England dining >>> Aunt Aleda's Bakery and Country Kitchen
Article and photo by Eric H.
Sure, breakfast is hard to screw up, but then again, why pay two or three times the amount for something that you could do just as well at home?
The answer is "Because it's fun to go out to breakfast!"
With that in mind, why not go somewhere that rises above the norm? It's not that easy, though, as so many restaurants are just content with breakfast mediocrity by only meeting the minimal standards.
Aunt Aleda's Bakery and Country Kitchen, located in a rather hidden mini-mall in downtown Mansfield, Mass., definitely goes beyond the norm. It might not look like anything extraordinary upon first inspection with its plain brick exterior and cartoon-style sign plastered above on the outside and, on the inside, a spacious, pleasant family-style carpeted dining room with counter and booths.
Look a little more, though, and you'll see a dining spot that has an attached small bakery jampacked with seemingly every baked good known to mankind, including artfully designed cakes, eclairs, cupcakes, muffins, croissants, homemade breads, etc. This isn't your basic "I-don't know-what-I'm-going-to-do-with-my-life-so-I-think-I'll-open-a-bakery" scenario. On the contrary, Buddy from the Cake Boss would probably be proud of the picture-perfect, expertly-done offerings here.
On the menu back in the dining room, you'll see breakfast items that not only look creative (and sometimes spill over from the bakery), but are, most importantly, overwhelmingly delicious. For example..
Aunt Sue's Baked Apple Pancakes with fresh apple slices sauteed in butter, brown sugar and cinammon -- topped with maple syrup, butter and confectionary sugar (see below)
Abelskiver Pancakes grilled with donut-style pancakes filled with grape jelly, cream, caramel or huckleberry and topped with confectionary sugar
Cinammon Roll French Toast with an oven-baked cinnamon roll sliced in half and dipped in vanilla batter and topped with icing
Uncle Ron's Rib Eye Steak and Eggs with a steakhouse-quality steak, two eggs any style, country homefries or grits and toast
Three Croissant Sliders with scrambled eggs, chese and choice of ham, bacon or sausage served with fresh fruit or home fries
Aunt Aleda's also features well-prepared, ample-sized Eggs Benedict, Belgium Waffles, hotcakes, huge combo dishes, and the aforementioned homemade muffins and fresh baked breads from the bakery. Lunch is excellent, too, with delicious roast beef sandwiches, specialty and triple decker sandwiches, black angus burgers including "Patty Melts," wraps, fresh salads, homemade soups and grilled gems like the open faced prime rib sandwich served on a house baked Italian garlic bread and with a horseradish spread.
In addition to the excellent food here, service is terrific, too. On the last visit, the waitress was friendly, attentive and personable while down-to-earth chef Al came out to greet customers. How refreshing that Aunt Aleda's has more of a personal diner-style approach rather than being amongst the growing number of Boston area restaurants that think that serving creative dishes equates to being pretentious, trendy and overpriced.
Aunt Aleda's Mansfield location might seem like it's in the middle of nowhere to the urbanite, but the location is convenient -- about 40 minutes from Boston, Mass., and only 20 to Providence, R.I. For you New England Patriots fans, Aunt Aleda's is only a 15 minute drive.
How nice it is to find such a place like Aunt Aleda's where they not only get breakfast (and lunch) done right, but go way beyond a typical spot of this dining genre. We'll "toast" to that!
Aunt Aleda's Bakery and Country Kitchen is located at 310 North Main St. in Mansfield MA. Tel. (508) 261-0300
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