Mystery Weekend
Twenty years ago (OMIGOD) I somehow talked Mrs. Robot into allowing me to make out with her and so to honor that anniversary she took me on a mystery vacation. She planned, bought airlines tickets, booked hotels and cars and restaurant reservations. The night before she gave me an idea of what to pack for (“slightly cooler climate”). The next morning a car picked us up and took us to the JetBlue JFK terminal. At this point, I was struggling to recall which airports JetBlue flew into from JFK (let’s see.. Burbank). She got the tickets and we went through security and she told the TSA guy that I didn’t know where we were going. The TSA guy thought that was cute and gave her my ticket.

Basically, I didn’t know where we were going until we turned the corner to the gate and saw “Portland, ME”. Ah, the other Portland. How fun.
The flight is about 50 minutes. We landed and got a car (Volvo S80 - zoooom) and headed south to the Portland Head Lighthouse park and did some walking around and looking at the ocean and rocks and the lighthouse.
Let’s see. What did we do?

Lobsta Roll
Lobster Roll #1
The Lobster Shack in Cape Elizabeth.
Pretty good lobster roll. Toasty bread although a bit too much mayonaise plopped on top. Funnily, everyone in the restaurant seemed to be from North Carolina.

Espresso & Shopping
Post lobster espresso at Bard CoffeeSince we had woken up a bit early that morning, we had to get more coffee so we returned back to Portland proper and popped in to Bard Coffee for espesso. They do a nice coffee there. Then we went on a shopping spree involving stationary, clever pens, and shirts with robots on them.
I mention all of this because we had parked our trusty white-people Volvo on the street and forgotten to feed the meter and got a damn parking ticket. Alas. I never get tickets.

White People
Saturday night we were staying in Rockland (ROCK LAND!) which is about an hour north of Portland. You have to drive through Freeport to get there and that is where the main LLBean shop is. We are white people and were driving a Volvo, so we decided to stop.
I don’t mind LLBean for some of their outdoorsy stuff - I bought a nice wool base-layer type shirt and looked at their bike stuff. Their normal clothes of course can be hillarious; either because of the design or how damn large they are. At LLBean, I might as well shop in the kids department.

Fun Story: At the front door of the store there was a family who had bought some collars for their golden retriever and were seeing which ones fit. He was the most handsome retriever ever and we joked that he was probably one of the dogs they used in the catalog. Boy, was he handsome.

The Berry Manor Inn
Good morning InnIn Rockland, we stayed at the Berry Manor Inn, a local B&B. Our room was in the carriage house (so I was scared of ghost horses) and was super handsome. Fireplace in the room. Huge bed. Very large jacuzzi tub that literally was almost as big as our entire bathroom in Brooklyn. Shower with all those crazy jets.
It was pretty swell.

I always read the guestbook at B&Bs and this one had all sorts of entries from couples who had a wonderful time “re-connecting”. That’s what they call it.

Dinner was at Primo. Apparently this is a pretty famous restaurant and Mrs. Robot swore I had known about it, but my brain couldn’t recall anything.
Go online and read about it; they are super local. They raise and butcher their own pigs. Grow lots of vegtables. All that. It sounds like it’s run by good people. Kudos to them.

So, as not to clog up the robot-web, my review for Primo is already on Yelp. You can read it all there.
I really disliked their oysters with chili oil on them.
The Yelp grading system once again let me down as I gave Primo three-stars, which in the Yelpernet is “OK”. It should really be four stars, but four is defined as “Yea! I’m a fan!” which I’m not really.
Oh, and let me add one last thing: I’m trying to not be grumpy with that review because I was way NOT grumpy that day. My lovely wife had surprised me with this awesome trip where she had planned out all these fun things and dinners and stuff. We had gone on a fun shopping spree. We had a jacuzzi tub the size of a small Olympic pool in our room.
I was in a totally good mood; which makes the dinner at Primo so disappointing. It should have been shooting fish in a barrel. I almost splurged on crazy Champagne (glad I didn’t).

Horse Ghosts
She has a thing for crazy horse portraits.

Back to Portland
We drove to and from Rockland on highway 1. It’s real pretty and super scenic.
As much as I liked the Volvo, there was no where on the damn car to mount my GoPro camera.

Lobster roll #2
Lobster Roll #2
Sprague’s Lobster.
This may have been the best lobster roll I’ve ever had - the key was that it was simple. Was there even mayonnaise on it? I don’t think so. If there was it was very light. The ‘bun’ was pretty interesting as it seems to just be a slab of bread and that you fold. Lightly buttered and toasted.

Carleton Inn Bed & Breakfast
Back in Portland, we checked into the Carleton Inn. It’s an old townhouse on a quiet residential block. Immacuately decorated and staffed by uber-friendly folks.
The bed was big and comfortable.

Then there was lobster
Street and Company
For dinner that night we went to Street & Company. Once again, I’ll just link to my dumb Yelp review to save space here: Street & Company.
It was an awesome meal. For our main course we had the “Lobster Diavolo for Two” because that is what lovers do. Holy moly. One lobster split in half over a bed of linguine with a slightly spicy marinara sauce along with squid, clams, and mussels. Oh, and lovely basil on top.
Crikey. Totally messy but well worth it.

Also, I may have had some of the best deviled eggs here (they had shrimp on top) and we also righted the wrongs from the night before with some oysters from nearby that didn’t have any chili oil on them.
If we lived in Portland, we’d eat here 24-7.

Then there was beer
Maybe you don’t know this, but I rarely drink beer anymore. The carbonation makes me burpy and find that it makes me way bloaty feeling. After dinner, our Portland ME pal Claire invited us to join her and her man-pal at Novare Res for beer.
Oh, beer. I’ve kind of missed you.
I had a lady-pint of a beer produced by Allagash - a local brewery. Very tasty. I ended the evening (man, I’m glad I wasn’t driving) with the Dogfish Head 120 min IPA. Crikey! Super hoppy and high octane. Delicious. Although after beer(s), scotch, and wine the next morning I felt a little wonky.

Duck! Fat!
Duckfat poutineOur last day in Portland, we met up for lunch with our pal Claire and had lunch at Duckfat. I don’t really need to tell you that much about this restaurant, right? Everything is done in duck fat.
We had their Duckfat Poutine to start and then their Duckfat gyro with duck and creme fraiche and finished with the Duckfat Beignets.

When not eating, reading
Down the street from Duckfat is Rabelais - a bookstore dedicated to books about food, cooking, and wine & spirits. For real? Stop it Portland!
I bought books. Great selection and they have some wonderful older/used titles as well.

The Portland airport: adorable.
JetBlue flies up there from JFK. What are you waiting for?

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