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Portland, ME

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#51 Joe H

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Posted 09 July 2011 - 09:37 PM

Portland, Maine and Charleston, SC are the two hottest emerging restaurant/food/dining/locally sourced destinations in America. Hugo's, Duckfat, Fore Street, 555, Street and Co., Two Fat Cats and two or three others have made Portland a very real destination for my wife and I. And I haven't said a word about a lobster pound, whole bellied clams or blueberry pie. There is also a great deal of "character" in walking around Old Town. This is a great city that is reemerging as a primary destination in the U. S. My analogy with Charleston is, I think, very accurate. Portland is a big deal today. Well worth at least a three night weekend visit.

#52 kirite

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Posted 09 July 2011 - 10:18 PM

Portland, Maine and Charleston, SC are the two hottest emerging restaurant/food/dining/locally sourced destinations in America. Hugo's, Duckfat, Fore Street, 555, Street and Co., Two Fat Cats and two or three others have made Portland a very real destination for my wife and I. And I haven't said a word about a lobster pound, whole bellied clams or blueberry pie. There is also a great deal of "character" in walking around Old Town. This is a great city that is reemerging as a primary destination in the U. S. My analogy with Charleston is, I think, very accurate. Portland is a big deal today. Well worth at least a three night weekend visit.


We will be in Camden for three weeks and Portland for a day. I called Fore Street today and made reservations. Thanks.

#53 Joe H

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Posted 09 July 2011 - 10:47 PM

We will be in Camden for three weeks and Portland for a day. I called Fore Street today and made reservations. Thanks.

Hugo's is exceptional, too, kirite. He won the James Beard Award for New England a year or so ago beating out everything in Boston and Provlidence. He also owns Duckfat which I absolutely love. There are also definitive experiences like Twin Lights Lobster Shack on the ocean at Cape Elizabeth. Still, I love Fore Street so much that I will build a business trip around being able to visit it. I've sold Funtown in Saco their new ride for 2012 and when it opens we (couple that own it, daughter and son in law and my wife and I) will go to Fore Street to celebrate next spring. They are all good 20+ year friends and it will be special to share with them.

#54 DPop

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Posted 10 April 2012 - 05:03 PM

Anyone have any good recent recommendations for a nice hotel in Portland? Price is not an option.

Thanks.

#55 Adam23

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Posted 23 July 2012 - 11:45 AM

Did a quick weekend up to Portland for a wedding and had some great food.

First stop off the plane was Bite of Maine, a food truck specializing in lobster rolls at Ft. Williams park. Beautiful surroundings and superb lobster rolls. Highly recommended.

We did happy hour one day ate at Eventide Oyster Co, a new Oyster place in town. The restaurant was packed. They had a selection of about 15 different oysters, all of which were superb. We also had a delicious lemon cured bluefish and a superb local squid salad (one of the best things I have eaten all year - superb, tender, delicious squid).

We hit up Duckfat for poutine, beignets and a milk shake which was delicious. I wish there was somewhere like this in DC.

We had dinner one night at Emilitsa, a greek restaurant in Portland. The food was superb, among the best greek food I have had in a while. A highlight was the moussaka - so delicious and the eggplant so tender.

The highlight of all of our eating was sushi at Miyake before our plane home. Easily the best sushi I have ever had and light-years ahead of anything in DC. Every single item was delicious, most outstanding. Standouts were the maine lobster roll and the lobster/truffle roll. I would consider taking a trip up to Portland just to dine here again.

#56 Ericandblueboy

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Posted 21 October 2012 - 07:35 AM

U.S. Air is offering direct flights to Portland for $200 in Nov. Thinking about spending 3 nights up there. Will I need a rental car to enjoy myself are is it fairly walkable? What about public transportation?

Made dinner reservation for Hugo's and Street & Co. Where to go for lunch/brunch - thinking about Duck Fat, Vignola Cinque Terre, and Portland Lobster Co.

#57 DonRocks

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Posted 22 October 2012 - 06:58 AM

U.S. Air is offering direct flights to Portland for $200 in Nov. Thinking about spending 3 nights up there. Will I need a rental car to enjoy myself are is it fairly walkable? What about public transportation?

Made dinner reservation for Hugo's and Street & Co. Where to go for lunch/brunch - thinking about Duck Fat, Vignola Cinque Terre, and Portland Lobster Co.


Unless you're 80 years old and staying in Bar Harbor, you'll want a rental car anywhere in Maine (and even in Bar Harbor, you'll still want one to see the sunrise on Cadillac Mountain).

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#58 Ericandblueboy

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Posted 18 November 2012 - 10:57 PM

November in Maine and before Thanksgiving - not much going on. The Narrow Gauge Train Museum is closed for the season (but Polar Express starts running around Thanksgiving), the various mansions are closed, and the only scenic cruise is aboard the mail-run for Casco Bay (which let's you BYOB!). The Museum of Art is interesting only if you're a homer for Winslow Homer (the museum might have what's considered a good collection of Maine artists). Luckily, I went mostly to eat, and that, while not great, was at least pretty good.

First meal upon landing was going to be a traditional lobster roll. I had planned on eating at the Portland Lobster Co. in Old Port but it was closed for the year. My shuttle driver recommended J's Oyster (also in Old Port), and that recommendation was seconded by the hotel registration clerk. So I walked over from Hilton Garden Inn (great location in Old Port, with HD cable!). It's a dive, but not featured by Guy Fieri. He featured another dive called Porthole Restaurant in Old Port, but it was closed for renovation. I tried a lobster roll, clam chowder, lobster stew, and half dozen oysters. Other than the oysters, everything sucked, and the oysters came with only horseradish and cocktail sauce. The lobster roll was undressed chopped lobster on a grilled hotdog bun with a piece of lettuce. The hotdog bun and lettuce were fine but the lobster was bland - no mayo, no salt, no nothing. Okay, the clam chowder didn't suck but it wasn't exactly better than soup from a can, but the lobster stew really did suck - cream based soup that had no flavor. I actually asked a few locals what their thoughts were on J's Oyster and they all viewed it positively....oh well.

A note on locals - heavy smokers, teenage loiterers, and many bums. I'm sure what I saw were not representative of the population as most people probably stayed indoors.

I took a work-related conference call in the back room of Novare Bier Cafe. The place has a very good selection of beer.

Dinner was at Hugo's. I didn't trust the tasting so I ordered 4 courses and asked for a surprise me 5th course. The 4 courses I picked were foie gras torchon, lobster seascape, scup escabeche, and slow cooked goose leg. They had no sea urchin dishes! After establishing my eating credentials, I thought they would bring something fantastic and unique but it turned out to be the monkfish loin on the menu. If I didn't order it when I had a chance, it's not the surprise dish that I was craving for!! Let's go back - foie gras was nice, served with little Chinese steamed "buns." I would've been okay with a baguette but buns were in. The lobster seascape came with some whelk and seaweed - all of which tasted very nice. The scup as they say is from the sea bream family, and I would've liked it if they crisped the skin. You can see the grill marks and taste the smokiness, but the skin wasn't crispy. The goose leg was like duck confit, very good. The monkfish was slightly undercooked, and generally boring.

Saturday morning, I took a stroll on the Eastern Promenade, and then walked though the city to Becky's Diner. Intrigued by the line of people outside, I found that it was pimped by Guy Fieri. Guy touted the stuffed lobster but that appeared to be a Thanksgiving special and not on the regular menu. I recalled the fabulous lobster and egg bruschetta at Bar La Grassa (in Minneapolis) and tried to find a place that does great lobster and scrambled eggs in Portland and couldn't find any. Becky's does a lobster omelette, as does a few other places in town. Ultimately I gave up and waited for Eventide Oyster Company to open at 11.

I've read that Eventide is overpriced. It probably is. Half a dozen oysters is $15, and a dozen is $27. Them's DC prices! Nevertheless, the food's supposed to be good, and the selection of oysters is fairly good (see photo). Rather than serving them with cocktail sauce or mignonette, they offered several flavored "ices" - basically shaved ice for oysters. They said the crowd favorite is pickled red onion, and the crowd isn't wrong this time. I really liked it, much more so than the chile ice. The uni and tamago was burdened by the dense tamago. The lobster roll on a "bun" was dressed with brown butter vinaigrette and it was pretty delicious. The last thing I ordered was a pork meatball with clam broth and rapini - I ordered it for the rapini and clams, not so much the meatball.

Attached Thumbnails

  • lobster seascape.JPG
  • Eventide Oysters.JPG
  • Eventide uni tamago.JPG
  • Eventide Oysters 6.JPG


#59 Ericandblueboy

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Posted 18 November 2012 - 11:25 PM

After Eventide, I strolled over to Micucci Wholesale Grocery. I went for a slice of Sicilian pizza featured in a Washington Post article. I walked in and there was a folded-over paper plate that says 15 minutes. I have no idea what that means so I asked the people who were apparently waiting in line. They said the next pizza comes out in 15 minutes! I said I'll check out the store but the people in line said the line will get very long and there's no guarantee that I'll get a slice if I don't get in line right away. So I waited and waited. When the pizza is ready, you get a box, they put a slice on a plate, you pick up the plate and put it in your box and you go pay. In this case, I got a corner piece. In the past, the so-called Sicilian pizza I've had (i.e., Ben's in NYC, next to NYU law school) is like a pan pizza, meant to soak up the alcohol. Micucci's looks thick but the crust is surprisingly airy, with tons of sauce, and a little cheese. No other toppings - for about $5 a slice. It's alright. Nothing I'd go out of the way to get.

I also checked out the Harbor Fish Market. Lots of lobster as expected, but no display of whelk or sea urchin....BTW, I went searching for sea urchin pasta and couldn't find any in Portland.

Attached Thumbnails

  • Eventide lobster roll brown butter.JPG
  • Harbor Fish Market.JPG
  • Micucci Sicilian pizza.JPG


#60 Ericandblueboy

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Posted 19 November 2012 - 08:39 PM

Dinner was at Street &amp; Co., specializing in Italian seafood. I ordered the calamari puttanesca, clams with oyster mushrooms and chorizo, and grilled lobster with linguine. As you'll notice in the photos, all the dishes I received were served in hot pans. The calamari were tender but someone forgot to season the sauce. I took a few bites and decided to save space for the more exciting dishes. The clams were definitely good - which made me crave linguine with vongole the next day for lunch but again I couldn't find any (most places were either closed on Sunday or were serving brunch). The last dish was lobster with linguine. I wish I had the patience and knew how to eat a lobster. I started out with the tail, which was easy enough. Then I went for the claws but when I cracked the claws and lobster juice started dripping, I basically gave up. I didn't go digging for the tomalley or bother with the legs. I almost finished all of the linguine because it was delicious - after soaking up the white wine and garlic sauce.The next morning I went to HotSuppa! They were not allowed to serve alcohol before 9 and I arrived at 8:30 (not sure if that's every morning or just Sundays). I went to HopSuppa! because it's the only restaurant that I found that served hash browns. I didn't want home fries, which was much more prevalent. Unfortunately the hash browns weren't great (which means to me as good as Waffle House). One bite revealed over-cooked exterior but under-cooked interior. The bagel with salmon and cream cheese was good though - lots of smoked salmon, two slices of tomatoes on each half, and plenty of capers.For lunch I went to Duck Fat but it was packed. Their menu didn't really appeal to me so I didn't stick around. Instead, I went back to Eventide for more oysters, and tried their kimchi, lobster roll with house mayo, and another lobster roll with brown butter vinaigrette. This time I ordered the oysters with Thai ice and red pickled onion ice. The red picked onion ice was still my favorite. I tried all the Maine oysters and Winterpoint (iirc) was my favorite. They were on the smallish side but I liked the brininess. The kimchi was made with cabbage, not napa. I didn't order the kimchi just to eat it by itself, it happens to go great on a lobster roll. I found this out at Freddie's in Bethesda.

I think I came close to ODing on lobster. 4 lobster rolls, 1 lobster stew, 1 whole grilled lobster, and 1 fine dining lobster dish is enough for 3 days.

As I was wondering around on Sunday morning, I saw this joint called El Rayo Taqueria. It looked really cool, especially with that pick-up out front. I quickly googled its menu to see if it's worth eating at. I didn't see tongue taco, in fact, the food didn't look particularly authentic. Nevertheless, it could be a fun place.

Attached Thumbnails

  • Street & Co. calamari puttanesca.JPG
  • Street & Co. clams with oyster mushrooms and chorizo.JPG
  • Street & Co. Lobster and linguine.JPG
  • Oysters Thai Ice and Red Onion Ice.JPG
  • El Rayo Taqueria Portland.JPG






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