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MDI before Memorial Day -- a partly sad report (long)


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MDI before Memorial Day -- a partly sad report (long)

bobjbkln | May 25, 2003 11:51 PM

I want to thank everyone for their recommendations for our camping trip to Acadia. Here is my promised report. I requested info on a fancy dinner, lobster dinners, fried clams and breakfasts. Got a number of super recommendations. We arrived in Blackwoods campground at 4:30 on 5/17 after driving 9 hours and decided to eat at the site. But Sunday was my birthday and we were primed for George's. Drove into Bar Harbor in the AM and found George's. Saw a sign saying how to make reservations, but when we tried to make them in the afternoon, the phone message said that they would not open until the 23rd. (Couldn't they have put a sign on their menu board saying that?) So we followed another Chowhound recommendation and went to Mache Bistro. The atmosphere was pleasant. The food was fresh and nicely prepared. All in all, a nice find for a tourist town. Still, we paid serious NY prices ($100 with tax and tip for 1 appetizer, 2 entrées, 1 dessert, two coffees and an inexpensive but very, very ordinary bottle of French Vin de Table) and got just a decent NY quality meal. I had the cioppino (seafood stew) that was served in a cast iron skillet and was fresh and tasty. Marilyn had a nicely prepared haddock. The lobster (claw) sauté on risotto appetizer was pretty good as was the creme brulée dessert. But the French Press coffee tasted like hot water. The service was competent and friendly but compromised by the fact that the sole waitress (owner?) also served as the bartender. My point is that we were deeply thankful for the recommendation because we ate well in a town where where we could have eaten mediocre or worse; but on the other hand, we were not overwhelmed.

Two days later we were off for some hikes on the back side of the island and decided to have lunch at Seafood Ketch. We had a Chamber of Commerce guide that said it was open from May to October (and had a $3 off coupon for lunch to boot). But when we got there, it was closed with a sign that it would open on May 22. So we went off to Thurston's which turned out also to be closed with no indication of when it would open. So we decided to go to the Pretty Marsh picnic area and make ourselves some grilled cheese sandwiches.

The next day we were off to Schoodic. Driving through Winter Harbor at 9:30, we looked for Chase's but could not find it. But when we left Schoodic at noon for Great Wass Preserve, we decided to go back to Winter Harbor to look again. Turns out that there was major construction (and a one lane road with flagman) in front of Chase's which made it hard to find. But what a find! Firstly, unlike the other places, this one was open. And then, this is one great place. We each had a bowl of the clam chowder which was a lightly creamed clam broth full of fresh potatoes and bellied clams. A bit too mildly spiced, but otherwise an absolute delight. We then split a giant order of fried clams. Heavenly. The frozen french fries were the only let down. I could give a long speech about the atmosphere here, but this message is long enough.

On Thursday, we were back on Western Mt. Desert and since Seafood Ketch was supposed to open, we tried it again. It was open. This place is a little more upscale than Chase's. For instance, it had a great microbrew choice (at least they had Sam Addams in Chase's) and an outside patio which would have been nice if it were not gray and chilly. We both had the "Tempters" (fried clams, scallops, fish, and shrimp) which were very good and a bottle of Coal Porter porter.

After, we drove to Thurston's to check whether it would be open for dinner, but it was still closed and no notice of when it would open.

And then the rains came. The forecast was nothing but rain for a week. So the next morning (Friday) we threw the wet tent in the car, packed up everything else and headed back early to NY without ever having a single lobster. As we are not big breakfast eaters, we did not even stop at 2 Cats or Jordan Restaurant on the way out to sample the pancakes.

So thanks again for the recommendations. They were a godsend. I hope my feedback, including that of schedule, is of use to you MDI hounds.

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