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Large family dinner in Rockland, ME area

I think live lobsters are going for roughly $5.50 a pound. A cooked, non picked lobster might be a few bucks more? Cooked and PICKED lobster meat is probably around $35 a pound. I did the math a couple years ago and the 7-8 bucks per cooked lobster was comparable to the $35 a pound for just the picked meat...so I would go that route if you are just going to do lobster rolls. Of course the best option is just buy them live, grab a few steamer clams and cook them yourself! Easy to do on the grill with the right equipment...which your rental cottage might very well have stocked.

Looking for Maine rec's for Camden & Portland + critique of choices so far for upcoming trip

I can't help buy be reminded of an argument I overheard recently at a local coffee shop. One person was arguing that Breaking Bad was the best show of all time and the other was arguing that it was The Wire. The bottom line is...who cares? It's all good...and any perceived huge difference could just come down to personal taste.

Looking for Maine rec's for Camden & Portland + critique of choices so far for upcoming trip

And oysters from Maine trump them all! You don't like peekytoe? Not best chef, they won a sort of best of America type award.

Looking for Maine rec's for Camden & Portland + critique of choices so far for upcoming trip

Funny, this kind of sounds like the type of experience YOU are looking for.

https://www.bostonglobe.com/lifestyle...

Looking for Maine rec's for Camden & Portland + critique of choices so far for upcoming trip

You're going to be having so many, I vote for trying it.

Another good Midcoast food resource if you're interested:

https://www.facebook.com/groups/97423...

Looking for Maine rec's for Camden & Portland + critique of choices so far for upcoming trip

Pretty much all of Maine is casual. It's not uncommon to even see shorts and a t shirt at Primo in the summer (thought not from the locals). I'm usually a jeans and button down shirt kind of guy there.

Looking for Maine rec's for Camden & Portland + critique of choices so far for upcoming trip

Butter on a lobster roll?? The horror!! This ain't Connecticut! ;)

Looking for Maine rec's for Camden & Portland + critique of choices so far for upcoming trip

Looking for Maine rec's for Camden & Portland + critique of choices so far for upcoming trip

A joke?? Peekytoe crab is the new industry darling don't you know? I've had all types of crab of course...it's all good.

I know I drop a lot of James Beard references...so here's one more...Watermans is also a Beard winner.

Looking for Maine rec's for Camden & Portland + critique of choices so far for upcoming trip

Just one more observation, I highly recommend NO reservation at Primo so that you can sit upstairs and take advantage of the "counter menu". Looks like you penciled it in for the first day you arrive...you may want to head to Francine that night instead...it's possible you may not want to venture out as far after the drive that day. Of course I don't know exactly which days you're talking about here...just make sure you check to make sure it's a day that they are open.

Large family dinner in Rockland, ME area

The farmers market is in Harbor Park, Beth's is a super sized "farm stand", and Jess's is the go to spot for seafood...all the reputable restaurateurs use them.

http://www.bethsfarmmarket.com

http://www.jessmarket.com

Good luck!

Looking for Maine rec's for Camden & Portland + critique of choices so far for upcoming trip

Upstairs is no reservation only (and the only way to fly at Primo). Don't think of it as a bar, think of it as an antipasti counter.

Looking for Maine rec's for Camden & Portland + critique of choices so far for upcoming trip

I'm with crawfish on this one, a lobster tasting menu at Natalie's would be a waste of money. You will definitely have better lobster experiences at the shacks. Don't discount the fact that places like Primo and Francine rely heavily on local producers, so even if it's the "type" of restaurant you may have seen before, it won't be the same eating experience. One final word on Primo...their website has both the downstairs and upstairs menu...beyond what u saw in that link you posted. It's the most extensive menu around no doubt...including many options sourced from their back yard (and they even raise their own pigs). To think that this will be your first (and potentially only) visit to MidCoast Maine and not visit Primo or Francine...regardless of their style...makes me sad...they are simply world class. I would be derelict in my duties if I didn't impress this upon you. But it's obviously your decision!! I've done my duty.

Large family dinner in Rockland, ME area

The Landings is not a bad option I should add. They have an upstairs (with outside deck) that could accommodate you. And the food is definitely a step above. Depending on what you order, you could definitely stay under $25 per person.

Rockland Farmers Markert is on Thursday's...and there's also the new Main Street Markets with lots of local produce. Beth's in Warren is also fantastic for produce. Jess's definitely for lobsters/seafood.

Looking for Maine rec's for Camden & Portland + critique of choices so far for upcoming trip

We're always on the same page crawfish! I totally understand about the tourist vs local aspect...I was only basing my observations on the "fancy" aspect I suppose because the poster was contemplating both Natalie's and Pig + Poet for two (maybe 3) of their dinners.

In the casual lobster shack side, it's hard to go wrong at either McLoons or Watermans...McLoons definitely has that classic "Maine coast" look, but Watermans is nothing to scoff at either. For me personally, I like the lobster rolls at Watermans better, there's just something about them. And if u get lobstered out, many locals do the crab rolls. I almost hate to admit it but I think I actually prefer the crab rolls!

One other note about Suzukis...I love it but stick with the sushi...stay away from any of the noodle dishes.

Looking for Maine rec's for Camden & Portland + critique of choices so far for upcoming trip

And Primo does have their menus online, but they also usually have at least 5 different specials on any given night.

http://www.primorestaurant.com

Click on "Lounge" at the top and you'll see the various menus.

Looking for Maine rec's for Camden & Portland + critique of choices so far for upcoming trip

Btw, Eater Maine comes out with a periodic list of the "18 Essential Restaurants" in Maine and the current incarnation is pretty spot on in my book.

http://maine.eater.com/maps/best-main...

Looking for Maine rec's for Camden & Portland + critique of choices so far for upcoming trip

HKC is definitely not cookie cutter. I know the type of place you're talking about, and this ain't it...it's imaginative breakfast/lunch dishes done very well.

As for Primo, they have multiple menus...a counter/bar menu AND a formal dinner menu. You have to sit upstairs to be able to order both however (no reservations). Which usually isn't a problem as long as you are prepared to perhaps wait for a bit...which gives you time to explore the expansive grounds.

I read opiniated chefs take, but I have to tell you it's hard to argue with a chef at Primo (Melissa Kelly) who is the only two time James Beard regional award winner in the history of the awards. And Primo has been a semi finalist for best restaurant in the COUNTRY. It's absolutely world class.

Pig + Poet and Natalie's are pretentious and serve completely uninspired food. It's a must that you at least swap out one of them for Francine (also owned/operated by a multiple Beard nominee Brian Hill).

I know you may not want "ethnic" but I dare say you won't have a place like Long Grain, even in NYC. Again, this is owned/operated by another multiple Beard nominee...its an imaginitive twist on traditional Thai "street food".

In Good Company (Rockland) would also be on my personal list.

Looking for Maine rec's for Camden & Portland + critique of choices so far for upcoming trip

Side note...Claws in Rockland IS good...the real deal.

Looking for Maine rec's for Camden & Portland + critique of choices so far for upcoming trip

There are FAR better options in Camden/Rockland than Pig + Poet and Natalie's. In Camden I'd do Francine or Long Grain well before those choices. Of course the real gem in the area, the creme de la creme, is Primo in Rockland. It's on a whole other level. In Good Company or Comida in Rockland would also be much better choices. And you should definitely skip one (or more) of those Whitehall breakfasts and do Home Kitchen Cafe in Rockland.

Large family dinner in Rockland, ME area

That's a tall task! Up to 30 people, kids included...good food and non pretentious food...under $30 per person. My first inclination would be the Waterworks pub. Good mix of food options, decent beer selection...not a spectacular wine selection but hard to get it all. They have an events section that could easily accommodate 30...kids have room to run around. Plus free popcorn!

Vacation Dining in Camden, ME and surrounding coast

Primo, In Good Company, Suzuki Sushi, Home Kitchen Cafe (Rockland) and Long Grain, Francine Bistro (Camden).

Maine-style red dogs?

Kayem is the big producer now and they're based in Chelsea MA so I have to believe the larger grocery chains down there would have them.

Mid-May Maine vacation: recs please!

You should definitely plan a dinner at Primo in Rockland. The epitome of a "destination restaurant"!

Solid Road Food Along 95/295 btwn Portland and Augusta?

Are you sticking to your original request of traditional Downeast fare, pie, 15-20 bucks, craft beer, and only 1 hour for lunch? That's a pretty tough mix to probably accommodate.

Solid Road Food Along 95/295 btwn Portland and Augusta?

I say just stop in Portland. There's nothing compelling enough on the drive between Portland and Augusta for it to be worth missing what might be your only chance to dine in Portland.

New Food Truck (Hopefully) Coming to Rockland, ME

Just thought I'd put this out there. Local boy, Maine tourism poster boy, and food blogger extraordinaire Malcolm Bedell is trying to come back home and start a food truck called 'Wich Please and he's using Kickstarter to try and get it off the ground.

Only two days in and he's already gotten some press in the Press Herald:

http://mainetoday.com/eat-drink/food-...

Not to mention the Chubby Werewolf:

http://chubbywerewolf.com/2014/10/22/...

Even his friend Ricchio gave him a shout out on on FB.

The guy is super talented and just the thought of eating some of the sandwiches he makes and posts on his blog makes me excited.

Here's the link to his Kickstarter, and the link to his blog:

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/...

http://fromaway.com/

Help a Mainer escape LA and come home to do what he loves!

MCM

Columbus Weekend Itinerary in Portland

Wow, we may have run into each other Sultana, my (now) wife was also in Portland Hall in the mid 90's! I have noticed a couple things that haven't changed there...the Video Expo and Joe's Smoke Shop!

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.