I have a nostalgia for the state of Maine that is unmatched by any other place. As a family, we came up almost every other summer for many years. It is probably my favorite place on earth to visit. It holds so much history for me and I just love the beauty and whole feeling of being up there. I was very excited to finally be able to take Mike to Maine and show him my favorite vacation destination.
Portland was always a city that we barely stopped in as a family when we came up. In the last few years, however, it has become known as a total food destination (according to Bon Appetit especially that named it “America’s Foodiest Small Town” last year). So when I planned our 10 day adventure, I dedicated 3 of those days to eating our way through Portland, Maine.
(Note: All dieting and Weight Watchers went out the window for this trip! I decided to take a vacation from that too! Jumped right back on board when we returned… just not as well as I would have liked… but still back!)
When we first arrived, we wanted to immediately feel like we were in Maine… so we pursued a lobster bake. J’s Oyster came up as a good destination for this and was also quite popular due to it being featured on Anthony Bourdain’s No Reservations. The wait for outside was almost an hour (to sit in the parking lot basically) and the inside was crowded but just a 20 minute wait.
We opted for inside and were greeted with a quick tutorial on how to eat our upcoming feast…
I was a bit bummed that they ran out of steamers, so we got the crab stuffed mushrooms instead. They came with pancetta and honestly, they were a little surprisingly bland!
So onto the Maine (hahahahah) Event! We each got a steamed lobster with a side of cole slaw.
And I even paid homage to Miss Wendy Williams with mine. ”How YOU doin?”
Then we dug in! What a way to start in Maine. So much lobster and SOOOO delicious.
Overall, J’s was a great place but probably not my favorite. While the lobsters were great, it’s pretty hard to screw up fresh steamed lobster. I hear it’s the steamers that really set it apart, so without those, I guess it’s hard to judge.
Total Nom Points: 6 out of 10
On a separate note, one thing I highly recommend doing on your way up to Maine is stopping at the giant Duty Free Liquor Store that comes up as soon as you enter New Hampshire (“Live Free or Die!”) It always cracked me up that the exit is labeled with a sign that simple says “Liquor Store ———>”
Stay classy New Hampshire!
Mike and I picked up some wine and liquor (for our trip and after) and I saw one bottle of wine right next to my favorite kind (Vouvray). It was from France but it was called “Maine” so I figured it was kismet and bought it to enjoy in the hotel room that night as a cheers to vacation.
We chilled it in the hotel ice bucket and poured it into the hotel water glasses. That’s just how classy we are.
One problem… this wine was SO bad and SO undrinkable that we wound up taking one sip and pouring the rest back into the bottle… which we left in the room.
I’ve had some bad wine before, but usually I’ll drink it anyway. This was absolutely terrible.
At least we tried!