Trip Report- Portland Maine 2006
As a reward to myself for losing 36 pounds, I decided to splurge a little and take my annual trip to Maine to to see if I can find a bargain or two at LL Bean.
I left Saturday Morning. Missing the Maine Diner in Wells was a difficult decision. Although I was splurging for the weekend, I didn't want to splurge too much, so I had to contend with a "diet breakfast" at home. I arrived in Portland at around 11AM and stayed at the Inn at St John on the outerfringes of the West End. I strolled (actually powerwalked) the mile and a half to the Old Port and enjoyed a cup of Joe at Breaking New Grounds. They had a decently refreshing French Roast. After strolling the Old Port I went to one of my favorite Chowder Houses- Gilberts. Of course I ordered a medium double seafood chowder and one clam cake. I was so tempted to order two, but I kept thinking....moderation....The chowder was delicious as ever, a creamy hodgepodge of ocean creatures and the clamcake was hot n crispy accompanied by a little tartar sauce. Unfortunately I forgot to bring my camera for lunch.
After lunch, I walked down Congress Street and noticed the LL Bean outlet. I decided to check it out to scope a deal or two and I found it, a dark green army style winter coat with a cotton shell. It's so great to be an extra large again. Even though I still have 20 lbs to loose, I'll never be smaller than an extra large because of my broad shoulders and barrel chest.
Now that I'm $95 poorer, I realized that heading up to Freeport would be pointless, so after power walking back to my hotel to check in I decided to take a drive down to the Portland Head Light. I've been there at least 1/2 a dozen times and I've never gotten tired of the scenery.
It was getting dark as I drove back to the hotel. I wanted to see if I could find a really good lobster deal and started making some calls. All the Restaurants in the old Port were overcharging (of course we can thank those Boston Marketing Reps for that!
I ended up calling the Ocean Garden Restaurant in Gorham, a rural community about 10 miles inland from the Old Port. They had a twin lobster special for $16.95 and a triple lobster specials for $22.95!
I arrived around 6:30pm and the parking lot was full- good sign. The dining area was full so I decided to eat in the Lounge. The lobster comes with soup, salad bar and roll. The Soup, a vegetable soup of some sorts, was not impressing, the salad bar was typical and also included coleslaw, pasta salad and....what's this???? cold beans??? of the B & M variety, in fact they probably were. I won't complain because I like B & M baked beans- but cold????!!
The Lobsters Arrived and they were delicious....
I asked the waitress how they can manage to provide such an excellent deal, she says the owner has connections in the Old Port and since they are not on the water they have no reason to take advantage of the Tourists in the Old Port.
After dinner I headed back to my Hotel began another power walk back to the Old Port. I went to Brian Boru, an Irish Pub and ordered a Pint of the Pumkinhead Ale. A smooth medium bodied ale with a hint of nutmeg and spice. I then walked over to Gritty McDuffs, the flagship Brewpub in the Old Port. I was surprised to see they had a live band playing. I thought that was rather tacky. Don't get me wrong, I love live music, but it's just not appropriate in a Brew Pub. I ordered Gritty's original pub style ale. A copper colorded ale with a dry finish. After my 2nd beer I called it quits, power walked back to Inn and called it a night.
The next morning, I walked over to what I thought was going to be the Friendship Cafe, but noticed they're gone. There's a new place called Hot Suppa (I guess this is a take on how Mainers refer to Supper) I also noticed that Friendship Cafe was removed from the Roadfood Restaurant reviews without any sort of explanation. This not the first time that something like this has happenned on the roadfood website. Anyway, I walked in and found out that many of the previous breakfast items on Friendship's menu are also on Hot Suppa's menu.
I had the 7 grain porridge which used to be 5 grain at the old Friendship. It comes hot with milk, brown sugar and raisins on the side and was absolutely delicious. I also ordered a side of the Corned Beef Hash. Better than the now defunct Friendship Cafe's Hash, in fact I would say this is on par with the Red Flannel Hash a the Maine Diner. An outstanding meal!
After Breakfast I decided on one last mile and a half power walk back to the Old Port for another dark roast, this time at Java Net, an internet cafe on Exchange Street. After walking around the old port one last time, I returned back to the Inn to check out. On my way home, I sadly lamented as I saw Kelly's Roast Beef in Saugus on Route 1...Moderation...I kept thinking....there will always be next time.