Why I Shouldn’t Drive a Big Rig I can’t drive more than 30 minutes before getting sleepy. I first noticed this phenomenon in high school, and quickly adapted my habits. If I had to travel far, I had someone else take me or hopped myself up on all kinds of caffeine. But come on! There are people whose job is to drive all day, and they’re not falling asleep, so what’s wrong with me? Over a recent family dinner, my parents were recounting stories of our childhoods. Apparently, when I was a baby, I often had trouble falling asleep. My father would load me into the car and drive around town until the purr of the car put me to sleep. So turns out that from a very young age, my brain was conditioned to associate driving sounds with sleeping. Yikes!
The good news is, I can take myself to BeanTowne because it’s less than 10 minutes away. It’s the typical coffee shop setup- order at the counter and take your food to go or grab a table/comfy couch. They have plenty of free parking and they’re easy to find, right off Route 111 in Hampstead. I’ve been here twice, and the service has been inconsistent.
When I eat out, I like to talk to the employees about the food. Hearing their opinions and what the popular dishes are is a part of the dining experience that I not only enjoy, but helps me order delicious food I wouldn’t normally select. On our first visit, even though we were the only people there, the folks behind the counter were impersonal. I tried to interact and ask questions about their menu, but was greeted with one word answers and a general feeling of “why can’t you hurry up and choose something so I can get back to chatting with my coworkers.” It wasn’t extreme, but there was a definite undercurrent of impatience.
This truly surprised me because the ambiance of their Facebook page (is there such a thing as Facebook ambiance?) is quite the opposite. Their page is rich with positive quotes, encouragement to be kind to others, humor, and appreciation for the customers. They clearly have a loyal fan base and are often doing positive things for the community (such as donating money to community projects or raising funds for others in need). BeanTowne seems to enjoy using their establishment to help others rather than simply make a profit. Luckily, my second visit was more in-line with what I expected. Helpful counter employees pleasantly discussed various sandwiches and helped us make our final choices.
Some of their sandwiches are served cold, some warm, and some both, but this was not stipulated on their menu. On my second visit, I happily noticed this information is now included on the menu board.
The Chicken Pesto sandwich (pesto, roasted red peppers, portabella and provolone) was warm with crisp bread and not too much cheese, which let the pesto flavor come through. It could have used more veggies, and overall was not filled as much as I would have liked. The flavor was subtle but good. I especially liked the texture of the grilled bread.
The Farmer’s Market (rosemary chicken salad, cheddar, walnuts, apples and lettuce) had a hearty scoop of chicken salad with lots of lettuce (I like my sandwiches fully loaded. To me, the bread’s main purpose is to get all the fillings into my mouth). I loved the crunchy walnuts and apples, and the chicken salad was moist and well spiced. This was probably my favorite of the three.
Along with sandwiches, they sell decadent-looking desserts. They also carry, of course, an extensive beverage selection, but I’m not really a coffee person, so if you’ve been here, please leave a comment (although given my driving issue, I really should become a coffee drinker!)
The pricing is super convenient, with all sandwiches running $5 for a half and $6.88 for a full (not including tax). On both visits, the sandwiches were made extremely fast, which is useful if I ever need to pick up a fresh, quick sandwich to-go. And while I think I prefer the Riverwalk Café, the hour drive wrecks me, so I will certainly be going BeanTowne more often for a tasty lunch. ¡Buen provecho!