I was recently invited to take a complimentary food tour through Portland. The Land Sea to Fork tour by Maine Food for Thought started last month and – at least when I went – was led by Bryce Hach who owns the company along with his wife Sarah. The tour focuses not just on eating great food, but learning about the food system and its impact on Maine and the people who live and visit our state.
The tour started at Union and took us to six different eateries. Each one was chosen because it offered something to eat that could also be used to teach about the effect our food has on us. What follows are some pictures and a few words about what we ate. It should be noted that the offerings at each location can and do change quite regularly.
Chowder w/ coconut milk, lemongrass, hake, lobster oil, clam, potato
A nice starter soup with plenty of fish flavor, this beautiful bowl got us started nicely.
390 Congress Street
Spicy Potato from Stonecipher Farm – tumeric, garlic, coriander, cayenne, cumin, mustard seeds, jalapeno, cilantro, yogurt
This wasn’t too spicy hot, but had multifaceted flavoring from all the spices in it.
443 Fore St
Handmade Handkerchief Pasta with world award-winning Genovese pesto w/ basil from Olivia’s Garden, extra virgin olive oil, parmesan, pinenuts
This turned out to be my favorite dish of the day. The pasta was exceptionally delicate and literally fell on the plate like a handkerchief. The pesto won best in the world for good reason. Rather than oily and separating, it was creamy and full-bodied – an absolute work of art.
100 Commercial St.
Bangs Island Mussels – Raye’s mustard, local cider, cream, house shallot garlic thyme butter, bread from Standard Baking
These mussels were like I’ve never had and the key to them was Raye’s mustard. The last traditional stone ground mustard mill in North America makes an incredible condiment which takes mussels – and probably anything else – to another level.
68 Commercial St.
Lobster Roll – lobster mayo, tomato, cheese
How could lobster be bad? It wasn’t, but East Ender was busy on Saturday afternoon, making this the one place where it might have been tough for some to hear the story of Maine’s most beloved shellfish.
47 Middle St.
Strawberries from Stonecipher Farm w/ pistachio, white chocolate mousse
I could have eaten 25 of these desserts. Light, only a lightly sweet, and really delicious, they were a perfect finish to our tour.
111 Middle St.
The Land Sea to Fork tour costs $72 and takes three hours or less. It involves a total of about one mile of walking and they take no more than 13 people per tour. I found it fun, informative, and a nice way to pass a summer afternoon. It’s probably ideal for tourists, but at least half the people on my tour were from Maine. If you’re interested in learning about what’s for dinner here in Maine, check it out.
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