 at the door.

Diners at the brunches often will walk outside before and after they eat to take in views of Cadillac Mountain, Schoodic Head and Gouldsboro Bay.

“People are more relaxed at brunches and more inclined to linger on campus,” said Meynell. “On Sundays, more people hike the trails and wander in the library. The music enhances the overall experience.”

Lotze said the number of diners is growing steadily, particularly larger parties that reserve tables for birthdays, anniversaries and meetings.

Meynell said the new generator the institute installed ensures the dining room will be open, with or without traditional electrical power.

“We pride ourselves on the quality of each dish that goes out to our customers,” he said. “My favorite part of the brunch is the constant hum from the dining room, glasses tinkling, silverware on porcelain, the applause between the sets of musicians and the jovial vibe on a beautiful Sunday morning.”

Awesome Veggie Benedict

Chef Christopher Meynell takes good care of his vegetarian diners with this “Awesome Veggie Benedict.” PHOTO BY JACQUELINE WEAVER

Serves 4

“A lot of the time, vegetarians get the short end of the stick at restaurants, so I set out to make a super awesome veggie Benedict that would blow the socks off vegetarians and meat eaters alike,” said Chef Christopher Meynell. “Our veggie Benedict is piled high on toasted brioche with grilled asparagus, roasted zucchini, sliced tomatoes, sautéed spinach and arugula, two perfectly poached eggs and a luscious hollandaise sauce.”

 

1 bunch blanched asparagus

2 tomatoes, sliced thin

2 cups spinach

2 cups arugula

4 slices brioche, toasted

1 zucchini, cubed

8 eggs for poaching

2 Tbsps. white vinegar

8 egg yolks

6 Tbsps. water

5 Tbsps. melted butter

1 tsp. fresh lemon juice

Salt and pepper

 

For the hollandaise, place the 8 egg yolks along with the 6 Tbsps. of water in a heavy bottomed saucepan. Whisk the yolks and water on medium-low heat until the mixture begins to thicken. Be sure not to get it too hot or the yolks will overcook. When the sauce becomes thick, after about 6-8 minutes, add the melted butter and whisk until all the butter is combined and the sauce appears thick and shiny. Add 1 tsp. fresh lemon juice and salt to taste. Set aside and reserve in a warm place.

For the veggies, fire up the grill and grill off your asparagus. You’ll want them slightly charred. In a large sauté pan heat 1 Tbsp. of olive oil on high, add the cubed zucchini, fresh spinach and arugula and sauté until warm.

For the poached eggs bring 2 cups of water to a boil, add salt and 2 Tbsps. of vinegar (the vinegar helps keep the eggs together in the water). Drop the eggs into the water gently and one at a time. Boil very gently for three minutes.

Assemble the Veggie Benedict. Start with your toasted brioche, grilled asparagus, sautéed veggies and the poached eggs. Top the whole plate off with hollandaise and enjoy.

Jacqueline Weaver

Jacqueline Weaver

Reporter at The Ellsworth American
Jacqueline's beat covers the eastern Hancock County towns of Lamoine through Gouldsboro as well as Steuben in Washington County. She was a reporter for the New York Times, United Press International and Reuters before moving to Maine. She also publicized medical research at Yale School of Medicine and scientific findings at Yale University for nine years.[email protected]
Jacqueline Weaver

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