One of the great parts about living in New England is how many options there are for quick weekend getaways. And lately, it seems that Portland, Maine has been a go-to spot for many of my friends and coworkers — and I can see why!
I want to compare Portland to a mini Boston, but it actually reminded me more of a mini Boulder, CO due to all of the new breweries popping up and the overall laid-back atmosphere. Over the past weekend, Bry, my parents and I ate and drank our way around Portland and left very full as well as impressed by the food scene. If you live in the New England area and either A. Love to eat or B. Love to drink beer, I highly recommend you make a weekend trip up soon!
Okay, so on to the good stuff!
Saturday Eats and Drinks
Breakfast: Portland Harbor Hotel
We stayed at an adorable, colonial-style hotel in the heart of old town Portland (they even put lobster-shaped chocolates on your pillows!). Because we had a beer bus tour at 10:15 we decided to make life easy and just eat at the hotel, which ended up being a great decision. The dining room is very cozy with fireplaces and large windows looking out to the courtyards (which I bet are awesome during the summer). The food itself exceeded our expectations.
Due to being in Maine, Bry and my mom got the lobster benedict, which came with a generous portion of fresh lobster (lobster doesn’t get better than Maine lobster) over a fluffy English muffin. I’m not a fan of hollandaise sauce, so I didn’t give it a try, but Bry said it had a subtle heat that complemented the sweetness of the lobster well.
Knowing we had a few breweries to visit that day, I went heavy on the protein, choosing a spinach and feta omelet. The omelet was good, nothing special, but did its job at keeping me nice and full throughout the afternoon.
Dinner: Street & Co.
For dinner, we headed down a cobblestone road to Street & Co. While most of Portland has become quite modern and has a crunchy granola feel, Street & Co. brings back the historical feel of the city. From the minute you step in, you feel as if you are sitting in the kitchen of an old colonial mansion, with warm lighting, exposed beams, vegetables dangling down, and an open kitchen.
We started with an option from the Tastes section to start: Fresh Maine Crab with Endive, Orange, Organic Pea Shoot and Espellete. This dish was very delicate in both taste and appearance. I wish it had a little more orange zing, but my mom thought the flavors were perfectly balanced.
Next, we all split the Seasonal Salad of Organic Beets, Marinated Citrus, Almond-Sesame Bread Crumbs, Greens and Lemon-Mint Dressing. I was so sad I had to share this salad as it had so much going for it! The beets were a gorgeous pink and the citrus-mint dressing kept the beets from tasting too “earthy”. But the real star was the almond-sesame bread crumbs which were so perfectly crunchy, sweet, and savory all at the same time.
Moving on to the main course, my mom did the right thing to do in Maine by ordering the Grilled Lobster on Linguine, Butter and Garlic. All of us agreed that it was one of the best lobsters any of us had ever eaten before. It tasted so incredibly sweet and fresh, the only complaint was that the serving of pasta was WAY too large.
My dad went with the Scallops in Parnod and Cream, which he really enjoyed. And in case you are wondering, as we were, Parnod is an anise-based liqueur. I’m not a big anise fan, which is why I went with the broiled scallops. My scallops were also cooked perfectly and served with green beans and roasted potatoes.
Bry ordered Shrimp with Tomatoes and Capers over Linguine. As with all the other entrees, the dish was delicious, but the pasta portion was huge.
Dessert: The Bar of Chocolate Café
Despite being incredibly full, we headed across the street after dinner to The Bar of Chocolate Café. And man, was it a great decision. My mom and I each got the Peanut Butter Martini, which was made using their homemade peanut butter liqueur. It is a very good thing they don’t sell that exact recipe in stores because it was so addicting (and strong).
Instead of a fancy drink, Bry ordered a slice of blueberry pie after the waitress informed us that their pie crust is made in house every day. The pie did not disappoint – the crust was nice and flaky and the filling wasn’t overly sweet allowing the blueberries to shine.
Brunch: Bayside American Café
After going the healthy route Saturday for breakfast, I was craving blueberry pancakes. After searching online for a bit, it was clear Bayside American Café is the go-to spot in Portland for pancakes. We got there a little before 9 and the line was already out the door. They do offer coffee while you wait; however, we didn’t realize it wasn’t free (your waitress adds it to your tab when you sit down) which was a bummer since neither my mom nor I ended up drinking it – way too strong. Once finally seated, we all quickly decided on pancakes with eggs.
Word of warning: the pancakes here are massive (or to be more descriptive about the size of a large dinner plate). We each ordered 1 pancake with a side of eggs and were stuffed until almost dinner time. The pancakes had a delicious buttery flavor, with blueberries in every bite and didn’t even need syrup (at least in my opinion). On the menu they do offer pure Maine maple syrup for an extra $2.00, but we all agreed there wasn’t a difference taste-wise between the Maine syrup and the house syrup (plus we felt $2.00 is expensive for how little syrup they give you).
Speaking of restaurants, Boston’s restaurant week starts up this week and we are headed to T.W. Food to try out the savory side of their menu! So here’s a toast to all the great food Boston (and New England) has to offer!
This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.