Top Picks for Outdoor Dining in Portland, Maine 16 Jul 2015, 9:57 am
The glorious Portland, Maine summers may be all too short-lived, but there are an incredible number of outdoor dining options in our food-friendly seaside town. So many, in fact, that we can’t possibly list them all… so instead, we’ve come up with a few of our favorite unique spots for any al fresco drinking or dining circumstance:
- Best Touristy Spot with an Awesome Location: Boone’s Fish House & Oyster Room is a relative newcomer to Portland’s Old Port. They renovated a historic building right on Custom House Wharf on Portland’s Commercial Street (the main drag along the waterfront) with decks on two levels overlooking Portland Harbor. You can dine on local seafood while watching lobstermen haul in their daily catches. (Or for a true blue, old school experience try The Porthole or J’s Oyster Bar, also just off Commercial Street.)
- Best Easy/Delicious/Family-Friendly: Try both ends of Portland’s truly exceptional pizza spectrum — each with their own awesome outdoor seating. Flatbread (on Commercial Street and with a deck literally right on top of the water) is worth the wait and features thin-crust, wood-fired pizza and a boisterous, kid-friendly atmosphere. Alternatively, Slab is in the middle of Portland’s downtown and features the most amazing, authentic Sicilian-style slab pizza (and other “Sicilian street food”) you’ve ever had — possibly even in Italy. Their incredible beer list and summer music series on their huge, family-style patio adds even more fun. Oh, and they serve until 1 a.m.
- Best Portland-centric Destination Date Night: This is a true insider’s tip: just 3 miles and a 20-minute ferry from Portland’s Old Port is Peaks Island, an accessible gem of a destination. You can time it right to take an early evening ferry and have a destination dinner on Peaks at the Cockeyed Gull (terrific menu, tiny restaurant, and great deck overlooking Casco Bay, the city of Portland and incredible sunsets — make a reservation first). Grab the ferry back and you’ll still be early enough to check out Portland’s nightlife or catch some live music (try One Longfellow, State Theatre, or HOME to start).
- Best Local Spot Away from the Masses: As much fun as it is to be immersed in it, there are some times you just need to get off Commercial Street and away from the tourist traffic. Try Caiola’s, nestled in Portland’s historic West End neighborhood (walking distance from the Pomegranate Inn). They have a great hidden gem of an outdoor patio (you have to be led through the kitchen to get there) and a spectacular menu utilizing local farms and purveyors (arguably the best burger in town). And if you want to get off the Portland peninsula altogether, try The Treehouse above Pat’s Meat Market in the Deering Center neighborhood — there’s a jewel of a private 2nd-floor deck at the back of the building.
- Best Place to Get Raucous: For those times when you’re in this kind of mood. Try the Thirsty Pig for great beer and housemade sausages in the middle of Portland’s Old Port with a two-tiered deck. For the best (and most overwhelming) beer selection in town, Novare Res Bier Café right across the street has 25 rotating taps, 500+ bottled beer choices and meats and cheeses galore. Plus you can play Cornhole and kick back on their picnic table-covered deck. Back on Commercial Street on the water, Portland Lobster Company has great lobster, fish and seafood, tons of outdoor dining and drinking space, and live music every evening.
Maine-ly Cocktails 7 Jun 2015, 6:34 pm
Portland Maine is home to great craft cocktail lounges and beer bars — all within walking distance from Pomegranate Inn.
Summer nights call for a refreshing cocktail or brew, and Portland is home to many choice watering holes just beyond the steps of the Pomegranate Inn.
Whether your tastes run towards a custom cocktail or a delicious draught (personally, we’ll never say no way to rosé), there’s a spot for you.
Portland Hunt + Alpine Club
Open 7 days a week until 1 am, this minimalist bar with Scandinavian influences serves multi-note craft cocktails with a side of humor – see the ingredient list for the Late Night at OOB, and you’ll see what we mean. We’re especially partial to the light and refreshing White Noise, made with St. Germain and grapefruit zest. Located at 75 Market Street.
Novare Res Bier Cafe
Thanks to 25 rotating taps, two hand pumps, and 500+ bottles of beer, you’ll find draughts for days at this bar just off Lower Exchange Street. Featuring beers (as well as wines and tequilas) from around the globe, visitors can follow a Norwegian Nogne-o Pale with a locally brewed Allagash One T. Located at 4 Canal Plaza.
The Bearded Lady’s Jewel Box
This Prohibition-style speakeasy is a hidden gem, literally. If you don’t know exactly where you’re going, you may miss it entirely, which would be a shame because they make some of the best cocktails in town. Visitors can choose from a small set of cocktails (usually five) that change weekly and at least one special edition beer created in collaboration with In’finiti Fermentation & Distilling. Located at 644 Congress Street.
Vena’s Fizz House
Originally opened as a soda bar by the current owners’ great grandmother in the 1920a, this reincarnation has added alcoholic drinks with a kick to the menu. Fresh ingredients, flavored syrup, spices, and innovative bitters take center stage in nonalcoholic drinks, fizzes, and cocktails. When Food Network celebrity chef Alton Brown came to town, he remarked, “I’ve never seen anything like Vena’s before,” and we have to (proudly) agree. Located at 345 Fore Street.
Portland Sea Dogs — Take Yourself out to the Ballgame at Hadlock Field 12 May 2015, 6:45 pm
No summer time trip to Portland, Maine would be complete without a visit to Hadlock Field for a Sea Dogs game. Whether you’re baseball’s number one fan or just love to be outside on a summer’s evening while soaking up some local culture, Portland’s beloved AA team is a worthwhile stop on your itinerary when you visit our beautiful coastal city and stay at the Pomegranate Inn.
The Sea Dogs play in the competitive Eastern League, and as the feeder team for the legendary Boston Red Sox, you have a good chance to see some raw talent in action. In this intimately-sized park, you’ll have no problem getting seats right on the field. Just keep your eyes open for fly balls and a hand ready for high-fives when an outfielder makes a great play.
Although Hadlock has a smaller footprint than its major league counterpart, it does bear some fun and striking similarities to Fenway Park. To celebrate the affiliation between the two teams, a likeness of the legendary (and feared) Green Monster was built in 2003, earning the Sea Dogs’ outfield the distinction of being one of the most unique in the minor leagues by At the Yard magazine.
But rather than just being a replica of its big brother, the Sea Dogs stadium is distinctly and authentically Maine. A lighthouse, calling to mind Portland’s iconic Headlight, rises from the centerfield fence when a Sea Dogs player hits a home run and when the Sea Dogs notch another win.
But no one goes to a baseball game just for the on field action, right? Let’s be honest, we go for the food, too. While Hadlock has its share of classic concessions, it’s got a few tricks up its LL Bean plaid sleeve. After a hot dog or haddock sandwich, indulge your sweet tooth with a sea biscuit, the Sea Dogs signature ice cream and cookie sandwich. And no one goes home from Hadlock Field thirsty (at least no one of legal drinking age) because the Sea Dogs stadium hits a home run when it comes to its selection of microbrews. The Microbrew Stand, located in the concourse behind the first base line, offers an impressive roster of options including Geary’s, Sea Dog, Baxter Brewing, Red Hook Shipyard, Harpoon Brewery, Sebago, and Sam Adams. Shipyard beers, brewed locally in Portland, are available exclusively at the Shipyard Brew Pen, located behind the bleachers down the third base line.
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Portland, Maine Music Notes 6 Apr 2015, 10:16 am
While Portland’s reputation as a culinary capital has been well documented, the city is also a haven for music aficionados. There are a dozen top notch venues – ranging from cozy pubs to stately auditoriums to outdoor parks – that play host to local and national acts year round, with something to suit every taste. To help you stay on key, the innkeepers at the Pomegranate Inn will print out a list of musical events around town for nights when the options are especially abundant. Below is a small sampling some of the hot ticket shows coming to town this spring, and please just let us know if you’re hoping to take in a particular type of tune when you’re in the town.
Sufjan Stevens – Merrill Auditorium on April 14
Sufjan Stevens is an American singer-songwriter who incorporates mystical elements into his songs in a soulful yet simple way. He is best known for his 2005 album Illinois and makes use of a variety of instruments, often playing many of them himself on the same recording. He’ll be on stage at Merrill Auditorium, which at just under 2,000 seats is one of the larger venues in town.
Ben Folds – State Theatre on April 23
Folds, who first found fame with the multiplatinum group Ben Folds Five, has gone on to have a successful solo career, writing, recording, and performing pop music. He comes to Portland on the heels of his newly released album, which features the debut of Folds’ critically acclaimed “Concerto For Piano and Orchestra.” The State Theater is located on Congress Street, and its recently renovated elegant interior was inspired by Art Deco and Moorish aesthetics.
Howie Day – Asylum on April 25
A native of Bangor, Maine, Day is known for his authentically energetic shows, where he connects with audiences through his songs and quirky sense of humor. After sales of over a million albums and two Top 10 hits, Day is back on the road showcasing old favorites, as well as new material from his upcoming studio release. The venue, Asylum, is a study in contrasts. There are not many spots that can have rock concerts, a sports bar, and a dance club under one roof. This is the perfect place for people who want a little bit of everything.
Guster – State Theatre on May 2
Since forming at Tufts University in 1992, Guster has become one of the leading indie/alternative bands, releasing seven critically acclaimed albums in 20 years. Their latest offering, Evermotion, signals a departure from their signature acoustic sound and pushes into deeper drum grooves, keyboard textures, and dark lyrics.
Pat Benatar & Neil Giraldo – Maine State Pier on May 2
This powerhouse duo behind rock hits including “Love is a Battlefield”, “Hit Me with Your Best Shot”, and “Heartbreaker” will be headlining as part of their 35th Anniversary Tour. The Maine State Pier is one of Portland’s premier outdoor concert venues, offering unobstructed water views. Rock out while watching the ships go by.
The Art of Breakfast 4 Mar 2015, 9:28 am
At the Pomegranate, breakfast isn’t just a meal, it’s an experience. Like the overall vibe of the hotel, breakfast at the Pom is classic yet playful and eclectic. Guests can start the day off in our cozy dining room with locally roasted coffee, teas, and juice before moving on to a fruit course and pastries fresh from the oven. Entrées, such as poached eggs with capers or blueberries, are Maine-made all the way, sourced from fresh seasonal and local ingredients. Late risers can have a breakfast basket delivered to their door – the ultimate luxury for a sleep deprived guest.
A lot goes in to creating a menu to serve guests whose tastes and preferences are as diverse as the art scattered throughout the hotel. The chef has a multitude of things to consider…What’s in season? What’s the weather like – are we coming in or out of extreme temperatures? What foods am I really enjoying right now, and how does translate into a menu? Lots of concepts make it to the test kitchen, and some are immediate rejects (we’re looking at you, Disaster Cake), some are clear winners, and the ones that land somewhere in the middle require tweaking before a final decision can be made.
With all of these things in mind, the Pom’s multi-talented breakfast chef (she’s also one of the general managers) put together some of her top tips to help the spatula-wielders of the world elevate their breakfast game:
These Apple Rose Petites with Vanilla Cream were so pretty that it was a shame to eat them. But we did anyway.
Sources for Inspiration
- Our guests (they love to pass on recipes, and we love to receive them)
- The Food Network (Chopped/Brunch at Bobby’s are favorites)
- The Flavor Bible
- Memorable meals around town
Things to Consider When Creating a Breakfast Menu
- What ingredients are in season
- The weather
- Whether tastes run towards healthy or decadent
- Favorite restaurant dishes
- How labor/time intensive it is
- How adventurous is your audience?
Tips for Breakfast Preparation
- Pre-mix dry ingredients in a ziplock bag with instructions for the morning
- Delegate tasks (little ones can scoop out grapefruits, ball melons, be in charge of toast)
- Make a list of what you need to cook in what order
- Dance around a little – your good mood will show through in a happily made meal
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.