July 22, 2010

rest of maine coming soon



I was looking to see if there was a quote on the internet about things coming in threes. I found, “all good things come in threes.” I always thought that bad things come in threes. You know, when something bad happens, then something else happens, so you are just waiting for that last one, right? Well, here is what happened to me (well….more or less to me) recently. First daughter Michelle’s car’s air-conditioning stops working, then son Jason comes home from a hot ride in his car - a broken air-conditioner. So, we take in Michelle’s car, then Jason’s car. $3900 later, I am driving my car to pick up son Jason’s car from the shop and bam(!) a flat tire. So, I take it to the shop. So…..I’m done, right? Noooooooooooo…just had daughter Michelle’s car towed today - alternator most likely. WHA’!?!?!

A good friend said that maybe I am getting a new set of threes. SHUSH! (sigh)

July 08, 2010

(W)holey mackerel, Batman! (ha ha…did you see what I did there?) We ate well in Maine. We had great great food and I photographed some of it. I couldn’t photograph all because a. sometimes I inhaled it before realizing I should take a picture b. I would forget my camera or c. it was too dark and daughter Michelle says that food doesn’t look good when taken with a flash.

The best restaurant that we visited in Maine was in Portland. It’s called Fore Street and I highly recommend it. I had the mackerel (see) and husband Scott had cod. We actually went there because a blogger had, well, blogged about Fore Street having the best lobster roll in Portland. What she didn’t say was that this restaurant has a rotating menu and only serves fish during its peak flavorful season and soft shell lobster wasn’t peaking at the end of June. Scott didn’t care because his fish was delicious and YEAH it was. When one cooks it in ham stock and serves it with fresh chard and bacon, I think even cardboard would taste good that way. So with cod AT ITS PEAK was even more delicious!

We, of course, had fried fish…more than once… 2 times to be precise which was pretty good for me (I mean good in that I could have eaten fried anything everyday). This is fried calamari (above) and fried whole clams - well, without the shell (below). The fries were amazing, too. This is from Seabasket in Wiscasset and we had equally good fried Maine shrimp, fried clams and fried pickles at the Angler’s Restaurant in Searsport. Maine shrimp is sweeter and smaller than regular shrimp. And at Angler’s, there was Dr Pepper!! Sodas always make fried stuff tastes better and Dr Pepper was NOT a common choice in Maine.

Chowder (or chowdah) was a choice everywhere. I had several cups of it for lunch. This is haddock chowder from The Brown Bag in Rockland. It was really really good. I also had really good clam chowder at Cappy’s in Camden. I found that I like these the best because they were made with very little ingredients and it was rich without being cloying. I don’t like thick chowder. There was haddock, potatoes, salt & pepper, and either cream or half and half in this one. I couldn’t tell if it was heavy cream because it was too thick or greasy. Sometimes there was celery and a little bit of onion, but that was all. No flour, no extra herbs or vegetables. Very simple and very delicious.

I also had to order some cookies to go from The Brown Bag in Rockland. I shared with husband Scott, begrudgingly. These are chocolate chip raisin oatmeal with nuts, but the best one I had was their ginger hermit cookies…mmmmmmmmmmmmmmm.

I decided to try the ginger beer at Cappy’s. It’s spicy because of the ginger and sweet. I am not sure if Cappy’s makes it or has it labelled. I wouldn’t drink it with everything. It is probably best with fried fish, french fries or potato chips…things that are salty and greasy.

The best latte I had during our vacation was this one from Black Duck Emporium on Monhegan Island. So rich and creamy. We also had some good and pretty ones from Bard Coffee in Portland. We saw only one Starbucks while in Maine. It was in Portland, but their bathroom was broken. That’s when we stumbled upon Bard Coffee. We like two-fers, (you know…two for the price of one), coffee and a bathroom.

okay…now for the whoopie pies. What I read was that Wicked Whoopie Pies are the best. So, while in Freeport, I got a chocolate mint, a classic and a gingerbread one. I shared each one with husband Scott so that I wouldn’t eat too much…then I noticed the Nutrition Facts on the back. See what it says? Serving size is half a cake. Half! Really? Half of a whoopie pie has 370 calories AND 21 grams of fat!!! You know how many Weight Watcher points half a whoopie pie equals? Nine!!! I am allowed only 18 Weight Watcher points a day. If I were to eat a whole whoopie pie……….Thank goodness they were too rich to eat too many. The gingerbread one was really good. I did NOT bring any home.

While in Bar Harbor, we had breakfast at Morning Glory and pre-ordered sandwiches to eat in Acadia National Park. This one is mine - chicken curry salad with lettuce and cucumbers. It was really good. Husband Scott had the tuna salad and it was good and different from what I make. It had capers and pickles. It had a nice salty taste. Now you know why the seagull wasn’t happy about not getting a taste. Also, for breakfast, I had a date scone from Morning Glory. It was the best scone I have ever eaten. It was so flaky. That was one that I inhaled before realizing that I should have photographed it before it was all gone.

There were several good restaurants in Bar Harbor. I strongly recommend Morning Glory and for ice cream, the best was MDI Ice Cream. I had orange chocolate and salted caramel. If you only have one flavor, it must be the salted caramel. So very very good. Maggie’s and McKays was also good for dinner. I wanted to try Atlantic Brewing Company’s barbecue place called Mainely Meat Barbecue, but husband Scott, after eating barbecue all the time, said he didn’t want it because he gets indigestion. Really? Why do you eat it all the time then?

aaaaaaaaaaaaaaah. Lobster. We didn’t eat it all the time. Even though it is cheaper in Maine, it still was expensive. Plus, I had to try other kinds of food. We had a lobster roll at Reds Eat’s in Wiscasset and it was good. It had the whole lobster in it and it came with a choice of clarified butter or mayonnaise on the side. We asked which choice was better and she recommended both. The clarified butter for dipping the lobster until there was just enough left for the bread and then putting mayo on the bread for the sandwich. That was the perfect way to eat it. My only criticism was that the lobster was chilled. It could be because we ate around 8:00pm. Most restaurants in the smaller towns closed at 8:00pm so maybe Reds starts storing the lobster in the frig for the late night eaters. The lobster stand closed at 11:00pm. So, on a rainy day, the chilled lobster isn’t as good as it could be. 

The above photo is the basic lobster meal at Ken’s Kove in Bridgton. It has only 3 tables and almost everybody calls in their order and takes it out. We stayed in. You get a a lobster and slaw and fries with clarified butter for $12.99. Not bad, hunh? It was really good. We had a choice of hard or soft shell. Husband Scott asked what the difference was and all he heard was the hard shell had more meat and that’s what he wanted. I would have liked to taste the soft shell because it is supposed to be sweeter, but more meat always wins out. We shared the lobster which was better. I had plenty. 

Another popular item on the menu was steamers. We could have gone back for more another day, but it was 4th of July weekend and they were overwhelmed with orders. They kept them on a bulletin board behind the cash register and it was several rows long and several layers thick with orders. So, if you go to Bridgton, try the steamers, too.

We also had lunch, in Bridgton,  at Tom’s Homestead and I had really good mushroom soup and fresh spinach salad. The spinach was picked from their garden that morning. Can’t get fresher than that.

Oh man! Really?! After all that great food, I had a chicken sandwich at McDonalds on the way to Logan Airport to fly home? (sigh)

July 07, 2010

Just got back from our first trip to Maine. I say our first trip because husband Scott and I decided that Maine is going to be one of the states we will have to visit over and over again. It was so pretty, had lots to offer and until we hit the first day of the heat wave (which was our last day of vacation), the weather was fantastic (compared to Texas June/July weather).

Today, I made a simple tilapia chowder to remind me of Maine…okay, I never ate tilapia chowder there, but there was no haddock and I didn’t want to get clams at the market. More on the food of Maine tomorrow. Today, I have posted many many photos of our trip. Sorry the post is so long…well…not really that sorry. I am enjoying reliving the great vacation.

ps I am getting ready to make napkins and yes, that is a ‘how to’ on mitered corners.

The trip didn’t start on the right foot. I misjudged the timing of using mass transportation and we missed our flight. 3 standby flights later, we landed in Boston, rented a car and got to our first city - Ogunquit that night.

This is a photo of Perkins Cove and the view from our motel the next morning.

Next, we drove to Portland. We spent time only in Old Port which is still a working commercial wharf. After spending a night in Ogunquit and stopping in Kennebunkport, Portland was not so pretty of a city. I mean, I liked it and all, but it doesn’t have the quaintness of the smaller villages in Maine.

The ubiquitous lighthouse. I am sure that one could spend the whole vacation visiting lighthouses, but we chose one - Portland Head Light in Cape Elizabeth…pretty.

outside Freeport. I hope the moose knew to cross there (ha ha).

Freeport is a town for people who love to shop outlets. There were a TON of people there. I put this on our itinerary only because the L L Bean flagship was there. Tons of other people were shopping there, too. We got an umbrella (because rain was in the forecast & husband did not pack one) and some postcards…not quite what other people bought.

We went to Rockland next, while staying in Wiscasset. We were supposed to go to Monhegan Island next, but it was raining. It made more sense to stay in Wiscasset when we were going to Monhegan Island (Wiscasset > Boothbay Harbor > Monhegan Island > Wiscasset > Rockland > Camden), but we switched the days.

We were in Rockland to visit the Farnsworth Museum. What a great museum! I tried not to schedule too many art museum visits since husband Scott is not into them as much as I am. We were supposed to see this one and one in Ogunquit, but due to missed flight, we were only going to this one. And it was great! Lots of small exhibits. I could stay all day at the Wyeth Center. The Wyeth men - NC, Andrew (my favorite) and Jamie were/are amazing artists.

This is just some of the landscaping by the Farnsworth Museum. Hostas are Maine’s primary choice for landscaping. They thrived there. There were lots of hydrangeas and fernss. There was also a rose that grew wild that was single petaled and smelled wonderful.

There was so much flowering landscapes everywhere…

also lots of flowering window boxes…

even the weeds on the street curbs were pretty.

After a very rough boat ride, many sick bags were distributed, we got to Monhegan Island. It was foggy, but very wild and beautiful. There aren’t many homes here. Husband Scott is standing next to the many lobster cages found in Maine.

We walked and hiked the trails around the coast line of Monhegan Island.

Every city and village and rest stop had a Dunkin’ Donuts. There was a Starbucks in Portland, but the most dominate chain store was Dunkin’ Donuts. I think we have only one in Fort Worth and I am not sure if it is still open…is it?

I don’t know why I didn’t take many photos of Camden. It is such a beautiful city. hmmmm…I guess I just got absorbed in the beauty and forgot?

We spent 2 days in Bar Harbor. We could have spent weeks there. There is so much to see on Mount Deer Island. The biggest attraction is Acadia National Park. We also hit the prettiest days while there. It was clear blue skies, dry and cool. We hiked the trails, drove the Park Loop Road and walked the Carriage Roads. On the hike, I saw lots of wild blueberries, but trying to be the good citizen, I didn’t pick a single one of them. I’m such a nerd.

There were lots of trails to hike in the park. We chose Beechcroft Trail because it was supposed to be strenuous, but doable. At first, it was so easy, but then the last bit was challenging. We were so proud of ourselves for making it to the top. The view was amazing. It was 2.2 miles if you do the loop, but we couldn’t find the other way down, so we went down the same way we went up. Husband Scott swears it was more than 2.2 miles…more like 2.2 miles each way.

Lupine grew everywhere. I haven’t looked it up, yet, but looking at the flower and the leaf formation, it looks like it must be related to the bluebonnet. What do you think?

We packed a lunch to eat in the park and this guy thinks he is going to get a taste of our sandwiches…sorry…the signs said not to and of course, I didn’t. He complained bitterly to me and luckily he didn’t try to throw up on me. Long time ago, I had read somewhere that seagulls do that and have ducked every since.

Another highlight of Acadia is the Jordan Pond House. We had afternoon tea…well husband Scott had lemonade…and popovers with jam…yum. The view of Jordan Pond was a huge bonus.

Here, husband Scott opted to sit outside and read in the nice weather while I visited a tiny little Rufus Porter Museum in Bridgton. His loss…the portraits and murals were amazing.

I chose to stay in Bridgton for the 4th of July weekend. It was a nice little town. We walked to the elementary school and ate $3 hamburgers (Scott), $2 hotdogs (me) and split a $7 lobster roll while listening to the concert and waiting for the fireworks.

It was warm that day, but I had to put on my sweatshirt as soon as the sun went down. Something I don’t normally do on the 4th in Texas.

For a small town, the fireworks were huge and I felt they were right on top of me. I ducked a couple of times.

We ate breakfast on the porch of our B & B on July 4th and watched the runners go by running 4 (miles) on the 4th race. Then we watched the parade at noon and saw the last bit in the cafe where we had lunch. The fireworks were actually on the 3rd of July.

And that is how I spent my summer vacation.

Stay tuned to the food and B & B’s…