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

Heads up! Bard coffee in downtown Portland carries pies and doughnuts from Little Bigs!

about 13 hours ago
alkonost in Northern New England

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

Sorry, to late to edit but I meant "trapped" at claws

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

I'll be posting a full trip report with details later, but wanted to mention "I got caught at Claws"... It's 3am and I'm still thinking of those fried scallops.

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

Bless you opinionatedchef, we just stuffed ourselves silly for breakfast at Little Biggs. And at long last I had a cruller worthy of kings, the likes of which I haven't enjoyed since childhood. We don't normally go for large breakfasts but we are partial to excellent baked goods and pastries. We bought a egg/bacon/potato/cheese tart, cinnamon doughnut and maple cruller. All were excellent and Portland is very lucky to have a place like little biggs Thanks so much for the 411 on such a wonderful bakery!

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

Oh man, looking at the savories on their website is driving me crazy (I prefer savory to sweet). The thai curry and Mongolian beef ones on the blackboard look great. Thanks for sharing that bakery, who knows maybe my return flight will get cancelled two days in a row so I can eat around Portland a bit more. I've gotten so many good recommendations that I need several trips to try them all. If this trip goes well there's a good chance we'll be returning to Maine every summer.

I leave for Maine tomorrow :)

Aug 28, 2015
alkonost in Northern New England

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

Sweet! thanks! I am not sure if I'll be able to check out all 3 (Standard, 2 cats and Tandem) but I will try. My vacation is certainly too short for all the stuff I wanna eat.. On that thought my jeans are too small for all the stuff I wanna eat, too. I'm probably going to gain a lot of weight on this trip :)

Aug 25, 2015
alkonost in Northern New England

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

Yup, that would be on target. Completely tourist-y of me, I know. It's difficult finding fresh seafood cooked properly in these parts that I've been on a fast for the past 2-3 years, starved of the delights from the cold briny deep. It will drive one mad.

Aug 25, 2015
alkonost in Northern New England

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

Darn. I don't have a lot of experience as far as lobster rolls go, the only ones I've eaten were at Luke's Lobster in NYC. It was lightly mayoed with a buttered and toasted bun, a dusting of celery salt and a brushing of butter on top of the lobster meat. I loved it but I guess it wasn't exactly conventional.

At Muscongus and 5 island they mention that they carry shedders, I've never had so I plan to try. I might stick with the steamed lobsters during the lobster shack hop, while hubs tries the rolls (I'm sure we'll be sampling each other's plates). I want to have room for fried whole clams and the fluffy bun of a lobster roll takes up precious real estate.

Aug 24, 2015
alkonost in Northern New England

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

Hi Kim! Thanks for mentioning your review, I am going to add a link to it here anyone looking for info on E&F happens to be reading this thread:

http://beta.chowhound.com/post/ebb-fl...

Aug 24, 2015
alkonost in Northern New England

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

Sadly Francine appears to be closed on Sundays, which is why Primo got the Sunday night slot. I'll try to squeeze in a short nap once we check into Whitehall. We'll be headed upstairs at Primo as advised :) Hubs might not be too hungry that night since he'll be chowing down on 5 Island's "big boy" lobster roll for lunch, so having a lot of small plates to choose from will work nicely. Is there any dress code for Primo or is it casual?

Aug 24, 2015
alkonost in Northern New England

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

How about both? Would that be sacrilege or kosher as far as Maine etiquette goes?

Aug 24, 2015
alkonost in Northern New England

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

What time does Standard Baking co usually sell out of the good stuff? There's a chance we might be up early enough to run over there and grab a few things before the hoards of locusts descend upon it and strip the shelves bare.

We were drawn to 2 Fat Cats for the fruit pies, are those better than the cookies? We're not really cookie people, they're almost always too sweet no matter who makes them.

I love tomato soup and planned on getting that at Duckfat, it seemed to good to pass up, but I'm torn between the fries and the poutine. Never had poutine and I'm tempted to try it, but a good begian fry + mayo can be a beautiful thing. Decisions, decisions. I'm a fan of Belgian fries, and haven't had them since I left NYC, and my favorite Frites place that fed me through puberty burned down to the ground last spring.

Uh oh, Hugos looks really good. How did I miss that one? I'm going to have to run it by the hubs and see if we might swap out one of our dinner options. If only I had one more day in Portland :(

Aug 23, 2015
alkonost in Northern New England

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

I think I remember seeing a post on CH about someone taking a class at SWF. I'm not sure about the exact travel route since we're going to be meandering but it's likely we'll be passing through Rockport at some point on the way to other areas of the peninsulas. I figured wherever we pass through a nice town to explore, we'll get out of the car and walk around.

Aug 23, 2015
alkonost in Northern New England

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

Updated!!!! Many thanks to MCM and Crawfish.

Evening 1: SoPo (staying at the doubletree south of the airport by at the Maine mall)
Dinner @ Enios (SoPo) <-- The plan to dine here is loose, depending on the drive and how tired we are

Day 2: Driving from South Portland to Camden
Breakfast @ 158 Pickett Street Café (Bagel & Lox!)
Lunch @ Five Islands Lobster Pound
Dinner @ Primo (Rockland)

Day 2: Camden & Rockland
Breakfast @ Whitehall
Explore the coast!!
Lunch @ Muscongus Lobster
Dinner @ Slipway (Thomaston)

Day 3: Camden
Breakfast @ Whitehall
Morning in Maine sail tour in Rockland
Lunch @ McLoons
Dinner @ Suziki’s Sushi Bar (Rockland)

Day 4: Camden
Breakfast @ Whitehall
Lunch @ Watermans
Explore the coast!!
Dinner @ Francine

Day 5: Camden driving to Portland
Breakfast @ Whitehall
Lunch @ Eventide
Dinner @ Ebb & Flow

Day 6: Portland
Breakfast @ Two Fat Cats
Lunch @ Duckfat
Dinner @ Vinland

Day 7: Fly home
Breakfast @ Standard Baking Co. if there's time

Other places to hit for dessert or misc:
Vena's Fizz
Dobra's Tea

Aug 23, 2015
alkonost in Northern New England

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

I had to click this one: http://www.eater.com/forums/maine/201...

Poor Adam, taking one for the team.

Aug 23, 2015
alkonost in Northern New England

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

Thanks! Consider it bookmarked, lots of good stuff. It mentioned a few places I'd been looking at for lunch. I wish I could take the whole summer off in Maine :)

Aug 23, 2015
alkonost in Northern New England

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

"I've never been to Natalie's but I would never order lobster at an expensive restaurant. Lobster is best simply steamed and anyone - even me! - can do that with spectacular results so if that is the only reason you chose Natalie's you might reconsider."

You are 100% right, I'm an idiot for sticking with Natalie's over it. Thank you for the revelation that MCM tried to hard to steer me towards although I didn't realize it at the time. I'm serious. Natalie's reservation has been canceled and we're looking to replace it with Primo.

Despite knowing I'll be tired as all heck that night, we're dropping P+P, the menu was the absolute weakest of the bunch and when hubs and I talked about it, so we reviewed the Menu at Francine & IGK we picked Francine.

I know MCM is doing a well deserved happy dance :)
Thank you both for saving me from making a potentially expensive dining mistake.

Aug 23, 2015
alkonost in Northern New England

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

Ahhhhhh! Ok, I clicked on "restaurant" under "about" expecting to see all the menus there, since we're not barsy-loungey people I wasn't drawn to click on "lounge". Thank you this sheds a lot more light on the matter. I will run this by the hubs and see if he'd like to switch the reservation.

Aug 23, 2015
alkonost in Northern New England

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

Noodling is the plan! Thanks for all the recommendations on places to stop and explore. We'd considered staying at Norumbega, and also dining there but I there was more info on Whitehall available so it won the toss, I think it's nearly across the street from Whitehall. With all the choices in places to stay and eat, it's actually really difficult making a decision when selecting a place whether it's for lodging and dining. Hubs lived in Boston for many years, so I'm sure it's where the insatiable appetite for lobster comes from, not that I object at all... I had a bad habit called "Luke's Lobster" in the East Village of NYC and there was fresh seafood available with enough restaurants that knew how to prepare it. Dallas/Ft. Worth not so much :(

We'll be driving through Wicasset so I'll make sure we stop and have a stroll around, the hubs will need to walk off the giant "big boy" lobster roll from 5 Island lobster co. and I think that's a great place to do it!

Even though we're staying in Camden, it looks like we may be spending more time in the area around Rockland, I think I know which book store you're referring to- I read about it but don't remember the name.

Aug 23, 2015
alkonost in Northern New England

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

Thanks for that link, I could have sworn they did something similar with a run down of Lobster shacks, or was that a different website somewhere? Those kinds of links are really helpful for trip planning, the dynamic map is a nice utility.

Aug 23, 2015
alkonost in Northern New England

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

I believe you when you say that Primo is excellent, and I did look at it when we were first planning our trip, but the reason why I cut it from the list is because it didn't appear to serve the type of food we're looking for. Same goes for IGC and Comida, althought they sound like excellent places as well. Here's the menu from Primo that I'd looked at before eliminating it from the list of candidates: (http://s3-media3.fl.yelpcdn.com/bphot...). Unless there's a hefty daily specials filled with seafood offerings I'm going to pass, I can get a lot of what they serve otherwise (salads, farm-to-table veggies and cheese, rabbit, quail, beef, pork, lamb) right here in Dallas Fort Worth.

The lobster tasting menu at Natalie's might seem uninspired for those who eat lobster all the time, but to me it's exactly what I'm looking for. Again, if you've personally tried it and think it's terrible let me know.

Good sushi is *REALLY* hard to find where I live, which is why I'm really looking forward to Suzuki for the omakase. I understand you may have dined there, any tips on their offerings? I'm hoping they have raw scallop and mackerel available during the summer.

There are many places in NYC (and Vegas too) that would compare to Long Grain. I eat Thai regularly in DFW, so I'm a somewhat thai'ed out but not opposed to the idea. It is appealing that Long Grain makes their own wide rice noodles and that definitely has my attention, if we get sick of Lobster I will keep Long Grain in mind. I've had hand-made noodles at plenty of Chinese restaurants and you certainly notice a difference.

I agree that Pig + Poet doesn't have the sexiest menu it it doesn't make sense that I selected it, so I'll explain why: I'm going to be sleep deprived and exhausted when we check into Whitehall. We've got a long day of travel the night before, and the next morning we're going to be up and driving around exploring the coast instead of relaxing. I can literally crawl to my room after dining at P&P and throwing back a few cocktails. Amen! The entrees look "meh", but as long as the food is good I'm going to be too tired to nit pick.

HKC might be a good spin on breakfast stables, but when I'm on vacation eating out I try to avoid what can easily make at home (pancakes, waffles, omelets, eggs benedict). We have small appetites in the morning and the light breakfast plates at Whitehall seem like a good fit. If it turns out the breakfast sucks at Whitehall we'll happily venture forth in search of something else :)

Aug 23, 2015
alkonost in Northern New England

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

It looked pretty awesome, I wish I had more vacation days in Maine to do a proper lobster shack hop. But I think I'd need the whole summer to do make a dent in that list.

Aug 22, 2015
alkonost in Northern New England

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

I appreciate the suggestions and would love to hear more about your dining experiences at Pig & Poet, natalies, Comida, IGC & Primo, I'm assuming you've dined at all and have feedback on the contrasting strong and weak points, and I'm interested in knowing which expectations were or weren't met for the price points. Which meals let you down or weren't what you were expecting?

Since it's somewhat difficult to get hubs and I to agree on which places to eat, and we're looking for food that we can't get in Dallas-Fort Worth, I'd need more info before making changes to the restaurants selected so far. Also another reason why we're not so much on the lookout for ethnic food, I'm from NYC and have been exposed to a lot of different cuisines and so as they wouldn't be new experiences for me I don't usually put a priority on it unless it's something I can't find easily where I live.

We're planning on the lobster tasting menu at Natalie's, so if you've tried that and think it sucks a heads-up would be great as no one likes to burn their money.

Primo doesn't post their menu on their website and the snapshot of their menu on 8/8/15 I stumbled across on yelp didn't contain a lot of items that sparked interest. If they have a daily specials menu that I'm not finding anywhere I'd love to hear about it, I know there are some restaurants where changing daily specials are the strong point and I'd hate to leave Primo off the list if they're one of them.

Thanks for the suggestion on Long Grain, but is not quite what we're looking for, there's an abundance Thai food where currently live and have lived in the past. I'm also going to confess that I already looked at Home Kitchen Cafe a while ago decided it's not a good match for us, we're not fans of heaping, carby piles of pancakes and omelets in the morning. Even if HKC serves up noteworthy pancakes and eggs better than the average breakfast spot, it's a bit cookie-cutter for us and we tend to eat lighter in the morning anyway.

Aug 22, 2015
alkonost in Northern New England

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

Thanks! I completely empathize with the seafood withdrawal, I'm land-locked in Dallas-Fort Worth area, and I would sell my left leg for any north Atlantic seafood cooked properly. Even if you go to a "seafood" restaurant around here that can actually stock something resembling "fresh" they overcook the fish, and almost exclusively serve gulf oysters (which taste like a moldy sock dragged through the mud, they're served with heaps of cocktail sauce since you need it to choke those musky things down). I haven't found good fish and chips yet, it's all fried catfish here and they don't know how to make a proper tartar sauce in these parts.

Aug 22, 2015
alkonost in Northern New England

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

Drat, I got the schdule wrong, I have one less day in Portland than I thought so I had to make a few adjustments. Instead of breaking for lunch at Dolphins on the drive back to Portland from Camden, we're headed straight to Portland for Eventide and I shuffled a couple things around. But it looks like our meal schedule is filled in thanks to everyone's help.

Evening 1: SoPo (staying at the doubletree south of the airport by at the Maine mall)
Dinner @ Enios (SoPo) <-- The plan to dine here is loose, depending on the drive and how tired we are

Day 2: Driving from South Portland to Camden
Breakfast @ 158 Pickett Street Café (Bagel & Lox!)
Lunch @ Five Islands Lobster Pound
Dinner @ Pig + Poet/Whitehall

Day 2: Camden & Rockland
Breakfast @ Whitehall
Explore the coast!!
Lunch: Muscongus Lobster
Dinner @ Natalie’s

Day 3: Camden
Breakfast @ Whitehall
Morning in Maine sail tour in Rockland
Lunch @ McLoons
Dinner @ Suziki’s Sushi Bar (Rockland)

Day 4: Camden
Breakfast @ Whitehall
Lunch @ Watermans
Explore the coast!!
Dinner @ Slipway (Thomaston)

Day 5: Camden driving to Portland
Breakfast @ Whitehall
Lunch @ Eventide
Dinner @ Ebb & Flow

Day 6: Portland
Breakfast @ Two Fat Cats
Lunch @ Duckfat
Dinner @ Vinland

Day 7: Fly home
Breakfast @ Standard Baking Co. if there's time

Other places to hit for dessert or misc:
Vena's Fizz
Dobra's Tea

Aug 22, 2015
alkonost in Northern New England

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

Google maps, which may not be fully illustrating the difficulty of the drive, estimated 15-18 minutes to Enios from the Doubletree at the Maine Mall south of the airport. Looks like I'd be able to take Gorham Rd to Broadway and then to Cottage Rd. Let me know if there's a better route to take, or if there's something about that drive that Google isn't telling me (construction, crazy intersections, etc).

Thank you for pointing out the dining options at the Press hotel, I hadn't considered it since we know Portland was full of good restaurants and we planned to go out for every meal. Their Bar, the inkwell, would be a good option for us as hubs does like a nightcap and if I get the munchies I'd probably get a charcuterie plate. I'm looking forward to the Press Hotel, it looks like a wonderful place to stay. Same for Whitehall in Camden :)

Aug 22, 2015
alkonost in Northern New England

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

Doh! yes, Waterman's was picked for a monday, I'll swap it with Muscongus on Wednesday. thank you very much for noticing my error, you just saved me a lot of trouble :)

Aug 21, 2015
alkonost in Northern New England

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

I wanted to thank all of you for your recommendations and info, this is all exactly the info I'm looking for. Hubs had mentioned he was intriqued by the menu at Ebb & Flow, and really wanted to try it for one of our dinners in Portland, if it sucks feel free to give me a heads-up so I can warn him! Piccolo also looks very good, how are their seafood specials? I have same question about Street & Co when it comes to what's to expect from the specials menu.

Updated meal itinerary (pending approval of the hubs, but I think he'll agree on most!):

Evening 1: SoPo
Dinner @ ?? Enios (SoPo) <-- possibly in the air do to the crappy location of our hotel that night

Day 2: Driving from South Portland to Camden
Breakfast @ 158 Pickett Street Café (Bagel & Lox!)
Lunch @ Five Islands Lobster Pound
Dinner @ Pig + Poet/Whitehall

Day 2: Camden & Rockland
Breakfast @ Whitehall
Morning in Maine sail tour in Rockland
Lunch: Watermans
Dinner @ Natalie’s

Day 3: Camden
Breakfast @ Whitehall
Lunch @ McLoons
Dinner @ Suziki’s Sushi Bar (Rockland)

Day 4: Camden
Breakfast @ Whitehall
Lunch @ Muscongus Bay Lobster
Dinner @ Slipway (Thomaston)

Day 5: Camden driving to Portland
Breakfast @ Whitehall
Lunch @ Dolphin Marina
Dinner @ ??? Undecided Maybe Piccolo? Street & co?

Day 6: Portland
Breakfast @ Standard Baking Co
Lunch @ Duckfat
Dinner @ Vinland

Day 7: Portland
Breakfast @ Two Fat Cats
Lunch @ Eventide
Dinner@ Ebb & Flow

Other places to hit for dessert or misc:
Vena's Fizz

Aug 21, 2015
alkonost in Northern New England

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

Thanks for the feedback on the choices, it's nice to know that some of the restaurant picks were right on.

We're flying back home from the trip just before labor day so we're going to escape most seasonal closings by the skin of our teeth.

Since I probably can't have too much lobster on this trip I'll be going to both watermans and mcloons. I had noticed Millers in doing a little bit of research, but read in one of the yelp reviews that they use miracle whip to dress their lobster rolls. Not that there's anything wrong with that :) But hubs and I don't have a taste for the tangy zip of miracle whip.

The Omakase at Suzuki's was one of the two reasons for selecting it. The other reason was a picture of the owner curing fresh mackerel which I stumbled across during research; I am a FIEND for good mackerel and it's very difficult getting that where I currently live. When I lived in NYC I lucked out and had a neighborhood sushi restaurant where the owner was a freaking magician with mackerels (he also worked at Masa). In Texas, well... let's say there are challenges finding what I was used to. I also LOVE raw scallops, and with Maine being coastal sourcing fresh fish is much easier, so I'm hoping to scratch my sushi snob itch at Suzuki. Good to know I've picked well :)

Hubs and I really love whole fried clams, so we're looking forward to all the lobster pounds and 5 islands. I'll probably be sticking with steamed lobster (softshells if I can find it, I think 5 island does), while hubs focuses on lobster rolls, and I figured we'd split a clam basket and finish with a slice of pie.

One thing I've noticed a lot of lobster pounds offer that has me torn is fried haddock and/or fried monkfish. I'm a devoted fan of both sea critters, and I might be tempted to stray from steamed lobster at some point.

Thanks for the tip on Dolphins, we don't mind paying more money if the food quality is worth it. One of my hubs pet peeves is waiting on long lines, which is the real reason why I wanted to steer clear of Reds even though I understand it's very good and lives up to the hype most of the time.

Thanks for the rec on Tao Yuan. It had caught my attention but the location didn't fit too well for us, although looks really good and we do enjoy excceptional Asian food. I'll keep Tao on my radar if plans change, and I'm likely to return to Maine next summer so I may get to try it next time :)

Aug 21, 2015
alkonost in Northern New England

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

thanks for the tip on Eventide's long wait times, you're right I should move that to a lunch spot and pick something else for one of our dinners. You just sold me on Vinland for dinner.

Vena's fizz sounds great since I'm not much of a drinker, unless we're talking Shiner Bock to wash down some good smoked brisket, that's a different story! I make some of my own soda syrups at home, so craft sodas or similar things would be a good fit for me :)

Aug 21, 2015
alkonost in Northern New England