My Brother is a Bread Hoarder Growing up, when my brother wanted bread, he would open the bag, take out a piece, and bite a corner off. Then he’d put that slice down, take out the next one, and bite a corner off. He’d repeat this corner-biting ceremony with every slice in the entire loaf, leaving my mom with a pile of bread that resembled the ears of an alley cat. Even though my mom hid the bread as soon as she returned from the grocery store, he still managed to find and slaughter it. In an effort not to waste food, Mom cut off the violated portions, leaving me with abstract art sandwiches.
I recently visited the Loaf and Ladle with said brother, but this time, he is not getting anywhere near my bread! The Loaf is famous for their homemade breads, and I have to admit, this restaurant holds a great deal of nostalgia for me. My dad works in Exeter, and growing up, he would often meet us at the Loaf during his lunch break. I associate this place with my childhood, so now, many years later and with my grown-up taste buds, I’m interested to see what it’s like.
The Loaf and Ladle is located in downtown Exeter with scenic views of the river (and unfortunately it gets severely flooded). No parking lot, so plan on a little on-street searching. Their sandwiches and soups are listed on a sign. You order cafeteria-style and can take your food into their worn-out dining area. Hubby and I arrived ahead of the rest of the family, so I took advantage of the time and began the painstaking decision process. One employee was frustrating and one attentive. As soon as I came in the door, one asked me what soup I wanted. I informed her I was waiting for my family, and we’d order then. She asked what kind of bread I wanted with my soup. I repeated that I was waiting for my family. Within the next 5 minutes, she asked me the same question three more times! Eventually she left and I was able to ponder the choices. Their sandwich menu was unimpressive, lacking any unique sandwich options. The soup menu was far more interesting. The other employee overheard me choosing, and she graciously offered me samples of my top choices. So helpful! I tried a spoonful of the corn chowder, pesto potato, and chili, and decided on the corn chowder with a chicken salad sandwich (all their cream soups are made with non-dairy cream). With each soup order, you get to select a hefty slice of fresh bread, so I went with the sweet carrot lemon bread.
My chicken salad sandwich was good but not remarkable (other than it had all four corners intact). The thin bread slices meant plenty of room for lettuce, tomatoes, and sprouts but I felt they could easily (and should have) scooped on more chicken. The creamy corn chowder was well seasoned, but in my corn-crazed opinion, needed more kernels. The thick slices of carrot lemon bread were moist and sweet: no butter needed. It would have been even better warmed or toasted. Dad’s veggie burger chili was rich and thick. This blog sure is a great excuse to ‘need’ to taste test everyone’s food! Yum!
While it certainly didn’t live up to my childhood memories, the food is good and portions filling, especially the creative and plentiful soups. While nothing screamed “exceptional,” it was all tasty, fresh food, so an easy choice for a quick lunch. In the future, I’ll probably order my meal to go – and toast my bread at home -or sit outside and skip the drab dining area. I guess I’m the bread hoarder today, as I ate a corner out of everyone’s sandwich, including my brother’s. Ah, sweet revenge. ¡Buen provecho!