Arriving back in the US after 8 mos. in Northern Italy, I headed out this week with my sister, my bro-in-law, their 2 kids (3 and 5), and their grandparents to a crowded rental house in York Beach. The house was crammed with overstuffed chairs, broken tables, and crocheted doilies, but hey, we were in Maine! There were lobsters, and grape nuts ice cream, and the beach just down the street. I was hoping for farm stands, but either nothing was open yet or I just couldn't find them, so we had to make do with the shipped-from-California produce at Hannaford's, the local supermarket. We did, however, get very good boiled-while-you-wait lobsters from the seafood counter there--a nice option for the squeamish, such as myself, who can't face imminent death in the kitchen. Had the classic shore dinner stuff at Fox's, next to Nubble Light--nicely milky, not pasty, clam chowder, with lots of clams; boiled lobster, potatoes baked in foil (after 12 years as a San Francisco restaurant reviewer, land of wacky concept food, it was actually sort of charming to realize that restaurants still do this), plastic lobster bibs, the whole thing, with a nice ocean view. Just up the hill, the ice cream cones at Brown's were more about quantity than quality--peppermint stick was pretty good, but the black raspberry was way too sweet, although it did had that great early-seventies-van electric-mauve color. Mostly, though, it's about size--even a small is two enormous scoops....my niece and nephew visited Wicked Good Ice Cream, in York Beach, but since the flavors they chose were cotton candy and something blue dubbed dino crunch--i can't really vouch for the quality...Fox's also has a take-out window and picnic tables, with a scaled down menu. Mostly everyone gets fish and chips here, but we had lobster rolls (lots of meat, nicely light on the mayo, rather bland bun that's just toasted, not buttered, on the sides, and the lettuce leaf lining was unnecessary). Breakfast at the Goldenrod, a classic coffee shop/candy store that's been there forever. Waffles, oatmeal, pancakes slathered in gooey blueberry topping--very old-fashioned and good, with that happy maple-syrup-and-coffee morning smell. |They also make salt-water taffy in their front windows, using this excellent Willie Wonka-ish machine and big copper vats full of bubbling butter and sugar, which smell like the best butterscotch in the world. Got to squeeze in a return visit to The Friendly Toast, my fave funky diner in Portsmouth, which reminds me of the late, lamented New Dawn Cafe in SF, only with better food. Had a Mission Burrito,which, if not exactly SF-style, was heartily welcome after 8 guacamole-free months of ragu and tortellini (I know, tough life). Huge nachos, good grilled cheese, omelets, salads, etc. A fun time...only drawback was watery coffee everywhere. But then again, the Goldenrod did sell little milk-chocolate lobsters.