Restaurants & Bars

Portland (and some Portsmouth) weekend report

Joanie | Dec 1, 201408:24 AM     13

Fun trip as always starting with Fri. breakfast at the Roundabout Diner in Portsmouth. We ended up in the back room with the bar where the waitress mixed a pretty good Bloody Mary for my friend and we split some corned beef eggs benedict ($9.99). I thought it was quite good, larger than usual English muffins (with nooks and crannies), good hash and eggs, hollandaise wasn't so flavorful. We were going to split a side of cornbread French toast but they brought out grilled cornbread instead so we just had that, it was fine. After driving scenic Rt. 1 route and a stop at the Adidas outlet, we got to Blue Spoon just past 4:00 but were told they didn't open til 4:30. That was too bad, no time to wait around so we went to North Point for their HH which has $4 wines and drafts and a $5 special cocktail. There was a large choice of wine so I got a Gewurtztraminer and A. got a draft. We split a plate of hot sausage w/ kielbasa, duck and pheasant which was tasty but way overpriced at $15 for about 20 discs of sausage and nothing else. Nice bartender. We actually drove into town that nite cuz it was cold and navigating the roads/snow under the highway by the Clarion was a pain. Left the car on State St. and made our way first to Emilitsa for a snack at the bar. They gave us a tasty complimentary chickpea spread. A. enjoyed the Scottish draft, I had some nice dry Greek white wine and we split a rabbit phyllo app. Nice gal working the bar. Then we walked down to Infiniti where A. enjoyed some $2.50 tastes of beers and we split a pretzel and an apple dessert (both $5). I was waiting for late happy hour but their cocktails looked great there, esp. with that big round custom ice cube they make. We got to Hunt & Alpine for happy hour that starts at 11, but it's just a few lower priced apps, not drinks. I got some jalapeno tequila drink, another draft for A. Another nice bartender bringing the nite to a close.

Sat. we walked from the Clarion to Bunker Brewery with a stop at Holy Donut for a good maple frosted (but coffee brandy was kind of boring). Since we passed Maine Craft Distillers on the way, we stopped in but I could only take so many tastes of straight alcohol, they really should put out some oyster crackers. A. took home a bottle of the Fifty Stone. Nice folks working there, then more nice folks at Bunker where you could get 3 tastes for $3 (I'm just watching the drinking at this pointi). We walked around and hit a few stores before getting a late brunch at East Ender. It was scrambled eggs w/ pulled pork over a green onion/cheese johnnycake ($12). Unfortunately, the johnnycake got lost in the mix and I don't think the side of hash browns was needed (why are hash browns so hard for people to get right?). Their cocktails looked good but I wasn't in the mood. Walked back after hitting the Scandinavian store and a few record shops as is the tradition. That nite, we had an 8:45 res at Piccolo and started w/ a drink at the Armory Lounge in the Regency first. I thought I was in that bar last year when I was really in the Harbor Hotel but think I prefer the Harbor now that I've tried both. The service was good but it's much more relaxing at the Harbor and while it doesn't have as many cocktail combos, that's ok. Sat at the bar of Piccolo and split a great dinner of grilled octopus then cavatelli w/ lamb (along w/ great bread and olive oil). Yet another great server, she had me taste all three whites by the glass. A pretty good value (about $52 for two drinks, app and entrée). Afterwards, A. got a draft at the busy Bramhall. I've always wondered what that space was like the many times I've walked by.

Got a few donuts at Tony's on Sun. morning to take home and lunch was at the Beach Plum in Portsmouth. Split a cheeseburger w/ onion ringers and a fried clam plate. The clams were decent but could have stayed in the fryolator another minute, good sized plate. Burger was a frozen pattie, yawn. With two drinks it was $36. Curious about the BBQ place in that plaza.

Thanks for your thoughts on happy hours, have some more to try next time and will update my list with this new info from the weekend.

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