Eat Like a Local: Portland, Maine
For Yahoo Food’s summer travel series, Eat Like a Local, we’re taking you on a cross-country food crawl, city by city. Here’s where to chow down in America’s lesser-known destinations without sticking out like a sore thumb.
Does it get more Maine than this? Photo credit: Kiley Hill, BiteintoMaine, Facebook
As is true of its northwesterly counterpart in Oregon, few places are more livable than Portland, Maine in August. At once craggy and breezy, beachy and sunny, it’s a knockout little town with great beer, fantastic seafood, sweetly churlish New Englanders (hey, takes one to know one), and sprawling sunsets. We wrangled favorite eating and drinking spots from two writers for the Portland Phoenix, restaurant critic Brian Duff and food columnist Kate McCarty.
Best Maine-Style (Obviously) Lobster Roll: Bite Into Maine
A short cab ride or drive out of the city’s center, you’ll find Fort Williams and its pretty little lobster roll truck. Park yourself at a nearby picnic table, gaze out at the roiling waters, drink blueberry beer, and get your Maine on. Although you could get the “Connecticut”-style with buttered, hot lobster meat, McCarty would pick “of course, the Maine-style: cold, lightly dressed with mayo, on a buttered, griddled bun.” (1000 Shore Rd., Cape Elizabeth, ME; 916-443-3772)
Best Coffee for Snobs: Tandem Coffee
Photo credit: Tandem Coffee
Serious coffee lovers should head to East Bayside for this small cafe and roastery run by several Blue Bottle Coffee alums. It’s “tiny, no wifi, only a pour-over bar and an espresso machine,” McCarty warns, but the upside is that there’s also “no one on laptops, and the owners are there all the time,” so you can mix and mingle with locals. The décor is “stark and modern in a bright way,” so if you’re into that sort of thing, this is a smart stopoff before wandering the town. (122 Anderson St.; Portland, ME; 207-899-0235)
You’ve got coffee, now you need pastry, and good ones are only a brisk 15-minute walk away from Tandem. This “very friendly” European-style bakery sells morning buns that are so aromatic, plush, and delicious that McCarty describes them as “cinnamon rolls on steroids.” Uh, yum. (75 Commercial St.; Portland, ME; 207-773-2112)