Weekend in Maine

I apologize for being so MIA since last week. I decided to take advantage of the weather and squeeze in some beach days and visit my sister in Maine. And one of the best things about southern Maine? Amazing food! We ate our way around Portland and Ocean Park and I enjoyed every bite. My biggest challenge, however, was sticking within my WW points. Usually when I travel, I give myself a “by” and don’t track but my weight has creeped up enough that I needed to get back on the wagon. I enjoyed myself but used all my extra points (all 49 plus some activity points) in order to do so. Here’s a quick look at some of the places we visited!

My first night in town, I had to go to Huot’s which is a few miles south of our beach house in Ocean Park. We have been coming to Huot’s since I was a baby (and before) and are good friends with the owners. The restaurant is in Camp Ellis and I have numerous memories of walking out on the jetty before, during and after every visit!

IMG_6117

Looking out into Saco Bay from the jetty in Camp Ellis

Every time I eat at Huot’s, I have to have a clam cake. I always brag to friends that you can get an amazing, crispy clam cake for only $2.00 so I was amazed to see that price had risen to $2.60! Everything is getting pricer in Maine…

The next stop was Willard Scoops in Willard Beach, South Portland. This was my first trip here but it has become one of Hannah’s favorites since she moved to Portland full time.

IMG_6216

Willard Scoops

Saturday was another day the beach so Hannah and I opted for lunch at the Ocean Park Deli. Our house is on the edge of town so the “downtown” is a 5 minute walk away (OP is wicked small!). The “downtown” consists of the deli, the library, one sit-down, BYOB restaurant, a gift shop, an antique shop and the Soda Fountain. We grabbed salads and sandwiches and spent another hour or two on the beach.

Hannah had to work Saturday night so I dropped her off at 2:45 before heading into Portland for a snack to hold me over until dinner. Every time I am in town, I have to go to Flatbread Pizza whether it’s to enjoy one of their organic, brick oven pizzas or just their organic salad. The Flatbread salad is something I dream about while I’m away. It consists of a bed of organic greens, shredded carrots, seaweed and sesame seeds with a housemade vinaigrette. I almost always add some blue cheese because it’s so creamy and spicy!

IMG_6136

My roommate, Elly, moved to Portland on Saturday for the summer and she invited me out to dinner. I figured I would go because Hannah was working and I would have some company! Her parents treated me to an unforgettable meal at 555 on Congress St. I had a house salad made with all local greens and produce and the pepper-crusted sea scallops with whipped fennel potatoes and veggies. I was able to meet her parents, her aunt, uncle and cousin.

After Elly said goodbye to her family, we headed over to South Portland to visit Hannah at work. We sat on the deck at the Saltwater Grille and had a cocktail while she finished up her shift. Check out that view!

IMG_6139

Once Hannah finished her shift, we dropped Elly off and headed over to Eventide for a drink and a snack (poor Hannah hadn’t eaten in hours!). I went for the Dirty, Dirty Martini made with Beefeater gin, olive brine, oyster brine and hot sauce. It was super salty and spicy and so delicious!!

IMG_6147

Sunday was yet another beautiful beach day so we were back in Ocean Park. Our friend Lynn (more like a sister) came up from Massachusetts for the day so it was great to catch up after almost a year. It was my last lunch in Maine so Hannah and I went to Bayley’s in Pine Point for a lobster roll. At Bayley’s you can choose if you’d like your bun toasted or not toasted and if you’d like it tossed in butter or mayo. I’m a Maine lobster roll kind of girl so I went for the mayo (but light!)- you all remember my Sunday Funday post about Red Hook Lobster Pound, right? The Bayley’s lobster roll is simple and lets the lobster meat shine through- the perfect treat on a summer day in Maine.

IMG_6167
Hannah had to work again, so Lynn and I went into Portland and did the mailboat cruise around Casco Bay. For all the years I’ve been going to Maine (which is my whole life), I have never been on Casco Bay. The mailboat is a 3 hour cruise that stops on 5 islands in the bay dropping off mail and people. The best part- besides being on the water, in the sun and with a great friend- is that it’s BYOB. That’s right, you can bring booze and drink on the boat! We picked up a 6-pack of Sam Adams Summer Ale and spent a glorious (but windy) 3 hours on the water!

IMG_6190

Here I am with Long Island behind me while we were pulling away from Cliff Island in Casco Bay

For my last meal, Hannah and I went to OTTO Pizza to grab some take out. Rain rolled in Sunday night so we decided to grab some pizza to go and settle in at her house to watch some Sunday night TV. We got one of Hannah’s favorite pizzas- sweet potato, ricotta and dried cranberries. I was hesitant at first but, OMG, it was heavenly! Creamy, sweet, tart but somehow savory. It confused my palate, which is hard to do. It was the perfect finale to a perfect weekend in Maine!

Advertisements

Maryland Blue Crabs

20130504-174345.jpg

Nick and I ventured back to Red Hook today for two reasons: we needed to stop at Ikea (again!) and we wanted to go back to Brooklyn Crab. When we stopped here last weekend, we were to full too order anything more than 1/2 dozen oysters. This time, we dove right in and ordered 1/2 dozen Maryland Blue Crabs.

I have only picked Maryland crabs one other time and it was back during my senior year of high school. I remember it being hard and not worth the work. Boy was I wrong! These female blue crabs were so full of delicious, sweet meat and the Cajun boil took them over the top. The accompanying coleslaw and boiled corn on the cob sealed the deal. All for just $19- delish!

I’m going to try to attempt to cook some of these down the road but, for now, the trip to Red Hook will have to do! If you find yourself making crabs at home and in need of some help on picking them (I did because I had such a vague memory of doing it 7 years ago) check out this guide by Esquire. Enjoy!

Pasta with Manilla Clams

IMG_5657

I got the idea for this pasta dish from the Mark Bittman article I posted last week. His was a pasta (dry spaghetti or linguine) with manilla clams removed from the shells. I decided to take that idea and mix it up a bit. I took a trip to Eataly and bought 4 ingredients: fresh pasta (chitarra), pancetta, manilla clams and parsley.

Ingredients

Fresh Manilla Clams (6 per serving)

Fresh Pasta (2 oz. per serving)

Pancetta (1/4 inch thick- 1/8 cup per serving)

1/4 cup White Wine (use this amount when making 2-4 servings)

Parsley to garnish

Directions

Fill a pot with water and bring to a boil. Heat a large skillet (that has a lid that fits) over moderate heat. Once warm, add the pancetta and allow to cook for 4-5 minutes- you want to render the fat so you basically have some oil in the pan.

Add the manilla clams and toss to coat with the pancetta “grease”. Add white wine and cover with the lid. Cook for 8-10 minutes until all the clams are open. Don’t check too often- you don’t want to loose the steam. While the clams are steaming in the wine, add your pasta to the boiling water. Cook fresh pasta for 2 minutes and dry pasta for 8- you want it a little less than al dente.

Discard any clams that did not open (they are no good) and remove the rest from skillet to a plate to cool. Using tongs, move the pasta from the pasta water into the large skillet. Add about 1/8 cup pasta water to the pasta, pancetta and wine. Toss to mix everything and let it cook for another 2-3 minutes (until the pasta is done).  This is important because the pasta will absorb the extra wine and pasta water! Turn off the heat and add in roughly chopped parsley. Toss to mix and move to a serving bowl. Add clams to the bowl in a decorative way!

Enjoy!

WW Points: 9 points per serving