I have to say that we ate very well while visiting Portland, Maine. We didn’t go crazy with eating lobster at every meal but we did enjoy the local foods offered at many of the restaurants.
As you may already know (and if you don’t, I recommend that you read up…), I arrived later than expected. As soon as I settled into my room at the Portland Regency Hotel and Spa (fabulous location!) I went in search of food and see the city along the way. I headed east, which was away from the main part of Old Port to Norm’s East End Grill, where they served BBQ. Next door to them is another restaurant called Duck Fat where I wanted to try but I noticed nobody was eating in there and I think they were setting up for the evening’s festivities.
I had the best pulled pork sandwich with a side of coleslaw and sweet potatoes fries! The pulled pork was slathered with the best BBQ sauce I have ever tasted and served on an onion bun with thinly sliced red onions and pickles. The combination of ingredients was an amazing play of flavors and textures, and something I would certainly adopt in the future. The coleslaw was great! And the sweet potato fries were awesome; crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside. They were lightly dressed with a Dijon sauce; another fantastic flavor combination!
We made a late reservation at the hotel restaurant, 20 Milk Street restaurant, which was fine because we wanted a quiet evening welcoming 2010. We started with the lobster cakes, and grilled artichoke. I enjoyed the grilled artichoke more than the lobster cakes. The spices and whatever filler was used overpowered the sweetness of the lobster meat. BF had the linguine with lobster while I went for the fillet mignon topped with crab meat. The linguini with lobster was very good. The linguini is handmade and you can tell because it was light but the cream sauce was a bit heavy and thus we were filled sooner. The fillet mignon was cooked to perfection but the crab meat that topped off the crème della crème of red meats was overkill.
20 Milk Street restaurant is nestled in the Portland Regency Hotel and Spa. It is traditionally appointed. It has a cozy feel with plenty of room to move around comfortably. There is a great fireplace that will keep you warm. The host and wait staff are very friendly and attentive. FYI, kitchen closes at 11pm so make sure you get your crème brûlée order in before then.
New Year’s Day morning, we went in search for our first meal of the 2010, and we did at The Merry Table where they serve up savory and sweet crepes. I started the 2010 with a cup of hot chocolate with whipped cream and an “Autumn” crêpe of spiced poached apples and pears and marscapone cheese filling.
For dinner, we dined at Fore Street Restaurant on the street that it’s named after. Their menu changes daily based on the foods that come available locally and seasonally. The menu has a very diverse list of offerings, all very tempting. It’s a very popular restaurant. I ordered a cocktail while waiting for our table; Dark and Stormy, which is rum, ginger beer, and lime juice; D-licious! This one was made with Fentiman’s Ginger Beer.
When we were seated, we finalized what we would eat. We started off with sweetbreads, which was incredible. It was lightly breaded and fried. BF had the Peking duck, which is not your typical Peking duck but let me tell you that you get half a duck and it was more than enough food for two people. I ordered the pork shoulder which was delicious, savory, and tender. We also ordered two side dishes of brussels sprouts sautéed in duck fat and turnips. Dessert was amazing – a strawberry jam trifle! It was the perfect end to a wonderful meal especially as the evening continued to snow.