Where to Get a Lobster Roll When You Visit Portland, Maine

While there is much debate regarding the origins of the first lobster roll, there’s no denying it’s popularity, or that it’s synonymous with Maine.

For those folks who want to try one of the highly-coveted crimson crustaceans, but doesn’t want all the work of cleaning and eating a whole lobster, this is a tasty alternative.

There are no lack of locales on the peninsula to find this delicacy, but we’ve picked a few of our favorite lobster rolls we recommend you try when you visit Portland. Modeled after both the Conneticut-styled lobster roll which is hot with butter, and the Maine lobster salad-style with mayonaise which is cold. These are all easily accessible if you’re strolling through the Portland Old Port. Choose one, or try them all!

High Roller Lobster Co

The food cart duo of Andrew and Baxter often tag their social media posts with the dates times they’re estimated to be open and the adendum “or until sell out” (which they often do). The demand for their lobster rolls is high (pun intended), as you can see from the line that stretches along the front of the Custom House on Commercial St. their regular lunchtime haunt in the summer. You can also find them partnering with various local breweries to offer a taste of Maine that you can wash down with a delicious craft beer. We like to take ours to the Maine State Pier and watch the ferry boats come and go.

where to get a lobster roll in portland maine

High Roller Lobster Co. lobster roll by Custom House on Commercial St.

Porthole Restaurant & Pub

While you have the option of melted butter or mayonaise, we prefer the signature house-blended aioli. A mayonaise-based sauce, with lemon, garlic, rosemary, thyme and oregano. Served on a grilled brioche with lettuce the lobster is tossed lightly in the aioli and served with a side of chips. While you can visit the Porthole for this local delicacy all year long, at least six months of the year you can enjoy your lobster roll on their waterfront deck.

Maine lobster roll

Lobster rolls with lemon garlic aioli on the deck at the Porthole

Eventide

Eventide offers small plate dining and their brown-butter lobster roll is the most petite tasting experience on our list. What it lacks in size, it makes up for in flavor. You could share…but we recommend taking your time and savoring this one yourself.

Andy’s Old Port Pub

Nestled between Gilbert’s Chowder House and Casco Variety, Andy’s offers the most traditional Conneticut style for those who want the classic hot-buttered lobster roll. It’s served on a grilled hot dog, with warm lobster, drizzled with melted butter and served with a side of chips. They also have a great list of local drafts that come in pints or as a flight. Grab a seat by their window facing Commercial St. and do some people watching while you eat.

Eve’s at the Garden

While most would not necessarily look to a hotel restaurant as a bucket list place to go for a meal, we highly recommend Eve’s at the Garden, part of the Portland Harbor Hotel. Their central garden/dining area is an oasis away from the cacophony of the Old Port and they make one heck of a delicious lobster roll. Here you can order a half-sized portion, or a whole lobster roll depending on your appetite, and relax in the calm of their garden setting.

These are just a few of our favorites – share yours in the comments and perhaps you’ll see it added to our list!

6 Ways to Drink Maine Craft Beer

Historically Maine has been known as a haven for seafood lovers and outdoor adventures. It’s only in recent years, as the states craft beer industry has grown exponentially, that Maine has also become a travel destination for beer enthusiasts.

Now boasting over 90 breweries and brew pubs (with more on the way), we regularly hear visitors asking where they should go to try Maine beer. While just about every restaurant, pub and diner with a license to serve beer will have at least a few Maine brews on their menu, here’s a few more recommendations on how to drink beer from here.

monhegan brewing

1 – GO DIRECTLY TO THE SOURCE

Visiting a brewery directly is appealing for a number of reasons.

  • Variety – you’re going to be able to sample the widest variety of what a specific brewery has to offer at, its freshest, when you’re in their tasting room.
  • Tours – Many breweries and some brew pubs offer tours. Get a behind the scenes look, pick the brain of the brewer and/or staff, and sometimes (like at Allagash Brewing) get a taste of something that’s not on the regular tasting room taps.
  • Pet-Friendly – If your like us and want to take your canine companions with you when you travel, many (although not all) breweries at least seasonally offer dog-friendly outdoor seating/drinking.
  • Earn Swag – The Maine Brewers Guild has created a Beer Trail Map which you can pick up while visiting your first brewery/pub, or you can print one, although we’ve found it’s kind of ungainly to print. It’s important to make sure to get a worker bee to initial and date it with your visit, or it doesn’t count. Once you reach between 10 – 19 being signed off on you can choose to mail it off for a MBG hat. This can easily be reached if you visit Portland. If you want a t-shirt instead, you’re going to be putting in more mileage to visit 20 less than the number of breweries that are on your map, which with the new 2017 summer maps is pushing 90. If you are really up for a challenge, you can complete your whole map and get a surprise prize package, which is what we are personally working towards. Keep in mind, with the ever growing number of craft brew businesses, the longer you wait, the bigger that list is going to be!

2 – BEER DINNER PAIRINGS

The culinary and craft beer community love collaborating, whether it’s to feature a new beer release, for charity, or just because it’s a great way to bring people together. Beer pairing dinners offer a delicious and educational experience, showcasing the talents of both chef and brewer. A couple of our favorite spots to watch for these events to be happening in Portland are Sur Lie and Bao Bao.

Excuse us Miss. We need to see your ID before you continue shopping

3 – FIND A CRAFT BEER SELLER

We know you don’t want to just enjoy Maine craft brews while you’re visiting, you want to take some home too! Next to visiting a bevy of breweries, the best variety is going to be available at local specialty stores. A few of the spots in Portland to try are:

  • Craft Beer Cellar, located on the corner of Fore St. and Pearl St.
  • Old Port Spirits on Commercial St.
  • Maine Beer & Beverage is tucked away in the back of the 1st floor of the Public Market in Monument Square.
  • RSVP on Forest
  • Bier Cellar on Forest

All five carry a nice selection of Maine craft beer as well as beer “from away” as we say and you can often mix and match singles.

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Oktoberfest Swine and Stein Festival guests Main St., Gardiner, Maine

4 – VISIT A LOCAL FESTIVAL

A few festivals both great and small in size to look forward to include:

September 23, 2017 – Beer Meets Woods put on by Beer Advocate and Allagash at 58 Fore St. in Portland. This event is a celebration of barrel-aged craft beverages with both a mix of local and international brewers. There are two sessions and we expect this event to sell out, so get your tix early!

September 30, 2017 | Maine Lakes Brewfest takes place in the Sebago lakes region. An outdoor event prepared for rain or shine, offering a nice selection of local and out of state beverages.

October 7, 2017 | Swine & Stein Festival in Gardiner, Maine. This event offers the hometown feel, so it’s one that families can attend. Enjoy a sampling of local brews and quirky activities such as the Beard and Mustache competition.

Saturday, November 4, 2017 | Maine Brewers Guild Winter Session kicks off Portland Beer Week. Tickets will be available soon. If you missed the summer session, make sure to make it to this one. The most Maine brewers in one spot, and you get to sample your way through as many of them as you can handle. For those working on their guild maps, you’re still going to have to visit the breweries to get a stamp, as festival events don’t count towards your potential swag package.

November 5 – 11, 2017 | Portland Beer Week Our favorite event of the week to attend is the Freshman Orientation with the newest breweries from all over the state showcasing their brews.

**The 2nd Tuesday of month you can also attend Portland Greendrinks. They’re local non-profit who partners with Maine craft breweries and other Maine non-profits who promote economic, social and environmental sustainability to create educational and fun networking events.

Guests are encouraged to BYOV - bring you own vessel.

Guests are encouraged to BYOV (bring you own vessel) for Greendrinks 

5 – JOIN A TOUR This one’s our favorite

If you are looking for a specifically beer-centric experience, our friends The Maine Brew Bus are the way to go. They offer year-round tasting tours with transportation to a wide variety of Maine’s craft breweries. These all-inclusive tours come with a designated driver, a “guideance counselor” who is your primary tour host, the samples and gratuity at each stop.

For those that wanna earn their beer, we recommend Summer Feet Cycling’s Bike’s and Brews tour. Enjoy seaside views and loclal brews as you pedal from Portland’s Old Port to the beverage-centric neighborhood of y’East Bayside.

Lastly, you can join us on a Maine Foodie Tour! Each of our itneraries includes an opportunity to try some local craft beer for the 21+ set, and like the Brew Bus, our tours run all year long.

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7 Ways to Satisfy Your Sweet Tooth

Everything in moderation, right? Satisfying your sweet tooth falls in this category, and we’ve picked 7 ways for you to explore the candy side of our local culinary scene.

Dean Bingham of Dean’s Sweets was formerly an architect, hand-dipping chocolates was just something he did in his spare time for friends and family. It wasn’t until years later that he went from dabbling in truffle making to choosing it as a new career. His architectural background easily leant itself to the creative design of chocolates, each its own unique piece of art. He is well known for his modern take on the Made in Maine candy, the Needham, substituting the traditional mashed potato filling with Cold River Vodka. Should you, or someone you know, be interested in trying your own hand at candy making, seasonally Dean’s Sweets has offered truffle making classes, so keep an eye out on their events page for when these activities come up! For those who want to stick to indulging in his artisanal chocolates, visit the Fore St. shop in the Portland Old Port or stay at The Press Hotel and you’ll find these tasty truffles at turn down.

 

deans sweets chocolate truffles

Gourmet chocolatier and avid cyclist. Dean recently completed an Atlantic to Pacific bike ride to raise funds for the MS Society! 

“The pull of tides and scent of sea salt upon the breeze” are the inspiration for Black Dinah‘s confectionary exploration of flavor. Founded “downeast” on Isle Au Haut, these days their beautiful chocolates can be found at their retail location in Westbrook, or if you make it to Blue Hill, at Fairwinds Florist. As a suggestion, their Critter Collection is a fun gifting idea for all ages.

If you love Maine craft beer and chocolate, you’re new favorite confectioner is going to be Laura Rudy.. Her passion for the culinary arts took her to France and Belgium where she became acquainted with European cooking styles and brewing beer which culminated in a delicious business model that is La Creme Chocolat. Her discerning palate has helped her create a line of chocolates that pair wonderfully with Maine craft beer. Allagash, Maine’s own Belgian-style beer brewer, works with La Creme for a specialty line of chocolates you can purchase in their tasting room.

la creme chocolate company

Allagash Brewing Company Reps with Laura Rudy of La Creme Chocolate at the Portland Craft Beer Cellar for a tasting/pairing event.

Haven’s Candies have been crossing the lips of the young and old since 1915 when Hebert Haven started the business out of his Forest Ave. home. Over 100 years later, the company is still taking the same care to create their confections using time-honored recipes and only premium ingredients. Guided factory tours are available by appointment and you can even schedule a candy making party if you’re looking for a delicious destination activity.

From their retail locations in Boothbay Harbor, Portland and Freeport, Coastal Maine Popcorn offers custom made popcorn with a mix of flavors one couldn’t even imagine – such as cotton candy, black licorice, and key lime pie, with new sweet and savory flavors constantly being developed. Their staff have recommendations on which flavors to combine to create even more interesting tastes. If you find a great combo yourself, share it with the rest of us!

coastal maine popcorn

Pamela Laskey of Maine Foodie Tours offering a sample of the Blueberry Dream, a chocolate based popcorn at the Visit Portland Frontline Event.

…and then there’s Len Libby’s based out of Scarborough. For over 70 years, Len Libby Chocolatier has been known for their fine chocolate creations. Make sure while you’re there to take a photo with Lenny, the world’s only life-size chocolate moose! If you’re taste buds are ready for a chocolate alternative, we recommend their salt water taffy!

We’ll conclude with the most health-conscious option to choose when you’ve got a hankering for something sweet – Bixby & Co. Based out of Rockland, you can snack on Tori Burch Award Winner Kate MaCleer’s chocolate bars guilt free, even if you have allergies and dietary restrictions! Her bars are certified non-GMO, kosher, dairy free, gluten free and many are even vegan. If you have a nut allergy, we recommend you circle back to Dean’s Sweets, who doesn’t work with any nuts, unlike Bixby Bars. In Portland you can find them either at Whole Foods off of Franklin, or Le Roux Kitchen on Commercial St.

Bixby & Co

Kate describing the history and inspiration behind Bixby Bars.

These are a few of our favorite things – did we miss one of yours? Let us know in the comments!

Food Events and Tours, Vietnamese, and the Lobster Roll

Outdoor events in the summer in Maine are a very pleasant experience and the weather cooperates most of the time; you can almost always count on lower temperatures and a light breeze. If you are forced inside due to a summer shower, it’s usually brief and with it, comes sweet relief. A Bastille Day Dinner is being hosted by Petite Jaqueline, 46 Market Street, on Friday, July 14, 3:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. This is an indoor/outdoor cocktail party and BBQ in commeration of the historic French Revolution. You’ll be treated to a raw bar, a crepe station, picnic food, a dessert station, and a full cash bar. A new and special treat is the Maine Lobster Picnic & Harbor Cruise on the 13th, 14th and 15th (and all summer long, see all tours on the Maine Foodie Tours site). Get a taste of Maine coastal living; a land and sea (food) tour, complete with a picnic lunch of a fresh-picked lobster roll, Tourmaline Spring bottled water, Maine potato chips and the state treat, the Whoopie Pie.

Two openings to note: Cong Tu Bot, Inner Washington Ave. is a new Vietnamese restaurant. This pho noodles cafe is opening this week (scheduled) and will primarily serve lunch and dinner with some breakfast dishes. Washington Avenue is the place to go for delicious epicurean delights these days — be one of the first to visit Cong Tu Bot. The other is Portland Pulp, 116 Free Street; offering smoothies and chopped salad. Many have anticipated this healthy dining option in a city filled with good eats.

porthole restaurant lobster roll

…my very subjective five favorite lobster rolls in Portland and places nearby – Photo Credit Maine Foodie Tours guide Joe Dunham

As promised, a bit of lobster roll history for those among you who care to know the and my very subjective five favorite lobster rolls in Portland and places nearby. The founder and owner of Maine Foodie Tours, Pamela Laskey, recently shared a bit of trivia I was unaware of: historians credit Simms Diner in Rockland with the first recorded lobster roll. Also, back before lobster was as popular as it is now, folklore tells us that the lobster roll was created because women did not like picking the lobster apart. This messy business had to go and thus the lobster roll was invented to make it a whole lot easier to eat. And eat them I do. My favorite lobster roll is Bite Into Maine, a food truck at Ft. Williams Park. This creative lobster roll in this beautiful and iconic Maine setting, is wicked good. Next, if you’re looking for a non-traditional lobster roll, Eventide can’t be beat. And now we start splitting hairs . . . third would be the Portland Lobster Company‘s lobster roll; combine fresh lobster with live music on the water and you have a tourist favorite. Fourth would be Porthole’s very traditional Maine lobster roll. Having fun at the Porthole Restaurant & Pub is a mandate. Lastly, and you know I have left so many excellent lobster rolls off of this list, would have to be Two Lights Lobster Shack in Cape Elizabeth. Sitting at an outdoor picnic table alongside our beautiful rocky coast is just about as good as it gets anywhere. Sample some for yourself and come up with your very own top five list or ten or twenty even and share it with me!!

Buy Local and Discovering Thompson’s Point

Maine is one of several states in these United States with a low population and just one lone area code; 1.33 million people living in 35,385 square miles. Come summer, our numbers grow by leaps and bounds with visitors and snowbirds, the term for our fair weather folk who visit us between Memorial Day and Columbus day, then high-tail it to southern climates such as Florida for the winter. Our economy is small; therefore, it’s important that we keep as much commerce in the state as possible. You’ll find many Mainers are dedicated to buying local, supporting their friends and neighbors small businesses.

Portland Buy Local is Portland’s Independent Business and Community Alliance, a non-profit focused on raising awareness and encouraging small business growth. Buy Local is hosting a series of events this summer to promote local businesses and we’re grateful for their efforts. To celebrate Independents Week here’s a couple to check out –  July 1 to 7, Afternoon Tea Tasting will take place at Dobra Tea. Here you can taste some wonderful teas from Maine and the rest of New England. On Friday, July 7, from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., you can enjoy Cider and Kombucha Tastings with Urban Farm Fermentory of East Bayside at the Portland Food Coop.

If you see this logo, you're visiting a business that supports the Buy Local movement!

If you see this logo in the window of a business  you’re visiting an establishment that is part of the the Portland Buy Local movement!

The Food Coop is a bountiful market for local food, beverages and health products — never crowded and on the way to the beautiful Eastern Promenade.

On Saturday, July 8 from noon to 5pm, the Downeast Lobster Roll Festival will take place at Thompson’s Point in Portland. The World’s Best Lobster Roll Competition, featuring lobster from our shores, live music, and food and drink. The competition has been reduced to 12 finalists who compete for the title. Eight of the finalists are from Maine and the other four from out-of-state. The winner will be announced at 3:30 p.m.. Look for the winners and fun lobster roll facts in next week’s blog.

The beautiful and recently developed Thompson’s Point in the Libbytown area of Portland is a great place for food and drink all year round. Enjoy wine tasting at Cellardoor Winery, spirits at Stroudwater Distillery, beer at Bissell Brothers Brewing Co., and tasty fried chicken at Big J’s Chicken Shack.

Thompson's Point

Live music on the waterfront of Thompson’s Point in Libbytown – photo credit Maine Foodie Tours

Cellardoor Winery Tasting Room

Cellardoor Winery Tasting Room at Thompson’s Point in Libbytown – photo credit Maine Foodie Tours

In the early 19th century, this point of land served a hub of barge and boat traffic on the Cumberland and Oxford Canal. Until recently, this industrial site has been underutilized. Much of Thompson’s Point is historic and developers have done a magnificent job preserving the beautiful brick buildings and rehabilitating the site. See a concert on the waterfront or pack a picnic and relax in a splendid setting. Spend a few hours or spend the day; Thompson’s Point has plenty of parking and is a short ride from downtown Portland.

The Best of Maine Food & Drink and Why Farm-to-Fork Matters

Kudos to Down East Magazine for another great “Best of Maine Food & Drink 2017” issue. What I love most is that they ask the reader’s what their top choices are. While I won’t list them all, there were some that I thought you might appreciate hearing about this week.

  • Best Burger – Five Guys
  • Best Donut – Holy Donut (although newly opened HiFi at Monument Square is giving Holy Donut a run for their money — I fell in love with their irresistible donuts this week)
  • Best Italian Sandwich – Amato’s
  • Best Farmer’s Market – Brunswick Farmer’s Market
  • Best Chocolate – Wilbur’s of Maine Chocolate Confections in Freeport,
  • Best Pizza – Otto’s Pizza
  • Best Coffee Roaster Coffee By Design
  • Best Brewery Allagash Brewing Company

Quite impressive indeed — see the complete Down East Magazine list here.

Here are also two tips for beer tasting Down East doesn’t want you to miss out on:

  • Flight Deck Brewing, 11 Atlantic Ave., Brunswick. 207-504-5133. “After the Brunswick Naval Air Station closed in 2011, it took six years for anyone to realize that one of the industrial-style buildings would be perfect for making — and consuming — beer. Hard-to-Get Beer: Mott the Lesser,
  • Tributary Brewing Co. 10 Shapleigh Rd., Kittery. 207-703-0093. “When Tod Mott moved from Portsmouth Brewery to his own joint in Kittery, he brought his recipe for the imperial stout that Beer Advocate once ranked the second-best beer in the world.”

Farm-to-Fork dining has been a way of life in Maine for centuries. Serving up locally grown vegetables, farm raised meat, and fish from our maritime waters, has always set Maine apart. Chef Sam Hayward of Fore Street was one of the first chefs in the U.S. to move local ingredients to the front of the plate; earning him a coveted James Beard Award for Best Chef in the Northeast in 1996. Sam has been mentoring chefs who have gone on to open their own noteworthy farm-to-fork restaurants throughout the country. Chef David Levi of Vinland has been recognized as one of the most talented chefs in Maine; the Wall Street Journal did a piece on David’s foraging and totally local sourced cuisine in 2014; months after Vinland’s opening. Hugo‘s chefs Mike Wiley and Andrew Taylor, recent James Beard Award winners “With intellectual curiosity and modern technique driving the process, our ingredients are farmed, fished and foraged almost exclusively here in Maine, reflecting the dramatic seasonal shifts of Northern New England.” None of these tables are easy to reserve; however, worth the effort.

Swanky Cocktails and Sustainable Seafood

Portland is known for swanky bars and beautiful eateries; in fact visitors come from all over the globe to enjoy many of our celebrated places to eat and drink. If you’re among those who enjoy the fancier — put on your Sunday best — places, Opium, a new lounge at the Danforth Inn, is that kind of place. One of the most aesthetically pleasing bars in Portland, Opium will surely make you feel that you’ve been transported to another time and place.

Danforth Inn Opium

The interior of Opium, the newest cocktail bar in the West End of Portland, Maine. Photo courtesy of the Danforth Inn – Photo Credit Kyle Dubay

Opium Cocktail Bar

Opium’s offerings are exotic, tantalizing, and sometimes controversial   (I sorta like that). Photo courtesy of the Danforth Inn – Photo Credit Kyle Dubai

Quickly earning a reputation for being ahead of the eight ball on the cocktail scene, Opium’s offerings are exotic, tantalizing, and sometimes controversial (I sorta like that). Tempo Dulu, the Danforth Inn’s restaurant is also stylish and fanciful, but meant to satisfy in a different way. The Southeast-Asian fare is locally-sourced, beautifully plated, and always delicious. Make a reservation for this intimate and tucked away spot sooner than later.

North43 in South Portland, our closest neighbor across the Bay, has been much anticipated. There you will delight in fresh seafood and a spectacular view of Portland. The owners are seasoned restaurant professionals; making a lot of locals happy about this newly opened dining spot.

Eating local foods has many advantages: freshness, promoting sustainability, and supporting the local economy, to name a few. Our waters are filled with world renowned fish and shellfish and there’s a good reason for that. The cold and clean waters off the coast of Maine are the envy of the world.

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Fresh-picked Maine lobster from the Clam Shack in Kennebunkport. Photo credit Maine Foodie Tours

The following shellfish can be found in abundance: the American lobster (many come to Maine just to eat fresh lobster), mussels, soft shell clams, hard clams (eg., littleneck and cherry stone), American and eastern oysters, and Atlantic razor clams. Unfortunately, Gulf of Maine shrimp have been in short supply for a few years now, with their season being cut short. They’re also not available during the summer season. The variety of salt water fish you may see on your menu varies from restaurant to restaurant. What you will often see is: Atlantic cod, haddock, pollock, Atlantic herring, white hake, Atlantic halibut, the American four-spotted flounder, and black sea bass. Visit the Gulf of Maine Research Institute on Commercial Street for more information about our marine life.

Strawberries, Lobster and Lighthouses

It is Strawberry season in Maine and if you’re like me, it’s the best time of the year. You’ll see them at all of our farm stands and local markets and front and center on many menus. Maine’s strawberries are considered by many, to be amongst the most flavorful in the world.

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The Cape Farm Alliance in Cape Elizabeth, is celebrating with their annual Strawberry Festival on Friday, June 23rd and Saturday, June 24th. They’ll be a tickets only Lobster Bake & Pig Roast on Friday and a free Strawberry Festival on Saturday. Check out the Cape Farm Alliance Facebook page for details.

Since you’ll already be in Cape Elizabeth, I also recommend a drive over to Fort Williams Park to see Portland Headlight, one of Maine’s most visited and photographed lighthouses. While you’re there, have a lobster roll at Bite Into Maine. They’re serving up unforgettable lobster rolls from a food truck — if you don’t believe me, check out their outstanding reviews on Yelp.

Speakeasies, Maine Cheese and an Island Day Trip

It seems that for every new restaurant that opens in Portland, an exciting new bar is emerging on the scene as well. Blyth & Burrows, at 26 Exchange Street, is no ordinary bar. Joshua Miranda has been involved in several notable cocktail lounges around town; however, this is the first project he’s created on his own and for that we’re grateful. The space is beautifully appointed with an eye to the War of 1812. Why that war you ask? As a port city, rich in maritime history, Miranda was familiar with the story of two captains who died in that war and are buried right here in Portland. He’s set his nautical theme, from menu to decor, based on their story. Cocktails are crafted for aesthetics as well as taste with carefully chosen light bites to pair. The bar set up is more like three bars in one, with multi-levels, and here comes the speakeasy part: one of bars is called The Broken Dram. You can enter this clandestine watering hole directly from an alley off of Fore street. Look for the single red light at the entrance and the Dram spray painted on the door, or there’s a prohibition-era clever door you’ll have to find before finally entering the Dram from inside Blyth and Burrows – both of these establishments are well-worth the visit for excellent cocktails and delicious small bites.

Joshua Miranda blyth and burrows

Owner Joshua Miranda in front of Blyth & Burrows on Exchange St.    photo courtesy of Blyth & Burrows, photo credit –  Bonnie Durham Photography

Looking ahead to the weekend, Farmstead Cheese is hosting a cheese lovers event you won’t want to miss Saturday, June 18. Head to Whitefield to meet the sheep and goats behind Fuzzy Udder Creamery’s delicious cheeses. Farmer and cheesemaker, Jessie Dowling will introduce her flock and offer a walk through of the cheesemaking process. Enjoy a cheese tasting and select some of your favorite Fuzzy Udder cheese to purchase and take home. This is one of Maine Farmland Trust‘s featured seasonal events.

fuzzy udder creamery

Can’t make it to Whitefield? You’ll find Fuzzy Udder Creamery cheeses at the Portland Food Co-Op on Congress St. photo by Maine Foodie Tours

Portland’s surrounding islands are not just beautiful to observe from afar. Consider taking an island day trip on the Casco Bay Ferry over to the most visitor friendly of the Calendar Islands, Peaks Island! After a less than 20 minute, inexpensive boat ride, you’ll arrive on a beautiful, quiet and easy to navigate island. Start with a cocktail or a craft beer at the Inn at Peaks Island; to the right and up the hill as you walk after disembarking. Next, treat yourself to a leisurely and delicious indoor/outdoor lunch at the family-owned Cockeyed Gull (to the left on the same road; map unnecessary). Enjoy a menu of fresh fare, assorted beers and spirits. Directly across from the Cockeyed Gull, you’ll find a bike rental shop. Make sure you’ve picked up some bottled waters and snacks at Hannigan’s Market, before you bike or walk this quaint island to check out Battery Steele, to collect sea glass on the beach, and visit the quirky Umbrella Cover Museum. You can easily spend hours here and trust me, you won’t want to leave. A few more facts about Peaks:

  • Peaks Island is the most populous island in Casco Bay, Maine. It is part of the city of Portland and is approximately 3 miles (4.8 km) from downtown. The island became a popular summer destination in the late 19th century, when it was known as the Coney Island of Maine (Wikipedia).

Summer Eats & Live Music Locales Around Portland

June is here and all of us in Maine agree that it is one of the most beautiful months of the year. The humidity and heat have not yet arrived making it a great time for you to relax and enjoy all the food, beverages and live music Portland has to offer, indoors and out.

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Liquid Riot Bottling Co. has the distinction of being one of the only breweries AND distilleries in the country. Photo – Maine Foodie Tours

Head over to Liquid Riot in the Old Port. They have a new Chef, Kyle Everett. Kyle recently relocated to Portland after several high-end gigs in California and Florida. Here, you can enjoy outdoor deck seating with Casco Bay views, or step inside to watch the brewing and distilling process through the glass. Liquid Riot also has the distinction of being one of the only breweries and distilleries in the country. Lazzari Italian Restaurant opened recently and you may just want to be among the first to visit. Lots of buzz about this new Italiano spot, and I’d love to hear what you think. Lastly, under new news, I wanted to mention Casco Bay Creamery, adding to the ranks of Portland’s ice cream establishments. It’s a mini ice cream outpost on the outskirts of the Old Port and they’re serving Maine’s famous and nationally distributed Gifford’s Ice Cream. There’s s a good reason locals love Gifford’s. Stroll towards the Eastern Promenade Trail, via Commercial St., and they’re on the right in the former Narrow Gauge Railroad ticketing booth.

The Night Kitchen, a “zesty” new musical written and directed by John Burstein a resident of the Great State of Maine, has just graced our stage. You can see it at the fabulous Portland Stage from June 6 to the 10th, and June 13 to the 17th. 100% of the profits will go to Preble Street, a soup kitchen here in Portland that feeds those in need all week long. “The Night Kitchen” incorporates burlesque, vaudeville, Keystone cops humor and likable, hummable tunes with smart, sometimes sly lyrics . . . In one scene, the chef sings a poetic ode to a butternut squash. In another, a frying pan with aspirations to sauté and flambé tells her troubles to Dr. Pepper: ‘I am tired of being treated like an ordinary pan. There is so much more I could be trying. I was born for more than frying.'” A musical about cooking — what could be more fun and appropriate in this foodie town? Don’t miss it!

Custom House Gang at Andy's Old Port Pub

If you’re like me, listening to good live music while dining is just about as good as it gets – Photo – Maine Foodie Tours

We are fortunate to have several great food spots who offer live music all summer long. Slab Sicilian Street Food has a beautiful patio and it’s the perfect spot for live music, or even a film every Monday when classics and 80s throwbacks are screened. A pizza slab and some tunes or a film and you’re good to go. El Rayo’s is not only known for tacos and a great bar — enjoy music and Mexican fare at their new location on Free Street. Salvage BBQ‘s ribs aren’t the only reason to visit this outstanding BBQ outpost, live music on Friday and Saturday evenings will make an already delicious pulled pork platter taste even better. Both the Porthole Restaurant & Pub and the Portland Lobster Co. serve up Maine steamed lobster and live outdoor music all summer long. seven days a week — check out their calendars to see who’ll be playing during your visit. Andy’s Old Port Pub is a locals favorite for fresh seafood and Maine craft beer who also offers live music nightly! Bull Feeney’s, our own traditional Irish Pub and restaurant, is an authentic old world salute to our Irish immigrants with delicious fare –love their seafood chowder — and weekly live entertainment. None of these businesses charge a cover for the live music and the eats are what brings many of our visitors coming back again and again.