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Two week Maine trip report Central and coastal - long read

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Two week Maine trip report Central and coastal - long read

Jeff in PA | Aug 21, 2003 12:05 PM

I will start by saying that I am sorry fo rthe long post, but felt it was necessary to elaborate as much as possible.

I just got back from a two week vacation in Maine. It was my wife and I and our two Golden Retrievers. We stayed in the lakes region near Augusta, but made many day trips. Thanks to everyone on the site who helped in my research. I had many restaurants listed but only made it to a few. Here is my report on the food:

I will start by saying that the blueberries and corn were in season and were both outstanding. There were many farmer’s markets and stands where we bought produce. I cannot say that one was better than another. My advice is, if you find one that is good and has what you like, continue shopping there.

We ate most of our lobster at the cottage. In my opinion this is the best way. Soft shells were just under $5 a pound. When you can get three lobsters and fresh corn for under thirty dollars, Fughetaboutit, there is nothing better. We got the majority of our seafood and lobsters at Sonny’s Seafood in Fayette, about 20 minutes from Augusta. Great people and great seafood.

As for the meals, here goes:

THE BEST:
Hands down is Red’s Eats in Wiscassett - We stopped on the last day of our trip for lunch. I wish we had stopped before. It was so good that we returned for dinner that same night. The lobster rolls are OUTSTANDING. The fried clams were also the best. The wait was about 1 hour, but who cares. As an added bonus, the staff is very friendly. Got a frappe while waiting in line. Great idea, dessert before lunch. Coffee frappe was thick and creamy with homemade ice cream. Great all around experience. Lobster rolls were $12.95 and I would have paid $20, they were that good.

A1 Diner in Gardiner, 10 minutes south of Augusta - This place is a real find. It is an old style diner with a menu that can’t be beat. Yes they have normal diner fare. Burgers, soups, breakfast, but it’s the daily specials that are great. They have some really innovative and adventurous dishes. I had something called Big Chicken Mammou which was this tender chicken with a spicy red sauce over noodles. Great stuff. My wife had the Asian noodle chicken. Awesome. Deserts were all great and homemade, Negrita (sort of like chocolate mousse) and fudge pie, MMMMMM. Great beer and wine selection as well. Be sure to check out the store next door for many of the items served in the diner plus, wines, beer and other gourmet food items. Had Sunday brunch there as well, where the put together a special menu. The crab/asparagus omelet was superb. Wanted to go back but ran out of time. Definitely next year.

VERY GOOD:
The Clam Shack in Kennebunk - Best clams I ever had until I ate at Red’s. Please listen to me when I say this. DO NOT EAT ON THE BRIDGE. I REPEAT - DO NOT EAT ON THE BRIDGE. Heed the warning about the seagulls. Trust me on this one, I learned the hard way. Funny story though with me trying to save the clams while I am fighting off a bird.

Flat Bread Company in Portland - Really really good pizza. Fun place, although the service was not the best. Brick oven pizzas with very fresh ingredients. Pick from the menu or build your own which we did. When you walk in the smell is incedible.

Galyn’s in Bar Harbor - It is probably like most other places in Bar Harbor, but we were looking for a nice (late) lunch and the menu had what we were looking for. Steamers and lobster bisque. Both were great. Huge steamers. Shared chocolate mousse for dessert. Give it a B+. Nice place.

Winthrop House of Pizza in Winthrop (Lakes Region) - Couldn’t believe we were hungry for pizza, but we were. Excellent pizza. What more can I say, we were hungry for pizza and this place was great. Perfect dough and just the right amount of toppings.

GOOD
Head of the Harbor in Southwest Harbor - We spent one night in Acadia (10th Anniversary) and after a day of hiking we were tired and it was late. It was also very foggy and we were too tired to clean up and drive to Bar Harbor or any of the other restaurants near Southwest Harbor, so we decided to get fried clams here. Nothing fancy. Had clams and scallops. Clams were OK, scallops were better. It was a good meal, but nothing earth shattering. We were going to try Beal’s but they closed at 8:00.

Hattie’s Chowder House in Hallowell - After a 13 hour drive on our first day, we were tired and hungry. This was close and it was still open. We opted for take out. First lobster roll we had and it was good. Later we found out it was not a good lobster roll. It was served on a hamburger bun with a lot of salad stuff. Would not order again. On the other hand the clam chowder and lobster stew which they are supposedly known for were both excellent.

WOULDN’T GO BACK
Lighthouse Restaurant on MDI - Can’t remember the exact town it was, but it was close to the Jordan Pound entrance of Acadia Park. It was another rainy day and we were hungry when we drove past. We originally planned to eat at Jordan Pond house, but the wait was about 45 minutes and we thought that $15 for lobster bisque was a bit excessive. This place has terrible service, place was kind of run down too. Should have been warned by the help wanted sign in the door. One waiter for whole place. Food wasn’t bad. Wasn’t great either. Oh well, this happens.

Village Inn in Belgrade Lakes - This restaurant came very recommended. I do not understand why. It was average at best. They specialize in duck and while it was good, I have had better. The service was terrible and outside of the duck, the food was so so. I could have eaten a burger at Burger King for the same satisfaction. Got an antipasto appetizer to share that was supposed to have goat cheese, which is one of the reasons we ordered it. No goat cheese. If you arrive before 6:00 there are early bird prices. Arrived at 5:30 and they charged full price. It was adjusted though. Will not return.

One note, what is with the red hot dogs in Maine? They are good, but very strange looking.

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