Pleasant surprise in the Downeast (ME) food desert
Was just on business overnight in the Machias area. This a.m., needed a place for breakfast, and through some local knowledge found "Smoky Toast", a breakfast and lunch place in (of all places) Jonesboro: Rt. 1, but easy to miss. Local owner makes her own breads, lobster at every meal, and a excellent basic breakfast at a very reasonable price. This is definitely a local place, and nothing gourmet about it...but everything my colleagues and I ate was delicious, home-style, and worth looking for.
In contrast, ate dinner last night at the "famous" Helen's in Machias. Supposedly "all local," my colleagues had various versions of haddock, which was OK, but since there is no ground fishing east of Pt. Clyde, no more local than if you ate it in Portland or Boston. My fried clams were nicely breaded and battered, and local from Harrington...but not carefully shucked, so that more than half were bitter. Famous for pie, it was terrible: purported lard crust was solid and inedible, blueberries had a hint of cinnamon, but were actually under-sugered and bland. Do yourself a favor: avoid this place, regardless of the national mag recommendations.
Downeast Maine - I preume that you mean eastern Hancock and Washington counties - is by no stretch of anyone's imagination a "food desert" and it's a shame to promote that inaccuracy. No Michelin stars, at least not at the moment, but plenty of wonderful food, as is evident elsewhere on this board. I'm glad that you liked "Smoky Toast." There's MUCH more good food Downeast!