MidCoastMaineiac's Profile

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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.

Jul 08, 2014
MidCoastMaineiac in Northern New England

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...

May 01, 2014
MidCoastMaineiac in Northern New England

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...

Apr 28, 2014
MidCoastMaineiac in Northern New England

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/

Apr 24, 2014
MidCoastMaineiac in Northern New England
1

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!

Apr 24, 2014
MidCoastMaineiac in Northern New England

Red's Eats, wiscasset, me

Ain't so.

Apr 10, 2014
MidCoastMaineiac in Northern New England

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.

Jan 07, 2014
MidCoastMaineiac in Northern New England

Primo report

Chefs are a quirky bunch.

Jan 06, 2014
MidCoastMaineiac in Northern New England

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.

Jan 03, 2014
MidCoastMaineiac in Northern New England

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...

Dec 03, 2013
MidCoastMaineiac in Northern New England

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.

Nov 11, 2013
MidCoastMaineiac in Northern New England

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.

Nov 10, 2013
MidCoastMaineiac in Northern New England
1

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.

Oct 05, 2013
MidCoastMaineiac in Northern New England

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!

Oct 04, 2013
MidCoastMaineiac in Quebec (inc. Montreal)

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!

Oct 03, 2013
MidCoastMaineiac in Quebec (inc. Montreal)

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/

Oct 03, 2013
MidCoastMaineiac in Northern New England

rockland, maine

The only glaring thing missing from this great list is Home Kitchen Cafe (all good, but especially the Banh Home or the fish tacos):

http://www.fromaway.com/observations/...

http://www.fromaway.com/observations/...

Sep 28, 2013
MidCoastMaineiac in Northern New England

New or overlooked in Portland???

I'll give a shout out to Bibo's Madd Apple Cafe...always off the radar screen on these chat boards. They've been around for almost 15 years, and that's really saying something in Portland.

http://www.bibosportland.com/

Sep 13, 2013
MidCoastMaineiac in Northern New England

Midcoast Maine Food

And if you're really lucky and time it right, you could then jump on the Maine Eastern railroad in Brunswick and take that to Rockland.

Sep 09, 2013
MidCoastMaineiac in Northern New England

Midcoast Maine Food

I feel the need to defend Cafe Miranda...this area is a much better place with them in it. There's food there that you just can't get anywhere else in this state at least...probably all of New England. Of course, with a kazillion different menu options, there are bound to be some things that don't work as well as others...no doubt about it. But you can't tell me that Reuben's Long Lost Cousin, the pierogies, or the Beef Groce aren't three of the most amazing dishes you'll find on this planet.

Sep 07, 2013
MidCoastMaineiac in Northern New England

Mid Coast Trip Report - August 2013

Nice report on some of the lesser known places on the MidCoast!

Aug 18, 2013
MidCoastMaineiac in Northern New England

The Gothic, Belfast, ME

Has anybody been? What's the verdict?

Aug 12, 2013
MidCoastMaineiac in Northern New England

Supermarket Wars

Here on the midcoast it's Hannaford by a mile. Of course everybody would love a Trader Joe's in their area, and personally Wegmans would be a nice add (in Maine period). Everytime I go to one in upstate NY I am amazed at how great those stores are.

Aug 12, 2013
MidCoastMaineiac in Northern New England

Reco's for Midcoast Maine

Here's what I would do for 4 lunches and 3 dinners (not talking breakfast here...so I won't mention those):

Lunches: Long Grain (Camden), Home Kitchen Cafe (Rockland), Cafe Miranda (Rockland), Slipway (Thomaston).

Dinner: Primo (Rockland), Fromviandoux (Camden), In Good Company (Rockland).

I also love Fog Bar & Cafe (Rockland), and Suzuki's Sushi (Rockland).

Shepherd's Pie (Rockport) is usually good, and alot of people like Francine Bistro (Camden), but I've found that place to be hit or miss for me.

And if you want to "slum" it for one meal, go to Wasses (Rockland) for hot dogs, or Duo's (Rockland) for a grass fed burger or haddock sandwich.

Aug 01, 2013
MidCoastMaineiac in Northern New England

Very recent lobster roll rankings!

My first thought is nothing east of South Thomaston (Waterman's Beach)? Really??

Jul 08, 2013
MidCoastMaineiac in Northern New England

buying fresh fish in Camden/Rockland area?

Jess's Market in Rockland or Graffam Brothers in Rockport.

Jun 06, 2013
MidCoastMaineiac in Northern New England

First visit to Primo, Rockland, Maine

That's a good question. I THINK the $1 oysters are available in all rooms.

May 29, 2013
MidCoastMaineiac in Northern New England

First visit to Primo, Rockland, Maine

Just remember though, upstairs is no reservation only...and the only place to enjoy all menus (including the counter menu). And the reverse happy hour only applies at the "bar" bar.

May 28, 2013
MidCoastMaineiac in Northern New England

Primo Report

Talk about a place that drives me crazy. Some things u get there are amazing...others...downright awful. Sometimes I think Brian tries to do too much with a dish and the flavors don't work together...

The only places in Camden that I now consistently go to are Long Grain and Fromviandoux, though I do want to try Seabright...

Don't get me wrong, I like Francine well enough but the inconsistency keeps me from including it in my regular rotation.

May 19, 2013
MidCoastMaineiac in Northern New England

Primo Report

Do tell?

May 19, 2013
MidCoastMaineiac in Northern New England