Travelin’ Maine(rs): Restaurant Reviews

Maine restaurant reviews form the Travelin’ Maine(rs).

Federal Jack's and my other favorite pubs

City or Town: 
Bangor
Waterville
Damariscotta
Kennebunk
Topsham
Hallowell
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 It all started here, at Federal Jack’s in Kennebunk.

George

Shipyard Brewery’s Export Ale is one of my favorite brews, and it was brewed first at Federal Jack’s in Kennebunk in 1992. That history drew us to Federal Jack’s Restaurant and Brew Pub for dinner in April of 2013 and Linda and I loved it so much we returned the very next day for lunch.

So it wasn’t a hard sell when I suggested that we host some of our kids and grandkids here during our August visit to Ram’s Head Farm in nearby York. Joining us for lunch at Jack’s were son Josh, daughter-in-law Kelly, and new granddaughter Ada, along with daughter Rebekah and grandsons Addison and Vishal.

Josh brews his own tasty beer down in Bridgewater, Massachusetts, and once wrote a popular beer blog, so I felt like we were bringing along a real beer expert!

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Great wine, great beer, great food: Special dinners at Winterport Winery have it all!

City or Town: 
Winterport
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 George

                It was a very special night for the owners, staff, friends, and customers of the Winterport Winery and Penobscot Bay Brewery. We didn’t know that, when we confirmed for one of their popular monthly wine and beer dinners, but we were very happy to participate in the celebration.

                Owners Michael and Joan Anderson had just received the 2014 Maine Food Producer of the Year award from the Maine Grocers and Food Producers Association, the first winery and brewery to win that prestigious recognition. And they were, along with the entire staff – very excited.

The Salt Water Farm Cafe is a lively, beautiful place with very creative food

City or Town: 
Rockport
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 Linda    

                The view from the Salt Water Farm Cafe looks quite different in the summer. The outside deck is bustling and boats are in the harbor, quite a different picture than when we visited back in January during a snow storm for Sunday Brunch.

        But inside, the restaurant it is still a cozy spot to enjoy amazing food. I love that they focus on serving local food that is very fresh. That point was well made this time when I quickly noticed three types of wild mushrooms featured on the menu. We too search for, and indulge in, chanterelles and black trumpet mushrooms during the summer. My preparations of these pale in comparison to theirs for sure. George has been asking me to replicate his incredible appetizer of black trumpet gravy over biscuits at home. Oh, that I could!

A Favorite Destination: Bar Harbor's BlueNose Inn and Looking Glass Restaurant

City or Town: 
Bar Harbor
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Bar Harbor’s BlueNose Inn' Looking Glass Restaurant has added vegan dishes to its already amazing menu.

George

                We had the best view in the state for a morning cup of coffee, enjoyed on the deck of our fourth floor suite at Bar Harbor’s BlueNose Inn, high on a hill above the town overlooking the open ocean. Of course the BlueNose also offers the best view in the state for breakfast and dinner at its hilltop restaurant, the Looking Glass.

                But this story begins about 9 pm on Friday night, sitting in the lounge where Bill Trowell’s extraordinary piano playing has entertained the BlueNose’s guests for 18 years. Bill is amazing and we make sure to spend some time enjoying his music whenever we’re in Bar Harbor.

Thomaston's Slipway Restaurant known for its seafood and riverfront location

City or Town: 
Thomaston
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 The Slipway Restaurant in Thomaston is THE place where locals and visitors go for seafood, but we discovered lots of other menu choices there for those who don’t like to dine in the sea. Joining us for dinner here were our daughter Rebekah with her in-laws, Noreen and Randy, along with our youngest grandson Vishal.

                Chef/owner Scott Yakovenko, who grew up in this area and once had a very popular restaurant in Port Clyde, has a stellar reputation for seafood, so I chose the Grilled scallops ($9.50) appetizer with arugula, spinach, lemon, and EVOO, which Rebekah explained was extra virgin olive oil. Boy, I am learning a lot with these travel columns!

Enjoy a whale of a meal in the Pilgrim Inn’s Whale’s Rib Tavern

City or Town: 
Deer Isle
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 George

                We’d drive all the way to Deer Isle to eat at the Whale’s Rib Tavern, but it’s helpful that the restaurant is in a gorgeous and historic inn, because we wouldn’t want to drive all the way home after dinner!

                Last June, with our friends Rusty and Sue Atwood, Linda and I enjoyed a wonderful get-a-way weekend in Deer Isle at the Pilgrim’s Inn. Deer Isle, Stonington and Blue Hill are full of interesting art galleries, book stores, and gift shops, and stunning scenery. We spent a morning hiking to Barred Island and a beautiful isolated beach.

                At the end of June we told you all about that trip. But we saved the best for last: the food! 

Chandler River Lodge in Jonesboro

City or Town: 
Jonesboro
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Discovering the Chandler River Lodge is like finding a huge piece of sparkling sea glass. You just want to bring it home with you!

Linda

One of the great things about traveling around our state is finding places that are so special – some of which we’d never heard of. Such is the case for the Chandler River Lodge that we have been driving by on our way to Lubec for years. Tucked up on a knoll well off Route 1 in Jonesboro sits a beautiful historic home (circa 1797) that is now a B&B and restaurant.

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