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Mar 13, 2010 04:28 AM

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: 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.