Monday, September 14, 2009

The Maine thing, part I

Prior to my impending departure from the Great State o' Maine, I thought perhaps I should pass along some insider information in the event some of you gentle readers ever found yourself vacationing in Vacationland. You can go here, here, here and here for some previous tidbits too.

This will be the greater Portland edition. Portland is the largest city in Maine - which under no circumstances means actually "large" - and has a bunch of fun stuff to do and see and eat and drink. (Next installment: eating and drinking beyond Portland!)

Breakfast means Becky's Diner - just get there well before 9:00 a.m. on the weekends to avoid a half hour (minimum) wait. If you're just looking for coffee and a pastry, try Arabica or Coffee By Design for the former, and Standard Baking Co. for the latter. And stop by Two Fat Cats Bakery (practically next door to CBD on India Street) for cookies, cupcakes or fabulous pies to go.

Non-breakfast meal options abound in Portland. Some of my favorites are: Yosaku (sushi), the Front Room (no reservations and BUSY - but worth it), Shays on Monument Square ($5 pineapple martinis), Flatbread Company (hippie pizza), the Foreside Tavern, Dogfish Cafe, Katahdin and Vignola (the last two are spendy but really good, the two just ahead of them are way more reasonable and still good). If it's nice weather and you absolutely must have a lobster roll (or steamers or fried clams or etc.), head out to the Lobster Shack at Two Lights. You won't believe the piece of real estate this little place sits on.

Ah, beer. Maine has about a kajillion micro- and craft brewers; in Portland alone there's Gritty's (Portland's original brewpub), Sebago, Seadog, Shipyard, Geary's ... Your best bet, however, is to go to the amazing beer bar, The Great Lost Bear. They have 65 taps: order a sampler - they let you pick your own - and figure out which Maine breweries you want to roadtrip to that way. I do recommend that you eat beforehand, however, as the Bear's cuisine is not that, um, good.

Portland-area readers, what are your favorites? What have I missed that people need to know about?

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