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Thoughts on these spots in Camden?

I say do Long Grain for lunch, 40 Paper for cocktails before Francine for one dinner, and Primo in Rockland for the other dinner.

Columbus Weekend Itinerary in Portland

Just a little recap on my part.

Sat Lunch: Duckfat. Good as always. I'm stunned at how continually packed that place is, pretty much from open to close. We drove by at odd times and always saw people waiting outside. I do wonder if they will expand if given the opportunity, or if Rob is happy with the size. I have to believe there's some lost revenue here (not that revenue is the end all, be all mind you).

Sat Drinks: Bramhall and Hunt & Alpine. Had to check out the new Bramhall and I LOVE that wood, brick, stained glass, quirky space. We only had a couple snacks but the limited menu looked really good and I can see that place quickly becoming a "go to" spot. Again.

Hunt & Alpine is also a really neat spot...it certainly appears to be the place to go for some really innovative cocktails. Our party split the fish board (or called something like that)...pickled oysters, herring, etc. Really nice.

Sat Dinner: Lolita. LOVED Lolita. Every small and medium dish we had was fantastic...and I daresay that the squid ink / bottarga (dry cured caviar) pasta was the best dish I've had all year. That alone was worth the price of admission.

Sun Brunch: Central Provisions. I did like the duck confit breakfast sandwich alot, but I didn't feel really "wowed" by the whole experience. I felt like everything was about 15% overpriced, and the service was a bit robotic. That being said, I think I would absolutely go back for dinner next time, if only because the menu looked more exciting.

Sun Drinks: Old Port Tavern and Top of the East. Nostalgia drove this more than anything. Only had a drink at OPT while watching some of the Pats game, and I guess my only comment is that maybe I should have stuck with my old memories.

What a renovation at Top of the East. Still the best views in town and a very nice martini. I would have liked to see the piano stay, but oh well. ;)

Sun Dinner: Empire Chinese. Again, AMAZING. I've been there before and wow do I just plain love the dim sum "Chinese tapas" by these guys. The pork belly bun was another sit back and roll my eyes experience.

Mon Breakfast: Bayou Kitchen. Again with the nostalgia...I actually hadn't been there since they expanded. Pretty much the same as it's always been...gator eggs with crawfish and hot sauce hit the spot.

I should add that we tried to fit in Eventide but that's another place that was ALWAYS packed to the gills no matter what time of day we passed by.

Great trip, always love the time I spend in the old hood.

Columbus Weekend Itinerary in Portland

Great to know...I may have to stop by for at least a drink...I do love the idea of it being resurrected!

Columbus Weekend Itinerary in Portland

I can always count on the two Portland "heavies" =). Yes, I read about Bramhall on Eater...that has definitely piqued my interest.

Yes, I bet the Top of the East has changed. It's a funny thing about Portland, I do love many of the new (to a certain extent hip) places but I do lament the loss of certain things...like the old Eastland Park. I miss being able to spend under 100 bucks on a room but still be walking distance to the Old Port. I miss the steak & cheese at Erics, the midnight pizzas at Squire Morgans and Caddy's. But I am glad some of the old stuff is still there...Silly's, Anthony's / Videoport, Rosies, Back Bay Grill, etc etc etc.

Columbus Weekend Itinerary in Portland

Thanks bobbert, I knew I could count on you...and let me know when i can return the favor when you venture up this way!

Maine: Best and Most Unique Dining Experiences

I'll throw something out there that I think is the best AND unique - at least unique in the sense that they source many of their ingredients from their own backyard (including but not limited to herbs, veggies, berries, pigs, chickens, etc) and that would be Primo in Rockland. A real "destination" restaurant.

Columbus Weekend Itinerary in Portland

I don't often start posts! Former Portlander (left in 2001), current MidCoaster (via stint in Boston), trying to get the best mix of new and old on my weekend in Portland.

For new(ish), the itinerary looks like this:

Sat Lunch: Duckfat (I know we prob have to show up early...like 11)
Sat Drinks: Hunt & Alpine
Sat Dinner: Lolita (res for 4 might be tough)
Sun Brunch: Central Provisions

I'm contemplating swapping out Lolita for CP, and then doing Sun Brunch at Hot Suppa. I also wouldn't mind checking out Arcadia, if only to play some Galaga.

As for old, it's likely to be some yet to be determined mix of Rosies, Top of the East (cocktail), Bayou Kitchen, Novare Res, Old Port Tavern (for one beer only as I'm sure the Bicycle Thieves no longer play on weekends!), Madd Apple Cafe, and Street & Co.

Comments/concerns/considerations? Thanks in advance!

MCM

Weekend Away at the Samoset Resort

Primo, In Good Company, Suzukis, Rustica, Fog Bar & Cafe, Cafe Miranda, Home Kitchen Cafe (all Rockland), Shepherds Pie (Rockport), Long Grain, Francine Bistro (Camden).

Midcoast Maine TR

Why avoid restaurants that serve big portions? If you can't do a doggie bag, you could always split an entree?

I see u decided against In Good Company too?

3 Crow doesn't really focus too much on the happy hour...but the beer and whiskey list is 2nd to none on the MidCoast! It can be odd, some early evenings it's packed, others not so much...maybe because of the lack of HH focus...

Last-minute request: sw harbor to Bangor.

Ellsworth is your best bet. Try Finns (pub fare) or Sylvia's (diner).

Critique my mid coast maine itinerary

Right, I just wanted to make sure you knew about the closing of the Camden location ;).

I've only been to Fresh a couple times and it was really only average. However, there IS a new owner/chef this year so perhaps things have gotten better (I haven't been this year). I do understand the desire to try new places!

Long Grain can indeed be frustrating at times.

Glad you added In Good Company back...that place is an absolute gem.

Have fun!

Critique my mid coast maine itinerary

Not knowing what restaurants you've been to other than In Good Company (fantastic) and Long Grain (ditto) I can personally say to bag Blue Sky, Atlantica and Fresh. Better options would be either 3 Crow or Fog for happy hour, followed by Primo. The night of 8-16 I'd swap out Fresh for Francine (if u want to stay in Camden). Of course, I don't mind returning to old haunts so I would do In Good Company over a new experience at Fresh (or Atlantica, etc).

FYI, I'm not sure which Graffam u are referring to, but the one on the water in Camden is gone.

That's my 2 cents!

upcoming Mid Coast visit, need update

Personally I love FOG, they have a great beer/wine/cocktail selection and some really imaginative food. I didn't include it here because it's been around for a couple years at least. Some people knock it for being a bit too trendy/hipster...but I like the vibe. Try open mic Monday's or Drink & Draw Sundays if you're looking for a combo experience!

3Crow (roughly across from Puffin's Nest...more so across from the Loyal Biscuit) is also pretty solid. The beer selection is hands down the best on the Midcoast. And there are 40 whiskeys to choose from so that is also really nice. At a minimum you should check out happy hour and/or Taco Tuesdays. The service has been a bit hit or miss, but if you sit at the bar you can't go wrong. Again, I also didn't include it because it's been there for over a year.

The Pearl was owned/managed by Jimmy since it's opening...now Michele is in the process of working towards ownership (and taken the reins on management). In my book it's better this year. For me, the linguine and clams is reason enough to go. I think as a rule we tend to look down on those "fancy" outsiders that come in and try cater to us locals but I'd just say that the food/attitude in there is better than in the previous two years under Jimmy.

Hill's Seafood is also new...in the old Bricks space, but haven't yet been.

Don't discount The "NEW" Landings either, Chef Max Miller used to be the sous chef at Lily Bistro (remember Lily?) and he's doing some great stuff there (after a stint at some great restaurants in Boston). You'd be best served getting the more "eclectic" menu options...which better highlight his strengths, as opposed to the tourist-driven surf and turf.

upcoming Mid Coast visit, need update

It has been a little bit quiet in here hasn't it? What I think to be new since a year ago:

1. Pho Sizzle (Rockland). Finally some decent Vietnamese around these parts. I'll be honest, the first couple of times I went I got the sense the owner was still trying to figure things out (he's new to the restaurant biz). I think he has. On the last two visits I had the large pork banh mi and the grouper with rice bowl. Both fantastic.

2. The "new" Duos (Rockland). Next to Pho Sizzle at Buoy Park. I say new because it's a new owner this year. Alot of the old faves are still there (burgers, lobster rolls, etc) but they've also added such things as a poutine burger. Everything I've had there has been solid.

3. Claws (Rockland). Non-fried seafood, lobster, etc. Haven't been.

4. Comida Latin Kitchen (Camden). Haven't been but I'm hearing some good things about it.

5. Valentina's Coastal Maine Kitchen (Camden). The old Fromviandoux space. I've heard mixed reviews, but do intend to try it for myself soon.

6. SALT (Vinalhaven). The chefs are from Fromviandoux...haven't heard much about it but do intend to go out there in September.

I'll also add that the Pearl is now managed (soon to be presumably owned) by the "celebrity chef" Michele Ragussis. I've been there a couple times and I like the new vibe. The linguine with clams in outstanding.

And the Lost Kitchen has been found again, this time up in Freedom (outside Belfast). Erin French has now set up shop there. Again, haven't been (what's wrong with me??) but I'm thinking I might stop in on my way back from the Common Ground Fair this year.

Best Food Cities in Northern NE?

I'll suggest the Rockland/Camden area of Maine. Pound for pound I think it's 2nd only to Portland for the quality of it's dining scene in Northern New England. As a bonus, you'll get to dine at what I think is one of the best restaurants in ALL of America - Primo in Rockland. Chef Kelly is the only two time regional James Beard winner in the history of the award. Plus SO many other great spots like In Good Company, Suzuki Sushi, Cafe Miranda, Home Kitchen Cafe, 3Crow, Contes (a Bourdain favorite), FOG Bar, The Pearl (run by "celebrity" chef and Bobby Flay protege Michele Ragussis) -- all Rockland. Shepherd's Pie, Salt Water Farm Market - Rockport. Francine Bistro, Long Grain, 40Paper - Camden.

And it's summer in Midcoast Maine...there's plenty for families to do.

Cretons in Portland?

I know they have it at the Hannaford in Augusta, so I wouldn't be surprised if it's at the Portland Hannaford. It's Mailhot's cretons, based out of Lewiston.

http://www.pressherald.com/life/sausa...

http://www.hannaford.com/product/Mail...

Conte's in Rockland

In a world bereft of originality, John Conte is at least a true original. You are correct that there isn't much middle ground on Contes, you either love it or hate it. Of course, that being said, I do sort of ride the middle.

On the plus side, you get to visit what is, in effect, an institution of sorts. Conte is quite literally a mad man, and the dinner theater alone could make it worth the visit. You also have the opportunity to eat the largest portion of seafood you're likely going to ever see served in a restaurant (for a beyond reasonable price).

The last time I was there a few months ago I ordered the seafood fra diavolo which was basically scallops and lobster served with pasta. He had run low on scallops, so I "only" got three with my order but he replaced it with lobster...4 full claws and two tails. Unbelievable.

Now, on the down side, yes...it's not uncommon for him to overcook the seafood and use a tad too much red sauce and garlic. In fact, if given the option I'd go for a white sauce. I sort of look at it this way...even if you don't eat any of the pasta & sauce, you are getting a crazy amount of hopefully well prepared seafood. If crab is on the menu, get it. It's hard to royally mess up crab and he serves it in piles.

I'll leave you with a blog post from sometimes Chowhound contributor Mr. Meatball...a pretty good write up on Contes:

http://mistermeatball.blogspot.com/20...

Midcoast Maine, Patriots' Day weekend 2014

If nothing else, it gives you an excuse to come back...and that's a GOOD thing!

BTW, there's alot going on in Rockland right now...many new projects in the works...the aforementioned art center, a new food market, many small retailers like the Coastal Maine Popcorn Co., a couple restaurants, and two hotels (one boutique, one a bit larger). Alot of buzz right now.

Head here for lodging options: http://www.historicinnsofrockland.com/

Midcoast Maine, Patriots' Day weekend 2014

Nice report. I'll say that if you liked Belfast, you'd likely really like Rockland as a home base. It's the only town around where you can have an incredible meal at a two-time James Beard winner one night (Melissa Kelly at Primo), and then slum it with the locals the next (Myrtle Street Tavern or Time Out Pub). But even those places have it's charm...Time Out on Monday nights get some really fantastic Blues musicians as part of the North Atlantic Blues Festival concert series. Rockland just has more "stuff" to do...the Farnsworth, the soon to be constructed Center for Maine Contemporary Art, the old school Strand Theater, galleries, shopping, etc. It's what I would call a more vibrant place. Camden, for all it's aesthetic charm, can be a little bit more, I dunno, "staid".

In addition to the restaurants above that you mentioned (and in addition to Primo that I mentioned above - the BEST in Maine in my opinion) I'd also point you towards In Good Company and Rustica for a nice dinner (both Rockland)...or Wasses and Duos for a quick takeout bite (ditto).

Have fun on your return trip!

Red's Eats, wiscasset, me

Ain't so.

Primo report

I understand the beef on Matt, but he doesn't serve the customers directly. Unless he's handing you something because he knows it's yours and the servers are otherwise occupied.

Primo report

Chefs are a quirky bunch.

Primo report

Interesting to say the least. You sat upstairs and as far as I know there is only one waiter (i.e. male waitstaff) up there and he has always been really good with us. Maybe he was having an off night, though that's not much of an excuse.

Looking for a seafood fest in Rockland-Camden-Belfast Area Open in December

If you want an UNGODLY amount of seafood, head to Contes in Rockland.

http://mistermeatball.blogspot.com/20...

Belfast, Me

Wow, with two weeks on your hands, you'll have to expand your search radius...and 20-30 miles brings on a whole new world of opportunities! This includes Rockland (26 miles), Rockport (20 miles), and Camden (18 miles). Here's what I would call the "high quality" restaurants in that area:

Primo (Rockland)
Home Kitchen Cafe (Rockland)
In Good Company (Rockland)
Suzuki Sushi (Rockland)
Cafe Miranda (Rockland)
Rustica (Rockland)
Long Grain (Camden)
Fromviandoux (Camden)
Francine Bistro (Camden)
Shepherd's Pie (Rockport)
Saltwater Farm (Rockport)

For nice drinks/upscale bar food, consider:
3 Crow (Rockland)
Fog Bar & Cafe (Rockland)
40 Paper (Camden)

And then one other place I should mention for BBQ...4 Points BBQ in Winterport (21 miles in the opposite direction). Hands down the best BBQ in Maine by far.

Belfast, Me

Chases has no meat, thus bobbert's comment. And to be clear, they've only been nominated for a James Beard, never won.

I haven't been, but the new kid in town is the Gothic...in the old Lost Kitchen space.

Last Minute Maine

You really need to come with me sometime. And I'll continue to beat the drum that you don't become the only two time winner in the history of the James Beard awards by being mediocre.

Quebec City Restaurant Recs

Merci Dominique, I've walked by that place many times and wanted to give it a try, if only because it always seems to be packed with locals...thanks for reminding me!

Quebec City Restaurant Recs

MidCoast Maine chowhounder heading to QC for a long weekend in October (Canadian Thanksgiving) and needs some recs!

I've read through the plethora of postings on this topic (some hard to sort thru since they often include Montreal recs). I've put together a list of what I've gleaned from that, and from prior expericences, to come up with the following eclectic mix of high end / low end / various meal options:

Le Pain Beni
L’Echaude
L’Affaire-est-Ketchup
Mistral
Le Cafe du Clocher
Le Temporel
Toast!
Cafe Bistro du Cap
Le Billing Creperie-Bistro
Le Petite Cochon Dingue

And for one KNOCKOUT meal:

Le Patriarche
Initiale
La Cremaillere

We've been to Laurie Raphael and St. Amour before (and definitely liked both) but sort of looking for a new experience.

I must admit I'll likely also get an early bird special meal at Aux Anciens Canadiens...if only because the couple we're traveling with has never experienced what I would call classic French Canadian cuisine and I admit it, I like the place!

So I guess I'm just looking for a general view of my dining choices, or recs on other places that we shouldn't miss?

Thanks!

Last Minute Maine

Yes to Long Grain lunch. Maybe I'm late to the game here since you already made reservations at Francine, but if you want the absolute TOP NOTCH dining experience, head over to the only two time James Beard award winner Melissa Kelly's restaurant Primo in Rockland. Hands down the best in the region (and perhaps all of New England). There are two bars upstairs...no reservations needed. Order off the more reasonably priced counter menu (or the regular menu). Much more laid back vibe upstairs.

Francine, for me, has always been too inconsistent.

And if you're looking for a great breakfast, head to Home Kitchen Cafe (also Rockland).

http://www.primorestaurant.com/
http://homekitchencafe.com/