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Maine update - clams and lobster and Thai

dfrostnh | Oct 1, 201507:36 AM     4

Spent a few late September days in Maine and carefully timed trip and route to include some places we had never been. Cousin Bruce's wife kept raving about Ken's in Scarborough (just south of Portland) so that was day 1 lunch. I don't know why we never heard of this place before since it's a casual, seasonal restaurant that's been there since 1927. Typical order at the window and eat outside if it's warm enough. The big advantage was being able to order both battered and crumb style fried clams. It turns out we've been eating crumb style our entire lives. dh said he was sticking to that. I really like the battered style which is softer, more like a tempura batter but not so puffy. I thought clam taste was excellent and they were on the medium to small side. I liked not worrying about possibly crunching on a piece of shell which has probably happened at least twice in my past 60 years. Fried onion rings were in a different batter so that was a thumbs up but possibly a frozen product so that was a thumbs down. Acceptable but wouldn't order again. Cole slaw was the commercial pre-packaged crap. Since I make cole slaw for a church suppers and just discovered the church in the next town has a better cole slaw maker (he/she adds a lot of dill and I use celery seed), I'm pretty fussy.

We hit immediate trouble because we had to have an early dinner after having a late lunch. We chose McLoon's which I had discovered on chowhound. Compared to our previous favorite, Waterman's, the view is better and the menu more extensive. This is the type of place you think of when you hear the words "lobster shack". I opted for roasted clams (half dozen) but they were pretty similar to steamed clams except they are grilled on a gas grill til they open up. Hot butter was gently seasoned with some herbs that were barely noticeable. I also had hoped to get a crab roll but they were out so I opted for a crab cake sandwich. The crab did not have a lot of filler and seemed to contain a small amount of finely diced yellow sweet pepper. The grilled roll also came with lettuce and a slice of tomato plus (my choice) lemon aioli. All in all, a great sandwich. My husband opted for a lobster roll but chose hot buttered instead of our usual and typical little bit of mayo and claimed it was one of the best lobster rolls he had ever eaten. Since the sun was low on the horizon and the lobster boats all seemed to be tied up, it was a very satisfying end of the day. We decided to get slices of pie to take "home". Only one other couple was dining. It's picnic tables only with only a few under cover. This place has only been around since 2012 which explains how we have missed it. Once you've been to Waterman's, we didn't think we had to look any further.

Day 2 was spent at the Common Ground Fair eating only organic food. We aimed at the Lobster Pound/Andy's Pub in Lincolnville for dinner. My husband was exhausted and only wanted the thin style clam chowder which he thought was wonderful. I opted for the seafood casserole which contained very fresh shrimp, scallops and lobster in a nicely old-style sherry flavored white sauce. Seeking comfort food after a long day, I asked for mashed potatoes. Although tasty, they were flavored with something different, possibly cooked in a broth before being mashed? There seemed to be a meat flavor. Service was a little scatterbrained. Good food but the menu probably hasn't changed in 50 years.

Going home, we timed it to arrive in Portland for the farmers market in Deering Oaks Park. I was happy to find pattypan squash was still available. Husband picked out some apples. Since I have a large vegetable garden I didn't have to buy much but always look for something new. I think the variety is better at Norwich VT. Next we drove 4 minutes to Mi Sen Noodle Bar on Congress Street in Portland. For some reason, my husband let me choose what to order: bacon pad Thai, pork stuffed calamari (too rubbery) and corn cakes (safe but a little too ordinary). If the bacon pad Thai hadn't been so wonderful, this lunch could have been a fail. Service was excellent and since we were the first diners at noon on a Saturday, very attentive. I think the only was the pad Thai could have been improved was to make it slightly less saucy. All fresh ingredients but could have spent a little less time in the wok. Flavor was great. Flavor of the appetizers was very good just I'm not sure how one can deep fry calamari without turning it into thick rubber bands. We would definitely return but I would try different appetizers.

Ken's Artisan Bakery
Ken's Artisan Pizza
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