Weekend Trips: Portland, Maine (Day Two)

The first order of business for me each day is a cup of coffee - and I had spotted a place called Speckled Ax on the walk home the night before. Portland is serious about it's coffee and the Ax is no exception. I ordered up a cafe au lait to fuel my walk.

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
Cold again, we were coming upon Fore Street which a lot of people had recommended (hey, we can only fit so much in!) It was so quaint and beckoning that we had to go inside and check it out. This is most definitely on my list for next time. This time, we just stayed for a drink and a perusal of the menu.
Manhattan at Fore Street
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. 


Anonymous said...

Skipping Fore Street to go to Street & Co was a mistake.

Anonymous said...

No time spent at Novare Res? It's the best beer bar north of NYC!

J.L. Coombs Portland said...

Thanks for mentioning us! Glad to keep your feet toasty! Sounds like you had a great visit!

Anonymous said...

As a Portland local i am pretty impressed with your choices. Yes to Fore Street for next time. Piccolo will be impossible to get into come warm weather. You hit 2 of the best coffee shops in town, etc, etc. Great job and so many more places left for your next trip.

Tammy Gordon said...

Thanks everyone!