Home of lobster rolls, whoopie pies, lighthouses and LL Beans, Maine, ME is the state for those who are nature loving and foodies who are seeking for a fresh taste of the Atlantic.
This July 4th weekend my family and I decided to hit the road on the interstate 95 to see what Maine has to offer. It was the first vacation with my sister-in-law’s family, the marriage of the Chan’s and the Yeung’s since 2006. With ten adults and my 5 months old niece baby Audrey on the road for nearly 72 hours on a not for hire van was what would seem to be a scene from Little Miss Sunshine.
July 3, 2010 (Day 1 Portland, ME):
Maine located at the very end of the Northeast of America and approximately 6 hours drive from New York City. Our first stop was the oldest lighthouse in Maine, Portland Head Lighthouse. Before visiting the lighthouse, we made a lunch stop at a Thai restaurant we randomly pulled up to the parking lot of, Pom’s Thai Taste. Sticking to our Asian roots and a cuisine familiar to our taste palette or at least for our parents. We entered to what seemed to be someone’s home and our experience at Pom’s Thai Taste was exactly that, home style Thai cooking and friendly hospitality. The decor was an essence of Thailand with shrines honoring the ancestors and a description plaque which I found it cute making the restaurant feel like a tourist attraction. Being recently unemployed and somewhat still reminiscing the workdays during lunch hours where my coworkers and I frequent Thai Chai Yo in Chelsea, I ordered what I usually ordered the Paad Khee- Mao (Drunken Noodle) with Fried Tofu except it is Pom’s version. The English translation is misleading, don’t worry mom it’s non alcohol. Paad Khee-Mao is a noodle dish with the use of the flat rice noodle. The spiciness and the fragrance of the basil was aromatic. The noodle dish was a bit salty but the texture of the noodle was al dente which is a plus. Along with the Paad Khee-Mao, I had to order a Thai iced tea and there was free refills! — that’s very rare in the city. Follow Pom’s Thai Taste on Facebook (cute!), apparently their really big on complimentary giveaways.
Portland, is the city of Maine and it the port of commerce for seafood. It resembles a lot like South Street Seaport in Lower Manhattan or Pike Street Market in Seattle, WA with boutique shops and a good variety of gourmet restaurants. We sailed out to tour Portland and I spotted a lot of fishermen in action, some puffins and seals, lighthouses, and very colorful buoys. For the evening we had a lobster dinner near our hotel, Newick’s Lobster House. Without any research, we took a gamble and it was worth every penny. On the menu, anything lobster was priced as “market priced.” Being it is in season and lobsters are high in demand in the months of late May through August, Newick’s Lobster House had reasonable family friendly priced menu with a variety of choices even catered to my mom who is a vegetarian. I’m not big on lobsters but as a delicacy of Maine it’s a must! We ordered a fried calamari to share and I shared with my sister a seafood chowder, a steamed lobster with melted butter with coleslaw baked potato on the side and a strawberry vinaigrette coconut shrimp salad. –yeah we pigged out! The lobster was prepared simply steamed and was very easy to eat without the use of the lobster cracker. The lobster meat was juicy and tender and really did not require any butter. The strawberry vinaigrette coconut shrimp salad was outstanding! The strawberry was fresh and vibrant in color with the contrast of the greens and the coconut shrimps gave the dish an Asian flare.
July 4th, 2010 (Day 2 Bar Harbor, ME)
3 hours from Portland was a small town with a lot of character, Bar Harbor, Maine. A followup to the lobster feast, we stopped by at a lobster shack, The Docksider Restaurant for a lobster roll. The lobster roll is getting attention here at the Big Apple as the next burger, hot dog, sandwich, so I was curious what the hype is all about. The lobster roll is essentially lobster meat on a hot dog bun or at The Docksider Restaurant served on a toasted buttered slice of white bread. The way the lobster was prepared, it was cooked in an outdoor brick well with a wooden lid cover in what looked like a lobster hot spring. It was on the more expensive side for $17.99. Finally, the anticipation is over the lobster rolls were in styrofoam containers literally the size of a hot dog. The lobster meat was disappointingly unseasoned and dried and the white bread tasted like yeasty Wonder bread. The Docksider Restaurant’s lobster roll is overly priced and the quality disappoints Maine as the lobster state. Wish we had gone to Red Eat’s!
Maine is not all about the lobsters but it is a huge outdoor, hiking, biking state. It is named top 3 biker states of America. A nice find was the Acadia National Park. It has over 48,000 acres with spectacular ocean views on the summit of Cadillac Mountain. We then head to Bar Harbor for a tour of the local shops with many that are hiking gear related and for dinner at the Portside Grill. Being lobster out, I ordered a portabello napoleon, a portabello mushroom, with a tomato, fresh mozzarella, spinach, pesto in a pastry puff top with a blueberry lemonade which tasted like blue jello. The blueberry a la mode pie was a winner across our table.
July 5, 2010 (Day 3, Kittery, ME –> HOME!)
The next morning we ate breakfast that gradually turned into lunch at The Old Country Buffet. This is the reason why America are obese and are demanding health insurance. Sure for $4.99 per person for breakfast is an amazing deal but the quality of the food is heart burn, cholesterol, to a stroke. It’s disgusting. Finally, we end the our three day Chan- Yeung family vacation with a shopping spree at an outlet in Kittery, ME.
Pom’s Thai Taste ///571 Congress Street Portland, ME 04101
Newick’s Lobster House /// 200 Gorham Rd. South Portland, ME
The Docksider Restaurant /// 14 Sea Street Northeast Harbor, ME
PortSide Grill /// 38 Cottage Street Downtown Bar Harbor, ME
The Old Country Buffet /// 517 Maine Mall – South Portland, ME 04106