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Grazing in Portland ME

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Greetings 'hounds,

Me and the Mrs are hitting Portland this September for just 2 nights and are looking for places to bounce around eating small plates without reservations - so far have the following plans to eat along with some nice microbrews.

* Grace: try some charcuterie, the bone marrow homage and other light things, beers
* Novare Res: Taco, Quesadilla and some beers
* Duckfat fries to finish (maybe a beer)

If anyone has comments on these three - especially if there are better options or specific things to try at Grace - would be awesomely welcome.

The second night we are planning going to a great food store to try various things (we are in a condo unit so have a kitchen), but might change that if we get more ideas on grazing

Thanks in advance
Mr Q

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  1. Suggest the fried oyster bun at Eventide, right across from Duckfat.

    1. The foodie tour of the Old Port area is a good way to do some grazing. It ended at the brewery within walking distance of Duckfat. We did not get a list of stops so I don't remember the market with lots of nice cheeses etc. I liked the samples of smoked trout at the fish market.

      When you go to Duckfat, it's going to be a difficult choice between the fries with cheese sauce and the regular fries. It's worth it to pay extra to try the different dipping sauces.

      We stayed in a condo too and planned a dinner in. I came prepared with a special curried cherry tomato sauce to use for shrimp cocktail. I also bought some freshly picked crab to put into a crab dip.

      1. Excellent picks. Portland is a great grazing town. Just the other night three of us hit up 5 spots (only ate at 4) and were not overly full. I’m not bragging – just pointing out that you don’t have to limit yourself to three places.

        Grace: Nice choices. I like upstairs best for eating/cocktails. I think it's the best location to take in the place which really is special or maybe I just like looking down on people:)

        Novare Res: Haven't had the taco. Not too thrilled with the quesadilla. Enjoyed the sausage. Really liked splitting the Bahn Mi the other night and had some nice cheese selections. I think they do a great job with food especially considering that it's a beer place.

        Duckfat: Of course. And I agree with happensatonce about Eventide and the oyster bun - imo both of these places are best done midafternoon or late.

        For nice Italian meats for the indoor night, try Micucci's (on India St - a stone's throw from Duckfat). At least walk through Harbor Fish. If you don't buy anything it's a classic photo op. I'm a fan of Browne Trading on Commercial St. Great smoked fish, caviars (I'm not a caviar lover but I hear it's the place for it). Also a great wine shop. This might be the fish market dfrostnh mentioned with the smoked trout???

        If you're in town on a Wednesday, farmer's market at Monument Square. It's in Deering Oaks Park on Saturday morning - by the way, a very nice park to walk through - designed by Frederick Olmstead (New York's Central Park among others). Totally underappreciated by most of the locals.

        4 Replies
        1. re: bobbert

          The cannoli at Micucci's are outstanding! Would make a great finish to any meal.

          I have a Micucci's bumper sticker on my car now!

          1. re: Bob W

            The Sfogliatelle at Micucci are even more exciting. They are a very crispy pastry shaped like a big clam. Try one!

            1. re: vbm

              Oh believe me, I have! And they are excellent. I totally recommend them for a dessert after enjoying a sicilian slab.

              I note the cannoli because I know people love them but so often they are really disappointing

              1. re: Bob W

                Stephen, the baker, pizza guy, etc. bakes all the pastries in house. The stuff is not shipped in from away. Warning 're the sfogliatelle. Do not try to eat it while driving. It will end up all over you making it impossible to try telling your wife that you did not go to micucci AGAIN.

        2. My husband and I usually eat out this way...its quite fun and you can easily graze for 2 (or more days) in Portland! If you do decide to cook in your room, Rosemont is a great shop in addition to the others already mentioned, tho.
          I think your choices at Grace are fine, and sitting upstairs is definitely the better option. The food at Novare Res is definitely secondary to the beer and the giant outdoor deck--I would simply have a beer there then walk up to Sonny's for an empanada and some yam fries, or sit at the kitchen bar at the Corner Room for antipasti--they have a great cheese selection as well as lots of house cured meats--don't get dissuaded but the gigantic high/low menu--the antipasti is quite good. Other grazing favorites: Figa and Bar Lola, which are outside of the Old Port tourist district but aren't too far of a walk, particularly if you're already going to Grace; Boda Thai, one of my favorite things on the menu are the spanish peanuts roasted with thai bird chile; and Pai Men Miyake, for yakitori, pork buns, shumai and pretty much everything; and Zapoteca for the carnitas. I'd second Eventide: it will be super busy, just as Duckfat will be busy--people seem to have even started tailgating at Duckfat--, as Bobbert implies, at prime time, but it's lively and not too bad--if you want to sit quickly, you should probably go early in the gap between lunch and dinner times tho. I think us Portlanders are pretty smitten with Eventide at the moment--it filled a dining gap for us quite nicely. Duckfat is fine, as well--both the poutine and the fries are good.
          enjoy your trip!

          1 Reply
          1. re: sultanaboudreau

            Wow...thanks so much for the amazing responses. We were looking forwarding to going back to Portland, but now it's even more enticing. Last time we were there we hit Pai Men Miyake and Local 188 but are more in the centre of town this time. Eventide in particular sounds wonderful, as does Micucci’s. We thought Bar Lola might be so busy that you can’t get a table, but may give it a go. And the fact that Sonny's sells panko-fried avocado is making me salivate happily.

            Okay - an evening of surfing through all these places awaits; thanks again for all the input - we will be sure to report back.