Friday, July 13, 2012

Field Trip: Portland, Maine

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I'm so happy that after almost 9 months, John and I have finally gotten to explore a new city.  Technically, for us, Portland isn't exactly a "new" city.  With John living in Maine, we got to hang out in Portland a good amount of time.

We also spent much of this vacation with his family, which is why (and I apologize) the pictures are few and far between.  But the ones we have are great ones!  The first night there, John and I shared a "grown-up dinner" with his brother and sister-in-law.  It was the night before his sister came up with her little ones, and we decided to enjoy the solitude before chaos ensued.

Anyway, we ate at Local188 in Portland which focuses on local produce and free-range meats.  We started dinner with a cheese plate which featured a variety of Northeastern cheeses.  For dinner, I had their smoked lamb chop special.  It was great, but what really sold it was the lemon-tomato sauce which was interesting but so delicious I couldn't stop eating it and practically licked my plate.  The highlight of dinner though, was John's delicious Hanger Steak.  John enjoyed a local brew while I had the house infused margarita.  Go there, try it.  You won't be disappointed.  We finished our delicious meal with something equally delicious - dessert!  It was definitely the week of ice cream because wherever we were, whenever I found ice cream, we tried it!  John and I tried both gelato places in Portland (all in the name of blog research, of course - its a hardship sometimes!).  The first place, Gorgeous Gelato, had a small variety of delicious gelato flavors!  The night we were there I had a chocolate whiskey gelato to die for!

The second place, Gelato Fiasco, is a chain throughout New England.  John and I sampled on our last night there.  We give them a + for a much better variety, but a - for actual taste.  Gorgeous Gelato was just amazing and if you're not picky, we would suggest you detour there (they are right across the street from each other, so you can easily sample for yourselves!!

The next day, we took the kids (and ourselves, let's be honest) to the deepest and 2nd largest lake in Maine, Sebago Lake.  I really dislike swimming in lake water; I was a swimmer, I like pools.  Chlorinated, clean, pools.   But the lake was beautiful and I got to swim around with the hair piled on top of my head, so it wouldn't get infested with bacteria (what can I say?  I am weird).  I also realized I am sorely in need of getting back into some swimming shape.  We spent most of the day hanging out, despite some rain, and enjoyed a BBQ there. 

While John and I spent two other days visiting family, we were lucky to get a day to ourselves on one of the nicest days we were there!  John planned a perfect day, too.  We took the Casco Bay Ferry 20 minutes to Peaks Island, an adorable island in the Casco Bay.  Personally, I love that kind of small island life where most of the transportation is golf carts and bicycles, beach surrounds you on all sides, and you have to take a ferry to get there!  Just the ferry ride relaxes you and you step off into such a paradise!  Of course, like almost every day we were there, it DOWN POURED on us while we were 3/4s of the way around the island which sent us scurrying to the ferry terminal gift shop, which conveniently also houses an ice cream shop.  Yes, another scoop of ice cream - this time it was "Maine Black Bear" which was vanilla ice cream with a raspberry ripple and scrumptious raspberry-filled chocolate cups!  Of course, this was after lunch - so let's backtrack and talk about the island and our delicious lunch.

We spent the afternoon wandering around the streets of Peaks Island.  I would have opted for the bicycles but since our bike ride in Central Park a few weeks ago, John let me know he needed to let himself recover before we could get back on bikes.  The nice thing is the island is so small we were able to walk all around in the time we were there.  On our way around the island, we saw this great named restaurant (restaurant?  More like a grille or cafe), the Cockeyed Gull.  John could not stop laughing about the name of the restaurant that halfway through our walk, we doubled back to grab a quick lunch there.  It had a great deck looking out on the water which is where we ate.  The views were picturesque and the food was awesome!  It doesn't look like much but don't let its look fool you.
We were rewarded later in the week when we happened to meet one of John's good friends.  It turns out he recently bought a house and lives on Peaks Island and agreed that was the best place you could go on the island to get a decent meal!  Score 1 for John and I!  Anyway, we stuck to seafood seeing as we were literally next to the sea. 

As you may imagine from these photographs, the view and the hunger took over when the food arrived.  

The dish on the right is the remnants of our crab cakes (oops!).   And on the left, is the last few bites of our fresh fish tacos.  They were both wonderful and enjoyed immensely. 

This is already a long post but a quick spotlight on our favorite LOBSTER place in Portland, The Portland Lobster Company.  It opens for the season (i.e. May through September) and has a deck that is usually pulsing with locals, tourists, and local bands.  John and I love the vibe there (and, we couldn't say enough good things about the lobster)!  The special while we were there were sea scallops in a bourbon cream sauce.  While I wish I could have had it, we chose to be good and focus on seafood without the butter and calories that kind of sauce would have provided.  But while you are in Maine, I believe you have to indulge in lobster!  It's such a treat!!

Until the next time my oven is on...


30 comments:

  1. I enjoyed visiting Portland vicariously through your post :)
    We used to go to Ogunquit when I was a child, and I have very fond memories of Maine as a result.

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