Monday, May 25, 2015

Chopsticks Optional Honeymoon: Portland, Maine

It wouldn't be a Chopsticks Optional honeymoon it we didn't stuff ourselves silly with delicious Maine eats! We took a few days for a short getaway to Portland and Kennebunkport after our wedding, where I gained all the weight I lost from suffering four days of food poisoning the week of my wedding. You read that right, what luck! Needless to say, after a brutal diet of bananas, rice, applesauce, and toast, I was ravenous! Here are a few highlights from our Portland leg:

Eventide Oyster Co
: A trip to Portland wouldn't be complete without a stop by Eventide. It's our go to spot for a brown butter lobster roll but with each visit, we discover even better, innovative bites.
Bangs Island Mussel Tamago: fried mussels nestled in a creamy egg concoction, swirled with a salty umami-packed nam prik sauce and artfully sprinkled with pickled cabbage and crispy puffed rice. It was almost too pretty to eat, almost. 
Roasted Jumbo Winter Point Oysters: We love raw oysters but these roasted beauties were too tempting to pass. Crispy fried potato added a wonderful textural contrast to the briny oysters but it was the Korean BBQ sauce that elevated this one bite wonder.
Torn Maine Scallops: These little beauties were caramelized to perfection and bathed in the same brown butter elixir from their signature lobster roll but it was the sweet creamy parsnip puree that sang to us and brought all the elements together. 

Ten Ten Pie: Eventide was just a snack stop. We ventured to this new cafe/international grocery store for a second lunch. I'm convinced grocery store cafes make the best food. Here you can pick up snacks from around the world, local wine and beers, and different sauces and global provisions but it's the pastries, sweets, and eats that are worth coming in for. 
Bento Lunch Box:That is by no means an ordinary croissant but a chinese sausage croissant that was delightfully buttery, savory and sweet at the same time. All the baked goods at Ten Ten Pie have a global flair to them. If only our bellies had more room for the roasted cauliflower savory hand pie or open-faced dashi, egg, and bacon sandwich. A pick-your-own bento box also came with a side salad with creamy avocado, pickles, and homemade tofu and kimchi banchan for some added veggies/something healthy to balance all this gluttony out.
Turkey Dumpling Noodle Soup: At first glance it looks like pho but it's a whole new twist that I'll be sure to tackle on my own. This unique take on dumplings is made with turkey instead of the usual pork or seafood filling and dropped into a very light and flavor-packed veggie broth. Perfect til the very last slurp. 
Chocolate Pudding: Of course we saved room for dessert and this chocolate pudding did not disappoint. It was rich and creamy but the star of this sweet treat was the miso caramel cream. The miso flavor is so subtle but just the bit of saltiness brought out the chocolate flavor. Sweet dreams are made of miso caramel. It's no surprise Ten Ten Pie also makes desserts for Miyake, the epitome of innovative Japanese cuisine in Portland.

I admit being drawn to Miyake ever since Alex Guarnashelli proclaimed to have the best miso soup here, but it was the four-course meal that blew us away. More on that in a future post because it was too life-changing to write about in one post. Back to the miso soup. 
Miyake's broth is so much more complex than the thin, watery stuff we get for free with our sushi meals here. It wasn't exactly "The Best Thing I Ever Ate" mushroom miso soup as apparently that version is seasonal, but it was better than most. The real treat was in the rest of our be continued.
Of course a trip to Portland wouldn't be complete without a potato donut from The Holy Donut, or in our case, a healthy dozen or so to kickstart the day. 
Seriously, how could you resist with flavors like mojito, cannoli creme, Maine blueberry, and maple bacon?! We also rounded things out with cranberry pomegranate, lemon, chocolate sea salt, chocolate glazed, vanilla, maple, and triple berry. We might or might not have added a bacon cheddar donut square for good measure. As a disclaimer, we spent two days in Portland eating and drinking the sweet life. 

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