Tuesday, September 1, 2009

A Maine Adventure: Our Local Stops

Posing by a "Local is Best" sign outside a Farm Stand in Old Orchard Beach off Rt. 5 while biking back from Kennebunkport, ME

Maine was probably one of the best possible places we could have traveled to on a local diet. Calling what I ate this past week a "diet" is probably misleading, because the word diet suggests sacrifice, pain, and overall displeasure and what I ate was anything but.

While not everything we ate in Maine was grown or caught there, a lot of it was! We stuck to the basics: seafood, lobster, fish, seafood...did I mention seafood? It may not have been the most healthful vacation meals (our seafood was routinely bathed in butter or some other fat of choice), but we contributed to the local economy by staying, shopping, and dining at small business locations (with one divergence that I would rather not talk about) and overall I would say that my eating local vacation was a success.

A few of our local stops worth mentioning:
  • Fancy that... A bakery and sandwich shop in Ogunquit, Maine that serves Maine made ice cream and decent sandwiches. Not all the ingredients are local, indeed their brochure boasts of "Fresh imported meats, cheeses, roasted vegetables" (I assume the roasted vegetables are not imported...though I may be mistaken). Full disclosure: my sandwich was made with Boursin (a spreadable French cheese), but we ate Cape Cod chips to cancel that out and boost the local factor. If I would come here again it would be to get a nice cup of iced coffee and a freshly baked cookie. Click here to read my full review on Yelp.
  • Huot's Seafood Restaurant This restaurant, located in Old Orchard Beach, Maine, was recommended to us by the owner of the B&B for the best fried seafood in the area. After dining here and seeing an old menu I can tell you that prices have risen in the past 4 years. What used to be a $10 baked haddock meal is now $16, and comes with 2 sides of your choice. The seafood is caught locally by fisherman in the area. I would hands-down, no reservations, whole heartedly recommend the Shrimp Scampi baked dish served over rice pilaf to ANYONE who comes here. It was unforgettable. Genuinely local (even down to the off the menu side of fresh red beets). Click here to read my full review on Yelp.
  • Port Lobster This is basically a lobster pound that serves excellent, fresh seafood and the most delicious (and affordable-ish) lobster rolls in Kennebunkport. At least that's what the woman who was selling her horse and buggy service to passerbys told us. (Note to self: always ask the locals the best place to eat local...). For $10 you can buy a lobster roll, which is a bunch of cleaned, lobster, cut into chunks tossed with just a touch of mayonnaise, salt and pepper and served in a hot dog bun (we had ours toasted...a very good idea). One bite of the lobster roll and I told Adam I think I might be in heaven. It was that good. I can't imagine eating anything else out of a hot dog bun ever again (...like that will be hard...). I posted a picture of my heavenly experience below. To order Port Lobster seafood online visit the Port Lobster website.

Eating local was surprisingly convenient on this vacation. There were no large mega-restaurants tempting us, the ones that seem to hit every major city and suburb in sight, and there were only a handful of franchises (e.g. Subway, Dunkin Donuts) that were located such that they were easy enough to avoid. Their slightly lower prices gave them some competitive advantage, but all in all it was just a few cents difference and I think most people went their for familiarity's sake.

As for affordability, it was a bit more difficult to calculate. We never felt like we were spending too much on what we were eating. Though finding a lobster roll for under $10 posed quite a challenge given we were biking through Kennebunkport (relatively more expensive that Old Orchard Beach, in my opinion). Asking locals about affordable eats, limiting meat consumption, and enjoying the free offerings at the B&B made for a reasonably priced vacation.

The eating local challenge continues...back home.

1 comment:

Anthony Colón said...

This outfit gets it's Maine lobsters from Cundy's Harbor. They recently gave me this deal - Ayuh Maine Lobster's Deal of the Day...Get 10% Off Order Total. At http://www.ayuhmainelobster.com 's checkout I entered in the following COUPON CODE and saved some money:
Do you know of any other co. that will match this?