Let me jump on the Chase's Daily bandwagon. This family-run vegetarian restaurant in Belfast was recently written up in The Boston Globe, and is featured in the latest issue of Maine Food & Lifestyle Magazine. Chase's receives lots of praise, with good reason. The food is fresh, creative, healthy, and delicious. And look: parked in front are two Prius, the vehicle of choice for Earthy-compassionate foodies (only one of them is mine).
During the growing season, the Chase family farm in Freedom supplies the restaurant's produce. The menu changes frequently to reflect what's growing. Past the spare dining area, cash register, and bakery case, a large, open space serves as a produce market in the summer and art gallery in winter. The vaulted tin ceiling and large windows are a food photographer's dream.
On a recent visit, I tried the Green Curry Fried Rice. Celery, scallions, bok choy, and corn were sautéed alongside sweet potatoes, red potatoes, basil, cilantro, parsley, and blackened tofu. Topped with a squeeze of lime, this satisfying dish was bursting with flavor and texture.
On my next visit, it was hard not to order the fried rice again. Instead, I chose the Napa Cabbage Salad with Szechwan tofu. Any restaurant that can make tofu like this earns my respect. This bean curd was not to be mocked: firm, fiery, and look at those grill marks! Next to a heaping mound of cabbage and Asian greens were sliced turnips, carrots, two kinds of radishes, celery, scallions, basil, cilantro, edible flowers, and a delicious peanut-ginger dressing. The salad offered so many contrasting textures and flavors, every bite was exciting and different.
Primarily a breakfast and lunch spot, Chase's serves dinner on Friday nights (though you'd better make reservations). Although many of their dishes contain cheese, cream, and eggs, Chase's Daily deserves four chickpeas. At least a third of their ever-changing menu is vegan, and there are usually a few gluten-free dishes as well. Chase's Daily is a vegan-friendly oasis in the middle of seafood-loving midcoast Maine.