Posts Tagged ‘Maine’

“Shit is about to happen”  –  an Ode to unstructured time. It’s not exactly a lyric poem but epic stuff can happen when you least expect.

Margagogo.com’s Marketing Director met his wife (the margagogo West Coast Correspondent) in a bar on a random night. Of all the saloons in all the world, they both walked into that one.

Years ago, just before a long weekend in Maine with my family, my then boyfriend and I broke up. So instead of entertaining him while my family looked him over, my mother and I went out looking at houses. I bought one.

Life isn’t a Jane Austin novel so every story can’t end with secured real estate and a wedding. Sometimes the prize is more subtle; it’s the adventure itself and the memories you tuck away with the experience.

A few weeks ago on a very raw and rainy Saturday, my friends (and margagogo correspondents) left the warmth of the wood stove and central heating to see what we could see. We braved the drippy sky and dropping temperatures and were rewarded with ocean views. That tends to happen when you’re on the coast but the view wasn’t just “ocean” – it was awesome, rocky cliff, churning ocean! And we found color. Bright red and green popping up to give the finger to the oppressive grey sky.

And then my Brooklyn Correspondent needed a bathroom. A great view can have that effect.

If you’re going to stop into a restaurant to use the facilities, you should probably get a drink. It’s only polite. And if we’re anything other than polite, we’re thirsty. So hitting Cook’s Lobster House was a win/win.

In all the years I’ve hung out in this part of Maine, I’ve never crossed the threshold of Cook’s. I decided it’s too touristy. My New York-living, Maine-visiting self is not a tourist unless there’s a festival, fair, parade, strong man contest, pancake breakfast, national landmark, museum or maybe leaf peeping involved. Cook’s has lobster and it has crowds. Big, giant bus loads of people looking for seafood and salt air. No pie eating contest, no biggest ball of twine, no reason for me to go. Until now.

Stepping into the bar is like taking a trip to 1958 on a WayBack Machine (without Peabody and his pet boy.) It’s the kind of place where hanging out is encouraged and I bet Cook’s has it’s share of friends who sit and stay a while. On this icky November Saturday the crowds were gone. It was just us and some locals who were probably wondering why we were there and wishing we’d go anyplace else. (Tourists!) The thing is, one of them was wearing a t-shirt that said “The drinking will continue until morale improves.” I think that makes us kindred spirits so like us or not, he’s our people.

Cook’s has a Bloody Mary with a lobster tail and bourbon with Maine blueberry and of course, they made me a margarita. As the bartender was mixing our drinks, a string of Christmas lights jumped off the wall (where it surely hangs year-round) and swung into his face. He looked at the lights and looked at us and said. “Shit is about to happen.”

Well, yes indeed it is.

Drinks at Cook's Lobster House. Check out the lobster tail hanging off the drink at the end!

Drinks at Cook’s Lobster House. Check out the lobster tail hanging off the drink at the end!













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For many, Cinco de Mayo celebrations last as long as the meal and the hangover that follows. I like to spread out my fun so for me and a few margagogo National Correspondents, Cinco de Mayo was a four-day journey of food, drink and more Maine travel.

Tres de Mayo:  Always working, we fit in a margarita while waiting for a flight in the JetBlue terminal at JFK.

margagogo at work courtesy of @mscharlies

Revolucion lured us in with a chalk message on a sign board and the promise of quac. The dream of guacamole wasn’t realized and the margarita was a near miss since the bartender was MIA. As we weighed the pros and cons of self-serve, a harried guy ran into the scene, took our order (two margs, rocks, one with salt and one without) and in a brave attempt to deliver our request, grabbed a salt shaker to shake table salt on a glass. The salt specs  skidded off the sleek, dry surface to coat the counter. We give the bartender and “A” for effort, helpfulness and humor.  For execution, I need to work out a grading curve for airports.  This drink is a classic example of mix abuse – eye-popping sweet and the Milagro tequila he used couldn’t save it. But how high should expectations be in an airport bar?

We ended the day in Maine at home making dinner including Scarlet Margs and margarita ice cream. True, these margaritas aren’t traditional but they are happiness in a glass. And the margarita ice cream? I made it late in the afternoon so it wasn’t quite frozen, making it more like a margarita parfait and giving me a new recipe tip – allowing the full freezer time is optional.

Quatro de Mayo: The rain didn’t stop the ramp up in fact, it accelerated it. Guacamole, movies and more Scarlet Margs followed by dinner at The Dolphin Restaurant and Marina in Harpswell, Maine. I’ve met lots of people who’ve never been to Maine. If you’re one of those people, the lobster stew at The Dolphin is reason to get in your car now and start driving north. It’s cream and butter and lobster and amazing. I suggest you get a cup (not a bowl) because it’s rich and it comes with a blueberry muffin. If it will make you feel better about yourself, get a salad. But Whatever you do, don’t get the margarita. It was a startling show of mix abuse. I think a pint size serving of margarita is a sure sign of trouble.

Cinco de Mayo: El Camino, 15 Cushing Street,  Brunswick, Maine garnered raves from the Independent Panel of Judges.

El Camino, Brunswick, Maine

El Camino, Brunswick,Maine

Velvet Bronco + Year-Round Tinsel Tree

El Camino embraces the decorating I recommended in my last blog post, they make a mean margarita offering all kinds of tequila and margarita choices and the food is great. I think the group favorite was the special Fundido de Camarones. We aren’t sure how they made it but we’re really glad they did. The only problem with El Camino is the hours. It was open from 5PM – 9PM. But when it Maine, do as the Mainers do. You can eat, drink and be home before the sun sets.

Seis de Mayo: @Foodista tells us that May 6 was “National No Diet Day.” I was thrilled to hear this especially since May is also “National Hamburger Month” but I was fooded out from the Cinco de Mayo ramp up and celebration and I couldn’t take full advantage. So let’s eat to “National No Diet Day” happening more than once a year.

Ocho de Mayo: For any of you who are wondering, the margagogo West Coast Bureau Chief sent in a Cupcake Royale (Seattle), Margarita Cupcake picture and review. I think the umbrella alone sells this treat but the review is mixed.  My WCBC says, “I may stick to my cupcakes in chocolate form and my margaritas in drink form, but it certainly added a little extra something to my Tuesday afternoon.”

So there you have it – Cinco de Mayo wrapped up with an umbrella on top.

Coming soon:  Peruvian food in NYC.

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I was lucky enough to be treated to a perfect Maine summer day in March, courtesy of global warming, and I made the best of it.

My luck started when the car rental company gave me a convertible. A brand new, fancy blue convertible. Then more luck when summer struck. It was 81 degrees, sunny and perfect.

I picked up a friend and we drove down Route 1, top down, sunscreen on, radio up. And we ended up at Robinson’s Wharf in Boothbay Harbor. Robinson’s is a bustling restaurant and fish market in high season but on this lucky warm March day, it was open, empty and catering to locals. We got a table and ordered margaritas.

Margaritas at Robinsons!

Who doesn’t love a margarita served in a pint glass? Really, I didn’t think the Pabst Blue Ribbon glass boded well for margarita quality. I was expecting mix abuse when I took my first draw on the straw. But the taste that hit my tongue wasn’t sickly sweet or too tart. It was refreshing. A great drink for this lucky faux summer day. I did blow the happy hour price by agreeing to Patron when the server suggested it. He was nice and I let him up sell me even though I’m not a believer in the power of Patron. But I am a believer in the power of a lucky sunny day in Maine.

There’s more in Boothbay than margaritas. If you go (and you should) try candlepin bowling at Romar Bowling Lanes. The pins are tall and willowy. The bowling ball is the size of a softball. And the lanes have been in this spot for more than fifty years. There is also great ice cream, a harbor, fishing trips, puffin tours and endless charm.

Maine perks way up in the summer. A lot of businesses are seasonal and even though the flowers were bursting and the sun shining, some of the best places weren’t open yet. A visit during the summer season promises more services but also more people. I guess you’ll just have to go more than once.

(I planned to review El Camino in Brunswick, Maine in this post but it was closed during my visit. It isn’t a seasonal business but it was closed on Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Yes, a restaurant closed for a weekend. That’s Maine for you. Part of its charm is that Mainers manage their own time table and motivate to their own beat. So next time, El Camino!)



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