George

It’s a great combination: dinner at one of Brunswick’s many fine restaurants and another spectacular performance at the Maine State Music Theatre. Let’s start with the theater, which Linda and I have enjoyed for many years.

Opening night found us in the third row for the awesome “Always … Patsy Cline,” a celebration of a music legend and one of my favorite singers. Christine Mild’s singing took me right back to Patsy Cline with the same wonderful voice. And Charis Leos, playing Patsy’s friend Louis Segar, was so funny — and she can sing too.

As Patsy (excuse me, Christine) sang 27 wonderful songs, Linda had to keep nudging me to stop me from singing along. Trust me, weeks later I am still singing and whistling those songs. This musical was so popular that the theater added performances to its schedule — a first for them.

Right now, you can enjoy another classic: “Guys and Dolls,” running through July 15. Our next visit to MSMT follows, when we see “Grease.” We’ll return after that for Disney’s “Newsies,” a new one for us. Then it will be on to the Portland Stage where they partner with MSMT in performances of “The All Night Strut.” More great songs.

It was good to see an ad in the MSMT program for the Public Theatre in Lewiston, where Linda and I have been subscribers for 10 years, never missing one of their great performances. We are very lucky to live in Maine.

Speaking of lucky, you have lots of good choices for dinner before the theater. On this night, we ate at the Brunswick Hotel’s Tavern, within walking distance of the theater. We’ve written about the tavern several times. I especially love the old historic photos on the walls.

This trip, I dipped heavily into the crab and artichoke dip with local crab, parmesan and kettle chips. The serving was large, and I enjoyed this again the next day at home. I stuck with that theme by ordering crab cakes for an entree. The Cajun remoulade added some nice spice to the perfectly cooked crab cakes, which were accompanied by a demi-salad.

While I saw some awesome desserts go by our table, time was up. We had to hustle on up the street to the theater, so I didn’t get to try any of those. The tavern offers everything from burgers to ravioli, with plenty of fish dishes, and prices are reasonable. Every table and all the bar seats were full the night we were there.

Here’s some really good news: there are other great restaurants in this area. Go to my website, georgesmithmaine.com, select Best of Maine and Brunswick, Topsham and Bath, and you can read our columns about area restaurants.

Linda

I always look forward to performances at the Maine State Music Theatre. The stately Bowdoin campus is beautiful, as is the Pickard Theater. I experienced this one a bit differently, as I was on crutches after foot surgery. Let me just say that the staff was very helpful in directing and escorting us to the elevator and that handicap accessibility is appreciated.

Our third-row seats were spectacular, as was the show. The cleverly written play included a live band on stage to accompany Patsy’s songs. I am now looking forward to seeing “Grease” in July.

Our pre-performance dinner at the Brunswick Tavern was a great way to start the evening. The music theater brings lots of business to the restaurants, and since this was the opening night of their season, it was busy indeed. It is a good idea to make an early reservation and allow plenty of time before the 7:30 p.m. show.

Nice lighting, off-white walls combined with barn board and old exposed beams give this restaurant a casual cozy feel. This is a popular place to gather with friends, and partitioned spaces offer patrons a nice place for visiting. Other seating includes some high tops and a nice outdoor patio.

I noticed that the menu encouraged the social atmosphere with social starters, appetizers that are meant to be shared.

I began my meal with a cup of vegetable soup. Summer squash, green and yellow beans and carrots combined in a tomato-based broth were indeed tasty. I ordered the summer pasta: a dish of asparagus, broccoli rabe, cauliflower and grilled chicken. These were served in a light broth with fusilli pasta for a light summer meal.

Though we did not order dessert, the friendly folks at the next table let George take a picture of their delicious looking chocolate cake.

Visit George’s website, georgesmithmaine.com, for book reviews, outdoor news and all Travelin’ Maine(rs) columns, found listed by town in the “Best of Maine” section.