This June I had the joy of traveling to Portland, Maine for my cousin’s wedding. If you know me at all you know how much I LOVE to explore a new city or country. The Northeast is a place that I have wanted to return to after my years of living in NYC. But let’s be honest when you are young and broke and have no car it is hard to explore as much as you dream of.
So I have heard again and again how fabulous the food scene is in Portland so I was thrilled to try everything. I was in luck because my sister Noelle & her husband Jeremy were my dates for the weekend who love food as much as I do. Unfortunately, Josh had to miss out because of work which was a bummer, but c’est la vie.
I love coffee so the first thing I do in any city is find the best place to start my day. Luckily our Airbnb was located in downtown Portland where you can walk anywhere in town. I began my day at Tandem Coffee in the West End. This fabulous coffee shop and bakery is located inside an old gas station and has absolutely delicious food and coffee. The space is airy and bright and has tons of outdoor seating. I loved it so much I went back every morning 🙂 !
And because I also love pilates I decided I must take a private lesson while in town. The lovely Meredith Coffin of Springboard Pilates offered to teach me bright and early on Saturday morning. I am always on the lookout for excellent studios and teachers for my fitness concierge service Jette Sette and I needed to expand my network to include Portland. After a fabulous reformer workout on the Centerline – Balanced Body equipment I explored the town by foot. Grabbing a fresh pressed green juice at Farm Truck Juice, I took the long way back to the apartment. (The local ginger they use at Farm Truck is insane!)
On Saturday the wedding took place in Falmouth just north of Portland with some of the most beautiful weather and scenery imaginable. We lucked out! The wedding was a small family event which left us the evening free to explore the town and eat, of course.
We started out at Central Provisions in Portland near the port which is known for their small plates and craft cocktails. Obviously we weren’t starving after eating at the wedding BUT we still had to order numerous dishes including the bone marrow toast. Our dessert course took us to Eventide Oyster Company where we finished our evening with a delightful bottle of sparkling rosé from Austria (I know! Not a French rosé – definitely not my norm but yummy) and the best oysters that I have ever eaten. Seriously. Eventide serves the oysters with tabasco and horseradish ice. This is brilliant! I need this every time I eat an oyster.
On Sunday our big adventure was driving northeast to Georgetown where my cousin in law’s family have a private island. On Hen Island there are 10 cottages which are passed down through the families starting around the late 1800’s. You can only get to the island by boat and during the summer season a full time chef lives on the island. Where do we sign up?!
Before getting on the boat we enjoyed lobster rolls at Five Islands Lobster right on the fishing wharf. So full disclosure, I am not a huge lobster fan. I know, I’m crazy! But these lobster rolls were awesome. More lobster than roll and no crazy mayo sauce which I can’t stand. Yummy!
After our adventure on the island we headed back to Portland where there was a heat wave of 90+ degrees. Way too hot. We decided our final meal should be at the highly regarded Fore Street which has been nominated for “Outstanding Restaurant” 3 times in recent years from the James Beard Foundation. They are known for the food sustainability and most of their dishes are cooked with a wood burning oven, grill or turnspit. We didn’t have a reservation, but we decided to try anyways. We put our name in at the bar and luckily enjoyed a fantastic meal 45 min later. The food was cooked to perfection and the simplicity and flavor in each dish was amazing. This is how I like my food to taste!
So I basically ate my way through Portland and enjoyed every moment. Next time you get a chance to explore the Northeast please don’t miss this delightful town. The architecture, the food and the people were such a treat, I only wish I had more time.