What We Ate In Maine And New York

Now you're going to have to be patient with me, because I'm a little rusty at this whole blogging thing. I've been snowed under with work, and more work, and things that aren't work but feel like work because I make them work, like throwing a holiday party for forty people and insisting on making adorable little santa hat brownie bites and homemade invitations for everyone, when anyone knows a veggie plate from Costco and an evite would have been fine. (But it's so fun! I love driving myself nuts by visiting three different craft stores during rush hour to find the exact right cardboard letters for a banner that is in no way integral to anyone's merriment! I really do!) 

Right now, though, I'd like to back up a little and tell you about the time I spent in New York and Maine a few weeks ago, and—more specifically—what I ate during that time, because eating is how I spend the large majority of most of my vacations, and when I find something delicious to eat, I want everyone else to eat it too. Here, for example, is a picture of my brother Tom—my food wingman, we will call him—eating a roast beef sandwich at my favorite deli in New York, which is called Park Italian Gourmet, and which I believe I have mentioned before. 

I was working during my time in New York and my brother and I discovered that our offices were a half block away from each other, which made it very convenient to meet for lunch.

Also pre-lunch, post-lunch, elevenses, afternoon tea, and post-afternoon tea. We had so much eating to do, you see, that we started making up meals. This is me at the Union Square Greenmarket, where we went the day before Thanksgiving to procure some hot apple cider for.....I don't know, let's call it pre-pre-dinner. 

We walked all the way back to his apartment, which meant the one-and-a-half ginger cookies we ate apiece did almost no damage at all. You might even say we needed to eat them, to keep up our strength. (You would actually never say this. Nice try, though.) 

Other delicious and mind-blowing things we ate included a couple of pies at Grimaldi's Pizza with Sarah and Nick, a non-artichoke pizza at Artichoke Pizza, a falafel sandwich from a Lebanese spot in Midtown called Karam, a pork bun on a street corner from Momofuku, a Compost Cookie from Momofuku Milk Bar across the street, mind-blowing banana pudding from (strangely enough) Magnolia Bakery, and a bowl of mac and cheese from S'MAC so decadent that it should come with a warning label forbidding it to be eaten more than once a year. Look, here is my brother about to ruin his cholesterol. 

We sent this picture to my mother and she was scandalized—scandalized!—that we had cheated on her mac and cheese with some other mac and cheese, but she will be pleased to know that hers was still the better of the two, which is saying something considering this was from a restaurant that specializes in mac and cheese.

Are you thinking about how you want a big old bowl of mac and cheese right now? I'm sorry about that. Here is some pizza to take your mind off it. 

After three days of gluttony in New York, I hopped a train to Connecticut, where I met up with Sean and spent Thanksgiving with my in-laws in the town where Sean and I met. There are many nice things about going to one's spouse's childhood home, but the very best of all is the hilarious photos you are likely to discover on the family fridge. 


I don't know what is more adorable: a 21-year-old Sean fresh out of boot camp, his sweetly proud 11-year-old brother, or the fact that they are both wearing identical glasses that are so unmistakely reminiscent of 1996. You had those glasses too, didn't you? WE ALL DID.

Since Maine is only a four-and-a-half hour drive from Sean's parents' house and we both agreed that we'd always wanted to visit Maine, we rented a car and took a little trip up the coast, stopping first at a place I'd always, always wanted to visit, ever since I scratched my name into my Norton Anthology of American Literature during my first year of university.




Nerd achievement UNLOCKED! I even bought a geeky t-shirt in the Walden gift shop. It said "Beware of all enterprises that require new clothes"—my favorite Thoreau quote—and the cashier and I exchanged a dorky, English major chuckle over it as we admired the irony.

(By the way, in case it isn't obvious, you are pretty much required by law to use the "Walden" Instagram filter there.)

After a brief stop in Ogunquit, Maine, where we tried—and failed—to procure some lobster, which kind of made us feel like we had flunked Maine already (I mean, it was November, so I guess it makes sense), we arrived in the charming town of Portland, where I had made a reservation at the Pomegranate Inn, based mostly on the fact that the pictures I'd seen on the internet showed a fantastic checkerboard-painted entryway with a leopard print carpet running up the stairs. 

What, this is not how you choose your accommodation?

That night, we had a magically wonderful meal at a tiny four-table restaurant called Bresca, which was suggested by reader Jessica and immediately went into the YESMUSTGOTHERE column when I read the line in her email that described it as being "so delicious that I once had them wrap up three bites of food because I couldn't watch the unfinished plate go in the bus bin." This is exactly how I felt when I was there, and I am not ashamed to say that I myself brought home no more than five forkfuls of butternut squash pasta because there was no way I could bear the thought of something so sublime going uneaten, despite the fact that I was stuffed.

I felt similarly at another of Jessica's suggestions, Duckfat, which turned out not only to have the best fries I've ever tasted, but also a communal magnetic poetry board to keep you busy while you waited. 

 
If you are ever in Portland, Maine, I highly recommend both of these restaurants, and also I highly recommend that you bring me with you. 

Would you like to see some pictures of windswept, rugged coastlines and charming Maine-esque lighthouses, instead of all these gluttonous food shots I keep showing you? I can do that. 


 
 

There are more pictures of New York and Maine here, if you're interested in that kind of thing, but I need to stop looking at them right now or I'm going to go and booty call a pizza or something equally disastrous. Also, I'm in the middle of reading Gone Girl, which I am finding as addictive as everyone said it would be, and now I can think of nothing else but finishing it before dawn. Yeah, I know it's no Walden: An Annotated Early Edition, but come on, you can cut me some slack, can't you? I'm kind of all Thoreau'd out for now. 

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1
Bailie
Dec 17, 2012

My husband and I desperately want to go to Maine and before this post there seemed no real reason but now I have at least three! (two are the restaurants in case you were curious) It will most likely have to wait though as it is a ways from Sweden!

2
Marcheline
Dec 17, 2012

Hope not. You still have to Thoreau that Christmas party.

3
Melissa
Dec 17, 2012

We've spent our summer vacation in OGT and Portland for the past three years and love the area! Glad you found some of the amazing local eats. Did you try any of the local brew pubs in Portland?

4
Anna Louisa
Dec 17, 2012

I haven't been to Maine in years, but I'm now officially jonesing for a trip! And I know this is random, but I always have to ask fellow English majors in hopes of new discoveries: who's your favorite author?

www.anna-bird.com

5
Shelly
Dec 17, 2012

My mornings are always better when there's a new post. Mondays are particularly helpful. Thanks for filling me with envy of your food and travels this morning! If (for some crazy reason) you're ever in Cleveland and need restaurant suggestions I can help!

6
jen
Dec 17, 2012

Marcheline...I sort of want to be your best friend after that comment. It made me snort at my desk.

Holly - lovely pictures (and words) as always. We've been trying to get up to Maine for years. Perhaps next summer we'll be able to carve out some time. Have some lobster and eat at those delicious restaurants. yum.

7
Shasta
Dec 17, 2012

I lived in Portland, ME for several years and I STILL miss the Tomato Fennel soup at DuckFat! I've also always wanted to stay at the Pomegranate Inn (just based on the website photos, like you). My other favorite Portland restaurant is Local 188. Give it a go next time you're there.

8
NothingButBonfires
Dec 17, 2012

Marcheline: Hahahaha! Good point, but I already Thorew it.

9
Julie
Dec 17, 2012

What a wonderful trip! Love the recommendations, definitely need to get to Maine now and check those restaurants out.

10
sutswana
Dec 17, 2012

Yay! As a longtime reader I feel like I missed a chance at a celebrity sighting when you were here in Portland. For more of a Maine fix from away, I recommend this magazine: http://themainemag.com/.

11
Sheila
Dec 17, 2012

Oh yes, I had those glasses.

Also: I am so mad at that book, Gone Girl, that I could scream. Would love to read your thoughts on it in a future post.

12
Marcheline
Dec 18, 2012

I'm glad you and Jen caught that. If it were not for literary puns, how small life would seem. How claustrophobic. How Walden.

13
Allison
Dec 20, 2012

So glad to see I'm not the only one who plans my travel, and, let's face it, my day around meals! Next time you can escape to Portland, I also recommend Hugo's (same owners as Duckfat and specializes in chef tasting menus)...the meal is always unique and food coma worthy!

14
Allison
Dec 20, 2012

So glad to see I'm not the only one who plans my travel, and, let's face it, my day around meals! Next time you can escape to Portland, I also recommend Hugo's (same owners as Duckfat and specializes in chef tasting menus)...the meal is always unique and food coma worthy!

15
Wacky Mommy
Dec 20, 2012

I love this post, hon. Inspired!! I'm a Thoreau girl, too. Happy holidays to you and Sean.

16
Colleen
Dec 21, 2012

Oh this post just made me really nostalgic for Maine! Such a gorgeous place!

17
Dave
Dec 21, 2012

Hello from Manila, The Philippines.

I stumbled upon your blog while googling for the words "bar cart, tacky?" I am in the process of buying one and I need all the advice I can get. Your entry about bar carts made me decide to go for it! Thank You.

I thoroughly enjoyed your thoughts about bar carts that I JUST had to read some other blog entries of yours (actually, two more entries : "About" and "No Surprises"). And if three random blog entries made me laugh and teary-eyed at the same time, sometimes all within one paragraph (see your last paragraph on "No Surprises" ), then I am instantly a fan. I had to check your Archive if only to assure myself that there are more entries to read, savor and enjoy. (Creepy! lol)

From a Filipino guy all the way from the other side of the world, I say congratulations and I wish you and your family a blessed Christmas).

Dave

PS. I feel kinda sad that of the many Asian countries you've been and lived in, The Philippines was nver one of them. Yet.

18
Kathleen
Dec 22, 2012

Yay! I'm bookmarking all these for my trip to NYC in July!

19
Camels & Chocolate
Dec 23, 2012

Magnolia's banana pudding is more famous these days than its cupcakes, actually, and that's the excuse I make every time I go back to NYC, pay a visit to the bakery and insist on ordering both.

Also, I went to SMAC when they first opened and wasn't blown away. Maybe I ordered wrong.

And lastly, Sean's little brother should have been cast as Harry Potter in the first movie! Spitting image, minus the lightning bolt scar.

20
Camels & Chocolate
Dec 23, 2012

Oh, and when you're done with Gone Girl, do yourself a favor and read the novel that preceded it (though in no way is related): Sharp Objects. Her writing is just so smart, and that one is even more twisted than Gone Girl. She used to work with me at EW and is just delightful, too; it's hard to believe someone who can come up with such demented storylines could be so lovely and sweet in real life.

21
Maggie
Jan 03, 2013

Growing up, I was always SO jealous of the kids who got to summer in Cape Cod. We had to go to MAINE, you see, and there weren't sandy beaches like they have on the Cape, so I was just righteously pissed off about the whole thing. Until we got there and I forgot about the Cape and loved every second of it. Now I look back, and there's no place I'd rather have spent my carefree summers as a child. My parents moved (yes, MOVED) our cottage and are now building their retirement house on the waterfront lot, so my future children will enjoy some of the same places in Maine that I did as a child...also, Duckfat IS amazing!

22
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