I spent this past weekend on a delicious food tour of Portland, Maine, made sweeter by my stay at The Danforth. Whenever I travel, I place great value on staying in a spot that allows me to easily cover the city on foot. In my opinion, there is no better way to experience the vibe of a city than to walk its streets. The Danforth is located in the vibrant West End, which is a residential area full of charming architecture. From the hotel I could easily head out to Old Port, Munjoy Hill and East Bayside, some of my favorite areas of Portland to explore. I also appreciated the quiet of the location, because let’s face it…I am no spring chicken, and I need a good night’s sleep! Besides staying up way too late with Linda, who came along with me, I slept really well and woke up nice and early to catch the first light (and honestly, the first pastries at Tandem!). I’m not exaggerating when I say we ate our way through the city. We had a list a mile long of places that we wanted to try, and we hit up a lot of them. Below is a list of my favorites!
Where we ate in Portland:
LB Kitchen: Hands down my favorite spot in Portland. This is how I prefer to eat, lots of greens, veggie forward, simple bowls and salads with interesting topping and sauces. I think we ate here three times in two days!
Tandem Coffee Roasters: The coffee at Tandem is the best in Portland, in my opinion. They make their own almond cashew milk blend, and it is fabulous in their cortado, my preferred espresso drink. Also their baked goods are INSANE! They have this cinnamon bun that will change your life. We went to both locations, and both are charming; the bakery location has a much larger menu, but if you just want coffee (without the crowds) I recommend the roastery location.
Cong Tu Bot: Spicy, fresh, bright, inventive Vietnamese food that is outstanding. The curry noodle soup had a rich coconut milk broth infused with intense flavor, and I pretty much wanted to drink it straight up. The fried rice was fabulous, as was the mouthwatering chicken. Almost the entire menu is gluten free, which is worth noting.
Drifter’s Wife: With a menu that changes daily, you can be assured that the menu features local, seasonal fare. We had a kale salad and beets to start, and they were phenomenal. In fact, I think I could have just ordered a few more of those two dishes and been completely satisfied. Additionally, their natural wine list is fantastic, and after dinner you can shop the attached wine shop, Maine and Loire, and take home a few bottles. Be sure to make reservations!
The Honey Paw: While we didn’t have a chance to eat a meal here, we did get their soft serve, which was pretty much the best thing I’ve ever tasted, with magic shell and honeycomb. I look forward to having a meal here next time.
Belleville: As if we really needed more pastries…but we simply had to try a few of their gorgeous creations (after we did a full-on photo shoot right there in the cafe!). Every single item is amazing, you can’t go wrong.
Baharat: We had appetizers here one night, and the menu, which features Middle Eastern street food, looked amazing, so I certainly would put this on my dinner list for next time. We had the crispy chickpeas and pickle platter, and they were fabulous.
Root Wild Kombucha: A super fun brewery where you can try a flight of kombucha while playing ping-pong or relaxing on the patio! We tried the grapefruit and elderberry flavors.
If you’re thinking…hmmm, it sounds like all they did was eat…you are right. But we also fit in a ton of walking, a trip to the Portland Head Lighthouse, a stroll through Old Port to peek in a few cute shops (my favorites were Gus & Ruby, Little, Folly 101 and Blanche and Mimi), and a wander through the Saturday morning farmer’s market. We also made time to catch up with the Taproot team for a quick lunch, which was lovely! Portland is lucky enough to have a few amazing indie bookstores. I loved Print- the sales associate was so enthusiastic and knowledgeable, and I walked away with a few new-to-me titles and a long list of recommendations.
I could have easily spent a few more days exploring Portland, and heading out to the coast for some hiking and beach time, but alas, it was time to get home to the kiddos. I love the fact that Portland is an easy drive from Providence. So all you Rhode Islanders, don’t be afraid to jump in the car and make your way there, even if it is just for a night or two. I’d like to thank Lark Hotels for the stay at The Danforth. If you have any recommendations for Portland that I might have missed, be sure to leave a comment and let me know. I’m already planning my next escape!