Maine Trip Report
I'll try to keep this relatively brief, since most of these places are well known.
Bob's Clam Hut, Kittery: Either very disappointing, or our expectations were too high. Lobster rolls seemed very dry. No lettuce leaf, and the roll was not buttered. Maybe fried clams is the way to go here-- the lob roll certainly is not. And no extra points for the setting -- just a few feet from US 1
Street & Company, Portland: Really good. We especially enjoyed our "tastes" -- halibut-stuffed peppers, smoked salmon-stuffed eggs, and heirloom tomato crostini. Entrees were excellent. The bread comes from Standard Baking. Oysters from North Haven and Nonesuch in Scarborough were on the small side but very flavorful.
Becky's Diner, Portland: Good filling breakfasts before a day of activity.
Paciarino, Portland: This is a small gem. Very homey, more excellent bread, homemade pasta, and a great dessert find: "Boccondivino," espresso-soaked amaretto cookie sandwiches with a layer of mascarpone. Think macarons crossed with tiramisu.
Gelato Fiasco: Portland: Very good, wide array of flavors. Was hoping to try an affogato but no way after our meal at Paciarino. The smallest size dish of grapefruit sorbetto was more than enough for me.
158 Pickett Street, South Portland: The usual excellent bagels. We were disappointed they were out of smoked salmon, so the nice guy behind the counter gave us a chocolate chip cookie. Really like this place.
Micucci's, Portland: Picked up a Sicilian slab and two cannoli. Outstanding. Could not see any decline since the baker/slab inventor left.
Standard Baking, Portland. Picked up a loaf of rustic bread (what we got at Street & Co), a couple olive rolls, and a blueberry scone. Not easy to walk out of there without one of everything.
Fisherman's Grill, Portland: Another place that has survived some change. The new owner is a really nice guy. We got lobster cocktail (my daughter asked for it, then decided she didn't want it, so Mrs W and I "had" to eat it) and a jumbo lobster roll. Can't say enough about this place. The lobster is superb.
A1 Diner, Gardiner. I would imagine the wait at busy times can be long, but we arrived after the breakfast rush and got right in. Funky little place. Very good breakfasts. The lunch menu looked very interesting. The walk to the bathroom is one of the more unusual around -- you go out the front door, walk around the diner, walk over a grate that, if it collapsed would smash you to bits about 40 feet below, hang a left, then go back inside to the bathroom, which is right next to the kitchen.
Maynard's Chocolates, Winslow: Great little find. It's a small shop in a nondescript little plaza. When we walked in the lady was making a batch of turtles. They probably do most of their business on line, but it was nice to see the wares. This is a more traditional chocolate shop: Nut clusters, barks, needhams, chocolate dipped fruit, etc.
Five Islands Lobster Company, Georgetown. Excellent seafood in a beautiful setting. Lobsters were coming in the entire time we were there, so the freshness is hard to beat. The quintessential Maine lobster experience.
Note: We were sad to see that MainSweets in Georgetown appears to have vanished, so I was unable to try their needhams.
Cameron's Lobster House, Brunswick: This is a funny little place. You can still get car hop service if you want. I was not in an eating mood but Mrs. W tried the lobster BLT (after trying the fried lobster here last year). I thought it was a little on the pricy side, but she liked it a lot.
re: Bob W
Paciarino is such a versatile recommendation for this board. It works so well for kid friendly. I also find it a great spot when I have visitors from away who are not adventurous eaters who would be happy at Olive Garden but would never appreciate many of the more complex offerings around town. You get to eat great homemade pastas and sauce and they usually are blown away by how good those things can really taste.
Fisherman's Grill is similar in that "all fried clams taste the same" vein. After my first order there, fried clams moved several notches up the ladder in my food hierarchy. Just never knew how good they could be.