Food and Wine in Sugarloaf, ME?
I travel regularly cross-country for my job, and am a long-time, very grateful 'Hound for restaurant recommendations in the big cities. . . I would NEVER have eaten so well, for so long, away from home, without this board. I have had the greatest time finding so many cool, fun places-- MAJOR kudos!
This time I have a bit of a different question, though. My husband is an accomplished chef, and our 12 year old daughter is right behind him. I love great food (though I don't have the kitchen skills my family has), and I have a great time scouting out neat wines.
This year, we're renting a ski house at Sugarloaf for the last week of March. We'll ski all day of course, but when the cold snowy day is done, we want a hot shower and a great meal!
So. . .
1/ Any good dinner recommendations in or around Sugarloaf?
2/ If there aren't, it's no problem-- our ski house kitchen is very well appointed, and we can plan great meals. Do you all have any recommendations for grocery stores, specialty stores, or wine shops to get great ingredients?
Thanks in advance!
Been in Carrabassett Valley a week, and it's been interesting!
First thing I should say is that that the skiing is TERRIFIC! Hands down-- beginner, intermediate, advanced. . . come to Sugarloaf. From a family with wildly different ability levels, I can promise that there's nowhere in the East better than Sugarloaf for challenging and fun skiing for every level.
Past that.. . . there is just Nothing Here. I mean, NOTHING here. Thank you SO much to the prior posters for their guidance-- they're not kidding!
The skiing is truly amazing, but if you need or want anything else for a week, you should probably choose somewhere else. That said, our top picks for the week (thanks to the Chowhounds) are these:
1/ The Bag Burgers: WELL worth the buzz! Come off the slope and grab a burger with a Cabernet or a Beer. Eat fries. Seriously Chow-worthy meal.
2/ Hugs: Surprisingly good dinner, and that's coming from a hardcore Northern Italian girl. The funky atmosphere put me off at first, but it ended up being a terrific dinner, from start to finish. Stick with it, and order whatever suits your fancy, You won't be dissapointed!
3/ One Franklin: Definitely THE fine dining for the region, and it is mostly good, but you have to be careful what you order. Pay attention to what they recomend and what's in season.
4/ Double Diamond Steakhouse: Sugarloar Hotel restaurant-- avoid like the Plague for anything other than the occasional salad and sandwich.
3/ Gepetto's: Gepetto's was mostly fun! Order the lobster roll for lunch, and swing back for a mostly passable sushi dinner.
4/ Bullwinkles: Total win on the Lobster Macaroni and the panini sandwiches. We were surprised at how good this was-- we're planning on skiing by tomorrow for lunch.
All told-- if you want to be skiing in the East, definitley come to Sugarloaf!
If you want to do anything else, you'll probably have to to go somewhere else.
Thank you so much, Carrabassett Valley, Maine, for your hospitality!
Sugarloaf Mtn, Kingfield, ME 04947
Double Diamond Cafe
563 Route 103, Sunapee, NH 03782
You're going to love the loaf!
One Stanley Avenue is the best fine dining restaurant in the area. Chef-owner Dan Davis has been in the kitchen since 1972. Think classic continental with a Maine accent. Entrees on the menu are dated with the year they first appeared (when you've been cooking something for 30 years, you tend to get it right). No surprises, just good food, attentive service, a lovely atmosphere in an antiques-filled Victorian. He's only open until April 1. http://www.stanleyavenue.com/restaurant/
Orange Cat: Good breakfasts and lunches with a bit of creativity. It's in the Brick Castle building.
Tufulio's: Family-friendly Italian, area's best pizza, very popular happy hour and Sunday night two-for-one
Hugs: Italian, funky atmosphere--indoor umbrella table--but reliable. We're not talking North End, rather North Country Italian. I'm a fan of the wild mushroom ravioli. Also addicted to the pesto breadsticks.
Gepetto's: Best choice for dining on mountain; does a nice job with seafood, which they buy off the boat.
The Bag: Best burger in New England's skidom.
D'Ellie's: Get their homemade French toast in the morning. REturn for their soups and sandwiches at lunch. Order-at-the-counter place with a few high-top tables.
Bullwinkle's: Saturday night dining, by snowcat, multi-course meal. Go for the experience, but don't expect to be blown away by the food. By rez only.
Groceries: Stock up in Farmington (Hannaford's on the strip south of town or Tranten's downtown), fill in the cracks at Tranten's in Kingfield or the grocery store at the base of the access road (under same ownership as the one in the base village and Ayotte's down valley and Annie's in Kingfield, but this one tends to have the best selection of those). If you're fussy on wine, bring it with you. There's a small health food store in Farmington as well as a small gourmet store, Up Front and Pleasant, both on the back street paralleling Main St./Route 27. And of course, you never know what kinds of gourmet goodies you'll find in Reny's--food is in the basement level.
Meats/poultry/eggs/butter: Whitewater Farm, New Sharon. If you're approaching from Route 27 out of Augusta, when you hit Route 2 East, go a few miles and you'll see a farm and feed store on the right, a ranch-style building with trailer boxes next to it. Inside it's lined with fridges and freezers filled with goods from local farms (beef, chix, veal, pork, turkey, milk, butter, ice cream, etc.).
And if you happen to wander over to Saddleback in Rangeley for a daytrip (about a 45-minute drive), be sure to stop into Thai Blossom and pick up Thai takeout to bring back to your ski house. Be sure to read the story of this place--there's an article about the owner/chef blown up on the wall. He's a true hero, and a helluva cook, too!
Orange Cat Cafe
329 Main St, Kingfield, ME 04947
Sugarloaf Mtn, Kingfield, ME 04947
Valley Xing, Kingfield, ME 04947
I can't thank you enough for such terrific information! I've printed out your post and stashed it with our trip info, although I'm seriously considering just stapling it to the dashboard of our truck, just so I'm sure not to lose it!
A couple of follow-up questions, if you don't mind. . .
1/ Do you have any recommendations for any wine stores with a decent selection? Our home state funnels everything through pretty restrictive distributor channels, so it's always a lot of fun for me to shop for wines I don't ordinarily see at home.
2/ Any other recommendations for fine dining? We'll definitely hit One Stanley Avenue, and probably pass on Bullwinkle's (we have a Sat to Sat rental, and we'll be in late the first Saturday and gone early the second). But if there's anything else upscale worth hitting, we're game!
Thanks again for the terrific information-- I really appreciate your time!
This is Franklin county Maine, so definitely adjust your expectations. Most of the places in kingfield and cv would be barely passable in civilization. Stick to simple things like pizza and burgers. There used to be a good restaurant with great wine in Eustis called the Porter House, but in typical Franklin county fashion it burned to the ground. Lol.
If you're coming up from the south, via 95, Portland is your best bet for wine. I'd suggest starting a new discussion asking for Portland's best wine selection. I'm thinking Browne & Co., but there may be a better choice or two. Even at rush hour on a Friday afternoon, Portland is an easy-in/easy-out city off 295. You might want to make your request broader, and just ask for best wine selections of 95 between Kittery and Brunswick (Tess's Market, in Brunswick, is another possibility. Not sure what the selection is like now, but it sure is an experience).
Fine dining isn't this region's stronghold. It's not an upscale area, it's rural and sparsely populated. Chef Brian, who owned the much-missed Porter House, is at the Rangeley Inn, in Rangeley, in winter. But be forewarned that's it's a long, very long, dark, desolate road back to Sugarloaf at night (and white knuckle in snow squalls). I'd be more inclined to have lunch over that way, than dinner, unless you're used to driving such roads. If you are, another possibility is the Gingerbread House in Oquossoc (the food is supposed to be excellent; service can be horrendous--we walked out before getting to the food due to service issues)
A new place is opening in Stratton, where the diner used to be, but when I went by last week, it was still under renovation; you might ask around about it (it's about 10-15 minutes north of Sugarloaf on 27).
If you're up for a bit of an adventure, hike/ski/snowshoe into one of the Maine Huts for lunch. Poplar is the logical choice from the loaf, but it's 2.5 mostly uphill miles; and easy walk/ski is Flagstaff Hut, about an hour's drive from the loaf to the Long Falls Dam trailhead, then about a mile or so in to the full-service hut. Nothing fancy, but good hearty soups and chilis, home-baked breads, in an off-the-grid gorgeous location. Maine Huts has an office in Kingfield, next to Trantens Too, where you can pick up info/maps, etc.
Rangeley Lk, Oquossoc, ME 04964
Want to chime in that if the OPs makes it as far as Rangeley I also enjoy the food and views at the Country Club Inn. You are correct though that it can be a harrowing drive...and you did not even mention the scariest part...Moose wandering onto the road. Though maybe that is not a big problem in winter. I feel like I see a moose on or next to the road every time I drive between Rangeley and Eustis.