I don’t get to Brunswick all that often but every time I go I fall in love all over again. It’s such a hip little city and Maine Street is the bomb. I let the gravitational pull of Brunswick guide me to The Little Dog Coffee Shop with my pal Jen for a weekday lunch.
I’ve been a few times before but just for quick grab-and-go coffees and never to properly hang out over lunch.
The place is spacious yet cozy with lots of comfortable seating, including a couch and stuffed chairs. I got the sense that there are lots of regulars who sit with their books or newspapers or catch up with friends over a Little Dog espresso, chai latte, smoothie or myriad other beverage options.
I’m off sugar but let me tell you, the baked goods situation is impressive and I spied one of the most tempting sugar cookies with embedded M&Ms I’ve ever seen. Sigh …
Where was I? Ah yes, lunch.
The Little Dog food menu isn’t huge. Choices include three different paninis, three kinds of wraps, two types of salad, a quiche of the day and a soup of the day. But they more than make up for the small menu with their beverage and baked good options, including muffins and bagels. And yes, they offer breakfast sandwiches in the morning.
I ordered the smoked turkey melt and Jen ordered the Cuban-style beans and rice panini. Both were $7.95. Our lunch arrived pretty quickly and I of course dove in with reckless abandon.
I had a fleeting moment of discouragement because there was zero garnish. No pickle, no little fruit slice, just the sandwich on the plate plain and simple. I got over myself upon sinking my teeth into it. The panini is made with Bisson Farm’s smoked turkey, sharp cheddar, crisp bacon, mayo, baby arugula and one magic ingredient that made all the difference.
I never thought I’d say this, but this panini had oven-roasted sweet potato in it and it put me over the moon. Maybe I need to get out more, but I had never heard of sweet potato as a sandwich ingredient. This wasn’t just another panini, this was heaven. Warm and toasty, brimming with flavor and delectable from the first bite to the last crumb.
As for Jen, her Cuban-style beans and rice panini was made with brown rice, black beans and roasted onion, jalapeño, tomato and sweet peppers. Little Dog finished it with cheddar, fresh lime, cilantro and baby spinach served on a grilled whole wheat tortilla.
Conversation was kept to a minimum while we devoured our lunch, and in the afterglow, Jen shared her initial fear of a sandwich without meat (it was quickly dispelled by what she described as a delicious creation in a wrap that was toasted to crispy perfection). She also gave a nod to the perfect amount of heat the jalapeño provided.
Thanks, Little Dog Coffee Shop, for the sensational nosh. Rest assured, I’ll be back. The quiche was calling out to me and I don’t want to leave it hanging for too long ($4.95 for a huge slice). The homemade granola also gave me a wink as did the tuna salad wrap. See you soon.
WHERE: 87 Maine St., Brunswick, 207-721-9500, littledogcoffeeshop.com
HOURS: 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday; 6 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday
WAIT: 5 minutes
WHEELCHAIR ACCESS: Yes