Now that Lexi has everyone squared away on what to wear in Portland, I’ve mapped out a day of food and drinks that will make you gladly reach for the bigger size. So go ahead, scrap the diet and enjoy the wonderful food that Portland has to offer!
Start the day with a potato donut at The Holy Donut (194 Park Avenue, Portland)
It’s hard to miss The Holy Donut in the Old Port region of downtown Portland. They open early and boast a line out the door for most of the morning. Don’t be alarmed by the potato. It doesn’t change anything that makes donuts everyone’s favorite way to start the day with delicious shameful satisfaction. They have some funky flavors that vary a little bit each day. I tried the maple bacon and the coffee brandy flavors. Both were awesome.
Have a scenic lunch at Two Lights Lobster Shack (225 Two Lights Road, Cape Elizabeth)
The Portland area is famous for lighthouses. The Two Lights lighthouse isn’t open to tourists (try Portland Head Light for that), but the Two Lights Lobster Shack overlooking the bay is worth the 15-minute drive out of Portland into the Cape Elizabeth Area. At Two Lights, you can take a bite of lobster roll purity: lobster, mayo, and a buttered roll (pictured at the top of this post). Nothing more is necessary. And even if it’s not the greatest lobster roll you’ve ever had, check out the view.
So, yeah, it’s worth the trip.
Grab an afternoon drink at Vena’s Fizz House (345 Fore Street, Portland)
Vena’s opened as a mocktail bar after the owner and his wife lost their jobs as teachers. Today, they have expanded their staff to include mixologists that can make their own unique cocktails (alcoholic or non-alcoholic) and place refreshing twists on your favorite classic cocktails. I love craft cocktail bars that include bartenders with suspenders and ironic mustaches, but those places can get a bit stuffy. This place could make a cocktail that stands up to any hipster craft cocktail bar without taking themselves too seriously. Whatever your order, be warned: bitters will be involved. These people are passionate about bitters. So much so, that they spray bitters on the peanuts at the bar. That’s not a joke.
Finish with a late dinner at Five Fifty-Five (555 Congress Street, Portland)
Portland is full of restaurants that run the gamut from dingy pubs to fine dining. Five Fifty-Five certainly falls into the latter. If you are going to splurge on one meal out in Portland, Five Fifty-Five is the spot. If you look into fine dining in Portland, you will invariably be directed to Fore Street Restaurant. Five Fifty-Five is much better. With an awesome wine list and dishes that will make anyone be one of “those people” who photographs their food, it is a great experience from beginning to end. Their Maine Duck Liver Pâté was the best I’ve ever had. The entrees are simple and elegant dishes that are cooked to perfection in their open wood-burning kitchen. And make sure to save room for dessert! The fresh baked chocolate chip cookies with ice cream are really hard to beat!
*Editor’s note: honorable mention to Scales for dinner, which was Lexi’s favorite fine dining restaurant in Portland. Scales was recently opened by the owners of Fore Street Restaurant and had the best lobster dish that I ate in Maine.