August 08, 2012

Awesome Eats in Portland, Maine and Boston, Mass.

     My daughter and I love to travel and discover new places to eat and things to do.  We are not so much into the typical touristy things to do, though we have been known to visit typical landmarks and famous places. We don't participate in the usual tours, instead choosing to explore on our own and take advice and suggestions from others who have been to the same places for food and fun places to visit.
     This past long weekend, we visited Portland, Maine for the first U.S. stopover of the Mumford & Sons "Gentlemen of the Road" tour.  Portland is a great place to visit with beautiful scenery, decent weather (don't be fooled by its northern location - it can be hot, but mostly it was dry and lovely), and a plethora of foodie restaurants and boutique shops. Right up our alley.
     Our first restaurant visit was to Duckfat.  The name says it all.  Their fries are fried in duck fat and served with aioli and other spicy sauces.  We shared a large order which was way more than both of us could handle, but so delicious.  I also had a cup of a great carrot curry soup and C had a salad with shredded duck.  Almost every restaurant we went to in Portland was very familiar with gluten-free requirements, so it was easy to make most meals gluten-free if not full paleo.  Duckfat fries may not be paleo to some, but a little potato indulgence is fine with me.  I wish I had taken pictures, but alas, the food disappeared before I remembered to take any pics on this trip.
     The 6000+ influx of people into the Portland area for the Mumford festival flooded the streets during the day and restaurants were a bit hard to get into.  We tried to visit The Farmer's Table for brunch, but they were filled to the brim for the rest of the day.  We opted for a trip to a small bar/restaurant for dinner that night.  I feel bad because I don't even remember the name of it, but they made a killer salmon filet for me with asparagus and more potatoes (potatoes and Maine must go together).  C had a shrimp risotto.  The only complaint was the cloud of fruit flies that were attracted to our peach margaritas, but overall an enjoyable experience.  
     On the night of the festival, the crowds flooded Portland afterwards, looking like zombie hoards looking for victims.  C and I decided to go to a quieter location for dinner, having spent the day with the same 6000.  We went to Fore Street, arriving at almost 11:00 to an almost full house, but seated right away.  This place was amazing in a beautiful refurbished old building with rustic brick and wood.  The hostess led us past an open kitchen where a staff was hard at work.  We were seated next to a candlelit window overlooking the streets of Portland toward the waterfront.  We could watch the zombie hoards  following the limos, which they hoped contained the members of Mumford and the other bands from the day, who had promised to frequent various venues for the rest of the night.  We had a waiter with a full 6 inch beard. C commented that all of these farm-to-table restaurants seemed to have a staff that came straight out of the Daniel Boone era - always with full beards.  We shared an appetizer of the freshest raw fish I've ever had - salmon, tuna, scallops, and a white fish, each with its own topping.  The scallops and white fish were ceviched.  C then had a huge piece of pork belly.  I had an even larger pork chop sitting on a bed of sauerkraut.  We shared everything.  We were happy we did not order vegetables because there was certainly no room.  Again, this restaurant was gluten-free friendly and oh-so-paleo.
     On Sunday, we headed to Boston, a quick two-hour drive.  Once again, we did not suffer from lack of choices.   On Monday, we went to Nebo, winner of a Bobby Flay showdown.  We had the most delicious gluten-free pizza (paleo was out the window at this point).  This is possibly the most gluten-free friendly place I have ever been.  They had a complete two page, small type, menu of gluten free pastas and pizzas.  I had the Michael Diavolo pizza - bacon, pepperoni, mozzarella, tomato sauce.  Beautifully prepared and delicious.  C and her boyfriend had equally tasty variations.  She opted for a potato gorgonzola version while he had a custom margherita style.  The crusts were wonderful - as far as I am concerned they were as good if not better than most pizza crusts I have had, GF or not.
     If that wasn't enough, C and I went to brunch on Tuesday for our last meal in Boston for the week.  We went to Zaftig's.  It is a Jewish delicatessen style restaurant.  I had scrambled eggs with beef salami which came with a side of home-fried potatoes and three slices of watermelon topped with strawberries.  C had a version of eggs Benedict on GF potato pancakes with more watermelon and berries.  We ate well this week and this place just topped it off with deliciousness.  What a great finale to a fun week of eating.  Oh yeah, we also visited Walden Pond, Boston Commons, saw two movies (Beasts of the Southern Wild and the latest Batman), Castle Island, and of course, shopped Newbury Street several times.  Almost forgot chocolate hazelnut cake (all GF) from L.A. Burdick and iced chocolate.  I think I need to go to the gym a lot this week.

1 comment:

  1. Glad to hear about the great experiences in Boston! Sophia's Greek Pantry in Belmont is where she carries more of her yummy creations (I think that's the Sophia you're talking about); I get all my Greek groceries from there.