Think Outside the Snowbank – 5 Springtime Favorites in Portland, Maine 9 Feb 2015, 6:33 am
Although Punxsutawney Phil is predicting another six weeks of winter (not a surprise after this latest drubbing of snow), it’s never too soon to start planning a spring getaway to Maine. With an enviable array of restaurants, music venues, bars, and shopping, Portland crackles with activity year round. But the city really starts to shine once spring has officially sprung. Check out our top 5 picks for enjoying the season, and book your trip to Portland today:
Bug Light Kite Festival
Kite flying with a view of Bug Light, overlooking sparkling Casco Bay
Get ready for some clean old-fashioned fun at the 5th annual festival in honor of the kite, held on May 24th. Considered one of the best spots for kite flying in northern New England, the skies above Bug Light Park will be filled with everything from dime store kites to massive tethered creations manned by small crews. Members of the American Kite-flyers Association will be on hand to offer “how to” lessons and tips, while demonstrations, races, and children’s activities carry on in the open green space. Bug Light is open to tour during the May festival, giving the public a rare opportunity to see the inner workings of the lighthouse.
Old Port Festival
Looking to explore the city’s quaint Old Port area while tapping into the music scene at the same time? The Old Post Festival, June 12-14, is tailor made for you. Staged at the heart of this historic district in Market Square for more than 40 years, the festival showcases the best and most authentic side of the city. With a theme of “exploring the real Portland,” six stages will feature continuous live music – local, regional and emerging national acts – and performing arts, with a parade, food vendors, and children’s activities rounding things out.
Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens
There is no better way to watch spring bloom than to follow the blossoms up the coast to the Botanical Gardens in Boothbay, reopening on April 15 after hibernating for the winter. Founded in 1996 to protect and preserve the botanical heritage of coastal Maine, the gardens spread over 270 acres of lush tidal shoreland. Meander through delicately scented paths of hundreds of flower species while taking in the seasonal art exhibits that celebrate the synergy of artwork and nature. Do you dig it?
Maine Roller Derby
Get your pulse racing on a chilly spring day with a visit to the Maine Roller Derby, Maine’s first women’s flat track roller derby league. These aren’t like the roller skates you remember from your childhood. This is girl power at it’s finest, as the Calamity Janes, Rip Tides, and Port Authorities face off for derby supremacy at the Portland Expo Center.
Portland Sea Dogs
If America’s favorite pastime is one of yours as well, check out opening day at Hadlock Field as the beloved Portland Sea Dogs square off against the Reading Fightin Phils on April 9. This AA affiliate of the Boston Red Sox has been the proving ground for prime talents like Dustin Pedroia, Jon Lester, and Clay Buchholz. Watch for future major leaguers while eating a signature sea biscuit ice cream sandwich at this fan friendly stadium.
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Get Wise About Wine in Portland Maine 16 Jan 2015, 1:58 pm
Her highly rated (and year-round) wine (and food) walks will have you tasting delicious wines with paired fresh fare at a series of great Portland Maine restaurants. Some walks are in the West End — very close to the Pomegranate Inn. Others are in the heart of the Old Port.
On her incredible summer and fall wine sails you’ll enjoy scenic views of Maine lighthouses, waterways and islands while indulging in a wine class on board the 74-foot gaff-rigged topsail sloop, Frances.
See dates and options on the Wine Wise Events website.
Kick Off Summer at the Old Port Festival – June 6-8, 2014 13 May 2014, 12:55 pm
Summertime in Portland means it’s festival time—and our city’s collection of outdoor, crafty, foodie festivals provide an excellent excuse for zipping away for a weekend with us here at The Pomegranate!
First on the calendar and kicking off the summer season is our classic 30-year long running Old Port Festival, happening June 6 – 8.
What gives this festival it’s fun and welcoming feel is that there’s truly something for everyone.
Businesses throughout Portland’s Old Port open up their doors and line pedestrian-only cobblestone streets with racks of clothes, food, shoes, toys, treats and more. There’s a colorful foot parade down Exchange Street, multiple music stages featuring popular bands, face painting, and an eclectic and mouthwatering array of food and drink options to choose from as local restaurants showcase their talent with a tasty buffet running the length of Exchange Street!
We love the way this festival celebrates the excitement of summertime and gives us a great way to experience the creativity and culture our city has to offer. There’s always something to do, see, taste or dance to—and we love meandering through picturesque streets filled with happy festival-goers while stopping to visit all our favorite Old Port shops and restaurants.
So whether you’re into the local food scene, live music, micro brews or getting your face painted, mark your calendar for a stay with us and kick off your summer season with this funky and colorful Portland tradition! We have a number of rooms available, but they’ll go fast!
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Maine Craft Distilling: Plan a Tasting! 28 Apr 2014, 9:08 am
Not far from our Portland, Maine inn there’s a growing hyper-local trend you might not yet know about: the micro-distillery movement.
On the rise all over New England, craft distilling is taking us back to our Yankee roots and combining a farm-to-table ethos with the longstanding art and science of producing fine spirits.
Thanks to Portland’s already thriving ecology of microbreweries, there’s a particularly supportive environment for newcomer distilleries. After all, whiskey always begins as beer.
In fact, over six of Portland’s micro brew and distillation producers even call the same neighborhood home—East Bayside—which they’ve described as a “thriving information collaboration.”
We kind of like to think of it as a local fermentation of fermentariums.
Maine Craft Distilling
And we’re particularly impressed with Maine Craft Distilling and their line of spirits, which includes two gins (one made from carrots!), rum, spiced rum, vodka and “blueshine.” Yup, you guessed it: blueberry moonshine with maple syrup. Could we get any more Maine?!
Doubly impressive is that all of Maine Craft Distilling’s stills, silos, fermentation vats and floor malting spaces were built by hand following historical methods, and founder Luke Davidson sources Maine-grown barley for his spirits.
So, next time you book a visit at The Pomegranate, definitely plan to include a distillery tour in your foodie adventures. The tasting room at Maine Craft Distilling is open Tues-Thurs 1-5, and Fri-Sun 12-6.
And for those of you who can get your hands on a bottle of their Ration Rum, here’s a summery treat we nabbed off their website:
Yeast Bayside Mule
2 oz. Ration Rum
½ Oz. Lime Juice
6 oz. Ginger Beer
Pour Ration Rum over ice in a collins glass. Add lime juice and ginger beer evenly over ice. Gently stir, add optional lime wedge. Drink!
Featured Recipe of our Portland Maine Inn 20 Feb 2014, 11:31 am
Our Portland Maine inn is known for vibrantly painted guest room walls, a fabulous New England art collection, and. . . seriously awesome gourmet breakfasts.
While the sweet dishes have always been a treat, we’ve noticed an uptick in compliments lately for one particular savory dish — the Baked Huevos Rancheros. We share the recipe with you below.
Baked Huevos Rancheros
Black Bean Ingredients:
- 2 teaspoons of canola or olive oil
- 1 medium red onion, chopped
- 1cup of diced stewed tomato
- 1 medium red bell pepper, diced
- 2 cloves of garlic, miced
- 1 teaspoon of ground cumin
- 1 (15-ounce) can of black beans, rinsed & drained
- 1 cup of water
- 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar, or lemon juice
- salt & pepper to taste
- crushed red pepper
Baked eggs Ingredients:
- 1 dozen eggs
- Whole wheat tortillas, sliced into thirds
- garlic salt
- (Top with):
- fresh tomatoes
- avocado, sliced
- fresh cilantro
- greek yogurt
- mixed greens
- Heat canola or olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add red onion, stewed tomatos, bell pepper, garlic, and cumin. Cook 4 minutes, stirring constantly, until tender.
- Add beans, water, and vinegar, reduce heat to medium-low, and cook 20 – 30 minutes, or until the water reduces.
- To prepare the baked eggs in edible tortilla cups: Preheat oven to 400ºF, grease a standard muffin tin, slice whole wheat tortilla into triangles and fit into muffin tin, sprinkle each tortilla cup with garlic salt and parsley, crack egg into the tortilla and bake for 12 – 15 minutest until the egg whites are hard and the yolks are set.
- Plate eggs, top with black bean gravy, mixed greens, sliced avocado, diced tomato, cilantro, and greek yogurt.
Portland Food Scene: Best of 2013 2 Jan 2014, 12:18 pm
Have we mentioned that our Portland Maine Inn is lucky to be located in such a foodie city? You just have to check out our dining recommendations to get a feel for how many wonderful restaurants exist here in Maine’s urban mecca.
Better yet, 2013 saw an addition of a number of new dining destinations and 2014 promises even more.
Our favorites additions of 2013:
Empire Chinese Kitchen: Awesome dim sum and clever cocktails. Highlights: Garlic green beans, Peking duck buns, and Shanghai soup dumplings. Open for lunch and dinner.
Piccolo: Spectacular homemade pastas and exceptional desserts. Highlights: Squid ink pasta with swordfish tomato sauce, carbonara for brunch, and the killer sweet fried dough (either zepoli or bombolini).
Portland Hunt & Alpine Club: World-class cocktail lounge with great small plates. Highlights: The Left Hand (bourbon cocktail), smoked trout deviled eggs, and the green chile, butter and parmesan popcorn. Open 4 pm to 1 am.
Portland & Rochester Public House: Casual comfort food and down-home goodies. Highlights: Skillet mussels, roasted half chicken, and PB&J beignets. Open for lunch and dinner.
Salvage BBQ: Mouth-watering (and authentic) North Carolina style BBQ. Highlights: Pork ribs, beef brisket, mac & cheese, and the hush puppies. Open for lunch and dinner.
Small Axe Food Truck: Delicious, locally sourced handcrafted food. Highlights: Smoked BBQ burger, curried rice bowl with flounder, and chicken & mushroom hand pies. Breakfast and lunch served around town. Closed for the season until May 2014.
Looking forward to in 2014:
Central Provisions: Newcomer Chris Gould plans to offer seasonally inspired small plates with international flavors, craft cocktails, local beers and eclectic wines.
Miyake Diner: Portland’s own brilliant Japanese chef, Masa Miyake will be premiering his third restaurant in town.
Slab: The genius behind the original “Sicilian slab” pizza at Micucci’s Grocery will be opening his own pizzeria and bakery.
A Morning in Portland Maine’s Arts District 22 Aug 2013, 5:14 am
After breakfast here at our Portland Maine inn, stroll over to see the paintings, drawings, and sculptures of the ‘William S. Paley Collection: A Taste for Modernism’ exhibit at the Portland Museum of Art. Picasso, Matisse, and Cezanne pieces are on display in Maine through September 8, 2013.
And, luckily, our Art Lovers Sneak Away special lasts until then as well!
For our guests this Fall, there are some great contemporary exhibitions on the way, including recent work by New York-based Iraqi artist Ahmed Alsoudani.
For a midmorning jumpstart or a coffee break after a day of exploring smaller galleries and shops in Portland’s Art District, skip Starbucks and stroll down to 567 Congress Street to the Speckled Ax.
They’ll brew something special with a smooth, smoky taste: wood-roasted espresso or a caramel latte (with REAL caramel. Not after a cuppa joe? They make their own chai tea, as well.
For lunch, even the most avid omnivores won’t be left wanting at Green Elephant Vegetarian Bistro.
No need for reservations, and the Green Elephant’s asian-influenced cuisine is served just a few steps from the Portland Museum of Art.
Boda — Killer Thai on Longfellow Square 22 May 2013, 6:32 am
Putting Boda — located in Longfellow Square, just a few blocks from our Portland Maine inn — in the same category as other Thai restaurants is like equating grandma’s from-scratch Sicilian with greasy-good college town pizza. It’s a matter of ethnic authenticity.
The Thai food at Boda is simply – well – unAmerican.
And in this case – it’s a good thing.
Boda’s menu doesn’t cater to the sweet-craving American palate the way 95% of Thai restaurant menus do. We challenge you to find another Thai restaurant in Portland (or in Maine for that matter) that serves bitter melon soup stuffed with minced pork.
Oily and aromatic with sesame overtones in a savory broth, the soup provokes your tastebuds — awakening areas of your tongue you didn’t know existed! A remarkable balance of flavors, it plays the role of appetizer to a “T” – kicking your hunger into overdrive.
And it kills with a crisp martini.
Also try a grilled skewer (the house specialty). The list ranges from pork belly, to king oyster, to asparagus wrapped in bacon.
The tilapia with herbs in a banana leaf conjurs thoughts of mountainous rice terraces and thick jungles. Earthy, like a cauliflower, the fish is dense in a way that tilapia rarely is – buoyed by a bed of cabbage, shallots and hearty mushrooms. Cooked in a bevy of spices (chili, Thai basil, lime leaves, lemongrass, lemon basil, garlic) — it’s heaven for the senses. Aromatic steam releases the moment you pierce the leaf and wafts through the rest of the meal. Alternate bites of meaty fish with balls of sticky rice dipped into a puddle of spicy lemon basil broth. Sheer perfection.
The Thai chicken wings were fun to eat (gotta love messy finger food) — piping hot and doused with chile. Each bite into the spicy carmelized skin reveals hints of vinegar and fish oil in equal amounts. Accompanying daikon and carrots add a pickled flavor, cooling the wings’ heat.
Fried taro sticks, Thai Northern-style sausage and Kanom-krok quail eggs also are just brilliant.
Boda’s atmosphere blends mod and rustic. Rough pine tables and floors mix with cement walls and platinum and glass drop lights. Service is earnest and knowledgable.
Petite Jacqueline — Marvelous French Bistro Nearby 16 Apr 2013, 4:56 pm
It’s delightful to have a solid French bistro in town. Particularly one that is on Longfellow Square — just a few blocks away from our Portland Maine Inn!
And, one that makes a tasty Nicoise Salad, an appealing Steak Frites and a lovely Fluke Meuniere.
Consistently. In authentic style. Wrapped in a bright, boisterous package that transports you straight to Boulevard Saint-Germain.
And – best yet– the house red is surprisingly stellar and comes in a huge carafe. A pinot noir-syrah blend, it’s a steal for $20.
Nicoise Salad: A sizable Nicoise approaches “Parisian” with chunks of tuna, bright, al dente haricot vert, slighly runny hard-boiled eggs, nicoise olives and fingerlings.
Steak Frites: We recommend you order this richly marinated flat iron steak rare or on the “rare side” of medium rare. To cook it longer defeats the dish and toughens the meat to (from a French – and our – perspective) a perverse level of doneness. Seriously. Hand cut fries come skinny, crackling and drizzled with mayo and a dash of parsley. Expertly fried and made from what we presume to be local Maine potatoes, they offer not just crunch but complex flavor. Marvelous.
Fluke Meuniere: Pan seared with capers and loads of butter, this local fish gets a light flour coating before its crisped to a perfect golden brown and draped over spinach. Delicate simplicity on a plate.
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