Aiming to offer their guests “the comforts of home with a touch of Southern charm” are innkeepers Dave and Melanie Davis, new owners of the historic Munroe Inn in Auburn.

The couple, after each put in roughly 21 years of work in law enforcement, brought their Southern hospitality with them when they moved from Florida last year to start their new venture.

Built in 1899, the large Queen Anne-style Victorian home is located at 123 Pleasant St., and offers guest accommodations by way of four beautifully restored suites. While the couple’s primary focus is to operate as a bed and breakfast, the Munroe Inn is also available for on-site catering of small weddings, corporate meetings, holiday events and private dinner parties.

Sharing cooking duties in the mornings, the couple prepares homemade, customized breakfast buffets for their overnight guests, often inquiring about their preferences in advance. Among the breakfast items Melanie often prepares for guests are small, Scandinavian pancakes called “ebelskivers.” Made in a special pan, they puff up a bit like a popover. She has mastered the skill of flipping them, using an instrument similar to chop sticks with a little hook on the end.

They can be stuffed with all types of filling: fruit, cream cheese or peanut butter and jam, to name a few. One of her favorite ebelskiver combinations is to use a pumpkin-flavored pancake batter filled simply with cream cheese. Watch her demonstrate making ebelskivers at www.sunjournal.com.

One client took them up on their offer of “Southern charm” for his event, and requested an authentic Southern-style breakfast of scrambled eggs, grits, biscuits with sausage gravy, sausage links and fresh fruit. Included was one of their popular — but super easy — breakfast items that is so simple, it barely needs a recipe: Mix cooked and crumbled sausage with cream cheese; spread the mixture onto Pillsbury crescent rolls, roll up and bake until golden brown.

Dave does much of the other cooking at the Munroe Inn. He credits his creative bent in the kitchen to his mother, a professional caterer and cake decorator. Melanie gained experience as a restaurant manager for a large-scale buffet restaurant in Florida, and at a specialty soup, sandwich and salad restaurant. She also became quite adept at event management during her years in the sheriff’s department in Florida. Since her strong point is organization, she makes extremely detailed lists for the kitchen crew to follow for all inn events.

When discussing menu items they offer for catered dinner parties, Dave mentioned beef — prime rib cooked in a traditional manner or the more elaborate chateaubriand — and grilled scallops, both of which he said people have raved about. Sharing his favorite recipe for scallops, he pointed out that the quality of the scallop is most important: fresh (not previously frozen) and firm. See him grill the scallops with thyme butter, parmesan and red sweet chili peppers at www.sunjournal.com.

He will typically serve the scallops to guests as an “amuse bouche” — a French term that translates (literally) as “mouth amuser.” Similar to hors d’oeuves, the main difference is the guest doesn’t order it off the menu — it is usually a smaller portion, chosen by the chef and graciously offered at no charge, giving the customer a hint of the chef’s approach to cooking while waiting for the first course. If you want to serve the scallops as a meal, Dave advised just increasing the amount of scallops you cook, and cut back a bit on the amount of cheese sprinkled on top.

Other culinary hits at the Munroe Inn include a roasted butternut squash soup and a cake called Tres Leches (made with three types of cream), topped off with a drizzle of rum and Dulce le Leche, a caramel-based icing.

Dave shared his recipe for Cauliflower Sabzi (an Indian side dish). He said it is typically made with jalapeno peppers, but he likes to add a few sweet chili peppers into the mix, using their sweetness to temper the other spices in the dish. “It tones it down a bit,” he said. The sabzi makes an excellent accompaniment to his chateaubriand, giving the meal a slight international flair. He balances it out with sorbet palette-cleansers between courses.

Among the offerings at the Davises’ Munroe Inn are a weekend elopement package,  wedding packages for 30 guests or less, and facility rentals for business and private functions for up to 49 guests.

Melanie noted that because they are receiving inquiries regularly asking if they are open to the public yet, they hope to soon open a lunch-time cafe and begin serving Sunday brunch.

The inn can be reached at 207-376-3266 and at themunroeinn.com.


Ebelskivers dusted in powered sugar prepared by Melanie Davis of the Munroe Inn in Auburn.

 Dave Davis of the Munroe Inn in Auburn prepares his grilled scallops.

 Grilled scallops with thyme butter prepared by Dave Davis of the Munroe Inn in Auburn.

The Munroe Inn’s Grilled Scallops

1 dozen large fresh (neither previously frozen or soaked) scallops

3-1/2 tablespoons butter with fleur de sel (butter with 1/8th teaspoon freshly ground sea salt may be substituted)

1 finely diced medium red chili

1 heaping tablespoon fresh thyme leaves

2 tablespoons crumbled parmesan (Dave Davis prefers using fresh cheese rather than the dry, grated type in a can.)

Directions: Clean the scallops and place in an ovenproof dish. Pre-heat the grill. Mix the chili and thyme with the butter, then divide between scallops, brushing half a teaspoon full of the butter mixture over each scallop. Place on a hot grill for 6 to 10 minutes, turning as they start to brown, but remaining soft and slightly translucent in the center. Arrange each scallop on a single rocket leaf (“I think they are known as arugula leaves here in the East,” Davis said. “You can also substitute spinach leaves if desired.”); spoon over some of the remaining melted butter and sprinkle with crumbled parmesan. Serve immediately.

Cauliflower Sabzi

1 large head of cauliflower

1/2 teaspoon cumin powder

10 chili peppers (red and green) finely diced

1 teaspoon ginger-garlic paste

1 medium sweet onion

3/4 cup fresh cilantro

1/2 teaspoon turmeric

1/2 teaspoon of freshly ground sea salt

1-1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil

Directions:

Cut cauliflower into florets. Cook cauliflower in level water and bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium. After 5 minutes, remove from heat, drain, then mash the cauliflower just until smooth. Heat oil in a pan, preferably a wok. Add cumin and chili peppers; allow them to cook for several minutes.

Add onions and saute until brown. Add ginger-garlic paste and saute for 1 additional minute. Add cauliflower and turmeric powder, stirring well, ensuring cauliflower mixes well with other ingredients.

Add sea salt over the mix, cover the pan/wok, and allow it to cook on medium heat for 3 minutes. Stir the salt in and cook for 3 more minutes. Add cilantro and mix a final time. Remove from heat and serve as a side dish. Davis said serving over rice is an excellent option for those without starch restrictions.


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.