Dining adventures in the “other” Portland
It’s been a busy summer of travel for us, including multiple trips to the East Coast for Jeremy. A couple weeks ago we both were able to take some time off for a 5-day trip to Western Massachusetts, to visit family, and Portland, Maine, where we had both wanted to visit for quite some time.
I suppose it goes without saying that Portland is a big foodie town.
That there is a homemade meatloaf panini with gruyere, pickled onions and horseradish mayo at Duckfat, a small spot with a devoted following and a penchant for frying its potatoes in…duck fat, of course. Given our love for poutine, we could hardly resist ordering a large size topped with local cheese curds and duck gravy. All complemented by a Maine microbrew, it was as excellent as we had hoped.
Of course, Maine is best known for its seafood, so we did our duty in seeking out the best. We enjoyed incredible oysters at Street & Co., a restaurant that specializes in uber-fresh seafood and a menu that changes daily. The rustic decor alone is worth a visit, with low wooden beams and antique furniture. We went for a happy hour snack of a dozen oysters – of course now I don’t remember what kinds, but we tried three types, all local to the area. Ironically, we had thought about ordering oysters at a restaurant in Massachusetts, only to be told the oyster of the day was from Hood Canal. I’m sorry, but we’re not flying across the country to get oysters that live within 50 miles of us.
Maine is famous for its lobster rolls, so we couldn’t leave without sampling those. We drove down to Cape Elizabeth for what we’d heard was the best lobster roll in the area at the Lobster Shack at Two Lights. Even though it was 2 p.m. on a Monday, the place was bustling with visitors. The view, too, was spectacular.
The lobster roll and fried clams were both listed as “Market Price”, which we will from now understand to mean “Ask before ordering!” The lobster roll basket, with fries, was a respectable $14.99, but the fried clams turned out to be $27.00! I mean, they were tasty fried clams, but not THAT tasty.
The lobster roll was really good – a hot, toasted bun with big chunks of lobster and huge blob of mayo to cap it off. Mayophobes, stay away from this one.
We weren’t as prolific with the photos on this trip, but for a quick roundup of other sites we hit, eating and non-:
- Evangeline for their three-course-for-$30 Monday night dinner. This French place was right near our bed & breakfast and was truly memorable – fantastic service, impeccably prepared food with local ingredients and a steal at $30 for three courses.
- The Standard Baking Company, known for their fruit scones and brownies so rich that one bite is more than enough.
- Brunch at Hot Suppa! They have a BLT with fried green tomatoes. Whoa.
- Bagels at 158 Pickett Street Cafe in South Portland. I deeply regret not taking photos from this place, not much more than a shack but with all house-made baked goods, including some of the best bagels you can find outside of NYC and Montreal. We got there at noon and they had THREE bagels left – they’re that popular.
- We (briefly) hit up Old Orchard Beach, which is the Jersey Shore of Maine. ‘Nuff said.
- Did some credit card damage at the outlets in Freeport, better known as the LLBean corporate HQ and military compound, as well as at Stonewall Kitchen, the specialty food shop that sells my favorite, garlic and onion jam.
It does sound like all we did was eat, though we managed to squeeze in plenty of exploring and some exercise. My main regret is not being able to spend more time there – 2.5 days were not enough to see all we wanted. I’d love a chance to re-visit and drive up the coast on a Nova Scotia-bound trip in the future.