Just got back from Portland Maine. My shopping spree at LL Bean didn't turn out as well as I expected. I was hoping to find some good deals on sweaters, however I can get just as good of a deal here at the local Macy's. I did get a really cool down vest jacket.
Anyway, I'm hear to talk about the food. I arrived at the Maine Diner yesterday around 9:30am. I had the eggs with red flannel hash, homefries, a blueberry muffin and baked beans. The baked beans were good, "molassesy" and had pieces of bacon in it. the blueberry muffin was good, however the star attraction was the red flannel hash. It was greasless and had chunks of corned beef and potato, the antithesis of what you'd find in a can. As I headed up to Portland I stopped at a couple of coffee houses to try their "Joe". Portland Roasters' house coffee in the old port was nothing special, and Coffee by Design voted best coffee in Portland was just a little better. I had the Kenya Blend. After walking from the Old Port up to the LL Bean outlet store on Congress Street and the Public Library and back to the Old Port, I stopped at my favorite chowder house- Gilbert's. The Clam Cakes were delicious and crispy and go really good with tartar sauce. The super seafood chowder was chock full of scallops, clams, shrimp and is that lobster I tasted? The only down side is that the chowder could have been a little hotter, but truth of the matter is, I didn't care. I then drove up to LL Bean in Freeport which I guess was the "Maine" purpose of my trip. When I returned to Portland that evening, I head up to the Portland Public market, which is actually only a few years old and is based on Seattle's Pike Place Market in design and format. One of the vendors there is Scales Fish Market. I believe the owner used to own Street and Company, a seafood restaurant in the old market. I got two 1.4 lb lobsters for $6.50 each. and for an extra $2.00 each, they cook it up and serve it to you. The stall has a couple of tables and counter seating. The lobsters were delicious, but it appeared that they had less meat than usual (or it could have been my imagination) Two lobsters, coleslaw, role and a 16 oz alligash wheat beer ran me $31.00 with tax and tip. Afterwards I walked to the Old Port and had a brown ale at Gritty's. Portland' premier brew pub.
This morning I went to the Friendship Cafe and got their bowl of Porridge. The Porridge came with brown, sugar, milk, and raisins on the side. The porridge consists of wheat, oats, barley, rye and corn, a healthful combination of grains. I also got an order of the Corned Beef Hash which was good, greasless, however a mere second place to the hash at the Maine Diner. Although I hadn't planned to order any, I was surprised to see that baked beans were no longer on the menu. I asked the waitress why, and she told me that they ended up throwing it out more often than not, which I thought was a shame, since Baked Beans for breakfast is what Maine is all about. She did say that they make it occasionally and put it on the Specials board.
Upon leaving Portland, I stopped at the Portland Head light before driving to Newburyport Mass. I strolled the quaint downtown area finding it hard to believe I was only 35 miles from downtown Boston. I stopped at the Gallery and Grille for lunch and had the Cape Cod Cakes, Baked Beans and Brown Bread. This came with ColeSlaw and a hot cherry pepper. All were good, actually the Cod Cakes was one big Fish Cake and came with homemade tartar, however the star attraction for lunch was the curried shrimp bisque I got as an appetizer. A great weekend/good shopping and fantastic food in Northern New England.