Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Portland, Day 3 (The Great Ferry Adventure)

Today we again had to cull through the hundreds of great recommendations and try to cram in as many as possible. That meant starting off with eating breakfast out, a meal we generally do not eat out. For me breakfast is usually a chore, a time in the morning to shovel some oatmeal down my gullet to get me enough energy to make it until lunch. I was willing to cast aside that strange belief and attempt to do the unthinkable: have breakfast at a restaurant.

The restaurant Hot Suppa! is located conveniently within just a few minutes walk from where we are staying. Contrary to what you would assume they only do two meals and one of them is not "suppa." Specializing in breakfast and lunch they offer a great menu of items for both meals.

Jen had the corned beef and hash with poached eggs and toast. It was delicious and the eggs may have been the most well-poached I've ever encountered. Bravo to whoever was responsible for them.

I had the seven grain porridge, the Fiddler's Green Farm Organic 7 Grain Porridge to be exact. In case you were confused. The seven grains in play were wheat, oats, corn, rice, millet, and barley. I don't think I've ever ordered porridge in a restaurant before. In fact, I'm pretty sure I've never had porridge in my life. I must say this was one of the tastiest bowls of anything I've ever eaten.

After breakfast we picked up some ingredients for a picnic lunch and took the ferry to Peaks Island.

On the island we rented some bicycles and then biked over to a nice area to have lunch. I didn't realize it until we were about to leave but Jen thoughtfully collected all of her trash in a convenient receptacle: my helmet! She did this without a thought or care in the world. It was very reminiscent of that time in Paris when she neatly disposed of the piece of paper containing a list of things I wanted to do.

While we bicycled along some people passed us going the other way. The woman stopped us and asked us if we knew of a cool place where there was a rocky beach and a cool view. We told her that we didn't know anything about the island and we were just visiting and she traveled on in the other direction. About ten feet later we stumbled upon a trail and explored it to find what she must have been looking for. We then began to creep around the beach hoping she wouldn't stumble upon us and think we were dirty liars.

After examining the cool stone sculptures we came across this sign hanging from the trees ahead. I find it shocking that anyone would invest the time in making such a sign rather than in cleaning up the mess. Needless to say we took the path to the left. Thanks, sign!

The tires of my bike screeched on the pavement as I passed this sign. I could have sworn it was pointing the way to an "Invisible Pie Shop" but I was very disappointed when I found out it said something all together different. An invisible pie shop would have been the best thing we have ever stumbled upon on vacation.

After getting off the ferry we passed this small building labeled as the Umbrella Cover Museum. Not the Umbrella Museum, mind you. The Umbrella Cover Museum, featuring umbrellas from 39 different countries. There aren't many times where I have trouble putting things into words but after taking a tour of this museum I'm really not sure what to say. I have no words. I can, however, list some facts about the museum:

1.) There is an R-Rated museum cover section.
2.) There is a game where you guess which umbrella cover is from Scotland.
3.) There is a part where the curator takes out an accordion, passes around lyrics and sings a song about how a smile can be your umbrella.
4.) The curator of the museum says that she put on a one-woman show of The Mikado.

The sign outside reads: You won't REALLY know unless you come in. No sign has ever been more accurate.

After taking the ferry back to the mainland we stopped in at Dry Dock Restaurant & Tavern to grab a drink and some food to tide us over until dinner. I ordered the clam cakes to see how they stacked up against the ones I'd grown up with in Rhode Island. They were good but, as you can see, they come out in cake form! In Rhode Island, for some unknown reason, it is typical to make a clam batter into a fried fritter and call that a "cake." I know this makes no sense but it is what I have grown accustomed to. So much so that I was surprised to see these things, which are clearly cakes, arrive. That being said they were good and similar in taste to the "cakes" I grew up with.

After that we went back to the Inn and slept for far longer than we'd planned. Maybe it was the sun on the island, Jen suspects they slipped something into our Allagash at the Dry Dock. At any rate we researched a few places for dinner until we found this cool place called Grace which was a restaurant built into an abandoned church. It looked too cool to pass up for dinner.

Here's a shot of the bar on the street-side wall against the stained glass windows. The food was great too. They started us off with some buttermilk bread (made like a quickbread, not a yeast-bread) and warned us that the butter contained chicken stock. I suspect it may have been chicken fact but either way it was delicious.

I had the seared lamb loin with roasted artichoke, hazelnuts, black olive oil, crispy ramps, spring garlic, maitake mushrooms and rosemary yogurt. Jen had the seared Atlantic cod with baby fennel, braised white beans, baby octopus, chorizo sausage, and roasted tomatoes.

For dessert Jen had the ice cream sandwiches which were a chef's selection of house-made ice cream and cookies. I had the rhubarb cheese cake which was a cheesecake mousse with rhubarb jam and cream cheese cake, poached rhubarb and rhubarb orange sorbet.

This is the view of the bar from the second floor where we were seated.

After dinner we had a twenty-five minute walk back to where we were staying which should be required when having such a meal. If we'd driven we would likely have gotten back to the Inn where we uncomfortably fell asleep. Instead we arrived back at the hotel and had worked off a tiny amount of the consumed calories, begun digesting our food, and were ready to sleep comfortably back at Fawlty Towers.

Perchance to dream . . . of Basil Fawlty.

No comments: