Not three days. Just three hours. Its called the Wannabe Vagabond Sonya express way! Not really but it does have a cool (fingers crossed) ring to it. Doesn’t it?
Back in July, I spent a weekend kayaking around the coastal islands of Maine. But more on that adventure in a future blog post. On the way back home from camping and kayaking, we made a pit stop in Portland, Maine. This stop consisted of a lot of food-centric stops! With a lot of SUGAR on the menu. One word of caution. Since I’m a vegetarian, you won’t see much written about the world-famous Maine lobster rolls here. I did see other people eating and enjoying the lobster rolls. That’s about it?! Now to my Portland pit stops.
First stop was the gas station turned to famous coffee hot spot called Tandem Coffee Roasters. It was a warm Sunday morning so naturally the place was bustling with people and a ton of energy. This coffee spot has tons of personality thanks to its gas station roots and plenty of ample sitting both indoors and out. Also, Tandem also has one of the most creative bathrooms I’ve ever seen. You don’t want to leave the bathroom! It’s so well decorated, colorful and just nice! In terms of drink and food consumption, I had the iced coffee with almond milk and the banana black sesame seed cake. The coffee was top-notch though I was expecting somewhat richer almond milk. But the moist and delicious cake was out of this world. A unique combination of rich flavors that tasted wonderful together. I could eat like five of them. Luckily I managed to exercise some self-control. I have a long list of bakery items I want to try next time. One visit is simply not enough. I’m a big fan and for proof, you can check out my complete review on Yelp! Read Sonya C.‘s review of Tandem Coffee Roasters on Yelp
Next highlight was the Eastern Promenade Trail. It was about a 15 minute walk from where we were situated earlier and a nice walk along the waterfront. The trail is mainly flat with a short staircase like trail that takes you to the top and provides amazing views of the water, pretty boats on one side and the city and buildings on the other.
The trail is built along an old rail corridor where one can see an old-school vintage train on display with the word ‘Pondicherry’ on it. I’m not sure about the roots of the train but it was nice to peek inside and see how different trains used to look back in the day. Blue leather colored seats facing each other. Quite quaint:)
The final highlight consists of lots of sugar. I had some rich, fresh and premium ice cream at Captain Sam‘s ice cream parlor which situated along the waterfront. A crocodile enjoying a scoop of ice cream greets you before you go inside. Fear not! It wasn’t real. Since blueberries were in season, I opted for a scoop of blueberry (one scoop was more like 2 scoops) and wasn’t disappointed. So creamy and delicious. So creamy that I had to scoop it down fast in fear that it would all melt! Also you can’t step inside an ice cream shop and not try at least one or two samples. I had three: blueberry, sea biscuit and coconut chip. It was hard to pick just one flavor but like I said, I opted for the local special. The interior of the shop is really cute and colorful and also has souvenirs available for purchase. I ended up buy a magnet as my memorabilia item; it was perfect since I collect magnets from all my trips and adventures. After Captain Sam’s, I decided I need more sugar. Walking around the quaint cobblestone streets of Old Port, I ended up in front of The Holy Donut. Donuts! Definitely a hot spot in Portland because there was a long queue out the door and for good reason. It’s famous because they make donuts with real Maine potatoes and yes they do feel and taste a bit different from traditional flour based ones. The potato donuts do not disappoint and they have a ton of flavors and variety. Like blueberry with lemon glaze. Yes. Blueberry again.
After donuts, I walked in front of a dairy shop on Commercial Street called Cabot Farmers Annex. It had A LOT of cheese samples. If you like cheese, this was the ultimate place to try out new (and old) types of cheese. I’m trying to eat less cheese in general but this place had really unique types of cheese and free samples! I just couldn’t say no. I mean, Everything Bagel cheese cubes? Sign me up! I ate a ton of cheese, popcorn, crackers. I ended up purchasing (surprise) blueberry chutney spread which one can eat with crackers, bread, cheese and meat (no meat for me) It’s not super sweet like jam or jelly and much easier to spread due to its light texture.
And that’s a wrap! I could easily have spent another day or two in Portland. I like its relaxed vibe and close proximity to the water. It’s a perfect spot for a jog or run. There are museums to visit, restaurants to eat at, boat rides to take, coffee shops to visit. But that’s for another time and year.