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Beyond lobster -- what else is good?

I am already drooling at the thought of eating Maine lobster, having a lobster roll or two, and maybe some Maine blueberries (if they are still around) when I visit the coast in early October.

BUT -- any other local specialties I should be aware of? What's exceptionally good? Local beers? Dishes unique to Maine? Local food products I should look for at the grocery store?

I'll be in OOB, then up the coast to Bar Harbor, so I have a lot of ground to cover and a lot of meals and snacks to consume in 6 days!

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  1. For something other than seafood, try 4 Points BBQ in Winterport.

    Baked goods at Friar's Bakehouse in Bangor....only open Tuesday through Friday I believe and from 8am until 2ish???

    1. Sea Dog makes a Wild Blueberry Wheat Ale. It actually tastes like what it is. Worth a try. You should be able to find it in grocery stores.

      9 Replies
      1. re: IWantFood

        That sounds kind of weird, but will look for it! Thanks. I hear there is also an odd-tasting soda called Moxie.

        1. re: MissLori

          Might as well try the Moxie, since you'll be in Maine! For a great Maine beer, I'd go with the Maine Beer Company (esp. the Leaf Peeper Ale). They are a small brewery and their beers are not easy to find outside of Maine. I just recently had a Bar Harbor Blueberry that was also pretty good, but it also made me realize that I just don't like that style of beer. Allagash beers are outstanding, especially their white.

          1. re: solargarlic

            Hopefully Moxie isn't as bad as the soda we tried in Puerto Rico - Malta. Blech.

              1. re: crawfish

                You may have just opened up a big can of worms. That might be fightin' words to some.

                1. re: MidCoastMaineiac

                  Whoops - sorry! I like Dr. Pepper.

                  How about I just say Moxie is a brown soft drink in the same "family" as cola, root beer, Brio and Dr. Pepper?

                  1. re: crawfish

                    Once upon a time, Moxie was the number one selling soda in America, ahead of Coke and Pepsi. Personally, I hate the stuff but force one down each year "just because". Do buy a Moxie shirt and wear it in different places around the globe. You'll be surprised with the number of Mainers there are out there who are attracted to the shirt like a moth to a candle.

                2. re: crawfish

                  No,Moxie tastes more like I think motor oil tastes(although I haven't tried the motor oil---LOL).
                  The Moxie and the motor oil have the same consistency IMO.

                3. re: MissLori

                  To me Moxie tastes like carbonated cough syrup. And not in a good way. ;) But folks that love it LOVE it.

          2. If you like ice cream , MDI ice cream has some very unusual flavors but some of the New England area homemade ice cream places have Indian Pudding ice cream in the fall. If you can find real Indian Pudding, that's even better but the only place I think I've seen it on the menu is Durgin Park in Boston. Used to be served at Howard Johnson restaurants. It's a very old time dessert based on molasses and cornmeal.

            1 Reply
            1. re: dfrostnh

              Funny you should mention HoJo's dfrostnh - Maine has the last HoJo's restauraunt in New England (in Bangor - 336 Odlin Road (207)-947-3464).

            2. I love lobster but there are other seafoods I find I crave more when I'm "away".

              Steamer clams - these are thinner shelled clams that don't ship well so not often available outside of New England. Usually served simply steamed with a cup of broth and some butter. They are sweet and delicious, don't even need the butter. Dunk in broth to rinse off any sand. My favorite Maine food!!!!
              Rock crab - once you've picked a few of these crabs you'll appreciate the lovely sweet and tender meat almost more than lobster. It's a ton of work to get a ridiculously minor amount of meat so no one serves them whole. The best way to enjoy them is in a crab roll.
              Maine shrimp - they're tiny but delicate in flavor. Try them in a shrimp roll!

              2 Replies
              1. re: crawfish

                I love Maine steamers just as much as I love the lobster. Always so plump, fresh and sweet whenever I get them in the Bar Harbor area.

                1. re: LStaff

                  I'll look for steamer clams when I'm in Bar Harbor. Will they be available in Oct, or are they a seasonal thing?

              2. You should probably have a steamed red hot dog while you are in Maine. Preferably with a steamed bun too - from a gas station.

                And a whoopie pie.

                And try some Gifford's Grapenut Ice Cream - it's my favorite!!

                9 Replies
                1. re: delong99

                  Now you're getting somewhere. A bean supper. With red hotdogs. Brown bread or homemade dinner rolls to sop up the bean juice. Perhaps a side of cole slaw or potato salad. Whoopie pie for desert...washed down with Moxie.

                  It's funny, I recently had a Moxie for the 1st time in probably 20 years...i grew up with my dad loving the stuff...and I thought it tasted like cough syrup (which might have been it's original intent?). Anyway, I had some over Christmas, thinking I'd still hate it...but I actually liked it! Go figure. It tasted sort of creamy to me...like a cross between root beer and a cream soda or something (don't quote my tasting notes). I was definitely not expecting that.

                  1. re: MidCoastMaineiac

                    The trouble is finding a bean supper where someone still makes brown bread and homemade rolls. Our local pie bakers are getting elderly. The beans are still good but I haven't seen brown bread in years at our local supper.

                    How could I forget whoopie pies!!! Chocolate with peanut butter filling is about our favorite but pumpkin is good, too.

                    1. re: dfrostnh

                      Went to a restaurant in Portland recently called "The Front Room" that makes their own brown bread. It's available as a side with brunch (instead of toast or english muffins) - so, so good! Much better than the stuff in the can.

                      Front Room Restaurant & Bar
                      73 Congress St Ste A, Portland, ME 04101

                    2. re: MidCoastMaineiac

                      YES, church suppers! It's true, I haven't seen brown bread (are you talking about the stuff you bake in a coffee can?) but the pies are the best! I love the canned baked bean section in Maine grocery stores - it's like 8 feet of beans! They have mix for the coffee can bread, too. My ex-pat Mainiac Mom always brings home canned Great Northern Beans, too.

                      1. re: crawfish

                        Ditto, gotta go down east. Joneport area has scallop stew and lobster chowder public suppahs.

                        1. re: Passadumkeg

                          That would be a treat. Our town just does ham, meat loaf and roast pork suppers. Two kinds of beans at every supper, though.
                          I've been researching brown bread recipes but will have to bake/steam in a loaf pan, I guess. At my brother's wedding, which was kind of a pot luck, some relative from her side brought his famous brown bread. Bet he saved the coffee can for umpteen years. We have a wood cook stove so I can make Indian pudding without running up the electric bill but I can't imagine getting a fire hot enough to bake bread and pies during the summer even if some of the folks in our area moved their kitchens out into the ell. In fact, I don't like to run the stove that hot in the winter. The old farm house is too well insulated now.

                        2. re: crawfish

                          Church suppers here in the Midwest are so different! Lots of pies and crumbles, potato casserole with the corn flakes on top, sloppy joes...stuff like that. I am intrigued with your brown bread in a can, especially now that it was a mystery basket ingredient on "Chopped" recently. Can I buy this at a grocery store somewhere? I'm thinking I need to pack light so as to bring home cans of bread and beans!

                          1. re: MissLori

                            Yes, B&M makes brown bread and Atlantic makes a similar Indian Pudding.

                            1. re: MissLori

                              ooh yes, and tater tot hotdish! and 7 layer salad!. :) Maybe that's just Iowa and Minnesota. ;)

                      2. Pickled winkles and and cod or haddock jerky. Fish cakes and beans for breakfast at the Rockland Cafe, the only place that has them that I know.
                        If you ever find salt fish and potatoes w/ pork scraps at a restaurant, let me know!

                        1. If you're traveling by RV, or lugging a hibachi/grill with you during your trip, or even renting rooms with kitchenettes, you may want to stop by the Sanford Butcher. They have incredible frozen cuts of beef, elk and pork. As well as locally made hot dogs, bacon and sausage. I always pack my coolers with their stuff when I'm heading home to Brooklyn. HB Provision in Kennebunk makes some damn good hashes, as well as sandwiches.

                          1. Are there any other non-seafood specialties of the area? Sandwiches maybe, or other dishes more unique to Maine? I've got a non-seafood eater traveling with me.

                            10 Replies
                            1. re: MissLori

                              If someone hasn't mentioned Morse's yet, it could be worth a small detour inland as you pass through Waldoboro. They're right on 220, about 7 miles north of Route 1; and they have a huge selection of sausages, meats, etc. and excellent pickles. And sauerkraut of course. Closed Wednesdays, they have a retail store and a small restaurant where they do breakfast and lunch. I love their stuff and always stop by when I'm in Maine.

                              1. re: harrie

                                I just went to Morse's for the first time. What a great place, definitely worth a stop if you're doing the Route 1 coastal drive. The garlic pickles are amazing.

                              2. re: MissLori

                                What area are we talking about again? Literally anywhere on the coast between OOB and Bar Harbor? Or just specifically OOB and Bar Harbor? There's some good suggestions above for non-seafood. I think a good plan is to go to a restaurant that we chowhounders recommend and you'll more than likely get plenty of non-seafood menu items. Unless it's a lobster shack. Or a specialty restaurant like Street & Co in Portland. If the place is good, then likely the food will be good (seafood and non-seafood).

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

                                1. re: MidCoastMaineiac

                                  We are starting in OOB and will be traveling up the coast to Bar Harbor over the course of a week. And eating all along the way. I'm sure we can find great seafood and non-seafood based on all the great restaurant recommendations here. But I just like to get an idea what people eat in Maine that's unique to other places (like the Midwest). Things like whoopie pies and lobster rolls and brown bread in a can. Things that someone from Maine couldn't find if they moved away. Those are the things I'd like to sample. Thanks again!

                                  1. re: MissLori

                                    We just did a visit to Portland. My friend is crazy for seasonal Pumpkinhead beer by Shipyard. You can visit the store in Portland and do a tasting. Non-beer lovers can have free tastes of the sodas they make.
                                    The "best" whoopie pie bakery is nearby. Two Fat Cats Bakery. The filling is definitely much better than average - light and creamy.
                                    I don't usually eat oysters so I was intrigued by the oysters and clams in the bins at the Fish Market on Commercial St in Portland labeled by where they came from (a particular river or point). It would be interesting to see if there was a noticeable difference in taste.
                                    Certain ice cream stores have indian pudding ice cream as a fall flavor. If you can find real indian pudding, that's even better. I think Howard Johnson's used to offer it as a dessert back in the 60s.
                                    Although not unique to Maine, my friend declared the poutine at Duckfat in Portland to be excellent. It was my first taste of this French Canadian treat - gravy and cheese curds over french fries.
                                    BTW in New England it's okay to have pie for breakfast.

                                    Two Fat Cats
                                    47 India St, D Portland, ME

                                    1. re: dfrostnh

                                      Two Fat Cats will spoil you for any other whoopie pie in Maine.

                                      You can totally taste the difference between oysters from different sources. It's very eye-opening. The restaurant on Commercial St. in the Harbor hotel has a pretty extensive oyster selection, though I haven't tried it. I had a sampler at the Senator in Augusta, of all places. Good deal and educational. Damariscotta is really the place to get oysters, though.

                                      I prefer grapenut ice cream to indian pudding.

                                      Shipyard Brewery tour/tasting is lot of fun. Partial to the Chamberlain's ale.

                                      You can also check out the very cool Meadery on Washington Ave just past Congress St. for a mead tasting -- there are six or seven varieites from sweet to bone-dry to flavored with hops or lavender. They started in the UFF (Urban Farm & Fermentory) incubator on Fox St. I don't know if it's open to the public or not, but if it is, they are doing extremely interesting work there, brewing local cider, giving seminars on mushroom hunting, pickle making, and the like.

                                      Two Fat Cats
                                      47 India St, D Portland, ME

                                      1. re: the_MU

                                        Wow, thanks for the info on UFF. What a great concept and I'd love to get there for some classes.

                                2. re: MissLori

                                  A boiled dinner, corned beef, spuds, cabbage and carrots. Check out Grange listings for bean or turkey suppers. Don't eat the local version of a submarine sandwich, the Eyetalian; very poor quality.

                                  1. re: Passadumkeg

                                    Now now, let's not be making blanket statements about the italian sandwiches. Depends where you get them - they can actually be very good in a basic kind of way; not fancy or super unique, but tasty nonetheless (washed down with a Moxie, of course).

                                    1. re: monopod

                                      I'm afraid I've givin up. I love the billboards though: "We serve Italians" (very liberal thinking), "Eat a Fresh Italina (Canabalism or kinky?). I'll stick to Big "G's" for my sandwiches.

                                3. American chop suey (can often be the "blue plate" special at diners)
                                  Marshmallow Fluff (slap it on bread with peanut butter and you have the fluffernutter)
                                  Pot Roast
                                  Popovers (at the Jordan Pond house in Acadia)

                                  1. Ployes (northern Maine)

                                    That funky neon green fruit salad with marshmallows in it. At least I think that's unique to Maine/New England. Haven't seen it anywhere else. You know, the stuff old ladies bring to pot lucks and funerals.

                                    5 Replies
                                    1. re: MidCoastMaineiac

                                      Watergate salad! Looks like it's also popular in the upper midwest. Go figure.

                                      1. re: MidCoastMaineiac

                                        I bought a community cookbook from the mid-west about 18 years ago. I think mid-western cooks were/are much more creative with Jello than we are in New England. Haven't seen a decent Jello salad in years. Even the church supper only has one or two and it's the simple fruit and jello kind. No marshmallows. No sour cream. That's another thing we used to get at Howard Johnson's ... plain jello. I think it came with the meals as "the salad".

                                        Maybe add Schonland hot dogs to the list.

                                        1. re: dfrostnh

                                          Neon "red snapper" hot dogs at Irvings gas stations. A "real" Maine tradition!

                                      2. re: MidCoastMaineiac

                                        Creton or pork pie and blood sausages too from the Quebecois influence.

                                        Fish cakes and beans at The Rockland Cafe, the only thing I eat there.

                                        1. re: Passadumkeg

                                          Dot's Bakery in Round Pond(if you make it that far South)for the best Blueberry Pie around!!!!