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The Maine Event 2.0

The Maine Event 2.0
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  • The Maine Event 2.0

    Post #1 - September 15th, 2015, 8:19 am
    Post #1 - September 15th, 2015, 8:19 am Post #1 - September 15th, 2015, 8:19 am
    This past Labor Day weekend I decided it was finally time to do Maine the way I wanted to aka eat up everything that intrigued me. It had been awhile since I was last in New England which is area with what seems like unlimted roadfood options. I went with a massive list and was able to check most of them with the help of my lovely lady who puts up with stop after stop. But she gets her cocktails so it all evens out. Overall impressions of Maine were great. I will say that I didn't think the people were all that welcoming but the few that were really stood out. I started bringing up the idea that maybe this should be an annual end of summer trip as there's plenty more for me to see and eat. Portland was our camp for three nights but we did get up and down the coast a bit. There's few more pics and places up at the site for those interested. Enjoy.

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    Exploring Coastal Maine
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    Bob's Clam Hut

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    Kittery, Maine

    We flew into Boston and rented a car for whats about a 1.5 hour drive up into Portland. Bob's Clam Hut is one of the first stops you can make upon entering Maine. It sits amidst an outlet mall that feels more like a village. As seen on Diners, Drive In's & Dives this place is pretty much the classic example of a New England style seafood shack. The specialty of the house being clams. On that DDD episode there was a lady who went onto to become a star amongst customers. Sadly she passed away a couple years ago but her preferred version of fried clams lives on. She got the owner to start dipping them in egg white before rather than after. So now customers have the choice of which style they prefer. We got the dueling clams basket which came with both. These were pretty good but there would end up being better. Still it was good to finally be back be in Maine.

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    Dueling Fried Clams Basket
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    Flo's Hot Dogs

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    Cape Neddick, Maine

    Finally! This was maybe my most anticipated stop for a spot not selling some sort of seafood dish. It's considered by many to be the best hot dog shop in the country. So popular that theres never a time when theres not at least one person inside ordering some. Flo's got its start in 1959 and is still in the same family. Generations of families eat here with people known to drive 2+ hours to get some.

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    Flo's is literally a hut, if you're over 6"2 you'll have to bend your head to get inside

    I have a little secret. The best time to go here just so happens to be the time I arrived. That's before Noon on a Sunday. They're closed on Wednesdays and during the warmer months you can pretty much bet there will be a line. This place has a cult following and the reason being is their hot dogs are unlike any other. Perfect natural casing wieners are probably in the 12:1 category so people will order anywhere from 2-6 for themselves. The ladies behind the counter, one of them Flo's grandaughter on my visit, mean business so no messing around. Be ready to order when asked and follow the flow of others and you'll be fine. The reason these are unlike any other is due to their unique relish that's made with onions yet has the look of a chili sauce. When you get one Flo's Way you get the relish, mayo, and celery salt. It didn't sound appealing but there's plenty food folks who swear by them. Indeed I could taste why. I cant believe it works but it really does. Everything put together on a little New England style roll makes for what might be best hot dog outside of Chicago. Enjoy a few at the tables outside with a Moxie, New England's love it or hate it soda which I'm impartial to. They ask if you've had it before when asking for a can. Classic Roadfood for sure.

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    Flo's Hot Dogs and Moxie
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    The Clam Shack

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    Kennebunk, Maine

    Another spot I was really looking forward too. Some of these places had been on my radar for years, many of them being Roadfood approved. The Clam Shack is a cute little walk up stop located right before the bridge in the charming town of Kennebunk. Though they're called the Clam Shack the lobster roll is supposed to be where it's at. They won the NYC Lobster Roll Cookoff a couple years back. One of the only spots to use a hamburger roll, which is baked down the street, they also use a ton of mayo that just gets slathered onto the top bun. The most common way of ordering one is with mayo and butter so thats what I got but the mayo was too much. The lobster meat was a little tough and despite eating all of it this one gave Maine's rolls somewhat of a bad impression to start as it was the first one we ate on the trip. Its a great little shack right on the water and they serve cold Shipyard beer but I would just recommend going with the fried clams. Those looked really good.

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    Lobster Roll
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    Portland, Maine

    The animated city of Portland would be our base for the three day vaca and I was really surprised by how much I liked the place. I thought there was a little bit of a feel in the air as far as excitement. I'm not sure if this was because it was a holiday weekend or what but it was a very vibrant city. Walking around the Port District you could smell the ocean water while feeling history in the old buildings.

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    Friday afternoon Downtown
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    Eventide Oyster Company

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    Located in the East Bay neighborhood

    Always on the prowl for good oysters this place is commonly mentioned when the best bars in the country to eat them at is discussed. Maine has quite a few oyster farms but because they're small in total crop you rarely see them on offer outside of New England. We slurped a couple dozen of a variety of Maine offerings finding the biggest in size to the the best. I forget the names but they were all damn good. We also enjoyed a tuna tartare with some Asian spice from the specials board and then their famous lobster roll which comes served with warm lobster meat mixed with a brown butter vinaigrette that was stuffed into a roll with the consistency of a bao bun. It was worthy of its hype.

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    a selection of excellent oysters from Maine

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    Hot Lobster Roll with Brown Butter Vinaigrette
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    Fisherman's Grill

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    Portland, Maine

    This is the spot that comes up often when you look up best seafood in Portland, something that pretty much every visitor in town does. It's a small little shack across the street from a big city park. It's not a hidden gem by any means so expect a wait. We got there right around Noon (opening time) and there were at least 4 or 5 groups of people already in line. Despite the fact it's a shack attached to a retail outlet for fresh fish you aren't going to be getting any crazy deals as far as pricing. If you're going with a group it's quite possible that this place could end up being the most expensive meal of any in Portland including those from the hip modern spots with cocktails. But it is damn good and you are on vacation. We passed on their popular lobster roll as we were heading for one after but were very happy with what they called the "best chowdah" as I have no dispute for that. The fried clams were on point and the seared scallops were good but a tad too seared. All in all there was a $50 bill thrown down on it. Cash only.

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    Fried Clams, Seared Scallops, Clam Chowder
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    Duckfat

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    Portland, Maine

    This popular casual eatery is owned by the guy who won both a James Beard and also three different matches on Food Networks 'Chopped' The menu features some nice local beer, good looking panini sandwiches and cones of fries fried in the restaurants namesake. The fries were pleasing but could've been crisper. This place is really popular and you can expect a wait over Summer. I'd go back. In fact we tried to the next day but the wait was too long.

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    Duckfat Fries
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    Vivian's Drive-In

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    On the corner of a residential neighborhood

    Here's a place that I feel many people in Portland don't even know about. I found this lunch only walk-in and walk out drive-in online and there wasn't much on them except that the burgers were really good. That's an understatement. I've had some great old school burgers this summer and this one was as good as the rest. Little balls of beef are smashed down and half griddled and steamed before being topped with potent fried onions, relish, mustard and white American cheese. The bun is steamed and the whole thing is a greasy in a good way delight. Best two bucks you can spend in the city. You could tell by the clientele that this was a locals place, the type of local who's been there their whole life.

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    Classic All-American Cheeseburger
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    Boda

    This place was mentioned as having some of the better late night food. We stopped in and tried the Goi Moo salad made with crispy pork belly mixed with chili, shallots, fish sauce, lime juice, mint, long-leaf coriander, and roasted rice powder. Served with raw vegetable. No shyness on the flavors.

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    Goi Moo
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    Empire Chinese Kitchen

    Modernized Dim Sum with Cocktails, I can get down with that. Especially when that includes lobster dumplings. Though they were good we liked the pan fried potstickers, shu mai, and the steamed shrimp offerings a little more. Good service and some potent inexpensive drinks to boot.

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    Assortment of Dim Sum Dumplings
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    Bite Into Maine

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    Parked atop the hill at Cape Elizabeth’s Fort Williams Park

    One of the things many visitors to Portland want to do is eat the best lobster roll in town. There are a couple spots that get mentioned when the topic is discussed and one of them is this permanently located food cart in the heart of an outstanding public park that used to act as an army base. The cart is called Bite Into Maine and they offer five different lobster rolls as well as a grilled cheese and a couple sides. The Maine style lobster roll consists of a little bit of mayo mixed into the room temp meat while the Connecticut style comes with hot butter. I opted for the latter over the others and came to learn that as important as the lobster meat is when it comes to a roll, the bun also plays a big role. Which makes sense since they're basically the only two ingredients needed to make a sandwich. The butter laced toasted buns from here were money. The lobster was nice and fresh but without the bread it would've just been good, with the bread it was great. It's a little bit of a wait but the view is as good as you'll get waiting for food.

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    Connecticut Style Lobster Roll with a Lighthouse in sight

    You can eat your lobster roll at one of the tables outside of the trailer or walk over to one of the many other ones scattered throughout the park. Your best bet is to grab one near the shoreline with the Portland Head Light in sight. The surroundings were every bit as good as the lobster roll.

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    The Portland Head Light
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    Slab

    Over on Eater I had read a list with some of the best new restaurants in the country and it included a list of some worhty new pizza spots. One of which was Slab located in downtown Portland. They're doing Sicilian style street food and fresh tapped local brews amongst other stuff. The space is big and they stay open late. I was able to try a slab of the meat pie which came with pepperoni, peperoncini, red pepper sauce, oregano, cheeses, and a house blue cheese dip which was totally not needed. Loved the pepper cooked into the dough which I thought was fantastic. Probably the best cheap eat in the city at just five bucks.

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    Spicy Meat Wedge
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    Lolita Vinoteca + Asador

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    Portland, Maine

    I didn't think to make reservations until it was too late at a few spots but most of the popular places in Portland will keep a few spots open for walk-up. I was able to grab a reservation at this place for a later time in the evening which is what we wanted. It's another spot on the wood fire grill train. I chose it because the menu spoke to me and it was a great change of pace from the seafood even though they had a few dishes with it that were tempting me. The surprise was the fact both of our pasta dishes ordered ended up being more than enough and they were so good we ate it all down. The torchio with nduja and peas was simplicity as it finest while a bucatini mixed with currants, sardines, and pinenuts was just what the doctor ordered as far as wonderful Mediterranean flavors.

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    Torchio with Nduja and Peas
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    Scarborough Lobster Co.

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    Scarborough, Maine

    I stopped into here on the way back to Boston where we were catching our flight home. I'd read about them on Serious Eats where they were mentioned for having one of the best bang for your buck lobster rolls ($11) in the Portland area. Having passed it the day before it had already caught my eye. I stopped in right around 9:30a as they open for biz at 8:00a. They were already taking orders for fresh and steamed lobsters on the day. There's a bar outside on the side for those looking to eat in.

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    a peek inside

    Nice tip. It was a very good roll with about a 1/4 pound of perfectly cooked fresh lobster meat with a tiny bit of mayo and a dash of paprika on top. This had the feel and the prices of a spot I would frequent if I lived or vacationed in a home near there. They have it all as far as fresh seafood goes.

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    Lobster Roll
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    Palace Diner

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    Biddeford, Maine

    You cant do a vacation in New England without breakfast at an old diner. I found one that was a quick 15 minute drive from Portland and tried to get over Sunday morning right around opening time. "The Palace Diner was built in Lowell, Massachusetts in 1927 by the Pollard Company. It has been in Biddeford, Maine for its entire life and is one of two Pollard cars remaining in America. Greg Mitchell and Chad Conley are its sixth proprietors."

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    a peek inside

    They do lunch and breakfast but I was a tad bit late as all 12 seats had just been filled upon my entry. The menu is small and consists of dishes made with as many local product as possible. It's chef driven with stuff like the breakfast sausage being homemade. They have corned beef hash on the menu, another childhood favorite of mine, so I knew what I wanted. In order to not lose some of the day I decided to take it away. While it was somewhat of a small portion for a side it was very good. Unique in that the corned beef was basically molded around the cubed potatoes making a patty. Excellent.

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    Corned Beef Hash
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    Harmon's Lunch

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    Falmouth, Maine

    Always on the prowl for the best burger in the area I'm visiting, this place is a local landmark. They've been dishing out their New England style burgers here since 1960. I stopped in one morning and enjoyed the show. The walls are studded with old milk bottles from many generations. I haven't mentioned it yet but chocolate milk seems to be Maine's favorite drink to enjoy with meals.

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    a peek inside

    Simplicity reigns supreme as you can see in the menu up above. Hamburgers, Hot Dogs, Grilled Cheese, and Fresh Cut Fries are what they do here. Of course there's chocolate milk too. The burgers are McDonald's size so its best to go with more than one if you're hungry. That I was. The patties of fresh beef are griddled before going into a well steamed bun. Everything here includes mustard, onion, and their special relish which had a little bit of a sweet kick to it. I usually don't like sweet mixed with my meat but combined with the salty cheese this burger worked just right. It was one of the better old school burgers I've come across and I've been to lots of spots. Worth a stop.

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    Cheeseburgers from Harmon's Lunch
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    The Pier

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    Old Orchard Beach

    One early afternoon we took a ride a couple towns over to visit the iconic summertime hangout known as "The Pier." It first "opened to the public on July 2, 1898, offering entertainment of all types - including concerts, dancing, lectures, and a casino located at the very end of the pier. The 1825 foot structure was built with three pavilions by the Berlin Iron Bridge Company for a cost of $38,000." It was a nice day when we visited so there were plenty of people out and about getting one last gasp of summer. If you've ever been to Atlantic City or any other pier area with entertainment they pretty much all feel the same. There's a carnival like area with rides and games and they got plenty of shopping and of course food. I tried the iconic eat which is a place selling fries and nothing else since 1932. In a state that takes their fries so seriously this place is beloved and I could see why. Perfectly fried with hints of beef tallow inside.

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    View off The Pier

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    The Original Pier French Fries (Since 1932)
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    Ken's Place

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    Scarborough, Maine

    This longtime stand turned full fledged sitdown was often mentioned as a spot to find great fried clams, which along with lobster rolls were my most desired dishes of the trip. Just like oysters do, good belly clams come with a little taste of the ocean inside of them. I opted for a half and half from here which was half battered and half cornmeal coated. I was given some big thick bellies that went great paired with their homemade tartar sauce which is something most places didn't make. A really good one at that. Not a cheap snack but there's a reason they've been open since 1952. I'll be back.

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    Battered Clams at Ken's Place
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    Cameron's Drive-In

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    Brunswick, Maine

    I'm a big fan fan of old school drive-in's and wasn't going to let the chance to try one that doubles as a lobster house pass. Cameron's isn't as old as one might think but it does feel like it's been around much longer. Just like the classic ones left you turn your lights on for car service. There's also some booths inside and some tables outside. I tried a mini roll Connecticut style which means hot. It came served alongside a bag of Utz chips and hit the spot but not in the same way some of the others did.

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    Mini Lobster Roll Served Hot
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    Bet's Fish Fry

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    Boothbay, Maine

    Another spot on my must get too list. Yet another shack with no seating inside and a menu where you better like whats on it or else you can go find something else. What's on the menu here is fried fish. The lady who owns the place buys fresh haddock each morning from her brother. The menu is limited to fish sandwiches, “fish in a dish” (i.e no roll) and freshly cut fries. The fish fry comes in two sizes and the half is easily enough for two. This would also be the spot I tried Maine's signature snack known as a whoopie pie. They can be considered cookies, pie, or cake and they're all over the place.

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    Locally Made Whoopie Pies for sale

    The fish fry was phenomenal. When the breading easily displaces itself from the flesh I usually don't like that but the fish was so good it didn't bother me at all. The fries were as good as the rest I tried around the state. I think this plate was something like $8 and easily worth more than that. Must stop.

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    Bet's Fish Fry (1/2 order)
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    Wasses Hot Dogs

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    Damariscotta, Maine

    Wasses is a regional institution that started up in Rockland, Maine back in 1972. Today they have multiple locations and a new one was open in the town of Damariscotta so I seeked it out when there. I found a small little hut sitting by itself in an empty field with a big parking lot on one side and Main street on the other. Judging by the looks and then the smell this was the real deal as far as stands go. It's here where I came across one of the more odd people on the food trail. The old guy with his hands on his hips in the pic of the shack asked in a not so friendly tone "What's your interest in our establishment?" as I snapped a pic of the outside. I told him "I like hot dogs" and that I was "from Chicago" to which he replied "uh huh."I continued on and told him they have a "really good one" as he stood there for 5/10 seconds before saying "well thanks for stopping in" in a very monotone voice. Oh well. Like I was saying the people in Maine aren't the friendliest but the hot dogs are the real deal. This one had major snap and was lightly fried on a flattop with chopped onions. Everything at Wasses includes mustard, onion, and relish. We're in New England so that style of bun is standard.

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    Hot Dog with Everything at Wasses
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    Shannon's Unshelled

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    Boothbay Harbor, Maine

    Red's Eats is regarded by many, I'm guessing mostly out of towners, to serve the best lobster roll in Maine. I tried to go but despite getting there right around opening time there was already a line around the corner and after waiting in it for 20 minutes we barely moved up. I just couldn't wait there all day when I had other spots on my list that wouldn't take time away from enjoying a daytrip up the coast. Enter Shannon's Unshelled.

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    Enjoying the breeze

    The town of Boothbay Harbor is only about 15 minutes from Reds Eats which is in Wiscasset (45 Minutes NE of Portland). It's a cute summer driven town with ice cream shops, bars on the water, whale watch tours and all the other stuff that attracts visitors it's way. In the time it takes to wait at Red's you can go here, walk around, have a beer and enjoy one of the best bites in the state then go back to Reds and you'd still be waiting. Shannon's Unshelled is a little walk up hut right on the harbor. You can enjoy the only thing on their menu at one of the tables outside or take it go but there is no indoor seating. I've always been of the mindset that if a place only does one thing than you know they do it right. Less so the case with perfect scores on Yelp but when you've had 70+ reviews and still have five stars you're damn near pleasing everyone. Me included. Shannon's Unshelled buys their lobsters from a local guy each morning and picks them twice a day. The meat with chunks of everything is served at room temp with nothing else except a side of hot clarified butter. They use a standard New England style roll which in the picture looks like a mini version of one but that it is not. It's regular sized, it's toasted just right and the lobster meat was as sweet as a Riley Curry video gone viral. This my friends is perfection.

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    a lobster roll for those in the know
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    King Ro Market

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    Round Pond, Maine

    While on the way to visit the Pemaquid Point Lighthouse I spied a few markets like this one where you can pick up essentials and also stuff to enjoy at the park where the lighthouse is located. This place in particular caught my eye because of some signs advertising cheap lobster and crab rolls. I hadn't had a crab version yet and at just $5 it was something to hold me over while we did some sightseeing. There were no crab rolls wrapped and ready in the case so the guy made me a fresh one and I'll tell you what, it was a really satisfying bite with plenty of sweet crab flavor. I was surprised.

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    Crab Roll
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    Pemaquid Point Lighthouse

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    View from the Rocks

    What's a trip to Maine without a visit to a lighthouse? I did some searching around and Pemaquid Point was commonly mentioned as one of the best sights in the state. It's located on the edge of town and is surrounded by some beautiful houses. It'll cost you $2 per person to enter which includes entrance to the museums and also a trip up top. Its a large park with plenty of area to enjoy a picnic or just lay out and listen to the sounds of the ocean. Its very, very serene. That's it for this trip. See ya next time.

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    Peak Maine
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    Bob's Clam Hut
    315 U.S. 1
    Kittery, ME 03904
    (207) 439-4233

    Flo's Hot Dogs
    1359 U.S. 1
    Cape Neddick, ME 03902
    (800) 255-8401

    The Clam Shack
    2 Western Ave
    Kennebunk, ME 04043
    (207) 967-3321

    Rococo Artican Ice Cream
    6 Spring St
    Kennebunkport, ME 04046
    (207) 251-6866

    Eventide Oyster Company
    86 Middle St
    Portland, ME 04101
    (207) 774-8538

    Fisherman's Grill
    849 Forest Ave
    Portland, ME 04103
    (207) 699-5657

    Vena's Fizz House
    345 Fore St
    Portland, ME 04101
    (207) 747-4901

    Duckfat
    43 Middle St
    Portland, ME 04101
    (207) 774-8080

    Vivian's Drive-In
    948 Forest Ave
    Portland, ME 04103
    (207) 797-7077

    Boda
    671 Congress St
    Portland, ME 04101
    (207) 347-7557

    Empire Chinese Kitchen
    575 Congress St
    Portland, ME 04101
    (207) 747-5063

    Bite Into Maine
    1000 Shore Rd,
    Cape Elizabeth, ME 04107
    (207) 420-0294

    Slab
    25 Preble St
    Portland, ME 04101
    (207) 245-3088

    Gilbert's Chowder House
    92 Commercial St
    Portland, ME 04101
    (207) 871-5636

    Lolita Vinoteca + Asador
    90 Congress St
    Portland, ME 04101
    (207) 775-5652

    Scarborough Fish & Lobster
    697 US Rt 1
    Scarborough, ME 04074
    (207) 883-5398

    Palace Diner
    18 Franklin St
    Biddeford, ME 04005
    (207) 284-0015

    Harmon's Lunch
    144 Gray Rd
    Falmouth, ME 04105
    (207) 797-9857

    The Pier at Old Orchard Beach
    2 Old Orchard Rd
    Old Orchard Beach, ME 04064
    (207) 934-3595

    Pier French Fries
    12 Old Orchard St
    Old Orchard Beach, ME 04064
    (207) 934-2328

    Ken's Place
    207 Pine Point Rd
    Scarborough, ME 04074
    (207) 883-6611

    Cameron's Drive-In
    18 Bath Rd
    Brunswick, ME 04011
    (207) 725-2886

    Bets Fish Fry
    20 Common Drive
    Boothbay, ME 04537

    Wasses Hot Dogs
    2 North Main Street
    Damariscotta, ME 04841

    Shannon's Unshelled
    11 Granary Way
    Boothbay Harbor, ME 04538

    King Ro Market
    1414 ME-32
    Round Pond, ME 04564
    (207) 529-5380

    Pemaquid Point Lighthouse
    3115 Bristol Rd
    Pemaquid, ME 04558
    (207) 677-2492
  • Post #2 - September 15th, 2015, 8:40 am
    Post #2 - September 15th, 2015, 8:40 am Post #2 - September 15th, 2015, 8:40 am
    Titus, you eat so well my friend. Beautiful stuff as always!
    I find the pastrami to be the most sensual of all the salted, cured meats. (Seinfeld)

    Twitter: brbinchicago
  • Post #3 - September 15th, 2015, 8:46 am
    Post #3 - September 15th, 2015, 8:46 am Post #3 - September 15th, 2015, 8:46 am
    Nothing but blue skies . . . and delectable eats. Thanks, for the information-rich report.

    For a moment, I was concerned we were about to get this . . .

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    I should have never doubted you. :D

    =R=
    Why don't you take these profiteroles and put them up your shi'-ta-holes? --Jemaine & Bret

    There's a horse loose in a hospital --JM

    That don't impress me much --Shania Twain
  • Post #4 - September 15th, 2015, 9:07 am
    Post #4 - September 15th, 2015, 9:07 am Post #4 - September 15th, 2015, 9:07 am
    Da Beef-

    Looks like a great trip. Your photos are fantastic. I did a jaunt to Maine (hiking in Acadia National Park) several years ago and really enjoyed it. It remains on my list to return some day.
    -Mary
  • Post #5 - September 15th, 2015, 9:15 am
    Post #5 - September 15th, 2015, 9:15 am Post #5 - September 15th, 2015, 9:15 am
    Well done Beef! I feel like I just took a vacation by reading this post.
  • Post #6 - September 15th, 2015, 10:16 am
    Post #6 - September 15th, 2015, 10:16 am Post #6 - September 15th, 2015, 10:16 am
    HonestMan wrote:Well done Beef! I feel like I just took a vacation by reading this post.


    What he ^^ said. In fact, I read part of it and am saving the rest for when I break for lunch, to be able to fully savor all the goodness. As always, thanks!
    "Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit; wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad." Miles Kington
  • Post #7 - September 15th, 2015, 12:38 pm
    Post #7 - September 15th, 2015, 12:38 pm Post #7 - September 15th, 2015, 12:38 pm
    Wow. Just wow. (When can I go to Maine?). Thanks so much, Beef.
    "Your swimming suit matches your eyes, you hold your nose before diving, loving you has made me bananas!"
  • Post #8 - September 16th, 2015, 11:38 am
    Post #8 - September 16th, 2015, 11:38 am Post #8 - September 16th, 2015, 11:38 am
    Great report Beef! Made me want to go back to Portland and try some of those excellent places you sniffed out! BTW, next time, you might try Becky's Diner, right on the waterfront--good solid diner food, excellent breakfast, and superb pies.

    Geo
    Sooo, you like wine and are looking for something good to read? Maybe *this* will do the trick! :)
  • Post #9 - September 16th, 2015, 4:56 pm
    Post #9 - September 16th, 2015, 4:56 pm Post #9 - September 16th, 2015, 4:56 pm
    I lived in Maine in a former life. Brings back good memories!
    i used to milk cows
  • Post #10 - September 12th, 2016, 8:00 am
    Post #10 - September 12th, 2016, 8:00 am Post #10 - September 12th, 2016, 8:00 am
    At the risk of looking wimpy after DaBeef's strong post, I thought I'd add a few spots to the list. In my own defense, I was there for a family wedding, so heading out to chow hunt was not really part of the plan. However, if you find yourself in the Biddeford-Biddeford Pool- Kennebunkport area, here are a few good bites:

    Biddeford is a short drive south of Portland near the mouth of the Saco River. The downtown is less ritzy than Kennebunkport, but still has quite a bit of charm, and you might be able to pick up some supplies for your trip there, while in Kennebunkport, the shopping runs to vacation clothes, high end household wares and knick-knacks. Head further south to the strip of land known as Hills Beach to find lunch, a protected 500-yard beach (at 148 Hills Beach Rd.), or perhaps, a nice place to stay for several days, (as I did on Airbnb).

    Buffleheads Restaurant - Hills Beach, Biddeford

    As you can see from the restaurant's Facebook page, Buffleheads has some culinary aspirations. But I did not go to Maine for fancy food. I went for a great lobster, one that has not been sitting in a tank for weeks. One that tastes sweet. That is what I got at Buffleheads. And that is what I got two days later at lunch in the lobster roll, which was very very generous. Nothing fancy, friendly and casual, with outdoor seating or air conditioning, should that be required. The entrance is ramped.

    Goldthwaite's aka "The Pool" - Biddeford Pool

    Biddeford Pool is a tiny town on a spit of land jutting out from a large tidal pool. Wandering into Biddeford Pool, you have visions of a fishing village circa the olden days, with white clapboard homes and children playing behind picket fences. You will see those houses and those children playing. However, the town has taken a step back further in time to the Gilded Age, so that it is now summer home to a tiny fraction of the 1%. Still, it lacks the in-your-face glitz of the Hamptons, and leans to the genteel, (golf, sailing and competitive croquet). If that does not deter you, there is the East Point Sanctuary, (one of the premier birding destinations in the northeast U.S.) and a traditional general store-cum-eatery, The Pool. Check out the staples, local fare (fresh blueberries, locally made beach plum jam), and the gourmet wine-and-cheese party snacks. Order ahead, and you can dine on a prepared steamed lobster feast (excellent). At lunch, they offer a menu of standards from Maine, souped up with lighter fare- salads and fish tacos. I enjoyed their lobster rolls, and the counter service is friendly. On weekends, there is breakfast. I highly recommend their corn and blueberry pancakes, some of the best I have had. Out back, there are picnic tables with umbrellas and a view of sailboats in the bay. The back entrance is ramped, though I don't recall if there is a step up to get in.

    Mabel's Lobster Claw- Kennebunkport

    Skip the shoppes and madness in downtown Kennebunkport. Slightly off the beaten path is Mabels.* I noted the Stern's Gourmet Magazine article about Mabel's enshrined on the wall, along with various portraits of the Bush's. The latter did not dissuade me from my mission, as I had spied some really good looking pies on the way in. I will not give you any history here, as I am sure you can find it on their website, but it was apparent that Mabel's is an institution. The fried clams were top notch, and having had my fill of lobster rolls the previous few days, I opted for a lobster salad. Image
    It was perfect. Our server was very professional. I noted also that Mabel's offers daily specials, one of which was a risotto. There is some outdoor seating, but the interior of knotty pine with booths is more comfortable. Reservations are needed, though on a Monday lunch, we squeaked in with only a few minutes' notice.

    *Being off the beaten path will not guarantee parking at Mabel's. Parking is on the street adjacent to the restaurant if you are lucky, or in the "dirt lot" across the street from the nearby grand hotel, a short walk away.

    Note: As with all destinations in summer colonies, it is best to check the hours before heading to one of these spots for a meal, lest you be disappointed. I just noticed that Goldthwaite's opens today at 11:00 AM, while they were open at 7:00 in August.

    Buffleheads Restaurant
    122 Hills Beach Rd.
    Biddeford, ME
    (207)284-6000

    Goldthwaite's
    3 Lester B. Orcutt Blvd.
    Biddeford Pool, ME
    (207) 284-5000

    Mabel's Lobster Claw
    128 Ocean Avenue
    Kennebunkport, ME
    (207)967-2562
    Man : I can't understand how a poet like you can eat that stuff.
    T. S. Eliot: Ah, but you're not a poet.
  • Post #11 - October 20th, 2016, 2:11 am
    Post #11 - October 20th, 2016, 2:11 am Post #11 - October 20th, 2016, 2:11 am
    Late to the thread but our #3 son just fled CPS and the City for a teaching job near Portland. Now I have my list made out for our first visit!
    D.G. Sullivan's, "we're a little bit Irish, and a whole lot of fun"!
  • Post #12 - October 20th, 2016, 9:39 am
    Post #12 - October 20th, 2016, 9:39 am Post #12 - October 20th, 2016, 9:39 am
    Beef! A FAN-tastic report...
    I think I have next summer's vacation planned.
    I just love your reports BTW they are the best
    Great pix.
    Thanks for posting. :D
    "If you reject the food, ignore the customs, fear the religion and avoid the people, you might better stay home."
    ~James Michener
  • Post #13 - December 5th, 2018, 9:46 pm
    Post #13 - December 5th, 2018, 9:46 pm Post #13 - December 5th, 2018, 9:46 pm
    We just returned from making a Portland stop on our annual "Grandparent's Pilgrimage" since the newest addition decided living allllll the way across the country was a fun thing. I'd promised myself I'd make sure we hit up Harmon's Lunch to grab what many have declared a top-tier burger.
    The GPS gods led us there through winding narrow residential streets, across one lane bridges, through what I swear was the middle of the yard of a Township garage. As our detached guide's voice called out the turns my expectations were nearly matched by my excitement. Suddenly, "you've arrived at your destination"! What a neat old burger stand!
    Warned to be ready to order when I hit the couunter I expertly called out, a single and a double cheese, loaded , small fry and a half-order of rings. My wife carefully placed the ice tongs OUTSIDE the cooler as the sign commanded and we found a seat among the half dozen or so tables. Even her excitement was building, she's usually simply "whatever" about my LTH searches.
    Our number was called out and I held my breath as I paraded the small tray back to our seats...then...looked down. Pasty near gray burgers steamed to the edge of their life and beyond, soggy commercial bun and under-done fries.
    Sigh.
    I pushed on, but two bites of this tasteless, unseasoned sad little wet sandwich left me defeated. I hope is was simply an off day, however the kitchen was staffed by what I took to be owner, owner spouse, and owner son. I really, (really) wanted this to be up with the top tier burgers, sadly even White Castle kicks it's...well, you know.

    Upsides to our trip, well, other than loving on Grandkid #5, the burgers and fries at Nosh Kitchen Bar old town Portland. Seriously the BEST fries I have ever had the pleasure of knowing. Sandwiches so good I had to go back the next day at Other Side Deli. This place is getting some National pub of late and boy it sure looks deserved. All meats cut & cured in house, fresh, local...because they're just better, not because it markets well.

    I'm building my list for future visits, I mean, no Grandson should have to grow up not knowing ME right?
    Last edited by D.G.Sullivan on December 6th, 2018, 11:53 am, edited 1 time in total.
    D.G. Sullivan's, "we're a little bit Irish, and a whole lot of fun"!
  • Post #14 - December 5th, 2018, 11:40 pm
    Post #14 - December 5th, 2018, 11:40 pm Post #14 - December 5th, 2018, 11:40 pm
    D.G.Sullivan wrote:I'm building my list for future visits, I mean, no Grandson should have to grow up not know ME right?

    Family first with a very close second: your stomach! :D

    Regards,
    Cathy2
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
    Facebook, Twitter, Greater Midwest Foodways, Road Food 2012: Podcast
  • Post #15 - December 6th, 2018, 7:38 pm
    Post #15 - December 6th, 2018, 7:38 pm Post #15 - December 6th, 2018, 7:38 pm
    D.G.Sullivan wrote:We just returned from making a Portland stop on our annual "Grandparent's Pilgrimage" since the newest addition decided living allllll the way across the country was a fun thing. I'd promised myself I'd make sure we hit up Harmon's Lunch to grab what many have declared a top-tier burger.
    The GPS gods led us there through winding narrow residential streets, across one lane bridges, through what I swear was the middle of the yard of a Township garage. As our detached guide's voice called out the turns my expectations were nearly matched by my excitement. Suddenly, "you've arrived at your destination"! What a neat old burger stand!
    Warned to be ready to order when I hit the couunter I expertly called out, a single and a double cheese, loaded , small fry and a half-order of rings. My wife carefully placed the ice tongs OUTSIDE the cooler as the sign commanded and we found a seat among the half dozen or so tables. Even her excitement was building, she's usually simply "whatever" about my LTH searches.
    Our number was called out and I held my breath as I paraded the small tray back to our seats...then...looked down. Pasty near gray burgers steamed to the edge of their life and beyond, soggy commercial bun and under-done fries.
    Sigh.
    I pushed on, but two bites of this tasteless, unseasoned sad little wet sandwich left me defeated. I hope is was simply an off day, however the kitchen was staffed by what I took to be owner, owner spouse, and owner son. I really, (really) wanted this to be up with the top tier burgers, sadly even White Castle kicks it's...well, you know.

    Upsides to our trip, well, other than loving on Grandkid #5, the burgers and fries at Nosh Kitchen Bar old town Portland. Seriously the BEST fries I have ever had the pleasure of knowing. Sandwiches so good I had to go back the next day at Other Side Deli. This place is getting some National pub of late and boy it sure looks deserved. All meats cut & cured in house, fresh, local...because they're just better, not because it markets well.

    I'm building my list for future visits, I mean, no Grandson should have to grow up not knowing ME right?



    Why the search for burgers when you're in the middle of lobster/clam paradise?
    Steve Z.

    “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.”
    ― Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Post #16 - December 7th, 2018, 7:43 am
    Post #16 - December 7th, 2018, 7:43 am Post #16 - December 7th, 2018, 7:43 am
    True dat, Stever.

    Found something interesting on my annual August trip to the family cottage in York, Maine. Years ago, especially for visitors, we'd buy live lobsters and cook them in a big pot over a propane tank & burner in the 'yahd'. Or we'd bring a local in to dig a hole in the ground and do a traditional New England lobster bake, with the requisite seaweed, eggs, hot dogs, steamed clams, corn on the cob. It was great but a real P.I.T.A to prep. Once we had live lobsters in a bag that soaked through onto the linoleum floor, and the next time it got hot in the cottage, the smell was incredible, to the point of gagging--we thought we were going to have pull up the floor. Bleach and time took care of it.

    So, we graduated to buying cooked lobsters and bringing them back to the cottage. This turned out to be best, although I will say that A) lobsters 2# and over can be a little tough, even freshly cooked--IMO the sweet spot is 1.5-1.75 lbs in my opinion, and B) they're still steaming in the bag when you bring them home, and if you leave them steaming--as we did for 45 minutes--they'll overcook right there in the bag. Be careful about that, and open the bag up as soon as you arrive home.

    Finally, this past year we visited Maine Lobster Outlet on Rte. #1, a very cool place that's been open about 5 years after some of the mom-and-pop operations that we used in the past had closed down. I was entertaining a group of 16, and decided to make lobster rolls. Not wanting to go through the BS of pulling apart all those lobsters, the Outlet--besides selling live & cooked lobsters--sells freshly-picked lobster meat for $39.99/lb. Actually, a pretty good deal in that they give you tails, claws, leg meat, and it being all meat goes a long way. So I bought 3 lbs. and made simple lobster rolls on those unique East Coast hot dog rolls, with minimal mayo, a tiny squeeze of lemon juice and that's it.

    They were OK...but I will tell you that the best, distinctive fresh lobster taste can only be gotten from devouring it immediately after pulling it straight from the shell. I can't prove it, but I think some of the taste is lost when the meat sits out in the open air for too long.

    Maine Lobster Outlet
    360 US-1
    York, ME 03909
    (207) 363-9899
    Last edited by jnm123 on December 7th, 2018, 8:41 am, edited 2 times in total.
  • Post #17 - December 7th, 2018, 8:40 am
    Post #17 - December 7th, 2018, 8:40 am Post #17 - December 7th, 2018, 8:40 am
    Just as an aside, I should mention that the best diner/cafe I've ever been to in my life is in Old Orchard Beach ME. Breakfast, lunch, dinner: old standards done to perfection, innotative daily specials, super friendly and competent staff--what's not to like? Went there four times in three days.

    Geo

    J.J.'s Eatery Too
    12 Old Orchard Street
    Old Orchard Beach ME

    https://www.facebook.com/JJs-Eatery-Too-264042108493/
    Sooo, you like wine and are looking for something good to read? Maybe *this* will do the trick! :)
  • Post #18 - December 7th, 2018, 7:58 pm
    Post #18 - December 7th, 2018, 7:58 pm Post #18 - December 7th, 2018, 7:58 pm
    Why the search for burgers when you're in the middle of lobster/clam paradise?[/quote]

    Nothing more than a lack of love for the lowly lobster and a filled quota of clam.
    D.G. Sullivan's, "we're a little bit Irish, and a whole lot of fun"!

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