|Cafe au Lait at Speckled Ax in downtown Portland|
From there, we walked down Congress Street - one of the main areas of downtown - that was dotted with historic architecture and snowy city parks.
|Park on Congress Street|
Honestly, after DuckFat, I thought Eventide Oyster Company was going to be a madhouse. I was steeling myself for a crazy hour wait for lunch. But within five minutes we were seated at the bar and had local oysters and litteneck clams on the way and brunch cocktails in hand.
|Littleneck clams and a dozen local oysters at Eventide|
You guys... the menu. It's insane. I wanted to taste everything on it. And, damn near did. I started off with the Fluke Carpaccio which was served with these gorgeous watermelon radishes and spiked with jalapeno pepper. Next - hat tip Jim Webster - I had the Fried Oyster Bun. We're talking perfectly fried oysters nestled in a Asian-style soft steamed bun. I could have eaten four more of them.
But I had to poach off my dining companion's plate. After all, he had the Lobster Benny - a decadent take on Eggs Benedict - and the Lobster Roll with Brown Butter Vinaigrette (they also make a mayo based version if that's your vice.)
|Clockwise: Fluke Carpaccio, Oyster Bun, Lobster Roll, Lobster Benny|
As we digested, we chatted with the bartender and tried more of the great local beers and liquors. In particular, I had really liked the Portland-made Ingenium Gin - and Eventide made me a gin and tonic with their house-made tonic that was right up my alley. (On the beer front, I became a huge fan of the Oxbow.)
|Ingenium Gin and Eventide House-Made Tonic|
At this point, we either needed a nap or to walk it all off. But the sun was breaking through, and I was amped to see the water, so we headed up Munjoy Hill to check out Casco Bay.
It was so cool to see people sledding down a snowy hill with beaches at the base. The Eastern Promenade allows you to easily walk from Munjoy Hill all the way around to the harbor and back downtown.
|Walking the Eastern Promenade along Casco Bay|
As cool as walking a snowy beach is, my feet were freezing in my rookie Floridian boots, so we headed up from the harbor into downtown to check out the boutiques. JL Coombs on Exchange Street hooked me up with some wool socks and a pair of fuzzy warm snow boots. I was much warmer after that and insisted that we keep the day going at The Thirsty Pig across the street.
|Allagash White and new boots at The Thirsty Pig|
We had some time to kill before our dinner reservation at Street & Co., so we wandered around downtown. One of my favorite finds was Vera's Fizz House on Fore Street which is stocked with all kinds of bar accessories and ingredients. Basically, everything to make your booze better. And, there's a tasting bar in the back that also makes hot chocolate, cider and more. We left with all kinds of bitters, tonic syrups and stirrers to make our home bar better.
|Vera's Fizz House|
Our final meal that day was at Street & Co. I was exhausted, and possibly still full from all of the other things we'd had all day. But, the Linguine with Clams and White Sauce was worth every bite... even the ones I had the following day as we ate leftovers in the hotel room.
|Linguine with Clams & White Sauce at Street & Co|
As I collapsed into bed, I was already thinking, "Where are we going to eat tomorrow before our flight?" I might have a problem.