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Sunday, September 26, 2010

Maine & Boston Foodie Recap

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At what point does one become a foodie? I'm hesitant to use the term. Not only do I not know if I qualify, but it sounds a little snobby to me. True foodies or not, Ryan and I love food. So much so, in fact, that a big part of our vacations is trying the local cuisine and immersing ourselves into the food scene. I spent just as much time researching restaurants as I do sightseeing activities when we plan a vacation. After some top notch food finds in Arizona and San Diego, we were eager to see what the East Coast had to deliver.

And deliver it did! From the twenty (yes TWENTY) flavors of ice cream we tried (more on that tomorrow) to the unique restaurants we stumbled upon, we had several days of excellent eats. We tried to do as much walking as we did eating...after all, we had to burn calories to be hungry every few hours for more food adventures!

While I am not going to bore you with detailed descriptions of every meal, I did want to highlight a few places that we particularly liked. Heading to either of these locations and want to know more? Feel free to email me with questions (natalie.mclaury@gmail.com).

In Maine, we got our first taste of seafood (fried clams and lobster bisque!) at Fox's Lobster House, a cute little restaurant in York Beach.  More seafood (lobster roll & steamed clams) was enjoyed at the Ramp in Kennebunk, a fun little bar and grill with eclectic decor.

 Then there was the incredible mouthwatering pizza from MiCucci Grocery in Portland, Maine. We're talking thick, almost eggy crust topped with fresh tomato sauce and melty cheese. Though it sounds simple, it was anything but and it absolutely lived up to our high expectations after hearing Julie and Samantha rave about it! Served from a tiny counter in the back of the store, people line up to grab steaming slices to go. The workers seem to have a steady stream of pizza popping up on the counter, ensuring each customer that they'll get a fresh piece. MMM, while I typically love pizza with lots of crazy toppings, this one was perfect!

Perhaps the highlight of our eating in Maine, with the exception of our lobster feast of course, was our dinner in Portland at Local 188. Portland is known for its abundance of first class restaurants and we ended up here after a recommendation from the wine distributor at a wine tasting we attended in the area. Ryan's aunt and uncle were fabulous enough to treat us to an excellent meal here. While I thoroughly enjoyed my salad and giant plate of warm flatbread and hummus, the real star of the show was Ryan's seafood paella. This thing was gigantic and full of scallops, shrimp, shark, lobster, mussels, and white fish. Too big to finish, he managed (with my help of course!) to put a pretty big dent in the amazing plate of seafood and rice. I can't rave enough about Local 188--from the food and its presentation to the adorable servers in aprons to the funky decor, it was a fabulous meal!

Then there's Boston, where we found ourselves gorging on more delicious eats. Twice, we found ourselves at Parish Cafe, a fun restaurant whose menu is made up of creations from local renown chefs. Both the sandwiches and then the drinks we had here hit the spot.

Because we love eating food out of trucks (remember the tacos in San Diego?), we were eager to try Clover Food Lab, a food truck in Boston serving healthy, vegetarian meals during the week. Based on recommendations from an employee, we enjoyed an eggplant and egg sandwich, roasted carrot salad, rosemary fries, and tarragon lemonade (plus two free chocolate pb cupcakes that we're guessing were vegan). It was definitely a great alternative to typical fast food, though we weren't as impressed as we thought we would be. The sandwich was great but the fries needed more rosemary and the salad needed less oil!

We had a really fun dinner out at Myers + Chang, a South End restaurant featuring interesting takes on Chinese, Thai, Taiwanese, and Vietnamese foods. We loved each of our dishes: dan dan noodles with spicy peanut sauce, gai lan + ginger, (incredible!!) miso-glazed carrots, and asian braised short rib soft tacos. There were so many intriguing things on the menu, I wish we could return!

Breakfasts might have been our favorite meal time in Boston after the discovery of Mike and Patty's. The teeny tiny corner shop was tucked away in an adorable neighborhood and served up some of the best breakfast sandwiches we have ever had. People show up and wait up to 30 minutes for their breakfast or lunch, sitting on the sidewalks around the place in small groups or with their dog. We spent our wait scheming how we could get Mike and Patty (both incredibly friendly people!) to come to St. Louis and open up a second location. Until then, we've taken to recreating some of their recipes, which you can expect to see on here in the next few weeks!

Sadly, Mike and Patty's is closed on Mondays, so we spent our final breakfast in Boston at Flour Bakery. I knew I liked the place as soon as I saw their motto:

A rather decadent breakfast, we enjoyed twice baked brioche (drool!), a currant scone, and one of their famous sticky buns. Everything there looked delicious and I was tempted to stick around for lunch!

Of course, a trip to Boston wouldn't be complete without a stop or two at Mike's Pastry. Walking around the city you will find tons of people walking with the signature Mike's Pastry box. While some may argue that there are better bakeries in Boston's North End, we were more than satisfied with what we found there. The glass cases were full of amazing looking desserts, but we opted for the cannoli. The amaretto and espresso cannoli we tried have converted both Ryan and I to cannoli-lovers!

So there you have it, lots and lots of yummy eats on our vacation! Aside from eating, we had tons of fun exploring Maine's coast on a scooter, kayaking on the Charles River, taking in a Sox game at Fenway, and brushing up on our American history in Boston. East Coast: we'll be back!

Parish Cafe and Bar on Urbanspoon

Myers & Chang on Urbanspoon

Mike & Patty's on Urbanspoon

Flour Bakery + Cafe on Urbanspoon

Mike's Pastry on Urbanspoon