Portland, Maine

I met my friend in Portland Maine for a day of eating, drinking, chatting and exploring.  One day and one night is the perfect amount there.  We ate about 5 meals over the course of the day.  The weather was the perfect fall day.

We stayed at the Press Hotel.  The Press Hotel is a new addition to Portland and it is a gem.  The service is amazing.  Everyone is nice and eager to please in just the right way.  The restaurant is good too and a perfect place for breakfast.  The beds, the bathrooms, the sheets and pillows are all comfy.  This is the key for me.

I got up there at 9am.  My friend had driven up a few days before stopping at the annual Common Ground Fair.  We had a coffee and a super small breakfast at the hotel before heading out.

follyOur first stop was Folly 11 which is filled with homewares for the perfect kitchen.  Next door is an eyeglass store where we both quickly scooped up a new pair of sunglasses.

ceramicsA store filled with rugs and art had an exhibit of Angela Adams ceramics where we made a loop.

honeypotWe peeked in the HoneyPot, one of the places worth eating at when in Portland.  One of the few places we didn’t eat at.

fatcatsTwo Fat Cats bakery is incredible.  The smell in there is of buttery pastry dough.  The pies are so beautiful!

italianAn Italian deli down the street that every town needs to have.

rosemontThis is one of the many Rosemont Market and Bakeries throughout the town.  This is the original.

backrosemonetI particularly liked how in the back is another room with a screen door that takes you into the meat and cheese section.

friedoystersThen we went to Eventide.  This place rocks all day starting at 11am.  There is good reason.  The food is excellent.  We hemmed and hawed about having a beer at 11am and eventually decided to split one.  Many local brews on tap.  We split a few specials and had a few things from the menu to split.  Lightly fried Maine oysters with a caper mayo and thinly sliced cabbage.  The oysters literally melt in your mouth.

cauliflowerRoasted cauliflower in a chili pepper puree, ranch dressing on the side and thinly sliced daikon.  We both loved how they kept the root of the cauliflower as part of the whole dish.

lobsterBrown butter lobster roll.  Pieces of lobster tossed in brown butter and served in a roll that is like a long parker house roll.  This is decadent and so insanely good.

tomatoesCherry tomatoes (the last gasp of summer) served with ramp powder, red wine vinegar and crunchy pieces of radish.  Fresh, tasty and perfect.

oystersOysters are the obvious call.  Otter Cove, Browne Point, Glidden Point, Norembegas and John Rivers.

standardbakeryUnderneath Fore Street, where were having dinner, is the Standard Bakery.  I couldn’t stop eating the small pieces of cinnamon buns that were there for the tasting.  We bought and split a small lemon tart.  I forgot to take a pic we gobbled it up so fast.  Tart, sweet, lemony with the perfect pastry.  There is a card that tells all the daily breads and pastries available over the course of the week. This place is top.

kitchenstoreLots of kitchen shops.  Here is one on the water with everything from crackers to lobster pots.

deanssweetsDean’s Sweets, that moved last year, is the place for the hand made chocolates.

gardenA wonderful garden shop.

museumWe stopped into the Portland Art Museum to see what was showing.  We decided to just take a look at the museum shop and cafe.

merchantcoMerchant Company is a mixture of vintage and new goods.  We each bought a set of these.  Kind of genius. Instead of covering your leftovers with tin foil or plastic wrap, why not a quasi-shower cap?

recordsIn the back there was also a nice record shop.

drinksMiyake is the Japanese restaurant in town.  There are two of them.  We stopped in the sister, Pai Men Miyake of the original for a drink and a taste.  Sake Lemonade made with sake, lemonade, house-made yuzu mix, mint and soda and Ginger-Yuzu Radler made of Kirin, yuzu mix and ginger liqueur.

brusselsPan seared brussel sprouts tossed in a fish sauce vinaigrette, chopped mint and cilantro.  Kind of perfect.

rollWhite fish ceviche, cilantro, lemon, lime, truffle oil, ohba, tobiko, micro greens and a soy wrap.  I saw this come out of the kitchen and was intrigued with the bright neon yellow color.  Really good.

auroraMore walking was in order.  We stopped in another Rosemont Market and Aurora Provisions.  Aurora was a leader in the grocery world with a mixture of baked goods, coffee, meats, sandwiches, cards, napkins, linens, wines and other items such as yogurt, and juice.

bettycrockerStopped in another vintage store, Pinecone Chickadee, that wasn’t so great but this was clever.  They had taken old books and put new binders on them to sell.  Also a really good book shop around the corner.

maineproducersWe decided to walk up to the top of the street and sit in the park that overlooks the water.  On the way we stopped into the Portland Food Co-op.  This is the sourcing sign.

thirtyacrefarmThey had some really good products in there.  Thirty Acre Farm products.

grainmeatSausages from the Grain Meat Co.

balfourBeautiful yogurts from Balfour Farm.

mainepineThe Maine Pie Company that has beautifully packaged pies and cookie doughs in the freezer.  All gluten-free

blueberryWe felt the need to try out the Maine Wild Blueberry Gelato Fiasco while we were there.  We got some, had a few bites in the tables available and gave the jar to a few people checking out that said they’d be happy to take it home with them.  In all honesty, it wasn’t that great.

As we sauntered up the hill we stopped in a cemetery.  Many of the people buried there died in the early 1800’s.

We finally made it to the top and sat down and just took in the view.  Even the air smelled good.  So insanely beautiful.

friesWe walked back into town and opted to have just another bite before dinner.  DuckFat is another place where there is always a line.  The call here is the duck fat fries with truffle ketchup…and of course a white beer.

portlandstoreOne last store, The Portland (I think Merchant) run by a very cool guy who has done a great job of curating the products.  We went back to our rooms and chilled for an hour or so before heading out for the last round of food and drinks.

bittersWe stopped by Vena’s Fizz House before dins.  This place is amazing.  They have everything you can possibly think of for cocktails.  Bitters, books, syrups and of course a bar in the back for drinks and food.  Every town should have a Vena’s.

fordWe dined at Fore Street and needless to say we were not even hungry.  We still did damage but the lighting was dark so the pics weren’t great.  If you are in Portland, this is the place to eat a really great meal.  You get a good feeling of the vibe just from this pic.  The kitchen sets the stage.  I had been here last time I was in Portland many years ago.

We walked back to the hotel and said goodnight.  I slept like a rock.  Next day back to NYC.  We are hitting up Portland Oregon next February.  Good travel buddies…and yes this was just one days activities!