Thursday, June 10, 2010

Portland, Maine -- The Food Post

The Lobster Shack is just that--a shack on the shore of Cape Elizabeth, Maine. It's tiny, but their picnic tables are prolific. The real estate for their picnic tables is easily 3x or more the size of their "shack."

There is nothing lowly about the food, though. Nothing at all. We had lobster rolls, fried clams, and shared a piece of blueberry pie. All of it was amazing. Each clam was the size of half my hand. The lobster was fresh-picked, of course. The pie was homemade. Please, wipe that drool. We are just getting started.

Next stop: foodieville. I did some homework, and found a great place called Duckfat. Folks who consider themselves foodies or who watch Top Chef habitually will recognize the nom response in their bodies when the words "duck fat" are uttered. To have a restaurant named that is just too much.

They specialize in French fries. Fried in duck fat.

I'm sorry. I should have warned you. But one might think the restaurant's name would have given a bit away.

My friend Tara and I shared a large order of their poutine: duck fat fries, smothered in melty cheese curd and duck fat gravy.

I'll give you a moment.

We polished off our dinner with some Moxie. It tastes like root beer, and is particular to New England states.

Moving on to Boothbay Harbor, we found ourselves at McSeagull's restaurant. Both the Lobster Shack and McSeagull's were recommended to us by friends who have lived up in Maine.

Oh, my goodness. This may have been the best thing I've ever eaten. I do love seafood stew, and that's what this was called. Lobster, crab, clams...there were mushrooms in there that had a great flavor, and I'm sure the fish stock used to make it was made there. It was divine. It was also a cold, rainy day, so that was too perfect. They also had chowdah:

which Tara reported was very good, too. We also shared some fish on a kabob and something else that I didn't photograph, because I was in a fish stew coma. All of the seafood places up there have these crackers, that are manufactured in Vermont:

'Scuse me. BAKED in Vermont.

Did I mention chowdah? Yes, I did. We also ate one day at Gilbert's Chowder House, right on the pier:

The chowdah was very good, as were the mussels:

I was chastised for tucking into those mussels too fast. They asked if I'd eaten anything that week.

The next photo should be about a crab melt sandwich that I had at Frills, in Ogunquit. The sandwich was delicious: fresh-picked crab and a tiny bit of mayo, with melted cheese and grilled bread. It was very, very good. I was distracted by the downpour right outside the patio tent, however:

and so I forgot to photograph that sandwich.

Our last day in Portland found us at RiRa, an Irish pub in Old Port. Apparently, this pub is a chain, as they have about 10 of them around the country. I am happy to report that doesn't matter. The drinks were great, and the food was even better. We had fish and chips. Um, I'm sorry. When I ordered fish and chips, I didn't expect to get A WHOLE FREAKING FISH:

Please note the server's thumb for scale. It was one huge piece of fish. I suppose it wasn't the whole fish, but one fillet. Enormous and delicious. I did enjoy it. We also enjoyed heading into the next room to listen to the two fellows they had hired to lead us all in some Irish drinking songs. It was a great way to finish up our trip.

Have you eaten at any of these places? Where's the best meal you've had?

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Portland, Maine

Those are my feet, up there. That's the first time they were in the Atlantic Ocean. I'm 41 years old.

I have had to put off this trip to Maine for two years. I suppose that's not entirely true, as everything in life is a choice, right? I chose to pay cash for my trip this time. I had to pre-arrange for things to be managed while I was gone, and the whole month of May was crazypants because I was preparing for my absence (mostly by making soap). But it was worth it.

For all my life, I never understood why some people were "into" water, or boating, or lighthouses. I grew up in the gorgeous landlocked state of Iowa, where river fishing and taming my hair due to the air humidity were the closest I came to water recreation. After hanging out in and around Portland, Maine for a week, I am starting to understand.

The sea is mysterious. It stretches forever away. It is blue on top, and three feet beneath that turns black as night and is terrifying. It's also liberating. I also had the thought, more than once, that the ocean is alive, and it felt like it wanted to say something or do something--to send a message. Of course, this is ridiculous thinking, but that's the feeling I got, standing on a beach, watching the tides come in.

The landscape on Maine beaches is stunning. The air was fresh--scented with salt and pine trees. I can breathe in right now and remember it, and my blood pressure drops. Amazing.

Have you taken a trip that affected you?

(Many more photos to come--lots of stories to tell.)

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Portland, Maine

Photos are forthcoming of my trip to Portland, Maine. Yes, even beleaguered public school teachers with two businesses get to take a vacation once every 8 years.

You read that right.

Photo processing will happen when I get my to-do list done for today. On my list:

1. Meet w/dude who is looking at my car.

2. Pick up essential oils.

That's about it. I already made liquid soap this morning, and did payroll. What is on your to-do list today?