Saturday, August 30, 2008

Bar Harbor Food

Day One Lunch.
Mid way up the coast to Bar Harbor we made a lunch stop at Gritty McDuff's in Freeport, ME. We had been there last spring and all summer had been looking forward to a certain dish there. It sounds crazy, but is so fantastically good. Sweet Pork Fries. They take sweet potato fries, and then cover them with BBQ pulled pork and a melted jack cheese blend. Of course, we shared this dish, which is on their menu as an appetizer, but is a meal within itself. It comes with a maple sour cream for dipping. I would love to make these at home sometime, but they'd be pretty labor intensive for the home kitchen. I don't have a restaurant kitchen with extra pulled pork and extra fries at the ready...which I'm sure was how this dish was created by some line cook looking for a late night snack from leftovers and fell upon something amazing.

Day One Dinner
After checking in and then a little sunset kayaking, we had a classic downeast dinner at West St. Cafe, but pointless dessert. This was a three course meal included in our hotel package, so I was a little nervous. Yet, it was wonderful. Due to my allergy to clams and therefore the included clam chowder in the package, I had a divine lobster bisque to start (although they did charge me $3 for the substitution). Pure essence of lobster and cream, and silky smooth. The main event was as it should be, perfectly succulent lobster ready to be hunted for through cracking, and a half cob of perfectly sweet corn on the side (we didn't bother to take up room in our stomachs with the potatoes or rice). Dessert was a blueberry pie with a decent filling, but sadly a pasty crust reminiscent of cardboard and glue. Luckily I was too full of the good food in the rest of the meal to care, and chose not to eat it.

Day Two Dinner
I loved Mache Bistro. I wish a similar place was near home. A fine meal, perfect service, with real glassware in a beautifully decorated space (wood! red paint accents! tasteful art!) where we wore jeans and sneakers. Heaven. The seeded and herbed focaccia is house made, chewy with a good crust, but light as a feather. To start we shared an antipasti plate. The requisite roasted red peppers, pepperoncini, and olives where good examples of their sort. Where this dish hit a homerun was with thick slices of nutty asiago and the locally made soppressata. Continuing on, I had crispy duck spring rolls with a balanced ponzu dipping sauce, tart from vinegar, but balanced and citrusy. Matt had chicken skewers with an indulgently thick peanut sauce with a touch of spicy heat, cilantro, and lime. All of the ingredients were exquisitely fresh and of the highest quality. Finishing off this perfect meal was a rich and sweet apple tart tatin. The browned sugar was elegantly cut by a locally made almond ice cream, which was the taste of almonds and cream, not sugar. Perfect.

Day Three Dinner
Wish we had a place like Lompoc Cafe nearby as well. Brewpup with a totally relaxed vibe and bocce court out back. It was tight match and went back and forth, but Matt was the victor in an 11-9 contest. The food was simple and satisfying, which was enhanced by the enjoyment of eating outside on a perfect late summer night after hiking the Gorham Mountain Trail. To start we split a lobster quesadilla with avocado, which was creamy and rich, but not heavy. The accompanying salsa was fresh and bright. The complementary flavors abounded. We than split a pizza with chicken chorizo, chipotle, and the holy trinity of tomatoes, onions and green chiles. A firm crust, sturdy and crispy, but super thin and light.

Our other meals during the few days we were up there were also good, with good service. Although Jordan's was a satisfactory breakfast, it wasn't terribly exciting and is like every other basic town breakfast place. Its prices however are the same as other places in town, such as Cafe This Way with a much better breakfast with more interesting dishes that wouldn't necessarily be the same at your diner back home. On a day trip to Yarmouth, NS we had a good meal at Rudder's.

Beer post is coming!

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