At Alabama’s “Archibald’s”

As another day of our road trip in the South went by, I enjoyed a yummy lunch on our way into town. After leaving Nashville to go to Birmingham, we decided to stop at a place that had been suggested to us already. Archibald’s BBQ in Tuscaloosa, Alabama is well-known for its ribs and pulled pork, and stopping there on our way to Birmingham was no mistake.

Tree wood and Trophies

Tree wood and Trophies

The first thing I noticed walking into this barbecue joint was the wood, everywhere. Everything was made of wood (except maybe the TVs) and it was really cute and lodge-like. The FIFA World Cup was playing on one television, which I certainly enjoyed, and “Dumb and Dumber” played on the other. The Crimson Tide was obviously supported at Archibald’s, as it was practically a hall of fame with its many pictures and posters. I loved that this place of BBQ resembled an almost-quaint cottage, but the food was off the hook too.

Ribs!

Ribs!

Archibald’s ribs were tender and pretty fatty, with meat impressively cooked for a tendency to fall off of the bone. Although the meat was close to flawless, I wasn’t a huge fan of the sauce. I completely soaked my ribs in it and still couldn’t taste a thing. For me, sauce usually gives the meat a flavor and a sort of brings the body of the rib to it, not to mention how sauces can determine the type of BBQ one’s eating. This sauce had a good flavor when I got around to trying it, but maybe too subtle. In all, though, the ribs showed talent and I was glad that we tried them.

I’m not a huge pulled pork fan usually, so I may not be the best to judge, but I actually really enjoyed Archibald’s juicy, flavorful pork. I would definitely look forward to a side of that again, and I would suggest it.

But, these two famous meats were not the only ones we tried. I would also suggest the whiting (which is a breaded white fish) and the hot wings with an incredibly addictive sweet sauce. Sides like corn-on-the-cob, mashed potatoes, and beans all are included in meals and support the entrees well. Wow! Archibald’s proved to be a hit for me and my family, from the soccer playing to the tasty wings to the yummy, filling whiting. Comfort food for sure, but next time you’re in Alabama, stop by Archibald’s BBQ!

Been to Archibald’s already? Wow, you’re ahead of the game! Comment below to tell me about your experience… I would love to hear about it!

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From the Front

From the Front

Archibald and Woodrow’s BBQ

4215 Greensboro Ave.

Tuscaloosa, Alabama 35405

Tel: (205) 331-4858

 

Posted in BBQ, Exploration!, Food Photos, Restaurant Reviews, Seafood, Vacations | Leave a comment

A Breakfast Fit for a Chef

A Cute Cafe, A Breakfast to Brag About

A Cute Cafe, A Breakfast to Brag About

Innovation and creativity are two things that make a restaurant desirable, interesting, and newsworthy. The Pfunky Griddle has it all!

On the first Sunday of our trip to the South, our family and some friends went out for a unique breakfast. The Pfunky Griddle in the Berry Hill area of Nashville is a breakfast and lunch venue that is located in a place that was once a home. What makes this so different from a typical restaurant is that they give you batter, toppings, and a spatula…and you get to make the pancakes on your own! We’ve been to fondue and teppan grills but never a make-your-own breakfast cafe. This was right up my alley, and it was all-you-can-eat, so we decided to try it.

The decor of The Pfunky Griddle was perky and cute, and while we did have to wait, the employees were friendly and patient.  Once we were seated inside this cozy joint, I enjoyed the two toppings that I ordered with my batter: peanut butter and banana slices, and the bacon and homemade syrup were both great. They served white, wheat, and gluten-free batter and the toppings to choose from read on and on.

Little Bakers at Work

Little Bakers at Work

The immense griddle in the middle of the table was hot and cooked the pancakes quickly, but it was safe for everyone and we saw toddlers in there cooking away with their parents. I cooked the bananas into my pancakes and spread the peanut butter on top afterward, and I had at least five mini pancakes. They were yummy and all eight of us enjoyed our meals. I thought it was a cool idea and my dad labeled it as “one of the best breakfasts out we’ve had”. So, if you’re in Nashville, please go ahead and try it. It may not be the most Southern breakfast I’m going to have, but it was a lot of fun and I would definitely suggest it!

Posted in Exploration!, Farm Fresh to Table, Food Photos, Raw Foods, Restaurant Reviews, Vacations | 1 Comment

Day One: My First Impression of Nashville

The Listening Room

The Listening Room

My family has never really explored the southern part of our country, and I guess my parents made a decision that now was the time. So this summer, we’re taking a road trip of 4 states: Tennessee, Alabama, Georgia, and South Carolina.

We left town on Dad’s birthday, a bright sunny day that reminded me of our trip to Maine last summer. Personally, I had my doubts that this vacation would be anywhere near as fun… Of course, I was looking forward to authentic Southern food, a Christmas hotel, pools, and cute towns.  But it didn’t sound like the relaxing vacation that Maine and St. John were, or the curious trips like New Orleans and Boston.

It sounded like a whole lot of driving.

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After a smooth three and a half hour flight, we got to Nashville at around 5pm.  We checked into our hotel, the Renaissance, and after taking a short rest, we headed down a few blocks to The Listening Room…and this is where the real fun kicks in and I know that I’m in Nashville.

I walked on the red and gray streets of Music City, and from every door came the sound of guitars and voices.  While every singer-songwriter venue may not be as well-known as The Listening Room, they each exhibited such talent and a fun night out!  It all felt like magic to walk the streets of Nashville and to hear a musician performing in front of a crowd.

An Artsy Duo

An Artsy Duo

The Listening Room’s atmosphere kept me smiling, with someone on the guitar and mic at every moment, great service, and a casual, positive vibe.  The artists’ songs were about everything from high school love to positivity to grudges between women.  It was very creative and a new experience for me because of how close I was to the performers.  In all, it had a nice, relaxed feel to it and I enjoyed every second of my time there.

A Satisfying Steak

A Satisfying Steak

 

For dinner, I ordered a pork steak with a house-made bourbon barbeque sauce.  It was really well cooked and had a pleasing texture.  The smoked pork ribs that my dad ordered clung to the bone a bit, but had a great flavor (almost a mix of sweet and spicy).  I was satisfied with dinner, but dessert upstaged it.

We ordered a slice of pecan pie with caramel sauce and whipped cream.  While it couldn’t help but make me feel stuffed, I couldn’t stop myself from practically shoving it in my mouth.  A thick caramel sauce was drizzled over the top of the pie and a sliced strawberry topped it off.  It was gooey and sweet and just pure perfection.

My mom told me something I hadn’t known before.  Pecan pie had been my grandpa’s favorite.  My papa passed away when I was eight and although I loved him very much, I never knew him well and it meant a lot to me to discover something that we had in common. I thought about him the whole way home, and a memory of him as strong as the smell of his old sweatshirt came back for the first time in a while.

We walked back to our hotel in the dark, but the streets of Nashville were hardly deserted.  Music still played at every corner, and I smiled the whole way home thinking of the adventures that would come tomorrow.  Maybe this trip will be better than I expected.

Posted in Desserts, Exploration!, Food Photos, Restaurant Reviews, Uncategorized, Vacations | 1 Comment

A Chance on The Beach Reporter

One Month Down!Recently, I have been given the chance to write for the Beach Reporter, a free paper that covers the South Bay area. Once a month, I write an entry for the Dining Guide, and my first two have been on The Fish Shop, a new seafood restaurant on Pier Ave., and on Banzai Beach, a hole-in-the-wall teppanyaki grill in downtown Hermosa. Each month, I also write three short “bites” on restaurants to let my audience know how kid-friendly a restaurant is.

I really enjoy writing for a newspaper, and I thank the Beach Reporter for giving me a shot. Below is the link to my last article… Be sure to check the Reporter for more coming up!

 

http://m.tbrnews.com/lifestyle/banzai-beach-this-teppan-grill-lights-up-a-party/article_d161bcb6-e20f-11e3-82cc-0019bb2963f4.html

Posted in Debuts, Restaurant Reviews | Leave a comment

A Different Kind of Stadium

Dream Team Photo

Dream Team Photo

It was dark outside when we woke up, but I’m used to that. I’m definitely an early bird and I love the mornings, but today I awoke with the feelings of someone who had stayed up late last night. To tell you the truth, one thought and one thought only occupied my head: I don’t want to get out of bed! Nevertheless, I got up, packed my bag, and jumped in the car, excited for the day ahead of me. I couldn’t wait to see the stadium and the stars, to eat, and to write. This would be spectacular.

But today, we were not tailgating at the Rose Bowl or the Coliseum. This was a different kind of stadium… what I might call a “food stadium”. The first annual All Star Chefs Classic was hosted on Sunday, March 23, from noon to 2:30 at the new “Restaurant Stadium” at LA Live, and both local chefs and nation-wide foodies came to cook at an event not to be challenged.

The All Star Chefs Classic

The All Star Chefs Classic

A bar lit up the center of the large room, and around it sat tables surrounded by ten food booths. At each station, one fantastic chef or another would whip up an amazing sample, and you would be able to try it without a wait. The decor was classy and prestigious, and it made me nervous even to be in this foodie’s paradise. At the same time, however, it was almost laid-back and an awesome DJ kept us all on our toes.  Everyone was trying to balance a plate, a cup, and a camera, and yet I didn’t feel that it was touristy at all.  You were close to the chefs, but there weren’t too many people and we never had to wait more than two minutes for anything. Oh, here I go. I won’t be able to find anything wrong with an event featuring spectacular food AND Han Solo’s grandson.

Chef David LeFevre and His Creation

Chef David LeFevre and His Creation

First up, Chef David LeFevre. If you’ve followed my blog site before, you’ll recognize him as the genius behind the restaurant I spent my eleventh birthday at: MB Post. (http://www.southbayfood.com/?p=1795).  At his booth, creamy mashed potatoes were complimented by grilled asparagus, speck, mushrooms, and a delicious potato puree on top. It was adorned by crispy leeks, and I wouldn’t have changed anything about it. The flavors melded together perfectly but were still distinct in the best ways, and each thought back to it made my mouth water for more. Overall, it was an astounding first dish and I was extremely happy with Chef LeFevre’s creation.

 

Then, we slid over next door to Chef Vinny Dotolo’s station, where beef tendon with kolrabi salad was being presented. The beef tendon had a really nice texture, and it was soft but chewy. A perfect amount of what seemed to be a peanut sauce was drizzled over the top, and it was subtle but noticeable and definitely sweet. Overall, it might not have been my favorite dish of the night, but it was extremely impressive nonetheless.

By Wylie Dufresne

By Wylie Dufresne

Next, we walked to Chef Wylie Dufresne’s booth, which revealed a creative new idea: edamame gazpacho. I loved the textures with the milky gazpacho and the crunchy chunks to top it off. It tasted fresh and you could tell that a lot of effort was put into the making of it.

 

 

Lamb Sweetbreads, there's nothing better

Lamb Sweetbreads, there’s nothing better

Chef Alex Seidel’s dish blew me away. It was lamb sweetbread confit (otherwise known as lamb organs :)) but it was fantastic! The lamb had a beautiful texture and a great flavor, and it was overall very impressive. I’m so glad I got the chance to meet him, because this was the spectacular outcome of the work of a man who knows what he’s doing. The dish had an amazing “mushroom marmalade” and the mushrooms paired outstandingly with the creamy sheep’s milk ricotta. Also, Chef Seidel let us try his cheese, which was aged for two years in his home of Denver. Overall, Chef Seidel came and left us all awaiting the next time he can come to LA to cook us some more of his delicious food.

Let’s travel over to Chef David Myers’ dish: tuna with sesame tofu and a kumquat fava bean salad. Chef Myers prepared this cool dish for us in the booth right next to Chef David LeFevre’s. Although I didn’t enjoy the tofu very much, that’s probably just because I’ve been a carnivore since birth. The kumquat fava bean salad was strongly flavored and very citrusy, but in the best way because it was a great match with the tuna. I’m glad that Chef Myers included it. The tuna was the bomb; pink, silky, and impeccably prepared. I can’t say I’ve ever had such perfected,  melt-in-your-mouth tuna, and I only have one thing to say to that… yum.

Chef Ben Ford

Chef Ben Ford

Scrumptious Sea Bass Crudo

Scrumptious Sea Bass Crudo

And guess who I met next? One of the friendliest chefs ever, good in the kitchen, and he has a famous history. Chef Ben Ford, son of Harrison Ford and father of Indiana Jones’ grandson, happens to be madly talented, as I figured out as I practically inhaled my serving of sea bass crudo. The fish itself was smooth and tasty and it disintegrated in my mouth with a lingering taste of lime. The chilies on top added a nice spicy kick at the end and the avocado, which was also enriched by citrus, I think, was fantastic paired with the sea bass. It just overall showed a great knowledge of food and I’m really glad Chef Ford made it. I also got to see his son, an adorable little blond boy that seemed to be all smiles. (The Force is strong with that one.)

Chef Josiah Citrin: A Legend

Chef Josiah Citrin: A Legend

A legend held up the next station with a focused expression and hardworking hands. I could tell that Chef Josiah Citrin took his job seriously, and it definitely paid off. The wild monkfish cheek reminded me a bit of scallops, and monkfish might be known as the “poor man’s lobster”, but this was anything but insufficient. I hadn’t tried very much monkfish before this event, but I really enjoyed it and I look forward to trying it again soon. Though I didn’t know exactly how it was supposed to be cooked, I thought that it tasted great. The fish wasn’t too tough but it wouldn’t fall apart, with a great texture, and the herbs, like fennel, paired nicely with the monkfish. I was very happy with what I tried from Chef Josiah Citrin’s booth and I hope to eat more of his food soon!

My mother’s dentist, local foodie Dr. Gary Warburton, had suggested this event to us in the first place, and all throughout it, we had stopped around to talk to him and his wife Terry. What was really cool was that he knew a lot of the chefs, so I met a lot of them and I was so thankful that Dr. Warburton included us. Thank you!

Chef Ludo!

Chef Ludo!

I also met Chef Ludo Lefebvre, the famous chef who stars in TV show “Ludo Bites”. And although his persona on TV is definitely intimidating, he was really patient and friendly in person and I am very grateful for him for letting me waste his time. :)

Dr. Warburton, Chef David LeFevre, and a few others were having a conversation as we walked up. Chef LeFevre raved about the event, its great kitchens, its reserved parking, and just its atmosphere in general. It was nice to know that not only did the guests love the event, but the chefs enjoyed it as well.

 

Chef Elliot:  Salad Pro

Chef Elliot: Salad Pro

After a quick break, my dad and I returned back to our food

Deconstruction Site

Deconstruction Site

sampling. Next up was Chef Graham Elliot’s twist on a classic Cesear salad, otherwise known as his “deconstructed Cesear salad”. It was a lettuce wedge with a fantastic crunch and doused in crumbled parmesan cheese. On the side came a crispy toasted bread slice with a white dollop of soft spread on top, which was almost buttery, and I’m not sure exactly what it was but it was addictive. It was a fresh spin on a classic dish, I really enjoyed it, and I was very glad to try it. Nice job, Chef Elliot!

Pork Belly Not To Be Forgotten

Pork Belly Not To Be Forgotten

Two words could be used to describe this next station, and that’s all you need to know that it was a positive review: PORK. BELLY. The cardamom brined meat had a great texture and really stood out for its creativity with spices and flavors. A creamy coconut asparagus veloute topped it off and the flavors matched each other very well. I enjoyed this dish, and I thought that it was a great way to prepare pork belly.

 

Chef Silverton and Me

Chef Silverton and Me

Lastly, Chef Nancy Silverton’s booth stood next door with a black sign sporting kale salad. Being a meat-lover, I thought I would be disappointed to end on this, but boy was I wrong! The kale salad was served with ricotta salata, pine nuts, and an anchovy on top, and although I was not a fan of the anchovy, the nuts and cheese went well together and the kale was perfection. In all, it was a great way to end the event and the salad definitely left you craving more.

In all, this amazing culinary event was a great way to spend my Sunday, and not only was the food delicious, but the chefs were friendly, welcoming, and, above all, inspiring. I have been slow to post recently because I’ve been very busy and I had been putting other activities before this (mainly soccer). This spectacular day reminded me how important it is to continue my blog and put in that extra effort, and I am so glad that I got to experience such an extraordinary event.

Thank you especially to Gary Warburton for encouraging me, showing us around, and keeping us laughing all day. Also, thank you so much to the chefs that I met: Ben Ford, Josiah Citrin, David LeFevre, Nancy Silverton, Wylie Dufresne, Alex Seidel, Graham Elliot, and Jennifer Jasinski. They were all so inspiring, kind, and, of course, spectacularly talented!

And, last of all, thank you Dad for a memorable opportunity and an experience I will never forget.

Posted in Behind the Scenes, Celebrity Chefs, Exploration!, Farm Fresh to Table, Food Photos, Raw Foods, Seafood | 7 Comments

Fried Lobster at FISHBAR–The Debut of the Classy Take on a Well-Known Dish

Fried Lobsters and Waffles!

Fried Lobsters and Waffles!

Our server smiled.  “I haven’t seen you in a while,” she greeted us.

“You are so popular now… We find lines here every night!” my mom replied. It’s true; FISHBAR is now a favorite in the South Bay. And it should be! Chef Jessica Jordan’s creative ideas for new dishes, drinks, and creations are always loved and flavorful.

I discussed this morning’s debut dish with Chef Jordan, and we talked about different ways to incorporate lobster into classic dishes and desserts. She’s inspirational and impressive, and I was so lucky to interview her a little while ago: http://www.southbayfood.com/?p=1725

October 26 was the debut of FISHBAR’S new “Fried Lobster and Waffles”. At first, I was reluctant to try this new dish, because I have never even had Roscoe’s Famous Chicken and Waffles. But I am glad I gave this a chance, because I was pleasantly surprised by this twist on a classic. Fresh, delectable lobster, enveloped in a light beer-batter, crowns a crisp, fluffy waffle. The huge chunks of lobster were best drizzled with Tabasco hot sauce and dipped in maple syrup.

I was extremely impressed with this dish, but who knows how long this will remain on the menu? So get it fast! This is a delicacy not to be looked over.

 

Posted in Celebrity Chefs, Debuts, Food Photos, Restaurant Reviews, Seafood | Leave a comment

Day 6: Delectable Dining!

(I am continuing my series of blog posts on my summer trip to Camden, Maine.)

Having Fun at Megunticook Lake!

Having Fun at Megunticook Lake!

What did we do today?  First up, we went kayaking in Megunticook Lake and visited the tiny farmer’s market of Camden.  We also visited an expensive cooking store, but what I would really like to share is our dinner at Atlantica.  Highly recommended by our rental house owners, this restaurant is a favorite in town, and a favorite in our family.

 

Atlantica From the Outside

Atlantica From the Outside

First, let me tell you about our waitress.  Oana, from Romania, was nice and very sweet, and I would like to thank her for suggestions and friendliness in a new town.

We were seated in a table outside, right next to the water!  There, we sat and saw the beautiful sunset and enjoyed our dinner next to the calm horizon.  I also enjoyed the decor of the restaurant:  casual blues and yellows, but still formal and impressive.

Simply Stupendous!

Simply Stupendous!

For an appetizer, we ordered the seafood board:  crab sofrito, finnan haddie rillettes, and shrimp over cucumber kimchi.  The crab sofrito was by far my favorite part of dinner because it was creamy with a hint of spice.  This starter was fine crab, topped with a slice of radish and served over a cracker with red paste.  My mom and I tasted a little bit of something like horseradish in the mix, and we loved how it was crunchy but smooth, and definitely addictive.  The finnan caddie rillete was creamy and whipped, meant to be served on bread.  I don’t think I will ever want to eat bread differently again for the salty smokiness of the fish spread!  I gave my dad the last bite, though, because he loved it more than any of us.

The Maine shrimp with cucumber kimchi was unforgettable.  It had a spicy kick, and Mom said it was such a “dream” in her mouth, but she also said she thought it was better than any lobster roll — or anything — that we had tried in Maine!  “I would stop listening to her after that,” my dad said.  :)

The seafood board was great, and MUCH better than the sweet onion, bacon, and fish chowder.  Everyone wanted to try it, so we ordered a bowl for the table, but the only flavors we could taste were the overpowering potato and too much salt.   Overall, the chowder was not our favorite dish, and my dad especially wished we had gotten something else.

As entrees were delivered to the table, I could smell each of their pungent fragrances.

Dad's Monkfish

Dad’s Monkfish

A smoky scent rose through the air above Dad’s monkfish on a bed of shrimp, couscous, peas, bacon, garlic, and asparagus. Mom’s salmon released the fragrance of thyme, and my  mussels in a yuzu broth scented the air with lime and ginger.  Tabitha’s hot and sour Maine shrimp and crab soup gave off a strong smell of crab, but not the unpleasant fishy kind you would imagine.

 

Mom's Salmon

Mom’s Salmon

But they didn’t taste as good as they smelled, I am disappointed to say.  Well, in my opinion. The rest of my family loved Atlantica, but I found it one of my least favorite of our dinners in Maine.  While Dad enjoyed his roasted monkfish, I found it fishy and overpowered by the couscous.  My mussels were good, and, yes, I enjoyed them very much, but they were not anything special, and I was not as impressed as I expected to be.  Tabitha’s soup was fine, but compared to The Golden Egg’s clam chowder, this shrimp and crab was unfortunately not what I expected from a well-reviewed, harbor-side, East Coast restaurant.  Mom’s salmon, however, wowed me!  This was off the charts, especially compared to the other dishes.  I loved the herbs that topped it off, and the chard sauté was extremely impressive.  Atlantica’s motto was “Locally sourced. Responsibly handled. Inspired kitchen.”  While I am sure Atlantica is all of these three, it was not as phenomenal as was expected.

Profiteroles of Perfection!

Profiteroles of Perfection!

Dessert, however, took a turn.  I loved the profiterole special:  a sweet puff pastry stuffed with ice cream, topped with caramel and fudge.  It was addictive, unforgettable, and unable to be ignored.  “Yummers!” as we have heard here in Maine, and definitely “Yummy” where I come from. Dad received a dessert of his own, which is unusual.  A Genoise Chocolate Terrine, a rich layer cake, had never been heard of in our family, but it was fairly satisfying, and definitely worth a try!  Atlantica was not my favorite restaurant, but I am glad we tried it, and thank you to our homeowners for this suggestion.

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Atlantica Restaurant

9 Bayview Landing

Camden, ME 04843

Tel:  (207) 236-6011

Website:  www.atlanticarestaurant.com

Posted in Desserts, Exploration!, Food Photos, Latin/Mexican/Spanish, Restaurant Reviews, Seafood, Vacations | 2 Comments

Day 5: Friends and Fun

Today, we are driving back to Portland to see my mom’s college friend and his family. Sounds like another LONG, BORING car ride? Not at all! Actually, we found some pretty cool stops on the way, including a meat/cheese/souvenir shop, a local market, a lighthouse, and world-famous Red’s Eats!

The first stop was The Market Basket, a small, simple store that offered floury, homemade, whole-wheat breads, wine, a wide variety of coffee, and lunch. It was a cute local store, and we were glad we stopped in!

Following our visit to the Market Basket, we encountered another place worth stopping for! Or should I say places? Three different companies were connected, but the State of Maine Cheese Co. was the main attraction. When you first walked into the barn-like building, all you saw was CHEESE! But that’s not all the State of Maine Cheese Company has to offer.  Honeys, blueberry products, and much more line the shelves and stands of the main room.

And yes, there were other products, but cheese was the star.  In the center of the room, a sample table stood, with a wide variety of samples laid out in boxes.  I got to try 5 kinds of cheese!  Two cheeses I loved were a Garlic Lover’s spread and a fresh cheddar.  The garlic spread was flavorful, but not overpoweringly strong, which I liked.  The cheddar was sharp and tangy, and it appealed to both me and my dad.  The outcome and wonderful taste really reflected the hard work, time, and effort that the staff put into making the cheese. Another thing that I like about the State of Maine Cheese Co. is the owner, Cathe. Though running the entire business, she worked at the counter, offering free samples, and in the bakery, too! Plus, she was friendly and nice, not to mention generous! She let us try cheeses that weren’t on the sample table. A black olive cheese was hard, but not sharp, and yummy, but not as good as we expected. My mom’s favorite was a pungent, smooth garlic cheese with a strong punch. I enjoyed both flavors, but I think my favorite was the Black Pepper cheese. peppercorns were ingrained into the sharper cheese, and my tastebuds savored every last moment!

In this 3-in-1 store there was also a meat section. And if there is a meat section, you know I’ll be there! Bleecker & Flamm Maine Street Meats offered a variety of sausages, steaks, and cured meats. Their was even a Lamb Merguez sausage! The meat company is owned by Andrew S. Flamm and Sarah Greer, but we did not get to meet them. :) Overall, seeing Maine Street Meats was worth it.

Lastly, the Rockport Market Place was a Maine souvenir shop. Inside, we found fur products, bottled goods, and clothing. There was even a Moxie shirt, and after yesterday, I definitely wanted it! The Rockport Market Place was a cute little shop and I am glad we swung by!

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The Rockland Breakwater Light

The Rockland Breakwater Light

 

 

 

After visiting The State of Maine Cheese Company and its companions, we drove up to the Rockland Breakwater Light, a small lighthouse open for visitors. To get to the lighthouse, we walked along a rocky, uneven granite breakwater that was almost one mile long (according to the Rockland Breakwater site warning sign).

On our way to the lighthouse, we saw two friendly people picking escargot, or snails. It was very interesting, because I have never done anything like that, and it looked like hard work!

Another enjoyable sight along the walk were the many lobster buoys lining the breakwater’s edge. My dad was overly obsessed with the lobster traps that were scattered along the ocean floor, just waiting to catch the next oblivious lobster. My mom told me how each fisherman has a different color buoy, and I watched as the buoys lit up the periwinkle ocean.

A Long Walk to a Lighthouse

Almost there!

When we finally got to this long-awaited lighthouse, I was disappointed that it wasn’t the tall, spirally, striped tower I had imagined. It was basically a tiny,white house with a light at the back. It was cool, though, to see the islands, not too far in the distance, and to look back at the long slab of granite and the calm rocky beach. I must say that, overall, my favorite part of our lighthouse stop was the seaside walk to and from it.

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Red's

Red’s

After our journey to the lighthouse, we had lunch at the famous Red’s Eats! Known for the best lobster roll in all of Maine, this place had lines down the block, we were lucky enough to get in line with less than a 30 minute wait, because we had heard it could be hours!

 

Dad, Mom and I all ordered their lobster roll, and Tabitha got the chicken nuggets. At Red’s Eats, you can get your lobster rolls with butter or mayo, which I like, and they were exploding with meat! I actually had to take out almost an entire lobster tail so I could eat it!  Plus, there was more than one lobster in EVERY SINGLE ROLL! Each roll was fresh and juicy, and we were so impressed with the perfection of Red’s roll! We were so happy with it that it was granted

Luscious Lobstah!

Luscious Lobstah!

 

 

5 of 5 shells! Go Red’s!

For a quick dessert, I tried my first Whoopie Pie! In between rich chocolate cookie crusts lied some sort of cream. I think it was supposed to be marshmallow, but I certainly didn’t taste it. However, it was still a delight and definitely worth trying!

Crazy Flavors!!

Crazy Flavors!!

Next, we just HAD to stop at Lears to try their eye-catching lobster ice cream! We got a small cup to share, and, truth to be told, we should have gotten samples! It was supposedly made with real lobster, but all it tasted like to Mom, Tabitha, and I was a disgusting mound of sea salt. My dad, however, enjoyed it. Whereas the girls in our family found the garlic ice cream WAY more pleasing than this lobster ice cream, Dad found this interesting flavor better than our Gilroy garlic favorite! I guess everyone has their opinions, though.

What are some crazy foods and flavors you have tried? What did you think of them? Comment to tell me all about it!

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Flatbread PIzza

Flatbread PIzza

After all of our stops, we did eventually make it to Portland. There, we attended a dinner at a restaurant with many locations across the country: Flatbread Pizza. We met my mother’s college friend, Pete, and his family at a really cool table next to the harbor, and we had a great time!

For dinner, we all shared salad and three LARGE pizzas: a mushroom and pepperoni pizza, a Coevolution pizza, and a plain cheese pizza. I didn’t try the cheese pizza, but the homemade pepperoni and the warm mushrooms made a wonderful entree. The Coevolution pizza had goat cheese, olives, red peppers, mozzarella, and rosemary. Both of my parents loved it, and my mom described the goat cheese as creamy and she mentioned the many flavors of the pizza. Dad thought the veggies had great seasonings, and, overall, it was a great pizza that was enjoyed and wolfed down!

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My mouth froze over as I scooped a bite of chocolate ice cream into my mouth. Yum! A simple dessert, yes, but a favorite no matter where you go! But, ice cream is especially treasured on the East Coast, where there’s an ice cream shop around every corner!

Overall, I was happy with our dinner at Flatbread Pizza, and so was everyone else!

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The Market Basket

223 Commercial St.

Rockport, Maine 04856

Tel: (207) 236-4371

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The State of Maine Cheese Company

461 Commercial St.

Rockport, Maine 04856

Tel: (800) 762-8895

Website: http://cheese-me.com

Email: info@cheese-me.com

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Bleecker & Flamm Maine Street Meats

461 Commercial St.

Rockport, Maine 04856

Tel: (207) 236-MEAT

Email: mainemeat@gmail.com

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Rockport Market Place

461 Commercial St.

Rockport, Maine 04856

Tel: (800) 762-8895

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Rockland Breakwater Light

Website: http://www.newenglandlighthouses.net/rockland-breakwater.html

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Red’s Eats

41 Water St. 

Wiscasset, Maine 04578

Tel: (207) 882-6128

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Lears Old Fashioned Ice Cream

Water St.

Wiscasset, Maine 04578

 Tel: (207) 380-4811

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Flatbread Pizza

72 Commercial St.

Portland, Maine

Tel: (207) 772-8777 

Website: http://www.flatbreadcompany.com/

Email: bobbymorgan@flatbreadcompany.com

 

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Day 4: Happy Hiking

On Top Of The World!

On Top Of The World!

We were at Camden Hills State Park, hiking as our activity of the day.  We chose a moderate trail called the Mount Megunticook Trail, which I think was perfect for the family!

 

A bit steep, wet, and slick, this hike had its challenges.  But high, adventurous, and exciting…that was one of the most fun hikes I had ever done!  We had so much fun and we were sad when it was over.

 

 

 

* * * * *

Go Mount Battie!

Go Mount Battie!

On our way back home, we stopped at Mount Battie’s Take Out and Ice Cream.  A small, locally owned shack, this place was friendly and yummy.  For lunch, Tabitha and I tried Mount Battie’s clam chowder, and Mom decided on our fourth New England lobster roll contestant.  Dad received fried clams and scallops, and we all got ice cream afterward!  Now, let’s explore the flavors of Day 4’s lunch…

 

The clam chowder was almost flawless.  The texture of the clams was perfect.  The taste was flavorful and competed with The Golden Egg’s clam chowder.  And, it was served in a good-sized cup with a decent amount of clams!  So, what could go wrong?

 

The temperature.  Tabitha and I both couldn’t eat it for a while due to the Styrofoam cups locking in the heat.  I like soup warm, of course, but this was searing hot.  If you get Mount Battie’s clam chowder, I suggest you get it cool for a while before you burn yourself.  But, eventually, I could eat it, and we were impressed with our lunch!

 

Good or bad? Lobster all the same! :)

Good or bad? Lobster all the same! :)

Mom’s lobster roll; not the best, but not bad either.  Chock full of meat, lobster tumbled out every time Mom took a bite.  But it was a small bun, so there appeared to be more lobster than there really was.  It was good and fresh lobster, and it filled your mouth with scrumptious juices, but unfortunately, mayo was dumped over the top of the roll so it was inconsistent.  Mom rated it

 

 

 

 

 

3 shells

because although we hoped to try better, she still enjoyed her lunch.

Dad’s fried seafood did not impress him very much.  The clams were soft and mushy and could not compete with Cappy’s in my dad’s opinion.  The batter would not stay on the scallops, but they were plump and tasty.

 

Memorable Moxie!

Memorable Moxie!

In addition, we also tried Maine’s famous state soda, Moxie.  I’d read on blogs about a horrible aftertaste, but we really enjoyed it.  Bitter than most sodas, we though it was similar to root beer and Dr. Pepper, and it was delicious!  We loved the bitter sourness and it was definitely worth a try.  Have you tried this memorable drink?

 

 

* * * * *

Mount Battie’s ice cream was incredible!  Many unique and interesting flavors were listed on a green sign, and I chose the Maine Black Bear.  This was a vanilla ice cream with raspberry ribbons and raspberry-filled chocolate cups, and I very much appreciated my sweet dessert.  The raspberry melted into the chocolate and the cups gave the vanilla some crunchy bites.  It was memorable and addicting.  Tabitha got the rainbow sherbet, a fruity, refreshing cone.  Though creamy and sweet, it wasn’t the prettiest sherbet.  The purple looked brown, and the colors ended up being a murky gray from being melded together so well.  It also melted very quickly which displeased Tabitha.  But it was tasty and yummy, and Tabitha couldn’t have been happier that she ordered it.

 

Dad’s not usually a dessert guy, but I cannot blame him for wanting to try the Chocolate Rainforest Crunch.  This was dark chocolate ice cream, caramel swirls, chocolate chunks, and peanuts all assembled.  It was a delicious mix and an unforgettable one, too. Dad had a rich, chocolatey cone, where as Mom received an amazing blueberry ice cream.  It was flavorful and creamy, and Mom really enjoyed it.  She was happy with her little dessert, and to be honest, I think everyone else was as well.

 

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Mouthwatering; A Satisfying Special

Mouthwatering; A Satisfying Special

For a fantastic dinner, we went to Fresh, a restaurant supposedly inspired by Maine cuisine.  Mom and I shared a seared tuna entrée and a lentil and parsnip puree soup.  The incredible pink-to-perfection tuna was served over a bed of penne pasta, artichoke hearts, sundried tomatoes, kalamata olives, spinach, and lots of olive oil.  The best bites were the perfectly prepared bluefin tuna, the al dente penne pasta, and the fresh, yummy artichoke heart together.  The juicy, bold flavor of the artichoke heart, the smoothness of the penne, and the melt in your mouth tuna blended for an amazing concoction, and the tart kalamata olives and savory spinach had some factor that made you want more and more!  I am not a huge fan of the kalamata olive, but it was a great blend with the artichoke hearts. Not to mention the sundried tomatoes!  I had not had them in a long time, and I remembered disliking them, but I tried them and I couldn’t have liked them better.  My only regrets of this dish were that it was not, in fact, distinctly “Maine inspired”, and there were so many flavors in just one mouthful! Incredible flavors, yes, but maybe a little bit too many. Nevertheless, this dish pleased me beyond what I had expected, and  could not have been happier with my dinner choice; the tuna was outstanding and all of the flavors along with it just added to a blog-worthy entrée!

 

Superb and Splendid!

Superb and Splendid!

Our parsnip puree lentil soup was much better than it sounded.  Mom and I got it to share, but everyone at the table ate their fair share—especially Tabs.  We found yet another soup that she loved!  But it wasn’t just her, everyone liked it.  It was creamy parsnip, with a dollop of whipped lentils in the center.  It was delightful, flavorful, and creative, and I would highly recommend it.

 

For a rich, strong dessert, I chose a chocolate truffle with fresh berries and whipped cream.  It was chocolaty and sweet, and the fresh fruit dipped into the fluffy whipped cream made it a yummy dessert.  Overall, I was incredible happy with the fantastic dinner and dessert at Fresh.

 

Check in with you tomorrow on Day 5!

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Mount Battie’s Take Out and Ice Cream

254 Belfast Road

Camden, Maine 04843

Tel: (207) 236-6122

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Fine Foods @ Fresh

Fine Foods @ Fresh!

Fresh

1 Bay View Landing

Camden, ME 04843

Tel: (207) 236-7005

www.freshcamden.com/

 

 

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Day 3…

ENTIRE EXCELLENCE

Today, on Father’s Day, we went to brunch at a Cajun kitchen, attended a Portland Sea Dogs home game, and bought our own live lobster to cook for dinner!

First of all, it was Father’s Day, so Tabitha and I enjoyed giving our dad cards and showing him his gifts. For a Father’s Day brunch, we tried out Bayou Kitchen. My dad loves the Cajun cuisine, and it looked like everyone could find something in the custom pancake shop/cajun cafe and diner.

Bright and Bold

Bright and Bold

Yellows, purples, and greens lit up the rooms, and the Mardi-Gras decor was definitely eye-catching! As we scanned the menu, many items looked suitable, and I had a difficult time choosing my meal. Bayou Kitchen’s custom pancake shop was extremely creative, offering many unique pancakes. On this section of the menu, there were many pancakes, from pecan pancakes to ginger pancakes to coffee pancakes!

 

Alongside a custom pancake menu, a Cajun section gave us many more selections. Jambalaya, gumbo, and Cajun omelets were some items on the Cajun addition.

Mom ordered a blueberry banana pancake breakfast, and Tabs got chocolate chip pancakes. Dad received a Cajun scramble, and I decided on the jambalaya. Also, we ordered gumbo for the table!

Blueberry Banana Bliss!

Blueberry Banana Bliss!

Mom loved her pancake, a sweet breakfast that started off the day with a smile! The texture of the pancake was perfect: filling and doughy, but moist. The blueberries were local and fresh, and the banana added a wet component to the dish. Splendid and healthy, this was an attractive dish and definitely a favorite!

Tabitha’s chocolate chip pancakes were filling and YUMMY! But as luscious as they were, they were a bit dry, and they could have used more chocolate to keep it running smoothly through your mouth. Overall, the chocolate chip pancakes were not flawless, yet still memorable, and I would try them again!

Bayou Kitchen’s jambalaya was utterly disappointing. I didn’t care for the tomato base, and it was served cold. The sauce was redder, where as our family prefers thicker, browner sauces. In addition, it had more veggies, and less meat, which I wish was NOT  the case. However, the seafood was fresh, and there was a decent amount of jambalaya on a serving. Overall, as good jambalayas go, this wasn’t one of them. I hate to say that I would not suggest Bayou Kitchen’s jambalaya.

Gumbo to be Reckoned With

Gumbo to be Reckoned With

But I must say, the gumbo almost made up for it… This was by far the best dish on the table! The whole family hogged the perfect concoction, and I much preferred it over my meal! It was moderately spicy, thinner than usual, and different than any gumbo I’d ever had (probably because we were in Maine…:)). I’ve been to New Orleans, and while this obviously was no real, authentic gumbo, it was impressive!

 

Overall, our brunch had ups and downs, but in the end it earned a thumbs-up!

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Across the street from Bayou Kitchen was a fresh bread factory, store, and cafe. As we entered this perfection of a business, The Big Sky Bread Company was immediately on my good side! I walked in and a fresh, doughy smell drifted through the air. Stacked on shelves, unique bread sat, waiting to be devoured by local customers. Some unusual breads were the Cinnamon Walnut Raisin, the Deep South Cornbread, and the Black Forest Pumpernickel. The locals obviously stopped in often, just to buy everyday bread, but my dad and I were fascinated! There was even a sample of their bread with butter, and it was yummy, warm, and it definitely tasted homemade (the good kind)!

I also loved that the bakery was right in front of you, so you could see them baking the bread in action! It was also a good idea to have a restaurant too. On the menu there were panini sandwiches, soups, and salads. I thought it was a really interesting experience to be able to visit the Big Sky Bread Conpany!

* * * * *

Next, we attended a Portland Sea Dogs Game. There is not much food to write about from this baseball game, except for our third lobster roll contestant: the baseball roll.

"The Ball Park Roll"

“The Ball Park Roll”

For baseball park food, it was great! For a lobster roll… Not so much. Not that it was terrible, but there was way too much mayonnaise, and the lobster was ice cold, which is maybe a little too cold for a lobster roll in my preference. It was creamy, but inconsistent, and the lobster was nothing memorable. Unfortunately, my dad rated it:

 

Two shells

shell-harbour-removals

shell-harbour-removals

 

 

 

 

That’s all I have to say about the Sea Dogs game (they won!), but I can’t wait to tell you about our incredible lobster dinner experience!

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Oyster Alert!

Shellfish Alert!

Somewhere along our drive from Portland back to Camden, we entered the coolest road-side stand I have EVER encountered. Advertised on roadside signs, Glidden Point Oyster Company is a live lobster and oyster shack. The owner and operator, Barb Scully, dives for the oysters herself, which is rare these days. “She says the technique is less disruptive for the shellfish and ensures superior taste,” I read from an article on The New York Times website. They are freshly farmed in the Damariscotta River, along with the lobster the Glidden Point Oyster Company sold.

 

 

The Three Not-So-Little Lobsters

The Three Not-So-Little Lobsters!

What my dad thought made this cool shack one THOUSAND times cooler is the “Honor System”. If the Scullys were out oyster diving, they would trust you to take the seafood, and leave the money. Luckily, Mrs. Scully was available when we came on Father’s Day, because we had no idea what we were doing! I loved the business so much, I bought a shirt from the Glidden Point Oyster Co. On the back, it says their slogan, which is: “You don’t win friends with salad“. A quote from Homer Simpson, I immediately loved the shirt, the slogan, and its meaning!

In the end, we bought 3 lobsters (totaling 5 lbs) and 12 oysters, all live on the way home!

* * * * *

When we got home, my dad immediately opened the cooler and tried to grab the lobsters. Big mistake! Though we had done this before, we had not expected the feisty lobsters! They were fighting and flailing against my dad, and, boy, did it surprise us!

Ruby Red and Looking Good!

Ruby Red and Looking Good!

But once they were boiled and shelled, they just couldn’t have been better! Dipped in warm, dripping-down-your-chin, heavenly butter, this lobster was succulent, juicy, and fresh. My dad, mom, and I all have the same favorite lobster part: the tail! However, my sister preferred the legs, from which you got practically no meat… But everyone has their preferences, I guess.

 

The splendid meat practically melted in your mouth, and the butter was a fantastic addition! I found myself wishing that it wasn’t gone when the plate was cleared. But I guess that’s how good food works.

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The Bayou Kitchen

543 Deering Ave.

Portland, Maine 

Tel: (207) 774-4935

http://www.bayoukitchenmaine.com

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Big Sky Bread Company

536 Deering Ave.

Portland, Maine

Tel: (207) 761-5623

http:/www.mainebread.com

 

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Glidden Point Oyster Sea Farm

707 River Road

Edgecomb, Maine 04556

Tel: (207) 633-3599

http://www.oysterfarm.com

 

 

Posted in Cajun/Creole, Exploration!, Farm Fresh to Table, Food Photos, Raw Foods, Restaurant Reviews, Seafood, Vacations | 1 Comment