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Northern New England

Weekend in Portland report


Restaurants & Bars Northern New England

Weekend in Portland report

Joanie | | Dec 14, 2011 05:20 AM

Fun weekend in Portland, as it always is. We saw a cute little dog house on the way on Rt. 1 in North Hampton so pulled in but it wasn't so exciting, I asked for a grilled dog but that meant putting it on one of those rollers which I didn't see (and don't care for). Nice man working there but it won't make America's Best Dogs show or anything. Got to Portland and regrouped at the Clarion where we left the car and walked into town all the time. Started with happy hour at Zapoteca on Fore St. where drinks and apps are $2 off until 7. Amazing habanero watermelon margarita and A. got a regular margarita. We also really liked the taquito de puerco (I think that's the spelling), good size app that held us as we checked out the art at the museum and wandered around. We then sat at the bar of Local 188 which was fine but not as good as I thought it would be. Didn't realize they'd moved to such a big space, guess it's 3-4 years since I'd been in town. The daiquiri was fine but not so exciting, the salad w/ pork belly and white beans had just a tiny bit of pork belly, and chicken livers were good but you needed to like the full on flavor of chicken livers, these weren't disguised as General Gau's chicken or anything the way some livers are these days. Good crowd and service, prices were fair, not my fave tho. The next morning we stopped at Bard's so I could try a Holy Donut and that was one fine donut. Glad we searched it out. We then went to Morning in Paris for another one but I saw some lemon pastry before seeing the donut (which was the same flavor anyway, do these guys not distribute different flavors besides sugar/cinnamon?) and we had a nice coffee and relaxing time there. After putzing around, it was time for the long walk out to Fisherrmen's Grill on Forest Ave. Super friendly guy working there who made us a super tasty and nicely fried clam and scallop platter with passable fries and very good cole slaw (gave us some extra cuz of our long walk). Glad we walked cuz we saw Ernie's on the way and that was a friendly spot where I kicked ass at ping pong. Then we walked back down Forest Ave. so A. could try an interesting beer at Great Lost Bear. Seemed like lots of locals there and I liked that you could get a 5 oz taste for $1.25.

Sat. nite started on the balcony of Grace on Chestnut St. (as most people know, it used to be a church). There was a bit of a fruit fly problem by the bar taps, thus our move to the upstairs lounge where we ordered fried Brussels sprouts side w/ venison sausage and slaw, both were good. I asked the bartender to make me an interesting mocktail but this just isn't as easy as it should be even after giving someone 6 flavors you like in a drink. I always seem to get a drink with none of the mentioned items. He was nice and offered to make me something else but I said it was fine, and he didn't charge us. We then walked to Sonny's on Exchange which looked like a cool room when we walked by in the daytime but it had kind of a frat boy feel at nite. We were stuck in the back room and just got a duck tamale and A had a beer. It was fine, server wasn't happy with our small order. Sorry, glad we moved on to Walter's and that comfy bar with nice guys working. We got an app of delicious Thai meatballs with a good kick. My first choice for dessert wasn't available so got the sampler and enjoyed the peanut butter pie esp., banana choc chip brownie was good, the choc. cake thing not so much. Ended the nite talking to Norm at the Downtown Lounge.

Our hotel was across from Tony's Donuts so I got a plain, A got honey glazed, and I brought home a pumpkin and a molasses glazed. Honey dipped was heavier than usual and my plain just okay, but I really enjoyed the pumpkin and molasses flavors. There were probably other good flavors but those two caught my eye right away. We got breakfast at the Miss Portland Diner and ordered the Irish benedict with hollandaise on the side. I guess the cook kept automatically saucing them so it took too long to get these stupid eggs without the sauce. My egg was a little over poached but it was tasty, good homemade hash and much better than usual home fries. Nice server, glad I got back there and up to Portland in general.

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