There’s no denying that Portland, Oregon is foodie heaven. Nevertheless, Portland, Maine is a great food city.
Portland is a fun and walk-able. The town has cute shops, museums and historic sites. There are also bikes to rent, whale watching cruises and ferries to neighboring islands.
Since we were on vacation we started our mornings with trips to a bakery. Two Fat Cats had delicious pastries, and was conveniently close to the apartment we rented. I can’t resist the occasional donut breakfast, and was excited to try the ones made from mashed potatoes at Holy Donut. Surprisingly, I wasn’t converted by the healthier artisanal preparation; I remain cake donut devotee.
One of the reasons to go to Maine is to eat lobster. It’s everywhere. While steamed lobster is wonderful, there’s little variation. We decided that the real competition was for the best lobster roll. Over a week we sampled them in every venue: from lobster shacks to fine dining establishments. The best traditional roll we found was at Scales; a stylish waterfront restaurant that even had a crowd on a Sunday night. Our second choice was an interesting variation, the brown butter roll from James Beard Award winning chefs, Andrew Taylor and Mike Wiley at Eventide Oyster Co.
Lobster shacks are fixtures of the Maine coast. They usually feature fabulous views and minimal if any indoor seating. When we took day trips they were a favorite lunch stop. Haraseeket Lunch and Lobster Company was the perfect antidote after a visit to LL Bean and the outlet madness of downtown Freeport. Looking out over a quiet marina we had a wonderful lunch of plump clams, lobster rolls and lobster bisque.
Desserts are notable feature of lobster shacks, with menus dominated by pies and ice cream. Since Maine Ice cream and blueberries are renown; I had to try a slice of blueberry pie a la mode. It was flakey and filled with fruit, the essence of a summer picnic.
It is possible to have too much lobster. Here are some of the non-seafood places we liked. For a decadent choice don’t miss Duck Fat. The poutine and fries are divine. They don’t take reservations so plan ahead. Another remarkable find was the array delicious Sicilian pizza slices at Slab, conveniently located near the Art Museum. And finally, for our big night out we chose Central Provisions, a fun, cozy space with a menu of seasonally influenced small plates.