Hyatt Place Portland – Old Port
Portland, Maine is a unique destination with an incredible old world nautical feel, amazing culinary adventures and accommodations that fully immerse you in a relaxed state of mine. So if plan to vacation there, you will want to do Portland right. That starts with picking the perfect hotel and we did exactly that when we elected to stay at The Hyatt Place Portland.
I mean look at that view! We had so much fun hanging out in our room, having a couple of drinks by the gorgeous floor to ceiling windows overlooking historic Portland, we almost did not want to venture out to explore. The hotel itself is both welcoming and accommodating; with spacious and comfortable rooms, complimentary coffee, and an incredibly friendly staff. I know I will be back to stay at the Hyatt Place for my next trip in Portland!
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Our first dining destination of the trip was a visit to the hearty southern fare restaurant Hot Suppa, a fabulous spot that blends casual dining with upscale flavor. With a wide variety of colorful cocktails, “The Hurricane” – a favorite among the locals – tasted like a walk on a tropical beach, incredibly refreshing and flavorful.
In addition to enjoying delicious craft cocktails to kick off the night right, Hot Suppa’s staff and service made us feel right at home the second we walked through the door, the true definition of Southern Charm. Our waitress Luca knew the menu like the back of her hand, and each of her recommendations were phenomenal. Surprisingly, our favorite dish of the night was the vegetarian special, recommended by Luca of course, this dish was stacked with grilled eggplant, snap pea, and other freshly prepared vegetables all deliciously mixed with the most outrageous home-made grits.
What’s a southern style meal without homemade cornbread? Grilled to perfection and paired with whipped butter, my mouth is watering just thinking about it. (If you’re feeling adventurous, mix this dish with their homemade cornbread for a true experience)
I have never tried Chicken and Waffles before, but the moment I saw it on the menu, ordering it just felt like the right thing to do. And we did so with no regrets! Everything we ordered was absolutely fabulous, from beginning to end, but I must say that the end was particularly incredibly with decadent bites of warm Chocolate Bread Pudding and Key Lime Pie.
The Chocolate Bread Pudding was warm, chocolatey, and honestly made with love, while the key lime pie served as a refreshing bite of key lime, coconut crust bliss. Hot Suppa is the perfect spot for friends, families, and couples looking to take a taste trip down Southern Comfort Food Lane.
When it comes to eating at a tapas place it can definitely be considered a challenge. Ordering a variety of small plates, leaves one to wonder … “how can I be sure that everything I order will be good?” … or “will there be enough to make me full?” Well, have no fear when dining at Sur Lie, because that have everything figured out!
This place truly has some geniuses in the kitchen and behind the bar. I was feeling adventurous and ordered their creative turmeric cocktail, which was unique but unbelievably tasty and the perfect sip to compliment my tapas.
We started off with the Pea Pod Hummus, which was recommended as it was an item that had once been taken off the menu but came back due to popular demand. We were starving, but did not want to fill up on our first tapa, so this dish was the perfect, lighter starter.
After the hummus, the cauliflower was HIGHLY recommended; slightly skeptical of how it possible for a cauliflower dish to receive such rave reviews, but we decided to risk it anyway. In step with the rave reviews, this cauliflower tasted like filet mignon …extremely tasty, full of flavor, lick the plate delicious.
We were also graced with some other amazing small plates, like gorgeous Brussel Sprouts with Macadamia Nuts and Bacon, the “Sur Taters” created from potato heaven and paired with herbed butter, roasted garlic, blue cheese crumble and peppers; and the Hearty Bolognese, which was perfectly topped with red sauce, beef and veal.
Sur Lie is my kind of place, I simply LOVE stealing everyone else’s food and trying as much as possible… and here that is not only allowed, but encouraged! Not one plate disappointed, and I was shocked by how so many different dishes could be so different yet delicious. And yes, we walked out absolutely stuffed!
Roma Cafe offers phenomenal ambiance that takes the coziness of a family living room and mixes it with fine Italian cuisine. The seating was very comfortable sofas, couches, and candle lit walls added a romantic and elegant feel without it being too over the top.
In addition to the upbeat and warm ambiance, from cozy spaces to people singing happy birthday and laughing, the food matched the customer service focused and hospitable feel. Roma Cafe’s food can be described in one word … FRESH! Chef Jesse is a true culinary talent. Everything is cooked the day of, by taste with no measurements, every dish is influenced by Jesse’s freestyle approach and adventurous spirit.
From beginning to end, the meal was delectable. The Garlic Bread was phenomenal – soft, warm and well seasoned, the seafood (not always a guaranteed hit at Italian restaurants) was perfect. Jesse nailed the Chicken Parmesan – some of the best I have ever had – it was crisp on the outside, moist and flavorful on the inside, just amazing.
The staff – Matt, Katie, and Jesse – became fast friends. It is clear that they are a team, and even a family. Katie even had Roma Cafe cater her wedding. There is something to be said about a staff who truly loves where they work, what they do, and who they work with. It shows in every bite!
The Holy Donut is truly THE donut place you need to hit up when in Maine. Freshly made each day with Maine potatoes, yes… potatoes, these donuts come out dense and delectable. As donut creators these guys take donuts to the next level. Their best seller, the Dark Chocolate Sea Salt Donut takes your classic chocolate donut, and amplifies it times 100. Delicious, thick, and coated in a frosting hinted with sea salt, this donut is a show stopper. After the sea salt chocolate donut our favorites were the Lemon Donut, which was beyond refreshing, The Blueberry, which has blueberries not only in the frosting but in the dough … incredible, and The Coffee Cake Donut which was the perfect twist on homemade coffee cake in donut form. The Holy Donut has a donut for every desire, and it is definitely a must-do for all sweet tooth cravings.
Portland Lobster Co.
Portland Lobster Co. is an absolute vibe. You can feel the liveliness of the venue from down the street. With live music, rows of picnic tables, and the beautiful waterfront view Portland Lobster Co is a Portland classic and a favorite among the locals. Not your typical sit down and order type of restaurant, you place your orders yourself and wait for the freshest lobster you have ever tasted to be announced for your eating pleasure!
This venue puts a modern twist on fresh seafood. The menu offers more than just your typical fried clams and lobster rolls. The Crab in an Avocado Nest Salad was delicious, clean, and light. As for the Shrimp Cocktail I would not be surprised if those little guys were swimming around the ocean just that morning, incredibly fresh.
As for the Burger, it tasted as if it was hot off the grill at a family BBQ and the French Fries brought us back to the original fried seafood kind of taste, classic vacation food.
Definitely would recommend ordering the Catch of The Day if you want the freshest seafood Portland has to offer. We had the pleasure of trying the scallops and they were prepared perfectly. Portland Lobster Co. is the vacation spot of Portland, outside, fun, and extremely delicious. You simply cannot go wrong here.
Inn By The River
After some time in the busy city of Portland, we felt the need to unwind, relax, and adventure! So we backed up and headed to Inn by The River in West Forks. This place is refreshing, simply oozing with joy. The dining room that also serves as a restaurant feels like home, with a fire, some comfy couches, and even a piano that one of the staff always seems to be playing on. There is no better way to start the day than having a cup of coffee, sitting on the front porch, gazing at the river, and enjoying what the inn has to offer. At all times snacks including donuts and fresh muffins are available and even three different flavors of freshly brewed coffee! Great conversations, peoples, and overall vibes at this place.
You would not expect there to be a restaurant in this Inn, never mind some of, if not the best food Maine has to offer. This small close knit staff truly knows how to whip up an incredible dining experience. From start, with fresh rudy rolls, mouth watering appetizers such as moist delicious seafood cake and creative crafted salads, such as the DELICIOUS capresar (caprese + caesar) has to be one of the best salads I have ever had.
This meal starts off strong, but nothing compares to the creations that 26 year old Sydney Bluestein manufactures. Her talents are simply unparalleled, learning the different tastes of the world through her extensive travel and applying it to the dishes she creates at the Inn. This girl is destined for greatness. Her drive, personality, and infectious spirit come to life in the food she creates – simply incredible.
When we first were introduced to Sydney, we told her what we were thinking of ordering and she offered to put her own twist on the meal, we simply could not wait to see what she came up with. These dishes were some of the best meals iv ever had. The salmon dish was an 11/10 with whipped mashed potatoes that are literally to die for, and melt in your mouth mixing into a bite of pure delight with the perfectly prepared salmon and Sydney’s special addition of pineapple sauce. WOW WOW WOW.
After the salmon we were treated with superbly cooked steak tips that were perfectly paired with broccoli and those magic mashed potatoes. Everything blended together impeccably. As mentioned perviously, this place just feels like home, and the dessert takes you back to the nostalgia of a home cooked meal by mom. Blueberry crisp and salted caramel cheesecake were the cherry on top of this amazing meal. I truly cannot explain how amazing this meal was in words, get your ass to Inn by the River ASAP and go experience it yourself.
This place feels like home; and it truly has it all, even something for your adventurous side. From white water rafting, to tubing and hiking… if you are looking to get out of your comfort zone in a beautiful place, Inn by the River should be next on your list.
Inn by the River seems like a simple place, but it was one of the most perfectly unique stays I have ever experienced. From the people to the food to the humming birds circulating the front porch and of course the incredible adventure experiences of white water rafting, tubing, hiking, and more. Inn by the River is simply spectacular and a must do for people who want to not only experience the best of Maine, but simply the best of what the world has to offer.
Loco Coco’s Tacos
If you appreciate authentic Mexican food, then Loco Coco’s Tacos is THE place to be while you’re visiting Portland, Maine. Fresh ingredients are key in this operation.
Just look at that bowl of guac! Delicious, especially when paired with their top notch tortilla chips. The burritos here are absolutely massive. The California inspired burrito below is one of their most popular and deserves any burrito lover’s adoration.
On top of all that, the staff is simply happy to be there, and it radiates throughout the venue. Our waitress was more than friendly and even had the inside scoop on items on the menu were most popular. Quality Mexican food can be hard to come by, but Loco Coco’s reels in our vote for a must experience dining in Maine.
Frisbee’s Wharf at Pepperrell Cove
Maine is so beautiful, but in certain parts you definitely do not feel like you are right by the ocean. That is not the case at Frisbee’s, with the perfect view nudged perfectly on the water, this place simply feels like the summer time in Maine.
Not only is it a beautiful spot, but the food is incredibly fresh and perfectly prepared. Know those places that have a caesar salad that just tastes… special? That was this salad, especially with the salmon on top, perfection.
The food is great, the view is breath taking, and the drinks are simply refreshing. Definitely a “Must Do,” especially if you are lucky enough to be there at sunset!
When doing some research on the best spots to eat in Maine, I was intrigued by how often I had heard the venue Cure get brought into the conversation, particularly because it is actually located in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. Just about 5 to 10 minutes away from Kittery, Maine, Cure, with its classic American Cuisine and incredible craft cocktails, is definitely worth a mention in our Maine Dining Must Do blog. Thanks to Chef Julie Cutting, the owner and executive chef, each and every item on the menu is creatively designed to make your taste buds explode with pure bliss.
From start to finish not one dish disappoints. We started out with their signature Cheese Board, an admittedly bold move for just two people who are trying to save room for the Maine event (see what I did there), but this hearty appetizer was worth the risk of prematurely over eating. With a delicate arrangement of imported cheeses, various meats, and homemade jam and mustard, this cheese board was a fun way to mix and match an array of gorgeous flavors.
Duck is a tricky but rewarding dish to cook, so we were excited to sample the Duck with Risotto. The duck was more succulent than we ever could have imagined. It practically melted in your mouth when it hit your taste buds. When paired with the sides, it blended to perfection.
We were absolutely in love with every single bite, but I would be lying if I said the best was not what followed. First off, I am a HUGE cornbread lover (as in give me cornbread for breakfast, lunch, and dinner). So when I saw the opportunity to order it as a side … I went for it! Cure’s Cornbread is single handedly the best cornbread I have ever had in my life. Served in a perfectly round, hot, pan with honey butter, yes that is right, HONEY BUTTER, dripping off of it. I could eat this cornbread every day for the rest of my life.
Now, as I said before I could eat cornbread for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, but baby dessert is sacred, so you know I ordered the famous white macadamia nut cookie skillet. This dessert, or should I say, this freakin’ masterpiece comes literally bubbling from the oven, with vanilla ice cream melting into the crevices before you can even take the first bite. This place is simply done right, a gorgeous setting with gorgeous food, definitely make it your spot to hit on your way up to Maine, or even on the way home!
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Hotel Photos: Hyatt, East Brown Cow