I’m sitting here in the room on the last night of our trip. The last 2 days have been especially busy! Starting with Thursday: we had a few more touristy things that we wanted to do. The first of them was the Victoria Mansion. Built in 1860, this house is insane! All the walls and ceilings are painted, the rugs and furniture are all ornate and beautiful, and each room has a different gasolier. They don’t allow pictures inside, but go look some up. From the outside, it looks like the Munsters’ mansion, but the inside is much more colorful and lively.
From there, we went to the last record store of the trip, Entreprise Records. Entreprise has odd hours, so we had to time it well to actually get there when they’re open. The shop itself is small and clearly very selective. The prices are fair and I enjoyed digging.
For lunch, we headed over to Duckfat (which is across the street from Eventide). We ate the duck fat french fries (had to), and I had their house-smoked pastrami sandwich, with pickled red onions, greens, cheddar, and horseradish mayo. It was awesome.
Our next touristy stop was the Portland Observatory, which was built in 1807. The observatory is a large tower that was originally used to spot and signal to ships, since the harbor is so protected and has no sightline to the sea. It is very tall, and the views from the top were amazing. I also thought it was cool that the building is ballasted, meaning that rather than being built with a foundation into the ground, it is simply weighed down with tons of granite.
Just east of the observatory is a beautiful park overlooking the water. Between all the walking and stair climbing, we were tired and sat for a while.
Central Provisions was rated the #6 best new restaurant in America this year by Bon Appetit. It is a small plate restaurant, with really great cuisine. We had many dishes and they were all great. Particularly of note were the swordfish belly and the charred octopus (that I forgot to photograph). I also got to try Bissel Brothers’ “The Substance” IPA which was also very tasty.
On Friday, we started the dat up at Tandem Coffee Roasters. I had read about them before we came up and was excited to go give them a try. While there, I had a pourover of their Ethiopian beans and bought a bag of the Nicaraguan beans to take home. The shop itself is beautiful and they really make great coffee.
After killing some time at Whole Foods, we walked over to Rising Tide to do a tasting. We got to try all the beers they have right now, including a Juniper Saison of which they just brewed a pilot batch of 10 gallons. My favorite was the Gose, brewed partially with seawater they gather themselves from nearby.
At lunchtime we headed back to Old Port to try Gilbert’s Chowder House. Wanting to give its name a run for its money, I ordered the Clam Chowder and the Clam Cake. Both were great and the chowder took me back to my childhood summers (that good).
On the first Friday of every month, Portland hosts an art walk, with local artists opening their galleries, setting up tables, and selling their wares. The art museum also opens its doors to free admission. We started at the museum. Though it was a bit over-stuffed (both with art and people), I liked looking at the Richard Estes realist paintings, including one of rocks I used to play on in Central Park that really took me back. We also walked along Congress Street and stopped by the gallery belonging to our Airbnb host.
We hurried back to our room to get ready for dinner at Miyake. This is the only dinner for which we made a reservation (we didn’t want to miss it). It was also the best meal we ate. There are a few menu options, but we both went with the 4 course a la carte menu. I had marinated salmon, black cod, braised pork belly and oyster, and a super toro roll. Everything was almost too good for words. If you are ever in the area, do not miss this restaurant.
Tomorrow we head back to Brooklyn. I have had such an amazing time in this lovely city and state, but I am glad to be going home. As always, traveling has given me a new enthusiasm for my everyday life and reminds me of all the great things that await me on my return to home.