As you all know, I currently live in Portland, Maine. I live about 1/4 of a mile from the Back Cove, close to Hannaford, Whole Foods and Trader Joe's and a short drive uphill to the Old Port, which is the restaurant hub of the city. Portland is charming, located on the shores of Casco Bay and is filled with nautical undertones of decor and seafood everywhere you look. In short, I absolutely love this quaint city. Even though I love it here, I find myself going to the same restaurants quite frequently. Today, I'm going to stray from my usual recipes and give you a foodie's tour of some of my favorite places to eat in Portland.
Bayside American Cafe
One tip I have for Bayside is to get there by 8 AM. Yes, wake up early or else you will be waiting for 30,45, or even 60 minutes. I've spent a fair amount of time waiting, but it is always..always..always worth it. The corned beef hash is heavenly, and even better with sriracha. The eggs florentine benedict is also amazing. It's a poached egg on top of an english muffin with sauteed spinach and tomatoes with a red onion gravy. Need I say more?
Caiola's has been my favorite for brunch and dinner for almost 2 years now. It's a small restaurant with a front dining room, back dining room and outdoor patio seating. I've been here a lot...I mean a lot. I've tried nearly every delicious thing on their menu- from polenta fries, goat cheese risotto on top of a roasted red pepper bed, the homemade burger, cannelloni, eggplant parmesan, chicken marsala, you name it. Their desserts are out of this world. They get a 10/10 on creativity. I chose Caiola's for a brunch option because it's reasonably priced, quiet and the servers are amazing. Their benedict is scrumptious with a delicious hunk of ham to buffer the egg and english muffin.
Blake Orchard Juicery
Blake's Orchard is a juicery and smoothie bowl store. It's definitely a good fit for Portland. Who doesn't love a delicious smoothie bowl? I got a green smoothie; the base was light, but the toppings make this smoothie bowl crave worthy and satisfying. It's a perfect mid morning snack. The granola on top of these bowls are amazing with dehydrated strawberries, sweet, nutty clusters, and chewy blueberries. You can tell that the woman who runs this place has an appreciation for the art of smoothie making. Their instagram is a must follow! Even though this place might be considered 'pricey' for some people, I would much rather pay for fresh, quality ingredients and to support a local business. So much yum!
Get the truffle ketchup. I repeat, GET THE TRUFFLE KETCHUP. Not only does it sound fancy, it's absolutely amazing. Duckfat is the perfect lunch spot. The interior is super cool and casual. You will also most likely become friends and/or talk to the people sitting next to you due to the communal type of seating. If you're anti-social, good luck with this place. They also have a cool magnetic board with a bunch of letters to make your own sentences while waiting for your food. The panini sandwiches are yummy combinations of meats, cheeses and veggies and the french fries are crispy and salty, down to the last crunchy remains at the bottom of the cup. The milkshakes are also a must. They're decadent and creamy and make you feel like you are going to gain 5 pounds. It's worth it though.
It would probably be insane for me to say that I like Flatbread's pizza over every single pizza that I ate in Italy. There's something about the sauce, the flat chewy, but crunchy crust and salty cheese that keeps me coming back. I've probably devoured enough small Flatbread's pizzas to feed a small village. Not only is their pizza delicious, inexpensive, and quick..their drinks are amazing. The lemonade and blueberry lemonade (alcoholic) is so sweet and satisfying. The blueberry lemonade was lemonade, blueberry puree, vodka, maple syrup and a maple sugar rim. Flatbread's is a good year round choice and nothing beats their outdoor seating with a front row view of the ferries leaving and returning to Casco Bay.
I might be slightly obsessed with Taco Escobarr. The soft, puffy and crunchy tacos are all muy muy muy bien. The burrito bowl is jammed packed with fresh meat, and toppings. This place is totally vibey and good for late night eating and cravings as you sit under the hundreds of mini chili pepper string lights on the ceilings and stare at the strange skeletons on the wall. Chips and salsa are a must- the salsa is fresh, sweet and spicy. The margaritas are yummy, with fresh squeezed fruits and infusions and agave.
Thai food scared me before I ate at Boda. It's a complete experience for your tastebuds. The quail eggs are a perfect appetizer- mini cook-at-your-table pans filled with eggs, soy sauce and scallions. The pad thai is excellent and super filling. The veggies are still crunchy and there's always a balance with the heat in each dish. Boda is definitely a great place for a date due to it's ambiance, but always expect a bit of a wait on Friday's or Saturday's!