The January 2008 issue of Saveur magazine mentions Robie's country store and deli in Hooksett, NH as a place where politicians like to stop for a photo-op, showing that they can connect with regular country folk. It also mentions that they have amazing pancakes, and as you know, R can't resist a good pancake. Coincidentally, I was reading the magazine on our way up to Stowe on Saturday, and R informed me that we had just passed an exit for Hooksett. We took it as a sign and decided to stop by on our way back on Monday (the day before the primary).
Apparently, Robie's has been a functional country store for over a century and it's the first place in Hooksett, New Hampshire to be on the National Register of Historic Places. It was empty when we walked in, other than a reporter from a TV station in NY working on a laptop. We strolled to the back deli counter and ordered. R had a farmer's breakfast (eggs, pancakes, home fries, toast, sausage and corned beef hash) and I got a pastrami and bacon sandwich (talk about a heart attack waiting to happen, but what the hell, I was still on vacation). The pancakes lived up to the article; they were huge, light, fluffy with crispy edges. Great flavor and served with real maple syrup. R feels that the Town diner in Watertown is still the pancake mecca, but Robie's pancake ranks second in his book. My sandwich was good, his home fries were excellent, but the corned beef hash was way too salty.
I started talking to the cook, who I found out later is also the owner. I mentioned the article and asked if she was getting a lot of extra business because of it. She laughed and said that some people have mentioned it, but she had yet to even see the magazine. I ran out to the car and gave her my copy, as Saveur is a pretty obscure food magazine and she certainly would not find it in a New Hampshire drugstore magazine rack. She was grateful and gave us some cheese (I have no idea why, but Robie's keeps a enormous wheel of cheddar by the register) and a giant chocolate chip cookie on the house.
We also picked up some homemade blueberry preserves. I let you know how it is when we crack open the jar.