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Aug 8, 2013 07:47 AM

Freaking Out about 1st Portland Trip- Great Seafood, Great Beer- Any Advice on this Itinerary Much Appreciated

NY Chowhounder here heading to Maine tonight. I've been scouring these boards for the past two months trying to figure out our plan but I'm feeling overwhelmed...there are so many great sounding options with such little time!

Short info on us- We are a bit obsessed with beer (okay a LOT obessed with beer) and love fresh seafood. This is my short plan...with many questions.

Hopefully make it out to Portsmouth (traffic willing) by about 8-9 and stop at Portsmouth Brewery and Red hook for some beers. Not sure where we should eat that night...maybe just one of those places? Anything great nearby? Find a hotel room somewhere and crash.

Wake up and hit one store at the outlets really quick, grab a quick bite somewhere (suggestions?) then keep driving past Portland to the Maine Brewing Co. Tasting room by noon. Stay there for about an hour or so sampling their beers on draft and hopefully pick up some bottles to take back with us. Then drive from there to the Allagash Brewing Co. and do a tasting of their drafts and pick up some more bottles. From there we plan to head into Downtown Portland, check into the hotel and ditch the car.

Dinner Friday night- thinking Street & Company early (6ish) followed by a drink at Grace Restuarant just to see the space, then over to Novare Res to camp out and drink everything local and delicious we can.

Saturday- Wake up and explore the town in the AM. Stop at Standard Bakery for a sticky bun and blueberry scone, do a little shopping then head to Eventide right around noon for lunch. Get the Chinese Bun Lobster Roll...if it's too crowded maybe just lunch at Twenty Milk Street in the hotel? Then go back down to Infiniti Distilling for a beer or two or Sebago before heading back to the hotel to get ready for a wedding that night. Possible stop again at Novare Ris late night.

We have brunch reservations with friends at Twenty Milk Street...might cancel. This is the day I'm most confused about. We have so much left we still want to do. A stop at Bier Cellar is a must, maybe followed by a trip to Great Lost Bear for beers then food at Fisherman's Grill. Do you think the wait on a Sunday afternoon will be crazy?

I also keep thinking about Ebenezer Pub up in Lovell...It seems like a long trip up there but the beer looks amazing! Do you guys think it's worth the trip? I would also like to see what Mama's Crow Bar is all about at some point and try out some Oxbow beers since I have yet to experience that brewery.

If we stay in town maybe happy hour at Outlier Eatary then dinner at Eventide/Street & Co. if we missed out on one of those earlier in the trip. At some point I want to fit in Whoopie Pies, the Thirsty Pig, a slab and cannoli at Micucci's and Gritty Mcduff's. Obviously I have a LOT I want to do and am having trouble cutting things out and figuring what works best time wise. Any advice at all would be really helpful. We leave on Monday morning so we don't have a ton of time. Thanks in advance!

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  1. Portsmouth, Surf is pretty good,on the water. Lovell is quite a haul and I would say your time would be better spent at novare res where you"d have a hard time putting much of a dent in their wonderfull selection of beers,ales, stouts etc.

    4 Replies
    1. re: LeRique

      Surf looks great...and right near the breweries. Thanks!

      1. re: LeRique

        Ebeneezers has the best Belgian Beer selection I've ever been a part of so if Belgian is your thing it's a pilgrimage. That and later this month is Belgian week, they could have amped up their selections. That being said, the lakes are great swimming in crystal clear water,

        1. re: LeRique

          My wife and I liked Surf too when we stayed in town in May. Just got the raw bar (awesome shucking job and good selection of oysters) and some apps but everything was impeccably fresh and well prepared. A couple decent craft beers on tap - I hit up Lagunitas Little Sumpin a couple of times it was so fresh.

          And we've always had great meals at Jumpin' Jays.

          1. re: LeRique

            New for me this summer was Martingdale Wharf, right (near) on the decks in Portsmouth. A really great bar area too.

            I'm a big fan of the food at the Brewery, but if you want something a little nicer, then there are a lot of those places in Portsmouth.

            If you like a great selection of beer, you could head over the bridge into Kittery (literally) and hit The Black Birch. The food is fab too. Very casual.



          2. Hopefully a local Portlander can chime in; I'm only there periodically but love Street & Co. I've also heard great things about Hugo's but haven't been yet. Basically I've loved every place I've been to so I think you'll be happy no matter what you do, there is too much competition there for the locals to tolerate blah food. It's pretty amazing.

            Separately, you might consider picking up some wild Maine blueberries on your way home. I think your timing will be perfect. I've read about Stewart's Farm; not sure if it'd work with your timing/route but if it does how awesome would that be:

            The Stewart’s Farm
            Rte 1A in Stockton Springs
            Portland, ME
            Phone: 207-879-1667
            Open August 1st until Labor Day from 8 am to sunset.
            Pick your own or we’ll pick them for you.

            2 Replies
            1. re: Niblet

              Locally in Portland, Rosemont Markets & Rosemont Produce have wild blueberries in stock right now--organic ones. they're so good this year!

              1. re: Niblet

                This would be a great thank you treat for our friends who are lending us the car- awesome.

              2. Don't freak out! You've made some good choices.
                A couple thoughts.
                You mention eating at your hotel restaurant a couple times. If convenience is the reason you've made this choice, geographically there's no reason to do so--the Regency is smack in the middle of the Old Port, Portland's tourist district, and you'll be surrounded by many of the places you've read about on the forums. The Commercial street area with all the places with outside dining on the water (Infiniti, the Porthole, etc.; as well as Standard Baking/Fore St) ), the Old Port itself (sonny's, thirsty pig, Novare, grittys, etc.) and the Middle St/India St. area (Duckfat, Micucci, Two Fat Cats, Eventide, Hugo's, etc) are very, very nearby.

                A couple good brunch places close to your hotel are Sonny's, Vignola/Cinque Terre and the Porthole (more breakfasty--but outside deck dining).

                If you're going to be in Freeport for your Maine Beer Co. tastings around about lunchtime you could go to Jamieson's Tavern for lunch and skip having to drive out Forest Ave to the Fisherman's Grill. It's run by the former operator and the food is just as good as it was when he was at FG.

                4 Replies
                1. re: sultanaboudreau

                  Wow- Jameson's Tavern wasn't even on my radar. I was thinking we might need something to eat between breweries-this is perfect! Then we can take our time getting into Portland a bit more. Is the wait just a bad as Fisherman's can be or a little better? Just want to time it right...maybe around 2:00ish.

                  1. re: roze

                    I've only been there during the week---so I'm not sure but I wouldn't imagine so? Maybe bobbert or one of the other locals will chime in?

                  2. re: sultanaboudreau

                    You meant Vignola/Cinque Terre, which is in the Old Port. Caiola's brunch is also very good but a longer hike from the Regency. If the OP does want to go to the Longfellow Square area, the brunches at Pai Men Miyake and Local 188 are both outstanding.

                    And if you (OP) can't get in to Eventide, don't go back to the hotel--go across the street to either Duckfat or the East Ender.

                    1. re: sciencediet

                      doh--yes! Edited.
                      Caiola is also a good brunch, but further away in the West End, and a tiny neighborhood spot. I prefer Local or Pai Men around that neighborhood--

                  3. Just going to say, don't freak out! There is SO MUCH great food to be had in Portland that you would be hard pressed to find a bad meal. Two things: Caiola's is really good for brunch, but be sure to reserve. Also, go the the bakery at the back of Micucci's for the utterly delicious luna bread (not at lunch, when they bake pizza, which is also delish if you like a thick crust). While you are in the hood, stop at Duckfat. I love the poutine, but just fries with a selection of sauces is good and they make a good vanilla shake!

                    1. Since you seem to be needing some late-night eats, I would check out Blue Rooster Food Co. -- the proprietor is the former exec chef at Bar Boulud in NYC. The menu reminds me of Cochon Butcher in New Orleans, which is a very very good thing.

                      We will actually be doing a hit and run at Blue Rooster tomorrow night -- can't wait to try it.


                      2 Replies
                      1. re: Bob W

                        Just wanted to follow up. We made it to Blue Rooster at 12:30 am. Due to the late hour, I just got a Das Boot dog and a small side of fried Brussels Sprouts. Both really good. This place should not be missed.

                        NB: If you go late at night, be prepared for an abundance of drunks milling about.

                        1. re: Bob W

                          Does the Das Boot dog come in a sub roll? ;~)