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Apr 25, 2007 01:05 PM

24 hours in Portland, 24 in Portsmouth

A friend and I are trying to figure out the best plan of attack to squeeze in as much as possible on a Sat. overnight in May. We'll be driving up early-ish from Boston and probably hitting a casual spot along the way on Rt. 1 (clams, diner, not sure). We split all our food so that helps. We also like to walk everywhere so will travel to the out of the way sections of town. Norm's is a given at some point plus I have to try Duckfat. Since we're trying to taste as much as possible, I don't envision a swanky sit down dinner (a la Hugo's) but wouldn't mind a nicer spot at some point around 8:30-9. I'm thinking a snack at Duckfat during the day, Norm's kind of mid evening then maybe some appetizers some place a step up. The Fore St. mussels are in the back of my mind but am happy to try a new place. Thinking Becky's for breakfast on Sun. but that's open. Again, we'll want to split food so if anyone frowns on that, they're out.

We'll be going to Portsmouth the next day for a nice dinner at Black Trumpet (formerly Lindbergh's Crossing) and a breakfast at the Friendly Toast (finally) but would like to squeeze in Gilley's or one other Portsmouth place. That might be just about as much as we can fit in but curious what you suggest for later Sat. nite and quick bites. Thanks in advance.

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  1. Friendly Toast is open 24 hours on the weekends, and Gilley's is open pretty late. Both are well worth the stop, and with Gilley's, you can just get a hot dog or two and not proverbially spoil your dinner. Black Trumpet is wonderfully good, probably the best chow Portsmouth has to offer.

    3 Replies
    1. re: bachslunch

      When did Lindbergh's Crossing become Black Trumpet (sorry, just a summer visitor)?

      1. re: rcburli

        My understanding is that this occurred sometime in early 2007.

        1. re: rcburli

          Lindbergh's Crossing closed Feb. 28th :(

          I'm so sad to see them go but wish Tom & Scott even greater success with their new venture in Provincetown...

      2. My recommendation for apps a step from Norm's would be Vingnolas on the corner of Wharf and Dana street. They are open late and have a pretty good mix of appetizers.

        1 Reply
        1. re: ejohnson

          Does Vignola have a nice bar? What about Uffa? Still trying to find that last place of the nite where we'll get good food but won't be ordering a full meal, maybe an app and dessert. Thanks.

        2. have you heard of the Green Monkey in Portsmouth? it's where we always go when we are up there. GREAT cocktails and vibe...franklin cafe-ish? (Actually, i have heard an old franklin bartender is now mixing some great ones up there!)

          anyway..sounds like a fun weekend!!

          1. That sounds like a fantastically fun weekend! We tend to hit Portsmouth Brewery for an easy, brewpub dinner (I love the veggie jambalaya) but you and your friend will probably want something a little less pub-esque and more cocktail-centric, especially on a Sat night. I recall reading about some wine bar, but it's slipping my mind right now. Will have to look it up. (Something like "43 North?" have they gone out of business?) Anyway, I look forward to hearing about your trip - so jealous! :) They are two of my favorite towns anywhere!

            6 Replies
            1. re: a l i c e

              Yeah, I read that 43° North turned into KNRs which someone said closed. Friend loves his beers so the Brewery is a thought but since we'll be staying fairly casual in Portland, the nicer dinner at Black Trumpet has to be on the agenda. I'm sorry I never made it to Lindbergh's Crossing. To rcburli: I guess the chef from Lindbergh's took over the space and renamed it.

              To bostonman: Green Monkey sounds fun but we're in Portsmouth on a Sun. and I see they're closed. If there's another place for a fancy cocktail, let me know. Does Pesce Blue have a bar?

              Anyone have thoughts for food on Rt. 1? Have been to Flo's, Maine Diner (may need to go again), Mike's Clams and a donut place that wasn't so great. Also a seafood place in Hampton on the left as you travel south that was pretty good. Will probably want bkfast on the way up and maybe clams on the way back. Thanks.

              1. re: Joanie

                Pesci Blue has a small bar which is not separated off from the dining room, if memory serves. Excellent food, too -- went at lunchtime, and would gladly return.

                1. re: Joanie

                  On Sunday in Portsmouth you might want to check out Jumpin' Jay's Fish Cafe. They have a small bar and some yummy small plates and a good raw bar. Bar tending was pretty good on my last couple visits. Space, decor, and food is so different than Black Trumpet that it would be an interesting contrast (or maybe too much contrast) if you're doing a pre-dinner drink and snack kind of thing.

                  On Rt. 1, or just off Rt. 1, in Seabrook I like Brown's Lobster Pound.
                  It's a kitschy BYOB place with outdoor seating on the water. They have deep fried lobster tails! They are pricey, and so wrong, but so good... I call them lobster donuts. Steamers are good there. Fried clams are good but not on par with the Clam Box. It's not my fave clam shack but it's some place I always hit when I'm in that area.

                  1. re: Joanie

                    After dinner at Black Trumpet (which, by the way, is excellent), you might stop in at the Blue Mermaid for a cocktail after dinner. They certainly mix them up pretty well, and have a nice selection of regional draught brew.

                    1. re: Truh

                      Yeah, I just saw the Blue Mermaid while searching around. Seems worth checking out. I'm usually only good for 2 drinks a nite tho so if you were going for a pre-dinner drink (and assuming a glass of wine at dinner), would you go to BM, PB or JJ with maybe a bite of food too?

                      Also still looking for a good morning stop on Rt. 1 north on Sat., maybe one of the diners in Salisbury or Newburyport. Thinking I might just wait and hit the Clam Box in Ipswich MA on the way back since I'm sure we'll be full from the Friendly Toast that Mon. morning and not ready to stuff our faces in Rye or Hampton.

                      1. re: Joanie

                        It's really a toss-up among those three if you are sitting at their bars. The atmosphere at each is distinct; I find Pesce to be a bit too industrial for my tastes, while JJ can be a bit frenetic depending on what time it is you plan to have your pre-dinner cocktail. BM is much more low-key, and tends to be that way until 8:00-9:00 p.m., and is perhaps the most casual of the three.

                2. Thought of this post when I got the new issue of Food & Wine yesterday. The mentioned some places in Portland that are new to me. The Cheese Iron sounds like a great place to check out.


                  1 Reply
                  1. re: kittychow

                    Thanksk for the thought but it's on Rt. 1 Scarborough and we're gonna leave the car at the hotel. Bar Lola sounded like a possibility tho.