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First anniversary road-trip: Montreal, Quebec City, Portland, ME, and Boston

Moderators: I hope it's alright that I post this topic in both the Quebec and New England boards as it equally applies to both. If you feel differently feel free to remove one of the two.

Alright so it looks like we've come up with a basic outline for our first anniversary foodie road-trip in late-August 2010. The focal points of this trip will be Montreal and Quebec City but I'll lay it out in more detail and see what you guys think. Here we go:

Friday Night: Leave Abingdon, MD and hopefully make it to Albany, NY.
Food options: Tony Luke's in Philadelphia for dinner.

Saturday: Finish the drive up to Montreal.
Food options: Suggestions welcome.

Sunday: All day in Montreal.
Food options: Juliette et Chocolat. Jean-Talon Market. Suggestions welcome.

Monday: Breakfast in Montreal then drive to Quebec City.
Food options: Suggestions welcome.

Tuesday: All day in Quebec City.
Food options: Suggestions welcome.

**This is when the trip could go two different ways, I will separate our two options with a slash.

Wednesday: 2nd day in Quebec City / Breakfast in Quebec City then drive to Portland, ME.
Food options: Suggestions welcome.

Thursday: Breakfast in Quebec City then drive to Portland, ME. / All day in Portland, ME.
Food options: Lobster Shack at Two Lights. Suggestions welcome.

Friday: Breakfast in Portland, ME then drive to Boston, MA.
Food options: Clam Box in Ipswich, MA. J.T. Farnham's in Essex, MA. Suggestions welcome.

Saturday: Breakfast in Boston, MA then drive home to Abingdon, MD.
Food options: Breakfast at Mike & Patty's in Boston. Lunch at Still River Cafe in Eastford, CT. Lunch at Trackside Brick Oven Pizza in Wallingford, CT. Dinner at White Manna in Hackensack, NJ.

There are a few certainties we've already decided upon. We would like a decent dinner in all four cities including one very nice dinner which will be our anniversary dinner and the best possible lobster dinner along our projected route of travel. Also, Mike & Patty's and White Manna are definite stops as well as a stop for fried whole-belly clams (not sure where yet, suggestions welcome here! I think Clam Box is in the lead).

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  1. Folks, please keep replies on this board to suggestions for the New England side of the border. Advice on the Quebec portion may be added to sixteenbitcon's post on the Quebec board, here: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/694310 Thanks!

    1. For breakfast in Portland, I'd suggest Bintliff's or Becky's Diner. Don't know what your budget is but there are many very good restaurants in Portland now: Fore Street, Street and Co., Emilitsa, Bresca. Actually, I've never been to the Lobster Shack but it looks like a place for good lobster rolls and fried clams. Try something with crab which I like more than lobster.

      1. It's about a five-hour drive from QC to Portland, and most of it is pretty much a food wasteland. I'd recommend picking up picnic fare (cheeses, breads, pates, smoked meats, fruits, etc.) at either Vieux March or Moissan's in QC (both are foodie musts), or at Pere Nature, just off the highway in St. Georges (take a left at the Burger King/Canadian Tire light, go about two blocks and look for the windmill) then stopping at one of the picnic areas on Route 201 south of Jackman: Attean, with gorgeous views, the Forks watching the rafter go by, or south of The Forks, overlooking Wyman Lake.

        Give yourself at least a full day in Portland, there's so much to see and do and so many fabulous places to eat. As for recommendations, search on Portland, and you'll find plenty. No need to repeat all here. In any case, for the top restaurants, make rez far in advance so as not to be disappointed.

        The Lobster Shack at Two Lights is exactly that, a place for lobster, with picnic tables right on the rocky shoreline. On a bluebird day, it's tops.

        5 Replies
        1. re: Mainegal

          Thank you Mainegal, that's exactly the type of information I was hoping for. The picnic idea sounds wonderful. We might do our one fancy dinner at Street and Co. or Miyake for sushi. I was looking over the list and I've set out some pretty heavy dining destinations so sushi might be good for a lighter option. Here's a few more places I've researched for the trip:

          Montreal: Schwartz's for a big meat sandwich. Fairmount for bagels. Jean-Talon Market for insane foodie grazing. Point G for a macaron glace.

          Portland, ME: As I mentioned before Street & Co. or Hugo's for a fancy dinner (I'm really liking the lobster fra diavolo for two!), Miyake for sushi.

          Boston, MA: Sam LaGrassa's for sandwiches. Bartley's Burger Cottage for burgers.

          And on the way home we might just have to stop by Louie's Lunch in New Haven, CT just to see where the hamburger was invented. Chances are with Bartley's and White Mana we probably won't hit all of those burger joints.

          I'm keeping this as food-related as possible but I wouldn't mind if a few of you sneak in some non-rood-related recommendations for things to do while in these cities. Thanks again!

          1. re: sixteenbiticon

            Ack! Take a right at the Burger King/Canadian Tire intersection to find Pere Nature (For me, a food must-stop any time en route between Maine and QC). You're turning west, toward the river, and Pere Nature is about a block off the river in the complex with the purple and orange windmill (yeah, not hard to find).

            Street & Co. versus Hugo's: Hugo's does small plates, and a bit of everything--Rob Evans is a Beard winner; Street & Co. is seafood and only seafood. I wouldn't classify either as fine dining, as in quiet, fancy or pretentious. Both serve excellent fare in a casual setting. Miyaki is tiny and last I visited, features a Pepsi and plastic decor.

            If you're serious about lobster, a fun option is to take Lucky Catch Lobster Tours, which allows you to participate in the whole operation, and even purchase any lobsters caught--and yes, there are places where you can get them cooked.

            1. re: Mainegal

              I think it's spelled Miyake and the tables and chairs are wooden, according to my daughter, who's taking us there this weekend. She says it is very small, but with a pleasant ambiance, as well as being some of the best food she's ever had. And, you can bring your own wine, with no corkage. Perhaps it's changed since you were last there?

              1. re: Shooley

                Yes, it is spelled Miyake (I shouldn't multitask), and I haven't been in since late last summer/early fall (when it was Pepsi signage and plastic flowers), so the decor might have changed. My comments were on the ambiance only--it's not fancy dining--fabulous sushi, yes, but not a fancy atmosphere.

            2. re: sixteenbiticon

              the Lobster Shack is a great choice and the location is unbeatable. In Portland, I like Fore Street for dinner; Becky's is fun for breakfast. I am an annual visitor to Quebec City so I am going to find your link and post on that board....

              -----
              Fore Street
              288 Fore Street, Portland, ME 04101

              Lobster Shack
              225 Two Lights Rd, Cape Elizabeth, ME 04107

          2. Portland: our two current favs: The Front Room and Caiola's. For breakfast: Becky's Diner if road food appeals to you; otherwise we like the Good Egg on Middle Street - great coffee and inventive egg dishes. At night it's called Pepperclub and there have a 4 course $20 special every night - worth consideration for the vegans in your group. The other rec I have is if you have never tried Vietnamese there our two right across the street from one another: Saigon and Thanh Thanh 2. Both our very good, cheap and very authentic. Two lights is very crowded in the summer - avoid the weekends; an alternative without the scenery is Susan's Fish and Chips on Forest Ave.

            5 Replies
            1. re: StevensAve

              I think for breakfast in Portland, ME we're going to keep things light. We'll be hitting Stand Baking Co. for some pastries before our 2hr. Schooner tour and the next day we'll be hitting 158 Pickett Street Cafe for bagel sandwiches on our way to Boston.

              I would like some recommendations for lunch after our boat ride. We'll be finished at 12:30pm. I was considering Portland Lobster Co. or J's Oyster Bar. Neither of us are fans of oysters but we're very interested in soup/chowder/bisque, lobster rolls, shrimp, and mussels. And maybe a fish sandwich.

              As for Boston I've made us reservations for Craigie on Main and we'll be hitting Mike & Patty's for another round of breakfast sandwiches before heading to New Haven to try some pizza with a final stop at White Manna in Hackensack.

              I'd also be interested in hearing thoughts about where to get pizza that would be roadfood friendly. I've looked at Frank Pepe's and Zuppardi's. I'm very interested in trying the best white clam pie possible, while my wife would probably opt for normal pie. A venue with respectable offerings for both would be ideal.

              Can't wait till August!

              -----
              J's Oyster
              5 Portland Pier, Portland, ME 04101

              1. re: sixteenbiticon

                Au Pied Du Couchon,Montreal. Portland Lobster,not J'S. Clam Box!

                1. re: LeRique

                  If you like Indian food, then Shahi Palace in Montreal is fantastic.

                  1. re: Morganna

                    I'm having a lot of trouble in Montreal. I just made reservations for our first dinner at APDC and I'm thinking our second dinner will be at Kitchen Galerie since we were planning on touring the Jean-Talon Market anyway. If not we might try Garde-Manger as we might need a lighter option after eating at APDC the day before.

                    I've got Bistrot La Fabrique pencilled in for Sunday brunch as it's right around the corner from our hotel. Other snacks/options are Schwartz's although I was displeased to find that you have to dine in for a sandwich, Fairmount for bagels, Point G for macarons... I seriously doubt we'll be able to hit all of these places, but it doesn't hurt to have options!

                    1. re: sixteenbiticon

                      Instead of Schwartz's for a snack, how about some poutine. I know it's pretty heavy for a light meal but you shouldn't leave Montreal without poutine.

            2. Make reservations at Miyake - neighboring West End Deli carries a decent selection of Sake, wines and beer

              2 Replies
              1. re: johnnydj

                Oh yeah, definitely looking forward to experiencing the omakase there. It's on my to-do list. I was just talking about this with my wife and mentioned we could buy a bottle of sake but she's never really had sake she's cared for. We may just skip alcohol with dinner and instead hit up The Great Lost Bear or Novare Res Bier Café afterwards (I <3 beer!).

                Today was the early deadline for opentable reservations for Street & Co. I was really surprised when I got in to work today and tried for an 8pm res to find the closest availability was 9pm. I can't believe the spots filled up that quick. Maybe I did my math wrong, but I hate eating dinner that late.

                -----
                The Great Lost Bear
                540 Forest Ave, Portland, ME 04101

                Novare Res Bier Cafe
                4 Canal Plz, Portland, ME 04101

                Street & Co
                33 Wharf St., Portland, ME 04101

                1. re: sixteenbiticon

                  You can walk to Novare Res ,and I think the atmosphere is nicer plus a really cool outdoor area.

              2. I just found this site and joined so I could recommend Becky's for breakfast in Portland. But I see someone else already beat me to it! Besides having my first name (coincidentally only - I don't own or work at Becky's), it's a great place with a wonderful menu and just a really upbeat, New England, type of diner. And the portions are huge! The only problem is it's always crowded, so expect a wait.

                -----
                Becky's Diner
                390 Commercial St, Portland, ME 04101

                5 Replies
                1. re: SkiNut395

                  Wonderful menu? Please, fun place maybe.

                  1. re: SkiNut395

                    Probably won't be checking out any normal diner fare for breakfast. Typical diner food doesn't interest me all that much, I usually try to go for something lighter when I travel, or a bakery. Thanks for the recommendation though!

                    After seeing the most recent episode of The Best Thing I Ever Ate, I immediately put Flour Bakery on my list of breakfast options. Those sticky buns look insane. So it will either be Mike & Patty's or Flour Bakery for our one breakfast in Boston before heading home.

                    1. re: sixteenbiticon

                      You could split a breakfast sandwich at Mike & Patty's then get the bun at Flour for the ride.

                      The line at Modern Pizza in New Haven is shorter than Pepe's and Sally's and I had a great clam/bacon pizza there. Louis' is worth the stop for that old contraption they use to cook the burgers.

                      I liked Fore St. better than Street in my visits.

                      Was just in Montreal 2 weeks ago and had dinner at APDC and loved Laloux. Good sausage sandwich w/ olives and roasted peppers at the Moroccan place for about $2. Didn't try any of those beautiful looking pies tho. Or crepes, sigh.

                      1. re: Joanie

                        Split both breakfast options? Genious! Damn, you'd think I would've thought of that.

                        I think my main deterrant for Fore St. was no posted menu or prices. I think what I'm going to do is make a reservation for both and decide when we get there.

                        I'm very much looking forward to my 'Duck in a Can' at APDC but I'm having trouble deciding on where to go for our second dinner there. It's between L'Express, Kitchen Galerie, and Garde-Manger. I'll look into Laloux!

                        Thanks Joanie.

                        1. re: sixteenbiticon

                          I have to say, the novelty of duck in can was cool (and my friend loved it) but I wasn't thrilled and the pork dishes looked so much better. Fun place, split your food there too. I went to L'Express last time in Montreal and wasn't overly impressed, check out Laloux and the little bar next door Pop.

                          I can't believe Fore St. doesn't have a real menu on their site, or there's no Menupages in Portland. I think prices run $18-28, mussels are great.

                          And I was referring to a Moroccan sausage/lamb stand at the Jean Talon market. Like you could read my mind the way I wrote it.

                  2. Okay, I know this sounds self-serving, but I think my blog (http://www.appetiteportland.com) can help you out with Portland ME food ideas and I also recently went to Montreal with foodie friends and have a post on that. Don't Miss: fries at Duck Fat in Portland.

                    -----
                    Duck Fat
                    43 Middle St, Portland, ME 04101

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: appetiteportland

                      Don't sweat it AP, I've got a blog too (http://microcosmk.blogspot.com) so I completely understand the need to sometimes self-promote.

                      It's funny that you had a hand in the Phoenix Best-Of list, it was a vital tool in researching my trip. Those cookies at Scratch Baking Co. are definitely on my hit-list. Looking forward to checking it out before our boat tour.

                      I'm not sure if we can fit a visit to Duck Fat into our schedule, but I've heard good things. Plus I just got my duck fat fry fix from Hot Doug's in Chicago (you can read about that on my blog!

                      )

                      -----
                      Duck Fat
                      43 Middle St, Portland, ME 04101

                    2. What about Five Fifty Five. Can you tell me anything about this restaurant in regards to type food, service, atmosphere, etc. Thanks.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: Littleman

                        We had a really charming dinner at Five Fifty Five a few years ago. I wrote about it here: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/5153...

                        Hope this helps.

                      2. A few thoughts; I'll start North and work down to Ct.

                        My 9/09 north of portland report: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/6502...

                        Portland No Brainers:
                        Best inventive, hearty brunch in Portland is at Local 188 (great funky room; more hippy crowd) and then the nearby 555 Congress(sleek, handsome space; pricey; more yuppie crowd).

                        Hugo's has exc. inventive artisanal food but he believes in mote sized micro portions and I do not. Along with his excellent but outrageously priced fries at Duck Fat, I can only figure that Hugo wants to be one of the select few chef/owners who makes money and buys a house in St Kitts. He must figure that if he's going to work as hard as he does, he's gonna make some money doing it.

                        Fore St. has never impressed me. Stopped going long ago.

                        We've had excellent artisanal dinners at tiny Bresca ; intimate,wonderful lovingly prepared Northern Italian/ Mediterrean leanings..
                        http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/6502...

                        Make sure to drive down Portland's Commercial St. and see the best preserved 19th c. waterfront on the East Coast(which is part of the largest best preserved 19th c. commercial district on the East Coast.) Continue on to Danforth St and see the many- block historic district with its handsome, often architecturally unique, well preserved 19th c. mansions.
                        -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

                        The Clam Box ;see my review: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/7135...
                        It is not a near-highway easy place to access. By far the most beautiful route, coming from Portland, is to take the Downtown Newburyport exit onto High Street, lined with well preserved 18th and 19th c. shipping captains' mansions, and continue on through beautiful marshlands/ countryside to Ipswich. You will want to hit the Clam Box NOT between 11:30 and 2pm.

                        **an alternative to this is driving the 2 hrs from Portland to Boston; parking near Regina's (the 'easier' parking area near the North End, as opposed to the Waterfront) walking the North End and having lunch at Regina's.
                        ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                        My Foodie Guide to Visiting Boston(long!): http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/7111...

                        Boston Breakfast- Pajama Brunch at Tremont 547 (down home brunch menu and baked goods; excellent mex food and margaritas;v. friendly staff, fun atmosphere; staff wear their pjs
                        )or , 3 blocks away,
                        Aquitaine:
                        authentic French bistro, handsome and sophisticated space; (Duck Confit and Gruyere pressed sandwich my fav.)
                        Reservations a must.

                        Don't know why you've chosen Craigie on Main.
                        ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                        Regina Pizzeria in the North End beats New Haven pizza hands down. I do not say that for any 'boston pride'; i'm not into that. It's all about the food, and at R's you will have an authentic Rome Italy experience (at Regina's North End only; no other locations).

                        I would, rather than do New Hav. pizza, have lunch in Hartford (2 hrs from Boston) at Trumbull Kitchen. Very diverse, international, small and large plates; great menu; lively spot. Or you could go there and get some things to go and have a car picnic later on in your drive.(They are unusual in having some exc. inventive salads and they also have some neat asian noodle dishes- the chiang mie (sp.) beef is my fav.). it is literally 5 min off rt.84.

                        ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                        Hey, sixteen, you guys specialize in them there "only-crabs-worth-eating" blue crabs down there; why not finance your trip by loading up a cooler w/ jumbo soft shells and meeting some Boston Chowhounds at a designated spot? You think I'm kidding??!!

                        -----
                        Bresca
                        111 Middle Street, Portland, ME 04101

                        Local 188
                        685 Congress St, Portland, ME 04102

                        Regina Pizzeria
                        1500 S Willow St, Manchester, NH 03103

                        Duck Fat
                        43 Middle St, Portland, ME 04101

                        16 Replies
                        1. re: opinionatedchef

                          Just to note: Hugo's and Duck Fat are owned by Rob Evans, not someone named Hugo.

                          -----
                          Duck Fat
                          43 Middle St, Portland, ME 04101

                          1. re: the_MU

                            Rob Evans *and* his wife, Nancy Pugh, own Hugo's and Duckfat

                            1. re: HDinCentralME

                              well then, they BOTH have goals for a house on St.Kitts.

                          2. re: opinionatedchef

                            Thanks for all the great info opinionated. We're definitely hitting the Clam Box on the way to Boston and I modified my route to accomodate your recommendations for driving through downtown Newburyport. Firsthand info like that is really hard to come by so a big thanks for that.

                            For our fancy dinner in Portland I made reservations at Street & Co, Hugo's, and Fore Street so my wife and I are going to check their menus and decide the day of. I'll check out your other recommendations.

                            I chose Craigie on Main because it is highly recommended all over the internet and I was very excited about the chance to either try a tasting menu or their famous burger. The fact that Toscanini's is right next door was bonus since I would love the opportunity to try their burnt caramel ice cream.

                            Regina Pizzeria sounds awesome and I will look into it, but with our current itinerary it seems unlikely we will be able to fit it into our schedule. I'll try!

                            You're definitely talking to the right guy about Maryland crabs! Both of my parents live on the water and have boats. I go crabbing with my dad a lot, but it's still a tad early to catch much with traps this year. He just got his small boat back in the water a few weeks ago so I'm really excited about running a trout line again like we did when I was a kid. I'm actually going to have crabs for my birthday this Sunday at Bill's Terrace Inn.

                            As far as bringing up some softshells that may be kinda tough since Boston is the last stop on our trip. Maybe we could do an exchange of softshells for fresh lobsters! We might be able to work something out... My email is in my profile :)

                            -----
                            Fore Street
                            288 Fore Street, Portland, ME 04101

                            Street & Co
                            33 Wharf St., Portland, ME 04101

                            Regina Pizzeria
                            1500 S Willow St, Manchester, NH 03103

                            1. re: sixteenbiticon

                              'last stop w/ crabs' sounds like a bad book title, so... next time! my strongest rec is to remove fore st. from the reservations; replace it w/ Bresca because her place is so teeny tiny you'll never get a last minute reservation... but then again, if LOBSTER is what you have to have that night, it's likely not to be on her menu, i would guess. and if you do decide to help the hugos buy their place on st.kitts, make sure you allow time to get to duck fat (1/2 block away)after your hugo's tease, so you can fill up on fries and garlic aioli and not go to bed on an empty tummy. (btw, if he's still serving them as his table bread,his teeny biscuits, as difficult to get replenished as if they were doubloons, are the best i have had anywhere, in my whole entire long life.)

                              -----
                              Bresca
                              111 Middle Street, Portland, ME 04101

                              1. re: opinionatedchef

                                I have to disagree with removing Fore St. I've only been there twice but loved it the first time and liked it the 2nd. It kind of depends what atmosphere you want too, if it's a bustling fun place then Fore St. should be your choice. There's always combining a couple, get the infamous mussels and another thing at Fore St. then move on to another place that interests you.

                                1. re: opinionatedchef

                                  "As difficult to get replenished as if they were dubloons"? Really? I eat at Hugo's every time I am in Portland, and generally we have gotten three servings of the amazing biscuits each time we've dined there. This was without asking or prompting. I also love the butter they serve with those amazing biscuits. I am happy to help Rob Evans get a place on St Kitts as his restaurant is my favorite that I've dined at. Are the portions small? Yeah, they're not huge, but the six course blind tasting menu (which is what we usually get) is very satisfying. I'd much rather have small portions of great food, that huge portions of mediocre food.

                                  1. re: kimfair1

                                    kim,why bother writing such a platitude?and ,duhhh, who on CH would not agree with said platitude? fortunately, those 2 extremes are not the only 2 options for fine dining these days, and certainly not in Portland.

                                    1. re: opinionatedchef

                                      As platitudes go I think maybe you might be over reacting . I think Kimfair was just commenting on your dubloon and small plates issues,and by the way is duhh a word.

                                      1. re: LeRique

                                        Precisely LeRique. I found the comment about the biscuits rather interesting as I have always been offered more, and to use the term "as difficult to get replenished as dubloons" to be off the mark in terms of my experiences there. Also, opinionatedchef, since you have taken Hugo's to task for small portions, I felt that clarifying my position that the six course blind tasting is the best way to enjoy Hugo's, and even though none of those courses are huge, as a complete meal it is more than satisfying (and I am a big guy!). All in all, it's opinions. Everyone has one, and everyone thinks theirs is right. You're not a fan of Hugo's or Craigie, two of my favorite restaurants. I disagree, but that's our difference in opinion. I also think Pepe's in New Haven blows away Regina's pizza (excellent though the original Regina's is). Again, opinions differing.

                                        1. re: kimfair1

                                          What's important is that you have places that you love.and that they are surviving in this fierce economy and continuing to make your day. For this, we are all so very lucky.

                                  2. re: opinionatedchef

                                    After researching Bresca we fell in love with the place so we made reservations for there for our second night. Thanks so much for the heads up, I'd never heard of it prior to your recommendation.

                                    Our first night in Portland might be spent enjoying the 7 course omakase at Miyake so we might just skip the fine dining altogether!

                                    -----
                                    Bresca
                                    111 Middle Street, Portland, ME 04101

                                    1. re: sixteenbiticon

                                      16, we were in newburyport today to see friends and i checked out a route for you. My suggestion is this, as you're driving from portland to the clam box in ipswich(obviously you can do a google map printout w/ specifics; this is just a suggested route):exit 'historic newburyport, rt.113'. head east on High street; turn left on Green, drive to the end , turn right and travel with the river to your left, into the heart of historic newburyport. when you see a raised brick 'town square/island ' kind of place, turn Rt. onto State St. Drive up a few blocks to High Street, turn left and proceed to the Clam Box. This route will take you , through the best preserved 18th c. brick Federal period commercial center on the east coast. All along High Street you will see magnificent Federal mansions, the largest concentration of them in one area, on the East Coast (again! but true)

                                      The best route, when you leave the Clam Box, to go into Boston, is to travel rt 133 south through ipswich, hamilton , and wenham. It's a beautiful road through verdant landscape and farmland, past alot of 18th and 19th c. homes. Rt.133 will take you to rt 128 and then depending upon where you are staying in boston, you could take rt 1.(ugly shopping center after ugly shopping center) or , suggested, rt 93 so. into boston (you will see and/or travel over our beautiful new Zakim Bridge.

                                      Hope you have a lovely trip.Don't forget to report back on your dining experiences!

                                      1. re: opinionatedchef

                                        Wow opinionated you really have outdone yourself here. I modified our route to reflect your suggestions to Clam Box. Looking at the leg from Clam Box to Boston looks a bit zig-zaggy to me. We're staying at the Hilton in Back Bay. I'd love to try this route but we leave Boston early the next morning and are trying to make it down there as quick as possible.

                                        Thanks again for the great route suggestions!

                                  3. re: sixteenbiticon

                                    We really like Craigie on Main, but you can only have the burger in the bar area. You can reserve a table and order off the full menu there, too.

                                2. Two Lights: Can't beat the setting, but I'd go for the chowder, fried clams and onion rings. Not a lobster pound really, as only offer one size lobster (small one). Speaking of chowder, J's clam is good, very bacon-y.
                                  Becky's: Nothing special food-wise here. I'd pass.
                                  I'd pick Fore St over Street & Co. (same owner). Eat at the bar.
                                  If you like salumi, two places: Vignola and Nosh.
                                  If you wanna sit outdoors in Old Port: Grill Room has outdoor seating and it's good.
                                  If you wanna share a snack: Grab a Sicilian Slab at Micucci Grocery.
                                  Enjoy your stay

                                  1. Since Mainegal described Portland to QC as a food wasteland, have you considered making a circle and returning from Quebec to New England thru Lake Champlain? There would be good food choices in the Burlington, VT area. Have a great trip.

                                    3 Replies
                                    1. re: oopboromom

                                      We're coming down to the wire. Right now I'll give you all a short rundown of our itinerary coming through ME.

                                      We leave Q.C. on a Wednesday morning. Our first stop is Moxie Falls for some mid-day hiking. Then a late(ish) lunch at Red's Eats in Wiscasset for my first lobster roll. Very excited about that and hopefully there won't be much of a line after the lunch rush on a Wednesday.

                                      We get into Portland and that's when things get a little crazy. We have dinner reservations at four, yes four, different places all of which are staggered so we have ample time to walk around town checking out their menus. Darn rotating menus will be the death of me. We have reservations at Miyake, Street & Co., Hugo's, and Fore Street. I'm thinking it'll probably come down to either Miyake or Fore Street (I've read a lot of vicious reviews about Hugo's), but I'm keeping my mind open. Maybe post-dinner shenanigans at Novare Res if we're feeling up to it.

                                      Thursday breakfast will be had at Standard Baking Co. followed by a 2 hour schooner tour. After that we'll either check out Silly's, their menu is just too insane not to try, for a milkshake or maybe head down to Lobster Shack for another lobster roll and an amazing view. If we have the time we might try to score some beach time at Crescent Beach or... Does Portland have any other beaches close by?

                                      If we're feeling ultra-saucy, which I doubt, we'll hit up Mesa Verde because apparently they have $6 margarita pitchers on Thursdays. For dinner we have reservations at both Bresca and 555. Again, we'll have to stop by and check out their menus before we make our decision. If we didn't check out Novare Res Wednesday, we might go there afterwards.

                                      Friday morning we leave for Boston for the last leg of our trip. Breakfast will be had at One Fifty Ate. Mmmm, breakfast bagel sandwiches...

                                      So that is what I have right now. Your questions/comments/concerns are always welcome and appreciated. Only two and a half short weeks until we leave. I can't friggin wait.

                                      -----
                                      Fore Street
                                      288 Fore Street, Portland, ME 04101

                                      Standard Baking Co
                                      75 Commercial St, Portland, ME

                                      Red's Eats
                                      Main, Wiscasset, ME 04578

                                      Street & Co
                                      33 Wharf St., Portland, ME 04101

                                      Bresca
                                      111 Middle Street, Portland, ME 04101

                                      Mesa Verde
                                      618 Congress St, Portland, ME 04101

                                      Lobster Shack
                                      225 Two Lights Rd, Cape Elizabeth, ME 04107

                                      1. re: sixteenbiticon

                                        Quite a plan. Hope you have a good trip, you've worked very hard!

                                        A few comments, bearing in mind it's been a few years since I lived in town in Portland:

                                        Higgins Beach in South Portland is closer in than Crescent (near whatever it is they're calling One Fifty Ate these days), but if you're at Silly's you might want to just take a stroll up Munjoy Hill via Congress St to the East End. You'll pass lots of local establishments (Front Room, Bar Lola, Blue Spoon, the Munjoy Hill outpost of Rosemont Bakery, etc). There's a teeny urban beach down the hill, at the park at the end of Congress, and a great view of Casco Bay. Not so many tourists at that beach, and it's pretty narrow, but you can swim there, there is sand, and if its nice there will be lots of sunbathers. If you want, you can walk the paved trail along the water, around the peninsula, and back into the Old Port.

                                        Unless it's changed recently, Standard Baking is really a bakery with not much in the way of seating. Mesa Verde's food isn't very good, but is an ok place to go for margaritas. There are better places to hang out and drink in that neighborhood though. I love Silly's but be aware it's basically a funky burger/sandwich joint, very popular with parents and their kids.

                                        Making multiple reservations and canceling most of them is kind of icky. Miyake, Bresca, and Street & Co are all small rooms, and losing covers costs them. If you're going to cancel reservations at any of them, it's way more considerate to do it beforehand, rather than wait until your reservation time and cancel, or worse, be a no-show. If you reserved one, Hugo's tasting menus are very composed and quite involved, and I imagine they plan and prep specially for them. It's not so much of a casual, walk in on a whim sort of place.

                                        Oh, and if you eat your first lobster roll at Red's, you will be disappointed with all the subsequent ones from elsewhere.

                                        Have fun and enjoy your trip.

                                        -----
                                        Bar Lola
                                        100 Congress Street, Portland, ME 04000

                                        Street & Co
                                        33 Wharf St., Portland, ME 04101

                                        Blue Spoon
                                        89 Congress St, Portland, ME 04101

                                        Bresca
                                        111 Middle Street, Portland, ME 04101

                                        Mesa Verde
                                        618 Congress St, Portland, ME 04101

                                        1. re: sixteenbiticon

                                          As mentioned before, I'm a big proponent of hitting two spots. Why don't you go to Fore St. early for mussels, a drink and maybe one other thing then Miyake (don't know this place) or one of the other places a little later. You could just cancel all the reservations except Miyake, sit at the Fore St. bar and get in 2 spots that nite.

                                          On the way to Boston, you might want to try Bob's Clams on Rt. 1 in Kittery for another batch of clams that involves no extra traveling or going off the beaten path. Well, that's cuz I always take Rt. 1 instead of 95.

                                      2. I'll keep this short as I have my own blog (http://microcosmk.blogspot.com) to update with all of this in detail so here's the skinny of my experience in Maine.

                                        Hit up Red's Eats in torrential downpour. Trying to get our food back to the car while managing the umbrella was a classically frustrating experience. As expected it was a crapload of sweet slightly tough lobster. Loved the onion rings but by the time we got to the car the they'd steamed themselves to softness lacking a great crunch.

                                        First night was Fore Street. Hostess/Bar attendants were kind of rude/snooty but our waitress was nice if a bit unattentive. Food was good, not amazing. I had probably the biggest scallops I've ever seen and they would've been great had they been cleaned properly. Gritty scallops is a huge turn off. Zucchini French Toast was great and I plan on making this at home ASAP.

                                        Standard Baking Co. Almond Croissants were the best pastries we had on this trip (along with the sticky bun from Flour in Boston). Also Pain au Chocolat was great. Blueberry oatmeal scone looked better than it tasted. Consistency of a muffin which was a turn off. Great Ginger Peach Tea.

                                        We liked Lobster Shack's lobster roll better than Red's. More toasted bun, scraped off most of the mayo, but a little didn't hurt. Much more tender lobster. Fantastic mini blueberry pie with cream. Loved the brown sugar crumble on top. Packed to the brim with blueberries. Delicious.

                                        Silly's Great fried fish and scallop cakes served with their take on thousand island dressing. Also loved the gargantuan side of sweet potato fries. Ask for their housemade hot sauce and mix it with the provided honey mustard for maximum deliciousness. Hippie Hippie Shake was good as well. Wish there were pretzels throughout instead of just on top.

                                        The Great Lost Bear. Had two beer flights of strictly local brews. The Allagash Black was far and away my favorite. Met the Allagash brewmaster. Nice beard. Had a great time here.

                                        Miyake: Had the five course omakase. The blow away dishes were the complimentary tuna tartare and the scallops with cherry tomatoes. Fore Street could learn a thing or two from Miyake on how to properly clean a scallop. Also really enjoyed the duck two ways and the lobster ceviche w/garlic oil.

                                        555: Dessert after Miyake. We ordered the beignets and the pear tart. In the case of both dishes the side of ice cream was better than the main attraction... Still really liked them both and had great conversation with the bartender. I'd be interested in trying this place on my next trip.

                                        If I could do it again I would've gone to Bresca instead of Fore Street. Definitely hitting Bresca on my next visit. Along with Quebec City, Portland was our favorite city. It's extremely rare to find places around where I live with any substance, and those few that are decent are insanely packed so we really appreciated the low-key vibe of Portland. We will be back.

                                        -----
                                        The Great Lost Bear
                                        540 Forest Ave, Portland, ME 04101

                                        Fore Street
                                        288 Fore Street, Portland, ME 04101

                                        Standard Baking Co
                                        75 Commercial St, Portland, ME

                                        Red's Eats
                                        Main, Wiscasset, ME 04578

                                        Bresca
                                        111 Middle Street, Portland, ME 04101

                                        Lobster Shack
                                        225 Two Lights Rd, Cape Elizabeth, ME 04107

                                        2 Replies
                                        1. re: sixteenbiticon

                                          Nice short report...thanks. Read and enjoyed the first leg of your blog...will you be completing that soon? I was just in Quebec City for a foodie feast and would like to compare notes with you. Keep on eatin' and bloggin'!

                                          1. re: Shooley

                                            I did the same short recap of our experiences in Montreal/Quebec city in the Quebec thread:

                                            http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/6943...

                                            I'll be doing a day-bay-day on my blog but it's going to take me a while as I have A LOT of material to cover. Thanks for checking it out, I'm always in the market for another loyal reader :)