Saturday, October 24, 2009

Maine Squeeze

After a quick stop at Formaggio Kitchen & picking up my co-cheeser in Boston, we head north to the coast of Maine. Friends, meet Oliver, my main squeeze who will be joining me for adventures in food & nature up the coast of Maine & down into Vermont. I was quite excited for the company & cheese eating assistance.
Heading north on the Hwy 1, we stopped in a variety of crowded touristy towns & grabbed our first lobsta roll in Kennebunk Port. For those of you out there that love these tasty-tailed creatures, this is the ultimate experience. You must go to Lobster as unpretentious as it gets served on a toasted hotdog bun with melted butter. Delicious.
Past the plethora of picturesque coastal towns we arrive in Portland, ME. A small city with big taste buds. I was mesmerized by the quality of food, brews, and life of this city which has a hefty population of 64,ooo. I enjoyed one of the best meals of my 29 years at the Fore Street bar (check out their produce cooler at right...amazing). Oliver & I were able to nab two seats at the bar for dinner 10 minutes before the kitchen closed. Who knew you would need reservations for a Sunday night dinner in Portland. I was Columbus weekend. My bad. Either way, we happily sat at the bar & enjoyed a meal of flavor explosions 100% prepared in this wood-burning oven (left). I wish I had pictures of each dish, but I was somehow too distracted (strange). Here is the run-down...wood-fired pizza with apple compote, Comte, & fresh herbs; mussels in a garlic almond butter sauce; lobster wood fired to perfection with a winter squash souffle, wild mushrooms & an insane butter sauce; halibut roasted over fall veggies & topped with caper butter sauce; & a sweet, perhaps unnecessary, ending of pumpkin pudding cake served with seriously decadent chocolate sorbet (hold the butter-involved sauce on this one) & another generous glass of vino poured by our perfectly friendly tender. An experience truly worth the wait & splurge. We were nearly the last to leave after we starred at the kitchen for a good 10 minutes ( cooked our lobster where?). Dedicated to using only local produce, meats, & fish...this place gets it. I loved it!
We also enjoyed perhaps best fish & chips of our lives mid-pub crawl at Gritty McDuff's. Hesitant to enter, we were delighted with amazing perfectly fried haddock from the Atlantic, with a few Black Fly Stouts (made in house) & kielbasa mac & cheese. I love when good food happens without looking!

Portland, you leave us with happy stomachs & delighted souls. If you did not get so frigid, it would be hard to leave.

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