What I long ago discovered about my personal travel style is that, as long as it’s new to me, it’s new and therefore interesting. So when I, a non-seafood eater, set off to the ultimate destination for “Lobstah Rolls”, I knew I would enjoy the visit even if only on a diet of fast food and hotel breakfasts. Had I bothered to do a little research (more like, if my busy schedule allowed), I would have known Bon Appetite named Portland, Maine 2018 Restaurant City of the Year and, I’m here to tell you, they were on to something.
Breakfast: You know a place is famous and most likely a do not miss when the locals tell you the operating hours quickly followed by the phrase, “but go early so they don’t run out of what you want.” Note taken and the only thing preventing me from getting everything I wanted at The Holy Donut was an inability to carry much less eat it all.
Lunch: While my friends set out to eat their way through every Lobster Roll joint in sight, I stumbled upon remarkable food finds while simply tagging along. Like this, the Frankfurter from The Highroller Lobster Co. A Maine’s own Shields Meats’ frank, toasted brioche bun and your choice of sauce (curried ketchup in my case) conspire to create a “not your average hot dog” delight! Make sure to give the Old Bay Seasoning fries a try and save your diet busting for one of “Andy’s Mom’s” Highroller Whoopie Pies. Incredible!
Dinner: The benefit to traveling with super-organized and curious friends is, they will totally pick up your slack and do the research for you, finding little gems like Mash Tun. Don’t let the small floor plan fool you; their food packs great big flavors! On top of that, they’re rockin’ a really inviting vibe and super service. I paired my burger and Parmesan Ranch fries with an Allagash Brewing Company I Believe in Love beer and my foodie heart skipped a beat.
Cocktails: After dinner, we decided to grab a quick cocktail. We’d heard a little buzz about Taco Escobarr and decided to give it a go. With a festive and casual atmosphere, it was easy to feel at home instantly. Plus, what they’re doing with specialty cocktails and infusions, is anything but boring. I was intrigued by the Strawberry Jalapeno Margarita and was not disappointed. The ideal balance of sweet and heat, it’s perfect for warming you up on a cold Portland night.
Morning, Noon, Night & Twice on Weekends: Please excuse me while I gush for a minute…my poor friends and family have heard more about these dumplings than the beautiful landscapes, historic lighthouses and fantastic public art I saw during my visit. Truthfully, my main regret about my Portland, Maine visit, is not having visited Bao Bao Dumpling House a second time. These Kung Pao Chicken & Peanut Dumplings were tender but crispy but crunchy and all things absolutely astoundingly delicious.
Next time you’re off on an adventure and not sure it’s gonna be exactly right up your alley…remember, if it’s new to you it’s still new.
Don’t psych yourself out worried about what you might not find; get excited for what you might!