Most often when I travel the trip is centered around food, even when I stay at home I have adventures centered around food. My recent trip to Maine with my roommate Ruth was no different. You can read about Atlanta and New York City to read about past eating adventures! New York City Public Schools honor the Jewish Holiday schedule, so every fall we usually have a four day weekend for Rosh Hashanah, l'shana tova! Since we were not celebrating the New Year, it was time for a quick road trip. I've never been to Maine and it was time to change that; plus I had a hankering for a lobster roll or two!
The first stop was Kennebunkport, ME (my new favorite word!) to walk around and see the sights. It's an adorable town with little shops on the water. We weren't hungry for a lobster roll because we ate this sandwich on the road and our bellies were filled. So we had a little snack of amazing ice cream!
Rococo Artisan Ice Cream - http://www.rococoicecream.com/ 6 Spring Street, Kennebunkport, Maine 04046 Tried - Molasses gingersnap, Cinnamon Caramel, and Goat cheese blackberry chambord Opinion - This ice cream has flavor! The molasses tasted just like the name and was intense but delicious. Ruth said it tasted like gingersnap cookie batter and I agree. I really enjoyed the ice cream but wish it hadn't overpowered the cinnamon caramel, which was equally as tasty. The cinnamon caramel tasted like a snickerdoodle and had the perfect amount of cinnamon spiciness with plenty of sweetness from the caramel. Ruth ordered the goat cheese blackberry chambord and this is an adult ice cream; the flavor is complex, tangy, and fruity. Overall the ice cream was rich in flavor and had a chewy, almost taffy-like texture. Unique and fantastic.
After Kennebunkport, we drove about 30-minutes to our bed & breakfast, the Pine Crest Inn in Gorham, ME. This was a lovely B & B with fantastic food (more on that later) and a reasonable price tag. We decided to head to a local Maine brewery for dinner.
Sebago Brewery - http://www.sebagobrewing.com/ 29 Elm Street, Gorham, Maine 04038 Tried - Brown ale, Baked haddock, Sweet potato fries Opinion - Pretty standard pub food done well and they have several restaurants in the Portland area with their headquarters located in Gorham. The beer was hearty and flavorful, I personally enjoyed two glasses of the brown ale. The baked haddock was extremely good. The fish was light, flaky, and well seasoned. This was not a heavy sandwich! It was nicely accented with tangy tarter sauce and a soft roll. The sweet potato fries huge and cooked well - crispy on the outside, soft on the inside. Ruth ordered a panzanella salad with chicken and enjoyed that as well.
We started the next day with a wonderful croissant breakfast sandwich from the B & B and then headed to Portland to do some sightseeing and eating. The breakfast left us very full so we started at the Victorian Mansion, which is gorgeous! The tour was thoughtfully led and enjoyable. We were getting a little hungry, so it was snack time!
Two Fat Cats Bakery - http://twofatcatsbakery.com/ 47 India Street, Portland, Maine 04101 Tried - Pumpkin whoopie pie, Blueberry pie Opinion - Chuck Hughes listed their whoopie pie as the best thing he had ever ate and he is correct! The pumpkin whoopie pie is phenomenal; moist, tender, full of fall spices, and the cream filling is light and sweet. I could probably eat 100! The blueberry pie is their most popular pie and it is easy see why. The pie is packed full of fresh wild blueberries cooked to make a sweet sauce. The crust is super flaky and tender, it is sweet without being too sweet.
Two Fat Cats provided a delicious snack and the substance needed to go beer tasting around the corner!
Shipyard Brewery - http://www.shipyard.com/ 86 Newbury Street, Portland, Maine 04101 Tried - All the beers, seriously! Opinion - All you need to know is this is a FREE tour and tasting event! You watch a 6-minute video and then a staff member pours and describes 12 different beers. You are able to sample all of them; the pours are generous! I feel like I actually learned a lot about beer tasting and enjoyed the overall experience as well as the free beer. My favorite beers were the Export Ale and the Smashed Pumpkin. We bought the Smashed Pumpkin because it was the best deal, tasted like fall, and had the highest alcohol percentage (9.0)!
Now it was time for real food and we drove to Fishermen's Grill which according to Yelp and my friends Nicole and Matt, is the BEST place to get a lobster roll in Maine.
Fishermen's Grill - http://www.fishermensgrill.com/frontpage 849 Forest Ave, Porland, ME 04103 Tried - Classic lobster roll, clam chowda (that's how you spell and say it!) Opinion - Seriously, the BEST lobster roll, here is why: 1. It's the biggest for the price. 2. The lobster meat is tossed lightly in an herbed mayo sauce which is perfectly seasoned and elevates the lobster. 3. The lobster is fresh, and cooked to perfection. 4. The hotdog bun is buttered and grilled so it is buttery, crispy, and soft. 5. A little bit of lettuce provides a bite of freshness. 6. It's served out a shack on the side of the road, the way all great food should be served! We also had the the clam chowda which is hard to screw up when mixing heavy cream and clams; also fresh, well seasoned, and just fantastic. The Fishermen's Grill needs to be your only stop for a lobster roll!
91 South - http://www.pinecrestmaine.com/restaurant.htm 91 South, Gorham, Maine 04038 Tried - Saganki with onions, tomatoes, & olives; Scallops with lentils, tomatoes, caramelized onions, bacon, and micro-greens; chocolate hazelnut flour-less cake Opinion - I know I'm a little biased because this restaurant was at our B & B, but our meal was fantastic! There is nothing like a 2+ hour dinner with 3 coarse and a bottle of wine to make you feel like you're living large. The saganki was so good cooked with the tomatoes and onions, it had a lot of Mediterranean flavors and was perfect for two people to share and spread on some fresh, herbed focaccia. I have never eaten scallops before so I took a little risk and ordered these; correct decision! The scallops were perfectly cooked, fresh, and flaky. They were glazed in a balsamic sauce making them just a little sweet. Around the scallops was tender lentils cooked with smoked, thick cut bacon, candy-like caramelized onions, and tomatoes. I was tempted to lick the bowl, but resisted. To finish, Ruth and I split the chocolate hazelnut cake and that was the right decision. It was rich, decadent, fudgy, and delicious. A few bites was all you needed. If you're in the Portland area, 91 South is worth the detour, but they are only open Thursday-Saturday, so make it happen.
After another amazing breakfast of bourbon-vanilla french toast at our B & B (seriously, the food the phenomenal!) we packed up, but had a few pit stops planned before heading home! We went to the Portland Head Light (see photos above) and then headed back down to Kennebunkport for another lobster roll. Can't stop, won't stop!
The Clam Shack - http://www.theclamshack.net/ 2 Western Avenue, Kennebunk, Maine 04043 Tried - Lobster roll with butter and mayonnaise, cole slaw Opinion - The Clam Shack boasts the best lobster roll and don't get me wrong, it's fantastic; large pieces of fresh, perfectly cooked lobster on a bun, hard to mess up. However, there were two things Fishermen's Grill did better: hot dog bun versus hamburger bun and the lobster tossed in a light mayo dressing versus a smear of mayo on the bun. If you're in Kennebunkport, The Clam Shack is definitely worth trying out, it's situated in a gorgeous location, I just preferred Fishermen's Grill.
Since the lobster roll didn't really fill us up (we shared one), it was time to keep driving south and hit up a popular spot known for it's fried clams. I've never had clams before, so I thought it would a shame to leave Maine without trying them out.
Bob's Clam Hut - http://www.bobsclamhut.com/ 315 U.S. 1 Kittery, Maine 03904 Tried - Fried clams Opinion - This may be my first batch of fried clams, but it will not be my last! The clams were crispy, well seasoned, and not at all slimy like I expected. Pictured above is a medium, which is more than a enough for two as a generous snacked. We dipped the clams in the best tartar sauce I've ever had; homemade, sweet, tangy, and crunchy from the pickles while we sat outside. This was the perfect snack to fuel us on the rest of the drive home. Bob's Clam Hut is a delightful stop just off the freeway before leaving Maine when heading south.
In other words, I think you need to go to Maine ASAP! Not only is the state beautiful; the food is amazing and the people are so friendly! Also, all photos were taken with my iPhone, no fancy DSLR here, like the food, I kept everything sweet and simple.